The Setup

Interview

What do people use to get stuff done?

Brad Sucks

Brad Sucks

Musician

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name's Brad and I write and record rock music as Brad Sucks. I was one of the first musicians to give my music away for free on the Internet. I have three records out: I Don't Know What I'm Doing (2003), Out of It (2008) and Guess Who's a Mess (2012). I'm also doing some music and voice for the animated series Bee & PuppyCat. I used to do a lot of web programming for money, but not anymore. It's nice.

What hardware do you use?

For recording: A 27" 500GB SSD iMac with a 17" monitor on the side and a Mac Matias Quiet Pro mechanical keyboard with a Logitech M510 mouse. My audio interface is a UAD Apollo Twin Duo, hooked up to Focal CMS 65 monitors and Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones.

Most of the time I record vocals and acoustic guitars using a Rode NT1000 microphone. For MIDI input I have an Akai MPK Mini mk1 on my desk, though I'm using my Ableton Push 2 more and more. My main guitars these days are a Gibson SGJ electric, a Norman B20 acoustic and Fender Precision Bass (all left-handed). Mobile recordings (mostly drums) are done with a busty old Dell Inspiron laptop running Windows 7 with a MOTU Ultralite-mk3 audio interface. But I think I'm gonna retire that soon.

I also just bought a QNAP TS-251 NAS because I've gotta get serious about my backup situation after a recent external hard drive failure.

For live shows: A Line 6 M9 Stompbox Modeler into a Fender Blues Junior and a Novation MiniNova for synth sounds. I play live with the same guitars I record with and I use a stereo-split second generation iPod Nano for backing tracks if it's a backing track kind of show. The iPod's left channel (with the backing tracks) goes to the PA, the right channel (with the click track) goes into a Shure P2R-H2 receiver for the drummer.

And what software?

For music, I use Ableton Live for jamming and sketching ideas and REAPER to edit and mix. I own Native Instruments' Komplete and some UAD plugins like the LA-2A compressor, EMT 140 plate reverb and the Neve 1073 Preamp & EQ. I like a lot of simple, fat virtual instruments and effects like NI's Monark and Lennar Digital's Sylenth1. I also love Valhalla's VintageVerb.

Other, mostly non-music software I use: CrashPlan, DropBox, Evernote w/ Alternote, MailPlane (Gmail client), trolCommander (fork of the muCommander file manager/FTP client), Spectacle (window manager), VLC, Zooom/2 (window manager), iTerm2, Little Snitch, Piezo (for recording audio from apps and webpages), Sequel Pro (MySQL client), Spark (hotkeys), Sublime Text (programming), Tweetbot, VMware Fusion (for Windows), xACT (for MP3 conversion) and probably more I'm forgetting.

What would be your dream setup?

I'm pretty content with what my setup can do right now. Mainly I'd like to stand more and stare at a computer screen less, as well as have a quality mobile recording/writing rig I could take anywhere. Getting an Ableton Push 2 is a move toward that and I'd like to see if I could do everything I need on a Macbook one day, but laptops have historically destroyed my arm and wrist.

Besides that? Access to every sample pack, every audio plugin, every type of instrument and microphone and unlimited UAD processing power. I want it all!

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