Dave Hamelin – The Stills / Eight  And A Half

Dave Hamelin was a lead/rhythm guitarist and a singer in The Stills a Canadian rock band from Montreal. In March 2008, The Stills were awarded two Junos (Canadian music awards) for Best New Group of The Year, and Best Alternative Album of The Year for their album “Oceans Will Rise”. Dave is now in a new band “Eight And A Half” described as “three Canadian gents making sumptuous synth rock”. When not touring or writing, Dave tells us he works at a studio called Giant that is owned by bands Metric and DFA 1979 and he would really love to get his hands on an Earlybird 2.2 mic pre amp and a Mastering Culture Vulture…..

On the Rooster and Phoenix…..

“When I first got the Rooster and Phoenix I had a really easy and effortless time dialling in the Rooster.  The EQ is fantastic and the attitude section is awesome for adding a little compression to something without actually affecting the dynamic response.”

“The Phoenix had me perplexed at first ‘cause I simply had never been in the presence of anything like it!  It’s not obviously heavy handed like a plug-in compressor or anything with a really fast attack, it’s slow and chunky. Over the first two months I had it, it went from being something that was sort of a mystery to me, to something almost indispensable. It’s a very hi-fi machine, very hyper. I use it on everything now and the master bus has never been happier!”

And the Vulture…..

“The 90’s and early noughties have been an interesting time for the recorded art of music. The digital audio workstation has invaded most homes and the art of recording has organically moved from something qualitative into something much more quantitative. Sample Rate, Bit Rate, Flat Dither, DSP, MP3 are all real-time artefacts of the continuously degenerating initial analog signal path. Huge amounts of voltage and acoustical energy are everyday being crushed into a binary reality that is becoming ever-increasingly intangible.

A lot of us working within the chrome and glass of digital audio are on a continuous quest to find devices that help us at least partially circumvent the ossification of the signal path. That has sent  a lot of us looking toward technologies that haven’t shrunken into chipsets yet; vacuum tubes, overbuilt transformers, and an all discreet signal path are coming back through time to save us from the ice age. All this pontificating to direct your attention to one of my favourite grime machines being made today. It’s hand built in the UK by a bunch of disgruntled punters who also feel the same way I feel about digital audio.

The company is called Thermionic Culture and the box is called the “Culture Vulture”. It has tubes, and transformers and it will always make what you send through it sound better. It can be really subtle or really heavy handed. The choice is yours.