Gard Osen – Tilde Elektriske

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

The Davies 1600 on my spring reverb drive/recovery box. It’s a clone of the large knobs used on the old buchla modules. Great size and grip. 

A sweet Davies 1600 perfect for a spring reverb

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

My Les Paul is my favorite instrument. It’s got a 50’s style round neck, which is just the best thing I ever played. It’s hard to keep in tune and makes weird ground noises sometimes, but I have no plans to change anything on it except the knobs which I switch out at least once a month.

Gibson Les Paul

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

This summer holiday I brought a mic, mixer, reverb, looper and a recorder. I’m staying at my parents house for a few weeks and there are a lot of instruments here, so I only brought “utilities”. 

TC Ditto X4 and an Shure SM57

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

I have a lot of digital recreations of classic compressors that would be great to have in real life. Of course they are all crazy expensive so that’s never gonna happen, but generally I wish I had more hardware compressors, both pedals and rack gear.

A crappy speaker

For software I would love a “crappy speaker” simulator type thing. Like a combination of eq, distortion, compression, noise and whatever else. Maybe with an overdrive or a “slash the speaker with a knife” option. 

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

I think both apply for my Lyra 8. I don’t really regret buying it, it’s great and sounds amazing, but I never found a way to use it in any of my setups. I was convinced it would be perfect for me, but I never really became friends with it. It’s been with me for a year now and I think it’s time to let it go soon, but I know I’ll regret selling it. Buying the wrong gear isn’t necessarily a bad thing, you’ll learn about what fits you and what doesn’t. 

Lyra-8

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

Loopers. Ditto x4 is my main one at the moment. 

TC Electronics Ditto X4

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

Guitar, amp and a DD-7, just like the first time around! 

Boss DD7

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

The entry level Acer I’ve been mixing on for the last 8 years. The amount of hardware errors and lack of processing power justified switching it out maybe 5 years ago, but I’ve made it a challenge for myself to keep old computers alive. I can spend money on more creative equipment and as long as it does not slow me down too much and I’m still outputting a fair amount of music, I’ll use whatever switches on. That said, I plan to build a proper production computer this fall. 

Acer PC

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

Relating to the previous question, mixing with very little resources teaches you a lot of tricks. E.g mixing vocals and music for one song in different project files. I do a hip hop project on the side with my friends and it’s just not possible on my crappy computer to mix all the tracks of a hip hop song in one project. What I do is mix in parallel in two different project files, so I do the beat in one project and the vocals in another. Once I have a rough mix of the vocals I export that as one track into the beat project, then do adjustments to the beat, export just the beat and put it in the vocal project, then do adjustments to vocals based on the new beat. And I go back and forth like that several times. 

Bonus: I just discovered a new stereo spread mode on my DD-7 after having owned it for maybe 15 years. 


Artist or Band name? 

Gard Osen 

Genre? 

Experimental and Ambient 

Selfie? 

Gard Osen

Where are you from? 

Bergen, Norway 

How did you get into music? 

Started with guitar when I was 13, playing rock. 

What still drives you to make music? 

The reasons to make stuff change all the time but I still get the same feelings now when I’m making something new as when I first started writing songs. 

How do you most often start a new track? 

Practically, it’s different every time. Sometimes it’s inspiration and sometimes it’s necessity. 

If a sound is inspiring, I start from that. If something just needs to be made, I usually come at it from a mixing perspective, probably starting with drums. 

How do you know when a track is finished? 

Depends on the project. I’m usually happy when there is no element in the mix that can distract you or take you out of the experience, and there is a distinct sound and atmosphere. 

If I do deep and long mixing processes it’s mostly for the learning experience, but that’s a luxury I rarely afford myself. 

Show us your current studio 

My 30m2 apartment functions as both workshop and recording studio. A lot of stuff gets packed up and down from storage boxes on a daily basis, so I don’t have a permanent setup. This is my current writing/playing stand: 

Gerd Olsens Studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard? 

Something that television creator Dan Harmon said in an interview really resonated with me. 

It’s about writing for television but it can definitely apply for music as well. He talks about how one source of procrastination can be that you have too high expectations of yourself and on which level you should be able to produce. Working a lot with music but creating very little output was definitely a problem for me for a long time and I think he hits on some great points that I have thought about a lot. 

