1. Favourite knob or fader or switch on a piece of gear and why?
Transformer Switch on Shadow Hills Mono Gama. One of the fastest ways to make a dynamic change to audio input is switching from Iron, Steel or Discrete.
2. Do you have an ‘almost’ perfect bit of kit? What would you change?
Fairlight Series 30A. Peter Vogel is the father of sampling and his vision culminated in the last iteration of the 30th anniversary systems. The only thing I would change would be the ability to rack mount the main frame. I appreciate the retro design but a standard rack mount setup would make the Fairlights easier to transport.
3. What setup do you bring on holiday or tour or commute etc.?
If I’m on holiday I will always bring a MacBook Pro with UAD Apollo Interface, SM7B with Soyuz Launcher, Roli seaboard and my Parker Fretless.
Touring is a cargo company dream! I tour with my Arpeggione, Fairlight 30A, Roli, racked dual Mac mini’s with custom summing mixer built by Travis Schuster, Bricasti, Electronaut M63, isolated power and battery backup, Remic C5300 microphones.
4. What software do you wish was hardware and vice versa?
I immediately wished the U-He Diva was actual hardware keyboard and someone made a controller that was an exact replica of the GUI. I need to find that company and see if they still manufacture it.
There isn’t an analogue device that I would want as software. There are so many digital renditions of hardware already. I have so many plugins I never use because it’s a case of too many choices. The sound of a studio was always based around its design, set of outboard equipment, tape machine and its console. You either liked the room and brought in a few pieces of outboard gear, or you went to a different studio that was more conducive to your taste. I have been selectively archiving all plugins that I rarely use. My analogue gear mixes with specific plugins and creates a set system so that my room consistently produces a signature sound. Too many choices leads to the lounge and XBox 😉
5. Is there anything you regret selling… or regret buying?
I sold my brothers Prophet 5 when I was a kid. I looked at it as this old, clunky wood trimmed synth with three knobs missing. Big mistake. I bought a vintage unit to replace it and kicked myself for having to spend that much money when I could have simply kept my brother’s unit and replaced the three missing knobs.
I honestly haven’t regretted buying any piece of gear. I always think about the effort that people put into the design and development of a product. There is always something interesting locked inside of equipment. Many of the coolest sounds have come from unexpected products.
6. What gear has inspired you to produce the most music?
A Realistic brand digital voice recorder. I now use my smartphone the same way I used to carry around these recorders.
7. If you had to start over, what would you get first?
I started out on my grandparents piano. If I had to start over I wouldn’t change a thing.
8. What’s the most annoying piece of gear you have, that you just can’t live without?
I couldn’t do without my computer systems. They are a constant source of “analogue” upkeep to stay current on software and hardware. Apple has been heading towards a more closed system which is not conducive to studios because it can cripple your entire infrastructure if you upgrade your ecosystem due to “end of life” hardware decisions made by third parties. Stability is the most important aspect for productivity. Occasionally my system will make me wish that I was 100% analogue, but then I remember how much of a hassle that world used to be and I’m happy that I work with a hybrid system.
9. Most surprising tip or trick or technique that you’ve discovered about a bit of kit?
I didn’t bother to fully read the manual for the DA-3000 DSD Mastering recorder. I found out that you could cascade the units together to create a multi-track unit. You can’t record individual tracks, but you can mixdown and archive 7.1 surround stems at 5.6Mhz DSD. I have created an 8 track mastering machine that (with a few custom bits of kit) is equivalent to mix down to tape.
Artist or Band name?
Søren Mikkel Dalsgaärd
Where are you from?
Yellow Springs, Ohio.
[Editor: Ha! I was certain you were Scandinavian, with your name]
How did you get into music?
My Grandfather was a professional musician and he spotted my abilities at an early age. I was guided through my early music career by my family.
What still drives you to make music?
Music is the reason I am alive. I try to honor that gift by creating art everyday.
How do you most often start a new track?
Currently, I have commenced new tracks by drawing a waveform on the Fairlight. Once I hear a sound that is inspiring I form the music around that design.
How do you know when a track is finished?
At the point that it feels like the next thing added will ruin the piece… it’s finished.
Show us your current studio
Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?
“Sometimes your worst work to you, is the most favored by everyone else” -quote from Johnny Frigo.
Promote your latest thing… Go ahead, throw us a link.
[Editor: Do you have a favorite tip, trick or way of working with any of the gear from this interview?
Then throw us a comment below…]