A man of many pseudonyms, John Graham, better known as Quivver, is a highly acclaimed British producer, songwriter, singer, and instrumentalist. With a career that extends back 30 years now, Graham is also known under the names Skanna, Stoneproof, and Space Manoeuvres. He and his frequent collaborator Dave Seaman have been staples of the British house music scene for decades now, to the point where they have been instrumental in helping define the local culture of the genre itself. As Quivver, he has been releasing music since the mid-1990s and has returned with a new single titled “Rockets & Rainbows.”

Released just last month via DJ extraordinaire Steve Bug’s Poker Flat Recordings, Graham and Seaman again prove why they are held in such high regard on this new outing. It is well-composed, cohesive, blissful electronic music that’s firmly meant for the dancefloor. The track features singer Brianna Price, while masterful South African DJ Floyd Lavine has offered another take on the song with his very own remix.

For our latest Geared Up, we spoke with Graham, aka Quivver, about the wide array of gear that he uses, the first piece that he ever bought, and what he feels is overrated gear.

What is your current gear setup like?

Quivver: “I use Pro Tools HDX. The only outboard I currently use is an SSL pre-amp and an Avalon pre-amp, a Virus T-I polar, and an old Nord lead. I stopped using a lot of outboard stuff when I moved to LA in 2007 and got used to working without it.”

What’s one piece of gear that helps you create your signature sound?

“As far as outboard gear goes, and this is going back to the ’90s, The Roland JD 990 was the first synth I really got into programming. I spent hours, weeks programming that thing, so much so that I bought another. I used multiple sounds from them on all of my Quivver and Skanna tracks back in the day.”

Did you use the 990s on “Rockets & Rainbows”?

“No, I don’t use the 990s anymore. I mainly use soft synths now, I keep talking about getting more of my hardware stuff back in the studio, but haven’t got around to it yet.

“My go-to synths now are Serum, Ana 2, Omnisphere, and Massive, and I use Battery for most of my drum sounds. I’ve created loads of libraries for Battery which I’m constantly updating.”

Artwork for the single “Rockets & Rainbows” by Quivver & Dave Seaman feat. Brianna Price

What was the first piece of studio gear you bought?

“The first ever piece of studio equipment I bought was an Ensoniq eps 16 sampler, which had a built-in sequencer. The first Skanna white label I released came straight out of that sampler, no other synths involved, no mixer… sounded like shit by today’s standards of course, but it was the early ’90s so there was a lot of ‘rough around the edges’ kind of stuff out there at the time and I was just happy to have something pressed onto vinyl.”

What was the first piece of gear that made you feel like you’d arrived?

“My first decent mixing desk, a Mackie 32 channel. Again this was in the mid-’90s. I didn’t have a lot of money when I started so I’d buy a new bit of kit after every release. That desk made my little DIY set-up suddenly look like the proper studios I’d seen famous artists and producers sitting at in magazines… Definitely a game changer for me at the time.”

Is there a piece of gear that other people rave about that you don’t like?

“As far as overrated gear goes, one of mine is more DJ based… I’ve never liked Allen & Heath DJ mixers and a lot of people bang on about how great they are, or how they sound better than other mixers or whatever. Bollocks! The faders are way too sensitive and the filters cause massive changes in levels when you activate them. Or at least they did the last time I used one, which I’ll admit has probably been at least ten years. I’ve avoided them since then….”

Have you ever had any of your gear stolen?

“Nothing too major, I had some headphones stolen from my suitcase after a South America tour once. They were new Pioneer DJ headphones and I’d put them in my case at the last minute because my hand luggage was too full, then the case didn’t make it back to the UK for about six weeks. I actually thought I’d lost the whole thing, then when it did eventually turn up the headphones were gone… Fucker! I’ve always found a space in my hand luggage for anything like that since…”

Now for some fun, do you have a good “Gear Goes Wrong” story?

“As far as gear malfunctions, there are a few, but the only one that has any element of fun attached to it wasn’t exactly a malfunction, but when a keyboard fell off the stage during a live gig at Home in London, probably 20 years ago now. It was a Tilt show in front of about 1,500 people and it was Mick Wilson’s brand new, bright yellow, Waldorf Q synth. A beautiful bit of kit.

“Anyway, Mick was to my right and one second he was bouncing around behind his new keyboard, the next, all I could see was the end of his Waldorf Q and a bright red trainer sticking up from between a gap in the stage where he’d bounced too far back, fell in the gap, and kicked the whole setup on top of himself. I just remember the first thing to reappear was the bottle of vodka that he had next to him which had somehow fallen in on him as well. Thankfully, nothing was broken and he managed to quickly clamber out and get plugged back in to finish the set… Funny as fuck though!”


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