Starsky Carr – Starry Racks

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

Midimini by Studio Electronics

That’s not something I’ve thought of before. I definitely have a least favourite and that’s the alpha dial on my Juno 2. But if I were to pick one it would be the very retro switches on the Thermionic Culture Vulture and especially the MIDIMini V30. In the US switches turn on when you flick them up, unlike most that turn on when you switch them down. Flicking them up reminds me of old Sci-Fi movies so for a brief moment I feel like an astronaut.

Midimini by Studio Electronics Switches

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

For what it does you can’t beat the Minimoog. I know it’s a cliche but there’s a reason it’s such a classic.  I have the 2016 reissue, and when I first used it I was taken aback by how much the experience of interacting with the interface influences your behavior.  If your first few years with a synth were trying to program the Juno 2 and navigating Roland’s 90’s digital interfaces on tiny screens, a big old simple analogue is a revelation.  You spend much more time sculpting tones, and it’s so self explanatory there’s no need for presets. It’s instant gratification, but more modulation options would improve it. I have recently purchased an AJH Synth MiniMod Keyz, and that takes the Minimoog to a whole new level. It’s not as instant, but there are new worlds to explore. A bit like a Minimoog and Odyssey combined in a modular setting. Wonderful!

Arp Odyssey and AXXE

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

It very much depends on what I’m doing at the time. Last year I took the Polyend Play with me on a few trips, and this year I’ve been playing with the Sonicware ELZ_1 Play. It has to be something I can produce more than a single tone at a time and something I can run on batteries. I did try doing stuff on my a few years ago iPad, but it soon got confusing and too technical to be anything but frustrating, although there are some amazing apps like the Animoog

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

I love Arturia Pigments, which would be nice as hardware. I guess Waldorf Iridium is the closest as a physical instrument. Mainly though I think most well designed software works well precisely because its software, and a good piece of hardware works because of the physical interface, as software it would most likely be underwhelming. But if I had to choose, a Pigments synth and Iridium in software…. But then they’re almost the same thing!

Waldorf Iridium and the gang

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

Roland Jupiter 4

I sold a Jupiter 4 and System 100 to a guy for £100 each on the same day. I was living in an apartment with no heating and he turned up in a Range Rover! Needs must and I needed synths that I could control via MIDI. In the days before DAWs when you were running 48 tracks live and using SMPTE to sync to 8-track tape, anything to make life easier was essential. I put the proceeds toward a BassStation Supernova which paid its dues for years. At the time it was the smart move, so I guess I can’t regret it too much, but everyone has a war story of selling classics for peanuts. Maybe I regret replacing the Jupiter 4 a few months ago. My younger self would be pulling his hair out at the price I paid!

Korg Polysix

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

Oberheim OB-X8

There’s been so many over the years.  The Akai S950 and S3000 were integral before software replaced them. I hammered the life out of them, as well as the Supernova. But after selling most of my typical “90’s collection” and going almost fully in the box for a couple of years, I started buying hardware again. Each piece has its moment. The Prophet 08 was a source of constant inspiration, but was replaced by the Prophet 6 and OB6. They couldn’t compete in terms of modulation options which is when I started getting into some modular pieces.  The reason I’ve ended up with such an assortment is so I can move regularly from one to another to avoid falling into the same routine.

Analog Solutions FuseBoxx and MoogerFoogers

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

If I had absolutely nothing the first thing would obviously be a computer. The studio I built in the 90s will have cost around £40k, which would be around £94k in today’s terms. Now you can have the same with a cheap PC, Roland Cloud and a couple of other subscriptions. It’s unbelievable really.  So for hardware, I’d start with something that can take you to places you can’t go with a DAW. I’d probably go with something wild like the PWM Malevolent that’s so good at delivering those little sonic hiccups and dirt. It’s another texture that you’re not going to get from software. Be warned, it’s a dangerously addictive gateway drug into eurorack and hardware.

Analog Solutions Ample

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

I would’ve said my Juno 2, but after picking up the Retroakctiv MPG50 controller it’s morphed into the perfect 80s/90s machine.  The Virus TI took that spot for a while. It was so good that I used loads of instances on every track, but the latency was infuriating. Now my biggest nemesis is cabling. You can’t live without it but it causes so much grief, especially when like me you move stuff around a lot. Today for example, I found a couple of things that need attention on my Odyssey, one of which I thought was the HP filter being stuck at a minimum of 75% so everything sounded thin and weedy. After checking over it for an hour or so then booking it in for a service, I happened to knock the interface and the bass came booming back. The number of times MIDI cables, balanced versus unbalanced cables, 3.5 to 6.3mm adaptors or mono to stereo, XLR to jack etc. cause a dodgy connection that takes hours to track down is infuriating.

