Gemini Horror – Hot Ambient Mess

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

DIY varispeed knob on a walkman cassette

This is my favorite knob, there is something about making something yourself and peeking behind the curtain that is so magical.

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

TC Electronic Flashback

I always go back to this delay, it’s simple and effective and has room to evolve with the toneprint stuff, although I haven’t messed with that yet. I wish the looper had more options, but I think the “X4” one has wayyy more looper options.

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

iPad with Mood iOS Model D app and cassette tape

Vacation? Holiday? What are those lol? When we’re able to travel again, I’ll probably do something simple like an ipad and a cassette recorder. There’s a lot of untapped power in the ipad world that needs to be explored.

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

I guess I wish ableton had more specific controllers, like an operator specific physical controller. I know push offers some control but it would be cool to have all the settings at your fingertips. Honestly though we’ve entered the age where software is like 95% there in my opinion, VST’s and modelers are good enough for me 🙂

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

Korg Volca Modular

I regret buying the volca modular, if you don’t have any modular this is a cool synth to see if you’re interested and there’s some great sounds in this box, but overall I never clicked with it. I would have rather gotten another volca fm or maybe a module.

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

Telecaster guitar

Hands down the guitar, acoustic or electric. It’s the instrument I learned music on and it will always be my number one!

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

I would do it just how I started, a guitar, a DAW, a mic or 2. I think a DAW should be the centerpiece of every musician’s setup along with their “main” instrument.

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

Nothing really annoys me that much honestly. I don’t really like mixing/mastering and that is always a big road block between me and releasing music. I should just hire someone to do that stuff but I don’t have the funds to justify it.

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

Ableton Live MaxForLive Randomizer

My FAVORITE thing right now is a maxforlive randomizer. I use it on everything, hardware, software, effects, arps, everything. I found myself in a rut and I was creating similar stuff too often but the randomizer has opened the floodgates on what is possible with gear. I think generally we underestimate the power that things have. Like the randomizer on a microkorg will give you a lifetime supply of sounds and effects that will consistently surprise you.


Artist or Band name?

Gemini Horror

Genre?

Currently ambient but really I’d say a hot mess

Selfie?

Gemini Horror

Where are you from?

Florida

How did you get into music?

I took classical guitar lessons in middle and high school along with piano, music theory, and orchestra.

What still drives you to make music?

I’m not sure right now, I think it’s something I have to do to maintain myself and it’s my creative outlet. Without it I think I might die from boredom.

How do you most often start a new track?

There is no one way. Sometimes it’s something I can’t stop playing on guitar and other times it’s an instagram post I liked.

How do you know when a track is finished?

Hahah, tracks are never finished, but they have to leave you at some point.

Show us your current studio

Gemini Horror studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Just do it

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

Nothing really to promote right now, but check me out on spotify and instagram 🙂

https://www.instagram.com/gemini.horror/


[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…
]


Droid Zen – Robot Meditations

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

LSDJ and friends

The election of the music gear depends on the emotion feels, desires to learn new music vocabularies or the song itself ask you the tools to create it, but the DMG-01 (any Game Boy model, with LSDJ and other music rooms) is one of my favorite music instruments, because is probably the best example that making music is a game and working with this tool is so fun. You know, you can made the DMG-01 a synth, sequencer, drum machine and MIDI controler; all in one, is fantastic.  When you compose music with DMG-01 the form to see the complete music enviromment and aproach the ideas conditions the results, and let you explore unique options, wich would be impossible to conceive with other kinds of music tools; mantra: “one thing is with a guitar and another with a violin”; new mantra, “one thing is with a traditional synth and another with DMG-01”. Another favorite tool to ordering sounds is the Speak & Spell, it´s very rock, and the tape machines are pure magnetism. 

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

Another nice odd question my friend. I think if that chaos or randoms sounds are incorporated in all music tools, we could see the extra layers of the marble to create a better scupture. Sometimes we can control and generate our own chaos and random ideas, it´s part of the creative drift, but if we had the option to turn on and off an alternative chaos to compose is that what would change everything.

Light and layers

Optimize the creative cables. We all need the chaos, it´s like an angry ocean, you know, removes sediments, and create opportunities to see new forms of musical life. Imagine a random 5th channel on LSDJ; or more crazy also, like an extra random rope in the guitar, piano, violin, etc., to change its pitch without our being able to prevent it; composing assuming that randomness would be a good exercise.

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

Game Boy DMG-01 of course (it takes up little space in the suitcase) and a Zoom H6N or H4N. Sometimes I carry my guitar, but a paper and pencil are always the best tools.

Zoom recorder. Boss Pedals and GameBoys running LSDJ

Now, let me ask you a similar question.

What setup would you like to carry on a vacation to Mars or Space Station?

And imagine that there is a weight limit per passenger… perhaps Carl Sagan could advise us better at that time.

[Editor: I’d bring a tank of oxygen, it’s great for making sounds and it’s my absolute favourite for breathing. 🙂 Throw us an answers in the comments below]

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

Reason´s Subtractor Synth please! But I´d be very happy with all Propellerhead Software hardware racks, and I would like to have a Circuit Bending software, but one in which you can add and also buy toys to short-circuit them, just imagine, go to the library and select a Speak and Spell as a base, and have the possibility of hacking it virtually, for example: add controls for pitch, loops, hold, glitch, CV ports, LFO’s, etc.,

Korg Volca FM. Earthquaker Devices Dispatch Master and saucer

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

Yes, a wrong Mabuchi engine. I bought 2 of those motors to hack the Tascam Porta 03 and due to an inattention I bought the same motor model. Also I bought a TI-82 calculator and it still fills its main functions: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

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

Nice question my friend, and answer is: the Reason from Propellerhead Software, my guitar of course and the LSDJ. Most of my compositions start from any part of this trinity.  Sometimes I imagine a melody playing a synth from Reason and continue it on LSDJ and other times I start something on LSDJ and take it to Reason, and my guitar is always there to solve any musical puzzle that comes up and initiate other ideas.

Sound as rituals

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

Tesla and Space X Stock when those companies started too; to be able to by more synths and audio equipment, but I wouldn’t change the order of things with which I started making music: my guitar, and actually, I have the desire to buy a drum set since my childhood.

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

TI-83 Calculator! It’s so heavy to use them with the Houston Tracker, sometimes I hate it, don’t get me wrong, because when I can make it sound, the bass lines sound so powerful, and I find it crazy to be able to make music with a calculator and place notes with sine and osine, but maybe I do several things wrong because I cannot turn off the calculator once I use them and I have to do the entire Houston Tracker installation process and when I compose something I have to take photos of the screen as a backup and breathe very deeply if unexpectedly it crash, but that “little calculating bug” produces good sounds and I would live very sad if I did not have my TI-83, I would even miss my TI-82 to which I still cannot install the Houston Tracker; somebody help me with that!

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

Synth Rotek’s Atari Punk tunes very well, it is unstable, but with patience it can sound very powerful. Atari Punk in general are valuable wildcards to create and express emotions, when I connect any sound source in its CV ports, like a DMG-01, sounds really fat, on fire!.

If you connect the Atari Punk to an arpeggiator or fuzz pedal, you can rock out for a long time, and with long reverbs they can sound like trival songs. Another trick is to rock the DMG-01. Using an overtone pedal and a distortion, you can get really crazy sounds! Sometimes it’s great to do power chords: two channels sounding at the same time, the first channel does the tonic and the second channel the fifth, but, to this channel different values are applied with the D (delay) command to each note, then you can spice it up with individual wrappers per instrument, put values in with the K (stop) command and Vualá, it sounds so close to a guitar.

Through the porthole

Artist or Band name?

Droide Zen

Genre?

I’m going to paraphrase a great musician: Kevin Johansen “Soy un Desgenerado” (without musical genre). 

Selfie?

Droid Zen

Where are you from?

Guyaquil – Ecuador

How did you get into music?

I honestly don’t remember an exact date, because I liked the music for as long as I can remember, music is part of my biology.

What still drives you to make music?

Breathe. 

How do you most often start a new track?

Again, breathe and feel peace by my limbic system, And have the fortune to see an idea that excites me. Jorge Drexler in an interview said that making music is like a hunting ground, with different entrance doors, where you enter to hunt the same, but through different doors. The song that starts from the text, a sequence of chords, a melody, noise or random proceses is different. 

How do you know when a track is finished?

Perhaps intuition, you never know, maybe a track is never finished. Songs like that have only single chord have a life and their own and their own evolutionary path. The thermometer that I trust when I make music is the feeling, if the result transmits energy to me and when I add something the original emotion changes or that energy is lost, well, it’s time to stop and let the song breathe on its own, and listen to it after a long time and if it still retains the same feeling, it was always alive from the beginning.

Show us your current studio

Studio cat

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

A universal advice: live with the mistakes that we will make. 

Another good advice is one that Leda Valladares gave to Pedro Aznar: feel the ancient cosmic, sing with the guts, without worrying so much about aesthetics, your song must be credible. In spanish you say: cantar desde las entrañas.

