RA: What is going on lately at Slang?
VL: We've been busy with remixes on Amerie, an artist on Sony with a song called "Touch," and other dance remixes of R&B stuff. We've also been producing the little twin girls Sammy and Sasha Nelson; they've been on Nickelodeon. But they're doing rock, and I like it.
Katia, one of Slang Musicgroup's artists. (Hear her music below.)
RA: Are rock, rap, hip-hop, and pop more overlapped than ever now?
VL: Yeah, a little bit. But my production techniques transcend genre in the sense that I'm producing rock, and R&B, and dance, and remixes.
RA: You're known for your expertise in synthesis. Have you kept all of your hardware synths?
VL: Well, I hate to say I've let one or two go, but mostly I've kept them all. Lately I've been using Propellerhead's Reason and Waldorf's MicroWave soft synth a lot; and Studio Electronics' SE-1 hardware rack synth and the Novation Supernova are amazing.
I've got 50 hardware synths and all the soft synths here in the world right here with me, but those few are the ones I've been just workin' it out on most lately. I'll add a little thing from here, something from over there, but for the most part it's been a lot of the Supernova, especially. That SE-1 is phat, too, really big for what I do with bass parts.
Oh, and Spectrasonics' Atmosphere, too, we love that synth plugin here and have been using it a lot lately. We're going to find some more banks to load into that with more noises than all these pad-y things you get in the Atmosphere presets. We're using that soft synth a lot.
RA: How do you choose between the software and hardware synths when you're working?
VL: There are so many soft synths to choose from these days, so we're weighing the pros and cons here at Slang. We think synths in a computer have their own sound, and it's a great sound, but it is "a" sound nonetheless, and sometimes you want that "other" sound, too, y'know, the real thing. That's why we keep our modules and aren't going to sell a single piece of hardware again. Yes, all the soft synths and all the real ones, too.
RA: "Real ones"?
VL: Yeah, I mean, come on! My first synth was a Moog Prodigy, OK? I had an Oberheim Matrix-6, a Roland JX3P, and a Korg Poly-61. Soft synths are great and sound about the same as the real thing, but there's nothing like the feeling of an old synth and that you can't keep it in tune. There's something very funny about that one for me on the Poly-61, too: I liked it and later got the Poly 61-M.
Spectrasonics' Atmosphere plugin is an easy-to-use yet great-sounding pad synthesizer.
RA: The rack version?
VL: No, man, remember? That stood for "MIDI." [laughs] That was right there at the cusp of MIDI. I also have a Roland TR-808 and JX8P, a bunch of stuff in here we still have at Slang racked and stacked near the computers.