Name: Alice Hubble
Occupation: Producer, vocalist
Current Release: Alice Hubble's Hexentanzplatz is out September 10th and can be pre-ordered via Happy Robots.
Equipment Recommendations: I’m still feeling the impact of technology that’s over 40 years old so I’m maybe not the best person to ask this to. I’m personally always looking for a way to get away from my computer so perhaps a technology that makes that possible.
If you enjoyed this interview with Alice Hubble and would like to stay up to date on her work, visit her profiles on Instagram, Facebook and Soundcloud.
What was your first studio like?
I’ve only really had a dedicated studio room in my flat over the last year or so. Before that my dining room doubled up as a studio. If the pandemic hadn’t of hit, I would have had more dinner parties by now.
My studio is a little bit chaotic with a fair few synthesiser.
How and for what reasons has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?
I tend to work in a linear way, I write a track at home, get so far with the recordings and then will work with a producer in the studio to polish it up and finish it off. Though the set up has stayed quite constant, it’s evolved as I’ve got a bit better at knowing what I’m doing and what I need to do to get the sound I want.
Over the years I feel like I’ve relaxed a bit more when working with a producer and am more adaptable in this process. I feel I’ve accepted my own limitations as a mix engineer, but have grown to trust my judgement on my strengths which I would humbly say are song writing and melody.
I’d say the sounds on my first and second lp have changed depending on what I have had available to me. You can hear my new (to me) Roland RS202 a lot on the new lp.
The most important pieces of gear? My Korg MS10 it has a dear place in my heart as being the first synthesiser I owned, but also it sounds great and is my go to for basslines and some leads. I guess my Kenton MIDI/CV converter is pretty important too as it really opened things up a lot with controlling my synths.
What motivates you to buy new gear: The curiosity to try new things, a specific function, something else entirely?
I’m at a stage now that I would need some serious cash to buy a synthesiser which I can’t replicate with what I have at home. I’m now more drawn to new pedals more and tricks that can bring some spontaneity into the sounds.
I’m also into having a live set up that is as comfortable and practical as possible, as the more comfortable you feel on stage, the more relaxed and enjoyable the performance is for everyone. My last purchase was a pedalboard and I’d really like to pimp out my keyboard stand with a cupholder.
How would you describe the relationship between technology and creativity for your work? How do you work with your production tools to achieve specific artistic results?
I am very drawn to the past and have a strong interest in the 60’s & 70’s culturally, historically and aesthetically. I feel using the sounds of these 70’s synthesisers does help the music to feel not of this time and truely Alice Hubble.
I do use some soft synths, mainly more in my writing stage, but really tend to limit this to certain sounds. I am also keen to restrict what I have in my tool kit, partly cause I find having fixed boundaries makes me more creative in the long run.
For me, the music is about creating a certain feeling or ideal and recreating the sounds in my head. I’m very interested in Place in a topic or a feeling and the emotions and connections this can symbolise.
Having recorded two lps with producer Mike Collins we have built a strong relationships, he has been fantastic at bringing in production elements that push my creativity. In the second lp we used the Eventide H9 effects unit a lot which really brought in a new dimension to the synths. He’s also brought the idea that recording is a performance and an event which has definitely changed my views on what recording is and how to have fun with it.
Historically speaking, there has always been a close relationship between technological and artistic progress. Accordingly, there have been musical paradigm shifts accompanied by technological innovation. Which of these shifts do you rate particularly important for your own music?
I think the digital audio workstation (DAW) really helped me personally, having your music written linearly and editable is so helpful.
When you see what say Delia Derbyshire and her contemporaries did with tape splicing in the 60’s, it’s mindblowing, I know I couldn’t have done that.
Have there been technologies which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music?
Some ipad apps have really helped me to shake up how I make music to bring in some spontaneity and chance to how I write. The ipad made it a lot easier say for me to write on the bus or go.
I am still very entranced by the older analogue synths sound and feel to play so I’m not planning on making any changes just yet though.
I find unstructured time quite daunting and have found diary management apps really good in helping me break down studio time into individual tasks to get things done.
To some, the advent of AI and 'intelligent' composing tools offers potential for machines to contribute to the creative process. Do you feel as though technology can develop a form of creativity itself? Is there possibly a sense of co-authorship between yourself and your tools?
I don’t really know that much about AI composing tools, I do know that there is a fair amount of “by numbers” music out there that it wouldn’t be hard for a robot to write a catch pop song and they probably have.
For me and the way I work, the limitations of my gear and the tools I use will dictate the music. So yes the synths do play their part, but the synthesisers are more my “channel” rather than a co-author.
Do you personally see a potential for deeper forms of Artifical Intelligence in your music?
At the core of what I do there is the emotion and beauty of the synthesisers I use. I would maybe consider something in the writing process that say created sequences or loops as a starting point.