Creative Minds: Voyeur | Soundspace

Creative Minds: Voyeur

Creative Minds: Voyeur | Soundspace

London duo Voyeur have established themselves as one of the most exciting forces in the deeper end of house music in recent years, pushing a highly musical sound that draws heavily on soul and jazz as well as their own keen sense of melody. With plenty of live instrumentation peppering their well-honed grooves, it’s an organic brand of house music.

Snapped up by Kerri Chandler for his Madhouse Records imprint, they delivered an excellent debut album last year in the form of I on Chandler’s newer Kaoz Theory imprint. Kicking off 2018 with the stripped-back roller Orchid on Monologues Records’ vinyl-only Dialogue series, we asked them to kick off our new series on creative inspiration and processes.

How does your creative process generally begin?

The creative process for us can begin in different ways. Sometimes we work with a sample that we’ve been wanting to mess with for a while. Other times we write from a melody, chord or bassline that we’ve come up with just messing around. But probably most of the time we start with the groove. Get a solid groove down that you can then start playing around with the melodies on top of, so that they can fit in with each other. After the groove, generally we start playing around with the bassline and then it goes from there, but yes, not always a solid way. It’s just a case of sitting down and playing around until you get something you’re happy to carry on working with.

Do you ever set yourself any creative restrictions?

It’s quite rare that we’ll ever do this but it’s something we do want to try and do more. What we have started doing recently is really trying to limit the number of tracks we use and are just trying to make some really stripped-back tracks. What we’ve found over the years is that it’s easy when arranging to just carrying on layering stuff on the top to keep the track going, but then you come to mixing down the tracks and it’s a bit of a nightmare. You listen to some of your favourite tracks and the arrangements will just play around the idea rather than keeping layering and muddying it. So yes, trying to keep it simple!

What do you do if you get writer’s block?

Writer’s block is not the one! The good thing about working with each other is if one of us is struggling, the other can keep you afloat. We feel we have a good system of working together now where if we do hit a block, there is always another demo or idea the other one of us has started, so we’ll just move to that. Sometimes working on something completely different to the work we are struggling with can help, or even taking a break from working altogether and doing something else, listen to some other music. Ideas can mature and then reformulate when doing other stuff.

What do you do if you’re struggling to finish a track?

Referencing music can always help for this kind of roadblock. Listening to lots of our favourite tracks. Hearing how others will have arranged a certain sound, or how certain sounds will work with one another. It can get really frustrating, so again, best thing to do when that happens is to leave it for a bit, work on something else which will inspire you again and then come back to it once you feel you’ve got your groove going a bit again.

Which bits of equipment or plugin do you go to when you need some inspiration?

For inspiration we love playing around on the Juno 60 — makes you feel sexy. I usually always revert back to the first synth I bought though, Ultranova, probably just because I know it inside out and can get ideas out quickly. It’s a really versatile synth as well so I don’t feel limited with it at all. Akai MPC and MASCHINE are also both great creative writing tools. Space Echo RE-201 also which is just fun to play with and can get your juices flowing!

Do you have any studio rituals to get you in the creative zone?

No rituals unfortunately, apart from maybe a couple cups of tea.

And finally, what’s your one golden rule for making music?

Being open to each others ideas, and pushing a project as far as it can go. Don’t just stop when you think it’s OK. Sometimes we will over-work something and then listen back to numerous versions of the same track, and often we may revert to a project from a week or two before. Pushing tracks in this way allows us to learn as much as possible from the sounds we are using.

Voyeur’s ‘Orchid’ features on Monologues Records’ vinyl-only release ‘Dialogue Vol. 3’, out now. Buy it here.