1. Favourite knob or fader or switch on a piece of gear and why?
I really love the EHX Freeze pedal! Such a nice way to add subtle droning notes to your music – especially when playing live. Playing solo acoustic guitar pieces can get a bit one dimensional and the Freeze adds something great to that. But it can be a bit hard to make it blend in with the acoustic sound – takes some practice.
2. Do you have an ‘almost’ perfect bit of kit? What would you change?
I love GraceDesigns acoustic preamps both the Felix and the Bix. They sound awesome – only thing I would change on the Bix is that the boost is placed AFTER the effect loop and when using it with a looper in the effect loop, it boosts BOTH the guitar and the looper and that’s really annoying. Most other preamps place the boost BEFORE the effect loop and that much more useful, because then you can lift the guitar sound when playing a guitar solo without also boosting the loop, you’re playing on top off.
3. What setup do you bring on holiday or tour or commute etc.?
I always try to bring a guitar with me when possible. I have a nice small body guitar made by Porto Guitarre from Portugal. It is built after how guitars looked like in the early 1800’s long before the “modern” acoustic guitar was developed. It plays like a classical guitar and is easy to travel with. It even has a nice pickup installed. Besides that, I have the same Focusrite iTrack Dock setup in my summer cottage that I use at home and that way all I have to do is bring my iPad with me, to continue what I’m working on when I’m on holiday.
4. What software do you wish was hardware and vice versa?
I don’t really use a lot of software – I prefer “real” things with “real” buttons – I tend to get lost when there’s too much you can do! I use Cubasis and a few good plugins. But the other way around, I would really love if someone made a software Omnichord. I love my Omnichords, but they were made in the mid 80’es and never meant to work for 40 years, so they get really fragile after so many years. I really don’t like taking them out – so a nice software version would be great!
5. Is there anything you regret selling… or regret buying?
Yes, a lot of stuff, but I have always tried to keep my collection of guitars, pedal and other gear to a minimum. I don’t like owning stuff I don’t use, and instruments are made to be played, so its better someone else is playing it, than it’s collecting dust on my shelf. Besides that, most gear is replaceable today. Only the really unique things are worth keeping.
6. What gear has inspired you to produce the most music?
Clearly my Lowden guitars – there just so wonderfully inspiring instruments and almost everything starts with them. Once I had four of them, but now I’m down to just two. Both cedar tops, but one with rosewood sides and the other with mahogany. That covers just about what I need. They have a very nice “European sound” compared to the more common “American Martin sound” that works great with my music.
7. If you had to start over, what would you get first?
A nice acoustic guitar – I’m lefthanded, so for many years I had to play with some mediocre guitars, because the selection in most music stores here in Denmark was quite terrible. Just one really good instrument gets you a long way – especially when you start recording stuff. A good instrument sounds good with just a microphone, with a lesser instrument, you end up using too much time to cover that with EQs and stuff.
8. What’s the most annoying piece of gear you have, that you just can’t live without?
Instruments that don’t stay in tune – ukuleles are fun to play, but change the strings and you have to wait a month for them to be stabilize and stay in tune. Whistles too – must be tuned very precisely to sound in tune with other instruments. Tube amps can be annoying too.
9. Most surprising tip or trick or technique that you’ve discovered about a bit of kit?
Besides live looping I use my looper to trigger samples when performing live. Again, it’s a way to add another dimension to playing solo acoustic stuff. It might be just a couple of piano notes or some cello that I have saved on the looper and can turn on and off on at the right moment. One song has a drumbeat and a saxophone riff ready on the looper
Artist or Band name?
Marcus Hagsten / Under Månen
Where are you from?
Frederiksberg – Denmark
How did you get into music?
I stole my fathers album “Harvest” by Neil Young around age 12. Made a HUGE impression on me – started playing guitar soon after.
What still drives you to make music?
There’s always something new you haven’t tried before – music is an endless journey!
How do you most often start a new track?
Often I just fiddle around with my acoustic guitar while watching TV – new and interesting things often appears when you NOT aiming for something special. And I try to remember to record every good idea that arrives (usually just on my phone).
How do you know when a track is finished?
That’s very difficult! Often, I records a bunch of stuff for a track – different instruments, different parts on the same instrument, and then I start to remove layers until there’s only the part left that works and makes the tracks feel like a ‘whole’.
Show us your current studio
Here’s a list of my gear. Reinau Deluxe amp / Gibson Les Paul / electric pedal board (Lovepedal Les Luis, Hermida Zendrive, T-Rex Replica, Strymon Blue Sky, Mr. Black Mini Tremolo) / iTrack Dock with Cubasis / Novation Launchpad / ACUS acoustic amp / acoustic pedal board (Red Eye Twin preamp, EHX Freeze, TC Delay, Lovepedal tremolo / SE 2200a microphone.
Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?
I try to play something new every day – instead of practicing old tunes or playing other people’s music – every time I pick up my guitar, I first try to play something I never have played before.
Promote your latest thing… Go ahead, throw us a link.
Released a debut album last year. You can hear it here:
2 thoughts on “Marcus Hagsten – Under Månen”
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