West Hollywood, California, July xx, 2023 — Since the
late 1980s, producer, composer and
multi-instrumentalist Anthony J Resta has parlayed his
leftfield recording and remixing techniques into a string
of RIAA Platinum and Gold awards while working with
artists such as Duran Duran, Elton John, Collective
Soul, Megadeth, Guster and Perry Farrell. Once
described by Duran Duran’s Simon LeBon as “mad” (in
a good way), Resta has never met an innovative piece
of electronic gear or novel digital tool that he couldn’t
put to good use on his productions, which also include a long list of film score work.
“I like sounds that make people go, ‘What’s that?!’” says
Resta, who grew up listening to Frank Zappa, Genesis,
Yes and classical composers such as Bartok and
Stravinsky. He started out recording samples, beats and
weird guitar soundscapes, going on to release projects
under the name Ajax Ray O’Vaque, including a poetry and
electronics album inspired by William Burroughs and the
Beats. A longtime fan of analog recording tools, he has
also been open to the potential for plug-ins and soft synths
to take his productions in new directions. One particular
plug-in really caught his ear: “From the first time I tried
Polyverse’s I Wish plug-in I was immediately hooked,” he
says. “I’m always looking for something that makes me go,
Over the years, Resta would link various devices together to warp and transform the sounds of the instruments he was recording. But with Polyverse software, he says, he can get unique and unexpected results almost immediately. “They’re one of my favorite companies. All their plug-ins make sounds very quickly that are super useful and musical. But they don’t sound like everything else — that’s a key point,” he stresses.
For Resta, it’s all about coming up with sound design and textures that no one, including himself, has heard before. “I like to mix things up. I like guitar sounds that don’t sound like a guitar or a synth. I like to have some very organic things or something that sounds like an alien from another planet. In a nutshell, that’s my whole schtick.”
Resta started out playing piano and flute, soon adding guitar and drums before turning his attention to programming drum machines and MIDI sequencing. He got his big break when a cassette of his debut project, an experimental music and spoken word album, found its way into the Duran Duran camp. “They said, ‘This sounds better than the record we’ve been working on for six months.’ They sent me a track to mix,” he says, “and it led to us working on about 30 songs over the next six or seven years.”
Over the past seven years he has been building his portfolio as a composer, operating out of his George Augspurger-designed studio in Laurel Canyon. On one recent project, he says,
the director of a sci-fi film he was scoring requested a “crazy dubstep track” for one scene.
Previously, Resta might have gone down a rabbit hole, tweaking synth modules for hours to create some new unworldly sounds or sitting at a sequencer programming a complex rhythm track. But with Supermodal’s array of filters, resonance and modulation modes available to him, Resta was building the track in next to no time.
“I can take almost any preset in Supermodal and in a matter of five minutes have something that’s just ridiculously cool. You don’t have to chase your tail for hours to find the right thing,” he says. “It’s super useful on the surface, but also, when you dig deeper and deeper, you keep finding little trinkets.
So with Supermodal I was able to take simple-sounding bass tracks from Arturia synths and make them do crazy things with LFOs, fast triplets and changing. I couldn’t have done that track without Supermodal — and the director loved it.”
Resta also likes to run his guitar parts through Supermodal, he reports. “I’ll have a 100 percent wet version and then find a place in the mix for it in a transition or a build, just to create that other dimension,” he says. The plug-in offers a wealth of controls that allow him to color the sound: “They have so many ‘crayons’ — high pass, low pass, band pass, band reject; all these crazy filters that you can string together in unusual ways.”
Unlike some software products, he continues, Polyverse’s presets are very usable. “The presets are incredible. You can start from something and go from there. You can even learn how it works just by studying the presets.
With a lot of companies, you buy a plug-in and the presets are horrible; they’re useless. Whoever is doing Polyverse presets makes stuff super useful right out of the box, and that’s a huge thing.”
Increasingly focused on composing music for film and television, Resta will turn his hand to anything, writing a country song one week and penning a dubstep track the next. “I really am diverse,” he says. “It keeps me busy and it keeps it interesting, because I do tend to get bored.
That’s why I keep buying guitar pedals!” Resta still runs his instruments through modular synths, too, but there’s always room for Polyverse, he says. “I use Polyverse plug-ins somewhere in almost every production.