Paul Cousins – Reel-in-Vibes

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

The play switch on my Akai X-100D reel-to-reel. It’s extremely sturdy and has a very rewarding click. It’s 56 years old and works perfectly, which just blows my mind. There’s something pleasing about having to use physical energy to make sound happen.

Akai X-100D reel-to-reel

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

Roland Juno 6

A slight cheat on this answer. I thought my Juno 6 was somehow inferior to the Juno 60 (which is what I truly wanted) because it doesn’t have memory patches. That would’ve been my answer, but I’ve grown to love and appreciate the fact that the instrument exists as it is – whatever you want from it you have to make happen. It’s a productive way to learn how to use a synth because there are fewer shortcuts. See also anything pre Prophet-5.

Tape machines

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

On writing trips I just take a laptop and good headphones. So AKG K701s get packed!

AKG K701

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

I’d love a software version of the Empress Echosystem, it’s my favorite pedal. And if there were somehow a rackmount version of the Fabfilter Pro-MB I’d be all over it!

Empress Echosystem

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

I once sold a 1973 Gibson EB0 to the bass player from Showaddywaddy. It was a really beautiful bass, no idea why I did that. And the second synth I ever bought was an Alesis something… which I didn’t gel with at all and regretted pretty quickly.

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

The Roland Space Echo RE-201. It’s just the most amazing piece of engineering, half a century old and it can still create magic from nowhere. I use it any chance I get.

Roland Space Echo RE-201

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

A good set of monitors. I think this is the most valuable piece of equipment you can own. Currently I’m loving the PMC Result 6.

PMC Result 6

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

I’d have to say the amp powering my Yamaha NS10’s, it buzzes slightly but I always need to use them. It’s on my to do list!

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

Watkins Copicat

I think using the pre amps of echo machines is often overlooked. Just driving a guitar or bass through a Copicat or Space Echo is the most awesome tone. Same with reel-to-reel, they can be overloaded to produce amazing results.


Artist or Band name?

Paul Cousins

Genre?

Ambient, Tape, Experimental

Selfie?

Paul Cousins

On tour in Mordor

Where are you from?

London

How did you get into music?

I’d been singing and playing bass in bands for a number of years before I started making electronic music.

What still drives you to make music?

Finding a point of creative satisfaction.

How do you most often start a new track?

I’ve recently got into writing a short piece, transferring it to tape loops, and playing it back through various effects or in some obtuse setup. The original piece comes back like a weird photocopy of its former self. There’s something about transferring music to a physical format that revives it from a potentially anodyne digital state and gives it a different life. 

How do you know when a track is finished?

You stop wanting to mix it.

Show us your current studio

The organized chaos of my studio is frankly an embarrassment. Instead here’s a heavily curated corner featuring my new upright piano and an Akai 4000DS.

Upright piano and an Akai 4000DS

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Music is the silence between the notes. Which Debussy said over a century ago, but has never lost relevance!

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

A recent 20 min ambient reel-to-reel mix: https://youtu.be/_g7Kurux36w

[Editor: Paul also has a quite lovely and lively instagram @paulcousinsmusic which I don’t think you should miss out on]


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


[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…
]


Andreas Hald – Playful Filmic Composer

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

Roland Space Echo RE-201

Ahh, that’s a tough one – there are so many! But – I like big knobs and I can not lie – so I’ll have to go with the Mode Selector on my Space Echo RE-201. It’s big and clicky, and it sits on one of my absolute favorite piece of gear. Sometimes I just turn it on so that I can hear the tape whistling around in there. So great.

[Editor: Possibly the greatest knob on the greatest fx ever]

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

I don’t think so. What comes the closest, is my old trusty Juno-60. To me, it’s the most musical sounding synth I know of. It’s perfect with all its imperfections. Warm and noisy – “brown- and round-sounding” to be cliche, it so inspiring to turn on. Instant greatness. It would be fun to add some of the features from a modern synth like the Prophet 6, but again – the limitations that this (and others) instrument has, is what I like about it and keeps my fluids going. In my line of work I need limitations, so I welcome them.

