1. Favourite knob/fader/switch on a piece of gear and why?
The ‘Scene’ knob on my Yamaha AN200 is a beauty. It allows you to program two unique patches and fade between these creating countless more possibilities on-the-fly.
2. Do you have an ‘almost’ perfect bit of kit? What would you change?
The EMU XL7 Command Station is really powerful under the hood, but if only it had sampling capabilities and a bigger screen!
3. What setup do you bring on holiday/tour/commute etc.?
I take my iPad because of how convenient it is. I’m able to store so many interesting apps on there and I can do some cool things with just that one device.
4. What software do you wish was hardware and vice versa?
It would be amazing to have Reaktor in the hardware world. Crazy set of tools in there and I’ve only really seen about half of what’s available.
5. Is there anything you regret selling… or regret buying?
I wish I still had my Yamaha VSS30 sampler keyboard, I definitely didn’t appreciate it like I would now 10 years later.
[Editor: I have exactly the same story with a near mint VSS-30. Now the 2nd hand prices are ridiculous! Might as well get an Organelle M]
6. What gear has inspired you to produce the most music?
The Novation Circuit is always within hand’s reach in my studio and is such a useful sketch pad and ideas machine, even when used to sequence external gear.
7. If you had to start over, what would you get first?
A Monome Norns, that thing looks like a very capable rectangle of delight.
8. What’s the most annoying piece of gear you have, that you just can’t live without?
My old 2 input sound card by Roland. It’s very limited (though it can do 96 kHz) but I have to use it every time I wanna make music!
9. Most surprising tip/trick/technique that you’ve discovered about a bit of kit?
Okay this is a juicy one, load a custom wavetable of individual sounds into the Korg Volca Sample instead of single 1-shot samples. This opens up a whole new world of fun.
[Editor: Ah! Because the loop start point is sequence automatable…. Nice.
Dammit, I sold my Volca Sample]
Artist or Band name?
My Panda Shall Fly.
Where are you from?
Born in Kandy, Sri Lanka.
How did you get into music?
I didn’t come from a musical family or have any formal music education. I think somehow my desire to express myself manifested in making noise. And I’ve never looked back…
What still drives you to make music?
I love sound and exploring its properties. There is so much to do with it, so many different ways to manipulate and control frequencies. My curiosity to keep learning is what drives me the most, and I’m not sure this will ever stop.
How do you most often start a new track?
I do not have a default method at all. It could be anything, usually the instrument or device I begin with has a big influence on the direction I will then go in. Certainly sitting in front of a piano will give you a different result to opening up a blank project in Pro Tools!
How do you know when a track is finished?
I don’t know! I struggle with this often, help!
[Editor: Plenty of strategies from the other artist who are interviewed. I asked this question, exactly because I struggle with it too. So much that I’m almost starting to think it’s the central problem in the artistic process. Completion]
Show us your current studio >
Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?
Promote your latest thing… Go ahead, throw us a link.
A sample pack of processed alien speech sounds and heavy sci-fi machinery surenseneviratne.bandcamp.com
[Editor: If you dig weird noise… and who doens’t dig weird noise? Then I might add that Suren’s Instagram is well worth a visit (don’t worry, he doesn’t use the fish-eye lens quite so much over there). It’s got lots of circuit bending-experiments and fun-gear-mods… instagram.com/mypandashallfly.]