Noctopolis – Mattis Hencke

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

Jen SX2000

I’m not that emotionally attached to individual knobs and faders, but there might be a few which have been important. First, the ”Frequency” fader on my first synthesizer, the Jen SX2000, which gave me the first real player experience of an actual filtered analogue synth sound and gave birth to a lifelong fascination.

Korg MS20 Mini

Second, maybe the MS20 Mini Lowpass filter knob which brought me back to analogue synthesis after many years of playing mainly samplers and vst plugins. And finally, any of the SOMA Lyra 8:s VCO tuning knobs which made me listen to sounds in a different way and appreciate imperfection.

SOMA Lyra 8

When it comes to tactility I must say that my Bugbrand banana cables mean a great deal, though. They’re a pleasure to use. Colourful and sturdy fun!

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

The word ”almost” is important here because the perfect bit of kit doesn’t exist, I think. Gut feeling right now whispers about the Ciat-Lonbarde Cocoquantus. It never disappoints and has opened up a vast sound palette to me. Though ”perfect” is certainly not the correct word for any C-L gear. Which is the wonder of it!

Ciat-Lonbarde

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

Always: Field recorder. A pretty crap one, my old Zoom H-1 (the Rec button on that one´s been very important, too). For many years the small holiday setup was Laptop/Cubase, USB audio interface, master keyboard.

Lorre Mill Double Knot

If I ever start travelling again I guess the Cocoquantus or the Plumbutter (or my most recent addition, the Lorre Mill Double Knot) would be great to bring but I’m not sure I’d risk them.

Ciat-Lonbarde Plumbutter

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

I’m not very good at wishing for what isn’t there already. Nowadays I find it really hard wishing for hardware to be anything else. The tactile side of playing electronic instruments has grown extremely important to me. That doesn’t mean I don’t like software. There are lots of great fx and instruments which I use a lot. I love the Sketchcassette, Valhalla Supermassive and NI Kontakt, for instance.
Software into hardware… if Soniccouture suddenly turned their Geosonics library in a portable, beautiful little synthesizer I’d probably be curious about it.

Tactile synths

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

I regret selling my second synth ever which was the Roland SH1000. I sold it for very cheap around ’98 when it seemed completely obsolete (and it probably still is, but what a clumsy old beauty!). To be honest, there was some divine justice going on since I sold it to the same guy from who I bought a Yamaha CS5 even cheaper a few years before that.
I kind of regret that I sold my Tascam 388 quarter-inch tape/mixer studio too, but that may be mostly from nostalgia and considering the recent tape hype.
Through the years I’ve bought lots of gear which I’ve sold pretty quickly. I’d say most of the Volcas and a Roland Boutique JX03 were all pretty regrettable purchases. And I didn’t gel with the Eowave Quadrantid Swarm, sadly. Maybe I should have been more patient.

Hyve-Synth

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

Chronologically: my family’s upright piano, my first Porta studio (Fostex 260), the AKAI S2000 sampler, and most recently the Ciat-Lonbarde instruments. All of these have shown new and compelling paths into new territories, or territories looking more and more like the ones I vaguely started dreaming of exploring as a kid. It’s not that different now from what it was back then.

Ciat Lonbarde Deerhorn-Organ

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

Piano, DAW, a nice bass guitar and some assorted percussion. And after that I´d discover touch- and gesture-based synthesizer instruments a bit earlier 🙂 .

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

I usually sell the annoying stuff. One instrument I think will stay with me is the Lyra 8. It changed my listening a lot and I love it but to be honest, those tuning knobs really take some patience. The lower they go, the more mindfulness demanded to get the wanted notes. But having grown into that routine has made tuning of the Ciat-Lonbarde instruments a breeze, so I guess I should be grateful to that sturdy little ”white angel”, annoying as it is.
The Tocante Bistab is on the whole extremely annoying and I could definitely live without it, but it’s a fun curiousity.

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

To my surprise I´ve become a much better bass player through switching to fretless bass. Over all, everything that forces you to listen carefully, instead of having safe routes and measures laid out all the time, is good. As long as we leave the Theremin out of it, of course. And a bunch of other instruments. But – baby steps …

Fretless Squier Jazzbass

Artist or Band name?

Noctopolis and Mattis Hencke.

Genre?

For Noctopolis I guess have to say electronic. And I would hope cinematic and emotional in its better moments. MH is more semi-classic, fairytale music and pop.

Selfie?

Sort of, but not really. A musical portrait 😀 .

Mattis Hencke aka. Noctopolis

Where are you from?

