Alexandr – With Meraki

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

Microbrute’s filter. First of all, I believe that this Steiner-Parker filter is one of the best I’ve put my hands on. And since the Brute was my first analog synthesizer it holds a special place in my heart. From the first sweep, I fell in love.

Arturia Microbrute

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

Hmm it’s really difficult to say that something’s perfect. I will be super super boring and give it to the Launchpad. I work in Ableton’s session view all the time and it makes things so much faster. The only thing I would like to see is a 16×16 version to be able to see my whole project at once. 

Novation Launchpad

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

I actually was at my summer house for 3 weeks last month and I decided to bring the things I use the least to get to know them. So it was the Volca FM which I haven’t really used since I got it. Although the tiny knobs are horrible, the sounds are excellent. And with that I also used my iPad a lot. The apps you can find on the iPad are simply mind-blowing and highly underrated.

The DRC synthesizer is my absolute favorite iPad app. Beautiful sounds and super easy to program.

DRC Synth iOS app

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

Easy one. All the Valhalla DSP stuff. Best effects out there. If they could make hardware versions of their plugins and stay reasonably priced they would just destroy the whole pedal/ effects market. 

Valhalla DSP Vintage Verb

I don’t really think I would want something hardware to become software. The physical connection you can have with a piece of gear is unbeatable in my opinion. 

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

Korg Minilogue

I don’t sell a lot. Even if I don’t use something it’s hard for me to go on and sell it. So from the things I’ve sold through the years, I regret none. And something I regret buying.. If I leave aside all the cheap stuff I got, I would say the Minilogue. I have a love-hate relationship with this synth. It’s great for the price, no argue with that, but it just leaves you every time wanting a bit more. It sounds “ok” but rarely great. So for anyone who’s looking to buy a poly synth, I would recommend to save and get something much better.

Korg Minilogue VCO

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

Might sound weird but it’s a dirt-cheap Casio digital piano. Having a 61 keys keyboard with full polyphony unlocked so many possibilities. I only use 2 piano sounds that sound decent, but it’s almost on every track I’ve ever released.

Casio digital piano

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

Acid Pro 3.0

Ableton Live vs FL Studio. I’ve been making music for 15 years. Actually my first DAW was one called Acid Pro 3.0. Only the 80s kids might know this one.. But my first actual DAW was FL studio. Switching to Ableton was life changing for me. For me, its workflow suits me perfectly and it was a catalyst for me to finish songs instead of just struggling with loops. 

Acid Pro 3.0

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

The 4-track cassette recorder for sure. It’s a Yamaha MT100. It’s big, I’ve repaired three times so far but I love using it. Everything is going through tape so I simply cannot live without it.

Yamaha MT100

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

Elektron Digitakt screen

I don’t deep dive to my gear. I want them to be simple and I prefer things that do only one thing really well. A nice technique I use for drums is the LFO assigned to sample slot on the Digitakt. I create a project with very few samples on it (10-16) and besides the kick I apply the LFO to the other tracks to come up with new patterns every time. That way you can make cool variations and you also audition sounds for your drum patterns. 

Elektron Digitakt

Artist or Band name?

Alexandr

Genre?

Ambient, IDM, Downtempo

Selfie?

Alexander Voulgaris

Where are you from?

Athens, Greece 

How did you get into music?

I’m drawn to all kinds of art. I take photos, I make videos, I draw, I sculpt.. Music is just another way to express my creative side. And besides that, as a kid I’ve always dreamt to become a rock star but never got into a band. So I’ve decided to have this one man – band thing going on nowadays. 

What still drives you to make music?

I don’t really know. I just can’t wait to get to my studio and start playing around and create something. It is something that relaxes me and I deeply enjoy it. 

How do you most often start a new track?

It always starts with the piano. I write some chords, a melody and start building from there.

How do you know when a track is finished?

Oh that’s so hard.. Once I finish arranging (and this is the hardest part for me) I know I’m really close to call it finished. So when I start mastering and then run it through tape I simply commit and call it a day. 

Show us your current studio

My beautiful mess

Home studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

My dad, who is also an artist, always told me that you have to put “meraki” to your art. Meraki is a Greek word that means: “To do something with soul, creativity, or love.”

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

My Spotify where I release all my music: https://open.spotify.com/artist/5MPLFK5gfmmo0Tm0EiTnqP?si=cDwtSJ05QXC91wlElXzAAA

I also use Bandcamp a lot and there you can also find the Sample Packs that I create every month: https://alexandristaken.bandcamp.com/music


Vincent Ligny – Analog Gr’ Owl

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

Moog Filter Knobs

It’s more emotional than technical. My first machine was the MOOG Mother-32. Experiencing the Moog sound in such a small object, put me in a certain state. The first knob turned was the cutOFF (not boring at all) and resonance. Discovering this sound palette, its depth confirmed to me, the idea that musically and emotionally, I had made the right choice.

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

Moog Matriarch

I recently acquired the Moog Matriarch which to my eyes represents the perfect synth. A sublime musicality, a grain that is both historic and modern and semi-modular! Accessibility is total. The stereo mode, combined with spacing, stereo delay and modulations, allows you to create beautiful sweeping effects without external effects.
A rediscovery every time.

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

For the holidays, OP-Z, OP-1 and my Master and Dynamic MH40. Travel light for a maximum of possibilities. 

OP-Z, OP-1 and Master and Dynamic MH40

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

I fantasize about the Valhalla VST in a physical multi-effect box. We know their precision, but aesthetically, putting steel around these effects would be magical.
Surely the OTO Biscuit as digital software would be great! Unique ability to mute or invert each of the 8-bit converters, not to mention the effects sections: Waveshaper, Delay, Pitch Shifter and Step Filter … a beast.

