Ski Oakenfull Reinvents Classic Sounds with the Rhodes V8 Pro

Musician, producer, and educator Ski Oakenfull, a celebrated figure in the electronic music landscape and a long-time Rhodes aficionado, has fully embraced the Rhodes V8 Pro plug-in. As the first official virtual instrument from Rhodes, the V8 Series not only captures the quintessential sound of the iconic electromechanical piano but also enhances it with modern features designed to meet the evolving demands of today’s music producers.

Ski Oakenfull’s musical journey has been marked by a longstanding partnership with the Rhodes piano, from crafting early demos as a founding member of the seminal acid jazz band K Creative to shaping the sound of the UK’s acid jazz scene. His experience with the Rhodes piano has not only influenced genre-blending music but also defined his role as a pioneer in the field. 

​The integration of the Rhodes V8 Pro plug-in into Ski Oakenfull’s toolkit has enhanced his ability to seamlessly blend the iconic Rhodes sound with modern production techniques. As the Head of Education at Point Blank Music School, and in anticipation of a major reunion with the iconic band Galliano, Ski actively inspires the next generation of producers by demonstrating the potential of combining classic sounds with contemporary technology.

Modern Soundscapes With the V8
​Ski Oakenfull’s enthusiasm for the Rhodes V8 Pro plug-in is evident as he discusses its impact on his music creation process. “The V8 has inspired me to start tracks just like my original Stage 88 Mk1 did, sparking a drive to explore and experiment,” he explains. He is particularly impressed by the plug-in’s built-in effects, which allow for rapid sound manipulation through filtering, distortion, chorus, and auto-pan. “The ability to quickly adjust the sound and create and save my own presets enhances my flow and ensures that my creative process is never slowed down,” Ski adds.

Further enhancing his ability to replicate the feel of a physical Rhodes, the V8 Pro’s ‘Setup’ view offers detailed per-note control, allowing Ski to tailor each note’s timbre, damping, tuning, and volume. “The keyboard action on the physical Rhodes has always been integral to its feel. With the parameters in Setup view paired with a good controller, you can get really close to replicating the physical Rhodes playing experience,” he notes. This level of customization enables him to achieve a nuanced expression that closely mirrors the dynamic
​response of the traditional instrument, thus merging the classic Rhodes essence with modern digital flexibility.

​With an upcoming tour with Galliano and a solo album in the works, Ski plans to integrate the V8 into his live setup. ‘I’ll definitely be using it on my next solo album, which is fully underway. I’m looking forward to playing some solos with it and featuring it as much as possible alongside physical instruments,’ he explains. His approach underscores a commitment to blending traditional sounds with innovative technology.

Reimagining Classics: The Remake of “Fifths”
​The decision to remake the classic track “Fifths” using the Rhodes V8 plug-in reflects Ski Oakenfull’s innovative spirit and his deep connection with the track’s roots. “The whole process was very serendipitous,” Ski recounts. He had been planning to reinterpret “Fifths” for live performance and had already transitioned the original track for this new setup when the V8 plug-in was released. The timing was perfect, as the track’s original inspiration from Herbie Hancock and the Rhodes piano made the V8 plug-in an ideal tool to fully realize his vision. With the plug-in, Ski was able to meticulously recreate all the original Mk1 Rhodes sounds, infusing the remake with a fresh yet authentic spirit. This convergence of past and present can be reheard with its digital reissue by Columbia France.

Check out the Rhodes V8 Series today.


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