Joseph Holiday – Snakes Of Russia

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

Two way tie: my filter cutoff on my Moog Model D, and the one on the Roland SH101 because they are probably my 2 favorite filters of all time.

Moog Model D
Roland SH101

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

The Lyra 8. It’s absolutely brilliant…but I kind of wish it had more CV control, but I end up using it a lot with my euro rig so absolutely no complaints!

Lyra 8

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

I have a smaller skiff case that I like to bring with me sometimes…either that or a newer piece of gear that I want to go deep with and some headphones.

Small eurorack skiff

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

This is such a great question! Usually stuff that I wish were hardware actually IS hardware, just completely out of reach to me. I love the Arturia Synthi V, and it’s the closest I will probably get to an actual Synthi. Also the Waves Abbey Road Collection…I don’t think I will have access to those plates anytime soon haha. And the other way around…I just got an Overstayer Modular Channel which is incredible on its own as hardware…but being able to automate some of the parameters would be insane.

Overstayer Modular Channel

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

I have way too many string libraries.

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

Definitely my eurorack rig.

Eurorack setup

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

Ableton and a laptop.

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

My Roland RE201 Space Echo. I use it on almost every hardware synth I am tracking to some degree. It is easily the most temperamental piece of gear in here, and completely unpredictable, but I love it.

Roland Space Echo RE210

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

For a long time I never paid attention to the “external instrument in” on a lot of things like the Lyra and Model D. Now I use those all the time, sending kicks or something through them.


Artist or Band name?

Snakes of Russia

Genre? 

Dark electronic 

Selfie?

Snakes Of Russia

Where are you from? 

Born in NYC, raised in NJ, but I have been in LA for 20 years.

How did you get into music?

I’ve always been into music really, I started playing drums at 13 and then into electronic music shortly after when I discovered sampling.

What still drives you to make music?

It’s literally the only thing I can do well.

How do you most often start a new track?

I try to start something new every day…sometimes this will turn into a track..or a sample, preset, or just a fun experiment. I firmly believe there is no such thing as writers block. You just gotta show up. Write every day. 80% of that will be stuff you don’t use, but in that 20% there will be something, even a spark to a bigger idea. And in our world of electronic music, even in the ideas we don’t use…there is a cool patch, sound design element, chord progression or something to pull from so save all of that stuff and revisit it from time to time.

How do you know when a track is finished?

I am a firm believer in both deadlines and proper mastering, and those two work really well together. The day I start a mix, I schedule mastering a week or two out…so it has to be done. Then mix and revise, with usually with a day in between each revision (for perspective) until its feels good. Then I let it go. I learned a long time ago, you have to just walk away at some point…there is always something to tweak and it will drive you insane and you will never finish anything.

Show us your current studio

Snakes of Russia Studio
Snakes of Russia Studio
Knas Ekdahl Moisturizer
vocal booth
Snakes of Russia Studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

It’s a ridiculous one…”write drunk, edit sober”…I think it’s been incorrectly associated to Hemingway all these years. The way I interpret it is… just get it all out while it’s happening…then go back and refine it with fresh ears and perspective and fine tune things.

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

I’ve just released a 3 song single on Errorgrid called “Carried to California In A Swarm of Bees”. You can stream it or purchase with the link below! 

https://fanlink.to/Bees


Gard Osen – Tilde Elektriske

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

The Davies 1600 on my spring reverb drive/recovery box. It’s a clone of the large knobs used on the old buchla modules. Great size and grip. 

A sweet Davies 1600 perfect for a spring reverb

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

My Les Paul is my favorite instrument. It’s got a 50’s style round neck, which is just the best thing I ever played. It’s hard to keep in tune and makes weird ground noises sometimes, but I have no plans to change anything on it except the knobs which I switch out at least once a month.

Gibson Les Paul

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

This summer holiday I brought a mic, mixer, reverb, looper and a recorder. I’m staying at my parents house for a few weeks and there are a lot of instruments here, so I only brought “utilities”. 

TC Ditto X4 and an Shure SM57

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

I have a lot of digital recreations of classic compressors that would be great to have in real life. Of course they are all crazy expensive so that’s never gonna happen, but generally I wish I had more hardware compressors, both pedals and rack gear.

