Where are you currently based and what is the music scene like there? We’re in Melbourne! Best music scene in the world.
How did Man Vs Synth form? I’d been writing these songs for a while and it felt natural to get a band together for the project. Hamish and I had been thick as thieves since we were about 14 and was an obvious choice to be the drummer. It helps that he puts up with the obnoxious drum parts I write for him, I don’t know many drummers that would. Later on I met Sam at Monash. He quickly became the first person I’d show any new song ideas to, and he was keen to jump on board on for the band.
What have you been working on recently? A lot of new material. More than we know what to do with honestly. We’ve been trying to go for a slightly grittier sound than the EP and so far its been going great. Otherwise rehearsals to put on a bangin’ live show.
You have a new single coming out on May 17 called ‘Perfect Picture’ this single will also be on the new EP that’s coming on out June 14, what influenced the sound and songwriting for your new EP? John Frusciante’s ‘To Record Only Water for Ten Days’ was a massive inspiration. Not so much in terms of specific sound design, but definitely in terms of the beautiful contrast of his acoustic guitar with drum machines and synthesizers. The idea of colliding those two worlds has fascinated me ever since hearing that album. There’s quite a bit in the DNA of these songs – large moog basses not too dissimilar to NIN’s moog basses, lush Tame Impala-esque guitars and synths. Radiohead has always been a massive inspiration also.
How did you go about writing the music? Different songs have different processes but as a general rule I love to start with some harmony that really intrigues me. But as I said, every song is different so Perfect Picture actually started as a sequence on the Moog and everything else followed eventually. Fall Apart began as a guitar riff etc. Once the initial idea is down I’d record it as quickly as possible and then start messing around with the synths to see what they can add. Drums are always last, I think they should react to every- thing that’s already happened.
Where and when did you record? The recordings took place over a year and a half and across a bunch of different spaces. Most of the synths and guitar’s are recorded straight in to Ableton. The vocals were recorded at a studio I had with a mate of mine in Brunswick. Some of the guitar parts were recorded at Sam’s place in Phillip Island and the drums were recorded in a theatre we booked out for the music video. We were fortunate enough to get enough equipment together to record it all ourselves.
Who did you work with during the production and recording of your new EP? So I wrote, produced, and mixed the whole EP with some help from Hamish and Sam. The master- ing was done by none other than Beau McKee, who’s been a good mate of mine for a few years. It was great to finally be able to work with him.
What programs/instruments did you use? Ableton is the DAW of choice for me, it just does everything I want. Guitar is a Deluxe Fender Strat, Bass Synth is a Moog Sub37. Pads are made using the luscious Roland Juno6. Valhalla re- verb deserves a mention as it is all over this record.
How did you approach the recording/production process? Its super important to me to be able to record an idea I have almost as soon as I think of it, so a lot of the guitars/synths are just recorded straight into Ableton. We’d record vocals and drums much
Man Vs Synth x The Partae later once I felt the songs were ready. Sam and I would constantly make changes here and there to make everything sit right so by the time we’d get to recording drums the song was basically done. Recording the drums in a theatre was heaps of fun, we got some great room sounds that made it onto the record. Mono overhead mic on the kit sounded killer too.
How would you describe this new EP? Its a mixed bag, there are some funky bits, some rocky bits, and some 80s bits. All in all its basical- ly indie synthpop/rock. We had a hard time figuring out what the hell to call it but at the end of the day its just a label to help people see if its to their taste.
What are your plans for this EP, do you have a name for this EP? It’s just a self titled EP, we just wanted to keep it simple and get the name of the band out. Hopeful- ly tour if people are keen to hear us live!
Who are you listening to at the moment? Listening to loads of Aphex twin, Boards of Canada, John Frusciante, Radiohead, Claude Fran- cois, Elias Rahbani. Daft Punk and Justin Timberlake make it onto my rotation pretty frequently too.
What do you like to do away from music? I love to cook and travel. Mum and I are writing down all the traditional Lebanese food we grew up eating into a recipe book. I’ll be going away to Lebanon next month for a bit of a break!
Will you be touring this EP? That’s the plan, get back from overseas travel and hit the ground running.
What do you have planned for 2019? 2019 is our year to start gigging properly. Apart from that we’re super invested in these new songs we’re writing so that’ll take a lot of our mental energy.
Any secrets that you care to share? Don’t be afraid to let yourself be vulnerable. Whether it’s through a proper conversation, or writing a song that you feel authentically explores whats going on in your mind. Sometimes the process of writing a song, or putting it out there is inherently good for you.
Favourite food and place to hangout? Chicken Shish Tawouk at A1 Bakery in Brunswick. The falafel there is insane too.