Dragonfly Bry – MikroMixin’ it Big

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

I love the various knobs in my 500 rack for mixing and tracking stuff, I really love the 4 knobs on the OP-1.

500 Rack

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

I think the MPC Live is a great blend of portability and a pro-grade DAW. I do wish it had portamento for the samples. Now i use the OP-Z for that bendy stuff and track it in.

Akai MPC Live, Linnstrument and iPad with Griffin Dock

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

I used to take the OP-1 everywhere, but now I pack even lighter. I always have my iPhone X and its loaded with lots of music apps. My favorite when on the go though is the T.E. PO-33. I take small earbuds and an old iPhone with the headphone jack for sampling on the go. I cooked up a few keepers in grocery lines etc..gas stations even lol

iPhone and TE KO33

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

I still think the MPC can be like Ableton Live with a few more updates. Live is a really good and flexible DAW so that’s my target. I like emulations, but we don’t need all hardware to be cloned to software. Those knobs are way less fun.

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

I got the SP-808 when it came out (way back when) but I needed a good drum machine for hip-hop and it was not a good fit at all…I ended up sending it back and I got the MPC2000. That was a game changer for sure.

Akai MPC2000 in it’s natural habitat

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

OP-1 and OP-Z are at the top of my list

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

Now, I’d get a macbook, MPC Live, and the SSL Six. Add in a decent mic and pre and its a whole studio.

SSL Six

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

The computer for sure. I hate being a repair tech but it makes mixing and finishing records soooo easy.

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

My DOD envelope filter is used for reggae basslines a lot. When I heard that, I turned down the knobs to 0 and WOW!!! It’s like an 808 bass guitar.

DOD Envelope Filter Pedal

Artist or Band name?

Dragonfly Bry at Mikromix Studio DMV

Genre?

Yes lol…..well mostly rnb and rap, but plenty of other stuff. I did a few electro albums that are still spinning out there, reggae too.

Selfie

Dragonfly Bry

Where are you from?

Maryland – The DC Metropolitan Area

How did you get into music?

Piano lessons in elementary, then drums and clarinet, then turntables (DJ-ing) and finally bass – all of that was before leaving high school. I later got my BS degree in Music Engineering Technology.

What still drives you to make music?

Creating music has been in my soul since I was a kid and never really left. Its like why I still breathe air, cuz I gotta 🙂

How do you most often start a new track?

Usually drums or melody but I also dig for samples using pretty much any source. I try to change it up often so I do not keep making the same songs over and over lol.

How do you know when a track is finished?

Usually I listen with fresh ears the next day and that is very revealing.

Show us your current studio.

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

When you are in the flow, stay there because it doesn’t always come so easily. Also, less is more. Those two help me still to this day.

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

Lately I have been shooting more videos for my music production course at Mikromix.com
I also have a Teenage Engineering 808 pack and an MPC Expansion pack for sale.


Caspar Hesselager – Synthful Jebus

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

Mighty Macbeth Vernier knobs

Great question. This matters. 100% the Vernier-dials on my Macbeth Elements. Posh answer, I know, but they’re just so smooth and satisfying to turn!

MacBeth Elements

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

Probably my Sequential OB-6. It’s so damn good. In a perfect world it’d be 8 or 16 voices. But it’s amazing, and especially if you add the GeoSynths Low Frequency expander (which I definitely will) it’s pretty much all the poly-synth you (I) need. The Make Noise Shared System is close to perfect in a way too. I would make the Erbe Verb have a stereo input, if I could change one thing. Best reverb ever.

Sequential OB-6

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

I’ve brought my OP-1 and/or Digitakt on several trips and tours, but I usually never get around to using them much. Right now with this whole Corona-situation I’ve assembled a little spot at home with a DFAM, Vermona RetroVerb and a modest 104hp of Eurorack to pass the time and come up with sounds to use later on.

TE OP-1

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

I wish there was a Soundtoys multi-fx hardware unit of some sort! Like their Effects Rack plugin. That would be fun, especially for live use. I use Soundtoys constantly (like everyone else?).
The other way around is more tricky, I almost feel like we already have everything? Oh, I know, an iPad Make Noise Shared System would be interesting for jamming in the sofa.

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

I regret selling my Prophet 08. I replaced it with the Rev2 because it has some advantages live. But I have to say, the 08 just sounded better. I will be getting a used desktop version at some point again, I think. I usually hold on to things though, since I just know I’ll come back to most things, even if I don’t use them for a while. I don’t really have any buying regrets. Maybe some modules here and there, but hey, that’s part of the journey!

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

Yamaha upright piano

Definitely the good ol’ piano. But I find the Make Noise Shared System (and modular in general) incredibly inspiring too.

Make Noise Shared System

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

Starting out today with synths on a relatively modest budget, and wanting to get into (semi) modular,  I would probably get a 0-coast, Mother 32, or Grandmother. For starting in general, get a laptop and Ableton or Logic. All you need, basically.

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

My computer, by a mile. I kind of hate it, and Logic too (which I the only DAW I use). Don’t get me started on why! And a shout out to my MFB Tanzbär. I use it quite a bit and adore the sound, but man, that interface is something else. Drives you crazy. Good luck getting parameter locks to work, EVER!

MFB Tanzbär

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

More a general piece of advice or tip maybe, but I encourage everyone to get into pedals and hardware effects. It just changes how you approach making sounds, and takes you away from the screen. As much as I love plugins, there’s just no substitution for the hands-on tweaking and interaction on the fly that you get from pedals. And it teaches you to commit to your sounds, because there are no infinite recall and undos. I have this chain that I use very often where every synth I have goes through a small stereo looper, three Eventide pedals + one Strymon, and into a Culture Vulture stereo distortion before hitting the computer. The opportunities with something like that are infinite.


Artist or Band name?

Caspar Hesselager. My Heart the Brave. Palace Winter.

Genre?

Epic widescreen alternative everything.

Selfie

Caspar Hesselager. A man of many knobs!

Where are you from?

Copenhagen.

What still drives you to make music?

Simply discovering new sounds. Infinite options, surprises, and ways to go, even with the same few Legos.

How do you most often start a new track?

Often with a tempo that feels right for that day. After that drum machine and acoustic piano combo, usually. With modular, sort of the same, I have a tempo and a vibe from the beginning that I try to pursue, and then the machine will surprise me along the way.

How do you know when a track is finished?

When it sounds KILLER! 😀 At some point it just becomes this little universe that stands on its on feet, and then you leave it there. I can take a week or 2 months though, to get to that place, that’s the tricky part. But I’d say in general, I don’t have a hard time finishing tracks.

Show us your current studio

Caspar’s Studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Hmm, trying to search through all the bad advice I’ve endured to get to some good, hold on. I heard Knud Romer [Editor: Danish author] say recently when asked, how do you write a great book, that “you edit a bad one”. To me that translates to keep writing and recording until it’s good. Stay at it, eventually you will come up with something cool.

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

6 Synthesizer Performances Album:
https://open.spotify.com/album/4YaG8wKDZap9Ge3HF5Snel?si=g0ooOyFCTHGHgq_p4M-5jg

YouTube synth videos:
https://www.youtube.com/c/casparhesselager

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


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]