A crappy speaker

For software I would love a “crappy speaker” simulator type thing. Like a combination of eq, distortion, compression, noise and whatever else. Maybe with an overdrive or a “slash the speaker with a knife” option. 

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

I think both apply for my Lyra 8. I don’t really regret buying it, it’s great and sounds amazing, but I never found a way to use it in any of my setups. I was convinced it would be perfect for me, but I never really became friends with it. It’s been with me for a year now and I think it’s time to let it go soon, but I know I’ll regret selling it. Buying the wrong gear isn’t necessarily a bad thing, you’ll learn about what fits you and what doesn’t. 

Lyra-8

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

Loopers. Ditto x4 is my main one at the moment. 

TC Electronics Ditto X4

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

Guitar, amp and a DD-7, just like the first time around! 

Boss DD7

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

The entry level Acer I’ve been mixing on for the last 8 years. The amount of hardware errors and lack of processing power justified switching it out maybe 5 years ago, but I’ve made it a challenge for myself to keep old computers alive. I can spend money on more creative equipment and as long as it does not slow me down too much and I’m still outputting a fair amount of music, I’ll use whatever switches on. That said, I plan to build a proper production computer this fall. 

Acer PC

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

Relating to the previous question, mixing with very little resources teaches you a lot of tricks. E.g mixing vocals and music for one song in different project files. I do a hip hop project on the side with my friends and it’s just not possible on my crappy computer to mix all the tracks of a hip hop song in one project. What I do is mix in parallel in two different project files, so I do the beat in one project and the vocals in another. Once I have a rough mix of the vocals I export that as one track into the beat project, then do adjustments to the beat, export just the beat and put it in the vocal project, then do adjustments to vocals based on the new beat. And I go back and forth like that several times. 

Bonus: I just discovered a new stereo spread mode on my DD-7 after having owned it for maybe 15 years. 


Artist or Band name? 

Gard Osen 

Genre? 

Experimental and Ambient 

Selfie? 

Gard Osen

Where are you from? 

Bergen, Norway 

How did you get into music? 

Started with guitar when I was 13, playing rock. 

What still drives you to make music? 

The reasons to make stuff change all the time but I still get the same feelings now when I’m making something new as when I first started writing songs. 

How do you most often start a new track? 

Practically, it’s different every time. Sometimes it’s inspiration and sometimes it’s necessity. 

If a sound is inspiring, I start from that. If something just needs to be made, I usually come at it from a mixing perspective, probably starting with drums. 

How do you know when a track is finished? 

Depends on the project. I’m usually happy when there is no element in the mix that can distract you or take you out of the experience, and there is a distinct sound and atmosphere. 

If I do deep and long mixing processes it’s mostly for the learning experience, but that’s a luxury I rarely afford myself. 

Show us your current studio 

My 30m2 apartment functions as both workshop and recording studio. A lot of stuff gets packed up and down from storage boxes on a daily basis, so I don’t have a permanent setup. This is my current writing/playing stand: 

Gerd Olsens Studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard? 

Something that television creator Dan Harmon said in an interview really resonated with me. 

It’s about writing for television but it can definitely apply for music as well. He talks about how one source of procrastination can be that you have too high expectations of yourself and on which level you should be able to produce. Working a lot with music but creating very little output was definitely a problem for me for a long time and I think he hits on some great points that I have thought about a lot. 

Listen to it here: https://youtu.be/u6DDCA0GwU4?t=292 

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

Besides making music I also make music equipment under the name Tilde Elektriske Kretser. I’ve made a lot of guitar pedals, but the latest thing is the Fjærlett – an audio feedback instrument using reverb springs. Check it out here: 

https://tilde-elektriske.com/fjaerlett


Chris Petra – Ambient via metal & hiphop

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

Lyra 8

As of recently, the pitch knobs on the Lyra-8. They make the unit sound like it’s gearing up to combust, and they add such chaotic energy to whatever I’m working on. They’re also kind of destructive by nature since they’re nearly impossible to get back to the correct starting pitch without stopping what you’re doing and re-tuning. I both live in fear of and respect the pitch knobs on the Lyra-8.

