Shadow Child shows us around his amazing studio.
Shadow Child – My Studio
“My studio hardware is a mixture of obsessions and personal wants…” Shadow Child shows us around his incredible Cambridge studio, packed with vintage classics alongside a few contemporary selections.
Reason for Mac
My studio hardware is a mixture of obsessions and personal wants really. I made some of my best music on Reason alone and I still use it today. It’s the core of all my drum tracks that come from inside the box. I learned my drum programming on a TR-606 in the early 90s at school (we had a TB-303 and Juno-60 too – madness), so as soon as I heard of Reason in the late 90s I was straight on it, and hooked. I recently got the BeatStep Pro to aid this way of making beats… Arturia smashed that one! I’m not into the MPC vibe, but give me a step sequencer any day and we’re off and grooving!
I bought this for £1,800 about nine years ago. It was battered but sounded like it should. I bought a new case from a carpenter in the USA and Jeff at Custom Synth rehoused all the electronics for me. It went through a period recently of sitting there looking pretty, but I used it on a collab with Bodhi and it sounds amazing. There’s truly no synth like it.
I owned one of these a while back, but swapped it with someone for an original MS-20. I never really got on with the Korg to be honest, so it was always my intention to get another Pro-One when I could. I was watching the repeat of that BBC Synth Britannia documentary one night and I tweeted about regretting losing my Pro-One. The very next morning I was walking down Burleigh street in Cambridge. It’s full of charity shops and a random hunting equipment shop, which also sells accordions (work that one out)… Anyways, this Pro-One was on its side on the window in the most random place you could imagine. Sold to the tall bloke with glasses.
I bought this for £900 in 2006. I remember it well because I went to pick it up and the guy was trying to get me to buy his 909 too. They both needed some minor cosmetic TLC, but I gave in when he offered both for £1,300! They’ve featured on so many tunes, both from now and my Dave Spoon days. Essential in my studio for vibes! You can’t beat smashing the 808 through the Culture Vulture or tape saturation. Still so good.
I had to get one. Sadly I paid the going rate fairly recently, so it wasn’t cheap. I always wanted it as I knew I’d vibe with it so well. I grew up with a Juno-60 at my school, so programming Roland synths is second nature to me… If I have a sound in my head I can create it in a few moments. The JP-8 is like the Juno on steroids – I heard that somewhere and it’s so true. I’ve used it on loads of stuff, most notably it’s the bassline on my remix of Mary J Blige’s ‘Right Now’. It’s an investment for sure, but I have to say now I own one that Arturia absolutely smashed their emulation. It’s very close! Also, I had an MKS-80 for a while before this and having had both plus a Jupiter-6 at the same time, I have to say the MKS is nowhere near the JP-8. It’s much closer to the JP-6. All amazing machines.
I went straight to UAD2 when it came out but never anticipated them doing the Apollos. The plugin emulations are one thing, but the quality of the audio and build is second to none. All my outboard has individual channels and can be called up in Logic MIDI/audio ready through these. I grabbed the Twin for using out and about, and only recently set it up as my main monitor controller for the Focal Trios and NS10s. The only downside is that theres no alt speaker button so you need to use the virtual console on your computer screen to switch. Minor, but something to get used to after having a PreSonus Monitor Station.
Roland JV-2080 (plus expansions)
I grabbed one of these as it defines an era of music for me. There’s so many early 90s jungle pads and stuff on this thing. If you combine it with the expansion cards available then you have a powerful machine that is retro in every sense, but relatively cheap. It’s like Omnisphere, before Omnisphere (if that makes sense).
I got this a year ago from a guy down the road from where I live. It was going cheap because of a missing tempo knob and desperation for a service. I got it all sorted and a MIDI conversion too and it of course “sits around like it’s bigger than Prince”. Love it.
I bought these back in November from the guys at SX Pro to replace my beloved Adam P11As. Totally different speaker, but I wanted something for my new room that was really vibey. I have the Adams still and I use the NS10s religiously for mixing tracks so having the Focals was a no-brainer. They make the room bounce if you want them to, but they also inject a lot of fun into making music. They ‘pretty’ things up a bit but you know what, I’m OK with that as it gets the creative juices flowing. I was very close to grabbing some PMC twotwo 6s until I heard these, and may have got those if I didn’t own NS10s. The Trios are a great addition.
These cards are amazing. It depends how much of a creative you are, whether you relate to them fully, but each card offers a challenging constraint intended to help musicians (and visual artists) break creative blocks with lateral thinking. They were created by Peter Schmidt and Brain Eno (one of my heroes), but I have to confess to hardly using them yet! I’ve owned them for a while and definitely had many moments where I could have dipped in but it’s only happened a few times. I saw them recently in MJ Cole’s studio, but never anywhere else. Amazing thing to have if you can find a box! Don’t use any replica apps – they’re pretty terrible and not true to these originals!
I got this Dutch beauty recently from the lovely guys at Bicycle Ambulance here in Cambridge. I’ve only been on it here and there as I’ve just become a dad for the first time! I’m itching to get out on it though and it sits at the back of my studio to remind me to stop eating treats and go for a cycle (fatty).
I’m a big Blur fan and this poster has been with me now for 16 years. I remember going in to my local HMV around the time The Best Of was due out, to blag this bus-stop size print. I was also jobless and living in supported accommodation at the time where I had it pride of place on the wall. I had little else but a record collection and burning ambition to succeed in music… So now it sits in the centre of my studio to remind me to be thankful, and never stop dreaming!