The amazing Natalie Mering, aka Weyes Blood, shares some of her studio essentials.
Photos provided by Ambar Navarro for Synth History.
1. Yamaha EMX212S PA System
I think it's important for every songwriter to hear their voice through a reverberant, boomy, crappy PA system. It's humbling but also subtly elevates the at-home jams to feel like you’re playing a house show for yourself. Not to mention you can YouTube karaoke yourself into oblivion with no one around.
2. Korg Lambda String Synth
This synth is remarkable for adding huge beds of drone under any excruciatingly sad and melodramatic music you may write. Obviously works great for me.
3. Sequential Circuits Prophet Rev 2
This synth is incredibly versatile, a really great remake worth its weight in gold. So many quintessential synth leads and feelings created from this puppy. The gift that keeps giving.
4. Tascam 388
If you really want to go for the classic at-home recording feel, this is the best bet. Beautiful built-in board that I’ve used independently of the tape recorder component just because the ins and outs alone have their own vibe and sound. I really love recording acoustic on this and doubling at variable speed — in fact it's kind of a huge chorus pedal for me.
5. Tascam Portastudio 424 MKII
If you don’t feel like cooking up the big boy, four track is the ultimate grab and save for me. I love recording improvisatory song ideas and the four track is so forgiving, whatever you lay down seems sacred. It's also just remarkably easy to use. No computer blockages, which happen frequently with software and interfaces. There's nothing worse than having an idea and being blocked by some bogus updates on the computer. This thing just turns on. Best partner to have.
6. Creepy Jim Morrison drawing
I love to be reminded as an artist to never take yourself too seriously. That’s why I have a really bad high school drawing of Jim Morrison in my studio. He is a legend but can be made to look like an eyebrow-less weirdo by a super fan. We really have no choice in the matter. Lighten up.
7. Pornographic Disney black light poster
I’m obsessed with Disney rip offs for a mix of very complicated reasons, but this black light poster has to be the best rip off of all time. Great to see all the Disney characters debauched and horny in neon. Another great reminder to never take yourself too seriously and always try to marry the opposites.
8. Lyrics graveyard
I have a crazy stack of lyrics that may have never made it into songs, drafts, poems, hysterical ramblings. I keep it all around if I ever need to look through it, but mostly it just stays in a pile — a reminder of all my dead little darlings and how many more they’ll be.
9. Oblique Strategies by Brian Eno
These strategies rarely work. They’re pretty pretentious, but every great studio has a deck. Fun to pass some time and feel better about how painful the abstract labor of music making can be. It's really just a distraction, ultimately, from the greater frustrations.
10. Ibanez Analog Delay
My favorite little delay pedal of all time. Infinite worlds lay within it. You can go deaf with a false twist of the knob. Very powerful and temperamental, and full of weird.
Synth History Exclusive. Photos by Ambar Navarro assisted by Max Flick and Charles Han, photo edits Ariyan Hashemi.