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


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 any of the gear in this article? Then why not share a tip or trick? Leave a comment below]


Modal Plane – Zwuoosh

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

I knew this one right away, it’s the “mode selector” knob on the RE-201 Space Echo. It’s big, substantial, and gives a satisfying click when you turn it. It also happens to be super cool looking.

[Editor: Totally agree! It’s a classic knob]

Mode Selector Roland Space Echo 201

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

I think this is going to be the Stillson Hammer MKII by Industrial Music Electronics. It’s like a little CV/Gate 4 track machine. I enjoy keeping my euro sequencing “in the case”, and I love analog style sequencers. I dig that each track can have a different clock division, and you can quickly get polyrhythms going. It’s got a built in quantizer, so, you can set scales. Since it’s digital, you can save and recall all your settings. I really clicked with this module, and now I’ve got two of them. Honestly, I may get a third, but let’s see if they make a MKIII:) I can’t think of anything I would change here.

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

So, the 1010 Black Box is my go-to for a portable sound station. It’s extremely compact. I’ve got samples of my favorite synths and drum machines loaded in it and it runs on USB power. It’s a proper sampler, so you can record directly into it. It’s also built like a little tank. Just, the perfect micro studio IMO. 

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

I really enjoy using Spacecraft by Delta-V on the iPad. I’m not sure how a hardware version could improve upon it. It feels perfectly suited for iOS with its touch interface, but I still think I would buy it in hardware form. As for a software version of hardware… That’s a tough one. There’s so much out there already, and I’m unaware of what software emulations are on the market. I’d say……the Radikal Technologies Spectralis, only because I really want to try one out and can’t afford one right now:) That sequence looks like so much fun.

Spacecraft by Delta-V

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

Oh for sure, a few.. but I always think about my ATARI 1040st with Cubase. My dad bought it for me in like 1998 on consignment, and at that time, all I had was a half broken Teac reel to reel and an Akai AX60. I used it for years, but at some point, ended up loaning it to someone I thought was cool, because they had a record deal and worked with some industrial band (I was young and dumb). Anyways, I never saw it again. It got traded for studio time or something.

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

A nest of modular

For the past few years it’s been my modular. For me, it’s just a great starting point. Starting from nothing and just getting a little loop going usually ends up turning into a full-on recording session. Other synths start coming into play, and an arrangement begins to form. I really like this workflow, I often feel like, if I had come into the studio 5 minutes earlier, or 5 minutes later, that initial patch may have been something else, and this recording wouldn’t exist. Be it for better or worse 🙂

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

Ok, so saying my modular is cheating, right:)? For me, I think it would have to be a groovebox of some sort, just because I really like mixing and blending sounds, and forming little compositions. I would need something that would let me do that, right out of the gate.  It’s kind of a toss up between my loaded E-MU PX7, and my MC-909. It really should be the PX7, hands down, but there’s no sampling, and I imagine I’d start wanting to get my own sounds in there. I don’t know man, this is one of those “desert island” synth questions that feels impossible to answer, lol. I’d want my modular, pedal board, GR-1, and Novation PEAK too! I’m just gonna say the E-MU PX-7 and put an end to this madness.

E-MU PX7

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

Ohh, I know the answer to this right away. That’s my Sequential Circuits TOM. It’s really aesthetically beautiful, I love the sounds, and its model #420! What’s not to like? Well, the drum trigger pads may or may not respond one second to the next, same is true for a every button on the panel. What menu setting will you get when you press the function select buttons?? Nobody knows, it will just scroll through and choose one at random! But yeah, I can’t get rid of it, I still love you TOM.

Sequential Circuits TOM

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

I feel like a dummy for this because it should’ve been so obvious. I didn’t know that I could sync the sequencer on my JX-3P with an analog clock. My friend VoidModular had to point that out to me. I mean, it says “SEQ TRIGGER IN” right on the panel. Facepalm.

Roland JX-3P

Artist or Band name?

Modal Plane

Genre?

Downtempo.  Tropical chillwave.

Somebody labeled me as “ambient vaporwave” in an interview I did recently, and I think that works, although I don’t fit in either genre separately. I’m not sure, but downtempo seems to encompass most of what I do. Most of my music is driven by sci-fi imagery, and imaginary landscapes, is there a genre for that? 

Selfie

Where are you from?

Florida.

How did you get into music?

My Grandmother got me a Casio SK-5 when I was 6 or 7, and I was obsessed with it. A couple years later my parents got me that red Yamaha keytar, the SHS-10. I was pretty obsessed with those for a while, just kinda banging on them and making noise. I thought synthesizers were cool because you saw them on MTV being used by RUN DMC, Depeche Mode, KLF, Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails, etc. I was a kid, and I liked that all this music didn’t sound like things I’d heard before. When I was a little older and started listening to Aphex, Massive Attack, Tricky, DJ shadow, Thievery Corporation, Boards of Canada, Plaid, Mogwai, etc. I knew, that I wanted to learn to do that… I wanted to make THOSE sounds…I’d say when I got that AX60 and reel to reel from a pawn shop at around age 17, that is when I truly started the musical journey. Shortly after that I got that 1040ST and learned midi and laying things out on a piano roll. That thing was already 15 years out of date by then, lol.

What still drives you to make music?

I’ve been doing it longer in my life than I haven’t. I start to feel a bit lost if I go too long without doing something musical. It feels like it’s something I need to do at this point. It keeps me happy, and sane, and connected.

How do you most often start a new track?

Lately it starts at my modular case, the little one I built for live shows. I’ll get something looping there, then add a bassline from some other synth, maybe the Sub37, or MS10, then some chords from another poly, like the vsynth or JX3P… Things usually start resembling something like a “song” or at least a start, at that point.

How do you know when a track is finished?

This one’s tough, lol. If I start to feel like something is nearing completion, I just try to be aware of what I’m doing, so I don’t overwork things. If I start to feel like I’m overworking something, I’ll put it away and come back to it later. I can get so caught up sometime in editing details, like, I stop looking at the big picture, and how things sound as a whole. I’m making an effort to not do that so much lately.

Show us your current studio

Modal Plane Studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Never stop learning, stay humble.

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

https://circuitchurch.bandcamp.com/releases

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