When you think synthesisers, you’d be forgiven for jumping straight to dudes with perms, sunglasses and a keytar (you know, the keyboards that hang around your neck and make you look badass?). You may envision someone surrounded by 15 keyboards all playing at once and maybe the blast of the opening notes of Van Halen’s “Jump”.
Well, although Lee Malcolm is a bit of a freak on the keys, his real love stems from the chaotic harmonies that come from modular synthesis; a type of sound-making that comes from putting lots of little things that do different stuff with sounds together in a modular fashion. The output is sometimes an absolute mess, but sometimes, it’s a special sort of beautiful where the aesthetic just can’t be replicated in any other way.
We were tasked to capture that magic of exploration and play through modular synthesis that Lee adores whilst giving Ampify product users a glimpse into his creative approach when it comes to making sounds. As a producer that creates sound packs for products in the Ampify range, those users would recognise some of the packs he’s made, and gain a deeper understanding of the love, passion and unbridled joy that goes into making them.
We spent a few days with Lee, capturing the things that made him tick and chatting to him about the stuff he’s inspired by. Following Lee around to some of his favourite record stores, we get an understanding of what influences his musical taste and approach to production on a wider scale, which opens up paths of relatability for the viewer. Even though not all of us are clued up with modular, we can all resonate with the way he engages with music and the playful element of his approach to music-making.
When talking about his collection of random, vintage gear, it’s not all about prestige and renown. Lee mentions how he found one of his favourite synths in a skip.
It’s almost like they’re so pants, they’re awesome!
His approach to making stuff, having fun whilst being really into it, meant we gelled instantly.
Shot on Sony Venice with a bit of 8mm film thrown in for good measure, we went for an organic vibe rather than anything too polished. We wanted the aesthetic to mimic the real authenticity that comes from these Ampify Sounds producers when it comes to their love for the craft.
It was a real pleasure to get a glimpse into Lee’s music-making brain and the crazy combinations that come with the complexities of modular synthesis, as well as connecting on that core fundamental that having fun and loving what you do is the key to producing your best stuff.