Versatile producer I.W¥N is half of the Glam-Rap duo ANML BHVR with his fraternal twin and business partner Lex Plow, and releases solo material as HOT JOY. Descendent of a musical bloodline, I.W¥N is a multi-instrumentalist specializing in piano, synthesizers and guitar, who earned a B.A. in music composition, has produced music in genres spanning from ambient film scoring to hardcore hip-hop, and knows the secret is in the sound.

We chatted with I.W¥N about how he’s using the Tempest.

What made you choose the Tempest?

“With a background in jazz and classical and an abiding fixation with rock, pop and hip-hop, my creative output has taken many forms over the years. After moving to Brooklyn in 2011, limited space and money cast me in the mold of our generation’s typical in-the-box laptop producer. This was fine for a spell, and I learned an immense about composition, songwriting, and mixing from working within Propellerhead Reason on primarily beat-driven music, largely hip hop. But my productions began to feel limited in depth and vibrance by these constraints. The search for more soul and excitement led to the realization that I needed a hardware analog synth.

I’m always looking for the biggest bang for my buck. I wanted analog drums and synths, and found that the Tempest offered all this in one box. The Tempest is the answer for a generation of laptop beat-makers evolving to crave hardware workflows and the magic that happens with analog sound.

How are you using it?

“I use the Tempest for sound design and composition. Almost all of my music production/song-writing happens within the Tempest. It has a life and a mind of its own. It’s structure and capabilities constantly surprise and delight with new sounds and compositions I never would have arrived at otherwise. Its versatility is showcased on the debut LP from ANML BHVR, GorillaGod, where everything other than guitars, vocals, and a smattering of tape loops comes from the Tempest. Drums, bass, lead, pads, effects, you name it, the Tempest brings it. The investment was worth every penny. It is no overstatement to say it completely changed my creative process and its fruits. I wish I had taken this leap before investing in various softsynths, as they’ve remained untouched since my Tempest arrived.

What’s one of your favorite things about it?

“I have to pick three favorite things. My favorite thing about the Tempest is its personality and depth. Every time I use it, I’m discovering a new feature or approach to performance/sound design/composition, or uncovering sounds that seem to come from another universe. I feel that I’m having a conversation with the Tempest, traveling into a deep jungle of unpredictable sonic possibility. I manipulate its controls, and it returns not only the intended modulations, but reveals something new, unintended, and marvelous.

Then there’s the vibrant sound. It’s hard to believe one machine can generate rock-hard kicks, otherworldly pads, growling sub bass, and infinite other possibilities all with analog depth.

And lastly, the work flow. If I want to obsessively tweak and craft something, I can. Or I can make a remarkably engaging track in a matter of minutes. This aspect changed everything for me. My last several albums each took years to make. The last full-length album we did with ANML BHVR was the video-album GorillaGod and it came together in 6 months, in large part due to the Tempest.

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

“I’m not aware of many other synths that pack this sheer level of versatility and composition/performance capability into such a portable package. If I had to have only one hardware synth, this would absolutely be it. It will be the heart of my studio for a long time.

This is perfect for our two-man project ANML BHVR. I’ve got the rhythm section and synths covered, while Lex kills it on guitar. I can either perform live, or let the Tempest play a composition and step away to just be a frontman. We get so much versatility and power from this setup. It’s also a dream for recording and gigging/live sound mixing rather than hauling around and micing a full drum set.

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

“There are so many. One of the best things about the Tempest is all of the easter eggs not spelled out in the manual, and the community of enthusiasts online who have discovered and shared them.

But one simple approach that never fails to blow my mind is the Tempest’s performative ability to generate full and varied compositions from a very small amount of base material. Take one four-bar loop, then begin playing with every beat-wide parameter possible: reverse, roll, filters, etc. I could share 20 minute jams derived thusly that never get stale, and end up in completely unrecognizable territory, even though every sound at any moment is some transmutation of the base material. Even with a quarter-note roll of the beat sustained — one repeating bar — manipulating the Tempest’s controls can take you from an East Coast boom-bap beat to Venusian Psychedelia.

A trick I really enjoy that feels like peering between the cracks of a beat and seeing the machine’s soul is 32nd note rolls. Capture a sonic fragment, then let it loop and slowly manipulate beat-wide parameters such as filters, audio mod, etc. to turn this sound grain into something completely different. Then release and re-press the roll button quickly to capture the immediate next millisecond of music and manipulate that. This allows you to explore alien worlds within fragments of a beat. You can see this technique on full display in the Tempest Improvisations I’ve released under my experimental pop project HOT JOY.


Video for “Serpentine”



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