Andy Walker is a producer, writer, and mix engineer based in Nashville, Tennessee. In addition to his work with local artists, he is heavily involved in the worship keyboard community as the User Content Manager for Loop Community, a company that produces multitracks for churches. He is also a sound designer for That Worship Sound, a site that produces synth patches. Andy just finished an electronic record under the moniker The Alphabet Zero, collaborating with local singer/songwriter Kellie Besch and electronic artist Makeup and Vanity Set, the album comes out January 13th, and is available to preorder now. Andy used the OB-6 while writing and tracking the album.
We chatted with Andy about how he’s using the OB-6.
What made you choose the OB-6?
“I was looking for an analog polysynth and my current setup really demanded a module, not a keyboard, so I was very excited when DSI announced a module version of the OB-6. I have always been drawn to the Oberheim sound and a lot of what I was writing up until that point was with Oberheim-flavored soft synths, so playing the OB-6 at NAMM solidified it for me.”
How are you using it?
“For this album, I would write song-length sequences and do full song tracking passes while really exploring the dynamics that subtle changes would create. Because I have the module, divorcing the playing and the sound designing aspects has been really fruitful, as I’m able to fully focus on the melodies and the expression of the melodies. It’s been a workhorse. I use it for pads, basses, sequences, arps, leads. There is very little I’ve found that it can’t do. Playing live, the OB-6 is the centerpiece of my setup, and while Ableton is providing the framework for the songs and sending MIDI to the module, I’m spending almost my entire set in front of the OB-6, controlling dynamics and reworking the sounds from the album in a new way.“
What’s one of your favorite things about it?
“I love that even though I’m working with a module, every single function is available and there isn’t any menu diving. It allows for very immediate feedback and tweaking in both studio and live situations. Whenever there is something buried, I tend to forget about it and it sits unused. But having everything right in front of me allows for immediate creative experimentation. This also makes it a very intuitive live instrument, as it encourages out-of-the box thinking, knowing that if I start going down a path that isn’t going too well live, I don’t have to jump through a couple menus to get out of it. This all adds up to making it really feel like I’m playing an instrument, not wrestling with a workstation.”
What does it give you that other instruments might not?
“I love the filter modulation possibilities, especially the Normal-to-Bandpass mod path in X-Mod and the Filter Mode in the LFO. There are a lot of complex interactions that can create some really unique sounds.”
Any interesting tricks or techniques you’d like to share?
“Since so much of what I do is subtle dynamics as a song progresses, I try to sound design things without using the Sub Octave, so I always have that in my back pocket if I need to thicken up a part. Since the Sub Octave sounds so good, it’s very easy to use it as a crutch, so sound designing without it allows me to take something to the next level when I feel like I’ve wrung all the dynamics out of what I’m doing.“
MORE ABOUT THE OB-6
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