Anna-Karin Berglund – Deeply Diving Droner

1. Favourite knob/fader/switch on a piece of gear and why?

New Korg MS-20

All of the knobs, faders, switches and wires of my Korg MS-20. I got the remake (couldn’t find a decent vintage one) just recently and it is my absolute favorite gear to play around with a the moment. The MS-20 paired with the modern classic Strymon Big Sky, set to 50 sec decay, and I’m home. Not a real answer to this question, but close enough.

2. Do you have an ‘almost’ perfect bit of kit? What would you change?

I imagine that my Elektron Digitakt is almost perfect, if I hade the patience to actually really understand it, cause I think it is a really cool machine and that it can do so much more than what I use it for. I am quarantining with it, so I’m hoping it will turn out to be time well spent in the end.

Elektron Digitakt

3. What setup do you bring on holiday/tour/commute etc.?

This is probably a boring answer for this interview, but I usually just bring my laptop and a pair of good headphones and start rummaging around in Logic to get something going. I always have a lot of unfinished projects that I can piece together and make a new one of, it’s kind of like working with a collage. Pitch a few things here, add some reverb or weird effects there, and usually that’s enough to make a drone to get started from.

MacBook and Headphones

4. What software do you wish was hardware and vice versa?

I have the complete Waves plugin for Logic and I use it extensively when mixing and for processing sounds, both field recordings and hardware recordings. It would have been cool to have some of those effects as hardware too, for performing live and the tactile feel of turning the knobs as I record.

5. Is there anything you regret selling… or regret buying?

I am pretty strict when buying gear and I always do some pretty extensive research before buying something. This means that I buy few things and sell even fewer and also rarely regret anything. I did buy the aforementioned Digitakt on a whim last summer and it is not until these quarantine days, that I’ve picked it up and feel like it may be a great buy, if I get to know it more.

[Editor: I had the same thing with the Digitakt. It felt like a really great and deep machine. But I seldom got around to using it… Until I stuck a rechargeable battery in it. Now I use it all the time on the couch. My laziness knows no bounds!]

6. What gear has inspired you to produce the most music?

I was going for a second tour in China with a folk pop band that I was playing with ages ago. In that band I played a Nord Electro 2. The first time we went to China I brought the 73 keys Nord with me and instantly regretted it, since we were traveling by train across the country for four weeks and together with my luggage, this was a logistical nightmare. When we went back the next year I bought a Nord Rack 2X and the smallest MIDI-keyboard I could find, just to not get stuck on train platforms and elevators in rush hour commute with a monster keyboard flight case. Little did I know then that this Nord Rack was the love of my life, when I got into experimental art music and ambient a few years later. Most of my first release under my own name, a digital EP and my debut album is made with this little red machine. Combined with a shimmer reverb, slow attack, long release and filter sweeps – this is the perfect ambient gear!

Nord Rack 2X

7. If you had to start over, what would you get first?

I don’t know if would change anything really. All I know is, that I feel like I am late in the game and that I should have started earlier. It would have been cool to be a modular genius though, but kind of hard to start with i guess.

8. What’s the most annoying piece of gear you have, that you just can’t live without?

The Moog Mother 32 has a super annoying and tedious learning curve and it is an intricate labyrinth, when it comes to navigating the sequencer, but when I take the time and have patience there’s some really cool stuff coming out of it.

Moog Mother 32

9. What is the most surprising tip/trick/techniques that you’ve discovered about a bit of kit?

Nothing that comes to mind. Mostly trying to get tips and tricks from everywhere else, scavenging the back allies of different forums and keeping the gems.


Artist or Band name?

AKB

Genre?

Ambient

Selfie?

Where are you from?

Gävle, Sweden.

How did you get into music?

I started out playing the clarinet at 6 years old in various marching bands and symphonic quartets. I remember wanting to quit during my teen years, cause this was definitely not the coolest way to spend evenings, weekends and summers of course. But when high school came along, I applied for the music program and ended up studying jazz. I met a lot of great people during that time and played in a few bands, one of which I spent a decade touring the world with. It is not until the last five or six years that I have been producing my own stuff and getting really into all things synthesizer.

What still drives you to make music?

Even though I started playing music a such a young age and have in periods made my living out of playing and going on tour, I never thought of it as a need or a drive to keep going and playing. It was always the context that was important; being on stage, going on tour, seeing new cities, going on an adventure. And when the time was up with the band I played with, I realized I’d miss it too much and was forced, more or less, to make music of my own to be able to keep going. It’s the adrenaline of doing something new, pushing the boundaries for what I think I am capable of doing and then working hard to complete it. Whether it is to conquer a new machine, a new plug-in or composing a track. It’s become part of my identity and I think I wouldn’t know who I am if I stopped at this point.

How do you most often start a new track?

I usually start around ten different Logic projects and start to either aimlessly search my software synths or equally aimlessly making noises on my gear, recording bits and pieces with no pre-existing thoughts. After a while I usually either reach a deadline for some project I’ve agreed to, a remix that needs to be finished or something else and then I start to piece all of these different Logic projects together. It’s a lengthy process and it’s not really ideal, but I feel like if I set out to make something ”real” from the get go, I usually tend to end up in a creative limbo.

How do you know when a track is finished?

When the deadline is up and it needs to be done. Otherwise it won’t be.

Show us your current studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

To not work in a linear way when making a track. It’s better to just start somewhere and explore from there, don’t try and write a song from start to finish, make it random. And also don’t be afraid to get theoretical when making music, especially electronic music. There is a lot to be found in classical theories for composing which can be inspirational, and also surprisingly fun.

Promote your latest thing… Go ahead, throw us a link.

My debut album Marianergraven was released on February 28th and it was a huge milestone for me to be able to release it as an actual physical album, on vinyl. Immersive, melodic, oceanic ambient inspired by the Pacific abyss and its unexplored secrets!

Get it here:

AKB-marianergraven-lp-limited-coloured-edition-incl-7

or on bandcamp here:

https://lamourrecords.bandcamp.com/album/marianergraven

And follow me on instagram here:

https://www.instagram.com/akberglund/

[Editor: Do you have any tips, tricks or fun techniques with any of the gear mentioned in this interview? Leave a comment]


Published by Martin

Martin

Is a composer of ambient lofi beats with soundscapes on top, also sometimes a writer of alt-folk songs with a unique lyrical shock.

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