Three Music Thingz with AVI

Three Music Thingz with AVI

HELLO! It's another edition of Three Music Thingz, the blogseries where I ask musicians to tell me about three thingz that are essential to their music-making.

Today we've got AVI, a Canadian musician who produces deeply vibey electronic music. AVI just put out an EP, EQUINOX, in January: five tracks inspired by contemporary heavy hitter producers like Kaytranada and Fred again.., each one a multifaceted mini-universe of panned effects and manipulated vocals. I'd recommend a headphone listen if you can, with the volume sensibly turned up to enjoy the subtle gymnastics of the bass.

5 track album

A standout track is the closer "Mud Slide," with slippery percussion that ricochets around glimmers of distorted guitar and a layer of pitch-shifted vox. AVI writes in his liner notes that the track was "hard emotionally to get through. I felt truly terrified of what the future held, so I put it all in this song and channeled the influence of Signals by Rush on the guitar chops. It ended up being a fitting conclusion: I have no idea what the future holds but playing guitar will always bring me peace."

EQUINOX feels like music designed to get you out of the part of your brain that can't stop managing your to-do list, and into the reverie zone. That it is only AVI's first EP? A great sign of things to come. Below are AVI's Three Music Thingz—and Rush does come back into play...

  1. Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage documentary (2010)
    I don’t release music for the sake of releasing music. I never put out something because I think someone else might like it. I just make what I like and figure out the rest later. I don’t understand fully why I feel this way, but I suspect numerous viewings of Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage as a kid must partly be responsible. It was through this documentary that I learned the story of the band Rush and it had an impact on me at an impressionable young age.

    Rush had so many different phases and distinct sounds over the years, and I loved seeing that captured in this documentary. It was amazing to see the story unfold of Rush as they navigated the perilous waters of the music industry. They never lost themselves in the chaos. With every album they delivered exactly what they felt was right for them. In the documentary, Neil Peart the drummer and lyricist of Rush says of the band that “we were so in love with what we were doing” when reflecting upon the experience of creating the albums Fly by Night and Caress of Steel. These albums were not well received, leaving the future of the band in limbo, but Rush was not discouraged. They set out to record another album entitled 2112 as if it were their last and they weren’t going to compromise their sound. The album was commercially successful, but it didn’t matter. Rush didn’t know that it would be when they made it, yet they did it anyway. This moment was captured in the documentary and effectively demonstrates the power of courage. The band was willing to trade their existence for their right to create what they loved.
  2. Pensado’s Place
    When I seriously started making my own music in 2015 I quickly found Pensado’s Place which is a website dedicated to providing tutorials, and interviewing audio legends encouraging them to reveal all their deeply protected secrets. The guests usually cover topics like mixing workflows, vocal recording chains, plug-in preferences, and recording philosophies. At its best, I find myself reading between the lines. I am left asking questions and doing research after watching their interviews. The guests almost speak cryptically, very careful not to spill the beans entirely. This would anger me slightly, but it fueled my curiosity to explore the art of mixing further. Pensado’s Place also became essential for me because it’s a platform that I could rely on to boost my spirits if I was in a rut. To this day, if my music sounds bad and I’m stuck, I go to Pensado’s Place first.
  3. Logic Quick Sampler
    I noticed an immediate shift in the quality of my music once I figured out how to use Logic’s quick sampler. I felt like my drums started to hit more naturally, and I was able to integrate my own vocals in my music because of this plug-in. These were two areas that I struggled in for years. I couldn’t have fun picking drum sounds or chopping samples until I started using the quick sampler. Once I got the hang of it, my mind absorbed hundreds of thousands of new ways to manipulate samples and it felt like I had discovered fire.

    The quick sampler is a plug-in that is native to later versions of the DAW Logic Pro X. It allows the user to manipulate audio files of various formats. I use this plug-in for sampling vocal phrases, and drum sounds because of its fine tuning and time-stretching capabilities. All the vocals on EQUINOX were recorded, processed, and then sampled with the quick sampler. This plug-in is the tool I use to make my voice sound granular, distorted, and pitched. The drum sounds on the EP were all imported into the sampler so that I could fine tune them to whatever note I desired. Once I import a sound into the sampler it spurs momentum and I very quickly enter a zone where I can create freely without impediment.

Thank you AVI!! Explore the AVI link aggregation, and listen to EQUINOX. And thanks for reading I Enjoy Music. If you like the blog, tell a friend about it.