111 - Ian Boddy
Artist Interviews 🎶 Studio Tours 🎛
Hello music people 👋
Today in the spotlight, Ian Boddy
Coming from England, he is a true OG in the music game. A lot of takeaways in this one. For this one, relax, pick a favorite spot, have a cup of coffee, and put an album of his while reading the interview. Check ‘Coil’ 🎶
Interview & Studio Tour
Who are you and what is your relationship with music?
Hi, this is Ian Boddy from the North East of England in the UK.
I've been composing & releasing my own style of Electronic Music since the late 1970s. I first got into this whilst studying Biochemistry at University and after immersing myself in the sound worlds of German artists such as Tangerine Dream & Klaus Schulze I was introduced to an open access sound studio in Newcastle. This got me hooked and within a short space of time I was performing experimental concerts and had 3 early cassette releases.
During the 1980s I built upon this with increasingly ambitious gigs as well as a trio of vinyl albums. Running alongside regular jobs I began to build up a reputation as a sound designer & also got into composing library music which allowed me finally to go fully professional in 2002.
I've run my music production company since then, which also includes the ambient electronica label DiN which was initially formed in 1999.
Which piece of equipment in your studio is essential to your production process?
Difficult to pinpoint one piece of gear and as with most folk these days my recording rig is centred around a computer running a DAW. (Apple MAC / Ableton Live)
But really it's my modular gear which is at the core of what I do musically. I have several different systems but for me they can all interact & co-exist as one large instrument.
What is the least expensive piece of gear that gave you the most results?
Tricky question as how do you quantify musically "the most results"?
Some of the individual modules in Eurorack format are inexpensive but in a way they form part of a larger ecosystem so it's perhaps not relevant to this question to single out any one module.
As a standalone device I might go for the Make Noise 0-Coast as I often use this as the sound source for my French Connection keyboard which has the playing style of an Ondes Martenot. As I've used this a lot both in the studio & live then that might well fit the bill for this question. It's an intriguing little instrument that doesn't exactly conform to either the West or East Coast paradigms of synth design.
Walk us through your process for creating and producing music.
This has to be one of the most open ended questions of all time!
It really depends on whether I'm working on a commercial piece for a library music album, composing a solo synth track or collaborating with another musician.
There is simply no one formula
Perhaps the sonic thread that runs through most of my work is in creating soundscapes which have a mood or atmosphere so certainly the textures of what I'm working with are important.
But then again I often simply compose the chords or harmonic structure of a track by playing a simple unadorned piano instrument.
You never know where your inspiration will come from and it's never really the same twice.
What is a production technique that you always come back to?
I'd say layers and morphing one sound into another.
I like smooth transitions and will often record multiple layers of my modular synths and then edit these takes in the DAW to create a structure and shape to a piece. I like some of these textures to be almost hidden and to emerge over time from behind other sounds.
I often work on more rhythmic uptempo sections that the fade ins & outs are interesting. They don't necessarily just start & stop but rather emerge and disappear into a sonic mist.
You can support G.A.S. Newsletter
If you’re enjoying these studio tours & the interviews, chances are your friends will enjoy them too. Help me reach more readers, and grow this community, by sharing this issue:
How would you describe your style?
Painting pictures in sound.
What is a big challenge you have as an artist?
No matter what the genre or how long you've been doing music for the most difficult thing is actually selling your albums.
There is just so many artists out there, certainly many, many more than when I first started.
Of course the internet is a great tool but for the listener there is an almost overwhelming choice these days.
You've just got to be productive. Release good music. Work hard. Play gigs. Promote yourself. It's a constant battle and can certainly get tiring of course. But to quote the film Galaxy Quest: "Never give up. Never surrender".
Has building a hardware setup changed your perspective on music or life in general?
Well when I first started out in the late 70s hardware was the only option so this has always been where my musical soul lies. Computers & DAWs didn't really emerge until the 90s and whilst they are an important, central part of my studio and set up for me hardware has always been close to my heart.
Of course I use software instruments, there's some excellent ones but I never find them as inspiring as a physical surface to control or play be it a modular or a keyboard.
One of my main reasons for using modulars is at first what many would see as a disadvantage - non reproducibility. You can never really get back to a complex patch once it has been stripped down.
But for me that is a good thing. It keeps you in the moment rather than I'll edit or tweak it later.
I always record everything I do on the modulars as I go along a you never know when those magic moments occur. I love this. It keeps things fresh.
One tip on how to spark creativity?
Go for a quiet walk in the country either alone or perhaps with your partner or dog. Breath in the air. Close your eyes. Listen to the sounds around you. Be grateful to simply exist in that moment.
A book, movie, article, or album that has inspired you?
The Abyss by James Cameron inspired my album The Deep released in 1994.
Do you have a question in mind that you think I should have asked? Or anything else you'd like to say?
No that's fine. It's music, I could talk for hours about it.
Just for the readers of this interview the most important thing you can do is support those artists you love. See them at a gig and buy their albums on something like Bandcamp. Streaming is fine but we all know that's not gonna pay their bills.
If you love music, support the artists.
Where can people find more of your music and connect with you online?
In Case You Missed It
For jams, knob-twists and pad hitting videos go to G.A.S. Instagram
Do you know someone who would like this email? Forward it to them 📤💗
As a means to support G.A.S. Newsletter, affiliate links might be included in the issue. If you make a purchase through them, I get a commission with no extra cost to you.