Sleep Underwriter: There is a way to spark creativity
On this occasion, we'll be exploring the work of an artist located in Dublin who is also a co-founder of the Aduaine record label. We're curious to learn more about his journey from using the Korg EMX1 for composing to incorporating more organized equipment into his creative process. Join me in discovering his story.
Polyend: What is the most crucial device used throughout your career? Presently?
Sleep Underwriter: This is a really hard question to answer as every piece of musical equipment I have touched since my first budget knock-off Fender Strat to my latest synth has had some meaningful impact on me and has moulded how I create music. I would probably say the most influential in my early days of making electronic music was the Korg EMX1 which I have had now for about 15 years. This was my first ever hands-on groovebox and really got me hooked, as I was used to making music with physical instruments the transition to computers scuppered my creativity, but the fact that I could produce everything I needed within one piece of hardware and take it out for performances was a game changer.
These days the most crucial device for me is the Tracker, so good I bought two! This is the brains of the operation in the studio controlling all my gear and to be honest showing me new ways in which to use them via the interchange they have over midi, there are many happy accidents that happen in each session.
Polyend: Can you reveal one sound design or music production secret to us?
Sleep Underwriter: I am not sure this is entirely a secret but setting yourself limitations, with both gear and time are the key to getting things done. I do not spend hours agonising over the perfect kick or clap, I just get a one-shot sample that sounds reasonable, and off I go getting lost in the flow. I purposely do not have a massive mixing desk, just 12 channels, this makes me restrict myself to only certain pieces of gear to work with, which I pre pick out before sitting down. Endless possibilities is what stifles the actual act of creativity. Once I have got a nice groove I sequence right away, even if the sequence is just a template for how long the song will go, this gets you into finishing mode. I then make the variations, do a final sequence, and record. Normally this is all done in the same session. I will then listen back the day after, maybe tweak the mix slightly but then I am done and onto the next one!
I used to play shows with the EMX, which was very reliable for long form gigs, as there was no navigation or load times in between projects, just a pattern based engine. Given the enhanced capabilities of the Tracker I wanted to replicate the form of shows I had before using it, that’s why I bought a second one. I can now switch between projects without any need for an audio interruption This also means I can make my live sets more fluid over time, taking out pieces and adding others. This video was created to promote my new label Aduaine, that I have formed with two friends recently.
Polyend: Why do you choose Polyend devices?
Sleep Underwriter: I own both the Medusa and now two Trackers. I chose the Tracker, in particular, to purchase first as I was stagnating in productivity, I had actually never tried a tracker-style workflow before, I thought this is a completely alien way of working, it might be exactly what I need to get me out of a rut. I was not disappointed one bit, the learning curve is very intuitive and the workflow is inspiring. For example, if you are stuck for ideas, just playing around with the fill function with a set of samples or midi notes, even highly randomised can spark your creativity again. The fact that it is not only just a great sketchpad but also something that can organise, what can be, a very complex hardware workflow, just makes it a highly valuable piece of equipment for me.
Aduaine is an independent electronic music label based in Dublin, Ireland, founded by Barry Greaves, Peter Sweeney, and Stephen Donaldson. Focused on hardware-produced electronic music, the label embraces a wide variety of styles and tempos to create a unique platform for innovative and experimental sounds. Aduaine seeks to engage with a global audience of electronic music enthusiasts and challenge conventional music norms.
About Sleep Underwriter
Sleep Underwriter is an electronic music producer based in Dublin that is creating a wide variety of sounds from IDM to Electro to Techno to Ambient and everything in between.