At SuperBooth 2023, I had a wonderfully long chat with Mark Verbos, founder of Verbos Electronics. He talked about his eurorack synth gear and the philisophy behind it, as well as how he go into making music gear via mentorship via legend such as Grant Richter (Wiard Electronics) and Don Buchla.
At SuperBooth 2023, I did an interview with Markus Mueller of Nebula Instruments.
He talked about his acoustic instrument the Euphone and the process of making it. It builds upon the tradition of the Cristal Baschet, but adds newer materials and features, such as the ability to re-amp sounds via the large metal reflector.
1. Favourite knob or fader or switch on a piece of gear and why?
For me, its definitely the two filters on the Waldorf Iridium (Cutoff & Resonance). When I first experienced the deeply psychedelic soundscapes of this device, I was astonished by how the entire atmosphere can be influenced by just two filters. It sucked me in and left me speechless.
2. Do you have an ‘almost’ perfect bit of kit? What would you change?
Yes absolutely! In my opinion, the combination of Matrixbrute and Polybrute is a colorful audiovisual paradise for music researchers, audio pioneers and bassmonauts. Above all, the control via the mod matrix and the resulting learning effect – because you can easily see the modulation route for each preset visually on the matrix. No hidden 2nd or 3rd functions for each knob and fader. Everything can be controlled in the most direct way.
3. What setup do you bring on holiday or tour or commute etc.?
The two jam veterans from Korg (Kaoss and Kaossilator) are just as practical in their size as they are fun to experiment with. Samples and automation can be recorded on 4 tracks each. Operation is shockingly simple and the library of sounds and effects is gigantic. Especially if you have a small budget, but just want to get some experience in sampling, that would be my first choice. The control runs via touchpad and can even be used by people having issues with rhythm or less musical people.
4. What software do you wish was hardware and vice versa?
There is the synthesizer VST from Serum, which I mainly use for my psychedelic leads and basslines in my tracks when i leave the hardware behind. Let’s see what surprises this year’s Superbooth 23 has in store. Maybe one day they create a controller on which you can load a software synth and then DAWless you are able to access this synth.
As a second plugin I would love a hardware version of the Arturia Efx Fragment. Rarely have I seen such a fascinating tool that allows you to experimentally construct complete rhythmic percussions, drones and ambiences from noises and foileys.
5. Is there anything you regret selling… or regret buying?
In fact, over the past few years I’ve swapped my setup and adapted it to my workflow so often that I no longer own a superfluous part or am missing a device that I absolutely want to have. Let’s see if the upcoming synthesizer fair in Berlin will change that. Maybe my Vochlea Voice to midi Microphone. I have not used it once. Sad truth.
6. What gear has inspired you to produce the most music?
One of my first studio devices was the Roland MX-1 mixer, which really motivated me to fill every channel with sound. The possibilities that this mixer has in its luggage never ceases to amaze me. It’s also a fabulous interface for Ableton and does everything I want in a device like this. Endless effect combinations with step sequencer and built-in sidechain. Furthermore, you can easily route each channel digitally instead of analog and fill and control it via Ableton.
7. If you had to start over, what would you get first?
It depends on whether I want to focus on pure track production first or live jamming. For the former: Nowadays, the first thing I would definitely do is get a good laptop or desktop PC and basic software with the most important VSTs and free sample collections. On the other hand, if I wanted to establish myself in the synthesizer profession, I would probably do the same thing as I did back then – get a small collection of Korg Volcas to set the foundations for understanding synthesis.
8. What’s the most annoying piece of gear you have, that you just can’t live without?
I’m already annoyed when I hear the word ‘midi’. Therefore it is my midi routing. I upgraded my setup last year with the Erica Synths midi thrubox. Since then I wasted less nerves on unsynced synthesizers.
9. Most surprising tip or trick or technique that you’ve discovered about a bit of kit?
Not really a trick but I truly fell in love with my Arturia Polybrute‘s morphee. Beautiful sounds can be created and morphed using this 3D touch knob. It’s incredibly playful and fun to use.
Artist or Band name?
psychedelic house / slow psytrance
Where are you from?
How did you get into music?
By two very close friends from my Hometown. They took me to DJ nights with them in their basement studio.
What still drives you to make music?
Creativity, weirdness and curiosity
How do you most often start a new track?
Each track has its own reason of arisement and as well its different story. Mostly, i feel an impulse out of a sudden and then i have to create.
How do you know when a track is finished?
There is always a point, when I can’t listen to the track anymore. When this happens, I stop working on it at least a week and then listen again. If I don’t want to change anything, it stays like that and soon will be mastered.
Show us your current studio
Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?
– create music with your ears not your brain –
Promote your latest thing… Go ahead, throw us a link.
[Editor: There are affiliate links to the relevant gear throughout the articles. It helps to support this blog. In fact, should you be needing some patch cables or guitar strings. Then clicking on one of the above links and buying any product that you prefer, will help the blog… doesn’t even have to be the ones in the link. Thx]