Jul 2015 31

One of modern music’s most sought after producers, Wade Alin speaks with ReGen about his career, past and present.
Wade Alin

 

An InterView with Wade Alin

By Ilker Yücel (Ilker81x)

Whether as a member of Christ Analogue, The Atomica Project, or Scanalyzer, or behind the scenes producing and mixing some of the best known bands in the underground music scene, Wade Alin has left an indelible mark on modern music. Beginning in 1995 as the founder and front man for Christ Analogue, Alin’s music injected a well balanced vitriolic shot of aggressive electronic textures with a punk-like attitude that stood its own alongside other luminaries like 16volt and Stabbing Westward; producing three albums and a remix release during a decade long period that made Christ Analogue one of the more revered acts in the scene before calling it quits in 2006. In the meantime, he has cultivated a considerable reputation as a much sought after producer and remixer, lending his skills in the studio to the likes of Ego Likeness, Everything Goes Cold, I:Scintilla, Cylab, More Machine Than Man, Cyanotic, and SMP to name but a few, while also serving as a member of trip-hop band The Atomica Project, and IDM/electro project Scanalyzer with Sister Machine Gun’s Chris Randall. Today, Alin continues to lend his skills not only to a variety of bands but also designing sound for various media, including TV and video games. And now, Alin has kindly taken the time to speak to ReGen about his music and his career, not only bringing us up to speed on his current projects but also shedding some light on his past, wherein he touches on his pioneering efforts in the field of digital recording and how he has evolved along with the technology.

 

Your list of production and musical credits reads like a veritable who’s who of electro/industrial/rock music; besides money, what are your determining factors for working with an artist or band? Or to put it another way, what is it that you feel your work contributes most to those you work with?

Alin: I was just thinking about how my production career started and the Fugazi-esque ideals I held at the time. I tried to charge people as little as possible. It didn’t take me long to figure out I wasn’t a ‘set the levels and bounce’ producer – I was very hands on, challenging, often tearing the material apart and putting it back together. Balance that with the concrete ideals and expectations that a lot of artists have, and I would end up working 12 hours a day, everyday, for three months on a record. I still try to do that as reasonably as is possible, but it’s a lot of work and time. There’s really no way for me to half ass the process and still be happy with the results.
As far as what I’m looking for with an artist, it’s pretty simple. I’m looking for people who care enough about what they’re doing to consider hiring a producer and are open and excited about the possibilities. I’ve been lucky to attract a lot of people with that mindset. So, who I work with is self resolving in that way.
I think anyone being hired to produce music has a strong ability to see songs as a whole and is very strong fundamentals (with mixing, signal processing). What sets me apart beyond that is being a good programmer and having a lot of experience with sound selection; especially with the kind of music I produce, those two characteristics are my roots.

To bring us up to speed, what are you currently and/or have most recently worked on?

Alin: I just finished the new Ego Likeness record as well as a project I’ve been working on with Rob and Tasha from More Machine Than Man, called Science and the Beat. I’ve also been doing a lot of mastering this year – Gentleman Junkie, Stoneburner, Ganser, and right now I’m working on the new Comasoft EP.

What are your thoughts on the level of production capability that is available to musicians these days versus when you first started, and how do you feel you’ve adapted to these changes?

Alin: I was one of the first people to own ProTools back in the day. It was actually SoundTools way back then, a two-track version that required a very expensive 1GB Micropolis (DigiDesign authorized) drive. I had a lot of people tell me digital recording would never catch on, but I was dead set on pursuing the possibilities. I’m obviously glad I did. So none of the changes I’ve been through have been abrupt. It’s been more like, ‘Man, I wish I could do this,’ and three months later, I could. From where I started, being firmly committed to new technology, it was more like getting a birthday present every other week, rather than having to adjust or adapt to something I wasn’t anticipating.

It does seem that more artists are becoming familiar with the technical aspects of making music; do you find this to be the case, and if so, in what ways do you feel it has contributed to/detracted from the quality of new music?

Alin: I mix my own releases, so I understand the desire to be involved with the technical side of things. At the same time, ‘become familiar’ probably isn’t the point where you would want to take that on. It took me years and a lot of mistakes to become comfortable with mixing. There’s also the issue of perspective. For example, I’m not comfortable mastering things that I’ve mixed.
Some artists are so inspired and have such a clear vision that they really can do it all, to their own benefit, but they’re few and far between.

There also is a greater awareness (one would like to think) on the part of the audience that artists and musicians do have day jobs, and that making a living in the music business is next-to-impossible. What are your thoughts on this?

Alin: I don’t think this is anything new. Unless you tour 10 months a year and that becomes your new day job, you need to do something else to supplement being a musician. I think gear manufacturers and digital distribution companies have made a lot of unrealistic promises to artists that they simply can’t keep, but the reality is the same at it was 20 years ago.

Christ Analogue’s last album of new material (not counting The Bitcrusher Remixes) was 2003’s Everyday is Distortion, with remastered releases of The Texture Ov Despise and In Radiant Decay in 2012. As well, you recently performed ‘No Daughter Icon’ with SMP at the ColdWaves III festival. What can you tell us about the current state of Christ Analogue? What is the possibility of another new album from the band?

Alin: For me, the ‘current state’ of Christ Analogue is that it’s a band I quit working on 11 years ago. I’ve done a couple one-off shows with friends and little things like the ColdWaves appearance, but there’s not a lot going on aside from that. I feel like that band, lyrically at least, was 100% about my personal problems and now that I’ve resolved most of them from that era, there’s nothing to write about. I know, that’s kind of a lame answer, but it’s true. Everything I’ve tried to write just doesn’t have the same authenticity.

How about Atomica/The Atomica Project?

Alin: I just started on a new album for The Atomica Project!

As well, Chris Randall recently revived Sister Machine Gun, with whom you’ve worked and have Scanalyzer – any possibility of new music from that band?

Alin: Scanalyzer is Chris’ thing and he had already put out an EP of material under the name. At the time we were both in Chicago (or rather, he had just recently moved) and everything we did was about the Positron label. They put out the Atomica record, which Chris helped on. I helped with SMG and Micronaut, produced Bounte. It was a really great time, and the Scanalyzer record encapsulates that. I hope I’ve successfully dodged your question, I really have no idea if we’ll ever do another one.

 

Wade Alin
Website, Twitter
Christ Analogue
Bandcamp
The Atomica Project
Website, Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp

 

3 Comments

  1. Brett says:

    Fantastic article! Everything Wade touches is gold, and I always look forward to his music!

  2. Evestus says:

    Thanks for this! Never Knew about hum – now can’t get enough of Christ Analogue! :D

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