Matt Lowery – Cinematique Tones

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

Easy- the filter cutoff knob on my Moog Subsequent 25. It’s huge, feels great, and what is does sonically is even better.

Moog Subsequent 25 Filter Knob

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

The Vermona PerFOURMer is 99% perfect. I do sometimes wish I could store presets, but I understand why they kept everything completely manual. It’s inspiring to explore and dial in new sounds, but it would also be fantastic to be able to quickly find my way back to a sound I’ve already incorporated in a song (say, if I’m doing pickups in studio

Vermona PerFOURmer

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

My most fun, expressive mobile music tool is the norns. It can almost fit in your back pocket, but its scope is pretty limitless.

Monome Norns

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

I’d sell a kidney to get Sean Costello’s Valhalla Vintage Verb into pedal form. I’d love to see some of Tom Majeski of Cooper FX’s code (particularly the Generation Loss) make its way to plugin land.

Cooper FX Generatioin Loss

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

Oof. This one hurts. When I was 17, I found an old keyboard looking thing in a closet at the local church my family attended. I messed around with it and dismissed it as some kind of work out garbage, and gave it to a friend. It was a Juno 60. That one pains me to this day.

[Editor: Damn!]

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

There are about 100 answers to this question, and the most honest answer I can give is “go check out my instagram”, because that’s where I document my adventures with inspiring gear. Lately, the most inspiring thing I’ve played is the Instruo Arbhar, which is this incredible musical granular processor. It’s really wonderful.

Instruo Arbhar

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

Wouldn’t change a thing! So the official answer is a Squier Stratocaster.

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

My tape decks. There’s always something to clean, maintain, or fix. But working with magnetic tape is something I don’t ever want to give up. The process itself helps me generate better ideas.

Tape Decks

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

Recently I found out I could trigger the gate on my Vongon Paragraphs pedal with midi note data, which lets me set up these super tight rhythmic filter opening sequences. Super cool.

Vongon Paragraphs

Artist or Band name?

Matt Lowery

Genre?

Ambient/Electronic

Selfie?

Where are you from?

Oklahoma City, OK, USA.

How did you get into music?

I picked up guitar when I was 12, and have been at it ever since!

What still drives you to make music?

Music and art are the ways that I process the world. I have to be making something meaningful all the time. When I stop making things, I start having trouble in every area of my life.

How do you most often start a new track?

I try to spend time with music every day. So I’ll usually stumble upon a sound, a vibe, or a progression by accident, and that will be the seed for a track. Sometimes it works out, often it doesn’t. That’s the fun!

How do you know when a track is finished?

When I enjoy it as much as I enjoy other people’s music, I try to just walk away. There’s always more you can do, so it’s more that I put it down, rather than saying it’s done.

Show us your current studio

That would require me to clean my current studio 😀

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Here’s the best advice I’ve ever read, period:

https://sivers.org/balance

[Editor: Spectacularly good advice! If you feel it applies to you? TLDR: Find a balance between income and art by separating the two]

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

You can hear my latest LP “Voyager” as well as my newest single “Nearer Now” at my Bandcamp page (mattlowery.bandcamp.com), as well as on all major streaming platforms.


Ian Pritchard – Collector//Emitter

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

My favorite control is always the lag or delay time control on a chorus, vibrato, or flanger pedal. I think the Caroline Guitar Co Somersault specifically does it really well, but a lot of pedals have the control now. Changing the delay time makes a huge difference to the tone, and I’m really surprised that pedals only recently started giving this control.

Coraline Somarsault Lo-Fi Modulator

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

Maybe this is a non-answer, but I honestly can’t think of one. Sure, all my gear has some flaw or limitation, but rarely is it something that gets in the way of working with it. I usually see those limitations as a way of guiding how I work with it, which usually helps me break out of my routine. For example, Digitone could have an output per track, but see question 9 for how I work around that.

