Talking to Seth Haley who produced music under a number of pseudonyms prior to establishing himself as Com Truise
He describes his style as warped, bass-heavy tracks that are leavened with bright synthesizer melodies.
Hi, Com: what about your studio setup and your synth collection? Is in your home, isn’t it?
Yes, my studio is in my home – I really prefer being able to wake up, make some coffee, and get right to work, as most of my creativity seems to surface early in the morning these days. I went for years never feeling like I had the proper workstation, so I finally bought a nice desk and it almost completely changed my life. It’s a Argosy HALO Plus, and I highly recommend it.
Contained within the desk are a few pieces of my go-to outboard processing equipment. I’m using an ADR Compex F760X RS, Eventide H3500 DFX, and ELI FATSO. I also had an OTO BIM and BAM in my patchbay. I use an Apollo 8 DUO for my interface, and I use a pair of ADAM A8Xs for my monitors. My DAWs of choice are Ableton and Reason. I currently work mostly in Ableton, but I have used Reason for about 14 years.
The synths I currently have in rotation are the Crumar Bit One, Juno 106, Sequential Prophet 6, DSI OB6, Oberheim Xpander, Oberheim Matrix 6, Korg ARP Odyssey, Access Virus TI2, and loads of Eurorack modules. I’ve been limiting myself and selling off some equipment to really just focus on developing my sound, rather than collecting for collecting’s sake. I think having too many options can negatively affect my creative process – definitely trying to lighten my studio and really only keep what I truly use regularly.
Do you have specific go-tos for leads, basses, pads, etc.?
I tend to not have too much of a formula when writing and recording. I could use the same synth for bass, leads, pads, etc. I like the unpredictability of using a synth that most wouldn’t, for a specific section of my sound. Lately, I’ve been starting everything with the Bit One or the Juno 106. I definitely keep up with new hardware, but I think my interests have shifted a bit from synthesizers to outboard processing / recording equipment.
Are you working mostly in the box (in your DAW) for your processing?
I work both in and out of the box. Sometimes in a rush I’ll use the box. I have no shame in using the box – the only shame I might feel is that I have some amazing outboard gear that would love to be used. I use procrastination as a tool as well – if I’m given too much time, I tend to noodle around with things until I lose interest.
Despite incorporating so many sounds and tons of analog gear, your tracks maintain clarity and precision. Do you mix your own tracks? Are there any EQs, compressors, VSTs, etc. that you favor when it comes to mixing?
I mix all of my own tracks; most often, I tend to mixdown as the song naturally progresses. I like having access to everything, though writing and mixing at the same time can be difficult. I’ve been using a lot of the Universal Audio plugins for mixing as of late. I love the Chandler Limited Curve Bender Mastering EQ, Chandler Limited Zener Limiter, AMS Neve DFC Channel Strip, and the Ampex ATR-102.
Your music feels timeless in how it combines modern approaches and classic gear. Is there a particular era in gear production that you favor? Are there any particular stand-out synths or keyboards that you treasure?
I don’t focus too much on a specific era, but I tend to like the sound and tone of things in production before 1988. I’d have to say that my favorite synths as of late are the Crumar Bit One and the Oberheim Xpander. The Crumar is a very strange synth; it’s a bit unpredictable, but more often than not the results are pretty amazing. The Xpander is just a beautiful synth – so bright, yet still pretty warm. I’m big on Oberheim synths.
Lastly, how do you keep your creativity flowing?
I often have a film playing silently in the background that I occasionally look at, and this seems to keep my creativity moving. It’s a sort of tool I tend to use to jog ideas further into shape.
Stuart Price seems to use the same method apparently, but that’s another story..