Synth Tricks: Embracing ‘80s Synth Sounds with Shooter Jennings

Download Countach (For Giorgio) from iTunes

Shooter Jennings, though usually known as an alt-country singer and songwriter, is stepping out of the box in this episode of Synth Tricks! Deviating from his typical genre-specific stylings, Jennings’ most recent release, Countach (For Giorgio), pays homage to his childhood musical hero, Giorgio Moroder. As such, Jennings covered classics from” The NeverEnding Story” and “Cat People,” but drew sonic inspiration from similar ‘80s soundtracks like “Top Gun” and “Blade Runner.”

And what did he find on those albums? The Yamaha DX-7 and MiniMoog Voyager, of course! Looking at songs like “Danger Zone” and the like, Jennings found that the DX-7’s distinctive footprint had stomped all over these songs, so he decided to invest. Using different patches from the DX-7, Jennings crafted many of the songs on his latest record.

Jennings’ cover of “Love Kills,” originally by Freddie Mercury and Moroder, features one synth patch, and an entirely rewritten bridge, as well as a modified version of the bass sound heard on “Danger Zone,” using the original patch and a low oscillator melded together.

With his MiniMoog Voyager, Jennings is able to get a ton of the atmosphere he desired for Countach. Playing multiple notes, he bent them from both above and below for an eerie, sustained ambience. Another trick that gets him some spooky feedback is feeding the Voyager through as much delay and reverb as he can and then hitting the arpeggiator for a swell of sound.

Watch the video above to hear Shooter Jennings talk more about what went into crafting Countach (For Giorgio), his favorite synth patches, and to hear a few more of his synth tricks. You can find it on vinyl, as well as the rest of Shooter's projects, here.

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