Living in Uppsala, Sweden.

How did you get into music?

Singing, drumming on biscuit tins and making up melodies from early age. Discovering the sound of synthesizers and pop music in general at the age of about 10 was a huge revelation. I took drumming and piano lessons and performed in different orchestras and ensembles but more importantly, I always wrote songs and formed different bands with my brother and schoolmates. Making noise, trying different instruments, dreaming up concepts and bouncing hissy tape recordings between decks with my friend to create full productions became very important, we learned about multitrack recording and from there it really took off. I’ve just never stopped creating and discovering music. Artists like David Sylvian, Trent Reznor, Scott Walker and Fennesz have been huge inspiration sources, as well as numerous neoclassical, ambient and post-metal artists and bands.

What still drives you to make music?

I want to create the sounds and represent feelings and pictures that I carry inside of my head and which are beyond words. I also strive to make the music I want to hear, it´s a way of life by now. Playing and making music is ta great path to get in touch with my core, so to speak. I wouldn´t call it an escape from reality – music and art contains so much more of creative, constructive reality than a lot of other miserable pastimes and preoccupations. Music can be an outlet for emotions and a recalibration of the soul and spirit. And that’s regardless of objective quality and results, as long as it leaves the performer curious and imaginative, I think.

How do you most often start a new track?

That varies a lot. Sometimes with a bassline or a sample, more often with improvising on the piano which turns into fragments of a song. Sometimes with a sung melody. There are plugins which have inspired quite a lot of my music too. The last few years I´ve started to improvise a lot on hardware electronic instruments and nowadays the Ciat-Lonbarde setup is a good starting point for exploring. I’ve got loads of recordings and snippets on the hard drive which sooner or later find their way into more ambient tracks or actual pop songs.

How do you know when a track is finished?

A good sign that I’m on the right track is when I get the sensation ”Wow, did I really create this?”. That, combined with a certain kind of childish happiness when listening to the music in an environment which is not the studio. The most difficult part, when it comes to knowing whether a track is really good or not, is to find the balance between emotional impact and cool or newly found sounds and ideas. That, and also to know that sometimes less is more, but that more is more quite as often!

Show us your current studio

It’s about 1,5 x 2,5 meters with no window. That’s definitely both a blessing and a curse.

Noctopolis home studio
Noctopolis home studio
Noctopolis home studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Spend time away from your music before finishing it. Never mix more than one track at once. Abandon songs that keep annoying you and make you frustrated, they’re probably not that good anyway. Or (quite rarely) they are, but you need more time to grow into them.

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

Recent two track ambient single:

https://noctopolis.bandcamp.com/album/a-year-ending-when-getting-back-home-single

2020 ”Space trilogy” albums:

https://noctopolis.bandcamp.com/album/malacandra-2 and

https://noctopolis.bandcamp.com/album/perelandra

…and a sentimental little something:

https://mattishencke.bandcamp.com/album/everyday-tales-bonus-tracks-version

They´re all at the major streaming platforms as well.


[Editor: Do you have a favorite tip, trick or way of working with any of the gear from this interview?
Then throw us a comment below…
]


BoBeats – Treats from BobEats

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

Since I am a poor keyboard player I really like the Digitakts buttons. Playing on them is for some reason easier to me than playing on regular keys. I guess its because they are just simple on/off buttons. Feels like typing on a keyboard. 

Elektron Digitakt buttons

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

I would say that Maschine+ comes very close to perfect. Being in love with the Maschine workflow and now being able to use it without a computer. Its kinda dreamlike. 

Native Instruments Maschine+

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

It varies a lot. Next summer Maschine+ will 100% come with me to the cabin. Digitakt & Circuit is always nice too. I do like my grooveboxes. 

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

Hardware that was software… Maybe a Subharmonicon VST? It is a unique synth and a software version could be pretty epic. Especially if you could play it polyphonically somehow… 

Moog Subharmonicon


Software in hardware form? I wouldn’t mind having an Ableton Push 3 be standalone! That’d be kinda cool having the Ableton Live DAW in hardware form.

[Editor: This too would be my wish]  

Ableton Push 2 (so close)

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

I regret selling my old Yamaha RM1X. 

Yamaha RM1X (photo:wikipedia)

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

Korg Minilogue. 

Korg Minilogue with custom knobs

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

A good audio interface. Something to grow into, with expandability (adat) and decent latency. 

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

Octatrack MK2. It is so good, yet at the same time so frustrating at times! 

