Fred Everything shows us around his Montreal studio, filled with hardware synths and a selection of vintage effects.
Fred Everything – My Studio
This is my third studio setup in the last 12 months, due to a move back from San Francisco to Montreal
It was meant to be a temporary setup, but it’s been harder than expected to find a space in the city so for now, I write here and I mix at a friend’s studio in a great control room on ATC speakers.
I’ve cut down a fair amount on my equipment but I’ve kept what I use the most.
This is my keyboard station. I’ve had the Moog Voyager the longest in this photo.
The Roland Juno-60 I bought in San Francisco and got it MIDI-fied with a bunch of added features like chord memory, portamento and sequencer. It was supposed to replace my old 106, which I ended up keeping.
The Odyssey is the Korg reissue in limited edition white. I’ve mainly used it for special FX, drones and leads.
The Solina I bought in Oakland. It does one thing, but it does it great: instant Herbie Hancock or Stevie Wonder vibe, but also Joy Division/early New Order, and countless others too. It’s one of those sounds that can’t be reproduced.
There’s also a newer addition, the semi-modular Moog Mother 32, which I’ve used quite a bit lately.
This is mainly my drum station. I have an MPC3000 that I’ve modified with an internal SD drive for faster access to patches. You just can’t beat the sound and the swing of this machine.
There’s also a TR-606 that’s like a cheap 808 alternative, and it also outputs triggers to control external sequencers and arpeggiators. The TR-8 is for 909/808/707 sounds and Maschine for sampled drum sounds.
There’s also my red SH-101, which is the oldest synth I own. I bought it in the early 90s and it used to be in my live show back then. The Waldorf filter is newer – it’s nothing special but it can modulate the envelope with external triggers, which is nice. There’s also a bitcrusher effect on it that sounds smoother than the digital versions.
Roland RE-201 Space Echo
The RE-201 needs no introduction. I owned the RE-150 for years and used it on many of my early 20:20 Vision Records but I wanted the 201 for the added spring reverb.
I also have a bunch of little machines in the drawers like Korg Volcas, x0xb0x, Moog Werkstatt, as well as a few pedals and percussions.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t install my Fame W-202 Desk due to lack of space, so I’m using a basic Ikea table for now. It hosts my favourite modern polysynth, the DSI Prophet-6. I’m a big fan of Dave Smith as a previous owner of the Tetra, Prophet 08 and 12, but this one is my favourite. I love the tone of it, which is so close to the original Prophet-5, and the added step sequencer and arpeggiator are nice additions. I use the external sequencer in to trigger my sequences. I’m also a big fan of the chord memory in unison. I was lucky to get one of the first ten directly from Dave Smith.
The Moog Minitaur, which I prefer to the Voyager for bass and easy access/sound design, and the great Arturia Beatstep Pro, which serves as step sequencer and trigger outs.
Floor Rack #1
I had to temporarily retire my Midas Venice F16R due to space restrictions, so my two patch bays are a life saver. Everything goes through it and allows some great routings to pre-amps, compressors and converters, as well as effects and external triggers.
As a long-time user of Universal Audio’s UAD products, I had to get their Apollo soundcard. They make my favourite plugins.
The Audioscope is something I used a lot while working with Atjazz. It makes it easy to see where things are, especially in the low end, but also if there’s an annoying frequency peaking out. Jazzanova also use one.
Just out of shot, the Moogerfooger delay and filter pedals, which are great tools.
Floor Rack #2 – Part 1
On top, I have two Eventide pedals, Space and Time Factor. High-quality reverb and delay that will make any synth sound great.
The Lexicon is rarely getting used but I’ve had it for a while. It used to be my ‘go-to’ reverb.
The Oberheim sounds amazing. I use the Kiwitechnics Patch Editor from New Zealand to program it. Most of the sounds in my track with Kathy Diamond, ‘Believe’, come from that synth.
Floor Rack #2 – Part 2
Next is the API A2D, which I only use for its preamps. I use the UA 2192’s converters – since I use mostly my DAW as a big tape recorder, it’s important to get the best signal input. I mostly use API A2D into API 2500 Compressor (below) into 2192, digitally through the Apollo as my signal chain.
The AKAI S612 is Matthew Herbert’s favourite sampler and was also heavily used by Charles Webster and Atjazz. It’s very lo-fi but it makes everything sound big. Great for sampled chords and drums.
The URSA Space Station is a very rare reverb/delay unit from the 80s. This one was sitting on the floor of a music store in Johannesburg, broken. I bought it and got it fixed. it’s great for widening things up like the vocals.
Innerclock Systems Sync Gen II
I can’t stress enough that sync is everything in the studio. The computer can’t output a good MIDI clock due to its multi-tasking purpose and the external MIDI interface and cables. What you usually get is a very jittery MIDI information, which makes the machines behave badly. If you’re using drum machines, step sequencers, triggers, arpeggiators… you NEED this machine. It’s made by a small company in Australia called Innerclock Systems and the unit is Sync Gen II. It takes an audio signal from your DAW and transforms it into a perfect sync for your machines. After years of frustrations, this saved my life. Highly recommended.
My record collection is still a big inspiration to me. I’ve cut it down to about a third throughout the years, due to many moves cross country, but every record left here has a special meaning to me. I can’t wait to dig for the next 24 Hours Of Vinyl in Montreal next week.
Fred Everything and Kathy Diamond’s ‘Believe’ is out now on Defected. ‘Ô’/’Her’ is also out now on Atjazz. Shur-I-Kan Collection is out on Lazy Days Recordings. Listen to the monthly Lazy Days podcast on Pioneer DJ Radio and find Fred on Facebook, Twitter and SoundCloud.