Hi-fi Q&A Hero

Artist of the month: clay73


Long time contributor clay73 gives us some insight on making music, production and iStock from the vantage of someone who has been here for the whole ride. A quiet contributor who makes a lot of noise with his work.

Having dipped his toes in the first waves of PC music production, clay73 comes with a complete pedigree of "seen it, been there, done that" and has more than earned his stripes as a bonafide StockStar.

Could you tell us about your musical history? Who, where, when, what and why?
My first record I got (aged ten) was Pink Floyd's “The Wall”. I was especially fascinated by their - in my ears -otherworldly soundscapes. Rick Wright was my hero and playing keyboards and especially synthesizers like him became an ambition and dream. After a short episode of learning to play on a Bontempi organ, which sounded nothing like Rick Wright's Hammond Organ and Moog synthesizers, my music teacher convinced me to take up piano lessons. Getting a “Beatles Complete” songbook sealed the deal. As a teen I got more into jazz-piano, started playing in church and later got involved in several gospel, jazz and cover bands. With the advent of midi and sequencing (I bought Cubase 1.0 for the Atari on the day it was released) I began composing and producing. As a result I got involved in some very rewarding projects doing music for art installations, theatre plays, short films and commercials.

"Rick Wright was my hero and playing keyboards and especially synthesizers like him became an ambition and dream."

How did you hear about iStock and could you give a few tips that would help those getting started with uploading audio a hand up?
Like many I came here searching for photos. Actually I was searching for photos to put on a promo disk for my stock music. The announcement for the upcoming audio collection immediately caught my eyes; I applied at iStockaudio and never put the promo cds in the mail… Tips: Uploading regularly and offering variations has proven to be quite effective for me.

Tell us a little about the tools you use to make your music. What hard/software do you use, what plugins are an asset to your process and a little about the way you use them?
Main Instruments: Fender Rhodes Mark II Seventythree Piano, Fender Stratocaster; Clavia Nord Stage, Access Virus Ti, Upright Piano. DAWs: Cubase, Ableton Live and Maschine. Plugins: Ni Komplete, The Spectrasonics Trio, U-He Zebra, UAD and Waves plugins. My main DAW is Cubase. This is also where I mix and master all my cues. For developing ideas and trying out arrangements I tend to use Ableton Live and Maschine more and more.

"Put on “Good Times” by Chic and party!"

Would you share one of your best tips or techniques that works so well you feel like you're cheating every time you use it?
Arpeggiators! There was a time I thought that they were unnecessary and superfluous for a “serious” musician. Now I love them and use them all the time. More than often they give instant inspiration and gratification. For electronic music I find them indispensable.

Who are the producers or bands that have driven and inspired you over the years? List at least one guilty pleasure track or band.
Early influences: Pink Floyd (as mentioned above), U2, Queen, too much 80's pop bands to mention…

Favourite songwriters: Brian Wilson and Paddy Mc Aloon from Prefab Sprout

Favourite pianists: Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Keith Jarett

Favourite guitarist: Pat Metheny, Nile Rodgers

Favourite album: Pet Sounds – Beach Boys

Favourite Producers: Quincy Jones, Nile Rodgers

There have also been a lot of electronic music producers which inspired me over the last years. Moby and his “Play” Album got me into hip-hop grooves; Kruder&Dorfmeister, Morcheeba, William Orbit and Massive Attack fueled my passion for all things down-tempo.

Guilty Pleasures: Listening to the Carpenters (Jambalaya anyone?) surely qualifies as a guilty pleasuse. Did I mention that I listen to smooth jazz (Spyro Gyra, Dave Grusin) quite regularly?

The world is going to explode in 5 minutes, what song do you put on to enjoy one last time?
The world is exploding since 15 billion years, so in my humble opinion no time to hurry. Put on “Good Times” by Chic and party!

If you could spend 5 minutes with anyone dead or alive who would it be and what would you ask them?
Tough question. There would be many. At the moment Nelson Mandela's biography fascinates me. I would ask him how he achieved to overcome apartheid without resorting to violence.

Listen to Clay73's' Portfolio

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