TubeDigga – Maestro of the MPC

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

Akai S950 Data Wheel

I can’t isolate just one unfortunately!
Boring answer: I just bought an Akai S950 and really like the feel of the main data wheel. The knob itself is quite aesthetically boring but the mechanical click feel of it is great and responsive.

Akai S950 12bit rack sampler

Slightly less boring answer 1: I also really like the XY stick on the Intellijel Planar 2.
Slightly less boring answer 2: The main main frequency knob on the XAOC Devices Belgrad Multimode filter, superb quality!

Belgrad module by  Xaoc Devices

Slightly less boring answer 3: the main pitch knob on the Strymon Magneto is also excellent.
Slightly less boring answer 4: Most of the Erica Synths module knobs.

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

For ease of use, feature set and general overall desire to use, the MPC (previously the X and currently One in my case).
I’d change a fair few things, some examples would be latched pads/looped samples (like the Roland SP404/505 etc have, so you can have an infinitely sustaining loop. I discovered a way to override this in the MPC by tricking it into not receiving a NOTE OFF message which is the issue. I’d also have a much deeper modulation matrix. Disk streaming, ability to install an SSD (MPC One), more CV outputs.

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

I don’t do any of those things to warrant taking a machine with me! But if I toured, my MPC One plus a midi controller or an MPCx would be the logical choice. Or two MPC Ones, a midi controller and a DJ mixer.

Akai MPC One… with a nice metal data wheel and some custom decals

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

No software equivalent of anything, but a hardware equivalent of Renoise would be amazing (if it had the exact feature set and capabilities, with 16 pads of course).

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

I regret selling my MPC 2500SE for sure, I’ve also had a few Yamaha SU700’s and have always thought I should have kept one, but it’s one of those machines that can be amazing and fun, but can be irritating to use on occasion. It also looks brilliant, and unique.
No regrets buying really, not that I can think of right now. Maybe a larger Eurorack case but that would be irresponsible 🙂

Strymon Magneto

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

Once again the MPCs I’ve owned over the years, (2500se, 1000, 5000, X, One, Live).

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

An MPCx or if you mean go back in time, an MPC3000 / 4000 / 60

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

Roland MC707

The Roland MC707, I never intended to buy one, but initially bought it just to try and it’s been a complete revelation. It’s so good in many areas (the synth engine, the Scatter effect, the clips/matrix/scenes etc), but the sampling, file handling, some program parameters (like how the pads in a drum program behave in contrast to an MPC) and various other areas need much improvement. I’d really miss it if i sold it though.
Also my Ensoniq ASR-X. I very nearly sold it recently as it takes ages to load and save samples. I have the Turbo version which means it has SCSI so I need to buy a compatible SCSI drive or emulator ideally, to see if it speeds things up considerably. Also, half the pads are failing (a well known issue) and the encoders can be slightly glitchy. But it just sounds so good and is really quick, plus the effects are great. Lastly, it just looks superb in my opinion. A lovely, underrated vintage piece of gear.

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

I developed my own ‘granular time-stretching’ technique with the MPCx. You can control the start point of a sample with velocity. Dedicated sample start manipulation and automation was one of the biggest omissions from the MPC which the Elektron Octatrack could do since it was released in 2010, this technique brings the MPC feature set for experimentation up to par, but surpasses the OT because of the MPCs sound quality (something I felt always lacked with the OT). https://youtu.be/CE4ZaEExNdc

Ensoniq ASR-X – I

And again, the Ensoniq ASR-X – I discovered, or rather stumbled across a glitch when I was trying to create a synth tone, looping just a few frames of a sample. If you pitch the sample up as high as possible it can lead to some bizarre, circuit bent type effects and mixes and occasionally blends several samples together. Very cool and surreal trick.


Artist name:

Tubedigga.

Genre?

Jungle/Drum and Bass / Hip Hop / Electronica / Drone / Experimental

Selfie?

Mr. TubeDigga

Where are you from?

London UK.

How did you get into music?

Parents record collection, older sister bringing home early Electro records (Cybotron, Man Parrish, Tyrone Brunson etc)

What still drives you to make music?

I have an addiction to learning new bits of gear and making them do things the manual doesn’t mention, and I love designing sounds and discovering new textures/moods/tones/

How do you most often start a new track?

Maybe once a week/fortnight if it’s a full track, every day if it’s a basic loop/idea.

How do you know when a track is finished?

That’s somewhat subjective but I suppose when it sounds good, feels good, does the right things at the right time, and when it feels like it might go wrong or be ruined if I add more or too much.

