Workspace and Environment: Somatic Responses

John and Paul Healy of Somatic Responses take a moment to answer a few questions.

I was born in Wales, UK in an old mining town (Ammanford) where I have resided most of my life. I travel a lot as part of my job and enjoy coming home as it’s a small town and everyone seems to know everyone which is quite comfortable, even if its just because you know who the real assholes and dangerous people are!
As a point of interest it’s the same place where John Cale of the Velvet Underground grew up (and fingered the priest’s daughter), no real link but there you go. It was around 1994, we were heavily into club music around at that time (R&S RECORDS, ACID PCP, LEO ANIBALDI, LORY D, APHEX TWIN AND INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH) J was DJing alot and we just wanted to create or own take on the elements of music we liked, we also wanted to push music in a harder noisier direction.

Favorite Hardware
P: At the moment the hardware I use is an Mac, Korg nanokontrol and midi keyboard. I like these because studio space is limited these days due to family life and I can still do everything I want, and more!
J: As with Paul, I’ve miminalised the studio set up down to the basics – PC, Korg Nanokontrol, Evolution Midi Keyboard, Alesis 8 channel mixer & a vestax pmc06 pro mixer. All the work now goes on in the PC J

I have recently switched from Cubase to Logic, which I think is a superb DAW. The work flow is fantastically smooth and quick. The sound quality is better, maybe because its better suited to the Mac architecture. As for plugins I’m learning all the built Logic stuff which are remarkably powerful and flexible, they also are like getting a whole load of new plugins which sound fresh and different. Other software includes the usual Native Instruments stuff: Massive, FM8, Absynth, Reaktor, Battery…Arturia ARP2600, and recently I got the Sugar Bytes plugins Effectrix, Artillery 2 etc which are brilliant for mashing up sounds and sequences.
I always get Computer Music on a monthly basis for all the free plugins, TAL stuff is especially good!
We’ve also come across Glitch, a FREE plugin – just check it out (PC Only). We’re big advocates for free plugins, there’s a massive community out there & some weird & very wonderful synths / efx – just look for them!

Workspace and Environment
I don’t think the enviroment particularly does influence my workflow too much other than making me more disciplined as I only have specific times I can write music. Having a prescribed time makes me really strive to knock out what I want as quickly as possible and stops me being too much of a perfectionist. I’m kind of the opinion that once something is done fuck it, leave it alone and move on. I occasionally re-listen to stuff and think I would re-sequence or change the mix but then I realise that creative time precious and leave things as they are in favour of doing something new.

Ideal Workspace
Firstly I love my current location and setup! But, whatever my perfect location would be it would still be with my family directly around me as it feels right and I like the odd interruption in what I am doing. I’m not one for locking myself away as I have a short attention span. I always remember hearing stories (unsure whether true or not) about Vangelis having a studio made of glass so he could absorb his surroundings, I love this idea but I am torn what landscape I would like to view; I suppose my favourites and obvious choices would be:
a) Snow capped French Alps
b) Stormy sea peninsula
c) Overlooking a fantastic city skyline like New York or Chicago.
Can have one of each? :)

First and Last Piece of Gear
First piece was a Yamaha CS15, which is still in my house! Last was probably a Nord modular which I felt I had to get rid of because it was like a hobby in itself and didn’t really help me to be productive, I’d just end up wanking off over mad sounds for hours on end.

Wish List
New(er) Mac Pro/New Macbook Pro and Cinema display, other than that I would stay as I am for a while, less is more sometimes and I think I can do pretty much anything with what I have.

Live Setup
P:Yes, I take a Macbook with me, I have Albeton and Logic on it so I use this for Live PA’s and writing stuff on the go.
J: Acer laptop using Torq – it’s much more hands on, stable & VERY user friendly.

Studio Evolution
Several locations, one trend the gear got smaller each time!

Involvement With Sound Design
Unfortunately not, but this kind of thing would be a dream job for me!

Somatic Responses Myspace

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