Josh Charles is a critically acclaimed piano prodigy, guitarist, singer, producer, and songwriter mentored by Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer Dr. John. He has recorded for Columbia Records/Sony Music Entertainment, Island Records, and Elektra Records/Warner Music Group. In addition to songwriting credits with John Oates and others, he has toured with The Neville Brothers, Joss Stone, and the late Buckwheat Zydeco. Josh also works as a sound designer for Native Instrument’s sounds.com and SPLICE.
Ethan Allen is a GRAMMY®-nominated record producer, mixer, engineer, writer, multi-instrumentalist musician originally hailing from Austin and New Orleans. His credits include Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Ben Harper, Tricky, Luscious Jackson, The Cult, Gram Rabbit, and Sheryl Crow among others, as well as many licensing placements in film and television.
On the cusp of a major breakout, Los Angeles based synth-rock newcomers ASHRR have released their debut, self-titled EP. The band recently released a captivating new video for their single “Don’t Wait Too Long” on NPR.
We chatted with Josh on how he’s using Sequential instruments in his music:
What made you choose Sequential?
“When my band-mate Ethan and I started working on the ASHRR project, he had the original Prophet ’08. It provided the perfect atmospheric blend of warm vintage analog sounds that inspired us every day we were in the studio. We then both upgraded to the Prophet Rev2, and I supplemented this with the Prophet 12 for the majority of the sounds you hear on the album. Finally, now that the album is out and we’re starting live shows, I’ve added the Prophet X, which covers all my bases for creating and performing live.”
How are you using the them?
“The Prophet X is one amazing synth. I needed to be able to re-create the sounds of the Prophet Rev2 live. They are both monster synths but function differently. The pure analog that comes from the Rev2 allowed us to make completely unique sounds and textures that really define the sound of our band. However, I needed piano sounds as well, and I only wanted to use one keyboard because I also play guitar and for ease of use. I wanted to be able to find a synth that handles all my needs on stage. The Prophet X is absolutely incredible, and still has the classic warmth of the original Prophet but also with the sample library additions gives you the potential to do anything you want.”
What’s one of your favorite things about the Prophet X?
“The sound of the Prophet is legendary and has been one of the biggest influences on us as a sound designers and artists. There is a distinct sound just like Moog which can be heard on thousands of classic albums that resonate deeply within, especially for ASHRR. The ability to detune the oscillators, the growl of the filter, and the distortion and slop functions really let you create a brand-new take on these classic sounds. I am in love with the new 8dio “The Last Prophet-5″ add-on pack. I used it extensively to re-create the sounds of our album for live purposes. I know we are going to be able to use our own samples inside the X. I can’t wait because that provides limitless possibilities. We’re already excited to start work on the next project and we haven’t even finished this one yet!”
What does it give you that other synths might not?
“The Prophet X is the only synth I know of that allows me to mix the beautiful grand piano and orchestral samples combined with the classic Prophet sounds that I love in a completely fresh way. I am a piano player and I love the feel of the keys and the weight of the synth itself. I never feel that I have anything but the best synth in the whole world on stage or in the studio with me when I’m using Sequential.”
Any interesting tricks or techniques you’d like to share?
“To create a truly unique piano sound, take a sample from “Grand Piano 1928” near or far on Instrument 1, then use the ‘The Last Prophet 5″ add-on pack’s Noise sound and add just a little bit to the mix. Afterwards, I add both super saw oscillators and turn one up to +45 and one down -45 and add about 15 on slop. Next, add in a Hall Reverb and add LFO 1 with some slight shape mod. Do this, and you’ll get a piano sound that will blow you away!”
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