David Joseph Wesley
David Joseph Wesley is a Grammy Award nominated composer based in Los Angeles, working in film, TV, and video games. You may have recently heard his music on several network TV, cable and Netflix series such as James Cameron’s Story of Science Fiction, Chicago Fire, Veep, Saturday Night Live, A Series of Unfortunate Events, Santa Clarita Diet, and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, as well as many trailers and commercials including Toy Story 4, Incredibles 2, Hotel Transylvania, Call of Duty: Ghosts, and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Dave was also fortunate to work with composer Ron Jones on the music for several seasons of Family Guy, which also enabled him to work with the largest live orchestra in television history. One of his favorite projects is his work on the music for “Firefly Online,” the video game based on Joss Whedon’s groundbreaking Firefly TV series. Although the game was never completed, he released his music for the game via the album Music To Smuggle By in 2018 as a tribute to the fans and to keep the Firefly spirit alive.
Dave finds inspiration for his music everywhere. An avid astronomer, his love of space led to two albums, several singles and multiple YouTube jam sessions about the cosmos and space-phenomena. In 2019, he released the album, Cassini, as a tribute to the NASA Cassini mission to Saturn, written entirely on the Prophet-6. And in 2017, in collaboration with NASA, Dave wrote an album for the solar eclipse titled Syzygy, also created entirely on the Prophet-6. Similarly, his obsession with synthesizers and the 80s naturally led to his “Pumpkin Patches” albums of synth-based music inspired by 70s and 80s horror as well as synthwave music released under the name “Parsec.”
We chatted with David on how he uses Sequential instruments in his music:
What made you choose the Prophet-6 and Pro 3 SE?
I’ve had a lifelong love of synthesizers. Growing up in the 80s, they were everywhere – on the radio, at the movies and on TV. I was enthralled by the sounds they could create. I still have my very first synth! The Casio SK-1 my parents gave to me for Christmas 1985. With all of the genres of music I compose, synths have always been a part of what I do. But a few years ago I decided I really wanted to take a deep dive back into the synth world. I did an epic amount of research and kept coming back to the Prophet-6. The sonic quality, versatility and power blew me away like the guy in those old Memorex ads. The Prophet-6 is incredibly special in the way that it simultaneously exists in the past, present and future. The classic Prophet DNA is running through it’s wires, but I can also take it to new sonic frontiers. As far as control, everything you need is right there in front of you in one of the best panel layouts ever. This is especially important for me since I have a visual impairment and the Prophet-6 is an amazing hands-on tactile instrument. No menu diving. I could say all of this again for the phenomenal new Pro 3 SE I recently added to the family. I had to do it…the Prophet wanted a little brother.
How are you using them?
I always have multiple projects going on simultaneously and my Sequential instruments are almost always in the mix. Their incredible versatility means that they easily fit into almost any genre. I’ve used them to accompany a full orchestra, a rock band and had them stand on their own in fully electronic pieces. I was so impressed with the sheer amount of sonic variety in the timbres of the Prophet-6 that I made a couple of full albums using only the Prophet-6 and it’s on-board effects. No additional plug-ins. I just wanted to see what the Prophet could do on it’s own. The first of these albums is Syzygy, an album I created for the 2017 solar eclipse. I had such an amazing time creating the album and was so thrilled with the results that I made Cassini in the same manner. I just did the same approach with the Pro 3 on my new single, Thermopolis. I also use my Sequential instruments extensively on my synthwave project, Parsec.
What’s one of your favorite things about them?
The absolutely immersive sound of both my Prophet-6 and Pro 3. Both instruments draw me in to a creative bliss when I sit down with them. And it’s not just the sound that does this. Both synths could almost be called “workstations.” With the incredibly powerful sequencers on both instruments and the versatile sound creation abilities that cover everything from leads, basses, rich textures, otherworldly sounds and even fantastic percussion, you have everything you need.
What do they give you that other synths might not?
These synthesizers do just about everything and they excel at what they do. The rich history and spirit of Sequential really shines through in their work. We are lucky to be alive during a time when there are so many phenomenal synthesizer companies making great instruments. But you really are getting everything, including the kitchen sink, with a Sequential synth. The excitement, history, passion and love that Dave Smith puts into his instruments is tangible when you are playing them.
Any interesting tips or tricks you’d like to share?
There are so many tips and tricks with these instruments that that would be a whole other article! But I’d have to say my number one tip is to never be afraid to push out into new musical and sonic frontiers. Not sure what a knob or switch is going to do? Give it a shot and see what happens. You can have decades of experience with synthesis and still be surprised by the results when you start turning knobs and flipping switches. Never be afraid to explore.
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