Couleurves – Mathieu Lalonde

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

Make Noise Morphagene varispeed knob

Morphagene’s varispeed knob! I’ve got a lot of great feeling knobs, but this one is the only one that has this nice colour window. I used this module a lot lately and I never got bored of that intimate light show. It’s immediate, fun and incredibly inspiring.

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

A square of Eurorack

My first modular setup is as close to perfection as I got with a piece of gear. It went through a few phases, but it’s stayed as it was when it got in that wooden case for years. It’s very limited compared to my Palette setup, but it’s what makes it perfect. It’s an incredibly fun mono synth with a ton of tricks up its sleeves. 

There’s a few things that I’d change still. I had this case built and I asked for a deep bottom section. I didn’t know what I’d put in it at the time, so it’s deep enough to accomodate any module. I think the deepest one in there is the Disting. It’s way deeper than it needs to be which makes it bigger and heavier than I’d like. I also temporarily swapped my uVCAII for a ModDemix. It was a mistake and the uVCAII will come back in its right place. Don’t mess with a perfectly good setup.

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

Elektron Digitone and eurorack

I haven’t toured yet, but I settled on a live setup this past summer. I went and recorded a live version of douzaine with that setup and I found it to be very fun. The Digitone takes care of the sequencing and of the key sounds, while the modular adds another analog voice on top. My guitar is being fed in the Morphagene for some live looping/mangling. 

I also don’t take gear on holidays. Either that vacation time is used to record stuff or it’s used for some time off. I either bring everything or I bring nothing. No half-measures!

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

Tascam Porta-02ii

I don’t own an iOS device, but I’ve been very interested in both Gauss Field Looper and Flip. I’ve been looking for a cheap and immediate way to record ideas. A sketch book of some sorts. I’d love for some kind of device which would run these apps, but with a better physical I/O integration. I’d get rid of the touch screen as well, I don’t like those on music things. The OP1 fits in that sketchbook territory, but I did get to try it and I found out that it’s not exactly my cup of tea.

I’d also like to have a clean and efficient way to record tape loops. I sometimes want to use them on a track, but I switch plans as it takes a bit of time to get right. I’d use a digital version if it did the exact same thing. Messy and dusty places don’t go well with magnetic tape.

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

Yes! Many actually. I cheaped out on my first and only mic stand. I bought a very small kick drum one as I only wanted to record my amp. At its lowest, it sits too high to record an amp that’s on the ground. I have to prop the amp on something to make it work. It’s also too small to record acoustic guitars, I need to get a chair for it and it puts me in a weird position. I borrowed one from my brother (thanks Nicolas!) and I haven’t used this one in a while. I sometimes use my Zoom H4n to record amps as it’s easier than using this mic stand.

Life’s too short for a short mic stand

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

Definitely the Korg Monologue. It’s heavily featured on two releases of mine and it’s been used on many demos as well. I’m still doing the Monologue + looper jams, the last one being my 37th one. I love it very much and I hope it’ll stay with me for ever.

Korg Monologue

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

I’d get a decent looper pedal. I used a garbage one for so long and it ruined many early recordings I did. They’re great to experiment with if you’re on a budget but I tried to save a few jams and it’s just too messy. I had the chance to use many great loopers from Electro-Harmonix (22500, 45000, 95000) over the years and I realize now that one of those would have made everything so much smoother.

EHX 22500

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

Tascam

Tascam Porta02 MKII. The power cord I have is a foot long, the headphone knob is scratchy and it hurts my ears when it moves, it uses RCA cables for the output, etc. There’s so many things I don’t like about it, but it’s still the only running tape machine I have. Tape loops became pretty much necessary for my workflow and I can’t see this one going away soon.

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


I recently shared the secret fuzz I found hidden in my Optomix. Running the audio signal through the strike input (or through the CTRL input for a different flavour) crunches the signal in a weird and pleasing way. Messing with the knobs alters the tone as well. It has a nice bit-crush/gated fuzz type of sound. It’s surprising for a module that’s known for its smooth and organic character.


