I use my Mac for making music

TV and radio performer Adam Buxton uses GarageBand to record his latest album.

MacFormat: What’s your favourite Mac?
Adam Buxton: I love my MacBook Pro, and I run everything off it when doing gigs. I try and be as compact and mobile as possible – I cycle everywhere, even taking the bike on the train, so it’s perfect for me.

MF: What’s the idea behind the new Adam and Joe album?
AB: Song Wars was a thing we did on our BBC 6Music show about three years ago. It’s Joe and me doing songs on a theme suggested by our listeners. We’d play them on the show and our listeners decided which one they liked best. With Volume 1 we included every song, but this time round we were approached to do a really nice album that’s available on vinyl and make it a physical thing that exists, as well as being on iTunes.

MF: And you were inspired by Macs and GarageBand?
AB: I got a new Mac in 2007 and started playing around in GarageBand. I’d never really used it before, then one afternoon I found there was a load of jingles in there as well as all the loops, so I just plugged in a mike and started freeform singing over one of these jingles. Inspired by that, and the fact that all the loops are copyright free, I realised we could just put these on our radio show.

MF: Did you plug in real instruments as well?
AB: You quickly become aware of how much you can do in GarageBand. You can really go to town and you start discovering all the different amp settings and the effects. I plug in a keyboard a lot, and play around with that and also go into the loops themselves and sometimes edit them. Very quickly we started getting quite ambitious and ended up spending ages on the songs.

MF: Did you make Song Wars 2 entirely in GarageBand?
AB: We didn’t use GarageBand for everything – sometimes we started in GarageBand, but then built the track up in Logic or Pro Tools. But the thing about Logic and Pro Tools is that they’re so high-end that you just get overwhelmed. There’s too much you can do, really. The lovely thing about GarageBand is that it’s a more limited palette, which makes it more direct and exciting. Even then you can spend ages listening to one type of drum sound or going through all the loops for World Music, and you realise the afternoon has suddenly ended and you haven’t done anything. ●


This interview originally appeared in issue 230 of MacFormat, the UK’s best selling Apple magazine.
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