Listen to it here: https://youtu.be/u6DDCA0GwU4?t=292 

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

Besides making music I also make music equipment under the name Tilde Elektriske Kretser. I’ve made a lot of guitar pedals, but the latest thing is the Fjærlett – an audio feedback instrument using reverb springs. Check it out here: 

https://tilde-elektriske.com/fjaerlett


[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…
]


True Cuckoo – Flew Over the Nest

[Editor: When I sent the interview questions to Cuckoo. He replied within 3 hours! That’s some sort of record. Then he said he’d like to send the photos separately, coz he couldn’t make it out his studio at the moment….. What he then sends, is a bunch of great photos with hand-drawn annotations! Wow! … Thanks Andreas. You truely are an inspiration]

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

Moog Golden Knob

At the last Moogfest I got this particularly lovely huge golden knob as a part of the perks that Moogfest gave the guests in a goodie bag. I don’t think it’s from an actual product. Just something they made especially for Moogfest. It’s really heavy, definitely made out of solid metal. I had to modify it a little bit with some mould-able plastic to get it to fit where I wanted it. Now it lives on my original microKorg, as the preset selection knob, and the presets sound so much better now! 😀

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

Hakon Continuum Fingerboard

Tricky… I don’t think there’s such a thing as a perfect piece of kit. Everything is the fruit of careful consideration, and a lot of choices. Like the Continuum Fingerboard for example… it’s perfect, but it can be improved. Could you make a continuum with it’s own on-board synth editor? Absolutely not! It would ruin the whole thing. But it makes sense to think that you would like that.
The new Continuum Slim has improved though, and I want it for the improvements. Is it perfect? Yeah… maybe… It is what it is, and that’s the way I will use it.

I’m very much engaged in beta testing and writing feedback to developers a lot. So I am definitely seeing ways on improving everything. Like now for instance, I’m playing with the Moog Matriarch, and it’s beautiful! The Matriarch has got 4 oscillators, and in Paraphonic mode the 4 oscillators can be played in “polyphony”… Obviously some form of gates are letting each oscillator turn “on and off” individually corresponding to the keyboard. I wish I had CV access to those gates, so that I could sequence the oscillators more independently and freely… But that takes us back to the beginning… The Matriarch is the fruit of careful consideration and a lot of choices. It is what it is. Let’s make the most out of it!

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

The OP-Z is definitely the musical instrument that I’d be tempted on bringing with me on a holiday without any regrets. It’s light weight and doesn’t take up much space, and it’s fun. It’s just that my OP-Z units are packed to the max with one of my live sets, so there’s not much room for putting in more at this moment. I know I can make backups etc. but… to be honest, I rarely end up making music on holidays anyway. I sometimes bring some new stuff that I want to check out. But for casual and beautiful music exploration on the go I think I’d be more tempted to bring my iPad Pro and use Samplr. Samplr is beautiful for short sessions. And the iPad Pro is lovely for drawing too.
On tour I never want to bring more than I can carry myself. It’s a pain with heavy gear. So I’m trying to keep the size down. Three typical setups for me is:
Octatrack + ZOIA.
Deluge + ZOIA.
2 x OP-Z.

Samplr on the iPad

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

Ooouuushhh, I wish everything from the following 3 companies was available in hardware form.

  • Fab Filter’s amazing production and mastering tools like PRO-Q, PRO-MB, PRO-C and PRO-L. I would’ve been using them all the time in hardware! Perhaps especially the PRO-MB multiband compressor. Heck, they should make a hardware performance mixer with all of their plug-ins on the mixer!
  • Plogue’s amazing recreation of old chips such as the Megadrive Yamaha FM chip (my favourite). Chipsynth MD, Chipsynth PortaFM, and Chipcrusher. They have some forthcoming models that I’m psyched about too.
  • Spectrasonics, if they made Keyscape a high quality hardware keyboard instrument… that would seriously be the best stage keyboard ever.


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

I once bought the MicroKorg XL a looong long time ago. I thought it was just an update of the MicroKorg, and bought the most recent one. But I had no idea they were built on two completely different platforms. The MS 2000 vs the Radias. They sound so incredibly different. The XL has a very digital and sharp kind of sound, where as the original MicroKorg has a much warmer and vibrant sound, I’d say. But a friend of mine has been borrowing the XL for about 10 years now, so at least it’s making someone happy 😀
I later got the original MicroKorg and made 128 presets for it, and it’s sounding super nice 😀

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

Sega MegaDrive

Probably game music from the Sega Megadrive and Super Nintendo era. I made mix tapes of game music especially from the Sega Megadrive. So SEGA has probably influenced me the most. Phantasy Star. The Streets of Rage series. Shinobi. The Thunderforce series etc. But looking back, I have so many favourite soundtracks on the SNES too. Especially the games produced by Square Soft. Secret of Mana, like Chrono Trigger.
When it comes to music gear, I’d say the most inspirational instrument that I have used, second only to an acoustic piano, would be the Continuum Fingerboard. I’m trying a lot of stuff, but the Continuum Fingerboard stands out in a timeless kind of way. I love it. It kinda begs you to approach music differently, in such an expressive way… I love that.

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

Piano lessons.

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

That’d probably be my computer.