[Editor: I’ve just been told on instagram that there is in fact a software version of the Biscuit by Softube … All hail ye great internet brain!]

Oto Biscuit

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

I sold a few years ago a Fender Coronado 2 Rosewood Sunburst from 1966. Ultra thin neck and a fantastic clarity in sound, crystalline even. A twinge of heart every time I cross paths with a photo. I’m trying to find one in lake placid blue.

Fender Coronado 2

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

My Moog Matriarch and modular system. It is just easy to get lost with these two machines and I easily arrive at hypnotic sequences, percussive arps, pads without necessarily messing around. I like it to be instant and not overly thought out. The best often happens through mistakes, little misses.

Eurorack modular

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

I think I would turn to the Korg Minilogue (XD).
An easy to understand deck, a clean, polyphonic look.The pleasure is immediate.
The OLED oscilloscope shows you, in real time, how your waveform changes as parameters change, giving you visual feedback on how to shape your sound. Perfect for beginners.
Considering all of its features, this synth alone unites all the advantages of a vintage synth, but with an elegant and practical interface that is decidedly modern. The price is also within the budget of a musician today (very affordable).

Korg Minilogue XD

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

The Yamaha Portasound PS-1, piano, organ, clarinet, sustain > (deplorable) but coupled with a Microcosm (Hologram Electronics) and / or an OTO BAM reverb, you get to draw sublime ambient pads. I love it, I bought it for my son, I hope he will love it too.

Yamaha Portasound PS-1, Oto Bam and Hologram Electronic Microcosm

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

The Midi/config Shiftmode allowing onto to completely destroy the pattern and do lots of soundscaping, press then FUNC + No to reload pattern and we are back to the original. The ultimate live combo, but it’s also just an ergonomic pleasure. Thank you Elektron.

Elektron Digitone

Artist or Band name?

Vincent Ligny

Genre?

Ambient / Cinematic atmospheres

Selfie?

Vincent Ligny

Where are you from?

France. Bois-colombes, small town next to Paris.

How did you get into music?

My grandfather played classic guitar, my father played folk. I naturally started bass and guitar.
I listened to a very wide spectrum, different musical genres, but I crossed into electronic music and started to experiment with that, about 6 years ago now.

What still drives you to make music?

It’s just inexplicable. It is inseparable from my way of living or rhythm of my daily life. It is a need. Electronic music opened me up to wider fields. There are no limits.

How do you most often start a new track?

There is nothing written, nothing parameterized. The first notes are imperfect. I ask myself, I run a sequence, then I develop, I make mistakes. Sometimes it doesn’t work, sometimes it’s a wonderful surprise.

How do you know when a track is finished?

When I hesitate to bid, to drown. Now is the time to stop.

Show us your current studio

Home Studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

It is not necessary to know the music, only to feel it.

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

I appeared on a vinyl compilation from a young german independent label Deeptape Records: 
Deeptracks Vol1
Vincent Ligny – Velvet
https://deeptaperecords.bandcamp.com/album/deeptracks-1-2
 
I’m working on a 3 track EP – Pio’s journey which should be released normally at the start of 2021.


Ashley Cronon – ARC Ambient

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

Korg Minilogue Filter/Resonance/EG Knobs.  Being that this is my only piece of gear that has knobs, I am more than satisfied with the sounds that can be achieved.  The possibilities are infinite.  I look forward to purchasing knobs in the future and creating my own modular synth unit.  I recommend the Korg Minilogue as a great start for anyone interested in enriching their sounds.

Filter Cutoff Korg Minilogue

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

Korg Concert 3500.  At the moment I am building my studio so all my equipment has a unique use for now.  Unfortunately the sound quality of this vintage piece is of poor condition and needs heavy repair. 

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

Akai MPK Mini

Laptop/Akai MPK Mini/Casio MT-240.  For travel sake the Akai MPK Mini and the Casio MT-240.  Both are lightweight and when combined, provide the essentials needed for recording ideas outside the studio.  I have yet to perform and personally prefer making sounds as a therapeutic outlet.

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

Garage Band is the only software I have been working with and it’s running a very old version of the program which I am not complaining about. 

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

I could eventually regret all the cheap gear I am purchasing right now.  Most likely I will hand it off to someone starting their own set-up.  I personally don’t regret my buys because I learn from them.  I have not sold anything at the moment.

Keys galore

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

Korg Minilogue.  This is my first and only expensive piece of gear as of now.  Most of my equipment has been collected and repaired. 

Korg Minilogue

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

A new laptop.  I still need to buy one with better music software that doesn’t run at a glacial speed.  It’s been a challenge but I’m surprised at what I have produced.

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

My damaged Korg Concert 3500.

Korg Concert 3500

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

All my cheap equipment surprises me if used properly.  It’s not the gear it’s the artist.


Artist or Band name? 

ARC Ambient

Genre?

Ambient/Dark Ambient/Other

Ashely Cronon

Where are you from?

California

How did you get into music?

I’ve been a band nerd since 3rd grade.

What still drives you to make music?

MUSIC

How do you most often start a new track?

It’s a therapeutic process for me so it depends on my mood.

How do you know when a track is finished?

I make short samples.  I tend to let the tracks sit for a while and open them back up with fresh ears.

Show us your current studio

ARC Ambient Studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

I don’t like to waste notes not even one – Johnny Marr.

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

https://www.instagram.com/p/CFTlOHmgdSm/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link