It sits on my amp and I punch it when I'm bored

My tech: Jennifer Rodger talks to Primal Scream's Andrew Innes about his Electro-Harmonix Super Space Drum
Click to follow
The Independent Culture
Bowoo - it's best described as the sound which goes before the "ring my bell" chorus on Anita Ward's 1970s disco hit.

There are quite a lot of different sounds on it and so it can get really crazy - just take in the fact that Lee Perry and a lot of reggae musicians used them.

What I liked about the company was that they were a bunch of spaced-out Californians. Electro-Harmonix produced a number of boxes, including one called the Golden Throat and another called Soul Creature, which is like a wah-wah peddle. The Electric Mistress was a flanger. They were off their heads, basically, and enjoyed a mad five years of experimentation before going bankrupt.

The products are effects boxes, and all use the same actual box with the same knobs, each with a different name and sound on it.

The box is really easy to use. It has four big knobs, one for the start frequency, the stop frequency, plus the modulation, which changes the length of the note and the depth of the modulation. It's also got a pad so you can hit it with drum sticks.

It's pretty self-evident. You just hit it and it makes a noise. With the Super Space I usually have to be restrained from using it in every track. It's on most of Primal Scream's records - "Don't Fight It Feel It", "Star" - like I have said, I have to be restrained.

I use it live all the time. It's been responsible for blowing up various PAs, because it has quite a heavy bass frequency. It blew up the guitar amp last time we were out. It sits on top of my amp and I can punch it. If you were a real drummer you could play properly, but I play it when I feel like making a noise or am getting bored. You can find good bits. I tend to go daft with it live. In between songs I hit it all the time and do stupid things. You just have to guess it.

There are no downsides. I just wish they would reissue them, they have done electro-harmonic stuff, but not this. This is probably good for us because no one else can get it. But it's old, and most bits of equipment don't like going out on tour. I can't take old synthesisers as they fall to bits after two nights. Same with this, you have got to be a bit careful - it doesn't like being thrown in the back of van. It's a bit delicate, like us lot.

I have never seen another one. My friend got it in a junk shop for a fiver and I borrowed it 10 years ago. Andrew Weatherall claimed to have one as a drummer in a punk band. He said it was all he used. The boxes are worth a lot of money. I don't know who else makes stuff like this.

I also use the Echoplexs quite a lot. It's probably the best tape echo machine from the Seventies. But, again, it can't be taken on the road because it'll break down straight away. They have a great overloaded tape sound on them, it's dirty. Digital is good but too clean, and sometimes we want the rough edges.

That's the problem with most of music in Eighties, and now people are going back to more dirty sounds. They even did research and found that people's ears like distortion and the harmonics it produces.

I have just got a new computer. The box of instructions read like a chemistry book and it doesn't understand being punched. I have four big boxes of instructions.

You can do a lot of good stuff with Pro Tools, many an interesting sound. Allegedly it's easy to work with, but I have only had it three days. I ended up being the one to learn how to use it out of the band. I got the short straw.

I have always had a reel-to-reel machine to make music with, and been in a bedroom with a microphone and tape recorder. I have learnt like that.

I have also worked with great producers and if can't learn something from them then shouldn't be making music.

Comments