By realeasing his 3rd album, ‘Howl‘, at Erased Tapes Records the 16th October 2015, Ryan West, confirmed the ‘unclassifiableness’ of his Rival Consoles’ project. Lives guitars, drums inserts, voice modulation and even Cello – a wide range of instruments which provides a logical rich sound. We discuss some of his working, production processes on his last album but also his artistic vision of music.
En sortant son 3ème album, ‘Howl‘, chez Erased Tapes le 16 Octobre dernier, Ryan West, confirme l' »inclassabilité » de son projet Rival Consoles. Des insertions de guitare et drums live, des modulations de voix ainsi en passant par du cello – la palette est très large et le son logiquement très riche. Nous avons échangé quelques lignes avec le londonien à propos de son processus de travail, de composition et de vision. Nous vous permettons aussi de gagner l’album ‘Howl’ juste en bas de l’interview.
I read that you consider yourself more like a producer than a musician these times. How would you define the edges/limits between these two ‘titles’ ?
Actually I think I’m somewhere in between right now! I think it all depends on your practise, producing is the art of bringing lots of things together including musicianship, recording, mixing etc, So I guess, musicianship can be compromised when you work alone! I have shifted by practise in a way that means I have to become more of a musician again, on purpose, so that the music just doesn’t become about of loads of clicking in and editing, but capturing lots of performances, moments of improvisation and spontaneity.
I will always keep in mind ‘Recovery’. I read that tried to create a beat out of your synth. Did you use kind of the same process for some of your new tune’s new album ‘Howl’ ? I recognize some of this textures and rhythm on ‘Low’.
Yes, Low does feature exactly the same synth setting I made, but just quick 1/8th notes, swelling in and out of focus. I like to reuse synth sounds if they work well. This is just adds a little extra dimension to the piece.
Concerning this new album, ‘Howl’. I was surprised by some tunes more Beats style like ‘Ghosting’ which reminds me Lapalux style. Synths fulling the air, detailled drums. What was your ‘basic’ set-up during the recordings of this album ?
Prophet 8 running through some guitar pedals, I would be constantly recording in melodies, textures, ARPS, ambience, chords etc I would also be recording real drums, or lofi hits. Sometimes adding little bits of guitar, all simple and well trodden stuff. Quite natural and nothing too technical!
« I make all kinds of music, in particular electronic music with some kind of human sentiment. »I really feel in your tracks, your Soundcloud moto describing this human sentiment. How do you infuse and feel this human/emotional touch in your tracks ?
I think just 2 simple things, 1. my work is focused on harmony: chord progressions and ambiences that have an emotive, story-like feel to them. and 2. I always prefer synth sounds to sound a little broken, haunting, out of focus. I like emotion in music!
Did you collaborate with others musicians/performers for this new album ? We can hear that your work is mainly Analog but do you use VST plugins often also ?
I did work with Fabian Prynn who played drums on Low, he inspires me to be excited by music! and the amazing Peter Gregson,, added some very subtle but powerful Cello on ‘Walls’
I use lots of plugins for things like delays, compression, eq etc. but there is not a single synth plugin on the album, and btw I’m not against them in any way, or against digital. I mainly just prefer this little set up I work with, coz it feels natural to me.
In a more general way about your work process: does it happen to you to really love the track beginning’s basis and to totally doubt about it when you trying to add something else to it (synths, drums) and ending-up creating the basis of a another song. Do you keep these two tracks or keep on the last one because it’s all about work flow ? How do you keep your work process tidy ? Meaning, do you finish all yours tracks started ?
I make hundreds of things, sketches that don’t go further that a few chords or a few random sounds sometimes. I don’t really force an idea to become a ‘proper track’, that is not healthy to me. It either has a solid potential to become one, or it doesn’t in it’s present state, so I just be playful. My way of making music is quite chaotic. I’m usually working on 10 – 20 ideas, over a few weeks/months. I do doubt things all the time, in fact Recovery went through about 50 versions to get the end right. I think you are always partially blind when creating, but I do also know when ideas are strong and moving.
Traditional question on our plateform: What would be your best utopic collaboration ? it could be anything with a dead or living artists , in any kind of set ups and places
I would say Bjork, I can hear lots of ideas in my head that seem to resonate with her approach to music.