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My Toolbox: The Nights

Australian electronic trio The Nights break down their studio set up.
The Nights

The Nights

Australian electronic trio The Nights are another group that embodies the sort of indie-electronic music that has been coming from down under for the past decade. Not as bright as some of the soaring productions by the likes of globetrotting RÜFÜS DU SOL, they often go a bit deeper and progressive with their records, like with their new single “Closer.” Repeating and addictive vocals help mesh together with deep sub bass and hypnotic melodies for records that feel at home both late at night and in a field during the day time.

Their tunes have a warm feel to them that can be partially attributed to some of the gear that they use to produce. Going back nearly a decade, they have pulled together pieces of gear like a Moog Sub37, Roland TR-8 and a DSI Mopho that stay in the studio or head on the road. Since there are three of them, they rarely work together in the same place all at once, they often send each other ideas online.

For a new My Toolbox feature, the trio takes us into their studio to show off the essential pieces of gear they use to make music.

1. DSI Mopho X4:

Tom has had this synth since early 2014 from when he toured with Panama, and it’s managed to find its way onto most of our tracks since then. Whether it’s the squelchy-funk bass line in “Double Slit,” the plucky bass of “Without You” or the outro arp in “Closer,” it’s become a fundamental part of our writing process and live show. We have a couple of other DSI synths, but the workflow and sound of this underrated beast seems to jive best with us!

DSI Mopho X4

DSI Mopho X4

2. Moog Sub37:

This was more of a recent acquisition, though it’s also quickly become a big part of our sound. It’s provided the sustained bass lines of our two latest tracks, “Woman” and “Closer,” and has become an important part of our live show too - it has actually been really exciting to play out some of our older tracks live on this! When we started, we had nothing but Ableton Live and a few software synths (e.g. tracks like “Other Issues” and “Close To You” were all created in the box). It’s been so invigorating to recreate some of these old sound designs on the Sub37 for our live show - this bad boy has really given our older tracks new life and energy.

Moog Sub37

Moog Sub37

3. Roland TR-8:

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The new TR-8S is amazing, but there’s something about the workflow and simplicity of the OG TR-8. The kit sounds are incredible all around, and we’ve got to say that Roland hit the nail on the head with their Analog Circuit Behavior technology. We’ve actually meticulously sampled one of the 808 kits on it with different ADSR and tune settings so that we can create beats with them at any point in time. It also plays a huge part in our live show – we run it as a MIDI clock slave so that we can improvise with it any point. So. Much. Fun.

Roland TR-8

Roland TR-8

4. UAD Apollo 8:

This audio interface is a beast! We have all of our synths and other instruments patched into this, alongside a 5 x 5 MIDI interface for MIDI I/O. This set up, alongside a customized template Ableton Live set, means that we can simply plug in our laptops to two USB-C cables, and then have immediate access to everything in the studio. Not to mention, the D/A conversion is transparent AF - and of course, UAD plug-ins are boss.

UAD Apollo 8

UAD Apollo 8

5. 3 x MacBook Pros:

With three members in our group, it can be hard to find time for the three of us to be in the studio together. However, we are able to collaborate really effectively on novel ideas, through a back and forth approach with Dropbox synchronized across our three individual laptops. Over the course of two or three months, we’ll come up with about twenty ideas for tracks, and then whittle them down to maybe five tracks to finish off for release. From there, we’ll lock in a week in the studio to finalize these tracks, then add final production, then mix and release. This approach might not work for every collaborative group, but it works incredibly well for us.

MacBook Pros Laptop

Macbook Pro

6. Nanoleaf Canvas

Creating a good vibe when in the studio is easy with this lighting setup. Since they are touch sensitive and sound reactive, they create an atmosphere in the studio to match the tempo and energy of what we’re writing. It’s great to see how much these reactive lights set the right mood in the studio to keep us in a state of flow during our creative sessions.

Nanoleaf Canvas

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