A Dream Sequence: Interview with Brando Kress of Chateau d'If

How VocalSynth vocal effects plug-in fuels Brooklyn creativity

Artist Stories  |  June 14, 2016

Tucked away in the concrete corners of Brooklyn, there’s a sound coming to life that bleeds with emotion and chills your heart. Producer Brando Kress is working away on his new album, and iZotope’s VocalSynth plug-in is helping him achieve his vision.

Brando heads his band Chateau d’If and doubles as a drummer with the pop duo Frances Rose. His dreamy and ethereal music is difficult to classify but it most cleanly could be considered Chillwave—even though there if often nothing chill about it. His latest eerily haunting and severe single, Anti-Hero, epitomizes this vibe perfectly. The secret to this enigmatic and moody rollercoaster? Thick, layered vocals and oddly tuned harmonies drenched in reverb.

“Voice is such a unique instrument and no two voices are alike,” Brando elaborates as he launches the latest recording session on his laptop. Building and capitalizing on the variations from voice to voice allows for unique timbres and performances. It’s his creative use of voice as an instrument—and the potential he saw in the plug-in—that made VocalSynth so attractive.

As he presses play on his upcoming single “Dream Sequence,” the minimal dance groove and harmonic layercake of voice is thick enough to bite into. The track then lets loose and drops into a percussive groove light enough to chill the burning summer heat.

“At the heart of it all was VocalSynth,” exclaims Brando as he fires up the plug-in.

“I mainly used the PolyVox and Vocoder modules, coupled with the onboard Filter effects, to get the sound I was after in ‘Dream Sequence.’” For Brando, VocalSynth has replaced three separate vocal plug-ins in his vocal signal chain. “I plan on using it on every track on my new album.”

The graffiti-lined streets of Bushwick set the perfect backdrop for Brando’s work. He says that a daily stroll through this neighborhood is “enough to give him inspiration to write another song.”

Let’s hope so. The world could use more music like this.

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