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

I had a Digitakt beta unit and when I was playing with it I noticed it could make some epic synth sounds. Turning it into a groovebox and not just a drum machine.


Artist or Band name?

Bobeats

Genre?

Mostly electronic stuff, I’ll let others label it.

Selfie?

Nobody beats like BoBeats

Where are you from?

Sweden

How did you get into music?

I watched a friend make music on the Playstation ”game” Music.

What still drives you to make music?

It brings me joy.

How do you most often start a new track?

Usually by going thru sounds and finding something that click. That gets me interested.

How do you know when a track is finished?

You don’t. You have to decide that it is. You learn this from the experience of doing it many times. 

Show us your current studio

BoBeats Studio – Lots of grooveboxes and synths
BoBeats Studio – iMac and speakers
BoBeats Studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

”What matters isnt what you do in life but that you do something you feel passionate about”.

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

Videos at https://www.youtube.com/bobeatsmusic


[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…
]


Ikosoveta – Synthalicous Funiture

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

Moog Sub37

What immediately comes to mind is the cutoff knob on the Moog Sub 37. Not very original, but I love the responsiveness of it, I use the 37 on almost every recording, and I am always modulating it by hand while recording. It’s truly just a very satisfying turn and the warmth that comes from it gets me every time.

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

Roland MC101

The Roland MC-101 is a terribly fun device to work with. I have been only using that thing for the past month to produce Instagram videos while my home studio was in a transitional phase. I love how this device functions, the size and portability is great however, not being able to jump projects while performing is pretty disappointing. I’ve only played a handful of “shows” in my day, mostly when I was younger, but I solely performed on the Korg Electribe EMX-1. It was my first production station, so anything that comes close to EMX-1’s workflow is going to feel ‘almost perfect’. The MC-101 feels like a more updated, compact version of the EMX. Now that I am typing this out, I feel as though the EMX is the proper response to this question. Both have their quirks and work kind of similarly in my opinion. I do think it would be funny to play a show with only the MC-101 only on AA batteries and have the ability to switch projects seamlessly.

Korg Electribe EMX

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

My last large trip, I took the Digitone, Digitakt, and the Volca Drum. This was a pretty enjoyable setup however the sounds on the Volca are lacking a bit on the low end. Maybe the next trip that will be supplemented with the Roland TR-8S, which also isn’t my favorite device sound wise, but I do love the workflow of it. 

Digitakt and Digitone

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

I wish there was a plugin version of my Korg KP3. I run my mixer’s master through the KP3 and usually process sounds individually on the fly when recording. Most of the time I use it for the glitchy stutters and reverbs just to add a little variation to recordings. Sometimes when I am mixing tracks away from the studio I do wish I could add a bit more. I realize there are other far superior processing VSTs that can handle this, but I prefer the crudeness of the KP3 and the touchpad surface is very entertaining. There’s no software that I would want to be hardware, because I don’t really use VSTs. Generally, I don’t like being in the DAW so there are no VSTs that could even capture my attention long enough to invest enough time in. 

Korg Kaoss Pad KP3+

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

The only thing I regret buying is the Arturia Rackbrute 6U. I wanted to get into modular gear so I purchased one and filled it with some gear until I could diversify it a bit more however, I had some power cycling issues with the Make Noise Morphagene. I was informed by the company and other people on Instagram that this is a common issue. I really wasn’t willing to constantly be flipping the power switch on and off simply to get one module to work. I also realized that I made more use out of the Moog DFAM and Mother32, so I decided to purchase the Subharmonicon and just replace the Rackbrute with the 3 tier Moog Semi-modular rack. 

Moog DFAM, Subharmonicon, Mother-32 and a sneaky Lyra-8

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

Percussion has always piqued my interest so I would have to say the Roland TR8-S has inspired me the most over the past year or so. There’s nothing super spectacular about it, it just has a really easy workflow and I love punching random rhythms into it, hitting play, and then constructing synth voices around that. That’s pretty much how most of the tracks are made. I did however recently acquire a DSI Tempest, so I am hoping to get more familiarized with that device and devote a bit more energy to that piece when mapping out songs. 

Roland TR8-S

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

I would immediately get a nice drum machine such as the Tempest along with a solid Moog as well. At the beginning I tried to supplement those higher fidelity options with cheaper pieces and ended up purchasing more as a result of that to find the sounds I was searching for. If possible, I believe the move is to save up for a few higher end pieces, instead of cheaper devices with weak builds and lacking synth engines. I also didn’t expect to get this into synthesizers though, so when I began making short videos on gear I was only looking for unrefined devices to just make quick songs on. But if one day I need to get rid of all of this, I would probably just keep the Tempest and the Matriarch… or something along those lines.

