122 - Accelerator Jengold
Artist Interviews 🎶 Studio Tours 🎛
Hello music people 👋
Today in the spotlight, Accelerator Jengold
Currently in the UK, a self-taught musician that embraces limitations and simplicity 🎶
Interview & Studio Tour
Who are you and what is your relationship with music?
Hey, my name is Nathan, I'm based in North Wales in the UK. My artist name is Accelerator Jengold.
I've been making music since I was a teenager. I started on bass, playing mostly post-rock and post-metal, and then moved into electronic music production using software like Reason.
I got into hardware gear after buying an Arturia Microbrute (which I sadly no longer own) about 8 years ago, and have focused solely on DAWless production since 2019. I know people roll their eyes at the term 'DAWless', but you can't beat the tactile nature of working with hardware, it's just inherently more satisfying to flip a switch or twist a knob than use a mouse and keyboard. I like the physical connection to whatever I’m writing. I work on a laptop all day, so the last thing I want to do in my spare time is stare at a screen. For professional music production I do agree that computers and DAWs are essential, but hobbyists should just use whatever they're most comfortable with.
I'm a senior lecturer in health sciences, so music is what I like to do in my spare time. I'd like to make an income from music, but money is not something that drives me to be creative.
Which piece of equipment in your studio is essential to your production process?
I'm a big fan of working with loops and layering sounds, so the Boss RC202 Loop Station is probably the most essential part of my setup.
When writing new music I always start with a simple loop and build ideas from there. The RC202 is super easy to use and has surprisingly decent FX. Working with loops forces me to commit to a sound and takes away some of the indecision associated with sequencing.
I recently bought an SP404 Mk2, and although I suspected it would make my RC202 redundant, I've actually found them to be really complimentary.
What is the least expensive piece of gear that gave you the most results?
I paid £100 for a Smallsound/Bigsound Mini overdrive pedal a couple of years ago. They're hard to get hold of at the moment so they're selling for more than double what I paid. I really rate these pedals, they do everything from clean boost to blown-out fuzz. I have it turned on all the time in the guitar channel of my mixer, basically as a pre-amp going into my cab sim. It's a significant part of my guitar tone, and one the best value pieces of gear I own.
Walk us through your process for creating and producing music.
I usually start with a simple drum loop and then improvise a bass line until I find something I like. I’ll then loop a melody and experiment with different layers.
I spend a fair amount of time designing synth and guitar sounds, and experimenting with different combinations of FX.
Sometimes I focus on the melody, other times I focus more on the overall vibe, it just depends on the individual track. I'll then build different combinations of loops and drum patterns until I have a song structure.
Recently I've been sampling everything into the SP404 Mk2 and experimenting with master FX, pitch and speed. I love the compressor and 303 vinyl sim on the SP, they add a lot of weight and character. I'm kind of using it to pseudo-master my tracks at the moment.
Sometimes I can have a full track written in an hour, sometimes it can take several days of experimenting with sounds. I try to just enjoy the process rather than focus on the end result.
What is a production technique that you always come back to?
This is pretty basic stuff, but I love sidechain compression. I use it on all of my mixes. It's just an easy and consistent way to add life to your music.
The Digitakt is great for adding sidechain in a DAWless setup, Elektron make great sounding compressors.
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How would you describe your style?
I make instrumental electronic music with a retro lo-fi aesthetic. I take inspiration from a lot of different genres, such as synthwave, shoegaze and dreampop. I enjoy downbeat melancholy vibes and lots of modulation.
I'm a self-taught musician, so my technical and theoretical skills are comparatively quite limited, but I think there's also a skill to expressing yourself with a limited number of components.
An important part of being creative is trusting your instincts and not focusing too much on what does or doesn’t work in theory.
Some of the best music ever written is also pretty simple!
What is a big challenge you have as an artist?
Honestly, I absolutely hate working with DAWs, especially mixing. I prefer to record tracks in one take through one stereo channel, so I spend a lot of time getting the mix right before I hit record. I recently bought a dedicated physical mixer (Mackie 1202 VLZ4) and its made my life so much easier! I rely on my good friend Chris Walker (ColourOfSound) when mixing and mastering full tracks.
I find the release/promotion cycle pretty draining. It's difficult to build traction with new music and it can get disheartening sometimes, especially using sites like SubmitHub. I think it's important to be creative for the sake of being creative, but it's also really rewarding to see someone else value your art.
Has building a hardware setup changed your perspective on music or life in general?
There isn't a linear relationship between the amount of gear you own and the quality of your music
Learn your gear inside out and build a setup of complimentary devices which fits the way you think creatively.
Have a dedicated space for your gear so there aren't any barriers to making music when you feel inspired.
One tip on how to spark creativity?
Modern music software is more powerful and (usually) cheaper than hardware alternatives, but with that extra power comes almost infinite choice.
For me personally, having too much choice kills my creativity. I'm a great believer in specifically using a limited palette of sounds and using those limitations to your advantage.
A book, movie, article, or album that has inspired you?
I take a lot of inspiration from movie soundtracks, particularly 70's/80's horror.
I'm a big fan of artists like Zombi, John Carpenter, Clint Mansell, Fabio Frizzi and Cliff Martinez.
I also take inspiration from sci-fi literature and retro videogames. I love conceptual music and telling a story through sound rather than lyrics.
Where can people find more of your music and connect with you online?
I regularly post jams on Instagram, so that’s the best place to keep up to date with what I’m doing. My music is also available on most streaming platforms, just search for Accelerator Jengold. Thanks!
Synths, sequencers and samplers:
Chase Bliss Audio - MOOD v1
Dreadbox - Kinematic
Demedash Effects - T60
Empress Effects - ZOIA
Mooer - Yellow Comp Optical Compressor
Morley - M2 volume pedal
Old Blood Noise Endeavours - Expression Ramper
Smallsound/Bigsound - Mini
SolidGoldFX - EM-III
TC Electronic - Impluse IR Loader
Walrus Audio - Julianna
In Case You Missed It
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