R.V.B. - Was it the same fixing little things that may have went wrong on a solo in an analog studio as it is today in the digital world? A.H. - It's the same thing. You could fix stuff in the analog world. I'm not very good at that in the digital world. It's been a little difficult for me to make the jump from analog to digital. A lot of the young guys can do it in their sleep. I don't really know how to use it. I use a computer like everyone else now. I just run the digital program like I was running an analog tape recorder machine.
OF: In general, do you work a lot with computers ? What comp/softs did you use for the arrangements on Flat Tire?
AH: In general I do not work allot with computers. I do have a collection of old Atari Computers because at the time the Synthaxe came out, it was the only soft where that would record the thing, because it puts out so much information, that if I used a regular sequencer I would play half way through a tune, and it would be full, and half of what I played wouldn't play back. I then got turned on to the Steinberg softare, the Pro 24 which is really old, then I switched to Steinberg Qbase, which is what I still use, so I basically have an ancient set up.
Can you imagine yourself ever playing through a laptop, using software to get your tones, at least when touring?
I thought about it for convenience sake, especially nowadays, because the traveling and customs hassles at airports are a nightmare. It’s nothing like what it used to be. So, from that point of view, it’s crossed my mind, but then I’m not sure that I’d want to give up … but maybe I wouldn’t be giving up anything at all … but I never did move in the computer direction. I don’t even have a computer recording setup at all. Pretty much everything I’ve got is analog, except for two Alesis high-resolution hard disc recorders, which I really like the sound of. It’s like the same as it was 20 years ago, except instead of having a Studer 24-track, I’ve just got two 24-track digital recorders. And every time I’ve tried to do things with a computer, it’s like something doesn’t happen, so I’ve never been really enthused about that. And I know that there are lots of things that you can do in terms of editing, and I’m afraid that if I did that, the next record I’d do would take me … they’d be shoving me in a pine box while I was still working on it. I don’t have that, and I’m okay with it. And H&K have been really gracious in helping us out with gear when we travel, so I don’t have to carry that stuff with me, unless we’re doing a local tour, when I take my own gear. But usually I just take a couple cases of accessories and cables, and they provide us with the backline wherever we go. And I don’t know that I’d trust a computer that much with everything that I had. You get all these great sounds and stuff and then something happens to your computer. I have mixed feelings about it. But one of the funniest things is that Bill Hine (?) who was my head guy Enigma, he always used to see me as a guy who was always pushing the techno thing using the old Atari computers back in the ’80s and the SynthAxe. He was amazed that I didn’t go any further than that. It just kind of stopped. Because at that time, most of the guitar players would pick up the SA and try to play guitar on it. They’d pick it up and start trying to play blues licks on it, and I’d say, “Oh, that’s not what this is for. You can go out and buy a $500 Strat, why do you want to spend $10,000 on a machine and then try to make it sound like a Strat?” Because I used to do clinics and guys would come up and ask if it could that.
Which role does computers have in your creative process?
Sometimes I use them. Sometimes I like to sit down with a guitar and a notebook, and other times with the SynthAxe on the computer via MIDI.
Q: Please tell us about studio materials. What about computers?
A: I have old ATARI STACY. The format is the same with ATARI 1040, but its version is lower, laptop type. Itís really old one! About 20 years before.