Royalston: New Disorder
OCD. Probably not good to think about that album title too much. Could become an obsessive habit. Damn: can’t stop thinking about it.
Royalston, when did that album title come about
The album was named nearer to the end of the process. ‘OCD’ summed it all up pretty well.
Was OCD’s album form a realisation that here were some songs of a common character, that needed to be in a home?
There are shared sounds on tracks within the album. I use a lot of the same homemade patches in my tracks as well and I think this creates some subtle unity over the album, even though the styles vary from song to song.
Can you name a tune from OCD that you’d talk us through?
‘Days Go On featuring Bianca Calandra’ is definitely the most chilled track on the album. It was written largely on my modular synth and recorded in large chunks of mono audio tracks. From these I made a two minute track and added some drums of my own, before sending to Bianca in France.
More about her?
She’s a talented songwriter, singer and producer. She recorded her voice through a distortion pedal and sent the vocal back to me. Bianca had made some interesting melodic choices with quite bit of dissonance. I reshaped the song around her melody and mixed around the voice, especially because the distortion was permanent. In many tracks this would be the other way round. I also added extra strings to the second chorus to keep the track changing and complement the new vocal melody.
What’s ‘Kronos’? Is it inspired by the old, super-stylish Hammer Horror film?
‘Kronos’ is about time
Could you tell us about the cover art?
Ricky Trickart came up with the concept for the art and I drew it. All the objects are things in my studio that I work with.
Would you say music conception is dependent on environment… where it comes from & how it’s created?
I think all music is shaped by the environment in which it is created. The headspace you’re in and the music you’re listening to often has a direct impact. I’ve been DJiing a lot over the past few years and I wanted most of the tracks to work on the dancefloor, and be something that I would play. I tested a lot of the track at nights here in Sydney so I know they work well.
OK, to the process and the fact you are known as bering VERY adept: when you have the sort of production prowess you do is it maddening that a beat or a synth noise LET ALONE A WHOLE TUNE could splinter off into a trillion directions… or do you just have your awareness and focus focus focus? It’s almost the opposite of OCD.
Not knowing which direction to take a tune is a problem if you’re trying to mix a track and get it finished, but when starting on a tune its probably a good thing to have lots of directions. If you have a bunch of ideas, you can throw them all in, then remove the ones that don’t fit until you’re – hopefully – left with something that is musically complex and interesting but still makes musical sense.
Could you name some inspirational music where the source and choice of sounds is really great?
Phace and Misanthrop tunes always display great sound design. They are hard to beat for those ‘crazy’ sounds. Most Radiohead tunes have a really beautiful balance of sound design, where you’re not quite sure if a component of the song is a sound effect or a musical element.
And speaking of sound design, is the above a good definition of it? Where sounds are chosen as part of a big vision, the way they work together and how they reflect back on the author?
I always think of ‘sound design’ as the elements in a track that are there to wow you. With good ‘sound design’ the effects are an integral part of the track and might have a musical function too. I tend to focus on musical elements much more than I do with effects, but both are needed.
Lastly ‘OCD’ implies habits and mindset: what’s some you may have in the studio?
I keep my sample library a lot more organised than the rest of my life.
Royalston Rinse sesh