Who are you and what do you do? How long have you been a working musician?

My name is Elliot Jay Stocks and most people probably know me as a web / print designer, or as the creator of typography magazine 8 Faces. But I use the monicker 'Sourhaze' for all of my musical output. Sadly, music is very much a side project for me; I don't dedicate nearly as much time to it as I'd like. I started playing guitar when I was 15 and leapt into writing, recording, and production almost straight away. These days I do a lot of electronic stuff and I've left behind the vocal side of things after realising that my strength is in instrumental music. In other words: I can't sing! I've been self-releasing music on and off since I was about 19, but it's only really in the last couple of years — when I revived the Sourhaze project with the release of EP1 — that my music 'grew up'.

What hardware are you using?

I find myself using less and less hardware these days as I slowly move over to doing a lot straight in the DAW. I use an Alesis Micron for MIDI input — which in a way is a bit of a shame, because it's such a decent synth — and a couple of Yamaha guitars for, well, guitars! I get everything into my MacBook Pro using a Firewire 410. My newest bit of kit is the Ableton / Akai APC40 for controlling Live. I haven't used it a great deal yet and I don't do live shows (yet), but it's been great for quickly throwing together ideas. It suddenly made me realise why Live's Session view is so good, and I love how you can so easily control plugins with it.

What software are you using?

Ableton Live 8 is my DAW, although I'm the first to admit that I don't really use it that much in the way it was intended; i.e.: I use the Timeline view way more than I use the Session view. Although, that said, that's changing a bit now that I've got the APC40. I try not to use a ridiculous amount of plugins. The temptation's always there, but I prefer a leaner toolset. Generally, for software synths, I use Native Instruments' Komplete synths. For guitar processing, I use IK Multimedia's Amplitube apps. The software instruments I'm in love with are the built-for-live instruments from Soniccouture: they strike an amazing balance between being easy to use but deep enough if you really want to toy with them. And they're just incredible, realistic-sounding instruments.

What would be your dream setup?

I think my dream setup is less about hardware and software, and more about space. I'd really love to have a proper studio where I can lock myself away and not have it also be my work space or anything else. I made a move towards this by getting a Mac that would only be used for music (i.e.: separate from my design stuff), but it ended up being the computer mainly used by the Mrs.! ;)

Where do you shop for and discover music?

I buy a lot of music — and discover new artists — from Boomkat's weekly newsletter. That, and heaps of recommendations from friends. I don't listen to the radio, but my fiancée does, and when something vaguely good appears, she passes it on. She and I are always introducing each other to new music.

Any highlights from your latest musical discoveries?

I recently got the Permafrost / Nunatak / Teimo trilogy by Thomas Köner, which is some of the best dark ambient stuff I've heard in a while. Forest Swords' Rattling Cage EP is great, like a dark, dubby incarnation of Ennio Morricone. The Distressor EP from Whirr is brilliant in a My Bloody Valentine kind of way. They come dangerously close to being a rip-off, but they still have their own charm.

What's brewing in your studio?

Right now it's more about what's brewing in my mind. EP2 has been heavily delayed because I grossly underestimated the free time I'd have to work on music once I started the magazine. I've been stabbing away at it every now and then, but realistically I haven't been able to have a decent writing / recording / mixing session now for several months. My plan is to take most of October off, away from client work, and then crank out EP2. A lot of it is already done, but I'll probably throw a lot away and start again. I'm going to score a short film being made by my best friend at around that time, so that'll be a good impetus to just get on with it. The material created for the score will likely find its way —in some form — onto EP2.

Any production tips & tricks you'd like to share?

I don't consider myself to be a particularly good producer and I'm learning all the time, so I'm not sure my advice would necessarily be the best! I'd rather give a tip about time: that is, if you're a musician and music is essentially your side project, secondary to your day job, I've found the best way to get stuff done is not to find the odd hour here and there, but to set aside proper time to write, record, and mix. So instead of doing an hour every week or so, save up those hours and then take a week or two off every few months. Of course, it's a little easier for me to say that, having my own business, but it's such a great way to get stuff done, dedicating exclusive time to music and nothing else.

Where can we find you on the web?

Sourhaze / Twitter /