1. Favorite knob or fader or switch on a piece of gear and why?
Not really a knob, but I love the matte black clicky buttons on the Digitakt and I’m a bit of an Elektron fanboy. The buttons are just very satisfying and of high quality. I definitely prefer hardware over software.
2. Do you have an ‘almost’ perfect bit of kit? What would you change?
I love grooveboxes and I’m still searching for that perfect one. The Digitakt is pretty close, especially with the new firmware adding song mode and new machines. It’s a future classic.
I do wish it had a rechargeable battery, stereo sampling and more than 8 audio tracks.
I made the internal battery mod for it, but it wouldn’t fit inside because of the way i attached the bms board. Plan ahead man! Oh well, I had to desolder the thing and along the way I sort of shorted the battery pack. I might give it a go again someday.
3. What setup do you bring on holiday or tour or commute etc.?
I often take the Korg Electribe 2. It’s definitely a favorite of mine and the one piece of gear I have kept the longest. I also have the sampler version with the hacktribe mod. Looks very techno in matte black, nice! It’s portable, well built, battery powered and has lots of hands on control. It can export stems to Ableton (all 16 tracks) and even chained patterns, making it easy to make a full track. I think it’s a very underrated machine. Check out rbeny on youtube.
He created some great ambient and droney stuff with it. Also check out Legowelt he also used the tribes for live stuff. The box does have some limitations though (voices). Korgs latest update was in 2016 which makes me very very sad.
4. What software do you wish was hardware and vice versa?
I can’t really think of any. I think that there are so many options today in both realms. Wavetable, FM, granular, modular etc. With software I use Ableton Live for arrangement, mixing and so forth. Izotope Ozone for basic mastering. And that’s it basically. I used to be a Native Instruments Komplete user, but moved over to hardware.
5. Is there anything you regret selling… or regret buying?
When getting a new piece of gear I usually sell some other stuff and I don’t mind my setup changing and evolving. I love the chase of finding used gear for a good price and I enjoy fixing broken stuff. Sometimes it’s just a bad solder joint or a part that needs to be replaced.
I’ve had many different synths and nerdy stuff over the years and I don’t regret buying or selling any of it. But I have to say I do miss the Synthstrom Deluge sometimes. It ticks a lot of boxes. If it had the possibility to edit waveforms on that new Oled screen, that would be fantastic. Who knows it might come in a future update.
The Korg Electribe EMX-1 is another great device that was hard to let go of. I got it for a very good price because it had a bad power socket. I replaced it with one from an old guitar pedal. Worked like a charm. It’s a very fun and immediate machine and it sounds great with those tubes.
6. What gear has inspired you to produce the most music?
I think all the instruments I have owned have been inspiring and fascinating in that certain period of time. It’s always inspiring when you get something new. But this can also be a hindrance in regards to finishing music. Mostly because there’s a lot of learning involved.
Maybe the goal is just to learn and have fun with those toys that make bleepy noises.
7. If you had to start over, what would you get first?
I would learn to play one instrument really well. Like a piano, the double bass or maybe a nyckelharpa?
8. What’s the most annoying piece of gear you have, that you just can’t live without?
I recently got an old octatrack mk1 in rough condition. It was covered in stickers, had some bad encoders and a broken compact flash connector. I got a really good deal and was able to fix it with parts from Elektron. Now it almost looks new again. I was afraid that I would hate it, because of its complex workflow and steep learning curve. But actually, I love it! It’s a lot of fun and definitely annoying.
At one point I got into modular. Built a 9u rack, then decided to downscale as I got tired of the sounds and sold most of it. I had some modules left and used them in this little retro suitcase project which I think turned out great. It’s a little cumbersome to tune the oscillators every time and I don’t use it that much. But still, there’s something engaging with that playful, experimental approach to making music. And sometimes the patch you create just sounds like shit. So annoying, but so addictive.
9. Most surprising tip or trick or technique that you’ve discovered about a bit of kit?
I’m still learning the octatrack and recently discovered that you can use external gear as send effects. The dark reverb on the machine is ok but not great. So being able to use the Eventide Blackhole with the octatrack is awesome.
Artist or Band name?
IDM, ambient, garage, noise, dub(step).. probably something else next month.
Where are you from?
How did you get into music?
I’ve been working as a motion designer for a long time and sound design is a big part of my profession. So this goes hand in hand with my interest in electronic music.
I’m not very skilled with an instrument, even though I received piano lessons. To quote Brian Eno, I think that formal training and instrumental virtuosity should not be the sine qua non for music making. So it’s just as much patching and experimenting for my part. I started making music with Fruity Loops (now FL Studio) about twenty years ago (feeling old). I was inspired by the music I heard at that time. I was into post-punk, industrial and weird experimental stuff back then.
What still drives you to make music?
Learning new gear and the creative process of building something from scratch. I usually get in the zone when I listen to some music that inspires me. But that GAS can be an obstacle.
How do you most often start a new track?
Usually the beats come first – getting a groove going. Sometimes it starts with a pad or drone.
How do you know when a track is finished?
It’s never finished, but at some point you just have to let go and move on. If I work on a track for too long I start hating it and then abandoning it. So it’s key for me not to get stuck in the details. I don’t have a lot of spare time, so it’s actually a real challenge finishing a track.
Show us your current studio
Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?
When in idea-generation mode, listen for potential rather for perfection. Creative time is short and you have to move fast.