Andrew Black – Loop De Loop

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

That is a tough one but I think I have to go with the filter cutoff on my Moog Sub Phatty. I immediately fell in love with sweeping that filter, it is satisfying both sonically and physically. 

Moog Sub Phatty

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

My Op-1 is pretty close to perfect. At times I wish it had more keys, but the size is part of its charm.

Teenage Engineering OP-1

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

Op1, sp404, and a pair of beyerdynamic dt 770 s. It all fits comfortably in my backpack.

Beyerdynamic dt 770

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

I have a reverb plugin called Valhalla shimmer that I really love, but I wish it was in pedal form so I could have the tactile interaction with it. I use tape and 4 track recorders often and I truly love them, but they break, need maintenance, or shit out on you during a show (it was the worst! haha) so I would love if somehow there was a software 4 track that could actually capture the sound and feel of the real thing… but all the inconsistencies and frustrations with working with physical tape are a part of what make it magical… so maybe I wouldn’t change it after all.

Tascam 4 Track

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

I tend to hold onto all the gear that I procure, good or bad. My father is a musician though and his first guitar amp, a 1964 Silvertone 1484 would have been passed down to me but was accidentally sold in a garage sale by my uncle when I was a kid, so that is probably my greatest gear regret.

Silvertone amp

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

I would say most recently the 0-Coast by Make Noise, it inspires me every time I touch it. 

Make Noise 0-coast

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

I think Ableton. I have used pro tools for years, it gets the job done and I’m fairly proficient in it, but I have been told that Ableton lends itself more to the genre that I work in and therefore may facilitate workflow/productivity. I would really love to learn ableton someday but my patience with new software is short at times to say the least haha.

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

My microkorg. It was my first synth when I was 14 so I’m attached to it for that reason. It also does have great guts and can make some awesome sounds but accessing the oscillators and making fine adjustments isn’t particularly intuitive and can be frustrating when I have a sound in my head that I’m trying to get out. 

Korg MicroKorg

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

The vinyl simulator on my Sp-404 has been a go to for me lately. At first when I played around with it I felt like the crackles and textures it added were too much, but I started using it on sounds that would be turned into tape loops and I fell in love. The combination of the 404’s crackles, the analog tape hiss, and the tape warble give the sound a perfectly cryptic esthetic.

Roland SP404

Artist or Band name?

Andrew Black

Genre?

Ambient

Selfie?

Andrew Black

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Salem, Oregon, but i’ve lived in Portland, Oregon for the last decade.

How did you get into music?

My dad is a guitar player and music lover so my introduction to music was immediate in life haha. I started taking guitar lessons from him when I was ten and it has been my passion ever since.

What still drives you to make music?

It is the best way I have found to express myself. I’ve dealt with depression and anxiety all of my life and writing/making music allows me to process those unpleasant feelings most efficiently. I’ve also always just loved it. That combination keeps the drive alive and keeps me writing because it truly makes me happy.

How do you most often start a new track?

Most often the inspiration for a new track for me comes from just experimenting and playing around without any real intention or direction. When I spend some time tinkering with textures a tone or a rhythm will at some point give me an idea for a song.

How do you know when a track is finished?

It is really hard for me to know when a song is finished. I’m rarely if ever 100% sure that the song is done so I just try to trust work it until there isn’t anything obvious that’s bothering me, and then I try to trust myself that it is as good as I can make it.

Show us your current studio

Andrew Black’s studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

”Make music you would want to listen to” My friend Sonny Diperri told me that. It kinda seems obvious now, but that advice really changed how I make music. It is how I know when I’m writing honestly for myself and from the heart.

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

My most recent album is called “Slow Blood” 

https://andrewrblack.bandcamp.com


Color Moxie – A Bokeh of LoFi

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

Verbos knobs. They are red, they are smooth, you can spot them from a
distance.

Verbos

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

Tascam Portastudio

My Tascam Portastudio keeps on breaking, it’s very fragile, but I like tape
saturation so much. I wish they made new-old tape cassette 4 track
recorders.

Tascam Faders
Tascam knobs

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

Laptop, QuNexus and Shure 215 in ears. The QuNexus is super slim and
durable, the in-ears don’t use up much space in a bag and they block out
exterior sound pretty good. All of this fits in my laptop case.

Qunexus

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

Sonic Labs Fundamental is my favorite plugin at the moment. It sounds
very organic and has lots of character. The hardware version does exist in
real life, but I do not own it (yet?). I’d also like for a OP1 synth engine VST to exist.

Sonic Labs Fundamental

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

I should not have sold my Squarp Hermod. It was the perfect brain for my
modular setup.

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

OP1

The OP1. So many functions in a small format. Nice synth engines, 4
track recorder, built in microphone, speaker and built in battery.
Everyone loves the OP1.

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

Buchla music Easel and a Wurlitzer.

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

If this counts as gear; I hate having to use an iLok. It uses up a usb port for nothing and I’m always scared of losing it. As for real gear, I get pretty crazy about ground loop noise. Very annoying to have to figure out where it’s coming from in your signal chain and trying to fix it. It happens often when I mix eurorack, synths and my computer in a live performance type of thing.

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

For bass-y sounds, crank up the compressor on the OP1’s master, which will add lots of noise. After recording short sounds, add a gate in your daw with a very slow release and you’ll have a nice noise tail to your notes. Which will sound even better if you compress it again. Lofi.


Artist or Band name?

The Color Moxie.

Genre?

