Debbie Neigher – Lapel

After years as a backing vocalist and keyboardist sitting in with bands like Ezra Furman, Curls (Christopher Owens of Girls), and The Family Crest, Debbie Neigher has stepped out on her own with Lapel, a new solo project from this San Francisco music scene veteran. By turns playful and personal, introspective and danceable, Lapel’s debut record Periphery (out September 14) — co-produced by Beau Sorenson (Death Cab for Cutie, tUnEyArDs, Bob Mould) and Neigher herself —marks a new sound for the artist, trading the piano-based indie pop of her past solo releases for an immersive electronic sound, with contributions from members of Geographer, Astronauts, Etc., and the Magik*Magik Orchestra. Neigher named the project for a quote by the Canadian activist Margaret Trudeau: “I want to be more than a rose in my husband’s lapel.” In other words, Lapel is a new beginning, but it’s been a long time coming. “It’s a proclamation,” says Neigher, “against allowing yourself to be defined or diminished by anyone else.” Lapel was recently hand-picked by tUnE-yArDs to create an exclusive track for her Red Bull Radio show C.L.A.W. (Collaborate Legions of Artful Womxn). Lapel has also performed at the Noise Pop Festival, and has been hailed by KQED as a “Bay Area Musician to Watch in 2018.”

We chatted with Debbie about how she’s using the Mopho x4.

What made you choose the Mopho x4?

“I was incredibly impressed by the versatility, power, and range of the Mopho x4, especially for its size and portability. I really haven’t found anything else quite like it. I’ve loved and trusted Dave Smith synths for years, so when it came time to purchase my own, this was an amazing option.”

How are you using it?

“I’ve used the Mopho x4 for many studio projects as well as live performances. In addition to my own project, Lapel, I’ve been a backing keyboard player and vocalist for over a dozen bands, and it really seems to be the one constant, magic ingredient that each band is excited to incorporate into their sound, no matter what their style is.”

What’s one of your favorite things about it?

“As a songwriter and composer, I really enjoy the journey of hearing a sound or chord or mood in my head, then attempting to pull that sound from the ether, to eventually hearing it back  from speakers in the studio. It’s a surreal process trying to materialize sounds from your imagination, and when you have an instrument like the Mopho x4 with so much character and originality, it makes that process a lot more enjoyable.”

What does it give you that other synths don’t?

“It’s extremely rare to find a synth with such rich bass tones, dreamy pads, and piercing lead lines all in one, especially for the size. Additionally, the ability to connect it with the Sound Editor software has also allowed me to swap patches with other friends who have the Mopho x4 when I need to sub for them in other bands, which is an extraordinary help.”

Any interesting tricks or techniques you’d like to share?

“Having aftertouch is a huge asset for me, as I’m almost always playing another keyboard at the same time, and this frees up my other hand.  I also love the Sub Octave and Noise features. The design and layout of the Mopho x4 is so intuitive that these knobs help me add grit and growl extremely quickly.”


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