For this week's Gear Talk Tuesday, we had the opportunity to talk to Aaron Short, The Naked and Famous
' producer and keyboardist. During a short period of tension amidst TNAF due to intense touring schedules, Short took it upon himself to start a new side project with Sam McCarthy and Maddie North by the name of Space Above
, which he explained, "This record was born out of chaos, and my anxious mind searching for a place where it could stop all the noise and be present in the moment. Song parts were raw and unpolished, with heavy aggressive sounds crashing head on in to incredibly soft vulnerable moments... it felt great. All the songs seemed to come back to this center point of being the calm hidden in amongst the storm. The temporary nature of life, giving in to things that aren't in your control, the reminder that when you think you have the world figured out, you absolutely don't." The newly-formed indie-electronic trio is putting out their debut LP later this month.
The New Zealand group flourishes in lush electronic landscapes, laying down a bed of atmospheric synths, topped with spiritual vocals. It's no doubt that Short's production quality is impressive - he probably has the TNAF experience to partially thank for that - so we couldn't miss the opportunity to ask him about his favorite piece of gear. Read all about his pick below, along with a few photos, provided by Short.
"Hey Baeble! I'm going to throw a curveball here by talking about a piece of software, rather than a real piece of gear you can hold in your hand.
So much of my producing, particularly with The Naked And Famous, has been in environments where you're on the move without a studio. Although I am a huge fan of hardware and used more on this Space Above record than ever before, there is one device that has ended up in every session I have worked on, and that is iZotope Trash.
Trash was a plugin I first started using back in 2008 on the first TNAF EPs, mainly as a way to simulate cool guitar pedals we didn't own being the broke kids we were. Guitars were the main instrument we would apply it to, but very quickly discovered how powerful it was outside of the guitar realm. TNAF's big track 'Young Blood' was actually just a simple Harpsichord patch smothered in Trash's Wrecktifier setting.
Where Trash excelled the most for this Space Above record was using it to drastically change the shape of the more atmospheric sounds and pads, and in some cases running an entire drum and bass buss through it. There are a few moments in the record where we do really drastic lifts and drops to the track, and by floating the track up into a really heavy distortion and dropping it back down again, you can make that moment so much more powerful.
The real charm about Trash is its ability to run in multi-band mode, which was crucial for the way we were working it. When distorting really big sounds, you need to be able to treat each frequency range separately as they all react so differently. When working with a whole drum buss for example, we would apply Tape Saturation to the lows, Smooth Overdrive to the mids, and our favorite fuzz patch called 'Cracked Actress' to the tops. Favorite trick right there - BIG sound.
A lot of people associate distortion with being something that can kinda kill a sound or make it loud and annoying, but I swear it's not true! Find the most delicate sound you possibly can, heat it up with a little Trash and listen to all the hidden personality that reveals itself.
Love you Trash.
Also check out our live session with The Naked and Famous in the basement of the Bowery Electric: