Harry talks kit
When we ask Harry about his sound, he tells us that Waylayers write very much together, and record their music in a pretty surprising place, considering it’s so anthemic.
Waylayers - “We love melody”
There is not much of a gap between their recorded and their live sound.
Well I guess our music’s maybe written for those sort of environments anyway, so it’s not as difficult as it would be for other kinds of music to play in big spaces. I think we have a lot of electronica I suppose on some of the records, and live we have an acoustic drummer, so there’s a difference there, but apart from that I think it’s pretty similar to how it is on record I think. To my ears anyway.
We love melody and I think the anthemic thing maybe is by definition to be made in a big space, so we love big soaring melodies in our music and they come across really well live, it really does, you know, lots of our songs people surprisingly know the lyrics. I don’t know why they do but they do, and they sing them out loud in the audiences which is nice to hear.
It’s kind of what it’s all about really, the live stuff’s so much fun, the live passion. We’ve been crafting our sound in this room for quite some time and it’s nice to get out and do it on a bigger stage, in a bigger environment.
“We recorded the EP in a dingy little bedsit in Hackney”
We recorded the EP in a dingy little bedsit in Hackney. The drums were done in Abbey Road for one of the songs we had called S.O.S, but we mixed that ourselves. I think there’s an element of surprise when anthemic music is made in a room that’s probably about two metres by two metres wide without much electricity that works properly - the lights don’t really work in the room!
I think we’re quite unique in a sense, in that we do approach it slightly differently. We’re not a traditional band, we do jam, but kind of more with soft synths, in front of a screen sometimes. Not very rock and roll but that’s the way it sometimes comes out at the moment.
We’re always trying different ways so down the line it might be more of a good old-fashioned jam. But at the moment it tends to be a hybrid of electronic ways of making music mixed with a more traditional band set up. I think there’s a space for that, you know.
There’s no set formula really, we kind of approach different tracks in different ways. You know, maybe one of us will be at a piano or a guitar, I guess traditionally, and we’ll come up with a hook, a riff, and that tends to be how the process goes to start with, and then you know, we brainstorm ideas for songs, and then we’ll go and try a different sound, whether it’s with soft synths, guitar sounds, and then sort of blend them all together and add beats as well, which we tend to do in the box, in software, but again it does vary, there’s not one way of doing it.
It’s good to have a formula that works, but it’s also good to push it and move that around and not stick to a specific way of trying to write music. I think that’s very important, to try and keep the creative cogs flowing.
“We use a lot of software”
We use a lot of software. We use Apple software, we use Logic for recording, we use a lot of soft synths - Absynth, lots of the Native Instruments stuff. And we use FM8 as well, Battery, lots of different plugins as well.
We use lots of different distortions, different sorts of things to bring out the harmonics, different little noises, because all that stuff adds warmth we think.
There’s always this debate in music, you know, analogue versus digital and there’s a very lively debate. I guess our take on it is that you can add stuff to the sound to make it sound more analogue-y, that warmth you want to get, add distortions or noise, that can really work.
Apple Logic Pro
We’re writing on Logic
Live I use another software called MainStage, I can cleverly hook in all those synths and then I’ve got a MIDI controller keyboard which triggers - I can play all the different synth sounds that we use.
My vocals are pumped through my laptop and on there I have compressors and my own reverbs and you know all sorts of EQs and to be honest it’s kind of one sound that I’ve crafted for the live show, and reverbs I just add if need be. Apart from that it’s a straight signal. Kind of like, if there’s desks, the less they do to it, I can control it on my own instead, I’m just a control freak.
Some artists have to change their sounds, especially now with lots of the music that’s very electronic, and they often try to put that into a live environment and it can often sound quite different, but we have that advantage in the way we do it, of it still sounding relatively similar to the recordings. We can literally take the exact sounds that we use in recording, we can use those exact sounds live.
Apple Logic Pro MainStage
MainStage is great because you can customise
MainStage is great because you can customize how the whole thing looks, and how it’s all routed and everything, and you can really go to town on setting it up exactly how you want to set it up for your specific purpose.
It’s really easy and you can load in third party soft synths, you can load in anything really, it’s just really really malleable and really easy to manipulate exactly how you want to, to get that kind of sound.
Favourite keyboard and jazz piano
I started out playing jazz piano as a kid even though I didn’t really listen to it that much, so I’ve always played keyboards. It’s so important, I think, to have that skillset, guitar or keys, when you make music these days, because it’s intrinsic to how you write music, is to have that skillset, I think and
I think you need that, even if you’re making the cool stuff, therefore the coolest electronica stuff, if you understand how to get your head around that stuff I think it really sets you in good stead.
This keyboard’s great, I’ve had it about six years and you know, dropped it off stages by accident, I’ve spilled beer on it, I’ve lost it and found it in weird places and everything, it’s lasted me well. It’s an M-Audio keyboard, lots of the faders don’t work properly but that sort of adds to the charm I think. It’s wonderful, it’s got character.
M-Audio Oxygen 49
This keyboard’s great
My musical inspiration comes from stuff from the Beatles through to Joni Mitchell, Fleetwood Mac, through to Swedish House Mafia or Skrillex, or you know the new stuff, I love everything, it’s really hard to quantify it in one thing, I’m always listening to new stuff.
The Stone Roses are probably my favourite band of all time. Some of the early Verve stuff, the early Verve albums were amazing, and all that atmospheric, I guess shoegazy stuff was, when I was growing up that really hit me, and even bands like Slowdive, these kind of bands I used to love. I love that Chris Malinchak track that’s out now, it’s brilliant, I think that’s the best pop song I’ve heard in a long time.