This week on the Journal, we sat down with Irish artist Ryan Vail to talk about his new album, creating a home studio, and his favourite gear.

Firstly, can you tell our readers a little about yourself and where you come from?

“My name is Ryan Vail. I’m based in Derry in the North of Ireland. I started producing over ten years ago. For 7 years of those years, I used only hardware. I don’t get tied down to a particular genre or scene. The main thing I guess, is I’m into Synths & Electronic music.”

You’ve announced a new album, entitled “Distorted Shadows” which is coming in April. Can you tell us about the process behind it and how long it took to complete?

“Distorted Shadows took me two years to make. It covers various electronic styles but is tied together by my sound I’m known for (lo-fi and melodic). During the recording process, I used upwards of 10 different synths, all from my studio (Juno 6, Elektron A4, ROLI seaboard etc). Various types of outboard units such as a UAD 1176 & SSL GL4000. For vocals, I used an SE Gemini 2 valve mic. The only plugin used was Sample Magic Boost on the master bus. It was all tracked and mixed in Logic Pro X.”

You’ve been working on an incredible home studio build, how’s it coming along?

“The studio’s been great so far. It’s only the first of three phases that I’ve planned for it. When you work in a studio daily you tend to adapt and change things about a lot. I now feel I’m ready to start the next part of the build after spending time in it.”


What’s the one piece of gear you couldn’t live without and why?

“I used the Octatrk a lot on this album to write and to perform on. It’s been a long road to learning how to really use it, but totally worth it. I literally couldn’t do without it now…”

You have an amazing live performance setup, where have you taken the show, and what have been some of your personal gig highlights?

“In the last year I’ve been everywhere from Dublin, London, Berlin & even Austin… highlights for me would be some of the Irish shows. The likes of Forbidden Fruit in Dublin & Celtronic in Derry definitely stand out..”

What advice do you offer up and coming musicians and performers who want to make it in the industry?

“I’d say just write what you want to write. Forget about what’s going on around you. The people that tend to break are the ones that stand out.”

Check out his new single below: