As he prepares to take his live setup to Fabric this weekend, Tom Demac offers us a tour of his London studio.
Tom DeMac – My Studio
This is my studio, based in an overpriced warehouse conversion in Hackney, East London. I record pretty much everything out of the box with analogue equipment and edit and mix in Ableton Live.
Thankfully the neighbours never moan despite me owning Focal Twin 6Be monitors. I picked these up for a steal last year as one of them rattles having fallen off the previous owner’s speaker stand. A good wrapping of gaffer tape seems to have fixed it though – that stuff really does work miracles.
Assorted Keyboards etc
Anyone who knows my music will be aware of my love of analogue synths. The most recent acquisition here is the ARP Odyssey. It’s tricky to tame and a fucker to tune, but it’s got such a raw tone to it, Korg really have nailed it on the reproduction as always.
Keeping with the Korg love-in is my trusty Mono/Poly. It’s a mainstay across most of my productions, most noticeably my 2012 release, ’Critical Distance’.
In the background is a cheap as chips guitar amp a mate gave to me. There are dents all over it from being thrown out of a hotel room when touring with his band – proper Guns N’ Roses shit. It sounds like shit also, which is perfect if you need anything sounding dirty.
I have an unhealthy addiction to collecting guitar pedals. This board sits right in front of me, and contains two filters – the Moogerfooger and the Erica Synths Acidbox (a Polivoks filter clone) amongst lots of other goodies. I know it’s excessive having two filters next to each other, but…
Beneath is my first ever synth purchase, the Nord Lead 3. This was bought way back when they gave out finance deals to music students – and anyone with a pulse, to be honest! I think I ended up paying three times the value of the synth over 10 years of minimum payments. Thankfully I now have an accountant.
Tempest, Patch Bay, ISA 430, Tape etc
I record most of my outboard equipment through the Focusrite ISA 430 channel strip. A lovely discrete pre-amp with a Neve-style shelf EQ and compressor. It’s also been an extremely useful tool for recording vocalists.
Another mainstay for me recently has been this old Akai reel to reel. For basic tape saturation, warmth, late night feedback loops and tape delay it’s perfect. If anyone’s dreaming of a Roland Space Echo, save a few $$ and just get an old reel to reel and feed the signal back through itself. Job done. Fun.
Yes, I said I had an unhealthy addiction to pedals. Not quite The Edge yet, but maybe in 12 months’ time! Despite using a patch bay and having the ability to patch everything individually, I’d still rather daisy-chain my pedals for more creative results.
Vermona DRM and Roland MKS-80
Arturia recently sent me one of their lovely Beatstep Pros and I swiftly ran into the studio to connect all the gate drum triggers to my Vermona DRM, only to sadly find out I opted for the MIDI-only version. Either way it’s a hugely tweakable analogue drum machine. The clap is a truly unique sound and the tom and kick channels work like dedicated monosynths themselves.
Also residing here is the MKS-80 Super Jupiter, a rack Roland Jupiter-8. Need I say more?
Mostly equipment I use for the live set lives here and gets pulled into the workspace as and when required. The TR-8 recently replaced my old TR-707 in the live-show, with the 707 sadly just being used to trigger the clock in on the SH-101 these days. It’s been a bit of a love-hate relationship with the TR-8, mainly due to the insane popularity of the unit and the fact it looks like what I imagine Tim Westwood using to trigger those bomb sounds on his radio show, but it’s a lot of fun to perform live with.
My home-made bass traps certainly deaden and improve the frequency response of my room, but they won’t win any design awards.
Coffee & Cigarettes