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


Marcus Hagsten – Under Månen


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

EHX Freeze

I really love the EHX Freeze pedal! Such a nice way to add subtle droning notes to your music – especially when playing live. Playing solo acoustic guitar pieces can get a bit one dimensional and the Freeze adds something great to that. But it can be a bit hard to make it blend in with the acoustic sound – takes some practice.

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

GraceDesigns acoustic preamp

I love GraceDesigns acoustic preamps both the Felix and the Bix. They sound awesome – only thing I would change on the Bix is that the boost is placed AFTER the effect loop and when using it with a looper in the effect loop, it boosts BOTH the guitar and the looper and that’s really annoying. Most other preamps place the boost BEFORE the effect loop and that much more useful, because then you can lift the guitar sound when playing a guitar solo without also boosting the loop, you’re playing on top off.

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

Porto Guitarre

I always try to bring a guitar with me when possible. I have a nice small body guitar made by Porto Guitarre from Portugal. It is built after how guitars looked like in the early 1800’s long before the “modern” acoustic guitar was developed. It plays like a classical guitar and is easy to travel with. It even has a nice pickup installed. Besides that, I have the same Focusrite iTrack Dock setup in my summer cottage that I use at home and that way all I have to do is bring my iPad with me, to continue what I’m working on when I’m on holiday.

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

Omnichord

I don’t really use a lot of software – I prefer “real” things with “real” buttons – I tend to get lost when there’s too much you can do! I use Cubasis and a few good plugins. But the other way around, I would really love if someone made a software Omnichord. I love my Omnichords, but they were made in the mid 80’es and never meant to work for 40 years, so they get really fragile after so many years. I really don’t like taking them out – so a nice software version would be great!

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

Yes, a lot of stuff, but I have always tried to keep my collection of guitars, pedal and other gear to a minimum. I don’t like owning stuff I don’t use, and instruments are made to be played, so its better someone else is playing it, than it’s collecting dust on my shelf. Besides that, most gear is replaceable today. Only the really unique things are worth keeping.

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

Lowden Acoustic Guitars

Clearly my Lowden guitars – there just so wonderfully inspiring instruments and almost everything starts with them. Once I had four of them, but now I’m down to just two. Both cedar tops, but one with rosewood sides and the other with mahogany. That covers just about what I need. They have a very nice “European sound” compared to the more common “American Martin sound” that works great with my music.

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

A nice acoustic guitar – I’m lefthanded, so for many years I had to play with some mediocre guitars, because the selection in most music stores here in Denmark was quite terrible. Just one really good instrument gets you a long way – especially when you start recording stuff. A good instrument sounds good with just a microphone, with a lesser instrument, you end up using too much time to cover that with EQs and stuff.

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

Instruments that don’t stay in tune – ukuleles are fun to play, but change the strings and you have to wait a month for them to be stabilize and stay in tune. Whistles too – must be tuned very precisely to sound in tune with other instruments. Tube amps can be annoying too.

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

Besides live looping I use my looper to trigger samples when performing live. Again, it’s a way to add another dimension to playing solo acoustic stuff. It might be just a couple of piano notes or some cello that I have saved on the looper and can turn on and off on at the right moment. One song has a drumbeat and a saxophone riff ready on the looper

Pigtronics Infinity Looper

Artist or Band name?

Marcus Hagsten / Under Månen

Genre?

Nordic bluegrass

Selfie?

Marcus Hagsten

Where are you from?

Frederiksberg – Denmark

How did you get into music?

I stole my fathers album “Harvest” by Neil Young around age 12. Made a HUGE impression on me – started playing guitar soon after.

What still drives you to make music?

There’s always something new you haven’t tried before – music is an endless journey!

How do you most often start a new track?

Often I just fiddle around with my acoustic guitar while watching TV – new and interesting things often appears when you NOT aiming for something special. And I try to remember to record every good idea that arrives (usually just on my phone).

How do you know when a track is finished?

That’s very difficult! Often, I records a bunch of stuff for a track – different instruments, different parts on the same instrument, and then I start to remove layers until there’s only the part left that works and makes the tracks feel like a ‘whole’.

Show us your current studio

Marcus Hagsten Music Corner

Here’s a list of my gear. Reinau Deluxe amp / Gibson Les Paul / electric pedal board (Lovepedal Les Luis, Hermida Zendrive, T-Rex Replica, Strymon Blue Sky, Mr. Black Mini Tremolo) / iTrack Dock with Cubasis / Novation Launchpad / ACUS acoustic amp / acoustic pedal board (Red Eye Twin preamp, EHX Freeze, TC Delay, Lovepedal tremolo / SE 2200a microphone.

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

I try to play something new every day – instead of practicing old tunes or playing other people’s music – every time I pick up my guitar, I first try to play something I never have played before.

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

Marcus Hagsten Under Månen – Uden Et Ord

Released a debut album last year. You can hear it here:

https://share.amuse.io/6thFDCDigXIT