Synth avalanche

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

Understanding wavetables was a revelation. I bought my Microwave XT in 1998 and never truly understood it until years later. Reviewers were excited by user wavetables and I just didn’t get the hype. I’m now all over them, and made a video demoing how you can create wavetables from anything for anything. I worked with Groove Synthesis recently to help put my Prophet VS wavetables into the 3rd Wave in its PPG mode to give all those lovely 80s digital artifacts. It’s one of those ideas that only exists due to the limitations of the technology, and if that creative spark hadn’t happened at the time it would never have been developed.

Artist or Band name?

Starsky Carr


Electronic .. is that too broad? Probably to the detriment of my musical career, I can’t do that thing were people seem to write variations on the same track a 100 different ways.  


Starsky Carr Selfie Youtuber Synth
Starsky Carr

Where are you from?

Liverpool, UK.

How did you get into music?

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t into music. It maybe a Liverpool thing, it feels like part of my DNA.

What still drives you to make music?

See above!! I’ve no idea I just feel compelled. I get edgy if I’ve not done something for a while. 

How do you most often start a new track?

Almost always by fiddling around, looking for textures, tones and melodies that lead me somewhere.

How do you know when a track is finished?

They’re never truly finished, there’s always something else to do. But when you think you’re now doing stuff that only 1% of people will notice, when you find you’re spending 10 minutes tailing the delay perfectly, making minute changes to filter sweeps, adding another level of saturation or EQ, it’s time to step back and put the brush down.

Show us your current studio

Rack of outboard
Softube Controller
Roland SH-101
Soma PULSAR-23
Roland TR-606 Drumatix
The Cat by Octave
Moog Prodigy

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Whatever you do you have to like it. You have to be prepared to stand in front of an audience and play it. If you’re not proud of it, fix it or ditch it. I can’t attribute that to anyone in particular, it’s more a distillation of many pieces of advice that resonated.

The Moog Trinity + Godfather

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


Dean Fuller – The Washington Monument Amb

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

The RANDOMISE button on the Korg Opsix
The RANDOMISE button on the Korg Opsix

You want a gateway to all possible multiverses of music? The RANDOMISE button on the Korg Opsix will take you there. 

Maybe you just want to go to the universe next door. Korg has got you covered: You can set the level of randomisation, giving you everywhere from the tiniest variation on your current sound too.

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

Chase Bliss Dark World

Chase Bliss Dark World. It’s an ugly/beautiful reverb that makes anything sound cool. But … I want it in stereo. 
DARK on the left. WORLD on the right. Let ‘em twist and twirl together. Let them have babies with two heads and two dark hearts . I digress… 

PS. An adjustable loop length on the Chase Bliss Habit would be dope too… 

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

If I need to be agile/mobile/hostile I stick with this: Korg Volca Keys paired with a Zoom G1 Four. The Keys was my first synth, and it was cheap. The Zoom has pretty much every standard effect under the sun – and a 30 second looper. I’ve recently added the Arturia Keystep as a keyboard, because the patented Volca keyboard is a flaming trash heap.

Korg Volca Keys paired with a Zoom G1 Four and Arturia Keystep

Give it another couple of weeks and it might be the Volca FM2 instead though…

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

If Puremagnetik’s Driftmaker delay was a pedal I’d pay a ridiculous amount of money for it without a second thought. It adds such a gritty, messed up ambience to whatever it touches. had a hand in it, so you know the lofi is legit.

Puremagnetik’s Driftmaker
Puremagnetik’s Driftmaker

I don’t wish any of my hardware was a software plugin* This is not to say that I’m dismissing the digital side of music making in any way, shape or form. Plenty of great artists use it to great effect.  
I don’t use these tools because I just don’t have much time to play music.  

Booting up a computer, opening up Ableton, selecting one of an infinite array of software synths, worrying about CPU usage or RAM – all of this takes time and energy to deal with. I ain’t in a headspace (or a techspace) where I can do any of that quickly or efficiently currently. 

My hardware setup can go from POWER OFF to ready to play in about 10 seconds. Maybe a minute if I’ve got some super crazy stereo stuff I want to dial in.

 If I had a small, always on computer with enormous processing power next to my synth setup, then I’d definitely be integrating more.  

