London duo Wayward released their debut album Waiting For The World a few weeks ago. Influenced by Burial’s Untrue, it combines breaks, DNB, house, ambient and more into a concise and well-crafted record. There are moments of jubilation that celebrate clubbing and partying with the uptempo “All A Bit Mad.” It plays on the warm and fuzzy feeling of nostalgia with “Back To The Old Days” that has a narrator guiding you along better nights. These tracks never get too hectic, but they can quiet down drastically with some ambient numbers like the ghostly “Casper” part one and two songs.
We wanted to get a better idea about how they created these gentle and soft melodic house and breaks, we asked the pair to show us How It Was Made. The pair mentor at different colleges in London, one of those being WAC Arts College, which is for youths excluded from mainstream education and have plenty of gear to use.
We break down how they use some of the most important piece below from Moog synths to new plug-ins, pianos and more. Listen to the album now as you read and pick up a copy here.
1. Moog One
Every time you turn it on, you feel very lucky to own this thing. We were out in LA at the beginning of 2018 and stopped by Guitar Centre, which is when we first had a go on it. Hearing the sound that came out of it was mind-boggling and we instantly knew that we had opened a can of worms and would bankrupt ourselves trying to buy one. In the end we got it on credit and it was a great decision as I don’t think we’ll have to buy another synth again.
We got it fairly late on in the process of making our album so we only got to use it on a few tracks, “Canvey Island” being the most notable. Pretty much all of the synth sounds you can hear on this, come from the Moog One. To create the jittery, breathy synth you can hear at the start we created a vocoder patch on the Moog and ran our TR8-S into it so that hi-hats were triggering the synth stabs. We were listening to a lot of Barker’s Utility album at the time, so heavily inspired by that.
2. Slate + Ash Cycles
Stuck at home during the lockdown in London, we weren’t able to go into the studio and so we were looking for some new plug-ins to dig into. We came across this one on an Instagram advert - it’s usually just shite but for whatever reason we watched through this ad and it looked like a really cool bit of kit. We used this right across the record. Throughout the album there is a lot of times we used the “User Sources” setting which means you can throw your own samples in there and then it will instantly chop it all up and make something sound interesting.
It’s lazy but sometimes you’re stuck and need the machines to do the work for you. We also used a lot of the synth patches across the record. There’s a preset called raindrops, which basically sounds like melting, detuning bells that you can hear on “Bright and Casper Pt.II.” We loved this sound so much, sometimes it was hard to restrain ourselves from using it on everything.
3. Welmar Upright Piano
Lawrence’s grandma passed away a couple of years ago and handed down her piano which now lives in our sitting room next to our decks. It’s nothing too fancy but carries many memories and feelings with it and it’s been a pleasure to use it on the album. It features on tracks “Jill” (Lawrence’s grandma’s name) & “Casper Pt.I” and I’m sure we’ll continue to use it in years to come.
4. DSI Tempest
We feel like a broken record talking about this bit of kit because we literally go on and on about how good it is. So often it’s the starting point for any track that we make. Both as a drum machine and a synthesiser, once you learn it, it’s so fun getting ideas down on this thing. We often like to travel as a form of inspiration, getting out of the city and your standard routine can sometimes get the creative juices flowing. The tempest is the first thing that gets packed for these trips. It’s been all over the place with us: LA, Cornwall, Wales, Berlin. The capabilities inside this one box mean that it’s a powerful travel companion. You can hear it on the record on “Canvey Island” (Drums), “Back To The Old Days” (Synths), “Thirty Three” (Bass and Percs).
5. Analog Heat
This is our analogue saturation unit and we love it. It has eight different analog distortion circuits and an inbuilt EQ, which is lovely. At first we went a bit crazy and ran everything through it, which we wouldn’t recommend but we find it sounds especially good on vocals, basslines and drums. It’s also great for when you’ve used a VST and want to give it that analogue feel. Also in the mixdown, it is great for putting sounds in their place and can sound cool when running your final mix through it.
6. Apple iPhone
Weird to say but this is probably one of our most consistently used bits of hardware. We have always enjoyed capturing stuff on and from our phones. Throughout the album there are loads of voice notes and field recordings, which have come from our phones. “Casper Pt. I” features a voice note sent from Louis’ brother of his nephew, which is who the song is named after. “Waiting For The World” also features a voice note sent to us from some friends we met whilst on holiday in America. These little audio souvenirs are what help us inject memories into our music so that in years to come, they can bring us right back to the moments they were created.
7. Valhalla Vintage Verb
Coming in at 50 dollars, this is the most cost effective thing we own. We’ve been using it for about 6-7 years now and we put it on absolutely everything, from vocals, to drums, to synths. It is the glue that holds all of our tracks together and we love the sound of it. We’re not even that adventurous with it, usually just opting with the default Concert Hall mode. It’s a very simple and responsive plug in, which is brilliant for people who want to understand Reverb better.