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

At this point, it takes a lot to surprise me. But I like it when small teams are making some really ambitious piece of gear, and challenge the industry. Then they keep pushing it with really high quality software updates over the years. Like the Deluge came out with live looping, nearly infinite note precision, any length pattern you like etc. Novation pushing virtually all of their products to the limits over time, perhaps most noticeable the Peak that recently got custom wavetables. But the most surprising element on any synth that I know, must be the Chopper game on the OP-1.


Artist or Band name?

True Cuckoo

Genre?

Not Pop

Selfie

Where are you from?

Brought up in Sweden, but moved to Norway in 2005, where I still live.

How did you get into music?

I always loved music. Probably since I could sing a tone. We had an electrical organ with rhythms when I was a kid, and I loved fiddling around with it. From very early on I loved to just make my own melodies. And when videogames came along, I used to pick the melodies from the games, and try playing them on our piano at home, that we got when I was 12. Been singing a lot, at school, in choirs. But my many hours by the piano, my interest in classical composition in my teenage years all had something to do with it. Perhaps the single most important thing was playing in my first band with Jenny Hval over 10 years ago now. That was awesome. We were playing festivals, small paces, big ones. I loved it. After that I knew that this was something that I had to bring back into my life. So I started Cuckoo after that. Jenny even sings on one of my songs from my first album.

Cuckoo 12 at the organ

What still drives you to make music?

I just love to create. Music is different than all other art forms for me. I live inside of music in a different way, than I was living inside of visual arts and animation (that was my profession for most of my grown up life). Music can be totally free of topics, but still be immensely meaningful. Also… sometimes I’d like to think that what drives me is my hunger for listening to new music… Music that I want to hear, but is yet to be discovered. So instead of looking for music, I create it myself.

How do you most often start a new track?

It’s different every time. It depends on the tools that I’m using. But it’s probably mostly either by sequencing on a machine, and making rhythmical, but still tonal patterns… Or by the piano.

How do you know when a track is finished?

When it communicates, it’s good enough.

Show us your current studio

Currently the world is sort of on hold, and I’ve been working a lot form home just to be able to quickly step in when family needs me on short notice. So this is my little table at home.

Cuckoo’s home desk

And this is my main studio. It’s a mess.

Cuckoo Studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

When I studying animation at the art university, my animation guest teacher at the time, Piotr Dumala, could tell that I was kinda struggling, and guided me delicately through the creative processes. I remember especially one day when I was struggling to get on with the story that I was developing. He said, in his strong polish accent, “What do you want to see… on the screen?”. So simple. To just eradicate every distraction and take it down the the essentials… Ok, so we’ve just experienced “this”… where do we go from there? What do you want to see, or hear next? I sometimes repeat those words in my head, still today, even if this was 20 years ago or so.

Piotr Dumala by Cuckoo

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

I went to New Zealand and Australia and played some gigs with Synthstrom Audible’s Deluge. Towards the mid end of the tour, countries started banning events and locked down due to an ongoing pandemic, so I had to end the tour early. I had some great moments! It was a great tour! Here’s a one-take whole set of me in Brisbane.

[Editor: It’s a pleasure to read about Andreas’ studio and process. I hope you guys found it as fascinating as i did. The man is super chill and yet very productive, just that in itself is an inspiration. If you’ve not seen any of his youtube content. Then go there now. It’s great]


[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…
]


Aldrin – Buzzin’ Bleeps

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


These things always change. But the monome “Series” 64 grid has the most wonderful switches/buttons. Unfortunately, I don’t use it that much these days as I’ve made a DIY 128 grid. But the buttons on the DIY grid are less nice than the 64. Not only do they feel nice, but they represent a blank canvas. No visual cues to pull you in any direction until you load up a script or an app.

Blooper Knobs


Also, Chase Bliss Pedals have knobs that feel great. The traction of these knobs makes them feel sturdy and precise.

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


My fates. Fates runs monome norns, ORAC and soon Organelle patches. I am unfortunately not the most skilled in coding. But the communities based around these ecosystems make this device close to perfect. The amazing sequencers, samplers, loopers etc. that one can use here without having to open a computer is wonderful. There is not much I would change. I just need a device to connect to my Fates that lets me organize how I send/receive midi to all my Midi devices.

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

Opz and Microcassette


OP-Z (for making tunes) + microcassette Dictaphone (for sampling) + iRig1 (to get samples from Dictaphone to the OP-Z easily) + a USB to lightning adaptor to records from the OP-Z to my iDevice. I really love the sound of oversaturated tape samples.

