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Fact File

Stephen Luscombe, Adrian Lee and Clare Hirst


Clare Hirst


Belle Stars

Really I'm a classically trained pianist turned sax player and I joined the Belle Stars after seeing an ad for a sax player who could double on keyboards. My keyboard playing takes second place to my sax playing - I tend to use keyboards just to add a bit of depth.

Instruments

I play a Selmer Mark 6 tenor sax which is a great instrument. I used to play a Mark 7 but I find this model suits me better. I'm also learning alto and soprano and as soon as the money situation improves I'll be splashing out on those. For keyboards I just use a Casio 202 which is fine for this band. We tend to use the funky clavinet and electric bass settings mostly and so far we've only used it for live work. In the studio I tend to use whatever is available.

Obviously I'd like a Yamaha grand and a Prophet but again it's all a question of money. For the Belle Stars the Casio is adequate at the moment. I put both the sax and the Casio through a Roland Space Echo and the effects I get from that are amazing.

FX

Just the Roland Space Echo - with that I don't feel I need anything else.

Drum Machine

On the last two singles we used a Linn drum. I worry a lot about the use of rhythm machines, though, so many bands are using them and I think it often gives an over precise sound to the music. I know this is an electro-music magazine and perhaps I shouldn't be saying this, but I really don't think drum machines will ever replace live drummers.

Recording

We tend to use the London studios like Mayfair and Air. We recorded 'Iko-Iko' at Mayfair. We recently used Regents Park Studio for 'The Clapping Song' and that was good - we'll probably go there again. For that session we had Pete Collins producing and Phil Chapman engineering. It's very important to get the right balance of studio, producer and engineer and I think we've been managing very well in that department recently.

Home Recording

Nothing special. Sometimes we use a Portastudio but usually we use anything we can get our hands on.



Stephen Luscombe


Blancmange

We fit into the category of being electronic because we use synths but we try to use them in a human way and we're not terribly interested in the manufactured sounds of bands like Depeche Mode. I agree with what Martyn Ware said in an earlier 'Fact File' - that it's time we realised the limitations of purely electronic sounds. The electronic side has got a bit out of hand and become too robotic. We believe it has a better future than that.

Keyboards

We use the Roland JP8, which is quite a versatile instrument and a Korg MS-20 mainly. We also like to use a Mellotron occasionally - it's about time they were revised. Other keyboards that we've tried are the Korg Trident (I must say that I didn't find it particularly impressive) and the Korg Delta which is a lot of fun. I also use a Bunny 1 organ which is a very cheap Italian job. It's got a great, individual sound and through my tape echo unit it's got a lot of applications.

One thing that annoys me is this whole MU versus electronic music thing. It's as though some people think that electronic players are out to replace 'conventional' musicians and I find this whole synth v trumpets idea so silly. I suppose its pretty much the same problem Adolf Sax had last century with his saxophone.

Sequencers

ARP - I can't remember the model. To be honest we don't use it that much because over used sequencers become much too inhuman. We generally play sequences manually.

Drum Machines

Combination of Linn drum and Roland 808.

FX

MXR 12 channel EQ. Phase pedal. 2 Melos tape echo units. I prefer tape echo to digital - it gives a much denser sound.

Amplification

We DI everything whether on stage or in the studio.

Home Recording

At home I use the Roland 808 and the MS-20 for composing and trying out ideas. I record onto a Tascam Portastudio and I've also got a Teac 4-track reel-to-reel.



Adrian Lee



I'm a synthesiser player and I just couldn't work without synths. I know there's a lot of controversy lately and I believe that in the wrong hands a synth can be a deadly weapon but it can also be a superb creative tool. The thing to remember is not to sacrifice performance for sound - you must have the technical performance there for the sound to be worthwhile.

Keyboards

Jupiter 8 interfaced with micro-composer MC4 and linked via OC8 interface unit. Yamaha CS-01 Breath Control Synth - I've two of those because they're absolutely brilliant. Roland SH7 and SH09 synths. Wurlitzer electric piano. I also use a Novatron that has been converted to ¼" tape. I don't use it for strings and such like because I believe that taking real sounds and reproducing them in this way destroys the art of synthesis. I use it mainly for live work and store effects on it because it's much more controllable than a tape recorder. This is the same set up I used during my 18 months with Toyah. That was a fantastic time and I'll probably be doing some more work with her soon.

Sequencers

CSQ600 and CSQ100 which can be interfaced with the Jupiter 8 through a newly acquired OC8 interface.

FX

All Roland: Vocoder, SDE 2000 digital delay, 555 echo unit pitched to Dimension D voltage converter, PH830 stereo phaser and various other bits and pieces too numerous to mention.

Drum Machine

Drumatix. On the first half of the new album 'The Magician' there's hardly a drum machine in sight but sometimes they are necessary, as when I'm trying to run something with a sync code.

Amplification

At home I use my Rotel hi-fi but on stage I always insist on a Cerwin/Vega rig.

Studio

The new album was recorded at the Marquee Studio and mixed at DJM on their MCI computer.

Home Recording

Fostex Multitracker.



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Ken Freeman

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Home Electro-Musician


Electronics & Music Maker - Copyright: Music Maker Publications (UK), Future Publishing.

 

Electronics & Music Maker - Oct 1982

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> Ken Freeman

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