Peter James is a Keyboardist, Producer, and Sound Designer out of Sydney Australia.
He’s been heavily involved with a number of influential bands over the years, the most well known of these being Hillsong United & Hillsong Worship. Some of his greater achievements include programming keys and arranging strings on an Grammy Award-Winning song “What A Beautiful Name” as well as producing an album that was nominated for a Latin Grammy just recently, “Habla Sobre Mi.”
He’s also well known for his sound design work and has had his presets featured on many albums and TV programs such as HBO’s The Walking Dead, Murder One, Good Girls, and other popular Australian TV shows.
We chatted with Peter on how he’s been using Sequential instruments in his music:
What made you choose the OB-6?
I’ve always been a massive fan of the classic Oberheim sound and functionality of the new Prophet keyboards, so when I found out that Dave Smith and Tom Oberheim were partnering together to create the OB-6 I was all over it! I wanted something that could do a fully analog signal chain, with the controllability of MIDI. So the OB-6 was an easy choice for me.
How are you using it?
I use the OB-6 for both live and studio work. Live, I usually partner the OB-6 with a MIDI keyboard and MacBook Pro running MainStage. I’ll send MIDI out of MainStage into the OB-6 which means I can easily stack it with other software synths from MainStage. I’ll also control functions like the OB-6’s filter cutoff and analog overdrive via MIDI as well making it super easy to work with live!
When using it in the studio, I’ll program up the MIDI inside my DAW and then send that to my OB-6. I’ll then run audio from my OB-6 through whatever external audio processing I want — preamp, reverb, EQ, and so on — and back into my DAW.
What’s one of your favorite things about it?
Having a fully analog signal chain was a must for me. I have endless plug-ins that can do the digital thing well, so this was a much-needed addition to my sound. Also having the ability to save an abundance of presets and work with MIDI inside my DAW means it’s really the best of both worlds.
What does it give you that other synths might not?
To be honest, I stopped buying digital synths a long time ago because I could find what I was looking for in a plug-in format most of the time. But that’s not the case with analog. There’s just something about analog that has so much character, warmth, and fatness that’s hard to find in the digital world. I also find that the OB-6 just fits into the mix so nicely without having to go crazy with EQ and trying to remove annoying resonance frequencies that often pop up in the digital domain.
Any interesting tricks or techniques you’d like to share?
Being able to control the OB-6’s filter cutoff and other parameters via MIDI has been a game changer for me live. It means I can control everything from a single MIDI controller and I don’t even need to touch the OB-6 if I don’t want to. It means I can use, for example, my MIDI controller’s Mod wheel to control the cutoff of my software synths inside of my computer as well as my OB-6 simultaneously.
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