KESMAR is working towards his debut album. The record was recorded over the last few years, and follows the EPs Up to You (2019) and Forever Holiday (2021). The latter release included the single ‘Johatsu’, KESMAR’s most popular release to date, which features guest vocals from French pop singer Flore Benguigui.
The New South Welsh songwriter’s latest single, ‘Out of Luck’, is the first taste of the upcoming record. “This tune is basically a covid tune,” said KESMAR’s Nathan Hawes. “It’s about waking up late, feeling like you’re going in circles.” Like many of KESMAR’s previous releases, ‘Out of Luck’ is stamped with Hawes’ affection for vintage studio sounds and ’70s singer-songwriter pop. Here, KESMAR gives us a rundown of his favourite studio toys.
Kesmar – ‘Out of Luck’
1979 TEAC M15 24 Channel Console
The console is the heart of the studio. It’s the front end of all the recording – everything goes through the preamps on the console before going to tape or my DAW. It just sounds like the ’70s, slow, fat sound transformers. Since making this new record, I have moved onto a small 16 channel Yamaha M1516, but for the time I had the TEAC, it really just did its job.
Fender Rhodes Mark I
This is a recent addition to the studio. Funnily enough, I have two at my house at the moment; one is on loan from a buddy. After a week of having his on loan, I knew I needed to buy one. I found one cheap a week later and it is now a staple of the studio. It was modified by Dyno-My-Piano in 1979, giving it more versatile EQ. It can pull some serious tone.
1976 Ludwig Super Classic Drum Kit
Another one I can’t live without. Really just an amazing kit, sounds seriously killer. Most of my instruments are from around 1970-1982. It’s just a time period I’m really drawn to, so whenever something good or whacky comes up from the ’70s, I’ll buy it and try it. This kit will never be sold, it’s so dear to my heart.
Between the Juno-60 and the original Minimoog, you can cover a lot of synthesiser ground. I like things to be simple and easy to use, probably why I love the Juno so much. It was my first synth, I bought it a few years back because I love the sound, but also I just loved how simple it was. But don’t be fooled, it is ridiculously versatile.
Tascam 48-OB 8-Track Tape Machine
Tape is a big part of my recording process. It’s just the sound that I’m after, especially the Tascam 48 – that thing just sounds like “tape.” I’ve since moved onto an Otari MX70 16 track, but I did most of the new album with that 8 track. I would fill up as much as I could on the Tascam, then dump it into Logic for overdubs etc. Then I would mix down to tape again. I always try to hit tape at least twice.