Idra – Modular Via Trumpet

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

Novation Summit Noise and Frequency

One of my favorite knobs is without a doubt the Summit cutoff combined with the
noise knob that always adds a lot of depth to the sound.
Other knobs that I find very interesting are the branches and mutation on the Qu-Bit
Bloom, which makes any patch generative and potentially infinite. Sometimes when I’m in the studio (which is also my home) and I’m doing something other than producing music I create a random patch and totally open both knobs, it’s fun.

Branches and Mutation on the Qu-Bit

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

I’m not a pianist even though I studied it a bit during my studies in classical music at
the Conservatory. I think that among all the instruments I own, my grandfather’s piano is my perfect one. Both for an affective value and for the harmonic completeness, it has always been the instrument that allows me to create more, I just sit there and throw down some ideas and then go down to the studio and develop them on my modular system.

Piano

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

Modular (although it’s starting to become huge, in fact I think I will shrink it with a Palette case from Intellijel) headphones and zoom recorder for holidays. But when I have to play live I don’t care too much about comfort and I carry everything and more, including the Summit (my back doesn’t thank me).

Intellijel Palette

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

All Felt instruments plugins on eurorack format would be great, as well as a hardwere version of Ableton, would probably make live performances much more interesting

Felt VSTs and Ableton

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

I’m not a person who sells a lot, but I recently sold my digitakt two days before its new update – that’s all I’ll say.
Joking aside I must say that in the eurorack world there is a lot of buying and selling and you can never lose anything or have too many regrets for having sold something.

Smokin’ hot Elektron Digitakt

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

As I said before certainly the piano is always my starting point for composition, but in the end my main tool today is the modular system, which constantly offers a
continuous sound research avenues and new ways to create sounds from scratch, even using a few modules and always trying to study them in depth. The great thing is that it can be an instrument in continuous evolution and change and the perfect medium to express ourselves even with our personal changes.

Idra’s Eurorack

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

I think I would do the exact same path again that led me to be who I am today. I don’t
know if everyone knows this, but I start my music journey as a classical trumpet player.
Classical music and its study has definitely helped me both in technical knowledge but especially in maximum attention to listening. A sensitivity to sounds and sonorities, I would say. So if I had to start again, I would start with the trumpet again.

Trumpet

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

Endless cables

Cables… nicely organized

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

One of the tricks I use the most is after watching a video of Ricky Tinez based on
understanding how to manipulate LFO phase points and make them free and random in independent points of time.
I highly recommend it, especially to create movement and use LFOs in new ways.
Another “trick” that I often use is to stop listening to an album that is almost finished
for a while before putting the finishing touches on it.


Artist or Band name?

IDRA

Genre?

Ambient

Selfie?

Idra

Where are you from?

Milan, Italy

How did you get into music?

I started playing trumpet when I was nine years old, graduating in classical trumpet.
For a few years I got into jazz and world music, but it was electronic music that I fell in love with and where I found my own spot in the world.

What still drives you to make music?

The sense of freedom and the need to communicate something first to myself and
then to others, is a refuge and a medicine that keeps me alive and allows me to
express myself in the most creative way I can know

How do you most often start a new track?

Whenever I feel the need to enclose and let out my feelings and sensations. I often
have very profitable moments of production, but I also often need silence, I do not
follow a precise path, every time I turn on the machines in the studio and I feel that
something beautiful comes out, it can become a track or simply my soundtrack of the
day.

How do you know when a track is finished?

When it makes me smile and gives me a clear picture in my mind, I would say the
moment I think of a title the track is over.

Show us your current studio

Idra Studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Don’t be afraid to listen to advice and always be open to change. But the best will always be: keep things simple.

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

seilrecords.bandcamp.com/album/lone-voyagers-lovers-and-lands

(I always take the opportunity to thank Boris aka. Jogginghouse – for this release)


David Rothbaum – Cross Town Patching

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

The octave levers on my Yamaha CS-50. They are very playable. There is also just something very satisfying about the aesthetic of them as well as the acoustic clicking sound.

