The last month has been pleasingly Slam themed in the spread of electronic music publications as the Soma dons have just released their 7th studio album which has been met with huge warmth from the critical sphere. Aiming for a listening experience that works on the heads at home just as well as dancers on the floor Reverse Proceed benefits from a fresh approach in the studio fully implementing a newly acquired Seqentix Cirklon and their growing Modular synth collection to build the main body of sounds then using computer based technologies of the modern day to tweak and fully realise the tracks. With this in mind and a live set scheduled for Room Two this coming Saturday night we asked the duo's Stuart McMillan and Orde Meikle to talk more in depth about the techniques that went into creating the album and how they feel about the resulting response...
Guys firstly congratulations on the album – it’s been so well received by the press – does that still mean a lot to you at this point in your career?
It's not something we were striving for when we set out to make the album. If was important for us that we were happy with it first and foremost but obviously it's great that it has been so well received it's been album of the month in certain mags and I think DJ nominated as one of their albums of the year which is obviously amazing. It's maybe more importantly that it was well received by the fans and people got what we were trying to achieve.
How do you approach making the album – it feels very different from your usual tracks we’re used to did you go into the studio with a particular idea of what you wanted to achieve with it?
Firstly it became a challenge to try and make a proper electronic album one that you could listen to from start to finish and one that wasn't just a collection of club tracks with a couple of token downbeat tracks thrown in. We had the concept in our heads for quite some time but we just needed to find the right process and more importantly the right equipment to inspire us to do it. We wanted the album to be continuous with no breaks and we knew we wanted to build the album around tracks using various sequences. We had heard of Sequentix Cirklon sequencer. Then we found out it was made in Glasgow. So we used the sequencer and a new Modular synth set up for the majority of the album doing various jams collecting the ideas on the computer then we pieced them altogether.
Onto our chat about the technical stuff, you’ve said this isn’t the biggest studio you’ve inhabited – what was the place you’re talking about like?
We had a space above the Sub Club on Jamaica street in Glasgow which was about 3 times the size of anywhere else we have been. We had the Soma offices in there as well so everything was kind of self contained. But there was a fire in the adjacent building making the one we inhabited unsafe and we lost the space we had to go into to a semi burnt out building and collect the stuff miraculously nothing was damaged beyond repair and the soma catalogue remains intact !
What would you say are the most important parts of the studio you used on the album?
As I said earlier defiantly the Cirklon sequencer And our modular set up. We used those on almost every track.
How’s the old modular collection coming along? There seems to be quite the bug for it at the moment… Working in modular – did this have more of an influence on Reverse Proceed then your other output?
It's coming along nicely it's an expensive habit and we're adding stuff slowly. The Modge set up played a massive part in recording the album as I mentioned earlier. We wanted to step away from the computer and try and approach the writing process in a much more tactile and hands on way but then recording all the audio in the computer and tweaking it and processing afterwards. That's why the album is called 'Reverse Proceed' because it's about using older methods but then using new technology to produce it.
What actual gear are you using to perform live with at the moment? Can you talk us through the set up?
We are using: 2 x mac book pro, 1 APC 40, Abelton Push, 1 Korg Nano Kontrol2, 1 Roland TR 909, 2x Native Instruments Audio 8, 1 Allen & Heath Zone Mixer
We have 2 live set ups running simultaneously we've finally got the set up where we can control every aspect from how long we keep things going to manipulating sounds There's a fair amount of live tweaking on the 909 as well.
What’s next for you now you’ve released the album?
We have a remix album from 'reverse proceed' coming. We are also compiling an album for Soma which focuses on Glasgow's vibrant techno scene there are so many great producers from Glasgow. Ourselves and producers like Clouds, Gary Beck, Deepbass and Edit Select are all contributing new tracks for this.