Roland Juno-60

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

Well, back in the days I always towed a guitar, amp and ALL of my pedals to any vacation, but ending up not really playing it. So I don’t bring that much anymore. It’s more than often an instrument or synth of a kind that I want to check out further and haven’t had the time to do so. On my last holiday I ended up bringing my cello and a drum machine. I have this weird sickness, that I can only do proper work in my studio, so I try to avoid working elsewhere and don’t bring computer or anything. I need too much hardware to do my work.

Prophet 6 and Juno-60

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

In software to hardware – Xils 4, an “Analog Matrix Modular Synthesizer” from Xils Lab. Would love to have that as an enormous beast in the studio. I love that plugin, but mainly use my (hardware)modular synth now. But that plugin tickled me in all the right places. I’m really a big fan of hardware, so I wish that all software was hardware and that we from birth learned to write music on paper and record on tape ;-). That being said, I’m obviously a slave of the modern world.

Xils 4 VSTi

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

I only think I’ve sold three pieces of gear actually, and I regret all three. A Fender Hot Rod Deville 4×10 amplifier. A Bogner Shiva head amplifier and a Custom made Fender Stratocaster. Especially selling the Fender amp is a regret. I’ve listened to some recordings from back in the days when I had that, and it sounded awesome. I sold it to buy the much more expensive Bogner, which I then also sold. So because of that, I’m never selling anything again. I still have a Bogner amp though, and I’ll post a picture of it – just because it’s so cool looking. Can’t think of any regrets in buying.

Bogner amp

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

Pianos. There’s something incredibly satisfying in playing a real piano. Hard to beat. Instantly something sounds as proper music. I haven’t always had a piano at a studio, but I have now – and I would love to get a Grand Piano one day. But for now, I’m really digging the intimate and noisy sound from this upright. Just got it serviced, and it’s so good now.

Upright piano

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

Hmm. Good one. A cello or a pedal steel guitar. I want to be good at those and would (now) have loved to have played something else, that every kid on the block didn’t also play (guitar). I would also tell myself to buy the best equipment. Quality over quantity. I have a pedal steel with humbucker now and love the sound of it.

Cello

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

Maybe my Kemper Profiler. I use it all the time and love and adore it, even though I should record amps instead. I do both, but the Kemper is just so convenient. It just looks cheap – like it jumped out of the 90’s – and the menu scrolling is horrific. But sound and work-wise: Love it. I could add my computer to the list. Love/hate relationship – but I just can’t live without it.

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

Hardly a trick – but making my monophonic Korg MS-20 sound like an awesome stereo synth by using the headphone out in the external signal processor and then having two outputs from it, to plug into a mixer with panning possibilities and adding effects. Great revolution for me personally. I used that synth ALL THE TIME on a feature Netflix movie.


Artist or Band name?

Andreas Hald, composer for film and media. NBrigade – music teams for film, television and games.

Genre?

Filmmusic (which means all kind of weird genre-less music).

Selfie?

I don’t do selfies, but here’s a picture of me playing the pedalsteel!

Pedal Steel and film composer Andreas Hald’s silhouette

Where are you from?

Skagen, the very top of Denmark. Very small town.

How did you get into music?

Started playing rock music with a buddy when we’re 10, renting our own rehearsal space when we were 13 (one where we could do parties, drink beers and skip school without our parents noticing).We discovered and experimented with music together, and I’ve never let go of it. 

What still drives you to make music?

The moments with zen-like qualities that you can’t get elsewhere. They don’t occur daily, but when they do – it all makes sense. 

How do you most often start a new track?

With a weird sound created on a synth. Other times at the piano.

How do you know when a track is finished?

When I’m passed deadline. I need the deadlines.

[Editor: I also like the wooshing sound they make as they go by]

Show us your current studio

Here you go, a few pictures of studio and gear. My modular synth setup is connected with my guitar pedals most of the time, and i use Intellijell modules to do that. I didn’t have a 1 unit space in my rack, so I drilled them into a plate myself.

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

“No matter how good you get, there’s alway ten Swedes better than you”.

[Editor: Ha!]

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

I’m currently working on two tv-series, one called Friheden ll (Pros and Cons) – which is the second season of a Viaplay Original series, and a series for DR (Danish Broadcasting Corporation) currently untitled.

Andreashald.com


[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…
]