Chris Todd (Crazy P / Hot Toddy)
Who are you and what do you do? How long have you been a working musician?
My name’s Chris Todd. I’m one of the founding members of Crazy P, and also go under the guise of Hot Toddy for my solo productions.
I’ve been making music since the age of about 13, and doing it professionally for the last 14 years. I’m a full time musician and have been for the last 11 years.
What hardware are you using?
Nord Electro – Great for vintage keys such as Rhodes, organs, and Clavs. Very easy to use and has some great FX.
JUNO-106 and 60 – The Juno always gets used, great all around sounds, lush chorus FX which create the most gorgeous sounding pads.
Novation Bass Station – This was one of my first purchases years ago, and it’s still one of my favorite synths. Originally it was designed to be a cheaper alternative to a 303, but it has its own sound, great for bass and lead sounds.
Allen & Heath GS-R24 analog desk – Although I use a laptop and mix all of my productions internally on the computer, I love having an analog desk. We do a lot of live recording in Crazy P so it’s pretty essential for tracking drums etc. Also great to be able to have all my external keyboards plugged in.
Nord Lead 2 – Had this for years but it’s a proper work horse. Really intuitive to use, very hands on, lots of knobs. Very versatile synth and sounds pretty good considering it’s digital. I use it live in the Crazy P shows as well, and despite a few broken keys, it’s still going!
Minimoog Voyager – Probably our most expensive piece of kit, Jim (Crazy P’s keyboardist) uses it live in the band. Amazing warm bass, as far as mono analog synths go, they don’t get much better than this.
Godwin String Synth – Latest addition to our setup, brilliantly simple, you can get those retro Herbie Hancock style strings on this no problem!
What software are you using?
Mac Laptop running Logic Pro – The heart of the setup. Been using Logic for years and would be very hard to switch to something else now.
Waves plugins – Industry standard EQs, compressors, and other types of signal processing.
Korg Legacy collection – Really great emulations of classic Korg synths.
What would be your dream setup?
To be honest, if all our analog keyboards were in full working order, I’d be pretty happy. Maybe my dream set up would include a keyboard tech who lived in the cupboard!
Where do you shop for and discover music?
Best source of new music comes via friends. I’m lucky enough to know some talented folk and we do a lot of swaps. People like The Revenge, PBR Streetgang, Ron Basejam. Then it would be the promos I get sent. Occasionally I look at a few blog sites like Disco Delicious. My main online store is Juno. I’ve pretty much stopped going to physical stores to buy new music, mainly because most of them have closed! Still do a lot of second hand vinyl shopping though.
Any highlights from your latest musical discoveries?
Erdbeerschnitzel, a young lad from Germany. Became aware of him via his excellent “Tonight is Today is Tomorrow“, which was actually out a year or so ago but he’s worth mentioning because he has such a fresh, original sound. Recently got him to do a remix of my Hot Toddy track “Won’t Let Go“, it’s ace!
I’m gonna big up my friends PBR again, not sure when this is out but “The Downstroke” is an awesome slice of gritty future funk.
Also worth mentioning James Blake. I know he’s hardly a new discovery, but saw his show on the Park Stage at Glastonbury, just as the sun set, and it blew my head off. This guy is super talented, and is producing some of the most interesting music I’ve heard in a long time.
Other labels/artists I think are doing it at the moment include David August, Need Want, Wolf Music, Art Of Tones, Roberto Rodriguez, Kink and Neville Watson, Anthony Mansfield, Wolf and Lamb.
What’s brewing in your studio?
Not really been writing any new Hot Toddy stuff recently, but have been remixing a lot. Very recently remixed Crazy P’s 1st single “Open For Service“, which features a new bit of kit. The bassline was done on the excellent Spectrasonics Trillian Bass Module. This plug-in features fully sampled patches from pretty much every Analogue Keyboard you can think of, and because they’re samples, you’re getting the real deal, not just some emulation. It also features Electric and Acoustic Bass.
Any production tips & tricks you’d like to share?
Here’s a bit of general advice: listen to lots of music. This may sound too general or obvious but I can’t stress how important it is if you’re serious about making a career out of music as an artist or a producer. As a musician I make music based on my experience, which includes all the music I listen to. Now I’m not talking about ripping people off, it’s just that when I create music I’m sub-consciously drawing upon a repertoire of sounds which I’ve absorbed whilst listening.