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Cian Ciaran - Super Furry Animals
Cian Ciaran
Cian Ciaran
Cian Ciaran
Super Furry Animals

Cian Ciaran - Super Furry Animals

Musician, Producer
Cian Ciarán
Super Furry Animals

Cian Ciarán plays keyboards and other instruments with Super Furry Animals and has so far achieved an incredible four UK top ten albums and 19 Top-40 singles with them. He produces and mixes bands, has released three solo records and even won a Best Contemporary Music BAFTA Cyrmu Award. Nice work Cian!

Super Furry Animals, Paul McCartney, Manic Street Preachers, Kaiser Chiefs, Mogwai, Zefur Wolves, The Pale Blue Dots, Baby Queens, El Goodo, Acid Casuals, White Noise, BBC Now
Not much call for it, to be honest

After the realization that I wasn't going to be a footballer I joined a band playing the drums at 13. Then fell in love with acid house and stumbled my way into making music with machines. I started sampling with Yamaha keyboards, making 4-track tape loops and playing my beloved DX100. There wasn't much call for experimental electronic music in North Wales at the time and eventually I made my way south to Newport film school. That didn't last long as I left to join Super Furry Animals in 1995. Twenty years of touring and making music later I now help run Strangetown Records and the studio in Cardiff.

I remember we had a six-year hiatus in the band and when we came back it coincided with Wales making it to the Euros. We did a gig out in Toulouse before the Russia game and the coming together of two loves – football and music – was amazing.

Just being able to travel the world with the band has been a highlight. The first time we went to Japan was amazing, I didn't expect the country boys from north Wales would end up in Tokyo with that total culture shock – I thought 'how the hell did I end up here?!' Going to America was the same, gigging coast to coast for the tour was an eye opener, living on a bus for six weeks. Witnessing the poverty in the favelas around Rio was a real contrast in life, if makes you feel lucky when you see contrasts like that outside of your own. 

Could it be magic?

If I'm honest I don't have a formula or 'system' when it comes to making or recording music. The only constant is the DAW (Steinberg's Nuendo), my mics and the UAD Apollo 8p. I try different mic setups and switch it up regularly, sometimes due to circumstances or the band's sound or even just searching for that little bit of magic.

I'm always intrigued when I hear of new equipment or developments in technology and instantly want to try them out for myself. I think it's important not to get too stuck in your ways and so I wanted to try something different to my Soundelux U195 that I've had for 15 years. I got lazy and just didn't move on primarily because I liked the thing and didn't feel the need to, and also whenever I tried anything else, I didn't like the sound of it so always went back to using the Soundelux.

A recent session with the Origin was a welcome introduction, though, and it hasn't come off the mic stand since. It just sat in easily and I've not had that before. I just dropped it in and stayed with it. For example I was asked to fix a take from another session which was recorded with different mics, and I ended up rerecording the whole thing because it sounded better with the Aston. I've also started using them whilst recording new albums with Zefur Wolves and El Goodo, two bands that are on our label. The Origin really is solid looking and solid sounding – a welcomed addition to the family.

Music evolution and creation

With over 20 years experience as a recording artist, producer and label manager. My output has been primarily driven by my work as an artist but producing, engineering and remixing for others has only served to expand my knowledge and understanding. Collaborating and learning with others is an integral part of music evolution and creation.

If it's producing at the recording stage, engineering at the mix stage or a complete 'start to finish' production, this is something I can help with. My professional career spans three decades, varied and rich in influence my background stems from a love of all music and of all musical equipment. Having toured the world as a member of Super Furry Animals, "one of the most imaginative bands of our time” ( Billboard ), I now spend most of my time at my studio producing, mixing or composing. My musical education involved a lot of synthesizers but a recent composition performed by the BBC NOW Symphonic orchestra reflects how music never ceases to surprise or excite me.


"Favourite artists? I don't have any..."

Q. If you weren’t working in music what would you be doing?
A. “Trying to work in music!”

Q. What would your fantasy mic be?
A. “Argh!”

Q. What are the 4 words you’d chose to describe Aston, or your experience with the brand?
A. “Pretty f**kin' good mate.”

Q. What is the first song that made you cry?
A. “Apparently I walked into the kitchen when I was four crying, and my mum asked me why and I said I'd just heard this music which I played and it was The Pearl Fishes by Georges Bizet. I don't remember that but this is what I've been told by my mum!“


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