Korg Prologue

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

I’ve been searching for the right thing for a while. It’s a guitar when I can, but when I’m flying I bring something else. First it was an OP-1, then an OP-Z, and now I think the Model:Cycles is the perfect travel synth for me.

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

I really wish the SoundToys plugins, specifically Primal Tap, Echoboy, and Little Plate were available as hardware. Those sound incredible, and I’d love to have them on my pedalboard (I’m aware these are modeled on hardwarem but I love their dsp, but I’d love a Prime Time 93).

There are tons of pedals I wish were software, but only if they 100% nailed the sound. For example, the Fairfield Circuitry Shallow Water is an amazing lofi vibrato that saturates in the perfect way, so having that to easily put on mix busses would be incredible.

Fairfield Circuitry Shallow Water

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

I’m a bit of a hoarder, especially when it comes to gear, so I find it hard to sell something unless I really don’t need it. There are a few pedals I’ve sold and miss, but usually I have some pedal that can do something similar. My biggest “regret” would be selling my Sub 37 which I loved. I only sold it because I had no space for it, but I miss it a lot and can’t recreate some of those thick, distorted duophonic sounds.

[Editor: I just sold my Sub37 for the same reason. No space. I miss the sounds, but I also feel strangely free]

Moog Sub37

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

I’ve recently discovered that what inspires me the most is actually minimal setups. I’ll usually pair one or two pedals with one synth and see what happens. That gets me out of my head thinking about perfect separation of each track or things like that, so I can jump into working on whatever ideas come to me.

Keeley Eccos

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

A nice guitar. I’ve played cheap guitars for so long, so when I finally got a nice one (a Bilt Relevator LS) I was blown away. From there, I’d probably get a few pedals (probably Red Panda Tensor and Smallsound/Bigsound Mini), obviously some kind of amp, and an affordable groovebox like a Circuit or Model:Cycles

Bilt Relevator LS

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

The old Line 6 DL4 is the best looper I’ve ever used, but they’re also notorious for randomly breaking for no reason. And they don’t use the standard pedal power supply. But I truly love it.

Line6 DL4 and buddies

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

Not sure if this is really surprising, but I’ve recently started doing it – on any groovebox that lets you pan the tracks, you can pan the rhythmic tracks to one output and the melodic tracks to another, and run the melodic output through any effects that you don’t want messing up the rhythm. This helps me record videos with my Digitone or Model:Cycles into a pedal, live in one take with just a two-track interface.

Elektron Cycles into Hypersleep pedal

Artist or Band name?

Collector//Emitter on youtube for all my pedal demos and synth videos, and Collector for my music releases.

Genre?

Kinda all over the place… ambient, glitchy, electronic and/or guitar-based

Selfie?

Ian Pritchard aka. Collector//Emitter

Where are you from?

Originally from Philadelphia, now based in Brooklyn.

How did you get into music?

When I was a kid I loved listening to music, so I wanted to play it. Then I wanted to learn how to record, so I did that and played in bands for a while. Now I am enjoying music as a creative outlet on my own time, with no real motives beyond making music.

What still drives you to make music?

Making youtube videos keeps the muscle memory there for when I want to be creative. Working full-time in a music-related field and then wanting to make music in my free time can be tough, but having an objective and deadline helps keep me going.

How do you most often start a new track?

Maybe once a week, it depends on the week. I usually focus my creative drive on making videos, so weeks when I have extra drive or inspiration I might start 3 or 4 tracks.

How do you know when a track is finished?

I’m really bad about that… I usually struggle with completing things. I guess when I can listen through multiple times and enjoy it, it’s done.

