Marcus Hagsten – Under Månen


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

EHX Freeze

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?

GraceDesigns acoustic preamp

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.?

Porto Guitarre

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?

Omnichord

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?

Lowden Acoustic Guitars

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

Pigtronics Infinity Looper

Artist or Band name?

Marcus Hagsten / Under Månen

Genre?

Nordic bluegrass

Selfie?

Marcus Hagsten

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

Marcus Hagsten Music Corner

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.

Marcus Hagsten Under Månen – Uden Et Ord

Released a debut album last year. You can hear it here:

https://share.amuse.io/6thFDCDigXIT


Kristin Hsiao – Show & Tell

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

The switch on my telecaster. Although it only has a 3-position blade, that’s enough for me to do a lot of expressions.

Telecaster

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

I’d say the ZOIA is the most versatile pedal I’ve ever seen. It has a steep learning curve at the beginning though. But I found it opened up so many possibilities for me to design sound effects every time I learned a new trick. I never thought I’d be able to create my own patches so freely.
I wish it had an auto-save function. Because I touch the wrong buttons or knobs by accident once in a while. And the not-yet-saved patch I’ve almost done, just goes blank right away… (oh no!)

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

On holiday I used to bring my acoustic guitar. But I realized that I generally like to immerse myself in nature and rarely play the guitar when I turn on holiday mode. So I don’t do it anymore. Because that’s not fair to my guitar.

Faith FSHG Hi-Gloss Saturn

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

In terms of songwriting, I love using DAWless setup more than software. But when it comes to the production phase, iZotope Ozone 9 is the must-use software every time I do mastering. It rebalances all the sounds that I’ve recorded and gives me the whole picture of my music. So, it would be great if iZotope Ozone 9, became an actual device.

On the other side, I love the control panel on the Strymon Volante, it’s pretty straightforward. But I’m also curious if it turned from hardware into software, how crazy would it be with automation?

Strymon Volante

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

Well, I won’t say it’s a regret. It’s more like a nostalgic feeling. Back in the day, I had participated in lots of live shows mostly with this guitar. It used to be with me for quite a long time.
The reason I sold it is that I wanted to find a characteristic sound that is closer to my personality traits.

Ibanez J custom RG8470

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

I’ll go with Logic Pro X for this question. As there are many stock plug-ins and loops that allow me to play around, it inspires me to generate ideas from them. In addition, I’m able to efficiently organize my thoughts in Logic Pro first. Then practically implement these ideas on my gear. So that I won’t spend extra time cleaning up the mess.

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

I would still choose an acoustic guitar if I had to start over. It’s the handiest instrument to me no matter if I’m writing a song or just having fun with friends.

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

That’s a tough one. Every device has its own traits. As for the annoying parts of devices, I’d tend to consider it as an opportunity of forcing myself to come up with new ideas rather than annoyance.

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

(Not sure if this is surprising.) One day, I was jamming with only the MicroFreak and the ZOIA. Here’s the thing. Although the MicroFreak allows me to play polyphonically, I can’t really play E1 and G5 on the keyboard simultaneously. So I tried to figure this out and then came up with a solution. The tips are written in my Jamming Diary. This can be seen on my YouTube channel – Jamming Diary #44.


Artist or Band name?

葵斯汀

Genre?

Hmmm… Experimental? Psychedelic? Ambient? A bit of chill?

Selfie?

Kristin Hsiao

Where are you from?

Taiwan

How did you get into music?

My sister taught me some guitar chords when I was a junior high student.

What still drives you to make music?

Music is my outlet for expressing inner feelings. So I’ll keep making music as long as I’m not dead inside.

How do you most often start a new track?

Just grab my guitar and randomly play some stuff. Once I find an interesting riff, I’ll record it into a looper or Logic Pro X as a pattern and loop it. Then create my own beat/loops on top of that. Or drag different loops into the project to hear if they’re suitable for the original pattern. Repeat these actions, again and again, until I’m cool with the result.

How do you know when a track is finished?

Honestly, every “finished” track is a regret whenever I listen to the playback. The only way to not fall into this trap is to keep moving on.

Show us your current studio

Desktop with lots of fun FX and synths

It’s not a luxurious space, but I have everything I need. All of my releases were made in this small bedroom studio. The sparrow may be small but it has all the vital organs.
I’m quite satisfied with it.
I also have a small room for instruments and pigs!

Sofa with lots of fun instruments and pigs!

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” — Leonardo Da Vinci

Not just in music, I hope I’m able to keep everything as simple as possible in life.

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kristinhsiao/
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/KristinHsiao
Website: https://kristinhsiao.com


Toto Ronzulli – Trumantic

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

Moog Cutoff filter

I really like the filter “cutoff” knob on my Minimoog Voyager. I love it because it’s so big and easy to use. It’s a pleasure to play with it anytime when you’re looking for the right filtering for your sound.

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

Ah… I think that easily changes over time. Hard to answer, but if I think of a “perfect effects kit” I say the trio Particle, Microcosm and Space. I’m using this combo heavily for my next record. I’m putting everything in it, from guitars to vocals and so on.

Red Panda Particle, Hologram Electronics Microcosm and Eventide Space

Many times I’ll throw in my Boss RE-20 Space Echo as well. Definitely changing over time is natural, so I would never want to have a “definitive kit”, especially when you start working on something new, changing something is a good way to be more creative.

Roland RE-20 Space Echo

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

During vacations I try not to think too much about music, but I always have with me my laptop with many vst, a small two octave midi keyboard by Korg and my Beyerdynamic heaadphones.

MacBook, midi keyboard and Beyerdynamic headphones

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

UAD Plugins

I have an Apollo rack unit from Universal Audio as my audio interface and it’s fantastic the quality of the included plug-ins, they sound so good and the sound is so hardware-like, I couldn’t ask for more in a way. Until a few days ago my dream was to get a Tascam Portastudio 414 MKII and it’s amazing that a soft-synths company called Robotic Bean has reproduced one and at such a low price, it sounds really great and I can’t wait to try it out. 

4 Track Cassette Tape

I love the endless possibilities of virtual instruments and their fidelity compared to hardware, but I would still love to get a Revox B 77 MKll to record anything onto tape and to add some wow/flutter turbulence and saturation to my songs. I love that recorder and will be buying one soon!

Revox B 77 MKll

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

I try to have “the essentials” in the studio, having a lot of equipment would be really nice, but it would confuse me during production and take up too much space. That’s why I choose my gear carefully, but I probably regret buying the Digital Multi Echo RE-1000 by BOSS. It’s a fun and uncontrollable unit because it doesn’t have the “rate” knob, but I use it so rarely and that’s why I think I can do without it. 

Boss Digital Multi Echo RE-1000

I regret selling my Roland Gaia, I didn’t love its “cold sound” but through a few pedals you could make it awesome. I miss its front panel because it was very intuitive, I had the ability to play out wacky sounds in minutes.

Roland Gaia

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

The equipment that has inspired me to write new music are many, but if I had to pick one I would probably say my Minimoog Voyager. 

Minimoog Voyager

Currently though, I’m using the Prophet Rev2 Desktop really heavily for everything, especially on my upcoming album. I love that sound and its polyphony so much.

Prophet Rev2 Desktop

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

UAD Apollo Soundcard

Probably an Apollo interface. It has infinitely improved my mixes, production and recording. I realized that many times it’s just not enough to have great synths or a ’65 guitar, if you don’t have a good audio interface with high definition sound in recording and post-production.

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

Furman M-10x E

The “Furman M-10x E” because it is bulky and has so many cables on the back of the desk! It’s also not fun, it only has an “on/off” switch (it has 2! haha) on the front panel. The reason I can’t do without it is pretty obvious. It saves the life of all my equipment all the time and I feel safer having it. I will be getting another one soon. I’ve always had bad experiences with the unstable electricity in my town, I remember the day after I bought the Voyager, oscillator number 3 had stopped working. It was frustrating to send back and still wait for a replacement. I have since decided to get a stabilizer and “Furman” does the job just fine.

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

Lately I’ve been testing a mixing technique that doesn’t require an acoustically treated room.

Just apply a VU meter to your daw’s master bus, play the kick around – 3 and gradually raise the bass until everything gets to 0, then mix everything else in. It may sound wrong but it sounds really good if you have good EQ on the low end. I also always test my mixes on a very small JBL to get a concrete reference of how the track sounds elsewhere. 

Tiny JBL speaker

I’ll add that I love to dirty some parts of my songs with lots of layers of backing tracks that go into different equipment and pedal combinations to create that “dreamy” atmosphere underneath a melody for example.

Dreamy fx pedals

Artist or Band name?

Truemantic

Genre?

Alternative / Indie / Electronica

Selfie?

Toto Ronzulli aka. Truemantic

Where are you from?

Margherita di Savoia, Puglia, Italy.

How did you get into music?

I was born in a club! At the end of the 80’s my father opened one and later in the 90’s it became very influential in southern Italy. Artists like “Afrika Bambaataa” were performing. I was born in ’94 and all this pushed me towards this direction. I remember when I was 4 years old my parents bought a toy drum set and I broke it by banging on the drums! Ahahah.
In the mid-nineties the club closed and reopened in 2006. All my teenage years were spent at the console with resident DJs and international guest artists like “Tony Humphries”. That’s why I started as a DJ and later as a musician, studying theory, solfeggio and practicing piano for years.

What still drives you to make music?

I realize that every time I sit in my room I feel so fascinated by the creative process. In a way I can’t describe the feeling I get, it may simply be an emotional state that drives me to create something new. Some days it’s frustrating to spend hours in the studio, other times it’s all I want. It’s like something you have inside that needs to be released!

How do you most often start a new track?

I hum and record with my smartphone a melody I have in my mind. Next, I sit in the studio and try to develop the theme. I think a film or book can influence my stylistic choices, but I also think the production is more of a “try and try again” in my studio.

How do you know when a track is finished?

When I add final texture elements and not additional “tool track”.

Show us your current studio

Truemantic studio

It’s not a real studio really, but something like a room.

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Create your own sound! It doesn’t matter how… Just do it!

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

https://truemantic.bandcamp.com/album/truemantic

https://margueriterecords.bandcamp.com/track/truemantic-destruction

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbws5Iz5TcKjS3iN7O_tMiw

My last two releases were 4 years ago and a lot has changed since then, from production to my setup! My first album ‘Truemantic’ came out in 2018 and my single ‘Destruction’ came out a year later. I’m currently working on my new album, concretely for about a year. There are so many amazing collaborations on it! I can’t wait to share it and play it live. I hope to stop by Copenhagen too!