How Atlanta’s Demo Taped Uses Analog to Make Music

Music has been digitizing for decades, and it is unlikely to stop. Instead of a collection of vinyl records or cassettes, people have most of their music downloaded on their phones. The music-making process itself consists mainly of using digital instruments and workstations to produce and record music.

However, Atlanta artist Adam Alexander, also known as Demo Taped, has not entirely moved on from analog to digital. Analog sound itself provides a different listening experience than digital music. Though it is old, it is still widely utilized by musicians.

“Analog music represents the actual, continuous sound waves generated by the artists and their equipment,” according to the Tech Republic.

Alexander himself uses a variety of analog instruments in his music. Some of the gadgets he uses are not even instruments but different kinds of analog equipment to add some sort of effect or to sample.

“I think the first analog instrument I got was a Korg Rhythm 55 drum machine,” he said. “I have a Moog Mother 32, which I mostly use as a bass and lead. I’ve also got a reel-to-reel and a few tape machines that I run instruments through to get a warmer sound. I’ve also started experimenting with looping cassette tape.”

Analog instruments can provide a more genuine and nostalgic sound that digital instruments can’t replicate. Adam uses this to his advantage by using analog to provide some uniqueness to his songs.

“My favorite part of using analog instruments is how unpredictable they can be sometimes,” he said. “I like tape hiss and weird artifacts in the sound that make you do a double-take. There’s something really special about that.”

Though Alexander tries to include as many analog elements in his songs as he can, digital technology is still necessary when creating music. This makes his music a combination of analog and digital elements.

“I still produce using computers, mostly because it’s just quicker and more simple. I still use VSTs which are software instruments. But I try to use analog instruments as much as I can,” Alexander said. “I’ll use analog drums or bass and combine that with a software synth that’s playing a chord progression. My work is almost always a mix of analog and digital.”

Using analog seems like taking a step backward in music production considering the fact that most of the equipment used to make songs is outdated. However, Alexander believes it can only bring music-making forward.

“I think it’s important to go back in order to move forward,” Alexander said. “I think it’s great to know where we came from technologically.”

Overall, Alexander’s use of analog provides a unique listening experience to his music. His songs are layered with beautiful samples, swelling synths and topped off with tape hissing to add a bright and nostalgic vibe.

“His music is so unique because he’s got such a different voice than anyone else out there, and he really knows how to produce his own sound to make it stand out,” Iraida Sosa, a senior at Georgia State, said. “It’s definitely ahead of its time. It combines all the best things about pop, electronic and R&B.”