Hissquiet – Blissed Moods

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

Chase Bliss Mood

I’m always fascinated by the range of knobs that there are, but I think my favorite knobs are the ones on the Chase Bliss stuff, I currently have the Mood. They are just so smooth with the ideal amount of tension. They just feel sturdy a well made, like I’ll fade into an effect perfectly every time.

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

Bastl midi looper

I think probably my latest bit of kit, the Bastl midi looper, does almost exactly what I wanted it for, which is to more organically make sequences with midi and overdub CC parameters. It perfectly pairs with my hydrasynth which doesn’t have a sequencer, but I wish it recorded the polyphonic aftertouch of the hydrasynth pads on the initial record. Idk maybe it does and I just haven’t spent enough time tweaking the settings, but that would be really really nice. But other than that it’s brilliant.

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

Elektron Digitakt and iPad

I think my favorite things to bring, are my digitakt and/or my ipad. With a myvolts power cable, a portable charger and some samples, I could really make a whole album on the digitakt. Ipad also is very powerful and has so many music apps that I use in my recordings all the time. Some of my favorites are Spacecraft, Tardigrain and Fugue Machine.

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

Spacecraft app

I wish the Spacecraft app was a pedal or a feature of some groovebox. It’s this granular synth that you can record anything into and make beautifully textured ambient or noise soundscapes. You can get a wide range of sounds out of it. I seriously oftentimes don’t even bother with hi-fi samples and just use the ipad mic, because it just adds extra texture.

VCV rack

This one is kinda silly, but I wish VCV rack was hardware, like, it is hardware right? But the part of it that I want to bring into hardware is the low cost (haha) and also the ability to save patches and arrangements. Which I guess is the point of a modular synth, but still. I haven’t gone down the hardware modular synth rabbit hole yet, but I’ve been using VCV Rack as a way to learn exactly what I want from a system some day.

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

I regret selling my Digitone. It was a really great groovebox synth. I made a whole album on it, Sublunar Reverie, so I decided it was time to sell it and try something else out. Selling stuff is how I justify getting something new and making sure I actually really want the new thing. It went towards the Hydrasynth which I definitely don’t regret buying, but I just wish I had them both haha.

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

Hologram Electronics Microcosm

Hologram Microcosm for sure. I almost don’t want to bring it out when I’m working on something because I’ll spend hours tweaking the modes wondering if the next tweak might be even better than the last, but it all just sounds really great! I have a bit of a thing for granular gear can you tell?

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

I think learning a dynamic instrument like the clarinet was super important to the way I do music, even if I rarely bring it out now. Some folks have said that I have a sort of classical music dynamic going on with the kind of music I make and I probably agree with that. Second though, I’d probably get into synths rather than a guitar, maybe a groovebox like the Digitone or Digitakt if something like that had come out then.

Clarinet

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

Any piece of gear with cat hair on it, haha, no but for real though any connectivity stuff, cables, midi, bluetooth. I think I spend 1/3 my time reserved for making music just making sure things are connected correctly. My studio is not only used for music, but I do my freelance graphic design work there as well, so I can’t really have it all out and connected. In an ideal world things would just work ya know!? 

Cables of all colors

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

The random button on the Hydrasynth is wonderful. It will create a patch for you or you can tell it to scramble up a patch that you already have based on percentages. Sometimes the patches are too wild and I have a blast reeling them into something more palatable to use, but you can end up creating something that you wouldn’t have easily come up with any other way.

ASM Hydrasynth

Artist or Band name?

hissquiet

Genre?

Hmm… maybe ambient music that isn’t really background music? More dark ambient, drone or sometimes I like to get noisy and cinematic.

Selfie?

Ash Farrand aka. Hissquiet

Where are you from?

I grew up and live on the East Coast of the States currently, but I’ve been all over the States. The East Coast feels like home though.

How did you get into music?

I did the whole orchestra/marching band thing when I was younger, but more recently (5ish years ago) I got into music, because I found folks like Hainbach, Anne Annie, and Amulets back in the day when they were doing more “no talking” hardware jams and quickly got a DAW and a midi keyboard and the rest is history.

