Sneak Peek: Neon Indian on Synths and Robot Band Members

We Feature 'VEGA Intl. Night School' in our January issue. Preview the Interview Now!
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On October 16, Neon Indian released its third album, Vega Intl. Night School, which bandleader Alan Palomo calls "a collection of singles by a band that never existed." We call it a synth hipster's paradise. The band has evolved from basing songs around happy technological accidents to being masters of a past-meets-present musical alchemy. Plus they have beats and bass grooves you can bug-out to.

We'll feature our interview with Palomo in our January issue, and he doesn’t hold back about his love of music technology and specific experimentation that lead to some of his latest, greatest sounds and songs. For example, here's what he told us about getting the guitar solo on the new album's "Baby's Eyes."

“There’s this Korg MS20 trick where you can run a guitar or any signal into its external input processor,” Palomo divulges. “It takes the velocity and the pitch of whatever you’re feeding into it and applies it so it’s triggering both the envelope and the pitch. The envelope is controlling the filter so the harder we played the guitar the more the filter would open up and squelch. The guitar solo on ‘Baby Eyes’ felt too perfect as far as psych-rock sensibilities were concerned. So we un-muted the MS20 channel and it sounded insane so we blended the two. It’s hard to get those really expressive aspects when you’re just opening and closing a gate on an individual key. When you can combine the player’s sensibility with that approach then you really get a unique performance.”

We know you want to hear more of this vintage gear aficionado's revelations—all in good time. But we'll leave you with these videos from Neon Indian's recent CMJ show, where a hacked Microsoft Kinetic and some computer graphics magic that someone probably owes their soul for combined to create the amazing background visuals on one of Vega Intl. Night School's highlights, "The Glitzy Hive." 

And here Palomo talks about the relationship between artists and the makers of their tools.