*although I am intrigued by plugins that work in tandem with my hardware pedals. When I have world enough, and time, I’ll be doing some weird n’ wild stuff with the Chase Bliss Plugin for Gen Loss 2 , as well as a user created plugin for HABIT…

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

Moog Mavis

Moog Mavis is the perennial underdog of my setup. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beautiful as a single module in a larger modular setup. Oora Music gets a ton of mileage out of it as part of his suitcase of modules. On its own… you don’t have much to work with and I’m not fully ready to commit to it.
In retrospect, I wish I’d saved an extra couple of weeks and grabbed a Make Noise Strega instead. Alas, currently Mavis is a humble lowpass filter for my drum machine.  

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

I refuse to read the manual for Matt Bradshaw’s Drumkid because I wanna believe that it has a mind of its own. Sure, it’s supremely limited, but everything it does it nails. I randomise a drum pattern, and now I have a drummer that will flick in a little something extra from time to time. It’s a true collaborator – spitting its endless rhythmic ideas my way to play off. I need a good collaborator with an excellent brain to get my fingers working.  Drumkid is both.


Heck, a lot of the time I mute the drum channel – all I need is the groove that the Drumkid thoughtfully provides. 

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

I started off many a year ago with just a Korg Volca Keys and nothing else for like 5 years. Please note that the Keys sounds like a squealing pig until you grease it with heavy reverb. 

Korg Volca Keys

Can you blame me? I was seduced by that wonderful word: ANALOG.

Now I just want a usable sound that I can dial in quickly. 

If I could turn back time I’d grab a Volca FM instead and have every DX7 preset ever made loaded onto it. Who needs to properly learn FM synthesis if you’ve got some great presets, right? 

Also I’d get a MIDI keyboard for the thing because no-one deserves to be punished with the standard Volca ribbon keyboard. 

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

Chase Bliss Mood

I love the Chase Bliss Mood. I still don’t know what I’m doing with it half the time. I just did a session where it seemed like all the settings were reversed and maybe the thing is trying to gaslight me. I dunno man… 

But when it hits, it breaks through the fabric of reality. Even that basic reverb sounds so weird and warped and wonderful. To say nothing of its DELAY or SLIP modes. 

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

Chase Bliss Habit

Treat it right and Chase Bliss Habit can be a mono synth.
Firstly you need: 
⦁ A constant(ish) sound source/tone. 
⦁ Chase Bliss Habit.

Here’s how you do it: 

⦁ Set the MODIFY switches to A1. You are now in pitch delay mood. Twisting between 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock will pitch your echoes down. Twisting it further either side will pitch your echoes up to the heavens.  
⦁ Set the DRY KILL dipswitch up to ON. Now you have no dry signal. This is very important. 
⦁ Set SIZE and SPREAD to minimum. 
⦁ Set LEVEL to maximum. 
⦁ Run your signal through HABIT. 
⦁ I like dragging my input cable over a surface for extra loftiness. Radio static is also cool.  
⦁ Twist the MODIFY knob to get your note of choice. 

Artist or Band name? 



… in retrospect, this name makes me incredibly difficult to search google for. But hey, it’s mine now. 


Lo-fi ambient. Lofi is a fine way to hide my (currently) novice playing skills. 

The Fauna of Lo-fi ambient


[immediately before an exorcism] 

Dean Fuller
Dean Fuller

Where are you from? 

The land I live on was called Boorloo before colonisation. Nowadays it’s called Perth.


How did you get into music?

My parents played me stuff that blew my mind*. My sister played me stuff that blew my mind. My friends played me stuff that blew my mind. I feel obliged to return the favour. 

*specifically, in no particular order: Elton John. Frank Zappa. Queens of the Stone Age. King Crimson. Heather Nova. Foo Fighters. South Park: Chef Aid. The Goon Show. Tom Waits. Goreki. Massive Attack. Godspeed You! Black Emperor. David Holmes. After Dinner.

What still drives you to make music? 

Vanity. I like that people like my work. Shouting into the silent abyss can get dispiriting.  

Progress. Seeing improvement today over yesterday and the day before is awfully gratifying.

Meditation. It’s been a strange few months. I’ve been keeping too much in my mind. The act of creation wipes things away, if only briefly…

How do you most often start a new track? 

Korg Opsix
Korg Opsix

I’ll hear something on my way to work from tybo_ambientsky or shimmery.mp3 or kaicarsonwest do something cool with a piece of gear that I have. I’ll spend the day consumed by the thought. I crib the settings in the margins of my workbook. I imagine all the ways that I can take this and break it and then go ham with distortion and layers until I have an ungainly tower of grain and fuzz. Then I go do it.