Artist or Band name?

Couleurves

Genre?

Ambient/New age

Selfie?

Couleurves

Where are you from?

Curently living in Montréal, Québec! I’m originally from the surrounding countryside.

How did you get into music?

I played guitar when I was around 14 years old, but I quit as my brother got way better than I did and I felt discouraged. I didn’t practice so that didn’t help.

Records like Plantasia and Oxygene piqued my interest in late high school. I got hooked on that whole thing when I bought a Volca Keys in college. I got into the music that people like Jogging House and R Beny did back then and jumped straight from the Volca to my first modular setup.

What still drives you to make music?

Finding new sounds and trying new things. I dug deep in Sounds of the Dawn‘s YouTube channel over the last year and now I’m really excited to try a new direction. The mixer is the newest addition to the setup and it makes everything fun and easier to handle.

Right now, I’m excited to work with more acoustic instruments. I’m trying to distance myself from sequences to keep it organic and free-flowing.

How do you most often start a new track?

It starts with a riff or with a single loop. It usually flows pretty easily after the first part is layed down. If the rest doesn’t follow, it’s just not meant to be.

How do you know when a track is finished?

I don’t know! I stop working on a track when I can’t add anything else to it or if it feels done. I almost never rework half-finished things. It’s very spontaneous!

Show us your current studio

Couleurves ome studio
Couleurves home studio recorder
Couleurves home studio floor and pedal board
Couleurves studio desk
Couleurves guitars
Couleurves mixer


Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

I’ve been told to just show up. You can’t do something good if you don’t do anything. Just being there, without any idea of what to do, is a great start. 

“I have no idea where this will lead us, but I have a definite feeling it will be a place both wonderful and strange.”
― Dale Cooper

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

I self-released fils and douzaine over the last few months. They’re available on Bandcamp, on my YouTube channel as well as on a few streaming sites. I also recorded a live session featuring tracks from douzaine which can be watched on my YouTube channel! 

I’m currently working on a new album which, I hope, should be out next year. https://couleurves.bandcamp.com/

I’ll be posting a few behind-the-scenes on Instagram until then! https://www.instagram.com/couleurves


[Editor: Do you have a favorite tip, trick or way of working with any of the gear from this interview?
Then throw us a comment below…
]


Shipwreck Detective – Dev Bhat

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

I love the knobs on Chase Bliss pedals. They have responsive, precise dialing and feel durable.

Chase Bliss Mood

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

The Empress Effects Zoia is beautiful and versatile when it comes to sound and design. It’s a studio and performance mainstay for me. It’s nearly perfect, however the tweaking of effects is not as immediate as on a dedicated effect pedal. I’d also love to get weirder with the ins/outs, like routing an fx send to an external loop of other effects and then back in. But that’s a small trade-off for what the pedal is already capable of — which is a lot.

Empress Effects Zoia

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

I don’t spend much time making music when traveling, but I once took the OP-1 on holiday, and it was the perfect tool for creating little sketches inspired by the moment or the day. I treated it like an audio travel journal. If I’d had the Zoia at the time, I’d have also loved to bring that.

Teenage Engineering OP-1 and Empress Effects Zoia

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

I’m not very familiar with software. I used Reason for production many years ago when I was first getting into electronic music composition, and the detailed graphic interface had a lot to do with why I eventually became more interested in hardware. On the flip side, if there were a software version of the Chase Bliss Mood (or some kind of similarly playful granular/sampling effect), I’d definitely be interested in exploring it. The only software I use these days is Logic to record.

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

I don’t get attached to most gear, but I regretted selling my Moog Sub 37 a few years ago. I tried to fill the hole it left with a Matriarch, but the Matriarch could not have been more different. I recently reunited with the Sub 37, and the Matriarch is up for sale. 

Moog Sub37 and Matriarch

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

The OP-1 has played a major role in a lot of the music that I’ve released in the past couple years. Its digital tape opens up so many possibilities for texture and looping. I like to record directly to the OP-1 tape, experiment with the tape speed, and process more when I find something I like. I’ve also used my pedalboard to create most of the sounds that eventually end up on the OP-1 tape. I treat it like an independent sampler.

