1. Favourite knob or fader or switch on a piece of gear and why?
I love knobs and switches, so that’s a tough question. Maybe the volume knob on my Coleman monitor controller. It has these delicious steps (every one of the 47 steps is a separate set of matched resistors), and when you have proper monitoring, it’s such a powerful feeling to fire up the volume.
An honorable mention (and shameless plug) would be the EAO switches on the M/S insert processor ‘VARMS’ that I designed with Elberg-ELT. They’re the same swiss-made switches used on SSL desks, they feel/look awesome, and they last for two million presses.
Another favorite (functionally speaking) would be the cutoff knob on my AJH MiniMod Transistor Ladder Filter (vintage Moog Model D filter clone) – that sweep never gets old.
I also have an old Urei-designed JBL 6-channel rack-mixer (Model 5306) that I modded with direct outs myself. It has some very cool and chunky aluminium knobs. Still very much a sleeper I think – get one if you can! Sorry that was four. I did my best.
2. Do you have an ‘almost’ perfect bit of kit? What would you change?
Well, depends on the context. If anything, my eurorack modular, since it’s a very flexible instrument – it just sounds incredible, and nothing beats that workflow for me (so far). I also really like improvising with it live. It’s not the easiest thing to improvise on, but it sort of makes you work to solve problems with the relatively basic and limited components that you have available, which often lead to new ideas.
It’s always changing. At the moment I want to add a quad lowpass gate because I really bought into the whole Buchla thing recently, but I ran out of rack-space and promised myself I wouldn’t get more cases. It’s so easy to just get more gear, but I often find that I make better stuff when I’m more limited.
Another answer would be my U47 clone. That mic sounds crazy good. It’s based on the (sadly no longer available) Max Kircher (ioaudio) diy kit with handwound custom transformer and only top shelf components. It has a BeesNeez M7 capsule. I also got the equivalent U67 with a Heiserman HK67 in it.
My only gripe is that it’s really difficult to find high quality Neumann-style mic body housings, so they feel much cheaper than real Neumanns. I would change that if I could, but I’m not ready to shell out for the insanely-priced Neumann replacement parts.
3. What setup do you bring on holiday or tour or commute etc.?
If anything, I bring a laptop with Ableton Live and a controller – I love my Push 2. If I’m going away with my family, we mostly just bring a cheap ukulele. I really want to be that cool Zoom-recorder-found-sound kinda guy, but I’m really not (yet!).
4. What software do you wish was hardware and vice versa?
I recently made a dynamic multiband clipper with a few cool features with stock Ableton Live devices, that I’m pretty excited about. That would be really cool as a hardware unit, but it’s probably going to be pretty expensive to build, and it would also be a different beast. I put the effect rack up for free download at our studio’s website if anyone wants to try it out:
I guess I also wish someone would emulate the Fairfield Circuitry Shallow Water in software (and make it stereo!). That pedal is an instant vibe machine and nothing else does what it does. I love it to death. It’s also one of the only places I have ever encountered a lowpass gate outside of the synth-world.
I actually tried approximating it with Ableton Live devices myself, but I really just wish for a stereo hardware version.
5. Is there anything you regret selling… or regret buying?
Yes a lot of things. I often buy and sell stuff when some idea hit me or I get caught up in the GAS hype. I once had a really cool japanese Fender Jaguar that I refinished and modded myself. I really regret selling that. It sounded amazing.
6. What gear has inspired you to produce the most music?
My eurorack modular for sure! I rarely get anything done in the DAW if I’m making my own music. I love how the process feels way more “iterative” on the modular. You patch something, and the machine responds. Then you are inspired to do something else, and the machine reacts again etc. It feels more like a conversation than executing an idea, especially If you experiment a lot. Building the modular (choosing/arranging modules etc.) is a way of setting the scene of what can happen. This is an approach to writing music that really resonates with the gear-enthusiast in me.
Something else that was really important for me was to build my studio away from home. We built it during Covid lockdown. I simply don’t get squat done at home, I’m not disciplined enough and there are too many distractions. I need a place to go to work, where everything is always set up and ready to roll.
