Monday, August 8, 2011

Anoraak Interview

It's not everyday that I have the pleasure of hearing from ANORAAK.  The French artist first hit the scene big in 2008 with his incredibly catchy track 'Nightdrive With You' (which is still being discussed by the Manchester DJ's last week!) and has since been inspiring young DJs around the world.  What's even more impressive is this all started out as a bedroom effort.  Since that release, he's also helped start the Valerie Collective who continue to rock great nostalgic beats around the world.

His more recent record Wherever the Sun Sets was a testament to the same great synth lines and catchy beats that got him noticed in the first place.  'Crazy Eyes' in particular stood out as a catchy jam and was a heavily remixed track by many artists.  'Dolphins and Highways' again showcases the beautiful mental images that Anoraak evokes to listeners-- nothing but beautiful beaches and Miami Vice neon lights.

An interview with Anoraak seems rare these days, so I was sure to get the low down on his writing philosophy and to ask about what synths he likes to use.  Very little information is available on the web on his synth collection.  Read on below and check out this rare moment when Anoraak reveals a great deal on his production style.

Hey Anoraak! Thanks for joining me today. You recently performed at some festivals and finished up a tour not long ago. How were the shows?
Anoraak: "They were all great! We had lots of gigs this year and I'm really glad every single one was amazing. The Exit festival in Serbia was ace!"

When you're not performing, what are working on now? 
"We're working on the next LP, which might be recorded in fall."

There's been alot of speculation about your gear over the years. What is your synthesizer/ gear collection now? Is it mostly digital or analog? Everyone has guessed you're a big fan of the Roland Juno 106.
"I must confess i usually don't talk much about gear, as for me it's not the most important part of a record, you do what you do with what you have most of the time. I'm basically coming from the rock scene and in the first place i was not really familiar with synthesizers, except for some big known like minimoog. When i started to go on the synthside, i only had an old tangerine iMac on which i could run only a few basic plugins, and had not any hardware machine. But i guess i knew what sound i wanted to hear, and step by step, using basic plugs, i finally could imitate - at least a little - these sounds i wanted to hear.

I heard many times about the fact i was using the Juno 106 in my music, but i never did :) This synth is really nice, but I'm way more about the Juno 60, much deeper sound (but that's my opinion)."

What is your dream piece of music equipment? 
"Definitely an ARP 2600. And a old Fender Pbass, but this is not the point here ;)"

What is your production setup like? Do you work from your own studio? 
"I have my own studio at home, but it's pretty minimal. I've tried to have many synths and stuff around me but i couldn't keep concentrated, and at home i just work on the pre-productions, so now it's just a Korg Polysix, an Ensoniq SD1, my guitar and bass guitar, and a computer.

I also have a JX3P and some other ones, but they are standing at the rehearsal room and we can use them for the final recordings. "

Wherever the Sun Sets has been out for just about a year now. Can you tell me a bit about what went into making that record?
"It took a long time. Maybe too long... I made all the pre-production work at home for months, then went to a studio for the drums, guitars, bass and vocals takes. Back home i made all the editings, and after that, we finished at a friend's top notch home studio with tons of stunning gear for all the synths and production part. It's been a long work but i really wanted this record to sound as electronic as instrumental, that was the main goal."

Looking further back in your discography, I must admit, "Nightdrive With You" is one of my favorite tracks ever. What inspired this track? What was it like producing it?
"The inspiration comes, as always for me, from a deep desire of sun and escape. I just remember working on it late at night and being unsatisfied about the sound, but i finally dropped it on myspace just to force myself working on this track haha! But i really like this song, and it was so much fun to see this track blogged everywhere at a time where banging electro was at his top! It's basically a pop song for me."

Who are some of your favorite artists/producers? 
"By now, i really like (in many different styles) Eumig & Chinon, Mitzi, Michael Cassette, Tennis, Holy Ghost, Twin Shadow, Johnny Neon, Matt Van Shie..."

How do you typically start a track? 
"I don't have any typical way, sometimes it comes from a guitar riff, or synth sound, or a drum pattern..."

Do you program all your own synth patches, or do you modify presets? 
"It depends, sometimes presets can feed your inspiration, no problem with that. But it always end to an original patch :)"

What can we expect next from Anoraak
"I guess the next LP is going to be a little more heavy than Wherever The Sun Sets ^^"

Thanks to Anoraak for joining us.

Below are photos from Anoraak's Facebook Page.  Be sure to "like" it, and check it out for more photos.

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