Interview: Rob Clouth (Vaetxh, Dr:oid, Ither)

Rob Clouth, the mastermind behind Vaetxh, Dr:oid, and Ither, gifted a few minutes of his time for an interview. He is based in Bristol, UK and has nowhere to go but up - raising the bar in each musical endeavor. It's not that often you find sound design and production quality at this heightened level and I'm really excited to have him as our first guest interview!

Volterock: If you found a portal, where would you want it to take you?
Rob Clouth: To a place where you can immediately create anything you can think of, without the hassle of trying to convert that idea into something physical with your hands.

What are some activities or hobbies that you do?
I mess around with programming visuals and other stuff using Processing ( It's fucking ace, everyone should check it out. Other than that I like reading, eating hash brownies then going to watch blockbusters in the cinema, games of all sorts.

What inspires you as a musician?
Attention paid to detail. Although it may sound like a contradiction, I don't think that it necessarily implies complexity, just a lot of thought gone into defining a sound or mood.

How did you begin your journey in music production?
Faffing around on an ultra basic MIDI sequencer called Evolution Audio Lite, on my first family computer. My first track was called 'losenge' - don't ask me why.

Who and/or what are some of your biggest influences?

Musically (and some might unoriginally), I'd say it'd have to be Squarepusher, Aphex, Clark and the other Warp boys. In an album: Go Plastic. I still listen to it occasionally these days, and I hear new elements, new hidden themes each time. I love it. Non-musically, I don't know, although maybe Maths occasionally. For example, I've started work on fractal song; the tempo is always slowing down and from within the gaps between the sounds new rhythms and melodies emerge, only to be split apart as new structure push those sounds apart. It sounds shit at the moment but I'm working on it!

Do you have any favorite books or authors?
An old favourite is Iain Banks, both his normal and sci-fi stuff. I would love to chat to him. He has an incredible imagination. A new favourite is Italo Calvino. If you haven't read any of his, start with 'If on a winter's night a traveller'. It's fucking unbelieveable - the story is about you - the reader - reading the book, and I love it's self-referential nature.

Do you have any pets? And if so, what are their names?
I've got a mutant cat called Pandy. She has an extra toe on each paw.

Every sound seems to be hand crafted with delicate precision. What hardware and/or software do you find to be the most expressive for your kind of work-flow?
Adobe Audition, though I expect most wave-editors will be just as good. Editing the wave directly allows for much higher precision than automation. In Audition you can tweak the individual samples! Also, because you're editing the wave destructively, you layer effect upon effect with no added CPU hit. 100 reverbs at once...

How do you begin a song? And how does the creative process unfold when you're in the studio?
In the studio! Hehe: in my bedroom. Well, it depends on what the inspiration came from I guess. If I wrote a melody on the piano, I'll start with that; if I realise I've been beat-boxing (badly) the same rhythm all day, I'll start with that. As for how it develops, as I listen to what I've written so far little ideas just pop out and I start to focus on them more and more until I end up making a new section, with that as the focal point. I know this process can lead to quite fragmented songs, but that's just how I get by with my short attention span.

If you were a super hero and had one super power, what would it be?
To be able to enter a dream state at will. I'm at my most creative while dreaming.

What alias' have you produced under?
I make pleasantechno under the name 'Ither' and electro housey stuff under 'Dr:oid'.

When you look outside, what do you see?
The beautiful outdoors, where I should probably go more often.

Do you have any tips for other music producers who are looking to reach your production quality?
I know this is the standard answer, but that's because it's true: practice! The only reason why I've got to this level is because I've been doing it for 8 years. Though I guess a way to improve quicker would be to actually learn some proper production techniques, via the web. I was using compressors for a number of years before I even realised what they actually did - I just used them to get a certain sound. Another way to improve your sound design is to try and copy a sound, without just recording it. Foley and all that.

If you could have one unexplained mystery answered, what would it be?
What was before the Big Bang, if anything.

What's the best way to stay up-to-date with your live shows and new music productions?

Either my Soundcloud page (robclouth), my Twitter (robclouth), or my Facebook page (vaetxh).

How may we reach you to book a live performance?

MASS from Henning M. Lederer on Vimeo.


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