What is your talkbox story?
Well, oddly enough I've been fascinated by synths and vocoders since I was something like 11 or 12. At the age of 11, I discovered funk music on the radio and it suddenly changed my life. But one thing that really struck me was that vocoding thing. Zapp songs were among the things I loved best and, like most people, I first thought that was vocoder, but it didn't really, completely sound like a vocoder. By then, there was no internet and very little dedicated music magazines or tv shows so I had to wait until I bought the album “Zapp V” to realize. The album's opening track was “I Play the Talkbox”. Then I knew what it was, but still didn't know what it looked like or how it was played. When the internet arrived, in the mid-90's, I was finally able to see a talkbox for the first time, and ordered my very first talkbox : the Jim Dunlop Heil Sound HT-1. That was in 1997.
I had been making music since 1990 and already owned some keyboards and a sampler and had been listening to so much tallkbox, I had already guessed what sound was involved and prepared my first sawtooth-based synth patch on my sampler, even before the talkbox arrived. The day I received it was one of the most beautiful days in my musical life! I immediately started a track with it, called “Keep It All Nite” and although my first attempts were pretty shy, this song has a special place in my heart. For some reasons, I didn't play it much for some time then a few years later, I decided it was time to get back to it and worked hard to improve my style and playing. That's when I decided to build my first custom talkbox because the sound of the Heil didn't satisfy me completely. Then came my talkbox forum, where I started sharing my knowledge with other fellow talkboxers, then I finally got the Holy Grail of talkboxes : the “Golden Throat” Talkbox…
In 2007, I had the chance to meet the whole Zapp band in Paris, after their concert. I had come to Paris for a studio talkbox session and had all my gear with me and at the end of the evening, Terry Troutman asked if he could borrow one of my DX100's for their London concert because his had blown up in Paris. I said “Yeah… No problem!” ;-) Also, I've a long-time Teddy Riley fan and my talkbox sound finally turns out to sound more like the one of Teddy Riley than Roger Troutman, although Roger will stay the talkbox god for ever.
The talkbox system.
Back in the day, my talkbox setup would be Heil talkbox, modified combo amp, sampler patch or Alesis QS-6 patch, and a dynamic microphone. Later, I “upgraded” to a custom talkbox, built around a Monacor KU-516 driver, and Yamaha DX100, which both helped improve my talkbox sound.
Today the setup is : Electro-Harmonix “Golden Throat” talkbox (once you've tried it, you can never go back…), Yamaha DX100 or Alesis ION, Crate Powerblock amp, MXL V67i electrostatic mic with Behringer tube pre-amp. It all goes into a Tascam FW-1082 audio interface and Cubase. I also own a Roland SVC-350 analog vocoder, just in case! ;-)
The Talkbox System:
- Talkbox: Electro-Harmonix “Golden Throat”
- Keyboard: DX100 or Alesis ION
- Power Amp: Crate Power Block
What do you think of GF WORKS web site?
I think GF WORKS is great. There have been many attempts of talkbox websites in the past. Most aborted or were not updated. And although some forums like TonyTalkbox and Cheezy's Talkbox (my forum) were of great help for talkbox newbies, something was missing. Something simple, yet technical, with a cool graphics design, where you don't get lost and get the whole idea in a few pages… That's GF Works!
Well, you have to know that for me, music has always been a “hobby”, so latest activities have been scarce but enjoyable.
I've been doing some collaborations with international rappers or singers, such as Q.T., Mr Criminal, Flendo, Makavelik, Sat L'Artificer, Double K.O… In january 2010, the people on my talkbox forum and I released the “Roger Revisited” project (www.rogerrevisited.com). I did some stuff for tv, as well. Of course, I have other projects but they are still secret ;-)
About mo'cheez :
mo'cheez is producer / Talkbox player. Mo'Cheez is a self-taught “home alone” musician that grew up with funk music and r&b. Fascinated by the vocoder as a kid, he finally fell in love with the talkbox which soon became his fetish instrument and the main speciality he's now known for. All tracks here were written, composed and performed by Mo'Cheez, but you will also find Mo'Cheez on various hip-hop and r&b productions throughout the world, as a featured talkbox artist.
My Space www.myspace.com/mocheez13
Photo : mo'cheez