We caught up with some of Toronto’s most progressive musicians to talk about how gear and technology influences their music. Check out their answers below.
How does technology influence your writing process?
Keita Juma: It is the beginning, its starts with what program or equipment I’m going to use, and I choose that based on what sounds I want to hear.
Internet Daughter: I can’t think of a way that it doesn’t honestly. I wouldn’t be making what I make if it wasn’t for technology.
Nailbiter: It can make things a bit distracting. A bit of a big reason why I got into the hardware and modular synths was even though they are a part of technology, it is so much more hands on and free-form and allows you to physically interact with the instruments. But it is a constant battle of using things to their advantages and learning their disadvantages – learning what you like about the computer and what you don’t and what certain instruments are capable of. There’s never enough time to learn either. I recently went on a week trip just to work on music but also to learn how to use the machines I’ve been trying to use more, which can be hard in your normal day to day life (work/relationships/friends/social events).
Absolutely Free: It lends its voice through almost every step in our creative process – from tracking ideas, performing something not humanly possible, to collaging sounds and arranging song structures.
What informs your choice when you’re updating your studio gear?
Keita Juma: How heavy is this? Will it work around the world? I want to be able to create the same wherever I go.
Internet Daughter: I think about what I will realistically use in my process, a needs vs wants scenario because I make a lot of music on the go I like to keep things minimal.
Nailbiter: I think it is a combination of things that are in your head of what you want to be able to do and then a bit of discovery of learning about things you didn’t think you could do that sound appealing to you. But then again, you have to put the time into it, like coding seems appealing to me in what you can do but the actual process I’m not sure I could see myself doing. I don’t like things to be complicated. I like to be able to walk over to a piece of gear and get something out of it quickly. And if I’ve mastered it then there is always ways to mangle it or try different things with it. Build quality can be a factor because I may want to take things out on gigs and hope that they won’t die on me!
Absolutely Free: Character, sound quality, real-time functionality, versatility, necessity…
Would you write the same music if you could only use a pen and paper?
Keita Juma: I’d probably write more poems if I could only use pen and paper, like making a poetry book.
Internet Daughter: This ties into the first question for me but absolutely not. I have to write so many different instruments into my music that I can’t imagine what all that would look like on paper.
Nailbiter: If I did that, it would probably sound like an acid trip gone wrong. I’m not very musically inclined from a traditional stand point. It would probably look and sound like complete madness.
Absolutely Free: No. Our music is definitely the result of a dialogue between an idea, the way it translates to sound, and visceral reflex.