Teenage Engineering OP-1, Empress Effects Zoia and a Tascam Porta-03
Moog and FX Pedalboard friends

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

I don’t think I would change anything gear-wise, but I do wish I had had a better understanding of what I wanted to create. Now that I know which textures and atmospheres I want to convey, I can better figure out which instruments are best suited for that sound. Then again, I wouldn’t have figured that out any other way than through trial and error. My very first synth was an Alesis Micron, bought from a second-hand instrument shop in Santa Cruz. I don’t have that synth anymore and probably wouldn’t use it now, but I love what I learned from it. I feel that way about most gear: each piece of gear teaches me something even if I don’t end up keeping it.

[Editor: I feel exactly the same way. Sometimes I even think that buying a new piece of gear is like borrowing the musical-brain from a gear-maker. Using a great piece of gear really feels like a conversation]

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

I thought this would be a tough question until I looked over at my Octatrack Mkii. It’s a pain in the ass, and I love it. I purchased it thinking I’d use it as a super powerful looper or for chopping guitar samples to use in my band. Instead I use it as an advanced, MIDI-powered mixer that can do stereo looping and some light DJ effects. It’s a kind of hub for my jams that I can’t imagine not having. 

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

That method of using the Octatrack as a mixer comes straight from Enrique Martinez. His videos completely re-contextualized the instrument for me. Thinking about the Octatrack in terms of tangible use cases made it far less intimidating.

Elektron Octatrack

Artist or Band name?

Shipwreck Detective

Genre?

Ambient downtempo drone stuff

Selfie?

Dev Bhat aka. Shipwreck Detective

Where are you from?

San Francisco

How did you get into music?

My first instrument was the trumpet, but discovering rock, especially metal, punk, and industrial music, as a teenager was transformative. Music videos were unashamedly a big part of this. The sound blew my mind, and seeing musicians interact with their instruments and each other also changed the way I interpreted that sound. It looked a lot more fun and expressive than what I’d been doing (sitting and playing old symphonic music in the school band). So I took guitar lessons for a little while and eventually taught myself bass and drums. I just wanted to be in bands and play shows. That’s still all I want. 

What drives you to make music?

A combination of expression and exploration. I want to express the way I feel on the inside through sound and texture. I have a hard time understanding myself most of the time, and exploring sound feels the same as exploring my own thoughts and feelings. Sometimes it’s warm and soothing. Other times it’s noisy and confusing. I love music because it doesn’t have to have words; there doesn’t need to be an explanation. It can just be. 

How do you most often start a new track?

How I’m feeling informs the overall tone. Then I establish an atmosphere and sense of place that the track is happening within. I build everything from a base texture like a synth drone, guitar loop, field recording, or maybe a percussive noise (I’m also a drummer, so sometimes I’ll start with beats before melodies).

How do you know a track is finished?

A track is done when it matches the atmosphere in my head and when I feel like I’ve challenged my own conventions at least a little bit. 

Show us your current studio

Shipwreck Detective Studio
Shipwreck Detective Studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

The phrase “keep it simple, stupid” has become an ethos for how I make music. I appreciate art that has a minimalist, uncomplicated, or even un-finished element to it. Not to say I don’t appreciate complexity, but there’s a potent energy when something is done quick and dirty—using only what was necessary—and then left that way. It preserves the raw emotion that too much polish can destroy. 

Promote your latest thing

My most recent thing as Shipwreck Detective is a long-form streamed performance that I did for a small group called Man vs. Machine. The audio for that is at shipwreckdetective.bandcamp.com

I’ve also been making music with a new band, Grimoires, and look forward to releasing some songs with them soon.