What still drives you to make music?

Music is my therapy, it allows me to express myself. I really enjoy getting lost in a moment while I’m improvising sound and everything else in the world kind of goes to the wayside for a few minutes. I do it for me first and if others happen to like it that’s a definite bonus.

How do you most often start a new track?

I can start with a sound that’s interesting to me which can kind of evolve into a certain mood all on its own or sometimes I already have a mood that I want to try to capture with a sound. From there I think about how adding effects or layers could elevate or evolve or contrast with what that mood. That’s usually how a track emerges; it’s very emotion-based.

How do you know when a track is finished?

There are 2 criteria for this. When it sounds perfect and there’s nothing I want to change about it or if it’s nearly perfect and I’m simply done working on it. Some might call that laziness, but I can be a bit of a perfectionist on some things so sometimes it’s just best to let go, nobody will notice.

Show us your current studio

Hissquiet studio
Hissquiet studio 2
Hissquiet studio 3

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

I had a rad guitar teacher that really introduced me to the idea that everything can be music. I remember he started riffing off of a fan that was making a rhythmic sound and it really opened my eyes to the possibilities of music.

Slot Drum

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

I’ve got some tapes available of my latest album Solastalgia with Mystery Circles: https://hissquiet.bandcamp.com/album/solastalgia

All the links are here on my website: https://hissquiet.com/


Chris Joye – Joy of Crisynther

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

Probably the Cutoff knob on my Moog Mother-32. I just love how dramatically it opens or closes the sound.

Moog Mother-32 Cutoff knob
Moog Mother-32

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

Pladask Elektrisk Tåken delay pedal.  I would put three together (a Triple Tåken?) similar to my TC Electronics Triple Flashback delay.

Pladask Elektrisk Tåken delay pedal
Pladask Elektrisk Tåken delay pedal

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

It depends where I’m going, but I usually end up bringing the wrong kit and then get an e-mail request to create something entirely different. I’ve been trying to bring my Zoom H4N to capture sounds or found instruments and usually a Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator or three.

Zoom H4N and a bunch of Pocket Operators
Zoom H4N and a bunch of Pocket Operators

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

My Omnichord OM-84 as a playable plug-in would be cool.  Conversely, putting the complete Soundtoys plug-in suite into a pedal would be amazing!

Omnichord OM-84
Omnichord OM-84

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

I sold an Ibanez Gary Willis signature 5-string fretless bass for a Fender Jazz copy and cry every time I remember.  I’m pretty careful what gear I buy now, generally, but there have definitely been a few pedals I questioned and re-sold rather quickly.

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

Probably a tie between my Warwick Infinity LTD 2000 bass and my Fender Telecaster.  

Warwick Infinity LTD 2000 bass and my Fender Telecaster
Warwick Infinity LTD 2000 bass and my Fender Telecaster

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

First, a sufficient room to compose and mix in… but that’s not gear, so maybe proper room treatments… ok, ok, a nice set of monitors.

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

The short guitar pedal connector cables that always seem to break or crackle.

Short cables

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

Maybe not a bit of kit, but in Apple Logic, the “Chase MIDI Note” option so that it triggers the MIDI note even if you start the playhead in the middle of the note.

Apple Logic Chase MIDI Note

Artist or Band name?

Chris Joye (but, I also created a handful of albums under the moniker Cue, and then also as Christopher Joye, before settling into my actual name)

Genre?

Typically a blend of indie rock with classical/soundtrack elements

Selfie?

Chris En-Joye-ing himself in his studio

Where are you from?

I live near Seattle, Washington.

How did you get into music?

My dad always played classical music on his big sound system and my mom listened to Oldies. I took piano lessons as a kid, but quit for sports until one of my brothers bought an electric guitar as a teenager and I decided to play it. Eventually, a friend convinced me to try out bass guitar and I was sold on that!

What still drives you to make music? 

The endless options of blending sounds and textures.  This can also be a hinderance, too, when you hit a creative block, but it still makes me come back to experiment more.

How do you most often start a new track?

