SCORB Interview ahead of Rezonance NYE 2015/16
I have finished and discarded many tracks in the last few years that maybe in the past I would have released. This is because I am wary of repeating myself and am trying to avoid putting out music that isn’t my best work”
What is a SCORB? How long do SCORBs last? Why no new SCORB music?
These and many other fascinating conversations took place as we chatted to Ady Connor aka SCORB ahead of his double live sets, first as the aforementioned SCORB at midnight on New Years Eve and then also as PHIBIAN on the 2nd of January at Cape Town’s premier underground New Years Eve festival, REZONANCE NYE 2015/16…
You’ve been in the game for a long time now, what’s better about the global psy scene now than ‘back in the good old days?’
SCORB: Surprisingly little really. Faster computers and mobile technology have certainly opened up lots of possibilities and as music makers we are very spoilt for choice when it comes to great music production tools. I try to look forward rather than back but I do think it’s great that more people have the ability to make and release music now.
And what do you miss most from the early days?
SCORB: The feeling of being involved with something fresh and new. Discovering Psytrance felt like stumbling across a warped out transmission by alien robots from the future whereas now much of it feels very derivative, even “old” to me sometimes.
Your last album – ‘Abra Macabre’ was in 2009. What’s happening with ‘Aeon Conundra’? Wasn’t it due out at the beginning of the year?
SCORB: Yeah a new SCORB album is definitely overdue!
This year all bets were off while I took care of my health. Although I thinned out my gig schedule since early last year, I have kept very busy in the studio. To be fair, it’s been as much or more mastering work than production which has made it harder to finish things. After 6 to 10 hours of mastering other people’s music, writing your own isn’t the first thing you necessarily can handle doing!
One of the benefits and downsides of releasing on your own label is that deadlines often end up out the window. After releasing around 150 tracks, I decided to hold back a bit. I have finished and discarded many tracks in the last few years that maybe in the past I would have released. This is because I am wary of repeating myself and am trying to avoid putting out music that isn’t my best work. Being a bit of a slave to perfectionism is definitely a part of the issue. I can spend a couple of days mixing a track and will happily start over from scratch if I’m not 100% convinced it’s not the best I can make it.
The main thing I did creatively in 2015 was fine tune and remix the Squid Inc album. We are very proud of how it’s turned out but it has definitely stolen my focus and is perhaps the main thing that’s pushed SCORB material back.
So, when will the next SCORB album be released? Well, on Trick Music next we will release the Squid Inc album ‘Indelible’, followed by EPs and the new Deviant Species album. After that, there’s a remix compilation and a couple of more EPs to get out before Aeon Conundra will see the light of day. I will stick my neck out and say that it should be ready for release this time next year. I certainly have ambitious plans for releases in 2016.
Several people have made it known to me that they didn’t realise that I was behind Phibian as well as SCORB…”
How much has digital technology – plugins, DAW advancements etc influenced the music you write?
SCORB: It’s huge. I first started writing music just as the first wave of VST (Virtual Studio Technology) technology started to take hold. This meant anyone could start to make electronic music for relatively little outlay using computers rather than requiring a room full of gear costing an arm and a leg.
Ableton changed everything for me too. Once used to Ableton’s workflow, the other “classic” sequencers feel very unwieldy and linear
So Ableton is your current choice of DAW?
SCORB: Well, I’ve used Logic and Cubase in the past and Arnaud (Concept) and I used Logic for the Prism album, but I’ve been using Ableton pretty much since 2003. I am currently learning Studio One and am interested in Bitwig as I believe this newer generation of software is coded with current computer architecture and modern workflows in mind, rather than being adapted, hacked and dragged into the present like much of the older more established software sequencers and DAWS.
The plugin you know you need to stop (ab)using so much…
SCORB: I use a narrow but well chosen set of tools and probably use and abuse DMG Audio and Valhalla DSP effects the most and u-he for synths. I do my best to avoid sample packs these days and try and create as much as possible from scratch. I have little interest in sounding like anybody else and this approach certainly helps with that.
What compelled you to start your second solo project – PHIBIAN and what would you say is the essential difference between the sounds of the two projects?
SCORB: Phibian is more like my sixth project after SCORB, RAM, Squid Inc, Orzels Machine and Prism. It was originally the name of a SCORB track actually but was meant to be a home for more stripped down, less fussy and techy tracks. Although I initially was aiming for a slower chunky vibe, after a few tracks I ended up keeping the tempo in a similar range to SCORB. Several people have made it known to me that they didn’t realise that I was behind Phibian as well as SCORB, so in order to spread further confusion between the two projects I have written a track for the new SCORB album entitled “I Amphibian”. I think it’s fair to say that there’s a degree of overlap between the projects now so I’m not sure yet whether I’ll play “I Amphibian” in the SCORB or Phibian set at REZ hehe!
You are a firm favourite here in South Africa and despite no massive output of music, your popularity never wanes. What do you tell your mates about our parties, scene and the country?
SCORB: I guess there are others that have released more than I have since I started but the number of releases isn’t really something I am keeping score of anymore. I certainly don’t judge an artist by the volume of their output myself. I want to make every release special and if that means I don’t release everything I finish and risk appearing unproductive, then I will! If you take my side projects into account, I’ve probably put out a lot more than you think!
Alien Safari and Cape Town usually spring to my mind first whenever anyone asks me where my favourite place to play is. The music just feels at home here I guess and I definitely feel the appreciation.
The UK seems to really be leading the charge (in my opinion) when it comes to proper psychedelic full on these days in the face of the progtrance onslaught that has popularised the scene worldwide. What are they putting in the water over there?
SCORB: That’s nice to hear! I’ve always felt that much of the UK stuff is on the softer side but have heard some awesome dark and driving stuff recently too. A new one from Dick Trevor and Earthling that came through the mastering studio recently was particularly banging.
You’ve been working a lot with Deviant Species (Squid Inc.) and Antispin I hear. Is it more fun collaborating. Or just way quicker to get music out?
SCORB: Collaborating is great. You learn new tricks and perspectives and it’s a good opportunity to embrace doing things in a slightly different way to when you are working alone. I love working with Santos (Deviant Species) as we have been making tracks together for a long time and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. He is untouchable when it comes to sound design, sculpting intros and outros and simply having impeccable taste and the right sense aesthetically for what we are trying to do.
Whilst I love collaborating, I am always very happy to write alone and there are no collaborations planned whatsoever on the next SCORB Album.
I love your description of what a SCORB is. Did the description come first or the name? (i.e. did you think up the description when asked what it is, or was this all part of coming up with the name?
SCORB: The name came first. The creature came second but I’m pretty sure someone else suggested that the creature was a “SCORB” hehe!
Last question. Is there any legendary track (doesn’t even have to be electronic) that you’d love to remix one day?
SCORB: Good question, could be so many! Until recently I might have said Underworld’s classic ‘Dark Train’, but we recently finished a Squid Inc remix of this to give away in early 2016. Perhaps a slow deep dubby melancholic remix of a Tool track would be a lot of fun 🙂
Catch SCORB at midnight on New Year’s Eve and PHIBIAN at midnight on 2nd of January at Rezonance 2015/16.