Henning Neidhardt is a German pianist, keyboardist, and composer. Owing to his jazz piano studies in the Netherlands, as well as at the Folkwang University Of The Arts in Essen, he is mostly active in and around Cologne, the Ruhr area, and Amsterdam. In addition to live performance, he is also composing soundtracks for short films, as well as producing his own ambient music. Henning was awarded the “Steinway & Sons Advancement Awards Jazz” in 2018.
We chatted with Henning on how he’s been using Sequential instruments in his music:
What made you choose the Prophet Rev2?
I’m a pianist first and foremost. Simultaneous to my jazz studies, I dove into electronic music, soundscapes, and modular synthesizer systems more and more. I quickly realized that modular wasn’t the right way to begin for me. Instead, I needed a synthesizer that would present me with all the parameters, knobs, and options right in front of me. I needed them to be visible, touchable and instantly usable.
The next step was to check all the album booklets of the music that was inspiring me at the time. Almost all of them had one thing in common: Dave Smith/Sequential. I already knew a little about the history of what Dave and his team had done for the music industry and musicians all over the world. After checking my bank account, I decided on the Prophet Rev2. It’s been the best possible decision I could have made. The Prophet and I have had some trouble in the beginning, but today we’re deeply in love.
How are you using it?
I use the Prophet Rev2 as a live instrument for jazz/fusion concerts as well as to do the live underscoring for a mentalism show. Mostly, however, I use it in studio situations. My latest project was a solo album which I produced in my home studio. Working in a studio gives me the necessary calm to include the little details, as opposed to working live. I can really dive deeply into a single thing. That’s how I got more and more familiar with the Rev2, sometimes exploring just a single one of its many capabilities per day. It’s the little pieces that eventually lead to an understanding of the whole. The underlying concept of album, Sound Sculptures, is a sort of collage. For the pieces, I used field recordings taken with my phone while traveling and I asked several guest musicians to contribute. And while it might sound weird, I also integrated a recording of the sound of stroking a plant in my living room.
On top of it all, I always aimed to use the Rev2 as somewhat of an orchestral instrument. I didn’t really want it to sing like a 80’s pop synthesizer. Instead, I wanted it to sound woody, spacey, and natural. Almost to the point where the listener would have to pay very close attention to figure out whether it’s a synthesizer or perhaps an everyday sound, edited in a strange and weird way.
What is one of your favorite things about it?
Funny you should ask. Before I began to answer these questions, I went to the Sequential homepage to check out some of the previous spotlighted artists. There I came across BLAKE (Emeric Zubar) and eventually checked out his Soundcloud playlist. Then right when I got to this specific question, this voiceover appeared in one of his tracks: “Are you using your device, or is the device using you?” And that’s when I realized my favorite thing about the Prophet Rev2: it really presents me with the opportunity and clarity to make it do what I want it to do, while also continuously providing me with inspiration.
What does it give you that other synths might not?
To be honest, I don’t have a lot of experience with other synthesizers. I do however know that I’m not missing anything at all while using the Rev2. Hopefully that’s what it’ll keep giving me and others: a straightforward and effective start as well as a warm welcome into the world of electronic music.
Any interesting tricks or techniques you would like to share?
For my album “Sound Sculptures” I used a Strymon Bluesky to extend the Rev2. I’m currently experimenting with the Rev2 as the source for my first (very small) modular system. So I guess if I had to give someone a tip, it’d be to see whether you can experiment with extending the Rev2. It certainly gives me a real thrill.
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