Do what you love and get fame, acclaim and cash? Not an easy task, but it seems Mr. Sitek has the formula. As guitarist/ producer for TV on the Radio (or TVotR) he’s making cutting edge music melding mixed styles and influences and getting acclaim from Rolling Stone, Spin, and MTV. Not to mention having NME vote TVotR’s recent Dear Science the second best album of 2008. He’s produced for Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, Telepathe, Liars and done remixes with, amoung others, Beck and Nine Inch Nails. NME also put Dave on their list of the 50 Most Forward-Thinking People in Music Today. Oh yeah, he’s also a painter and photographer. Sheesh!
We met up with David in Louisville before TVotR went on stage and he took a moment to chat with us. He’s an old school gear nut preferring pre-midi analog synths and hardware, but the analog sound of Soundtoys hooked him in and made him a true fanatic. His favorite plug-in is Tremolator. He likes to use it on those analog synth tracks to add tight sync’d rhythmic elements that you just don’t get with those old synths. He says he uses it on almost everything. He’s also a big fan of EchoBoy (what’s not to love?), and has been using our plug-ins since the early days.
In speaking about how much he enjoyed working on the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs CD he said, “They’ve made huge leaps since their first album (which he also produced) …and Soundtoys has made huge leaps since then, too.” That was back in the Wave Mechanics days when we only had 4 plug-ins. David also candidly answered a few of our other questions:
Soundtoys (ST): What are some of your main influences?
David Sitek (DS): Without question I am influenced by Brian Eno, Spike Stent, Alan Moulder and lately I’m kinda influenced by those weirdo new age recordings of birds and crystals. I should say that Alan Lomax made a huge impact on me, though I haven’t ripped him off as i have the others.
ST: What’s your favorite gear? Within reason…
DS: I would still be making pizzas/ diggin’ graves without my Yamaha CS5. The Akai MPC 2000xl is trailing right behind.
ST: Do you have any production secrets you care to share? Like on the last Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs album you had the drummer drum with out cymbals to find something new.
DS: I have no secrets I would say that the most important thing is to think outside “your own” box its very tempting to continue to do what got your foot in the door but be warned : everything has its season. unless you are Monsanto.
ST: Do you work mainly in the box, out or combination?
DS: I work inside , outside and on top of the box. and YES , i would record with a fox.
ST: What’s your music path? Where did you start and when?
DS: The D.C. punk scene in the early 80′s was the strongest and most lasting influence on me. I grew up around that scene and I was fascinated by the sheer power of the “will”. Dischord, Ian MacKaye, Void all of that! It was the first time I was shown that you can do what you WILL to do. I am eternally grateful to those years for showing me the path .
ST: What’s the story on the new sound for the YeahYeahYeah’s? Was it you? You and Nick? Or You, Nick and the band all working it out?
DS: It was gumbo, baby. We mixed it all up during that record. Do not underestimate Spike’s (Spike Stent, mixed the album) influence on that record either. He is my Obi-Wan Kenobi.
ST: What’s your favorite Soundtoys plug-in?
DS: TREMOLATOR!!! No doubt.