[Editor: Dev also does a lovely instagram @ShipwreckDetective]


[Editor: Do you have a favorite tip, trick or way of working with any of the gear from this interview?
Then throw us a comment below…
]


Ikosoveta – Synthalicous Funiture

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

Moog Sub37

What immediately comes to mind is the cutoff knob on the Moog Sub 37. Not very original, but I love the responsiveness of it, I use the 37 on almost every recording, and I am always modulating it by hand while recording. It’s truly just a very satisfying turn and the warmth that comes from it gets me every time.

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

Roland MC101

The Roland MC-101 is a terribly fun device to work with. I have been only using that thing for the past month to produce Instagram videos while my home studio was in a transitional phase. I love how this device functions, the size and portability is great however, not being able to jump projects while performing is pretty disappointing. I’ve only played a handful of “shows” in my day, mostly when I was younger, but I solely performed on the Korg Electribe EMX-1. It was my first production station, so anything that comes close to EMX-1’s workflow is going to feel ‘almost perfect’. The MC-101 feels like a more updated, compact version of the EMX. Now that I am typing this out, I feel as though the EMX is the proper response to this question. Both have their quirks and work kind of similarly in my opinion. I do think it would be funny to play a show with only the MC-101 only on AA batteries and have the ability to switch projects seamlessly.

Korg Electribe EMX

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

My last large trip, I took the Digitone, Digitakt, and the Volca Drum. This was a pretty enjoyable setup however the sounds on the Volca are lacking a bit on the low end. Maybe the next trip that will be supplemented with the Roland TR-8S, which also isn’t my favorite device sound wise, but I do love the workflow of it. 

Digitakt and Digitone

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

I wish there was a plugin version of my Korg KP3. I run my mixer’s master through the KP3 and usually process sounds individually on the fly when recording. Most of the time I use it for the glitchy stutters and reverbs just to add a little variation to recordings. Sometimes when I am mixing tracks away from the studio I do wish I could add a bit more. I realize there are other far superior processing VSTs that can handle this, but I prefer the crudeness of the KP3 and the touchpad surface is very entertaining. There’s no software that I would want to be hardware, because I don’t really use VSTs. Generally, I don’t like being in the DAW so there are no VSTs that could even capture my attention long enough to invest enough time in. 

Korg Kaoss Pad KP3+

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

The only thing I regret buying is the Arturia Rackbrute 6U. I wanted to get into modular gear so I purchased one and filled it with some gear until I could diversify it a bit more however, I had some power cycling issues with the Make Noise Morphagene. I was informed by the company and other people on Instagram that this is a common issue. I really wasn’t willing to constantly be flipping the power switch on and off simply to get one module to work. I also realized that I made more use out of the Moog DFAM and Mother32, so I decided to purchase the Subharmonicon and just replace the Rackbrute with the 3 tier Moog Semi-modular rack. 

Moog DFAM, Subharmonicon, Mother-32 and a sneaky Lyra-8

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

Percussion has always piqued my interest so I would have to say the Roland TR8-S has inspired me the most over the past year or so. There’s nothing super spectacular about it, it just has a really easy workflow and I love punching random rhythms into it, hitting play, and then constructing synth voices around that. That’s pretty much how most of the tracks are made. I did however recently acquire a DSI Tempest, so I am hoping to get more familiarized with that device and devote a bit more energy to that piece when mapping out songs. 

Roland TR8-S

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

I would immediately get a nice drum machine such as the Tempest along with a solid Moog as well. At the beginning I tried to supplement those higher fidelity options with cheaper pieces and ended up purchasing more as a result of that to find the sounds I was searching for. If possible, I believe the move is to save up for a few higher end pieces, instead of cheaper devices with weak builds and lacking synth engines. I also didn’t expect to get this into synthesizers though, so when I began making short videos on gear I was only looking for unrefined devices to just make quick songs on. But if one day I need to get rid of all of this, I would probably just keep the Tempest and the Matriarch… or something along those lines.

Dave Smith Tempest
Moog Matriarch

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

Everything that has annoyed me I have gotten rid of almost immediately, especially all of the devices I have received broken (which has been a lot). The setup needs to be easily accessible so that tracks can be created in a matter of minutes if necessary. The only somewhat ‘annoying’ thing is the sequencer on the Sub37. I really dislike that sequencer. Luckily, that was remedied when Novation sent me the Launchpad Pro to try out. If you have a Sub37, I highly recommend pairing it with the Launchpad Pro. 

