Tempe's Josh Gooday is obsessed: The 29-year-old collects and restores vintage analog synthesizers.
"I started going to law school and spending all of my loan money on buying synthesizers, and it just started to get out of control," Gooday says.
The habit eventually gave Gooday and his friends an unlikely creative outlet. Along with high school friends David Owens and Michael Freeland, the trio formed Vial of Sound, a new electronic group serving up retro rhythms, bleeping beats, and digital harmonies using synths manufactured between 1973 and 1984.
Gooday has since enlisted his wife, Kym, to help out with the visual aspect of the group's live performances, and now with a recently released five-track album, they are ready to make waves in the Valley's dance circuits.
"I got a Moog Prodigy first and then an Oberheim," Gooday says. "It was just going to be a little solo project, but eBay is addicting. As I got other people playing with me, it was always, 'Oh, he can play this; now I need to get something else.' You discover more things and it just gets nuts."
The all-synth setup includes a Mini-Moog, Oberheim OB-8, and an Arp 2600.
"The old technology is more limited than digital, but it just sounds way better," Gooday says. It's like comparing an old car to a new car. The old car doesn't have all of the nice features or anything but it has a nicer ride to it. And you can tweak it more."
"Typically, when we go into it, we're not really trying to do anything. The instruments are unique enough that we can just get in there and let it ride when we're writing," Owens says. "We're all over the board with what we listen to, but that hasn't had much effect on what we're trying to do [musically]. I think that's the point. We're not trying to do anything."
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"It's harder to sound like anybody, too, when you have all of the old gear because it's very limited in what it does, so you kind of have to go with the gear," Gooday says.
Because of the antiquated gear, they've had a hard time fitting in with other musicians. "It's hard to fit in with other bands because we don't play guitars, and we don't fit in with DJs because we don't have turntables, so we're kind of riding the line between dance club and rock music," Gooday says.
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"Mike says it's like electronic music through a rock mentality," Gooday says.
Bob Hoag at Flying Blanket described it the same way. Hoag produced, engineered, and mixed the self-titled debut at the Mesa studio. "We wrote all the songs, but he edited the drums and certain parts," Gooday says. "We wanted to go through him because he records analog with vintage gear and tape. And tape sounds fatter than just recording digitally through a computer."