Melbourne based producer goes deep on synths, effects and more.
Morgan Wright is one of Melbourne’s hardest working music producers. Originally from a metal and hardcore-punk background, dance music has become his full-time schtick since 2016. Since then, Morgan has worked with a wide range of artists through his label Burning Rose and most notably, officially released a remix of dance music royalty Roza Terenzi’s ‘All Starz’ on Klasse Wrecks.
Following this and a string of EPs released with Pelvis Recordings, Morgan has released his first full length solo album Class Tourist. The record bends between genres which Morgan has dubbed as “post-break” and “Australiana break beat”.
For those keen to hear how Morgan creates his sound, he has broken down for us here at Mixdown which pieces of gear he loves, why he loves them and what tracks they appear on.
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Can be heard on every track – this is my favourite synth to use because I know it so well. Every track was written on this and then other parts layered on top. Where it can be heard most clearly are ‘I’ll Be Coherent’ and ‘Flex, Fire & Praise’. I used a euclidean sequencer to sequence it and modulated the filter, resonance and release times using a max for live device that can control the 106 via MIDI. I then used LFO devices in Ableton to modulate those things. I really like the idea of modular but I cannot be bothered learning how to use modular gear so instead, I incorporated some of those principles into my workflow.
I used this to create textures, high hats and top elements that move around for all the songs. It can be best heard at the start of ‘Bootlicker’ / ‘Last Season’s Meta’. I just go on the MS-20 patch database and hit random patch with my filter set to ‘evolving’, then I edit people who know the synth far better than I’s pre-created patches. I run this into Supermassive, utilising the boards of AFX patch. Again this synth is great for making kicks and hats, which i used on most of the tracks. I love layering – not sure if it really adds to the final product but i really enjoy building sounds from lots of different sources.
The track where this stands out the most is ‘Spiritual Abandonment’. I used ‘classical’ sounding chords and arps, then doubled some of the notes using the MS-20 for the sub bass. I also use the SH-101 to make the sub of kick drums. It can be very effective for making drum samples, namely kicks and high hats.
I love this drum machine – whenever I get stuck I just spend time making patterns on it and running them into reverb / distortion and then chopping that up in Ableton and stretching it out. I got interested in this machine because of Cale Sexton’s music. Obviously lots of people have used this machine but I feel like Cale revitalised my love for this machine.
I fell in love with this machine at MESS and decided I needed my own one. This is great for creating really raw / analog drum sounds. It’s not quite 808 or 909 – it’s something else entirely. I used this on every track. All the tops / punches of the kicks were made using the bass drum and drum 1 instruments on this. I would just record a songs drums using this and modulate the knobs with my hands – giving the tracks lots of movement and creating lots of happy accidents.
This thing is a pad machine and also has lots of other weird sequences/sounds. Sometimes I use the Roland Cloud version instead because I am lazy and the cloud version is easier to edit. Roland Cloud is so powerful, there is no discernible difference in my opinion.
Used this for some snares and other weird chime percs. Really fun to use and I feel like Reptant and Roza Terenzi have led the resurgence of this machine. Can be heard on ‘Briefcase Wanker’ quite heavily as well as ‘Flex Fire & Praise’.
My second favourite synth of all time! I used this for the kick and sub on ‘I’ll Be Coherent’ and also the pads on ‘Briefcase Wanker’, ‘Last Season’s Meta’ and ‘Bootlicker’. I would often layer this with the Juno  – as they sound so different and compliment each other nicely.
This is a $30 plugin and it emulates old samplers. I would use it to step breaks down to 4 / 8 bit. The stock Ableton redux effect is good but this one has more features so slightly more control.
While tracking the record, my friend Dean Tuza kindly lent me his Roland Space Echo which I have since returned. At the time I liked the grit the space echo gave everything so I would run stuff into it then run it into the echo boy so the delays would be sync’d with the tempo. Best of both worlds?
Put this on everything – I think I had this on every track and 2 or 3 buses. It’s such a good distortion, I have old mixers and stuff that I use to bus things but to be honest, this does a better job most of the time. The trick is running them into each other rather than just cranking the distortion to full.
Used this a lot to add random noise, sounds and then would modulate that using a filter. Great unit and it is free. I use the boards of AFX preset a lot. It makes everything sound just as you would imagine from its name.
This is a Max For Live device that’s about $15. It’s a melody machine, I used this to write most of the melodies. I would typically just mess around with it and then sample and chop the audio and create my own melodies. Good way of getting out of your own head.
Marantz Tape Recorder
I bought this thinking I’d go and record field recordings with but it mostly sits at my desk and I make snare sounds with my keys and various chocolate bar wrappers using the microphone. You can slow the tape down so it pitches the sound down and you get these nice artefacts. You can also use it as a type of delay by blending a dry signal with the recorded tape signal. I would record chord stabs and bass stabs onto this directly and then sample it into Ableton.
Panasonic MicroCasette Recorder
I recorded a lot of the field recordings in and around Coburg as well as my friend’s furniture building workshop (heimur). He has lots of tools so I could make lots of sounds. Layered lots of the kicks with low hum of saws, drills and sanders.
Big thanks to Morgan for sharing his studio with us, check out his new record Class Tourist below.
Class Tourist is out now via Burning Rose Records.