Select – Sounds Soul Soothing

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

The best knob I know is the Cutoff of my Mother 32, its feedback is not even close to be equaled by any knob I own! In general, when I touch a synth, I try the Filter (Cutoff/Resonance). If the vibe is not here, the synth is not for me.

The Moogiest Knob known to humankind

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

I think u-he Diva is really huge, but it’s soooo CPU expansive! I wish I could load tons of Diva tracks for my Live session, but I can’t 🙁

U-He Diva

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

I always bring my OP-1 on holidays, but I never use it, because it’s the only time I do other things than music!

Teenage Engineering OP-1

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

I wish I could have a universal VST hardware, some sort of box on which we could load VSTs with generic knobs or something like that. I can’t even imagine making music without a computer if I can’t use VSTs.
And I really dream of a solid Korg Trident VST. I want to get the true Trident someday, but it’s a lot of money, so I’m waiting for the good Trident emulation.

Korg Trident

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

I bought the Behringer Deepmind 12D, and I quickly regretted it. The thing was completely soulless, it had no punch whatsoever, so I sold it.

Behringer Deepmind 12D

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

By far Ableton Live on my computer. If I had to keep one single thing to produce music: Ableton Live, even just with stock plugins, without VSTs. For real.

Ableton Live

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

Well, a computer with Ableton Live! Seriously, I always want to tell young producers to just stop buying gear! If you are not able to make something decent with a tool as powerful and simple as Ableton Live (or any DAW), you won’t with any piece of hardware. So stop with your GAS thing, and try to make actual music!

[Editor: I have to say, I kinda disagree. I always used to feel bad about GAS (gear aquisition syndrome)… but I’ve started to accept it. Even to the point of telling myself- “It’s fine. Buy a pedal. Make some music. Sell it again, whenever.” It’s all just… colors for a painter. Who are you really hurting? No need to feel bad about buying gear
But Benjamin also has a point too. So go ahead, make some tunes... and feel good]

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

The Doepfer A-190-5! It’s a simple midi to CV interface, but sometimes it completely freezes/bugs, and the thing has to be reloaded. So my whole modular has to be powered off. The real problem is that my live setup is based on the Expert Sleepers ES8 audio interface which is in the modular synth! So if I power off the synth, my whole setup is down, and Ableton output is offline… It’s kind of a big deal during live sets.

9. Most surprising tip/trick/technique that you’ve discovered about a bit of kit?

I think the most important trick I discovered is the ability to create sync tracks in every setup. Making a hard sync ping in a stereo channel is a very simple trick to do and it opens a large panel of possibilities, like playing with a Nintendo Switch and a modular in sync!

Nintendo Switch

Artist or Band name?

Select

Genre?

Electro

Selfie?

Benjamin aka. Select

Where are you from?

Paris, France.

How did you get into music?

I used to play some flute and piano when I was a kid, but I quickly gave up since I was way more hyped by video games!
I’ve always been more or less in computer music, since early 2000’s, I’ve been playing around with Fruity Loops, then Reason, then Live. But nothing serious.
Then I became a software engineer, and it was so boring, I wanted my life not to be that pointless anymore, so I started music production seriously when I was 30 (never too late).

[Editor: Whole-heartedly agree]

What still drives you to make music?

To be honest, I don’t really know. Music production is a lot of pain, I spend 99% of my time just complaining, suffering and finding myself completely useless. But, I don’t know why, I’m addicted to it. The 1% left is just pure happiness and it heals all the pain of the process!

How do you most often start a new track?

1. Open Ableton Live.
2. Load the crappiest synth (like, it has to be awful or extremely basic).
3. Try to write something catchy with it.
4. Try until something beautiful comes out.

This process forces me to actually write something I want to listen to before having any sound design research.
When I got my chord progression, I start to actually produce.

How do you know when a track is finished?

When I’m bored enough to stop!

Show us your current studio

Here it is (actually, it’s in the middle of my living room)

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

“You have to make every single sound special”.

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

I recently have been live for the Bpm Contest on ClubbingTV, so here’s me playing a 30 min DJ set with an APC40 controller and eurorack modular.

[Editor: Benjamin also has an instagram with some lovely visuals for his tasty tunes]

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