1. Favourite knob/fader/switch on a piece of gear and why?
My favorite control is always the lag or delay time control on a chorus, vibrato, or flanger pedal. I think the Caroline Guitar Co Somersault specifically does it really well, but a lot of pedals have the control now. Changing the delay time makes a huge difference to the tone, and I’m really surprised that pedals only recently started giving this control.
2. Do you have an ‘almost’ perfect bit of kit? What would you change?
Maybe this is a non-answer, but I honestly can’t think of one. Sure, all my gear has some flaw or limitation, but rarely is it something that gets in the way of working with it. I usually see those limitations as a way of guiding how I work with it, which usually helps me break out of my routine. For example, Digitone could have an output per track, but see question 9 for how I work around that.
3. What setup do you bring on holiday/tour/commute etc.?
I’ve been searching for the right thing for a while. It’s a guitar when I can, but when I’m flying I bring something else. First it was an OP-1, then an OP-Z, and now I think the Model:Cycles is the perfect travel synth for me.
4. What software do you wish was hardware and vice versa?
I really wish the SoundToys plugins, specifically Primal Tap, Echoboy, and Little Plate were available as hardware. Those sound incredible, and I’d love to have them on my pedalboard (I’m aware these are modeled on hardwarem but I love their dsp, but I’d love a Prime Time 93).
There are tons of pedals I wish were software, but only if they 100% nailed the sound. For example, the Fairfield Circuitry Shallow Water is an amazing lofi vibrato that saturates in the perfect way, so having that to easily put on mix busses would be incredible.
5. Is there anything you regret selling… or regret buying?
I’m a bit of a hoarder, especially when it comes to gear, so I find it hard to sell something unless I really don’t need it. There are a few pedals I’ve sold and miss, but usually I have some pedal that can do something similar. My biggest “regret” would be selling my Sub 37 which I loved. I only sold it because I had no space for it, but I miss it a lot and can’t recreate some of those thick, distorted duophonic sounds.
[Editor: I just sold my Sub37 for the same reason. No space. I miss the sounds, but I also feel strangely free]
6. What gear has inspired you to produce the most music?
I’ve recently discovered that what inspires me the most is actually minimal setups. I’ll usually pair one or two pedals with one synth and see what happens. That gets me out of my head thinking about perfect separation of each track or things like that, so I can jump into working on whatever ideas come to me.
7. If you had to start over, what would you get first?
A nice guitar. I’ve played cheap guitars for so long, so when I finally got a nice one (a Bilt Relevator LS) I was blown away. From there, I’d probably get a few pedals (probably Red Panda Tensor and Smallsound/Bigsound Mini), obviously some kind of amp, and an affordable groovebox like a Circuit or Model:Cycles
8. What’s the most annoying piece of gear you have, that you just can’t live without?
The old Line 6 DL4 is the best looper I’ve ever used, but they’re also notorious for randomly breaking for no reason. And they don’t use the standard pedal power supply. But I truly love it.
9. Most surprising tip/trick/technique that you’ve discovered about a bit of gear?
Not sure if this is really surprising, but I’ve recently started doing it – on any groovebox that lets you pan the tracks, you can pan the rhythmic tracks to one output and the melodic tracks to another, and run the melodic output through any effects that you don’t want messing up the rhythm. This helps me record videos with my Digitone or Model:Cycles into a pedal, live in one take with just a two-track interface.
Artist or Band name?
Collector//Emitter on youtube for all my pedal demos and synth videos, and Collector for my music releases.
Kinda all over the place… ambient, glitchy, electronic and/or guitar-based
Where are you from?
Originally from Philadelphia, now based in Brooklyn.
How did you get into music?
When I was a kid I loved listening to music, so I wanted to play it. Then I wanted to learn how to record, so I did that and played in bands for a while. Now I am enjoying music as a creative outlet on my own time, with no real motives beyond making music.
What still drives you to make music?
Making youtube videos keeps the muscle memory there for when I want to be creative. Working full-time in a music-related field and then wanting to make music in my free time can be tough, but having an objective and deadline helps keep me going.
How do you most often start a new track?
Maybe once a week, it depends on the week. I usually focus my creative drive on making videos, so weeks when I have extra drive or inspiration I might start 3 or 4 tracks.
How do you know when a track is finished?
I’m really bad about that… I usually struggle with completing things. I guess when I can listen through multiple times and enjoy it, it’s done.
Show us your current studio
(This is unfortunately the best picture I have, and I can’t take one at the moment because I left Brooklyn to stay with my parents while NY is still bad with covid)
Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?
“[The recording] was really noisy. I kind of liked it. That was the way it had to be. Then you stop worrying whether you should have made this decision or that about how things sounded, and just get down to the business of making songs” – Elliott Smith, Tape Op Winter 1997
Promote your latest thing… Go ahead, throw us a link.
My latest release will always be a pedal demo on youtube, since I post them once (or twice) weekly – https://youtube.com/c/collectoremitter
But my latest music release was an ambient thing with the Elektron Model:Cycles and Red Panda Particle V2 – https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/collector1/particles
[Editor: Do you have a favorite tip, trick or way of working with any of the gear from this interview?
Then throw a comment below…]