003: Dallas Campbell
Dallas Campbell is a synth nerd and general gear fanatic from West Virginia, USA. He has been in many music project over the years, usually playing bass and or vocals. Over the past 12 months, he has focused more on making electronic music. Drawing influence from the sounds of the late 70s and early 80s, Dallas continues to obsess about hardware and sometimes even finds the time to record a track or two
I♥SYNTHS: Tell us a little about your music project and how you go about recording.
Dallas Campbell: My music project is really just me messing around while my family is sleeping. I don’t usually have any goals or anything, I will just pick a synth I haven’t used in a while and start programming a patch until I get an idea, then hit record and play something. Generally, I’ll write most of the song with one synth and I’ll go back and replace a lot of the parts with other synths or bass. Then, I’ll write the drums. Last, I’ll send all of the instrument and drum tracks to external fx gear, which is a total pain right now because i only have two inputs so, I have to do every take one at a time. It’s not efficient, to say the least.
I♥SYNTHS: In a world filled with virtual instruments, what draws you to hardware?
Dallas Campbell: Glutton for punishment? haha Virtual synths just never worked very well for me. Other people are great with them, but I’m just more inspired by an actual piece of hardware that I can touch. It’s kinda cool to ponder all the shit these 30-year-old pieces of technology must have been through!
I♥SYNTHS: When did you start collecting gear and what is your prized possession?
Dallas Campbell: This dude I knew in college let my roommate and I borrow a four track cassette recorder. I was pretty much hooked on gear and music after that. I started buying synths about 10 or so years ago. I’m guessing the rarest thing I have is a Yamaha SY20. I don’t think it was ever released outside of Japan. All the writing on the synth is in Japanese! My favorite synth is probably my SCI Pro-One for mono and the Korg Polysix for poly. As for favorite fx units, I would say the Dimension D Chorus, Multivox Multiecho Delay, the Eventide Space Reverb, and the Roland SBF-325 flanger.
I♥SYNTHS: I see you are also a bass player? Did you start playing before or after getting into synthesizers?
Dallas Campbell: Yeah, bass is fun. I had been playing it in some Screamo/Metal bands years ago, before i got into synths. Actually, i bought a Roland Alpha Juno to use in the metal band, that’s when I started learning more about what the heck a synthesizer was.
I♥SYNTHS: What is your favorite synth for bass tones?
Dallas Campbell: Thats a tough one, i have a few pretty sweet bass synths. The one that really stands out and impresses me almost every time is the Roland SH-09. The deep low bass tones you can get with that thing are ridiculous.
I♥SYNTHS: Do you mostly you use keyboard synthesizers or do you use rack gear as well?
Dallas Campbell: Oh, I love rack gear too, I’d actually prefer all my synths to be racks just to save space!
I♥SYNTHS: Do you rearrange your gear a lot to create a better workflow and do you have any future plans to build a bigger room?
Dallas Campbell: I spend probably half of my time moving gear around while I’m recording. I don’t have anything wired right now so I’m moving synths every time I record a track, it’s slightly tedious. I plan on moving to a bigger space at some point in the future, because not having to move 10 things just to get like a bell sound or something would be incredible!
I♥SYNTHS: Have your kids shown an interest in all of the pretty knobs and lights?
Dallas Campbell: For sure! My daughter is obsessed with banging on the keys and turning the knobs. I usually pull up some VST synth and let her bang away on my midi controller.
I♥SYNTHS: What’s next on your list? Are there any rare synths you’ve been looking for?
Dallas Campbell: The quest for gear is never ending! I’ve been wanting an OB8 or OBX for a while, but damn those prices these days are not nice. Oh yeah, maybe a Jupiter 4 to compliment my ProMars! I’ve also considered starting a modular, but i fear that would open up a whole new can of worms to be obsessed about!
I♥SYNTHS: We’d love to hear some of your music. Is there anything you’d like to leave us with?
Dallas Campbell: I’m currently writing a couple EPs that are synth based. The material sounds a bit like the last couple tracks I did for a compilation and an online comic book.
Dallas Campbell: Also, last week my friend Geoff Hoskinson directed and edited an awesome video for one of my tracks called “Return to Earth” and I have a bunch of other tracks up on my soundcloud.