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

[Editor: Check out the Droid Zen channel below]

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_-K0KHWU8JNWeBR8IHtXOg/videos


[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…
]


Gard Osen – Tilde Elektriske

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

The Davies 1600 on my spring reverb drive/recovery box. It’s a clone of the large knobs used on the old buchla modules. Great size and grip. 

A sweet Davies 1600 perfect for a spring reverb

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

My Les Paul is my favorite instrument. It’s got a 50’s style round neck, which is just the best thing I ever played. It’s hard to keep in tune and makes weird ground noises sometimes, but I have no plans to change anything on it except the knobs which I switch out at least once a month.

Gibson Les Paul

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

This summer holiday I brought a mic, mixer, reverb, looper and a recorder. I’m staying at my parents house for a few weeks and there are a lot of instruments here, so I only brought “utilities”. 

TC Ditto X4 and an Shure SM57

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

I have a lot of digital recreations of classic compressors that would be great to have in real life. Of course they are all crazy expensive so that’s never gonna happen, but generally I wish I had more hardware compressors, both pedals and rack gear.

A crappy speaker

For software I would love a “crappy speaker” simulator type thing. Like a combination of eq, distortion, compression, noise and whatever else. Maybe with an overdrive or a “slash the speaker with a knife” option. 

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

I think both apply for my Lyra 8. I don’t really regret buying it, it’s great and sounds amazing, but I never found a way to use it in any of my setups. I was convinced it would be perfect for me, but I never really became friends with it. It’s been with me for a year now and I think it’s time to let it go soon, but I know I’ll regret selling it. Buying the wrong gear isn’t necessarily a bad thing, you’ll learn about what fits you and what doesn’t. 

Lyra-8

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

Loopers. Ditto x4 is my main one at the moment. 

TC Electronics Ditto X4

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

Guitar, amp and a DD-7, just like the first time around! 

Boss DD7

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

The entry level Acer I’ve been mixing on for the last 8 years. The amount of hardware errors and lack of processing power justified switching it out maybe 5 years ago, but I’ve made it a challenge for myself to keep old computers alive. I can spend money on more creative equipment and as long as it does not slow me down too much and I’m still outputting a fair amount of music, I’ll use whatever switches on. That said, I plan to build a proper production computer this fall. 

Acer PC

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

Relating to the previous question, mixing with very little resources teaches you a lot of tricks. E.g mixing vocals and music for one song in different project files. I do a hip hop project on the side with my friends and it’s just not possible on my crappy computer to mix all the tracks of a hip hop song in one project. What I do is mix in parallel in two different project files, so I do the beat in one project and the vocals in another. Once I have a rough mix of the vocals I export that as one track into the beat project, then do adjustments to the beat, export just the beat and put it in the vocal project, then do adjustments to vocals based on the new beat. And I go back and forth like that several times. 

Bonus: I just discovered a new stereo spread mode on my DD-7 after having owned it for maybe 15 years. 


Artist or Band name? 

Gard Osen 

Genre? 

Experimental and Ambient 

Selfie? 

Gard Osen

Where are you from? 

Bergen, Norway 

How did you get into music? 

Started with guitar when I was 13, playing rock. 

What still drives you to make music? 

The reasons to make stuff change all the time but I still get the same feelings now when I’m making something new as when I first started writing songs. 

How do you most often start a new track? 

Practically, it’s different every time. Sometimes it’s inspiration and sometimes it’s necessity. 

If a sound is inspiring, I start from that. If something just needs to be made, I usually come at it from a mixing perspective, probably starting with drums. 

How do you know when a track is finished? 

Depends on the project. I’m usually happy when there is no element in the mix that can distract you or take you out of the experience, and there is a distinct sound and atmosphere. 

If I do deep and long mixing processes it’s mostly for the learning experience, but that’s a luxury I rarely afford myself. 

Show us your current studio 

My 30m2 apartment functions as both workshop and recording studio. A lot of stuff gets packed up and down from storage boxes on a daily basis, so I don’t have a permanent setup. This is my current writing/playing stand: 

Gerd Olsens Studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard? 

Something that television creator Dan Harmon said in an interview really resonated with me. 

It’s about writing for television but it can definitely apply for music as well. He talks about how one source of procrastination can be that you have too high expectations of yourself and on which level you should be able to produce. Working a lot with music but creating very little output was definitely a problem for me for a long time and I think he hits on some great points that I have thought about a lot. 

Listen to it here: https://youtu.be/u6DDCA0GwU4?t=292 

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

Besides making music I also make music equipment under the name Tilde Elektriske Kretser. I’ve made a lot of guitar pedals, but the latest thing is the Fjærlett – an audio feedback instrument using reverb springs. Check it out here: 

https://tilde-elektriske.com/fjaerlett


[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…
]