Caspar Hesselager is a classically-trained pianist working with a wide range of genres. He works in Copenhagen as a composer, producer, and pianist, as well as a mixing and mastering engineer, and has worked with a great many Danish bands in genres ranging from free-jazz to pop, indie-rock, and techno. He has recorded and released music as a solo artist under the moniker My Heart the Brave and currently works with Australian-native singer/guitarist Carl Coleman on their joint venture, Palace Winter. Having just released their second album, “Nowadays,” Palace Winter have received praise from The New York Times, NME, The Guardian, KEXP, KCRW, The Line of Best Fit, BBC 6 Music, Guy Garvey (Elbow), and Elton John on his Beats 1 show. Caspar has also composed music for radio, TV, and film, as well as having played hundreds of shows across Europe and Denmark as a synth player.
What made you choose Sequential?
“I chose all my Sequential synths because they feel alive. They have strong personalities, and that’s what I look for no matter if it’s a piano, guitar, synth, or even a shaker! For me, there aren’t really any other modern poly-synths out that match Sequential’s in terms of features, sound, and durability.”
How are you using them?
“I’m using the Prophet 12 in the studio, and the Rev2 16-voice and OB-6 get to go on the road with me. The P12 is a chameleon that covers a lot of ground. The Rev2 is great for live, where I use the splits a lot. The OB-6 just instantly sounds vintage to me, and it’s my go-to synth for classic sounds. Man, that brassy sound!”
What’s one of your favorite things about them?
“My favorite thing about the P12 is actually the sine waves! They are so clean and beautiful sounding, and you can get some amazing almost non-synth or nature-like sounds out of them. The Rev2 is just punchy, and 16 voices go a long way for next-level big, wobbly, detuned pads. Those are my favorites on this one. On the OB-6 the X-Mod is amazing, and makes it come even more alive when you start using Osc 2 as a mod source.”
What do they give you that other synths might not?
“There is something about the Rev2 that is just an unique mix between past and present. It has that classic Prophet sound, but there’s that extensive modulation matrix to make it go somewhere else completely. Also, durability on the road is essential, and these synths just feel sturdy and well-built, which really matters a lot. They need to be able to take a beating — even though you don’t want them to!”
Any interesting tricks or techniques you’d like to share?
“I love the sequencer on the OB-6 for live-transitions with a band. It’s so easy to pre-record and play a little sequence and then you have your hands free to play with effects or filters. And having the reverb on 100% wet is something I often do. I use the sequencer a lot to come up with new sounds, too. Just let it roll and then tweak away. Again, freeing your hands and mind. On the P12 I love modulating the Feedback parameter. You can get some interesting results out of that in combination with the Distortion. And in general, there’s a lot of fun to be had with layering sounds. One thing I think people often forget that you can have one or more oscillators not track the keyboard, so you have one layer with a weird, percussive FM sound, for instance, layered with another that tracks the pitch. Another thing I like to do is have a very small amount of an Aux Envelope modulate the pitch up and down (with relatively fast attack and decay), to get this tiny little tape-like wobble right at the start of a sound. Simple but nice-sounding.”
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