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

I would say the Multivox Multi Echo MX-201 is about as close to perfect as any of my gear comes. It sounds fantastic, and the whole unit is so aesthetically pleasing to look at. If I could change anything about it, I would probably make it a bit smaller and lighter, as it dominates my workspace when I have it out (which is almost always). 

Multivox Multi Echo MX-201

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

OP-1, Koma Elektronik Field Kit FX, and a Zoom H4N are my go-to for when I’m away from my studio space. It’s a bit limiting, but like so many others, I really enjoy narrowing down my options sometimes. I’m also kind of obsessed with battery-powered gear, despite rarely being in a situation where I don’t have access to an outlet. 

OP-1, Koma Elektronik Field Kit FX, and a Zoom H4N

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

I really wish that Native Instrument’s Maschine was a stand-alone unit. I love the software, but lately, I’ve been spending a lot less time in front of the computer so I find myself using it less and less. I don’t know if NI would ever consider doing it since I imagine the production cost would skyrocket, but it would really be a dream come true for me.

Native Instrument’s Maschine

It would be pretty cool if there was software capable of emulating a tape loop accurately. There’s a lot of great tape emulators out there, but I’ve never come across anything that really captures the sound of a tape loop specifically.

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

I just sold my SP-404 a few weeks ago, and I’m already kind of wishing I hadn’t. I have to keep reminding myself that I love the idea of the SP-404, but in reality, I rarely found myself reaching for it.

Tascam PortaOne

I bought a broken Tascam PortaOne last year, and I totally regret it. To this day, I still have not figured out why it’s not working properly. I overpaid for it since at the time I was confident that all it needed was a belt change and some re-soldering, but I’m totally in over my head. 

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

I would say I’ve put more miles on my Korg Minilogue than any other single piece of gear in my setup. Among many other things, I really love its onboard sequencer. It allows me to work fast and sketch out ideas without menu diving and getting too caught up in the technical stuff. The Minilogue as a whole is just so intuitive and intelligently designed, especially for its price point. 

Korg Minilogue

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

I started out with a Tascam Porta02 and a Casiotone MT-540 and looking back, I don’t think I’d do it any differently. Having such a minimalist setup really forced me to get creative to find the sound I was looking for. Starting out with an OP-1 would have been pretty cool, though that would be quite the investment for my very first piece of gear.

Tascam Porta02

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

I have an old reel to reel that I inherited from my grandfather that drives me a bit mad at times. Processing sounds through it really adds some beautiful warmth and flutter, but it’s pretty clear that it wasn’t designed for recording music. The master volume knob doubles as an input gain knob, and it doesn’t have a meter to monitor the input level. It takes me an unreasonably long time to get my levels correct when I use it, but the end result is always worth the frustration. 

Reel to reel

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

When recording tape loops, I like to leave the front-facing half of the cassette off altogether. This allows me to physically mess around with the tape a bit, adding some really interesting artifacts and pitch fluctuations to the recording. 

Cassette tape loop on a Tascam 424

Artist or Band name?

Chris Petra

Genre?

Ambient / Experimental 

Selfie?

Chris Petra

Where are you from?

Long Island, New York

How did you get into music?

I started out playing tenor saxophone for the jazz band in grade school, then at around 13 years old I got my first electric guitar. I went on to play guitar for a Death Metal band in my late teens, then spent a number of years producing hip-hop.

What still drives you to make music?

The act of creating music has become very therapeutic for me. It’s also given me a sense of purpose that I’m not sure I would have found elsewhere. 

How do you most often start a new track?

I usually start out by working out a melody on whatever instrument I’m drawn to at the moment (most often my OP-1). I also keep a dictaphone in my car that I find myself humming ideas into from time to time. 

How do you know when a track is finished?

This might be what I struggle with the most. I’m currently working on an EP that is taking me an exceedingly long time to wrap up because I always find something I feel I need to adjust. 

Show us your current studio

Chris Petra Studio space

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Take any and every musical opportunity you can, no matter how big or small. 

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

I’m currently working on a record, but in the meantime, I have two tape loop sample packs for free download on my Bandcamp. I also update my Instagram with little tape jams pretty regularly if you’re into that sorta thing!

https://chrispetra.bandcamp.com/music

https://www.instagram.com/chrispetra/?hl=en