Lucas Johansson is an in-demand keyboard player and musical director all over Sweden. He began his musical training at age 6 and graduated with great success in Rytmus and RML, two of the most popular Rock/Pop schools in Sweden. He works with a wide range of artists and projects including Oscar Soul Experience which is a modern Soul/Funk-band (influenced by Prince, D’angelo, Sly & the family stone). Oscar Soul Experience is preparing for their their first US tour and album. Lucas is also working with artists like ORKID, Carcamo, Bellhouse, and several others. Starting in 2018 Lucas began to get deeper into composing music for commercials, TV-shows, movies, and games, and now he’s one of three producers in the Swedish startup SYNC.
We chatted with Lucas about how he’s using the Prophet 12 in his music:
What made you choose the Prophet 12?
It all started with me playing around in the local music shop. I sat down with the Prophet 12 and was blown away as soon as I started to play. The patch that made me fall in love was “PrettyUglyControls.” The thing that always makes me reach back for the Prophet 12 is the way it immediately jump-starts my creativity when I build my patches and use them live.
How are you using it?
I use it as much as I possibly can on every tour. I’ve done Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Hammond, and even Yamaha CP80-like sounds on pop gigs because it gives the song that little extra touch and character, which I like. The Prophet 12 is the polyphonic mothership of my rig at all times. I use it for big, warm pads, old-school stabs, lead sounds, arpeggiator-stuff, and more. I love to use the P12 as a dirty machine to add chaos. A secret trick I often use on these occasions is to use a simple but dirty stab with short delays (which produce an almost like a spring reverb-like sound). I make it 100% wet with lots of distortion and overdub the snare. This gives a great effect and pushes a song in the chorus or middle-eight.
What’s one of your favorite things about it?
The best thing about the Prophet 12 is that it has an extremely deep synth engine if you want that, but it also sounds very good for simple stuff. One of my favorite and most used patches is just built from a simple sawtooth oscillator, with a little of LFO routed to the oscillator via the mod-wheel so I can bring in a slight vibrato when I want to.
What does it give you that other synths might not?
Simplicity and playability. Even though the Prophet 12 is a very deep and advanced synth, I always admire its simplicity in terms of its layout and how it’s built. Very often when I build a patch I start from scratch with an initialized patch, so it’s very important to me that the synth is easy to get around and understand. I’m always surprised by how fast I can transfer the sound in my head into a final patch.
Any interesting tricks or techniques you’d like to share?
I love how the delays are built. I most often use them to create modulation effects like chorus, phasers, and such. I tend to have the high-pass filter active on almost all of my patches as well, because I’ve found out that pretty much all sound engineers like their keys cut under the 80-90 Hz range. So when I don’t use the high-pass filter for other things in the patch, I always set it to cut around those frequencies. It’s always more fun to have an analog high-pass filter active directly in the synth rather than have a digital low-cut set at FOH, right? This also makes my delays and reverbs react the “correct” way on the signal that’s sent from the synth, which makes me happy.
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