The release of Fjord’s debut EP Textures in late 2016 saw coverage in popular music media outlets ranging from FADER to NME, and was heavily championed in their home province of Quebec, Canada as they performed on TV and radio shows alike. This exposure lead to an extensive Canadian Tour and multiple Canadian festival dates along the way. Fjord’s song I Get It Now streamed in the top 50 indie songs in Canada on Apple Music in 2017 and the group was positioned as an “artist to watch” by Apple Music, Spotify and Buzzfeed, as well as multiple critical music media. Textures has now been streamed over 15 million times across platforms and their signature vocals can be heard on Felix Cartal’s Get What You Give record, which has been certified Gold in Canada. Fjord’s sophomore EP, Shallow Waters is scheduled for a Fall/Winter 2018 release. A collection of six songs, the music was written and incubated in Quebec City, before the duo flew to London, UK to refine and reproduce the project with the acclaimed producer Tim Bran (London Grammar, Paul McCartney, Bloc Party). The longing and warmth found in isolation bleeds through every note on Shallow Waters, as the band continues to build on the sound that has made them unique.
We chatted with Fjord about how they’ve been using the Prophet-6:
What made you choose the Prophet-6?
“It’s versatility without a doubt. The fact that it combines the amazing analog sound of 2 VCOs in polyphony, while allowing for a large array of modulation possibilities. The modern interfaces and connections also make the workflow super efficient.”
How are you using it?
“It is our go-to keyboard for all pads and complex textures in our music. The Poly Mod section (one of the original Prophet-5’s most loved featured!) in combination with LFOs and both the low-pass and high-pass filters, allows for many layers of modulation interacting with each other. Those come in handy when we want to create non-static supporting sounds. It was used extensively on our upcoming album Shallow Waters. We also used the MIDI connection a lot to link it to more complex sequences in our DAW, creating parts that we could tweak in real time on the Prophet. Our co-producer Tim Bran (London Grammar, Birdie, Aurora, Bloc Party) also used it in a lot of creative ways, building amazing patches that are all over the record. Stabs, arpeggios, percussive leads, long leads — we had a lot of fun. You can hear a cool stab sound that we’ve made and recorded together using the Prophet-6 at 1:37 in Lay Down Your Veil, the only track of our upcoming album available right now.”
What’s one of your favorite things about it?
“Even the most basic patches sound amazing. In contrast to creating weird evolving sounds, we’ve also used the Prophet-6 to record the most basic sizzling saw-triangle pads. It’s a sound that many will recognize instantly and that has been used in many electronic productions.
We’ve talked a bit about it before, but the Poly Mod is simple, yet really effective! Definitely one of the great features of the Prophet-6 for in-depth sound design. When you use it in layers with other sources of modulations, the tweaking of parameters generates some cool surprises.”
What does it give you that other synths might not?
“A lot of modern soft synths and even hardware synths are offering the same possibilities or even more sonic possibilities of modulation than the Prophet-6, but man, you just can’t beat the sound of analog, voltage-controlled oscillators, in our opinion. Plus, these are ingeniously built so you get to switch between three waveforms per oscillator (in infinite increments). There are but a few other synths that offer a good balance between modern functionalities and analog warmth, and out of them, we thought that the Prophet-6 beat all others. It offers all those sonic possibilities, that you can save and recall so easily, while being small and portable. This makes it the ideal companion to bring on a tour.”
Any interesting Prophet-6 tricks or techniques you’d like to share?
“Chefs don’t usually share their secret recipes! But jokes aside, we don’t really have particular techniques other than messing around a lot. You can try to have some fun with the second oscillator in low-frequency mode, mess up the Poly Mod and see what you come up with. Or, try to use the Prophet-6 in Unison, raise the slop knob, throw in some effects and make a huge mono synth.”
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