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Do you ever hope to perform your music live?

It would be good to do some live performances. Anyone who has heard "Making Waves" will know some of the arrangements are quite complex involving several dozen layers of instruments. To do that justice live would either involve working with several people and quite extensive rehearsals, or involve backing tapes and I always feel this is a cop out. Certain synth music lends itself to solos over a rhythmic sequence backing, but most of my arrangements are quite complex and won't come across quite as well live without doing it properly. I can't see it in the near future.

Can you give me some additional background on Vista?

Instrumentation first. The equipment is basically the same as the "Making Waves" album. The main change on "Vista" is the addition of the Kurzweil K2000 which is an incredible synth. It lets you load samples from the Akai S1000 sampler (the industry standard) and then process these samples as if they were raw waveforms in a synth itself. So it's got filters, resonance, effects etc on board and you can also load your own waveforms. I sold my Jupiter 8 after having put all it's waveform samples into the K2000, so effectively, I still have the Jupiter 8!

It's probably the way that synths will be going in the future. The K2000 uses a method of synthesis called VAST -Variable Architecture Synthesis Technology. It's a bit of a gimmicky name, but it means you can design your own synth on the screen, configuring it to any way you want. The bird sounds at the start of Vista' were created on the K2000, basically the filter going into self oscillation (laughs)...if you are interested in the technical details! It just uses sine waves, modulating them to give the trill of the birds and the crickets.

The next album will explore virtual reality. "Vista" basically takes you into a virtual world, a place that doesn't exist other than in the mind of the computer and the participant in the computer game. It's set in the future and "Vista" looks at it from the perspective of a rain forest. The rain forests have died and the only way to see them, and other natural beauties of the world, is via virtual reality. I wanted the birds at the start not to sound too realistic to give the impression that they were artificially created.

The central character, who is the link between tracks, is exploring this virtual rain forest. Obviously in the virtual world you can do anything - point up and you can fly! The reason the strings have a slightly sad feel about them is because the rainforest does not exist anymore, mankind didn't save it. (laughs) ...We're getting very philosophical here! Some of the other tracks will be exploring virtual warfare, entertainment etc. It will me more rhythmic than the last album, more uptempo, and I'm looking forward to working on it.

Many thanks to Steve for this interview, and I hope that those who haven't yet heard "Making Waves" will be impressed enough by Vista to investigate Waveform further.