Spontaneous experimental compositions (?) I’ve just recently started
making one music video a day. It can be anything. It usually falls into the
synth / melancholic / saturated / overdramatic / noise category.

Selfie?

hi.

Color Moxie

Where are you from?

Melbourne, Australia.

How did you get into music?

Growing up, my older brother played drums. I wanted to make music too,
so I asked my parents if I could get guitar lessons. I had a few rock bands
which led into effect pedals. Fast forward a few years and now I’m into
synths, noise & sound design.

How do you most often start a new track?

I find a drum sample I like, chop it up and mangle it, until I start hearing
what mood the music is asking for. After that, i’ll find chords add synths,
and add some spatial textures to complete it.

How do you know when a track is finished?

When you run out of ideas.

Show us your current studio.

Color Moxie Studio desk

Not an offcial studio spot yet, but here’s what I had setup today.

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Record everything !

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

My instagram is pretty new:

https://www.instagram.com/color.moxie/

I’m also working on an EP which will be announced on that platform when it’s ready


The Galaxy Electric – Synth & Tape Duo

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

Big fan of the Rogan Alpha knobs used on some of the vintage Buchla stuff, namely the original Music Easel. I actually bought some to use on a DIY Video synth I am working on. They look great on those modules as well.

Rogan Alpha knobs

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

Perfection is not something we typically strive for with our gear. We actually appreciate the imperfections. So, the most perfectly imperfect bit of kit that we own is our Tascam M-308 8 channel 4 Bus mixing desk. It’s from the mid 80’s I believe. It’s a bit dark as compared to say, a brand new set of high end A/D converters. But it has character, warmth, and a thickness that we haven’t been able to achieve with a DI or vanilla Audio Interface. We typically use it as a front end for our tape machines.

Tascam M-308 8 channel 4 Bus mixing desk

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

For any musical getaway we would bring a portable Buchla rig, our vocal FX chain (space echo pedals!), some tape loops and our Tascam 4-track. This gives us all the textures and effects we need to have fun and get spacey. It also works for a live improvised drone, which is something we do pretty regularly on our livestreams.

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

I have the software versions of the Buchla 296e and 259e for Modular. Sometimes I wish I had the hardware versions. It would be fun to patch them with the rest of my system. I also wish Softube would port more of the Buchla stuff over. It would be great if I could completely duplicate my rig in software.

Buchla 296e and 259e for Modular

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

The way I see it, gear is an endless journey you shouldn’t be afraid to go on. I take a lot of risks when it comes to buying and selling. Sometimes I sell something to try something else and then sell that to get the other thing back again! Then I realize I’ve just gone in a circle. I don’t really have any regrets that can’t be corrected. Most things turn up eventually. Patience is key. If you are in love, don’t let it get away!

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

By far, the tape machines we’ve collected, mostly TEAC and Tascam reel to reel and cassette 4 tracks and the Buchla style synthesizer. Also really love different flavors of spring reverb! I have an old point-to-point wired Shure Reverberation Mixer I am quite fond of.

Shure Reverberation Mixer

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

I would probably build or obtain well built Buchla clone modules. It’s hard to say whether I would choose a 258 or 259 dual oscillator. Really depends on the day and mood.

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

Tascam Porta 02mkII

Tape Machines can be a real hassle to keep up. I have belts fail, heads get worn, channels stop working or act inconsistently. They cause me a lot of anxiety, but at the moment the two that we use the most, TEAC A-3440 and Tascam Porta 02mkII are acting reliably. Knock on wood!

Teac A-3440

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

I’d say the one that is the most fresh on my mind is that you can turn a multi-channel function generator (if it is the kind that outputs a trigger when the function completes its cycle) into a basic sequencer by cascading the stage pulse outs to the next channel’s input and the last stage’s pulse back to the first. Your decay rates control the timing of each channel and the cv output of each stage. You could connect other modules to make it a bit more interesting, but it’s a fun way to generate a sort of drunken pulse pattern as the basis for a patch. I made a video featuring this sort of thing called Patch and Tell – E1- Buchla Clones 280 266 – Pseudo Sequence – Source of Uncertainty -1979 DAO.


Artist or Band name?

The Galaxy Electric

Genre?

Cosmic Tape Music

Selfie?

The Galaxy Electric

Where are you from?

LA originally, now, the Midwest.

How did you get into music?

Both of us grew up feeling called to music and participated in school and church music programs. Eventually we decided a band was the only way to fulfill the artistic lifestyle we craved and stay true to our unique musical voices within.

What still drives you to make music?

Over the years we have honed our skills and have been able to narrow what we do down to something we call Cosmic Tape Music. Getting extremely specific about the type of music we make has made us even more passionate about our creative pursuits.

How do you most often start a new track?

It really depends on the type of piece but usually either a riff, a vocal, or a pre-recorded groove. Our latest album, however, is all improvisations that were made using synchronized loopers with the outcome going straight to tape.

How do you know when a track is finished?

The ideas stop flowing even after several listens, sessions. It’s kind of like a water soffit that is eventually dry. You have to trust that it is done when the ideas either slow to a stop or start to feel forced. Sometimes, we listen years later and hear more. That can be frustrating, but it’s rare. I think it comes with experience to learn to get good closure with a track.

Show us your current studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Be uniquely you, and do what only you can.

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

Our new album Pre-Orders run from Aug 12 – Sept 8:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1511715045/the-galaxy-electric-is-releasing-new-music-on-reel-to-reel

And our main website and shop links:

https://thegalaxyelectricshop.com/

https://www.thegalaxyelectric.com/