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/


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