Cntr Rndm – Christian Paga

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

I really like the TYPE knob on my NTS-1, because it lets you browse through all the FX programs and oscillators you have installed… and this is what makes the NTS-1 such a valuable synth/FX unit: you can customize the living daylight out of it!

Korg NTS-1

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

Ok, I really love the PO-128 Mega Man and it’s (almost) perfect in every way BUT it would be even more amazing if it had a backup function like the PO-33, the PO-32 or the PO-133! It’s so annoying when you have to delete a song or a pattern you were rather satisfied, with just because you want to make a new one.

PO-128 Mega Man

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

I have this thing called “the Krako” which is just a portmanteau word consisting of the German words “Krach” (noise) and “Koffer” (case). So it’s this super old hairdressing case I got off Ebay for a couple of bucks (way cheaper than an actual flight case) and it literally does what it says on the tin: it’s a case for little noise-makers, preferably pieces of gear that run on batteries or that don’t need batteries at all (like my crappy Kalimba). Usually, there are a bunch of pocket operators in there as well as my NTS-1, my Korg Volca Modular, my Korg Monotron Delay, and both my Koma Elektronik Field Kit and my Field Kit FX.

NTS-1, Korg Volca Modular, Korg Monotron Delay, Koma Elektronik Field Kit and Field Kit FX

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

What a great question! Erm, I would love to see a hardware version of Airwindows’ Galactic which is one of my favorite plugins at the moment. It’s this super amazing “I will turn anything into an ambient atmosphere” monster of a plugin – and the best thing is, it’s freeware! I can’t think of a vice-versa-example so here’s another piece of
software I wish was hardware: Valhalla’s Supermassive! I mean, seriously, isn’t Supermassive just the best Reverb-Delay plugin out there? But hey, basically all Valhalla plugins are amazing – what a great company!

Airwindows’ Galactic

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

Puh, nah, not really! I know this is super boring, but I tend to research a lot before I buy stuff – so I keep my bad-buy-level to a minimum.
However, I have kind of a difficult relationship with my Korg Volca Modular. It’s weird because on paper, we should be BFFs but in reality, meh…

Korg Volca Modular

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

That’s an easy one…pocket operators! I just love pocket operators – they have completely changed the way I approach producing music. Thanks to pocket operators, I can make music EVERYWHERE!

Pocket Operator Office

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

Three words: Ableton Live Suite!

Ableton Live shining brightly

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

Well, I’ll go with the PO-133, as it’s so much fun, that it’s annoyingly hard to put it aside!

PO-133

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

My buddy Pete Prodoehl (@raster on IG) taught me this super awesome Korg Monotron Delay latching trick, hack, whatever you want to call it. So, if you want to create a hands-free drone sound with this tiny dirtbag of a synth, all you have to do is put a nut on the ribbon keyboard and wrap a rubber band around it. This way, the Monotron plays a constant tone and you can tweak the sound with both hands.

Korg Monotron Delay

Artist or Band name?

Controlled Randomness aka CNTR RNDM aka CR aka Uncle CR.

Genre?

Erm…

Selfie?

Kind of…

Christian Paga aka. Cntr Rndm

Where are you from?

Essen, Germany.

How did you get into music?

When I was 14, me and my mates wanted to start a rap group. We had the lyrical skills (nah, we didn’t), we had the looks (nah, we didn’t), we were cool AF (hell no) – the only thing that was missing were beats! So I got a copy of Magix Music Maker and I made the most amazing beats ever created (no, I certainly didn’t).

I decided to become a professional musician after I won a couple of really big remix contests – including Daft Punk’s Technologic remix contest (back in 2005 I think) which was also the door opener to getting a major record deal in the mid-noughties. This was really exciting and all, I really enjoyed this for a while but after some time I realized that there were too many people around me that wanted to have a piece of the pie; who wanted to tell me what music to make, what gigs to play and what clothes to wear (seriously!!!). I didn’t make the music I wanted to make and ultimately I didn’t care about all of this and all of a sudden, making music wasn’t fun anymore! I had lost both the spirit and myself along the way.

After some time, I decided to quit making music for a while because I wasn’t feeling it anymore. Well, before I knew it, “a while” became 10 years and I only got back into making music when the first lockdown happened…and well, here I am, making music I really want to make; nowadays, after all these years, making music is fun again; and that’s why I strongly believe that music is all about experimenting, having fun, and community!

What still drives you to make music?

If I only knew 😂 but I guess I really love experimenting!

How do you most often start a new track?

It depends, really – if the song includes drums, I’ll probably start with the drums. If it’s an ambient piece, however, I’ll probably have a little piano jam, record it to tape, load it into Ableton and stretch the hell out of it 😁

How do you know when a track is finished?

Tracks are never finished – you just stop working on them 😂

Show us your current studio

I don’t have a studio anymore… just a “Krako” and a laptop 😎

“Krako”

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Do what you love!

Ok, then I’ll shamelessly plug my Partygate PO-33 kit on YouTube… it’s this little jam at the intersection of music and journalism, as it reveals the true (like so true) story behind Boris Johnson’s Partygate scandal 😂


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Martin

Is a composer of ambient lofi beats with soundscapes on top, also sometimes a writer of alt-folk songs with a unique lyrical shock.

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