Electronic trio Snow Ghosts: “Playing instruments is so much more expressive than using a synth can ever be”

“But we like processing them too.”

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Snow Ghosts

Image: Houndstooth via YouTube

British electronic ensemble Snow Ghosts has discussed the marriage of acoustics and synths in their upcoming studio album The Fell in a new interview.

Speaking with MusicRadar, the band — whose work explores the intricacies of British folklore — discussed their creative process as well as the tools that allow them to work their magic.

Speaking about the role his ‘electronic toys’ play in music-making, producer Ross Tones aka Throwing Snow said, “My interest in the acoustic side has always been there but I haven’t had the space or money to collect instruments. As you get older, you acquire certain objects and they get used on so many other things.”

“Playing instruments is so much more expressive than using a synth can ever be, but we like processing them too.”

The producer also cited the track Given as an example, sharing how the band had used effects as instruments in that one, saying “On Given Oli [Knowles, multi-instrumentalist] played some lines that we froze using the OTO BAM reverb and then we detuned half of the reverb signal to form a chord, so we used effects as instruments.”

“Right now, I find that the Modal Electronics COBALT8 is a really nice synth – it layers well with Oli’s Korg Minilogue XD. Oli names all of his synths, so they always have a personality that comes with them.”

Elsewhere, Oli shared that a good amount of the synth sounds in the record were made using a Novation Bass Station II, though “for the acoustic stuff [he’d] just pick Hannah [Cartwright, vocalist] and Ross’s dulcimer stick up off the wall or, say, use the transients from the tail end of a bell sound to create something cool.”

“It was about grabbing instruments and being spontaneous, but also trying to create organic textures and unusual sounds with electronic instruments and vice versa,” he added. “For example, I’d layer violin to support a synth idea, which might sound a bit scratchy and wavy, but together they created a unique sounding drone.”

Arriving on 24 February, The Fell by Snow Ghosts is now up for pre-orders.


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