Bob Moses has released their new project Desire. The Los Angeles by way of Brooklyn duo first broke onto the scene as an organic form of electronic music was growing in the mid 2010’s with their 2015 album Days Gone By. This helped them crossover from just electronic music to the wider music public, notably to a greater festival audience. The pair of Tom Howie and Jimmy Vallance released their follow up Battle Lines in 2018, where they examine the battle lines of love and loss in their lives. They added some more dancefloor energy to the record, presumably a byproduct of the intense touring after Days Gone By.
Desire marks a new chapter, capturing their blend of pop, indie and electronica with exciting freedom. The new LP examines various stories of Desire and the tragedy that can come with that destructive emotion and need. It was written on the road and that energy pulsates through the record. The project carries a lot of the organic sounds that one normally gets with their music from synths to guitars and of course vocals on top, but being on the road, they had somewhat limited gear to work with. However, those limitations were freeing to focus in on making music. Desire is built like a club set with songs flowing effortlessly from one into the next.
We asked them to focus on the gear that helped make this album in a new How It Was Made feature that you can read below. Pick up a copy of the album here and listen now. They take over the piece from here.
"We made most of this record on the road while touring for our last album, Battle Lines. The tracks were written on tour buses, airplanes, in hotel rooms and various studios we rented around the world. It was the first time we've made a body of work this way. Usually we have a home base and access to our own studio with all our gear, but there was something very creatively freeing about being limited to what we could carry with us. We really tried to make the most of what little we had. Everything listed here was used on a majority, if not all, of the tracks on Desire."
1. Korg: Minilogue:
This has been our favorite piece of gear since we got it a few years ago. It's a small synth, but you can get massive sounds out of it. It's super easy to use and you really feel like twisting the knobs does something drastic. We've used it on every track on this record. Apart from drums, there's really nothing it can't do. For example, on the title track "Desire," it's doing the bass line, the lead line, the riff in the break. Every synth sound you hear in that tune is the Minilogue. It lived on our tour bus for a while and we'd constantly set it up and jam on it. It never gets boring and we're looking forward to using it for many years to come.
2. Teenage Engineering: OP-1
Another small and very portable synth that some people think is a bit of a novelty item or a toy, we couldn't disagree more. This synth also makes an appearance on almost every track on the record. It's really great for getting super unique sounds that you might not find anywhere else. It has FX and sequencers built into it so you can really go wild with sonic exploration. We use it a lot for plucky lead sounds to make a riff stand out, or for getting those atmospheric ambient sounds that help gel a track together. It runs on batteries and has its own digital "4-track recorder" built in, so you can easily make demos on an airplane without having to get the laptop out.
3. Electro Voice: Re20 Microphone
We've seen Thom Yorke use this mic quite a lot and thought it would be a good fit for us. It has a really nice low-mid presence that can help bring some warmth out in a vocal. It's easy to boost the highs on a mic with an EQ, but you can't fake getting that buttery and rich low end. It doesn't work for everything, but it sounds great for how inexpensive it is compared to other mics of its caliber.
4. XLN Audio: RC-20 Retro Color
This is such an awesome plug-in and makes an appearance on every track. It instantly adds vibe to anything you're doing. It's great for bringing out character in pianos, guitars & drums. On our track "Hold Me Up," we actually put it on the master channel to give the whole mix this punchy, gritty, lo-fi bite. It's very easy to overdo it with this plug-in, but if you dial it just right you can get amazing results.
5. Audio Realism: ABL3
This is a great 303 replica plug-in, which was recommended to us by our friend KiNK. We used it for the acid bass line riff on "Outlier." It sounds really legit for a plug-in and is very easy to program.
6. Waves: Kramer Tape
This is a great plug-in for getting dynamics out of a specific sound, entire mix or vocal. It emulates tape saturation and we usually put this on our master chain to affect the entire mix. We'll also put it on a vocal to get that nice, crisp edginess while also softening some of the harshness. It makes a really noticeable difference and it has great presets, which are easy to tweak so everything sits just right.