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SPECTORAL – PRODUCER

Quiet achiever Spectoral has released his new single Movin’ On, an ominous dedication to a lovesick friend. Movin’ On is the very first taste of the upcoming new EP An Incorruptible Dream from Spectoral, the stage name of producer singer-songwriter Andrew Bitto. Also out now, An Incorruptible Dream is an understated, considered and truly unique collection of songs from the newcomer. Spectoral also took the time to present an artist profile for us.

What was the spark which lit your flame for music?
My mum bought me a Yamaha PSR keyboard when I was in school and left me to figure out all the buttons and experiment with it. I’d had contemporary music lessons on both piano and organ before, so I got very curious and wanted to figure out every little thing it did. Once I realised it had multi-track recording I became super invested in making my own songs on it, which I still have secretly recorded on cassette tapes to this day.

What was your first band/artist t-shirt?
You know, I think it was Phoenix? A bright red tee with a massive white print of the word “PHOENIX” wrapped across the front of it.

A record that changed your life?
Boards Of Canada – The Campfire Headphase. It’s been an instrumental soundtrack following me around at almost every poignant and emotional time in my life. I’ve imprinted so many special (both positive and tragic) memories onto that record that I get super nostalgic and emotional whenever it’s on.

What other producers do you look to for inspiration?
This list could go on, and on. So many. Royksopp for their triple-A electronic production. Boards Of Canada for their textures invoking times long past. Jack Antonoff for his ability to blend glitzy pop with super personal themes and interesting sound design. TOKiMONSTA for her ability to gel elements of her traditional culture into her futuristic beats. Partynextdoor, Frank Dukes, Boi1da for their super modern approaches to hip-hop. Kanye West for his bold sampling choices and switch-ups like musical collages.

What’s your gear set up? Hardware and software
I’m pretty minimal. I’ve got a Roland KR-177 digital piano, which due to its size stays put in the studio. I’ve got a Behringer DeepMind 12 which is the most underrated analogue synth on the market IMO. Then I’ve got an MSI Ghost Pro – Windows 10 laptop with a tonne of onboard USB 3 ports and a USB C port. Yup, I’m a Windows boy and proud. Software, I’m rocking Ableton Live 9, really want to upgrade to Live 10.

What’s your fave plug-in and why?
Melodyne Editor. It’s got these polyphonic sustain and polyphonic decay detection modes, which means you can feed complex sounds into it and it’ll detect and multitrack all overlapping elements out into distinct harmonics and parts. It’s not perfect but it means not only can I make really accurate pitch edits to wet or harmonised vocals, but I often use it to tinker with samples, like guitars and field recordings, and hone in on just certain harmonics. I get the most interesting sounds out of it that way. It’s all over my new EP.

What’s your latest recording and when will you be back in the studio?
So my sophomore EP, “An Incorruptible Dream”, drops on all streaming platforms October 12 2018 and I couldn’t be more psyched about it. It’s the best work I’ve yet released, but it’s not nearly the best work I’ll ever release. I’ve got 14 new tracks at various stages of completion… you’ll hear some of them next year, who knows. But for now I’m in full celebration mode about these six new Spectoral songs, they represent a massive chapter of my past year.

What would be your dream collaboration?
I’d love to collab with FKA Twigs – her vocals and experimental aesthetic just wows me, she has this vocal that’s both sexy and terrifying at the same time. Or Kanye… we know what he sounds like with a bit of Bon Iver falsetto book-ending his tracks… it’d be rad to contribute some vocal hooks to one of his projects, or just to watch him work his magic in the studio. He seems to be able to reach for the non-existent and will it into existence with minimal effort.

What would you consider to be your greatest musical achievement to date?
It’s happening right now. This release literally is the best I’ve been (at least, out of what’s publicly released) to date, and the attention I’m getting from Triple J Unearthed and the press is super promising, I couldn’t be more psyched about this project! If I had to pick one song I’m proudest of, it’d be my track “Open The Light”. I actually got the official OK from none other than Boards Of Canada (via Warp) to adapt one of their old instrumental tunes by the same name. I’ve completely reimagined it so I hope BoC fans won’t lynch me for my recreation as I know they hold their music sacred (as do I).

What’s coming up for you in the next few months?
We’re going to see how this release goes and plan the best time to put my next live performance together. Slowly I’m working on a collaboration EP project, with various producers and feature guests, but I can’t say much more about it at this stage except to say make sure you’re following Spectoral for when new stuff drops.

A production tip for the kids?
When you get given something new, like maybe a new DAW, or a new synth, or a new plug-in, really take the time to figure it out just a bit at a time. Don’t go jumping in and trying to learn and master every single thing that it can do at the start. It’ll be too daunting. Just focus on one aspect at a time, and learn to master that one thing. I still don’t even know half the things I can do with some of my gear, and learning to just do some things really well, is what makes you confident. Also, it’s ok to be a fantastic producer, and a very ordinary mix engineer. They’re two separate disciplines. None of my idols I name-dropped above, mix themselves. Remember that!

https://www.triplejunearthed.com/artist/spectoral

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