We recently got a chance to chat with LA’s Soft Metals in the interview below.
s.o.t.r.-What are you guys listening to right now, what bands have you been into as of recent?
Patricia: This week I’ve been listening to Ashra- “New Age of Earth” , the new Legowelt album “The Teac Life”, Dolphins into the Future “…On Sea-Faring Isolation”, Psychic TV “Dreams Less Sweet”, Cluster “Zuckerzeit”, Broadcast ” Work and Non Work”, Solenoid “Supernature” this various artists comp called “Electronic Encounters: Music Inspired By Close Encounters of the Third Kind”, and Daphne Oram “Oramics”.
Ian: This week- Should “A Folding Sieve” which is soon to be re-issued by Captured Tracks, Die Form “Die Puppe”, Theo Parrish “Sketches”. I just saw Bestial Mouths live last night in LA and it was a great show.
s.o.t.r.-For all the tech heads, can you talk more about your gear and setup? You seem to be purists when it comes to vintage analog equipment, and you replicate the process of how early electronic musicians would have made music in the early 80′s beautifully. How do you control your sequencers, arpeggiators, synths, and drum machines, how is everything synced up?
Ian: We’re constantly changing around the studio and experimenting with different ways to write and record. We love the sound character and interface quirks that come from using older instruments, but we like to fuse their use with newer audio interfaces, software and MIDI control devices. The syncing and sequencing can vary from song to song, but for the most part when jamming/recording we sync the Ableton clock into the TR808 via Kenton pro solo MIDI->sync.. The 3 trigger outs on the 808 are then connected to the gate input on the Pro One, sequencer trigger on the JX3P and arppegiator trigger on the Juno 60. Occasionally, we will write MIDI loops and sequences in Ableton and send via MIDI to the newer gear like the JD 800 or Mirage. All of the audio is multi-tracked back into the computer using a Motu 828 interface. This way when we jam we can just hit record at any point. For the Experimental Half Hour session, we used an MPC1000 as the master clock, it also sent some midi loops to the JX3P, some MIDI to be converted to s-trig for the Mono/Poly’s arpeggiator and had some 727 samples in it. The clock was converted to sync and then the 808s trigger outs were driving the sequencer on the pro one and the arpeggiator on the Juno 60. I played the JD800 and Mono/Poly by hand and Patricia was playing the Juno. We’re working on a new live set up now that will sort of reflect what we did at EHH. Most of the songs on the album are too layered and dense for just two people to be playing them live. For this reason, we’re currently restructuring the songs for our friend Brian Foote play some synth parts and letting there be a looser feel to allow for more improvisation. Our first live show with him will be October 20th in Los Angeles for a Captured Tracks showcase.
s.o.t.r.-Your debut self titled LP has garnered great success throughout the blogosphere and beyond, Do you guys have any tour plans to promote the record also?
Patricia- Yes, we will tour the US and Europe. Ian’s starting grad school this fall so we will have to plan our tours to occur during his school breaks, but we’re going to make sure when you get to see us it’s going to be worth the wait. A US tour will come first, probably this winter, and we want to tour Europe in the summer.
s.o.t.r.-You guys are like two peas in a pod, both artists and lovers. How would you say that being a couple has influenced Soft Metals?
Patricia- I think romance had a strong influence on our lyrics early on when we we were recording the EP, but now that we’re settled into our relationship and added a new person to the project the subject matter will likely be less relationship oriented. When Soft Metals began we were just friends working on music together and the intent wasn’t to be particularly romantic. A few songs are about love, but more than anything they are about life and our observations.
s.o.t.r.-You guys recently moved to LA from Portland. Hows life in the city so far? What made you guys want to re-locate to LA?
Ian- The main reason for the relocation was so that I can attend grad school. LA has been great so far, we’d been lucky enough to meet a lot of great people and bands when we’ve come through on tour and we’ve felt very warmly welcomed.
s.o.t.r.-Have you guys made any new material since your s/t release in July? Can you talk about any new directions, or whats to come for your next release, or is it still too early to say?
Patricia- As we mentioned in a couple of the previous questions, we are currently working with Brian Foote on a new live set. We’ve been re-building the songs we’ve already written. There will a lot more live playing at our shows which we feel will be more fun for us and the audience. Once that’s finished the three of us will start writing new songs together. I’m excited about how well the new dynamic has been working so far. Brian’s history a versatile performer of electronic, experimental, and rock music and talent as a producer and mixing engineer make him a valuable addition to the project. We can’t wait to share the our new developments with the public. You can check out some of Brian’s work history here.