Show us your current studio

Studio with light leak

(This is unfortunately the best picture I have, and I can’t take one at the moment because I left Brooklyn to stay with my parents while NY is still bad with covid)

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

“[The recording] was really noisy. I kind of liked it. That was the way it had to be. Then you stop worrying whether you should have made this decision or that about how things sounded, and just get down to the business of making songs” – Elliott Smith, Tape Op Winter 1997

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

My latest release will always be a pedal demo on youtube, since I post them once (or twice) weekly – https://youtube.com/c/collectoremitter

But my latest music release was an ambient thing with the Elektron Model:Cycles and Red Panda Particle V2 – https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/collector1/particles

[Editor: I recently borrowed a Red Panda Particle v2. And it’s friggin’ spamtatstic. Do you have any tips, tricks or fun techniques with it? Leave a comment]


Todd Barton – The Don Of Buchla

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

Large blue, skirted Rogan knobs like on my Buchla 259 Complex Waveform Generator. They fit my hand nicely, feel good and I can see the index on the skirt. For sliders, all the sliders on my Easel. I prefer sliders to knobs, because I can more easily see where they are. Clearly I use the sliders a lot, since the printing is wearing off!

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

When I travel my favorite setup of my Buchla Music Easel plus a lunchbox of eurorack modules, ususally a Makenoise Morphagene or Epoch Hordijk Benjolin to bring into the Easel’s Aux In for manipulation and processing and the Intellijel Planar 2 for spatialization.

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

see above

4. What software do you wish was hardware and viceversa?

I wish Tom Erbe’s Soundhack plugins were hardware. Ooops, wait! They are 🙂 All of his modules with Makenoise: Morphagene, Mimeophon, Echophon,Erbeverb are the ones I have.

Eurorack case

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

My Buchla 100 and Synthi AKS. Couldn’t be helped at the time.

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

Buchla 200e

Clearly my Buchla instruments, but I have also created a lot of music I love with my Hordijk and Serge systems.

Hordijk and Buchla 200

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

Though I learned about analog synthesis from a friends’ Easel back in the 1970’s, the first modular I owned was a Serge Modular Music System in 1979. It was a great entreand, I’d do it again.

Serge

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

I’m going to interpret “annoying” as “tempermental” in which case my Easel. It’s tempermental, but I love it.

[Editor: It’s a little nice to know that even a synthesis master, who clearly has a superb grasp of the Music Easel, thinks that his instruments can be ‘tempermental’]

Easel Eurorack setup

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

Feedback. I try to get every module I encounter to feedback and learn what that has to teach me, what I can discover from it.


Artist or Band name?

Todd Barton

Genre?

All

Selfie?

Sure. Well a photo of me taken by my artist daughter, Ursula Barton

Todd Barton

Where are you from?

Originally the San Francisco Bay Area in California. Moved permanently to Ashland, Oregon in my late teens. I’m now 70.

How did you get into music?

Though my parents weren’t musical they played musicin the house (radio and phonograph) and there was a piano in the house that I began exploring at age 5. From then on I was obsessed with sound . . .

What still drives you to make music?

Sonic curiosity.

How do you most often start a new track?

By following the sound, listening to where it might takeme. It feels like sonic T’ai Chi, or more specifically a T’aiChi form called Push Hands which is done with a partner and it is an exploration and exercise of moving energy. I feel like my partner is sound.

How do you know when a track is finished?

Completely intuitive . . . the sonic sculpture looks and feels complete, nothing more to add and along the way I have stripped away unnecessary gestures and layers.

Show us your current studio— Too messy to show, but here are a few isolated shots ofsome gear.

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Listen, deeply.

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

Buchla Now album. In 2020 the cassette tape label Ultraviolet Light will release Buchla Now. This album will feature a compilation of new tracks recorded by some of the most exciting electronic musicians working today, and focus solely on instruments designed by Don Buchla, the legendary instrument builder, physicist, circuit designer and inventor of West Coast Synthesis. Buchla Now was curated by Todd Barton with contributions from Marcia Bassett, Suzanne Ciani, Dan Deacon, Jonathan Fitoussi, Steve Horelick, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, and Hans Tammen.

Suzanne Ciani once said of Don Buchla that his “ unique mindset allowed him to be outside the popular notion of what electronic music was”. Each of these artists, in their own way, carries on this tradition of boundary-pushing music, expanding the very notion of what music can be.

https://www.ultravioletlight.blue/

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