How do you know when a track is finished? 

When my darling tells me to go to bed. 


Show us your current studio

Desktop setup

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Create incessantly and with intention. Be like Prince – record all the damn time, release only the gems. And release gems all the darn time. You are an iceberg; you are a vault. The little that the public sees is supported by the vast volume of work that you toiled on out of sight. Constant introspection and evaluation will make your work better. But only if you make your work.

All but shadows and lights

I’m paraphrasing Father Bronques here. His advice took me from an unemployed student to a photographer charging $200 an hour in the space of a year. 

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

I have a YouTube that would love a few more followers. Feeling like long, long lofi ambient pieces to sleep to? Do you need to hear tape loops looping forever? This is the place to go.

Spaceman explorering the synthverse

Also @royriverswhite is a good mate of mine doing fabulous art on an early 1980’s Apple MacIntosh. We’re gonna be doing something weird. Together. Soon.

[Editor: There are affiliate links to the relevant gear throughout the articles. It helps to support this blog. In fact, should you be needing some patch cables or guitar strings. Then clicking on one of the above links and buying any product that you prefer, will help the blog… doesn’t even have to be the ones in the link. Thx]

Denis Violet – Dawless Daytripper

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

Moog Mother32 knob

As a « DAWless » musician, I necessarily attach great importance to the ergonomics of the hardware, to the user interface. How am I going to use this ? Is it practical ? To these considerations is added a strong fascination for the aesthetics of analog synthesizers, which I find beautiful even when they are switched off. Sometimes I just watch them ! Regardless of the function to which they are attached, the large knobs of my Moogs, which alone embody manufacturing quality and respect for the user, are the elements of my set-up where my fingers naturally want to rest.

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

Moog Mother32 and Subharmonicon

Moog Mother32 is almost perfect. And on a weirdest side, Subharmonicon. My current set-up is a mixture of « serious » machines, like the Moogs or the Korg MS20, and synths that are a little more cheap, but have very endearing sounds, Volcas or Stylophones, and also weird and wonderful instruments like the GechoLoopsynth from Phonicbloom or Diddley Bow from Syro Instruments. I’m not necessarily looking to accumulate instruments, although every gear can add something to the sound, but ideally, a string machine, a good drum machine and instruments like the Arp2600 or the VCS3 would fill me with joy…

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

Uno Synth Pro

On vacation or when I’m walking in the woods, I always have synthesizers in my backpack. Most often, my Uno Synth Pro, which is an amazing analog synth, small and light, but very powerful, but also Volcas, my little Akaï sampler, and always GechoLoopsynth, which transforms the sounds of the world into enchantment. I must say that the portable aspect is a criterion of choice because I really like playing outdoors. In concert, it depends of course on the set-list, but in general the base is constituted by the Mininova, Mother32 and the MS20.


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

Well, only using hardware and being resistant to computers, I can’t answer this question… In fact, I tend to think that creativity is often spurred by the hardware limitations of instruments. The only limits I want to push back are those of my imagination.

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

I remember an old Boss 220E drum machine. The sound was horrible, but she was funny. Even if I don’t use my Electribe much anymore, and although it doesn’t suit my way of working, I hesitate to sell it.

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

Curiously, the main instrument used for the album « Zur Zeit der Wälder » is Korg’s Volca Keys. I still sometimes find it hard to believe… But in the end, even such a small synthesizer of this price can provide a lot of satisfaction ! Today I only use it for outdoor jamming, but I must admit that it was very important in my journey towards analog synthesis. Currently, when I compose, everything often starts from a loop played on the Moog Mother32.

Korg’s Volca Keys

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

I built my set-up gradually, both adapting it to my needs, but also letting myself be surprised by diverting the instruments from their favorite fields. I’m not unhappy with the way I went about it. If today I had no instrument, I think I would start with a good analog (my Mother32), some effects, and a machine like the Model :cycles from Elektron, which seems to have a very good sequencer.

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

Korg MS-20 patch points

I don’t get bored much with my instruments. I admit I spent a long time around the patch panel of the MS20, quite obscure when compared to the clarity of those of the semi-modular Moogs. By dint of persevering and trying, even making mistakes, I still ended up getting used to it ! What bothers me the most are often technical considerations that unfortunately we can’t do without, everything related to mixing, recording.
In the home studio, anything unrelated to instruments most often annoys me, I want it to go fast, even if it means sometimes sacrificing sound quality no doubt (perhaps -this my punk side…) That’s why I go straight to the point, even if a technician would make leaps !

