Scott Fox – iVardensphere
Scott Fox is a unique quantity in the world of modern electronic music. Hailing from Edmonton Canada, his project ‘iVardensphere’ emerged from Fox’s desire to explore both heavy electronics and his love of world percussion, anchored by a love for deep sound design and crushing rhythms. That passion, combined with an ever-evolving and maturing production sensibility, have become the project’s trademarks. Over the course of five full-length albums and innumerable remixes, Fox has become one of the foremost live and studio musicians in North American industrial.
For all of its grandeur, Fox’s sound has proven remarkably fluid. Monolithic analogue synth bangers share space with simmering groove-based instrumental experiments, tribal industrial drum workouts and deep, textured ambiences. There’s no mistaking the scope and gravity of an iVardensphere track when you hear it.
We sat down to talk with Scott about about how he’s using his Pro 2.
Scott, what made you choose the Pro 2?
“I have an extensive background with modular synthesizers ranging from Buchla to Serge to Eurorack formats and have owned a slew of high end contemporary and historical synthesizers from days gone by. What made me choose the Pro 2 was that it reaches deeply into the territory that defines many other synths or formats. Seriously, look up the feature set on this thing. It’s amazing how much is jammed into this synthesizer. The internal structure has such a flexible modulation routing system that it’s as simple as patching cables on a modular. The sequencers are a dream to work with. The array of sounds you can get from the 4 independent oscillators would take a massive bank of Eurorack oscillators to pull off and its audio inputs make it a marvellous FX box. Since owning my Pro 2, I’ve sold a number of my other synths because I could do it faster and better on this one.”
How are you using it?
“The music I make in iVardensphere is built more on groove and sound design than by funky leads. Having 16 decked-out sequencers on board gives me all the groove I need while the beautiful synth engine on the Pro 2 is a tweaker’s paradise. There are so many ways to manipulate the synth that getting complex and evolving patches that sound great from a sound design perspective is, dare I say, easy. The visual feedback of what the synth is doing allows me to use it on stage just as easily as in the studio and is now becoming a staple in my live shows. So how am I using it? Simple. I’m using it on everything I do these days. It’s all over my latest release, FABLE. ”
What’s one of your favorite things about it?
“Without a doubt it has to be the speed of use. The Pro 2 is incredibly well thought out from a programmer’s perspective. The synth is fast to navigate, has minimal menu diving, and a mod matrix that lets you make complex modulation and sequencer assignments in an instant. Touch the modulation source then touch the modulation destination and enter in an amount. It is as quick as that. I’ve had other powerful synthesizers that I have never done 10% of what I do on the Pro 2 because programming them was a pain. When dialing in modulation takes 10 seconds, instead of banging your head against a wall, you’re left thinking what’s next! The speed and ease of use mean that instead of trying to interpret the synth, you’re spending your time creating. That is priceless.”
What does it give you that other synths might not?
“Connection to the outside world. The power of those sequencers and the expressiveness of the mod sources can be just as quickly sent to your external CV-controlled instruments and effects. Not only that, but CV from those external synths can be sent back into the Pro 2 to modulate any parameter you choose. For me, the Pro 2 becomes symbiotic with my Eurorack modular system. All this stuff around my studio now shares the same heartbeat. Some synths on the market are starting to include CV interfacing, but the Pro 2 sets the bar for sheer capability in this format.”
Any interesting Pro 2 tricks or techniques you’d like to share?
“To love the Pro 2 is to sequence the details. This machine is great at traditional leads and bass sounds but it goes so much further than that. I’ll often enter a root note into the sequencer that just carries a mono-note tone. The other 15 sequencers on board get used to sequence the more subtle aspects of the synth to create patches that are both rhythmic and incredibly atmospheric. I literally spend hours sequencing details like wave shape and the minutiae of the Character section then add little glitchy filter routing changes then a few steps that have jacked up feedback and the delays get brought in here and there. You can even create entire drum grooves by sequencing the 4 oscillator volumes (plus the sub osc) in conjunction all these other things. Finally, after you have something really interesting going on, you can add performance modulation sources (ribbon controllers, wheels, extra envelopes, etc.) to give the patch massive playability. A single patch can be incredibly dynamic, going from minimal and glitchy to a wall of noise and everything in between. I’m not even exaggerating.”
Check out Scott Fox’s music here.
MORE ABOUT THE PRO 2
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