Singing with Words
Tips for pronunciation would be to look out for hard consonants and ‘s’ sounds, and to use your own voice for its attack. There are easier words than others - like anyone can sing the word ‘baby.’ The ‘a’ [ ∧ ] sound following the consonant ‘c’ or ‘k’ may be the most difficult, mainly found in words like cup and come. I wonder if this would be easier if you could shove the tube down your throat.
Many people come up to me at tours wanting to try the instrument out, but no one can pronounce the words at first. They all ask me how it is done. Roger Troutman would layer the choruses or his own voice in order to make the words stand out clearer, which I think is very clever. Also, the shape of your mouth makes a difference. It's almost similar to what your natural voice sounds like. My voice is somewhat muffled, so as expected, the words that come out through the talking modulator is similar to it.
Dog Soul K
I don't have a plan to record an album featuring the talking modulator yet, but I have three bands going on right now, and I play the talking modulator for solos on nice funk tunes. And I obviously play with it a lot on gigs. I feel the talking modulator is such a trademark sound for Roger Troutman that I sometimes don't know what sort of tunes to make. I'd want to do something similar to what Roger did, but I wouldn't want to copy him. So I usually end up tweeking the tune instead of the words.
My solo album, Dog Soul K, wasn't an album featuring the talking modulator but a result of a request for my solo album. At that time, I didn't have many songs in stock, so it was more composing and recording as you go. I wish I had more time, but I knew if it was going to be my solo album, talking modulator must take a role in it.
After listening to Manhattan Transfer's chorus version of a jazz tune, I decided to record 5 tracks with the talking modulator and the result is the tune GET SET GO!. The album features many professional musicians as well as non-professionals, and most of the recordings were done through live instruments. Guest musicians range from vocalist NORA, bassist and singer Greneth, and musicians from Amazons who I got acquainted through tours with Toshinobu Kubota.
I have been using Steinberg Nuendo for as long as I remember. I use both software and hardware for synths but I can't do without Sequential Circuits Prophet 5 and Moog. My clients have had the trend of sending Pro Tools data recently, so I have added Pro Tools and MacBook Pro for its mobility. But like I said, my main system is Nuendo, since I'm so used to it now. I started from the multi-track tape recording generation, and have played on many different gears, such as the Synclavier for Toshinobu's recordings in New York. When I went from analog to digital, I had some concern about its quality, but I still remember being profoundly amazed with the punch in and punch out technology. I think musicians nowadays are so lucky to have what they have.
Big fan of GF WORKS.JP
I visit the GF WORKS.JP website quite often. I wasn't too crazy to find out what sort of driver Roger Troutman was using, but I am really impressed in how much research has been done. It has helped me greatly. I also use the GF WORKS 1823M Complete Bundle. It has good volume and is very similar to Maxon. The tube isn't too soft or too hard and it is perfect for recordings as well.
About Yoichiro Kakizaki :
Producer, arranger, composer, pianist/keyboard player and is also one of the few professional talkbox players in Japan. His career started as a support musician for Takao Kisugi, and then joined Mother Earth, the backing band for Toshinobu Kubota. As a producer/arranger, he has worked with CHEMISTRY, Yuki Koyanagi, Ken Hirai, Aya Ueto, Sowelu, Toshinori Yonekura, Tatsuya Ishii, Jumpei Shiina, 20th Century and Kinki Kids, and have been recorded on albums with Ken Hirai, Masayoshi Yamazaki, Suga Shikao, Toshihiko Tahara, Miho Nakayama and Mie Shimizu. Recent activities include tours with Toho Shinki and KREVA.
Official Blog blogs.yahoo.co.jp/dogsoul_k
Photo : Yoichiro Kakizaki