Show us your current studio:

I keep those things private, sorry 🙂

[Editor: But here’s a photo of TubeDigga’s studio monitor]

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Creative advice would be to try and take a step back from being too serious (electronic music and being a techie/geek can get like that sometimes). A great engineering tip from a well known jungle producer was ‘cut more, add less’ when it comes to EQ and mixing. I often ignore that advice though 🙂

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

Rinse FM Mix with Double O (Rupture)https://soundcloud.com/rinsefm/rupture120820

My private online lessons: www.tubedigga.com/lessons

If you would like to show appreciation for any help I’ve provided you, please consider donating an amount of your choice:

PayPal: http://paypal.me/tubedigga

YouTube: http://youtube.com/tubedigga
My Website: http://www.tubedigga.com


[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…
]


Dragonfly Bry – MikroMixin’ it Big

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

I love the various knobs in my 500 rack for mixing and tracking stuff, I really love the 4 knobs on the OP-1.

500 Rack

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

I think the MPC Live is a great blend of portability and a pro-grade DAW. I do wish it had portamento for the samples. Now i use the OP-Z for that bendy stuff and track it in.

Akai MPC Live, Linnstrument and iPad with Griffin Dock

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

I used to take the OP-1 everywhere, but now I pack even lighter. I always have my iPhone X and its loaded with lots of music apps. My favorite when on the go though is the T.E. PO-33. I take small earbuds and an old iPhone with the headphone jack for sampling on the go. I cooked up a few keepers in grocery lines etc..gas stations even lol

iPhone and TE KO33

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

I still think the MPC can be like Ableton Live with a few more updates. Live is a really good and flexible DAW so that’s my target. I like emulations, but we don’t need all hardware to be cloned to software. Those knobs are way less fun.

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

I got the SP-808 when it came out (way back when) but I needed a good drum machine for hip-hop and it was not a good fit at all…I ended up sending it back and I got the MPC2000. That was a game changer for sure.

Akai MPC2000 in it’s natural habitat

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

OP-1 and OP-Z are at the top of my list

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

Now, I’d get a macbook, MPC Live, and the SSL Six. Add in a decent mic and pre and its a whole studio.

SSL Six

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

The computer for sure. I hate being a repair tech but it makes mixing and finishing records soooo easy.

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

My DOD envelope filter is used for reggae basslines a lot. When I heard that, I turned down the knobs to 0 and WOW!!! It’s like an 808 bass guitar.

DOD Envelope Filter Pedal

Artist or Band name?

Dragonfly Bry at Mikromix Studio DMV

Genre?

Yes lol…..well mostly rnb and rap, but plenty of other stuff. I did a few electro albums that are still spinning out there, reggae too.

Selfie

Dragonfly Bry

Where are you from?

Maryland – The DC Metropolitan Area

How did you get into music?

Piano lessons in elementary, then drums and clarinet, then turntables (DJ-ing) and finally bass – all of that was before leaving high school. I later got my BS degree in Music Engineering Technology.

What still drives you to make music?

Creating music has been in my soul since I was a kid and never really left. Its like why I still breathe air, cuz I gotta 🙂

How do you most often start a new track?

Usually drums or melody but I also dig for samples using pretty much any source. I try to change it up often so I do not keep making the same songs over and over lol.

How do you know when a track is finished?

Usually I listen with fresh ears the next day and that is very revealing.

Show us your current studio.

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

When you are in the flow, stay there because it doesn’t always come so easily. Also, less is more. Those two help me still to this day.

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

Lately I have been shooting more videos for my music production course at Mikromix.com
I also have a Teenage Engineering 808 pack and an MPC Expansion pack for sale.


[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…
]


Tuesday Night Machines – On a Sunday

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

I have a weird fixation with the data wheels on Akai’s MPC 500 and MPC 1000. They’re not really high quality components or feel nice to the touch, but they’re essential to operating those devices efficiently and in my opinion the designers did a great job of integrating them into the software and general MPC workflow. They’re just so quick and easy to rotate and the software reacts so snappily to their motion … it’s a delight.

Akai MPC500

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

AE Modular

This always depends on the situation or musical context, but I’ve been very impressed by the AE Modular synth format and how it developed over the past two years. It’s a fully featured modular synthesizer, which is relatively small and portable and costs only a fraction of a Eurorack system. I’ve dreamed of a system like this ever since I delved into the modular synth rabbit hole ten years ago and it seems that it has finally become reality … at least for my tastes and requirements.

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

Akai MPC 500 and YouTuber’s toes

I love making music while on vacation or when commuting. The iPad has worked for me greatly as a mobile music workhorse ever since its inception and I always carry it with me and do something musical with it. Sometimes it’s too much like a computer though, meaning that it can distract me with its internet access, notifications, etc. So, especially for vacations, I like to bring other pieces of gear as well, which run on USB power bank power, which is easy nowadays, even for devices requiring a 12V supply, thanks to cheap and efficient step-up adapter cables. Last year I re-bought the aforementioned MPC 500 and created a full album with it during a three week camping vacation. For this year I’m planning to take my freshly modded TI-82 calculator with Houston Tracker 2 and maybe even a Gotharman Little Deformer 3. I have also enjoyed Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 (obviously), the Bastl Microgranny 2 and BitRanger, a Gameboy Advance Micro with LSDJ and various other bits. Somehow, I can concentrate on music best when I’m on vacation and I get the most finished tracks out of those periods of time.

