Ark Analog – The WL14 Interview

Purveyors of: Sweet synth-based disco dance-pop
File Next To: Little Dragon, Giorgio Moroder, late night fun
Playing #WL14 Sunday, February 16 @ Sonic Boom Music (Annex location – 3:00pm start)

Ark Analog is Dan Werb (Woodhands) and Maylee Todd (Maylee Todd). They combine old vintage synthesizers with sequencer and samplers to create something that is both classic and fresh. This duo definitely likes to have fun with their tunes, and the results are memorable and catchy. With an EP out in January, and a full length on the horizon, Ark Analog are definitely a band to watch in 2014. Andy Dewar caught up with Dan and Maylee for their thoughts on gear and their plans for the year.

On your Twitter page, you describe Ark Analog as “Dance music. Loads of gear.” What is your favourite piece of gear right now?

Dan: I am really loving the Roland Super Jupiter. It’s one of the first analog/digital hybrids and looks like the world’s least user-friendly VCR. But as soon as you hear it, you’re taken right back to the late ’80s and that great Wham!-style synth work. Oofh. Big fan.

Maylee: My favourite piece of gear is the Roland MKS-07 — it’s like having three Juno-106s and a 707 drum machine all rolled into one.

With an EP out and some early 2014 shows already announced, are there any plans to get a full-length out in the near future?

Yes! We have more than enough songs for a full-length and are working with Jeremy Greenspan (Junior Boys) to get them all mixed.

Maylee, you seem to be taking on a number of projects recently, between your band, your solo work (Maloo), and Ark Analog. How do you keep each project distinct?

One way is that they’re all different genres of music — but more importantly, I use different gear for each project, both for composing and for performance. And having different collaborators for each brings different parts of my creativity out.

Dan, you seem to love old analog gear/equipment. Has this always been the case?

Ya. I feel like everybody else, I’m on a computer way too much of the day. So I’ve always wanted to get back to more tactile ways of making art. Analog synths give me that outlet. That being said, I’m definitely starting to delve into the software synth world. It’s actually pretty incredible what people are giving away for free these days…

With Dan using more analog, and Maylee using more digital equipment, is Ark Analog trying to find a happy harmony between old and new? Or is that just how it happened to work out?

I think our styles have merged in terms of analog and digital because we both feel comfortable with lots of different equipment. That being said, for this project Maylee does more sample-based and effects-based programming and Dan does more synth sequencing and drum programming. So it’s actually pretty complementary. When we play live, we also really try to merge our two rigs as much and we think it gets pretty fucking cool…

With so many acts playing WL14, who are each of you most excited to see, or play with, and why?

We are big fans of Phedre and Weaves – two great bands that bring lots of intensity and are making outsider pop music. And Colin Stetson, because he makes music that sounds like he’s using loads of gear but is only using his beautiful chest cavity.

Ark Analog plays #WL14 in-store event Sunday, February 16 @ Sonic Boom Music (Annex location – 3:00pm start).