Yamaha CS-50

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

I would say the combination of the monome grid and ansible using kria. To me this set-up is a perfect combination of thoughtful composition mixed with performance and improvisation. Honestly, it has fundamentally changed the way I think of composition. My only issue is the grid is near impossible to see in daylight. I do a lot of outdoor performances and this is always an issue. I often bring a beach towel to throw over the grid and myself to be able to see it.

Modular Field Trip

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

I bring my modular with me a lot. I compose and record on the spot in various locations and occasionally that included what was my daily 1-5 hour commute (pre-Covid). Doing this while driving is clearly a bad idea, would not recommend at all. To be clear I only patched while at a dead stop, which in Los Angeles is most of the time.

[Editor: Ha!… Make art anywhere]

Patching in traffic

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

Paulstretch in a module would be awesome. SketchCassette too. I honestly cannot think of any hardware I’d like to see as software.

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

I am generally not too precious about gear but I did have a Roland Jupiter 4 that I sold to fund more modular and I wish I still had my Tascam 388.  

Tascam 388

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

In the last few years I would have to say again the monome / Whimsical Raps eco-system. 

Monome and Whimsical Raps in a case

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

Good taste.

[Editor: Nah, good taste is overrated…. and anyway, it’s just a by product of the artistic process, that can happen to the best of us 😉 ]

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

The computer.

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

I think in recent years it would have to be manually manipulating the Marantz PMD-430 cassette deck while monitoring live on the tape. Being able to play the tape warbles is pretty great.

Marantz PMD-430

Artist or Band name?

David Rothbaum 

Genre?

Recently, I would say ambient-adjacent. I tend to write mostly melancholic ambient music but I often add more rhythmic elements (I have been obsessed with odd meters and tuplets since forever), which I think disqualifies me as really being ambient. That said, I have made music in a number of different genres. I had a solo project called Monsturo for quite a while. That was very minimalistic drone/noise music, I used to describe it as field recordings for imaginary spacecraft 🙂 I have also played a lot of metal, jazz, noise and free improvisation. I auditioned once for Donny Osmond when I was a teenager in the 80s. 

Selfie?

I don’t really do selfies without my kid so…

David Rothbaum +1

Where are you from?

Born in NY but have lived in Los Angeles for 30+ years and that is my home.

How did you get into music?

As a listener I became obsessed with music as a kid. At around 7 years old I got into The Beatles & Donna Summer. Then shortly after that it was The Eurythmics, AC/DC, Supertramp, Devo & horror film scores. I would make tape mixes from the radio (I had an entire tape with recordings of “Sweet Dreams”). I also made tapes from the TV, grabbing bits of music from horror movies and TV shows that I liked. I failed at saxophone in 5th grade (I did learn the “Pink Panther” theme, though), but when I was 14 I took up the electric bass and played heavy metal.

What still drives you to make music?

Cannot imagine a life worth living without it. 

How do you most often start a new track?

More often than not it will start as an exploration of a technical or aesthetic idea, be it teletype code; a rhythmic, timbral or harmonic thing; or a patch idea. 

How do you know when a track is finished?

When whatever it is I am working on transforms from the technical into something that carries some emotional weight. Or I have a deadline that has expired. 

Show us your current studio

David Rothbaum’s studio

The modular is not the only thing in my studio. I have guitars, hardware synths, an electric piano etc., but it is overwhelming the center of it.

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Not comparing your work with others.  This is exceedingly difficult but absolutely liberating if you can do it.

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

I will be releasing a collection of short pieces that I have recorded and posted to social media over the last 4 years. It is called “Miniatures 2016-2020” and will be released on cassette and digital by the awesome Mystery Circles label in early 2021.

[Editor: Check out David’s lovely instagram or his website for more info]


[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…
]


Vincent Ligny – Analog Gr’ Owl

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

Moog Filter Knobs

It’s more emotional than technical. My first machine was the MOOG Mother-32. Experiencing the Moog sound in such a small object, put me in a certain state. The first knob turned was the cutOFF (not boring at all) and resonance. Discovering this sound palette, its depth confirmed to me, the idea that musically and emotionally, I had made the right choice.