TI-82 calculator with Houston Tracker 2

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

Lumen! It’s a really cool analog-style video synth for macOS with MIDI control, which I would really love to have as a standalone and affordable hardware device. Maybe I can snag a Critter & Guitari ETC at some point, which seems close.

Lumen video synth

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

I’m not into vintage synths or rare gear, so I’ve not regretted selling stuff so far, because I could always just buy it again if I wanted to. However, I’m in the heaviest music studio downsizing phase I’ve ever had right now and I might run the risk of finally regretting a thoughtless sale after all. I sometimes get this “reverse GAS”, which makes me feel unattached to all my gear, so I end up selling things left and right. After those phases though, there has always been something new to be acquired and tried out with the new funds. It’s a journey and I enjoy it.

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

Ciat Lonbarde

While it was not the “most” music I made, my recent foray into Ciat Lonbarde instruments, like the Cocoquantus, Sidrax Organ and Plumbutter, very much inspired me. Those instruments are incredibly well designed for spontaneous, electric forest ambient music live-patching sessions.

Linnstrument and inspiration

Apart from that, I also like to play an MPE synth with the Linnstrument and have the Bastl Thyme or Mooer Ocean Machine attached as audio effects. Somehow this simple setup is an instant relaxation tool for me. I could press, slide and wiggle my fingers for hours on this rubbery control surface and drown in the looping ambient delay and reverb sounds coming through my headphones.

Linstrument and Mooer Ocean Machine

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

I think I might try a larger hardware music workstation, like the MPC X and then get some cheap and small gadgets to sample.

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

Axoloti DSP DIY

I’ve kept a few of my DIY synths for way too long. They took too much space and I hardly used them anymore, yet I couldn’t let go of them. Especially the Axoloti platform is like a drug to me sometimes. It’s so easy to prototype and build synth, sampler and sequencer ideas with it, but all of the sudden you have eight of those DSP boards and a drawer full of wooden boxes which might work as enclosures, electric components and cheap USB MIDI controllers. Still, the Axoloti is one of the most empowering electronic music experiences for me. Making your own hardware instruments from scratch is incredibly satisfying, especially when it’s that easy.

Axoloti DSP board

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

Reading Ken Stone’s CGS Serge circuit diagrams made me discover the power and versatility of the 4051 analog multiplexer IC, which is a 3 bit, binary-addressed eight-way switch, perfect as a basic building block for analog sequencers. This has furthered my DIY endeavors tremendously and if everything goes as planned, it will result in my first commercially available modular synth module later this year. [Editor: Cool, I look forward to hearing and seeing what these do. Will insert link when it comes out]

Synth DIY

Tuesday Night Machines logo

Artist or Band name?

The Tuesday Night Machines

Genre?

All over the place. It’s not good to cultivate an audience for my music like this I guess, but I like jumping between genres. I’ve made chiptunes, a beat tape, harsh noise, ambient drones and I’m currently dabbling in Acid. Oh well.

Selfie?

Sure, but I’m writing this on the couch and it’s Sunday, so I look the part.

Felix on a sunday aka. Tuesday Night Machines

Where are you from?

My family moved a lot, so I’m not “from” somewhere really. I currently live in Köln, Germany for over a decade though, so it looks as if I like this city.

How did you get into music?

I had classic piano lessons and some electric keyboard lessons as a child, which I didn’t like too much back then. I’m glad that I got some basic music theory from it though. Later, I learned to play the guitar during university to play my favorite punk rock songs. Electronic music came some time after I started working then, beginning just with a copy of Ableton Live Lite, which seemed like a fun and easy way to make music. Apparently it wasn’t though, as it led me to DAWless hardware setups quickly.

What still drives you to make music?

I work in visual media, so music is basically the counterpiece to my day job. It’s a great way to relax for me, more or less away from the computer.

How do you most often start a new track?

Mostly with a certain sound or melody. Depending on the workflow of the device I’m playing with, I sometimes even just create one single long audio track for that one sound and then layer drums and other instruments on top afterwards.
How do you know when a track is finished?

When I get past the 3 minute mark.

Show us your current studio

The current state of my studio downsizing craze:

Cupboard studio

.. and how it was before, neatly constructed inside an inconspicuous IKEA PAX wardrobe:

Cupboard studio full of knobs

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

That limitation thing which everyone mentions. Limitations are great for music.

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

Thicket Whispers, a Ciat Lonbarde album:

https://nightmachines.bandcamp.com/album/thicket-whispers

Thicket Whispers, a Ciat Lonbarde album by Tuesday Night Machines

[Editor: You seen any of TuesdayNightMachines youtube tutorials? Leave a comment]


[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…
]