Roland Tings, aka Rohan Newmann is our current Artist In Residence. He made his name both locally and internationally with his own unmistakable brand of oddball house music that’s toured the globe in all forms: solo, duo, full band, man vs modular rig.
To craft the next part of his career, Rohan moved to a remote house on the Great Ocean Road to for a year, to go inward, and has now emerged with a new body of work that’s just beginning to see the light of day. The result is a forthcoming album, Salt Water, out later this year on Cascine.
We asked Rohan about the the songwriting and production on the freshly-minted single “Always Rushing (feat. Mild Minds)” ahead of our free DIY Sound Design Workshop in August.
“Always Rushing” is a richly detailed dance track but it’s also a song. What was the starting point?
I did a rough version of the tune, the chords were done using Maschine’s chord mode making the MIDI notes, running into my Juno 106. Then I just had a sampled breakbeat running – it was a really simple track.
What did you do to take it beyond the sketch phase?
I wanted to get some live drums on my tracks and I had been messing with the breakbeat stuff but couldn’t totally nail the sound. I sent the tune to Ryan Dsylva (Gold Fields / Roy Blues) with a few references of the sounds I liked and he came back with this amazing drum recording, super quick. I put it back with the track and was totally blown away.
To get the take, I sent him the tune with no drums and he just clocked it first go.
So, this was quite developed as an instrumental. How did the vocal come into it?
The singer is Ben Plant from Miami Horror, he has a new project called Mild Minds in which he does all the vocals. I sent it to Ben, he recorded some vocals and all of a sudden it was just there.
So that’s a thing now? Casually just sending tracks to Miami Horror’s founder for vocals?
Ha no. I’ve known him for years. I did a remix for him, I did the artwork for the first Miami Horror record and he helped me with the Higher Ground single – found the vocalist and recorded everything, really nailed it.
The sound design is meticulously detailed. Beyond the Juno chords, what else is under the hood?
Theres a Juno chord pad running through the Moog phaser which I reckon is one of the sickest sounds.
The 303 is a Cyclone TT303 hardware clone running into a nice chain I made for 303 lines which is Soundtoys DevilLoc squishing the hell out of it and adding lots of warmth, running into “Dub Machines” space echo clone by Surreal Machines (aka Matt Jackson from Ableton).
Bass is the Minimoog VST from Arturia, the plucky lead is Serum.
The sustained melodic lead after the drop is Juno run through Soundtoys “primal tap” with loads of modulation.
All percussive stuff is Ryan doing freaky delay throws, pretty sure he is using lots of UAD on his stuff.
Any thoughts on how you’d tour this song or play it live?
Yeah thats kinda why I wanted live drums on it and what I think is so cool about it, I guess we will be running a mixture of live kit with triggers – I think this is gonna be one of the more important parts of the show is the execution of drum sounds because I want it to be dynamic and LIVE and energetic but I also wanna get as close to the vibe of the recorded drums as I can.
And I want it to bang hard like drums on a dance record.
I haven’t dug into anything around the live show yet but its definitely gonna be a fun thing to set up and its going to sound HOT.