7. If you had to start over, what would you get first?
I do everything from production to mastering, so it depends. First of all a laptop with Ableton Live Suite. Probably then a decently treated room and some good monitors. Being able to hear properly and feel awesome is everything. I still want to upgrade my setup to something better. From there I guess a good interface, a versatile mic (maybe a Sennheiser MD441) and a dual preamp like the Gyraf GIX. I love that thing, I got two of them. Just running tracks through them makes everything sound better.
Then I would start getting into hardware instruments – maybe some semi modular synth like a Make Noise 0-coast or Strega, a Pittsburgh Taiga, or a Arturia Minibrute. Modular for the rest…
8. What’s the most annoying piece of gear you have, that you just can’t live without?
I kind of want to say my laptop. I hate lugging it around, needing it, and being forced to rely on it, especially for playing live. But Ableton Live is just so amazingly flexible and powerful, it would require a truckload of gear to replace the functionality, if even possible. I’ve been eyeing the new standalone Push 3, but it has some major limitations.
9. Most surprising tip or trick or technique that you’ve discovered about a bit of kit?
I’m not sure if it’s surprising, but I really like one particular idea that I had for my live setup for my band. I have an amazing MIDI controller called Touché by Expressive E. It’s a very sensitive touch controller that translates gestures into MIDI – it has three “dimensions” or axes that can be mapped to control basically anything. It’s mainly made for organic control of softsynths, but I use it to control effect sends in Ableton from the lead vocal channel out to different guitar pedal chains.
It allows me to “play” the vocal effects in real time (one hand on Touché, one hand tweaking the pedals), and it creates this very dynamic underlying effect-layer supporting and “following” the lead singer. I cannot recommend that thing enough. For our kind of music, it really adds something, and I think doing this live is pretty unique.
Also just generally running anything through guitar pedals. Pedals are awesome.
Artist or Band name?
Solo: Daniel Nayberg
I always feel weird about putting genre labels on what I do, but probably ambient, electro, techno, and “weird stuff” would suffice.
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Roskilde and still very involved in the music scene there, but I live in Copenhagen now.
How did you get into music?
I started playing electric guitar when I was 18, and quickly got fascinated by pedals. Pedals are a total gateway drug to synths, so here we are… A bit later I built and started a small underground venue and planned a few festivals with some friends, and someone had to take care of sound, so that ended up being me. Those years was a flaming crash course in live sound and mixing for me, but I learned a lot by trial and error this way! Nothing teaches you to mix quick like live sound. Sorry to those who suffered underway…
What still drives you to make music?
It’s simply a ton of fun. Moreover, what I’m really passionate about is creating physical and social platforms for young producers to learn about music tech, so we don’t all have YouTube and other online spaces as our only way of learning. It has a tendency to lead to a quick-fixy and superficial understanding of and approach to music creation, especially for beginners. This is why we host a lot of free community events/masterclasses/workshops at my studio. To bring people out of the bedroom studios, to meet others, and to have access to experimenting with pro facilities.
We are also working on (and have secured funding to) opening Denmark’s first inclusive electronic music/tech hub in central Roskilde with studios, venue, and educational facilities. You can read about it here:
How do you most often start a new track?
I typically sit in front of the modular with no plan whatsoever – or with an intention of trying to mimic someone’s style/sound or way of working.
How do you know when a track is finished?
I really don’t. What has worked the best for me so far is setting very specific boundaries or simple challenges for myself. For instance, I challenged myself to do one piece of music every week for half a year. It had to be released every Friday, so I set up a YouTube account to feel like I would let others down if I didn’t deliver. Some weeks were better than others, but I always finished something.
I also really subscribe to the idea that you should leave stuff you’re working on a few weeks and then return to it. If it’s still good, it’s probably pretty done. If not, you will often hear what it needs with fresh ears.
Show us your current studio
Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?
Try to maintain a playful approach to music making. Don’t do it because you have to, but also force yourself to at least try, even when the motivation isn’t really there, just for a short while.
Get off of YouTube and get going.
Also, creativity isn’t a “skill”. In my experience it has way more to do with creating the right framework, mindset and prerequisites (physical or otherwise) for you to thrive creatively and to make you WANT to do something. That can be hooking all the gear up, so that it’s ready to go, as much as setting rules for yourself on how/when to work.
Promote your latest thing… Go ahead, throw us a link.
My band Meejah released our debut album in 2021 and it got nominated for a Steppeulv (danish music critics award). I’m really proud of it: