1. Favourite knob/fader/switch on a piece of gear and why?
Big fan of the Rogan Alpha knobs used on some of the vintage Buchla stuff, namely the original Music Easel. I actually bought some to use on a DIY Video synth I am working on. They look great on those modules as well.
2. Do you have an ‘almost’ perfect bit of kit? What would you change?
Perfection is not something we typically strive for with our gear. We actually appreciate the imperfections. So, the most perfectly imperfect bit of kit that we own is our Tascam M-308 8 channel 4 Bus mixing desk. It’s from the mid 80’s I believe. It’s a bit dark as compared to say, a brand new set of high end A/D converters. But it has character, warmth, and a thickness that we haven’t been able to achieve with a DI or vanilla Audio Interface. We typically use it as a front end for our tape machines.
3. What setup do you bring on holiday/tour/commute etc.?
For any musical getaway we would bring a portable Buchla rig, our vocal FX chain (space echo pedals!), some tape loops and our Tascam 4-track. This gives us all the textures and effects we need to have fun and get spacey. It also works for a live improvised drone, which is something we do pretty regularly on our livestreams.
4. What software do you wish was hardware and vice versa?
I have the software versions of the Buchla 296e and 259e for Modular. Sometimes I wish I had the hardware versions. It would be fun to patch them with the rest of my system. I also wish Softube would port more of the Buchla stuff over. It would be great if I could completely duplicate my rig in software.
5. Is there anything you regret selling… or regret buying?
The way I see it, gear is an endless journey you shouldn’t be afraid to go on. I take a lot of risks when it comes to buying and selling. Sometimes I sell something to try something else and then sell that to get the other thing back again! Then I realize I’ve just gone in a circle. I don’t really have any regrets that can’t be corrected. Most things turn up eventually. Patience is key. If you are in love, don’t let it get away!
6. What gear has inspired you to produce the most music?
By far, the tape machines we’ve collected, mostly TEAC and Tascam reel to reel and cassette 4 tracks and the Buchla style synthesizer. Also really love different flavors of spring reverb! I have an old point-to-point wired Shure Reverberation Mixer I am quite fond of.
7. If you had to start over, what would you get first?
I would probably build or obtain well built Buchla clone modules. It’s hard to say whether I would choose a 258 or 259 dual oscillator. Really depends on the day and mood.
8. What’s the most annoying piece of gear you have, that you just can’t live without?
Tape Machines can be a real hassle to keep up. I have belts fail, heads get worn, channels stop working or act inconsistently. They cause me a lot of anxiety, but at the moment the two that we use the most, TEAC A-3440 and Tascam Porta 02mkII are acting reliably. Knock on wood!
9. Most surprising tip/trick/technique that you’ve discovered about a bit of kit?
I’d say the one that is the most fresh on my mind is that you can turn a multi-channel function generator (if it is the kind that outputs a trigger when the function completes its cycle) into a basic sequencer by cascading the stage pulse outs to the next channel’s input and the last stage’s pulse back to the first. Your decay rates control the timing of each channel and the cv output of each stage. You could connect other modules to make it a bit more interesting, but it’s a fun way to generate a sort of drunken pulse pattern as the basis for a patch. I made a video featuring this sort of thing called Patch and Tell – E1- Buchla Clones 280 266 – Pseudo Sequence – Source of Uncertainty -1979 DAO.
Artist or Band name?
The Galaxy Electric
Cosmic Tape Music
Where are you from?
LA originally, now, the Midwest.
How did you get into music?
Both of us grew up feeling called to music and participated in school and church music programs. Eventually we decided a band was the only way to fulfill the artistic lifestyle we craved and stay true to our unique musical voices within.
What still drives you to make music?
Over the years we have honed our skills and have been able to narrow what we do down to something we call Cosmic Tape Music. Getting extremely specific about the type of music we make has made us even more passionate about our creative pursuits.
How do you most often start a new track?
It really depends on the type of piece but usually either a riff, a vocal, or a pre-recorded groove. Our latest album, however, is all improvisations that were made using synchronized loopers with the outcome going straight to tape.
How do you know when a track is finished?
The ideas stop flowing even after several listens, sessions. It’s kind of like a water soffit that is eventually dry. You have to trust that it is done when the ideas either slow to a stop or start to feel forced. Sometimes, we listen years later and hear more. That can be frustrating, but it’s rare. I think it comes with experience to learn to get good closure with a track.
Show us your current studio
Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?
Be uniquely you, and do what only you can.
Promote your latest thing… Go ahead, throw us a link.
Our new album Pre-Orders run from Aug 12 – Sept 8:
And our main website and shop links:
[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…]