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

Moog Matriarch

I recently acquired the Moog Matriarch which to my eyes represents the perfect synth. A sublime musicality, a grain that is both historic and modern and semi-modular! Accessibility is total. The stereo mode, combined with spacing, stereo delay and modulations, allows you to create beautiful sweeping effects without external effects.
A rediscovery every time.

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

For the holidays, OP-Z, OP-1 and my Master and Dynamic MH40. Travel light for a maximum of possibilities. 

OP-Z, OP-1 and Master and Dynamic MH40

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

I fantasize about the Valhalla VST in a physical multi-effect box. We know their precision, but aesthetically, putting steel around these effects would be magical.
Surely the OTO Biscuit as digital software would be great! Unique ability to mute or invert each of the 8-bit converters, not to mention the effects sections: Waveshaper, Delay, Pitch Shifter and Step Filter … a beast.

[Editor: I’ve just been told on instagram that there is in fact a software version of the Biscuit by Softube … All hail ye great internet brain!]

Oto Biscuit

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

I sold a few years ago a Fender Coronado 2 Rosewood Sunburst from 1966. Ultra thin neck and a fantastic clarity in sound, crystalline even. A twinge of heart every time I cross paths with a photo. I’m trying to find one in lake placid blue.

Fender Coronado 2

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

My Moog Matriarch and modular system. It is just easy to get lost with these two machines and I easily arrive at hypnotic sequences, percussive arps, pads without necessarily messing around. I like it to be instant and not overly thought out. The best often happens through mistakes, little misses.

Eurorack modular

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

I think I would turn to the Korg Minilogue (XD).
An easy to understand deck, a clean, polyphonic look.The pleasure is immediate.
The OLED oscilloscope shows you, in real time, how your waveform changes as parameters change, giving you visual feedback on how to shape your sound. Perfect for beginners.
Considering all of its features, this synth alone unites all the advantages of a vintage synth, but with an elegant and practical interface that is decidedly modern. The price is also within the budget of a musician today (very affordable).

Korg Minilogue XD

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

The Yamaha Portasound PS-1, piano, organ, clarinet, sustain > (deplorable) but coupled with a Microcosm (Hologram Electronics) and / or an OTO BAM reverb, you get to draw sublime ambient pads. I love it, I bought it for my son, I hope he will love it too.

Yamaha Portasound PS-1, Oto Bam and Hologram Electronic Microcosm

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

The Midi/config Shiftmode allowing onto to completely destroy the pattern and do lots of soundscaping, press then FUNC + No to reload pattern and we are back to the original. The ultimate live combo, but it’s also just an ergonomic pleasure. Thank you Elektron.

Elektron Digitone

Artist or Band name?

Vincent Ligny

Genre?

Ambient / Cinematic atmospheres

Selfie?

Vincent Ligny

Where are you from?

France. Bois-colombes, small town next to Paris.

How did you get into music?

My grandfather played classic guitar, my father played folk. I naturally started bass and guitar.
I listened to a very wide spectrum, different musical genres, but I crossed into electronic music and started to experiment with that, about 6 years ago now.

What still drives you to make music?

It’s just inexplicable. It is inseparable from my way of living or rhythm of my daily life. It is a need. Electronic music opened me up to wider fields. There are no limits.

How do you most often start a new track?

There is nothing written, nothing parameterized. The first notes are imperfect. I ask myself, I run a sequence, then I develop, I make mistakes. Sometimes it doesn’t work, sometimes it’s a wonderful surprise.

How do you know when a track is finished?

When I hesitate to bid, to drown. Now is the time to stop.

Show us your current studio

Home Studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

It is not necessary to know the music, only to feel it.

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

I appeared on a vinyl compilation from a young german independent label Deeptape Records: 
Deeptracks Vol1
Vincent Ligny – Velvet
https://deeptaperecords.bandcamp.com/album/deeptracks-1-2
 
I’m working on a 3 track EP – Pio’s journey which should be released normally at the start of 2021.


[Editor: Do you have a favorite tip, trick or way of working with any of the gear from this interview?
Then throw a comment below…
]