Second Storey: 5 pieces of studio gear

Alec Storey, aka Second Storey, has been operating under the moniker since the release of his solo debut LP Double Divide. Released on Houndstooth, the album saw the artist formerly known as Al Tourettes work at the confluence of his electro roots and IDM, favouring complex rhythmic structures and emotive melodic phrases over an immediate need to drive a dance floor.

Having released music across labels like Aus Music, Sneaker Social Club, R&S Records and Apple Pips over the years, Storey’s latest effort sees him return to the Fabric-affiliated label with second LP Lucid Locations.

Inspired and written during his movements between the Suffolk countryside and London, as well as the effects of disorientation and recalibration, Storey channeled the disruptment towards his own creation, stating…”towards the end of my time in Suffolk there was the terrible news of Britain leaving the EU and also fabric was heinously closed down. This on top of me feeling somewhat isolated affected the music I was writing…I wrote 3 very angry tracks in the 3 days after the closing”.

Touching on bass, electro, techno, ambient and industrial, the ten-track LP sees Storey construct forward thinking dance music not limited by any genre, offering Storey’s most personal record to date and arguably one of Houndstooth’s most extensive offerings.

In celebration of the release, we asked Storey what is central to his writing process and to share his five most valued studio pieces for Lucid Locations.


1. Ableton


I’ve been using Ableton for over ten years now and still love it. It’s central to my writing process and sound in general and i’m constantly adapting how I use it. In the past i’ve used a lot more audio and sampler manipulation/ resampling within it, but chose to focus mainly on Synthesis on this album, so used it primarily as a midi sequencer.

2. Reaktor (Razor)


I make a lot of use out of one instrument in Reaktor in particular and it appears in some way on every track on Lucid Locations. Razor by Errorsmith (who i’m also a big fan of musically) is an additive synthesiser and I love it to bits. I’ve got to know it very well and am always surprised at the range of sounds i can get out of it.

3. Ableton Push 2


Used to sequence in real-time and provide control of the synths. I find it very intuitive to use and the majority of my tracks begin on the push in some way.

4. Roland SPD-SX


I use the SPD-SX when I play live triggering samples and so on, but I also use it as a midi controller to control drum machines. It allows me to use drum sticks, which obviously gives a totally different feel to using finger pads and was used on a large proportion of the drum parts. I rarely use step or piano roll input for my drums and prefer to get that initial input via playing in live.

5. Drum Spillage


I’m totally obsessed with this software drum machine. It allows you to craft synthetic drum sounds with minute precision and is a very powerful synthesiser in it’s own right, with loads of unique modulation options. I’ve got the Elektron Machine Drum and there are definite similarities between the two in this respect.

The Machine Drum has been a mainstay of my music for years but Drum Spillage has pretty much replaced it for now (I used it for the vast majority of the percussion and some of the bass tones and textures). I still use the MD when i’m playing live though and love everything Elektron make.

Second Storey’s Lucid Locations is out now on Houndstooth. Order it here

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