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

One day, my Stylophone’s silk-thin stylus cable broke. It had to happen eventually. So I opened it up, and I only had a patch cable on hand to repair it, so I cut off one end to solder it in place of the old one. I started playing again with a jack cable instead of the stylus. And then, I looked at my Korg SQ1 sequencer, and I had the crazy idea of ​​connecting the « stylus » cable to the analog output of the sequencer and playing a sequence. Well it works ! The video of this discovery is somewhere on my Instagram…

Stylophone and Korg SQ1 sequencer

Artist or Band name?



My musical tastes are very eclectic (from classical music to ambient via post punk new wave and french chanson), the music I produce can possibly find its roots in krautrock and the beginnings of electronic music (Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Jean-Michel Jarre). I have a strong and sensual relationship with my analog synths. As soon as I have the opportunity, I defend the idea that electronic lutherie produces instruments that have a soul, that live.


Denis Violet

Where are you from?

I live in Limousin, a somewhat isolated rural region in the center of France. 50 years old, married and father of 4 children.

How did you get into music?

After studying piano and then bass in a music school, I created the group >fjord with Anne-Sophie Michaud at the end of the 90s. With our kind of french trip-hop, we did a few dates with great artists from the French scene such as Jean-Louis Murat, Dominique A, Yann Tiersen.

Ramirez plays tijuana 9-11-2016

Since 2007, I sing, play keyboards, bass and guitar with my friend, the guitarist Toto Deloménie (and for some time Cécile Venot and Yohan Mayet) in our Ramirez project. In 15 years, we have evolved from an acoustic guitar duo to pop/folk/electro songs. Our latest album, « Homme Lige », is entirely instrumental and is inspired by the collection of poems by Laurent Bourdelas, who asked me to accompany him for readings of his work.

In my work with disabled people, I occasionally lead a workshop of expression and creation with electronic music as a medium, in partnership with the Limoges Conservatoire de Musique, and I am very proud to have introduced, for example, the theremine and the Kaoss Pad in this temple of «serious » music.

Denis Ramirez performing

Another thing that is important for me. Limousin is a region where nature is everywhere. As I walk a lot in forests or in the fields near my house and I always have a few portable synths on me, I often make music which reflect on the threatened beauty of nature.
Even though my music does not necessarily have an intrinsic political message, I would like it testify at least to this fight of our time, to save what can still be saved.

What still drives you to make music ?

Music never ends. Even with a finite number of notes, even with a finite number of sounds, music has no end ! How many years can you spend hunched over the same machine, producing music every day that’s different from the day before ? I don’t think I will ever have the answer to this question.

How do you most often start a new track ?

When I work for Ramirez, I usually start from the text or a fragment of text. What I prefer then is that Toto takes care of composing the music and that I collect it to make the arrangements. In my more personal projects, I often start with a texture, a sound that inspires me, and/or a simple loop with Mother32 or the SQ1. I make it evolve, with some effects (I can’t imagine a track without delay/reverb). I can then spend a lot of time improvising a lead voice, with the MS20 or the Werkstatt, which is a perfect little Moog for that.
I then add as little as possible (see the track « Lige » in our latest album « Homme Lige ». There is only an eight-note loop played on the Werkstatt.) ….

How do you know when a track is finished?

[Cont’d from above]… And I know it’s over … when it’s time ! I willingly impose a time constraint on myself, if after a few hours I can’t get anywhere, I’ll start from scratch the next day…

Show us your current studio

Denis Ramirez’s studio desk

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard ?

Bernard Summer, from New Order, who said something like this : « There is nothing, and suddenly it’s there, as if a voice were dictating the song to you ». Basically, letting go, not putting up barriers of good taste, genre, or style. Take everything that comes, let it rest, and then sort it out.

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

Ramirez appears sporadically, on the other hand I have a frenetic musical activity on my Instagram account, on which I post a minute of old school electronic music daily. You can find it here : @denis_violet

Ramirez’s music, from « L’atelier », which traces the period 2007/2017, to « Homme Lige », produced in 2022, is on the main streaming platforms.
Spotify and YouTubeMusic

Ramirez Homme Lige

[Editor: There are affiliate links to the relevant gear throughout the articles. It helps to support this blog. In fact, should you be needing some patch cables or guitar strings. Then clicking on one of the above links and buying any product that you prefer, will help the blog… doesn’t even have to be the ones in the link. Thx]