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

I used to wish for “Ableton in a Box”. But I can’t imagine having a piece of hardware that would have that many possibilities, when recording I prefer to have some limitations and return to it for editing, mixing, mastering and some overdubs. I’ve felt a strong disconnect to computers as a creative music tool for many years, but recently I discovered the amazing Felt Instrument Lekko and Jasno(and soon Blisko I hope). I have never felt such an immediate connection to software instruments. They both feel amazing and the textures they produce almost feels tangible, but for now I don’t mind using them as software. They have been my main sound source into another piece of software I recently discovered, Fantastic Voyage. It is a software 4 track recorder, looper and creative fx unit with a patch matrix. It is like a magic box; you patch up something, send it some audio and the results are instantly amazing.

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

I traded away my Chase Bliss MOOD for an Empress ZOIA some months back, I really miss the MOOD. But the ZOIA is also wonderful, and it can do almost anything you want. But the MOOD is really unique.

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

Discovering monome grids and Brian Crabtree’s mlr script and all the variations of that changed my whole approach to making music. I am not a person who sits down and write songs, I like to explore sounds and textures by looping and stacking them, trying to keep some sort of harmonic ground. I need something that can capture that, play it back and let me do some mangling of those sounds. And when I got my Fates it enabled me to break away from the computer. The norns ecosystem by monome and all the scripts that are built around the mentality of mlr give me something new to explore every time I sit down and start making sounds and loops.

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

If I had to rethink my whole creative workflow, I might have gotten into modular and built a rig around that. But it would still be based around the same sound sources, guitar and OP-Z, just a free-flowing modular effect skiff. I really like it when equipment becomes something you collaborate with instead of control, and I am trying to “let” my equipment function that way at the moment. But I feel like a modular rig would lend itself more to that approach.

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

Behringer Mixer

My retired Behringer mixer. I used to hate the thing, but it served a purpose. I decided to scale down to a Koma Elektronik Field Kit and live without multiple AUX buses + input/output galore. And I think this makes me happier. Apart from that, if it counts: cables and batteries. All different shapes, forms, sizes and types.

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

The tape track on the OP-Z is a plethora of fun. Sequencing it and then sending live audio into it is a favorite of mine. Connect whatever you use to get audio (or the internal mic), then select the tape track, then hold the shift button to select what tracks are fed into the tape track, select the module track (so that it lights up yellow/orange) and voila, whatever external audio is being sent into the OP-Z is now also sent into the Tape Buffer.


Artist or Band name?

Aldrin, but I also play in the bands Ben Leiper and Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson.

Genre?

Ambient? Organic Electronic? Soundbathism? New Age Guitar Music? Genres are hard.

Selfie?

Oystein

Where are you from?

Rjukan, Norway. But currently living with my partner and infant daughter in Oslo, Norway.

How did you get into music?

I guess it started with mainstream mid to late nineties pop music. But I was introduced to the Beastie Boys and The Chemical Brothers at a young age by a friend. And I remember being fascinated by the rich soundscapes that both of these bands would make. I got into creating music some years later when me and a friend discovered that Mogwai’s album «Happy Songs for Happy People» had a version of Cubase with the stems for one of the songs for remixing. We started messing around with that for a while until we decided to record by ourselves. We made an EP of weird noisy instrumental music based around very unauthorized samples of dialogue from different films we liked. We actually duplicated a bunch of tapes and sold maybe 10 to people on the internet.

What still drives you to make music?

I have a deep urge to create something. Not necessarily for anyone else to consume, but for my own sake. And sitting in my living room listening to some sort of loop I just made over and over again is very comforting. Of course, I love it if someone else likes my reverb drenched sounds, but I am truly happy as long as I like whatever sounds me and my gear make.

How do you most often start a new track?

All my current stuff is improvised, but it normally starts with guitar looped some way. Then I add loops of other stuff like plucked pine cones, field recordings and whatever sound I find interesting on my OP-Z.

How do you know when a track is finished?

When I stop the Zoom h4n recorder after sitting around listening to the same intertwining modulating loops for about 30 minutes.

Show us your current studio

Aldrin’s Home Studio Corner

Not really a studio, more like “the corner by the bookshelf of my living room”.

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

My parents, and especially my father, taught me that you should not care too much about what other people think, the most important thing is that you are enjoying what you do. Lately I’ve been trying to follow the 12 principles of 12k records, and they feel like a complement to that early advice:

  1. Don’t tell listeners what they want to hear, let them discover that for themselves.
  2. Treat your audience as they are: intelligent, passionate lovers of art and sound.
  3. Evolve constantly, but slowly.
  4. Stay quiet, stay small.
  5. Strive for timelessness.
  6. Never try to be perfect. Beauty is imperfection.
  7. Simplicity. Anti-Design.
  8. Never try to innovate, be true to yourself, and innovation may happen.
  9. Explore sound as art, as a physical phenomenon — with emotion.
  10. Develop community.
  11. Be spontaneous.
  12. Everything will change.

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

I stream on a semi regular basis on twitch.tv/aldrinsound, follow me on Instagram or Facebook for updates.


[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…
]