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Junkie XL Gear Guide: The Synths of Deadpool

Published: Wed March 09, 2016  News Feed

On a new video, Junkie XL reveals more about the synths he used on the Deadpool film soundtrack! Time to appreciate some seriously cool gear...

Junkie XL & Deadpool hanging out...

Tom Holkenborg A.K.A. Junkie XL, is quickly establishing himself as one of the top film music composers in Hollywood, thanks to his soundtracks for films such as Mad Max: Fury Road and, more recently, Deadpool.  As any music enthusiast who've watched the film will agree, the music is one of its strongest points, harking back to those classic 80's sounds from masters such as John Carpenter, Brad Fiedel and Giorgio Moroder:

On a recent video, Holkenborg shows a bit of his studio and explains where some of his sounds came from. And yes - if while watching Deadpool you inexplicably experienced some Michael Jackson flashbacks, don't worry - you're not going crazy... the synth sound of 'Beat It' was just one of the retro elements Junkie XL threw in the mix!

Time fro some serious synth love, here...


Here's a quick look at some of the synths used by Junkie XL for the Deadpool soundtrack, as well as other gear he uses and what you can find at Dolphin Music if you wish to create similar sounds.

The main theme for Deadpool was developed around a pulsating analogue synth sound, inspired by stuff such as Giorgio Moroder's intro for  the Donna Summer hit, 'I Feel Love'. Holkenborg used a ARP 2600 modular synth clone, and a step sequencer. For similar results, you can try a Korg ARP Odyssey and SQ-1 sequencer - a perfect combination for this type of retro sound!

As explained in the video, Holkenborg also used the same classic Synclavier digital synth sound that is heard on Michael Jackson's classic 'Beat It' song.

Another recognizable 80's sound in the soundtrack comes courtesy of a rare Yamaha DX-5, the precursor to the hugely popular DX-7. For similar results, you need a FM synth such as the new Yamaha Montage - but the little Yamaha Reface DX can be a very satisfying choice, too!

Other retro choices used for the soundtrack include a Roland JD-800, Roland Jupiter 6 and his Oberheim OB-XA, the "Van Halen" synth (ps: if you're looking for great Oberheim sounds, the Arturia Minilab Black Edition comes bundled with the Oberheim SEM V plugin, besides others!)

But it's not all retro in Junkie XL's world -  an important synth for the Deadpool score was the amazing Roland Jupiter-80, which has some very lush sounds:

Roland Jupiter 80

Another new synthesizer in Holkenborg's repertoire is the Roland JD-XA Hybrid Synthesizer,  one of the most versatile and powerful new synths around. Like the Jupiter-80, it's a new classic which holds its own next to vintage models.

When mixing his score, he useds a bunch of vintage rack effects such as a Korg DRV-3000 and a Korg A-1. Today, a top alternative would be the Korg SDD-3000 delay.

Other gear on Junkie XL's studio includes loads of vintage drum-machines such as the Oberheim DX and Yamaha RX7, Moog Minimoog and Korg MS-20. Plus, lots (and we mean really, really lots!) of analogue modular synths - a whole wall of those... including many obscure and custom made ones.

Junkie XL wall of synths...and Deadpool

Holkenborg loves patching and appreciates the beauty of modular synths - he says it's impossible to recreate some of the sounds he create, because when he moves on to different sets, there's no way to recall them! His tip, of course, is that you should keep recording when you're experimenting with the sounds...

Mad Max: Fury Road Guitar

As we mentioned, Junkie XL also did the soundtrack for last year's Mad Max: Fury Road film. For this, he used an Orange Thunderverb 200 amp, which he said gives him a really solid sound. He used a Fulltone Full-Drive 2 and a Fulltone Fat Boost. His guitars of choice were a 1974 Gibson SG and a Gibson Les Paul, tuned to Drop Down C.

Finally, his main recording software is the Steinberg Cubase 8.


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