Novation Launchpad Pro

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

The retrigger function on the Digitakt definitely changed the way I approach sampling a bit. Anything that randomizes patches or samples in an effortless manner will always catch my attention. The best part of electronic music is letting the machines take control of the song. 

Elektron Digitakt

EDIT (Hindsight): 

Upon looking back at these questions I have noticed that a lot of big pieces I wrote about have been replaced or are in the process of being replaced. These pieces include the MC101, Matriarch, Digitakt, Tempest, and the Launchpad. There’s a lot more that has been moved out of here, but those were unmentioned previously. 

A few things that have entered the studio that I have been enjoying as of late are the Tascam Model 24, Polyend Tracker, Polyend/Dreadbox Medusa, Roland MC 707, Novation Afx Station and Peak. I have been trying to size down quite a bit as a result of tentative future plans. The goal is to have a somewhat sizable and versatile studio that may load into a few separate road cases, if mapped out correctly. Another goal I have set for myself has been becoming more efficient in the producing and recording department hence the acquisition of the Model 24 and replacing the Tempest with an MC 707 and TR8S. Even though the Tempest is hard to part with, I noticed it immensely  slowing down my production speed, which I really can’t afford at the moment. The Tempest is such a powerful device, but it was consuming a lot of my studio time and limiting me from moving around the studio more than I would like. Generating tracks on a fairly quick basis is something that I really value. Maybe one day a Tempest or Rytm will cycle their way into the studio, but as for right now I need to focus on not becoming so attached to devices and the fluidity of a home studio. 


Artist or Band name?

Ikoseveta 

Genre?

Electronica

Selfie?

Ikoseveta

Where are you from?

Middle America

How did you get into music?

My family had encouraged me to take guitar lessons when I was 8 years old. I pursued that until my guitar teacher got arthritis when I was 16. At that point I decided to move on to electronic music by purchasing a Microkorg and the EMX-1 mainly because Rou from Enter Shikari had those. 

What still drives you to make music?

I’m not sure, I am just drawn to producing sound by any means. It’s not a conscious effort, I like picking things up and seeing what they can produce. It’s more fun with synthesizers and drum machines though, especially through monitors with a subwoofer. I don’t see myself as a musician or producer, I am more of a hobbyist. I am fortunate enough to have collected some nice gear and I see them more along the lines of having nice furniture. It is something to have in the room for you to enjoy on a daily basis. These devices just happen to produce noises that are very pleasing to me. 

How do you most often start a new track?

Any random sequence I pull up on a drum machine. 

How do you know when a track is finished?

I don’t know what constitutes as finished. I don’t put out much music anyways, most of it is either deleted or just stored in random external hard drives. If on the off chance I decide to put something out I try to finish it as soon as possible and deem it finished when I am tired of listening to it. 

Show us your current studio

Ikoseveta’s home studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

I don’t think I have ever received creative advice because I have never really actively seeked it nor have I seriously pursued music. There is that cliche saying that you hear musicians reference in interviews about ‘doing it for yourself’ and whatnot. I think that is the right approach. Music does not have to be for monetary or social value. It can be practical like riding a bike or working out, something you do on a daily basis that you enjoy or something to keep your mind focused. I produce my favorite sounds around 3am when I am about to shut everything down after making 5-7 songs prior to that. So I guess not caring about what is produced or what happens to it and ‘doing it for yourself’ is the move for me. 

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

I have a pretty strict schedule of posting daily beatmaking/performance videos on Instagram and weekly videos on YouTube (different content from Instagram). All of my releases are also on all streaming platforms. I will provide all links below.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ikoseveta/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCit-UuOFYPtdx44cjIaPTUg 

Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/ikoseveta/1455868222 

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0EAqN6YKRxw7Hfu0UkTAAC?si=kWR9aO7ITBu3evjm0208jg 


[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…
]