Of Verona talk songwriting and tech
Of Verona create their songs in many different ways - we asked them to tell us about how they work, and the music gear they like to use.
Song-writing is a very organic process for the band.
Well all the songs happen in a different way, sometimes Dillon will play something and then I’d be feeling something that day and I would sing over it, or I would have a lot of lyrical ideas that I would bring in.
It’s a very honest album, the songs are all real, we didn’t ever just sit down and say, hey let’s write a song about going to the club and dancing and picking up chicks. Although there’s nothing wrong with those types of songs that’s not our music. Our music’s very honest. Some of it is also about looking in retrospect at stuff that’s happened in the past, and making sense of it.
They each have their own take too, on what instruments they write on, says Jeff.
Well it’s always different, I mean usually, it could be anything from a piano to some weird string sample, so really anything that strikes some kind of feeling.
Mandi says that Dillon does a lot of the producing and there are lots of experiments and happy accidents along the way. Some of the early tryouts have ended up on The White Apple and she describes him as a bit of a magician.
A lot of the songs on our debut album are the demos because we couldn’t go back and recreate them or fix them or change them. Because he didn’t remember how we had created what we had created. So I’m thinking that’s a very funny question to ask, how the songs began and how they ended, because no one knows. They just actually happened.
Dillon’s a multi-instrumentalist, and plays guitar and keys in their live shows, plus sounds from his computer.
I’m running my guitar through a Line 6 POD HD and that’s been amazing, we just went into Line 6 headquarters and picked one up.
Line 6 Pod HD 500
I’m running all my sounds off of a MacBook with MainStage, it’s got everything in there that I need. Then the Gibson guitar, love Gibson.
Apple Logic Pro MainStage
It’s got everything in there that I need
Dillon also uses an M-Audio Axiom 61 keyboard MIDI controller.
Jeff talked us through his set up, and the way they organise their live material.
The tracks on the songs are usually done kind of in the box, in Logic, and we’ll record drums and stuff like that, but a lot of the guitar tones and a lot of the stuff, we just do all ourselves. Then we take that and just use MainStage for live. It works out really well using Logic and MainStage.
Sometimes Jeff will run Ableton Live and split what he describes as bringing the ‘synthetic’ elements of the show, with Dillon. Jeff uses Paiste cymbals and Battlefield Drums.
Mandi is a huge fan of the latest technology that means she can record while they are travelling.
Blue Mic, who are awesome, gave us a mic each for iPhone, you can plug in and use that. They also gave us a portable Yeti, so I’ve been doing a lot of vocals, I’ll sing into that.
And then, iPad’s amazing, iPhone’s amazing. Basically I think that Steve Jobs - ‘How can I take over the world?’, was his first question, which he did. And then the second was ‘How can I make life easier for musicians and songwriters?’ All this syncs up together, so you can sing something in your iPhone, or write something on your iPhone and it’s on your iPad, it’s on your computer and in your iCloud.
So we’ve been able to create like that and basically do a lot of songwriting on the road. It’s so inspirational being on the road, you just want to get everything as soon as you can see it. And even just writing titles and stuff like that’s been awesome.
Gibson Les Paul
Essential kit for live includes In-Ear Monitors for the band, from Ultimate Ears, Westone and Sennheiser, plus a Sennheiser e 945 mic for Mandi, and a TC Helicon VoiceLive Touch 2 for signature vocal effects. Check out the band’s kit list for more details.
TC Helicon VoiceLive Touch & VoiceLive Touch 2
Versatile vocal processor and looper
Sennheiser E 945 Microphone
Dynamic super-cardioid mic