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Heavily inspired by a life of vivid dreaming, Brooklyn’s Corbu take the concept of “Dream Pop” to the extreme, by expressing their interpreted realities of the ‘sleep-world’ through their music . The band just released single ‘Polygon Forest’ off of their soon to be released studio album, ‘Crayon Soul’. The track incorporates solid percussion beats, several layers of synths and the ethereal and psychedelic leaning vocals of lead singer Jonathan Graves. Intrigued by Corbu’s sound, we asked him to describe the band’s set up.

“We’ve been playing live as a 3-piece lately, with me on vocals/guitar/keys, Amanda on synths and Todd on drums. Our music is really synth-heavy, and we’re trying to perform as many of those parts as possible with 4 hands on-stage.

This is how we approach it:

Amanda

Amanda-Synths

DSI Mopho X4 synth (right), BOSS RE-20 (top left) and Beatsurfing control surface (bottom right)

Amanda is our live “lead synth” player. Her rig is split between a synth and a sampler, which run through a stereo delay pedal. It starts with a DSI Mopho X4 analog synth, which we’re both in love with. It’s the perfect size for gigs, and it’s versatile enough to replace a lot of the recorded guitar parts, so we don’t feel like anything’s missing. I love how you can assign a huge number of parameters to the mod wheel, giving you an “A” and “B” version of a preset that morphs completely with a flick of the wheel.

The X4 is routed into an iPad, through an (aging) Alesis ioDock.

We use Intua’s Beatmaker 2 for iPad for live mixing and sampling. I can’t say enough good things about BM2, which is so flexible as a live sampler and probably the best portable DAW anyone makes. We re-sample bits of the recorded synths into it, and then Amanda performs them using custom layouts in Beatsurfing as a control surface.

Finally, the stereo mix of the synth and sampler go through a BOSS RE-20 Space Echo Pedal, which glues everything together in a way that feels like Corbu. This setup gives us a nice blend of parts that sound identical to the record, with other sounds being created and adjusted in the moment.

Jonathan

Jonathan-Synths

AKAI MPK Mini (bottom), iConnect Audio4 (top left), iPad (top right)
My live synth rig is a lot simpler – I’m mainly on vocals and guitar, with occasional synth parts, so I don’t need as much. I use an iPad with an iConnect Audio4+ interface, controlled by an Akai MPK mini. Inside the iPad, I’m using Beatmaker 2, Animoog, and JamUp Pro for effects. Everything is managed by a great app called Midiflow, which acts as a preset manager for the entire iPad. I hit a button on my pedalboard, and everything switches within multiple apps to the next song.”

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