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In his sample pack for Analogue Candy, Kurt Feldman gives us a taste of Ice Choir's lush and colorful pop universe. Learn more about his production techniques here.
What's your creative process like?
It usually starts from a melodic idea or concept. Then I build out the rhythm section from there, bass, drums, etc. Once I have the basic skeleton of the song, other harmonies, countermelodies, etc. usually start developing all at once and I’m constantly jumping around from track to track (and making tons of new ones). Eventually, one of those melody tracks becomes the vocal melody, which I’ll then translate to actual lyrics. I’m generally listening for where there are gaps in the sonic spectrum and figuring out how to add/subtract stuff to make it sound as full and exciting as possible.
Tell us about your upcoming album. Did you have a specific production concept in mind?
The production concept was just to create an album of stuff I would want to listen to if I listenend to my own music. It’s a “pop” album in the sense that “get to the fucking chorus” is paramount but it’s conceptually obstruse and also litered with WTF moments that will probably turn you off if you don’t have a sense of humor or don’t enjoy obstacle courses.
Do you do most of your work inside or outside of the box?
These days I’m about 100% in the box (Pro Tools 11), which is why it was so fun to dust off the synths and make some cool patches I can use in the box now (and you too!)
On that note: what's your opinion about the hardware vs. software discussion in general?
No one can tell the difference so whatever inspires you!
What are your favorite plugins and how do you use them?
Man, I use so many different plugins in any given session — that’s a tough question! As far as recent inspiration goes, I’m really liking Sonic Charge’s Synplant and Rob Papen’s Predator these days. If we’re talking essentials, I’m always using the Native Instruments stuff (FM8, Absynth, Massive, etc.) and all the Arturia synths modelled on the classics.
For basic utility plugins i’m a Waves guy, so I probably couldn’t get by without those. Also, I use the SoundToys plugins on pretty much everything.
Any favorite hardware you couldn't live without?
The only piece of hardware I consistently use is the SansAmp RPM. I track everything through it. I like it because it’s easy to use and doesn’t do a lot of stuff.
Could you share some creative techniques that play a major role in constituting your “signature sound”?
I think the definitive aspect of Ice Choir’s sound isn’t necessarily what techniques I use to make the music. The synths and drum sounds I use change over time but the thing that has remained constant is the general abuse/overuse of melody in the music. I love overwhelming the listener with pointilized, cascading melodies and sounds you’ll only hear once in a song. I make it a goal to present you with too much stuff to take in the first time you listen to it so that you listen to it again.
How do you create and process your synth parts?
I’m not a synth player so everything I do is all programmed in on midi roll. If I’m writing a progression I’ll hear a certain chord in my head and I’ll put in one note at a time. Most often I don’t really have a specific progression in mind at the outset, I’ll experiment with different voices from that chord leading into another and see what opens up the most melodic possibilities. I usually get pretty unexpected and interesting results this way.
What plugin that doesn't exist today would you love to see created?
One that comps all the vocals for you.
What artist would you buy a sample pack from?