Nicholas Vella is a pianist, keyboardist, and producer born in Palermo, Italy, and later moved to Paris in his 20s where he graduated from the Conservatory of Paris. He has played regularly at jazz clubs and quickly became one of the most sought sidemen on the French and international scene. Nicholas has recorded and performed on stage with Mayra Andrade, Joss Stone, Dam’nco, Etienne Mbappé, Paco Sery, Nina Attal, French pop star Tal, Slimane, Sinclair and many others.
Now he is the active leader in his project MONSIEUR MALA as a textless storyteller, sound painter, and gives freedom to everyone’s imagination and interpretation. MONSIEUR MALA, with a universe of unique colors, welcomes to a voyage full of trance, dream and dance. Through its music, it explores captivating atmospheres with a most exciting originality.
We chatted with Nicholas on how he uses the Prophet-6 in his music:
What made you choose the Prophet-6?
It was during my first years in Paris. When I arrived, I had at that times just one of the first editions of the Nord Stage keyboard that I brought with me from Sicily. I did all kind of gigs with, but I’ve always been attracted to synths, the signal path, the waveforms etc… And when I had the chance to have a real synth my life changed!
For my first synth I was looking for a polyphonic and analog one, multipurpose and easy to transport: the Prophet-6 was exactly what I needed. Even if today I have several synths, my Prophet-6 remains my main one.
How are you using it?
I use it in all kind of situations, as in the studio as on stage.
Most of the time, I design my own sounds and sometimes I go check presets, sometimes it inspires me until I start turning knobs and pushing buttons. Of course, the original sound is completely destroyed, but this process helps me create a new sound.
What is one of your favorite things about it?
Honestly I don’t have “ONE” favorite thing, there are too many great things, its quality sounds, versatility and the way that its sounds fits into the mix.
What does it give you that other synths might not?
Perhaps the link between functionality and sound quality, it’s easy to use it, you can push it to create complicated patches, but it’s always intuitive and easy to program.
It’s stable, you can be safe on tour, and if you don’t have the chance to have a big production company having your backline and a bunch of technicians available, you can load your patches into a rented Prophet-6, it’s small and light enough to travel with it by plane, I have brought mine everywhere (South Africa, Cape Verde, Haiti, UK, USA, Russia etc..)
Any interesting tricks or techniques you would like to share?
I like to make the sound live while I play and use it as part of my performance, for example by playing with the frequency of the LFO or with the glide every 6 notes.
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