London, England-based electronic artist, Tony Njoku is set to release his sophomore studio recording, H.P.A.C., on April 27th via Silent Kid Records and it’s an incredible body of original work that sees the budding producer crank up the quirk. Now available for pre-order, the album’s single “As We Danced” — which can be heard on all major streaming services (and below) — was enough for us to want to better understand Njoku’s gear and creative process. This is how he used the Studiologic Sledge synthesizer to capture the sound he wanted.
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Tony Njoku: The Studiologic Sledge.
What about it makes it so important to you?
Njoku: It’s not really known or used. Or at least I’ve not come across many people using it, especially live. I think for me it’s important to have a unique and distinct sound palette before going in to write a song. And the Sledge is definitely unique and is malleable enough to invent a signature sound on.
How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album?
Njoku: It was the main sound generator on the album. I wanted to use only the instruments I use on stage to record this album. I felt that it would be a good creative exercise to restrict my palette and force myself to be more creative with sound synthesising and in pushing the limits of my instruments.
How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set?
Njoku: I sing everything live in the set. I have my laptop, my Sledge, and Moog Minitaur, a stage piano and a bunch of effects pedals with me and these are all the things I used in the making of the album as well. I use the laptop to send midi info to some of my keyboards whilst I’m playing other parts and singing, and then I tweak the sound quality of the music information coming into the synths in real time, which gives the music a progressive feel.
What are the major pros and cons?
Njoku: Gear malfunctioning, computer crashing and overloading my gear with too much information. That’s definitely a con. Though having all that gear makes my live set sound full and brings about unique challenges that I believe works in my favour!
Do you have a backup for this gear, if so, what?
Njoku: No back up, sadly. I’m working on that though.
How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it?
Njoku: All this gear I’ve had about three years, I use it in various ways as said above. And yeah if something else speaks to me or if the time comes where I feel I want to expand my palette then yeah for sure.
Give us your best “gear goes wrong” story.
Njoku: OK, so this in my opinion was a supernatural experience because I still have no clue how it happened. During a live set my laptop crashed and overloaded my Moog with too much information. That made my Moog go haywire and it began making this never-ending upward gliding sound. I didn’t know how to turn it off, I even pulled the plug out and the sound was still there. Then the sound guy muted the whole thing for a moment and it all started working fine again once my computer was restored, etc. It all happened in a brief moment not longer than a minute but it felt like an eternity.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Njoku: The Sledge is an underrated synth. Even though I firmly believe that the gear you use is not as important as how you use it, I’d say I’m very glad I stumbled onto this particular synth.
Check out Tony’s recently-released single “As We Danced” here.