Interview: Five Minutes with Soular Order
Prolific ambient producer Soular Order has just released ‘Beholder’, his latest track via City By Night Records. The single premiered via Magnetic Magazine who described it as, “a celestial piece of work that transports listeners to a vast and dream-like realm”.
Operating under the alias of Soular Order, Jon Maynard was originally introduced to music through his grandfather and has been producing music for over ten years. In 2012, the ambient musician released two EPs, following them up with a third in the same year to celebrate the launch of his own record label, City By Night Records.
Not stopping there, Soular Order went on to release a further five EPs, one full-length album and founded Beatsupply with label mate IOM. It fast became evident that we needed to learn more about this impresario as he made his stake in the world.
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
I’ve always been involved in music in one way or another. I started playing the guitar when I was around 13 and went on to join a couple of bands playing shows in the local area. I started getting into producing in around 2008 and it just took off from there really.
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
Definitely the idea. I try to separate the 2 processes as much as possible. I’ll usually come up with something on guitar first, or just jam out on a synth and see what happens. Then I’ll start to write the song around that. I try to keep mixing as a completely separate thing. I’ll usually come back to that a day or two after I’ve finished the actual writing.
Does your material feature any collaborations?
Yeah, occasionally. I’ve worked with a few vocalists and instrumentalists on some releases in the past, and more recently, I’ve been working with other producers on new material.
What’s on your current playlist?
All sorts! Rival Consoles, Clark, Shigeto, Tycho, Lorn, Jon Hopkins, Holy Other, Olafur Arnalds, r beny, A L E X, submerse, IOM, Solace, Hotel Neon, 100 Day Delay, Bluereso, David Bowie, Pantera, Hopesfall, The Contortionist, Iron Chic, Enemies and many, many more.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
I like to record guitar through various pedals to make textures. The Red Panda pedals are great for coming up with obscure ideas and loops. Lately, I’ve been using the Korg Minilogue and the Novation Peak a lot. I find it really helpful to be more hands-on when designing a sound. I also like to process found sound stuff a lot. I have a handheld recorder that I use to record anything that might sound interesting for percussion or background textures.
Take us through a day in the recording studio.
Usually, open Ableton, play a note, close Ableton haha. Nah but usually I’ll grab a coffee and just jam on guitar or the synths and see what happens. I try not to regulate the writing process too much. If I come up with something I like, I’ll record that and begin writing around it. I try and keep mixing as a completely separate thing until I’m done with writing.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
I think it was probably when I played my first show in a band and some people actually wanted to listen to what we were doing. I’d always enjoyed just writing music for myself or for us to play in my mate’s basement, so when people actually listened it was kind of the icing on the cake. I realised I’d properly found a hobby that I didn’t want to give up on.
Any emerging artists on your radar?
Reversed Fireworks, Orloe, Lore, 100 Day Delay, The Aurora Principle, Jupiter Himself are all making dope interesting music. There are loads more too!
What gets your creative juices flowing?
Listening to other people’s music. I always get inspired by the things I hear.
Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that accompanies your creative expression.
Gear wise, I use a Fender Telecaster Baja, Novation Peak, Korg Minilogue, Ableton Push 2, Red Panda Tensor, Red Panda Particle v2, Boss RV-500, z-vex lofi junky, an RME Babyface Pro and a pair of Adam A7X monitors.
As for software, my DAW of choice is definitely Ableton. I love how things aren’t hidden away in menus. For plugins, I use a bunch of different stuff, mainly for mixing. I love the Valhalla reverb plugins, and Soundtoys Echoboy is my go to for delays. Fabfilter’s Pro Q is my usual EQ of choice for more surgical stuff. I use a bunch of different Waves plugins too. The API compressors and PuigTec EQs are amazing for guitar.
Sound creation is mostly done on guitar or synths lately, but I also use a Serum, Omnisphere, and a bunch of Kontakt libraries.
Any side projects you’re working on?
Yeah! I have a project called Drohves making more lofi / beat kinda stuff, and I recently formed a new project with a friend of mine called This Too Shall Pass.
How have you refined your craft since you entered the industry?
I’ve learnt a lot from working and conversing with other people. I spend a lot more time trying to polish sounds and learning to mix better.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from you this year?
Definitely a new EP, and possibly another. I’m planning to release new Drohves material and some first singles for This Too Shall Pass.
Famous last words?
Does this taste off to you?
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