Dave Smith Tempest
Moog Matriarch

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

Everything that has annoyed me I have gotten rid of almost immediately, especially all of the devices I have received broken (which has been a lot). The setup needs to be easily accessible so that tracks can be created in a matter of minutes if necessary. The only somewhat ‘annoying’ thing is the sequencer on the Sub37. I really dislike that sequencer. Luckily, that was remedied when Novation sent me the Launchpad Pro to try out. If you have a Sub37, I highly recommend pairing it with the Launchpad Pro. 

Novation Launchpad Pro

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

The retrigger function on the Digitakt definitely changed the way I approach sampling a bit. Anything that randomizes patches or samples in an effortless manner will always catch my attention. The best part of electronic music is letting the machines take control of the song. 

Elektron Digitakt

EDIT (Hindsight): 

Upon looking back at these questions I have noticed that a lot of big pieces I wrote about have been replaced or are in the process of being replaced. These pieces include the MC101, Matriarch, Digitakt, Tempest, and the Launchpad. There’s a lot more that has been moved out of here, but those were unmentioned previously. 

A few things that have entered the studio that I have been enjoying as of late are the Tascam Model 24, Polyend Tracker, Polyend/Dreadbox Medusa, Roland MC 707, Novation Afx Station and Peak. I have been trying to size down quite a bit as a result of tentative future plans. The goal is to have a somewhat sizable and versatile studio that may load into a few separate road cases, if mapped out correctly. Another goal I have set for myself has been becoming more efficient in the producing and recording department hence the acquisition of the Model 24 and replacing the Tempest with an MC 707 and TR8S. Even though the Tempest is hard to part with, I noticed it immensely  slowing down my production speed, which I really can’t afford at the moment. The Tempest is such a powerful device, but it was consuming a lot of my studio time and limiting me from moving around the studio more than I would like. Generating tracks on a fairly quick basis is something that I really value. Maybe one day a Tempest or Rytm will cycle their way into the studio, but as for right now I need to focus on not becoming so attached to devices and the fluidity of a home studio. 


Artist or Band name?

Ikoseveta 

Genre?

Electronica

Selfie?

Ikoseveta

Where are you from?

Middle America

How did you get into music?

My family had encouraged me to take guitar lessons when I was 8 years old. I pursued that until my guitar teacher got arthritis when I was 16. At that point I decided to move on to electronic music by purchasing a Microkorg and the EMX-1 mainly because Rou from Enter Shikari had those. 

What still drives you to make music?

I’m not sure, I am just drawn to producing sound by any means. It’s not a conscious effort, I like picking things up and seeing what they can produce. It’s more fun with synthesizers and drum machines though, especially through monitors with a subwoofer. I don’t see myself as a musician or producer, I am more of a hobbyist. I am fortunate enough to have collected some nice gear and I see them more along the lines of having nice furniture. It is something to have in the room for you to enjoy on a daily basis. These devices just happen to produce noises that are very pleasing to me. 

How do you most often start a new track?

Any random sequence I pull up on a drum machine. 

How do you know when a track is finished?

I don’t know what constitutes as finished. I don’t put out much music anyways, most of it is either deleted or just stored in random external hard drives. If on the off chance I decide to put something out I try to finish it as soon as possible and deem it finished when I am tired of listening to it. 

Show us your current studio

Ikoseveta’s home studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

I don’t think I have ever received creative advice because I have never really actively seeked it nor have I seriously pursued music. There is that cliche saying that you hear musicians reference in interviews about ‘doing it for yourself’ and whatnot. I think that is the right approach. Music does not have to be for monetary or social value. It can be practical like riding a bike or working out, something you do on a daily basis that you enjoy or something to keep your mind focused. I produce my favorite sounds around 3am when I am about to shut everything down after making 5-7 songs prior to that. So I guess not caring about what is produced or what happens to it and ‘doing it for yourself’ is the move for me. 

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

I have a pretty strict schedule of posting daily beatmaking/performance videos on Instagram and weekly videos on YouTube (different content from Instagram). All of my releases are also on all streaming platforms. I will provide all links below.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ikoseveta/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCit-UuOFYPtdx44cjIaPTUg 

Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/ikoseveta/1455868222 

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/0EAqN6YKRxw7Hfu0UkTAAC?si=kWR9aO7ITBu3evjm0208jg 


[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…
]