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Kemble Walters

 

Originally from Jakarta, Indonesia, multi-instrumentalist Kemble Walters landed on U.S. soil in 2000. His musical career started in the mid-1990s as the drummer for local Indonesian punk band FlipOut, which garnered local MTV coverage and performed at major festivals.

In 2000, Walters moved to Austin, Texas, and helped out local legends The Impossibles (Fueled by Ramen label), performing on drums for their final tours. Walters then joined soon-to-be-hardcore-royalty The Rise.

Walters put the drums on hold and switched to guitar and vocals for Austin band Vise Versa, which released one EP and toured with label owner Rob Hitt's band, Midtown. During this process, he was scouted to join Juliette Lewis' upcoming act Juliette & the Licks. During his tenure with Juliette & the Licks, Walters co-wrote and produced two full-length records.

The last Juliette & the Licks record, Four on the Floor, featured guest drummer Dave Grohl, who invited the band to tour in Europe with the Foo Fighters. The band quickly gained European success, hosting the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2006 and playing the Foo Fighters' notorious Hyde Park show (90,000+ people) alongside Motorhead and Queens of the Stone Age. The Licks played the Leeds, Reading, Pukelpop, and SXSW festivals and many more.

Walters left the Licks in 2008 to pursue the engineering side of music. He attended the Musician's Institute recording program in 2009 and graduated later that year, going on to produce, write, mix, and master for a variety of artists. He composed for movie producer Stacy Ray, mastered Slovenian act Banditi's latest release, and tracked drums for the song "Taraxis" for the new Pelican EP Ataraxia/Taraxis.

During this time, Walters started L.A. rock band vOLUMe and was introduced to current business partner Phil Buckman. The band was frequently featured on KROQ on Kat Korbett's Locals Only radio show. In late 2011, Walters (on guitar) joined Juliette Lewis, Linda Perry, and Dave Grohl for Lewis’ upcoming album (release date TBD).

Walters currently has two major projects: the Blank Faces and ÆGES. ÆGES wrapped its debut record in April 2012. The album was written, produced, recorded, mixed, and engineered by Walters. Walters also wrote, produced, recorded, mixed, and mastered the Blank Faces album, due out late 2012.

In the studio and in rehearsal, Walters relies heavily on PreSonus hardware and software. “I have used the ADL 600 a ton on vocals, kick, and snare,” Walters begins, “and the sound quality is amazing. It's a tube mic pre, so when driven a bit, it gives depth and character to the voice or instrument I'm recording before I add anything extra to the chain. I use an old DigiMax LT [multi-channel mic preamp] in my rehearsal space for my band's quick capture-and-go sessions; it's been a lifesaver. Its durability and clarity, for the price, is unbeatable.”

Walters chose Studio One Professional 2 not just for recording but also as a source of inspiration. “Studio One 2 is definitely easier than other platforms I have tried out in the past. I am not a huge fan of instruction manuals, so I tend to put myself through the wringer a bit, but Studio One was a piece of cake to get into and start making tracks with. I am currently using Studio One Professional 2 for composing new material. Its easy-to-use design helps my thoughts pour out without being held back by editing and whatnot. The virtual instruments within the program are awesome and have changed the way I have written some of my songs (for the better!) and helped me think outside of the box. When composing for quick commercial spots, the minimal view with collapsible windows helps keep me focused on the task at hand.

“My former DAW was Pro Tools,” Walters continues. “I wanted a bit of a change, just to switch things up a bit. When I was introduced to Studio One, I noticed a lot of hip-hop and R&B producers had been using it. I like to mix up all genres and try things a bit out of my comfort zone, and Studio One seemed like a great place to start. It turns out that Studio One is a great recording workstation. It holds up to Pro Tools like a champ. Its sleek design has helped me explore other realms of songwriting that I did not intend to explore! I'm a big fan of branching out and am super glad I did.

“Studio One has proven itself to be great for my songwriting and sessions. It's inspiring. The collapsible window is my favorite feature. The fact that I don't have too much in front of me to distract my train of thought is amazing. When mixing or auditioning plug-ins, I can open and close the Insert and Send windows with one click—that rules!

“Also, I have been putting Studio One to the sound test,” Walters asserts. “I have run instruments direct and miked and have checked out the virtual instruments, and they have all passed in my book. The fidelity is great, and the virtual instruments are awesome. Ampire is pretty rad as well.”

Walter is excited to share some of his favorite Studio One features. “Particularly useful is the Export Stems feature. It allows me to write, mix, produce, and perform on tracks from other artists or producers via the Internet. This feature makes it quick and seamless to easily get alternate mixes, performances, and ideas from people within other studios and other cities and countries quickly. I really dig the Bounce Down feature, as well. The fact that the bounce is not in real time is a lifesaver, especially at the end of an insanely long session.

“The Melodyne integration is great; the fact that it is in the inserts section is a huge time saver! I am a huge fan of distortion/fuzz/bitcrushers, and I love what the RedLightDist effect adds to my sounds. The Compressor is also great and super-flexible allowing me to clean up or super squash an instrument or vocal.

“Studio One's instant access to tracks and samples is amazing. I just added the Nine Volt Guitars samples, and they sound great, but what's cool about that—and some of the other Studio One sample libraries— is that I can audition them during the session without it affecting my work or committing them to a track.

“I also love the SoundCloud integration,” Walters continues. “This is a great tool for the working musician to help turn out music as fast as possible and publish it to the public or as a private, invitation-only link to send to labels, management, etc. It definitely promotes and helps workflow and focus.

“Studio One has definitely helped me with programming. The workflow, ease of use, and virtual instruments that ship with Studio One have helped me dig even further into the virtual world, that's a plus for me.”

Walters is also an advocate of one of the latest additions to Studio One: Nimbit®. “I just started using Nimbit directly from Studio One,” Walters states proudly. “Nimbit seems to have taken the best of all digital-distribution platforms and compiled them into one super, online, one-stop shop. It's simple to set up, and your album can be live within minutes, unlike iTunes, which can take weeks. It has similar pricing options to BandCamp, such as name your own price, fixed price, or free. This allows the seller to be as hands-on with the pricing and accessibility of their art as possible.

“The fact that Nimbit has made it seamless to add stores to your Facebook and MySpace pages is priceless. Since kids have a limited attention span, you want to grab them where they are—most likely on Facebook or another popular social-media site. Nimbit also has a feature that connects to Facebook and allows fans to comment on your tunes. This is cool for many reasons. Usually on Facebook when someone comments on a site, it is promoted within their news feed, which means free promo for you! I have added the Nimbit MyStore to my band the Blank Faces’ Facebook page and am super excited to get the product out there!”

Walters hopes new Studio One users will experience the same inspiration from the software that he did. “Studio One pushed me to create music that was out of my norm, and I love that! The freshness of the program, ease of use, and great virtual libraries allow me to quickly and easily explore great-sounding VSTs and sounds and to combine them with my live instruments. This developed a sound and style that I would not normally go to right off the bat.

“My advice is to start off in the unfamiliar and see where that takes you. By doing that, not only are you forced to learn and adapt, you reach a musical side of yourself you had yet to explore!”