Sunday Spotlight: Robert Rhoades


1. Hello! Who are you, where are you from and all that good stuff.

Hey there! :3 I’m Robert Rhoades from Guildford; guitarist, recording and mix engineer, but mostly a synth nerd who is well and truly stuck down the Eurorack modular rabbit hole.

2. Tell us a bit about the music you make.

I’ve got two EPs brewing as we speak. While both are modular-centric, one is in collaboration with a drummer friend of mine, so is a totally different feel. The tracks range from noisy sound design, through relaxing ambience and chilled out house type things, to mean sounding techno with live drums. Many of my tunes feature a lot of homemade samples, often of the Guildford weather or spoken word.

3. When did you start and what made you want to start making music?

I’ve been trying (and mostly failing) to write and improvise for as long as I’ve been playing guitar, coming up on 12 years. It was getting into synthesisers that showed me an instrument I could connect with much better. Approaching from a sound design angle first, a synth patch, I find, often inspires melody. I blame SonicState’s video on the Doepfer Dark Energy II, for the initial YouTube obsession, that eventually lead me to where I am now!

4. Stage or studio?

Both! I’m most comfortable working in studios or at home, but through my performances at Brighton Modular Sessions, I’ve discovered that improvising on a Eurorack system is an absolute blast. BMS is a great format. 4 performers jam in a round-robin format with their small modular setups. Each performer has 15 minutes to improvise a patch responding to the previous performer and the crowd. Keep an eye on the Facebook page and drop by if you’re ever in Brighton. It’s free! I enjoyed it so much, it gave me the idea to ask my drummer friend to come into the studio to record a whole jam session!

5. What gear do you use to make your tunes?

My Eurorack system, featuring noisy delay, spring reverb, karplus strong voices, generative sequencers and more, a Yamaha DX11 and an Arturia Microbrute. I’m borrowing an Elektron Digitakt from work, so hopefully that’ll help with repeatable live performances (stay tuned) and more flexible drum programming. Currently recording with a Universal Audio Apollo Twin, Aston Origin and a smattering of other bits and pieces!

6. And what is your choice bit of gear and why?

The modular system (could you guess?). I’ve sucked at starting ideas for tunes as long as I’ve been into music. There’s a certain appeal to the modular workflow which fits my brain. The stalwart companion, the Music Thing Modular Turing Machine, helps me avoid the stress of coming up with an original idea and I can build upon what the synth suggests. Sometimes, I’ll be jamming with a melody and I’ll reverse engineer Turing Machine’s suggestion into a different sequencer, so I can write where the melody should go next.

7. Where can we check out your tunes?

SoundCloud and YouTube are the best places right now! Persil Small and Might (working title), Friends, Cloves and Scaliger’s City are personal highlights! ๐Ÿ™‚

Join the discussion! What do you think?

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