1. Favourite knob/fader/switch on a piece of gear and why?
I can’t isolate just one unfortunately!
Boring answer: I just bought an Akai S950 and really like the feel of the main data wheel. The knob itself is quite aesthetically boring but the mechanical click feel of it is great and responsive.
Slightly less boring answer 1: I also really like the XY stick on the Intellijel Planar 2.
Slightly less boring answer 2: The main main frequency knob on the XAOC Devices Belgrad Multimode filter, superb quality!
Slightly less boring answer 3: the main pitch knob on the Strymon Magneto is also excellent.
Slightly less boring answer 4: Most of the Erica Synths module knobs.
2. Do you have an ‘almost’ perfect bit of kit? What would you change?
For ease of use, feature set and general overall desire to use, the MPC (previously the X and currently One in my case).
I’d change a fair few things, some examples would be latched pads/looped samples (like the Roland SP404/505 etc have, so you can have an infinitely sustaining loop. I discovered a way to override this in the MPC by tricking it into not receiving a NOTE OFF message which is the issue. I’d also have a much deeper modulation matrix. Disk streaming, ability to install an SSD (MPC One), more CV outputs.
3. What setup do you bring on holiday/tour/commute etc.?
I don’t do any of those things to warrant taking a machine with me! But if I toured, my MPC One plus a midi controller or an MPCx would be the logical choice. Or two MPC Ones, a midi controller and a DJ mixer.
4. What software do you wish was hardware and vice versa?
No software equivalent of anything, but a hardware equivalent of Renoise would be amazing (if it had the exact feature set and capabilities, with 16 pads of course).
5. Is there anything you regret selling… or regret buying?
I regret selling my MPC 2500SE for sure, I’ve also had a few Yamaha SU700’s and have always thought I should have kept one, but it’s one of those machines that can be amazing and fun, but can be irritating to use on occasion. It also looks brilliant, and unique.
No regrets buying really, not that I can think of right now. Maybe a larger Eurorack case but that would be irresponsible 🙂
6. What gear has inspired you to produce the most music?
Once again the MPCs I’ve owned over the years, (2500se, 1000, 5000, X, One, Live).
7. If you had to start over, what would you get first?
An MPCx or if you mean go back in time, an MPC3000 / 4000 / 60
8. What’s the most annoying piece of gear you have, that you just can’t live without?
The Roland MC707, I never intended to buy one, but initially bought it just to try and it’s been a complete revelation. It’s so good in many areas (the synth engine, the Scatter effect, the clips/matrix/scenes etc), but the sampling, file handling, some program parameters (like how the pads in a drum program behave in contrast to an MPC) and various other areas need much improvement. I’d really miss it if i sold it though.
Also my Ensoniq ASR-X. I very nearly sold it recently as it takes ages to load and save samples. I have the Turbo version which means it has SCSI so I need to buy a compatible SCSI drive or emulator ideally, to see if it speeds things up considerably. Also, half the pads are failing (a well known issue) and the encoders can be slightly glitchy. But it just sounds so good and is really quick, plus the effects are great. Lastly, it just looks superb in my opinion. A lovely, underrated vintage piece of gear.
9. Most surprising tip/trick/technique that you’ve discovered about a bit of kit?
I developed my own ‘granular time-stretching’ technique with the MPCx. You can control the start point of a sample with velocity. Dedicated sample start manipulation and automation was one of the biggest omissions from the MPC which the Elektron Octatrack could do since it was released in 2010, this technique brings the MPC feature set for experimentation up to par, but surpasses the OT because of the MPCs sound quality (something I felt always lacked with the OT). https://youtu.be/CE4ZaEExNdc
And again, the Ensoniq ASR-X – I discovered, or rather stumbled across a glitch when I was trying to create a synth tone, looping just a few frames of a sample. If you pitch the sample up as high as possible it can lead to some bizarre, circuit bent type effects and mixes and occasionally blends several samples together. Very cool and surreal trick.
Jungle/Drum and Bass / Hip Hop / Electronica / Drone / Experimental
Where are you from?
How did you get into music?
Parents record collection, older sister bringing home early Electro records (Cybotron, Man Parrish, Tyrone Brunson etc)
What still drives you to make music?
I have an addiction to learning new bits of gear and making them do things the manual doesn’t mention, and I love designing sounds and discovering new textures/moods/tones/
How do you most often start a new track?
Maybe once a week/fortnight if it’s a full track, every day if it’s a basic loop/idea.
How do you know when a track is finished?
That’s somewhat subjective but I suppose when it sounds good, feels good, does the right things at the right time, and when it feels like it might go wrong or be ruined if I add more or too much.
Show us your current studio:
I keep those things private, sorry 🙂
[Editor: But here’s a photo of TubeDigga’s studio monitor]
Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?
Creative advice would be to try and take a step back from being too serious (electronic music and being a techie/geek can get like that sometimes). A great engineering tip from a well known jungle producer was ‘cut more, add less’ when it comes to EQ and mixing. I often ignore that advice though 🙂
Promote your latest thing… Go ahead, throw us a link.
Rinse FM Mix with Double O (Rupture)https://soundcloud.com/rinsefm/rupture120820
My private online lessons: www.tubedigga.com/lessons—
If you would like to show appreciation for any help I’ve provided you, please consider donating an amount of your choice:
[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…]