Most of the music I create for myself, I’m still writing with the intention that it may be used in sync to video or a video game or some sort of storyful project later on.  So, I guess, I usually start with a concept, maybe it’s a mood, or a theme, or a character or something.  However, sometimes, I just mess around with sounds or chords and find an interesting combination.  

How do you know when a track is finished?

I’m always intrigued by how a simple melody or chord or texture turns into a full piece.  Something usually clicks at some point in the process where I feel like I’ve found the direction to take, I can never pinpoint it, but usually after the 4,000th time of playback, that I can generally feel when a song is done and ready to mix.  Sometimes, I’ll add another element or two and if it sounds too cluttered or muddy, then I know I’ve nearly reached this point.

Show us your current studio.

Here it is, more or less.

No Joye in Chris’ studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

One of my Film Scoring instructors at Berklee said something once that I always remember, “Just finish it and move on.”  That may not motivate some people, but it resonates with me!

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

I released my 14th album, “Reposition”, which is an album of spacious ambient tracks that I wrote thinking of dialogue- or emotionally-heavy film scenes that just need a slow-moving “mood” for a backdrop.  It’s available everywhere and here https://chrisjoye.bandcamp.com/album/reposition


Joel Negus – Synthing Classics

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

Cutoff on the Moog Sub25. Nothing like the ladder filter!

Moog Subsequent 25

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

The Vermona DRM-1 mkiii is amazing, but maaaan I wish the trigger inputs were on the front panel!

Vermona DRM-1 mkiii and Lyra-8

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

OP1 basically lives in my backpack if it’s not out in the studio. I’ll often develop ideas on it that end up staying on a track.

Teenage Engineering OP-1

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

Couldn’t come up with a direct answer to this question 😂 so decided to answer it by saying that the Arturia Polybrute beautifully blends software / hardware as a complete instrument.

A Strymon Zuma trying to hide an Arturia Polybrute

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

I used to own a Korg SV-1 until my dad passed his 1977 Rhodes down to me. I always enjoyed playing the sv-1 and realize I shouldn’t have sold it whenever I see one.

On the Rhodes again… I cain’t wait to get on the Rhodes again!

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

The Moog Subharmonicon!!! More ideas have started on that thing than any other instrument for me (except maybe the piano).

Moog Subharmonicon and friends

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

If I had known just how magical tape echo was, I probably would’ve wanted it sooner… but it probably wouldn’t have been first 😂

Echo Fix EF-X2

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

The helping hand for soldering!!!

A helping hand for soldering

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

I recently learned about the tails mode on the Earthquakes Avalanche Run – haven’t used it yet, but I couldn’t believe I didn’t know about that before I bought it!

An avalanche of eurorack! Run!!!

Artist or Band name?

Joel Negus

Genre?

Various, often in classical / jazz / electro-acoustic worlds

Selfie?

Joel Negus

Where are you from?

Born and raised in Chicago IL, but I’ve been in Cleveland OH for 15 years.

How did you get into music?

Both of my parents are professional musicians. Growing up, I was a boy soprano 🤵 and my dad had me sing on a number of commercials on the jingle scene. Eventually I fell hard into the punk rock scene, which turned to metal – I was a part of starting the band Born of Osiris. Changed directions in high school and focused on classical / jazz upright bass.

What still drives you to make music?

Creativity cannot be severed from relationships. The very act of making itself is collaborative – this connection to others is a constant source of inspiration.

How do you most often start a new track?

Playing an instrument and a spark hits. Recently though, trying to think more in silence before jumping in – starting more in my head. Always looking for different ways to compose!

Korg MS-20

How do you know when a track is finished?

I rarely “feel” that it’s finished, but I suppose it’s when I’m at the height of my excitement over it. I’ve found it best to wrap it up somewhat quickly when I’m really excited about how things are sounding.

Show us your current studio

A solemn of guitars
Bass-synth, bass-ukulele, contra-bass

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

We can’t just think about what we’re making, but the social context in which we’re making.

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

I just released a score I did for a modern dance company in town called Inlet Dance Theater. The piece was called Red Tape and was a total joy to collaborate on. Cheers!

https://joelnegus.bandcamp.com/album/red-tape-original-score