Weval’s synth-drenched, dark and twisted electronic pop sound is intimate and melancholic while also cavernous and powerful. The dutch duo’s latest album, Remember is full of distorted moments that morph into intense crescendos that envelope the listener is a wall of sonic bliss. These are paired eerily with delicate melodies and muffled vocals.
We managed to speak to Weval – Harm Coolen and Merijn Scholte Albers – to find out how they use digital tools to enhance a wealth of tasty analogue gear. They tell us about the one plugin Remember wouldn’t be the same without and fill us in on a tried and tested trick that layers Valhalla Room reverb with distortion.
Hi Weval! Can you make music more spontaneously using plugins? How does using plugins differ from your process when using hardware in a studio?
It’s faster. Everything that makes you fast while feeling creative will make you more spontaneous, I think. We tried to apply this speed to our hardware as well, so we could use our Culture Vulture or Manley EQ as plugins in Cubase. Which was amazing with drums, where we could easily switch around the chain to hear what worked best. But I have to say that it is mostly a combination between digital and hardware.
How do you know when to throw a certain plugin into the mix?
Polish a turd or not? In the beginning, we didn’t know the difference between the Culture Vulture distortion or the VST clone Decapitator. Nowadays, we often feel what [a track] needs. So, it’s a case of trying and trying, following your instinct and chasing the best feeling. Sometimes it means recording the bass drum into a hardware envelope filter. Sometimes it means a different sample.
What’s your latest plugin purchase?
Springs from Audiothings. A colourful spring-ish reverb. It also helps drive a sound. Springverbs are not that easy, at least we don’t know many good options. I really like the UAD Galaxy but this one from Audiothings is a bit more versatile.
What’s the best free plugin you own?
We don’t use that many free plugins. Does €10 count as free? I like to play with Halftime from Cableguys sometimes. And there are ofc some 30 euro plugins that can be huge, such as Sketch cassette II.
What’s the best value plugin you own?
Sketchcasette II. It’s on almost all the drums, but we mostly combined it with analog gear. But it’s a great starter to really mess with your sound. I one time used it on the master channel for ‘Is That How You Feel It’. Just to get a loud mix, and some distortion. I thought ‘Ah well, i will replace it later on in the process, but of course it stayed on there’. And it still works.
What plugins go on your master bus without fail?
Sonnox Oxford Inflator. Afterwards though, since it’s more adding a bit of salt to the mix. But mostly it makes it glue a bit more. Pro-L2 also stays on there most of the time! We try to make the mix work without significant masterchain fx. But if it brings the idea to an whole other level we are breaking this ‘rule’.
What plugin would your new album, Remember, be incomplete without?
I first would say Soundtoys Decapitator but we used so many types of distortion, that I dont know anymore what we used the most. Arturia Emulator II is there quit prominent on ‘Forever’ and ‘Don’t Lose time’, so that one is also an important one for the sound of the record.
Do you have any secret sauce plugins?
Valhalla Room, if you add compression or distortion after it, it gives a whole new world to your sounds. We use this one in every track I think, since 2015.
Buy or stream Weval’s new album, Remember, via Bandcamp.
Get the latest news, reviews and tutorials to your inbox.Subscribe