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.


2000F – Strøm Førende

[Editor: There are gear geeks, and there are gear freaks…. AND THEN there is the artist 2000F aka. Frederik Birket-Smith, who has got to have one of the most extraordinary collection of vintage synths, drum machines and outboard gear in all of Denmark… and this is just one of several locations where he has his gear. He is also the CEO of Strøm Festival – which is pretty much the biggest yearly electronic music festival in Denmark. So enjoy!
Also, if you’re wondering about the title, it’s danish for… ‘electric conductor’

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

My fave has got to be the Cinema Engineering Corporation Model 6517/e.

Cinema Engineering Corporation Model 6517/e

This is a low and high cut filter from Burbank, California, made in the 50’s, early 60’s. Originally made for, what you would call the telephone effect for film. It’s quite an extreme low and high cut and this unit in particular, has been modified by a local danish tech called Fairman, with a resonance control filter Q knob.

Cinema Engineering Corporation Model 6517/e front panel

So you can make it very aggressive and brittle sounding, and I use it for dub music, to get those extreme cuts. Most filter units of this type only have a low cut. Which is nice, but this one has high cut as well.

Lots of delay and reverb outboard

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

The Fender Rhodes 88 suitcase. Gotta be the suitcase version, not the stage. Has to be the one with the speakers. And I wouldn’t change anything about it.

Fender Rhodes 88

I have one from 1980 here in this studio and another one at home, from 1976. At one point I had both together in the living room, the kids and the wife were a little bit “Okay we need two?”. But my wife is really big fan of Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea as well, so she loved it. Still… it takes up a lot of room.

’80s Fender Rhodes 88 suitcase

But the interesting part of having two was that, while the sound of the one I have here is really good, the other ’76 Rhodes, the body and the weight is much deeper compared to this one. The ’76 almost feels like a proper grand piano. It’s really nice.

Solina String Ensemble

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

Smartphone… one with Koala Sampler.

And then just the built-in Memo app on the phone, that’s the only things I would bring.

I especially like the Memo app. Actually I just use it to record stuff… Sometimes it’s ideas and melodies or basslines or rhythms. Sometimes it’s just something I need to explain to myself, like an idea that I need to remember. Sometimes it is sampling something.

Quite recently I recorded a sound while they were rebuilding Fisketovet [Editor: a shopping mall in Copenhagen]. And there was this crazy huge drilling machine that was so loud. I’ve never heard anything like it, but I had to record it. It was just banging a huge pile-driver into the ground. The reverb tail was intense.

Oberheim DMX

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

I’m not sure I can answer that, to be honest. Because I like both worlds. If I HAD to say something that could be an answer, I think it would be, that in the last couple of years, the integration between outboard hardware and the digital audio workstation is getting pretty good. Life is getting so much easier with the new analog patch bays that can be digitally controlled.

I mean, it’s so easy to intermix it now. And I actually like both analog and digital because they’re both very different, so it is great that they can now be integrated.

They’re merging and I think that’s really interesting. I come from an old school hardware kind of workflow, but the funny thing is, a few years ago, I tried to force myself to use only stock Ableton plugins, just to to see what I can do… and boy, it sounded pretty, I still prefer hardware and all that, but I did two 12-inch releases that way.

Roland JD800

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

Regrets selling? Nah… but there’s some stuff I regret NOT buying.

There was an Arp 2600 that was for sale in a shop near where I used to live. I think the shop was called ELSound. It was just in the display winder. Still haunts me that I couldn’t buy it at the time.

I’ve had quite a lot of gear, as you can tell, so I haven’t sold that much, actually. I’ve sold a Jupiter-4 and a Polysix and I don’t miss them. I also had the very, very big Yamaha SK50D. Which is the huge poly synth they made, just a big as the CS-80 and just about as heavy, but a cheaper version. Even though it certainly wasn’t cheap. But I don’t miss that either.

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

Samplers. And the Emu Emax.

Emu Emax

That’s the one I grew up with. It opened up the world of music production for me. Actually, I can tell you a funny story. Particularly that unit over there, which my father bought in ’86. I remember so clearly, because when I was young, my mom used to be a DJ and my dad collected records and all that studio stuff. So I listened to a lot of music.

Akai S950 and S1000

I listened to stuff like Kraftwerk and especially Art Of Noise. Early Kate Bush and Peter Gabriel… you know, with all those Synclavier sounds. But I never really understood how they did it. I understood the music and I loved it, but especially the Music Nonstop album, Electric Cafe album from Kraftwerk, where they used samples heavily, people don’t rate it. But I loved it because it was so digital.

When my father bought home the Emax. I can tell you where exactly in the living room I was standing and where my mom stood, when my dad used it for the first time. He set it up and plugged in a microphone, and my mom came into the living room and said, “Dinner’s ready!”.
And it was recorded. When my Dad started to mess with that sample… Then suddenly I was like, ‘That’s how they do it!’ … My whole mind was just blown away.

Emu Emax

So I was like… ‘Gimme that!’ and I borrowed an Atari ST2 computer, the Emax and Pro-One and the PPG and made lot of music. From then on I started buying stuff, so since I was 14 years old, I was just hooked. Spent all my money, I bought my 303 and right after that the 909 and all that.

But the sampler, that was the start.

Classic Korg Rack synths

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

The computer.

The thing is that nowadays you’ll be able to go online and find answers to absolutely everything. And at that time around ’86 you couldn’t find any answers to anything except if you knew somebody. So a computer would, whether it was an ’86 or 2023, open your world in any direction you wanted to go.

So then I think inspiration comes from other stuff. I mean, gear can inspire me and anybody else, but I’m not sure that’s the main thing, to be honest. I think the computer will just be the door that opens the world.

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

Oh, that’s everything. Everything! Just keeping and maintaining a synth mausoleum like this one. That’s grief…. and a lot of money. I would say being a collector, it’s just a major headache.

Classic Drum Machines and Synths

Cabling and setting up wires is a huge headache, but refurbishments and service on this stuff, that’s just a downwards spiral of agony and pain. And money out the window.

The most expensive restoration I have, which is still ongoing, is the EMT-250 reverb, which is at a repair workshop in Germany right now, and has been for the past five years. Kinda crazy.

The EMT250 is the only thing my father never got to hear or see working, before he passed away. He was an avid gear collector and once even managed to find a Fairchild 670 on Den Blå Avis [danish version of Craigslist], but the 250 we found at Sweet Silence Studios, and it’s super rare. Gotta be less than 200 in the world.

It even came in the original flight crate from Germany. So this wooden box came through Kastrup Airport, and then through the distributor up in the north of Copenhagen, then finally to Sweet Silence Studio, where we discovered that it had some water damage.
So it was sent to the US to repair at Studio Electronics and they said “we can’t fix it”. It had some humidity things that happened to it.

But eventually I found this guy Stefan Hübner in Hamburg. Who I was recommended by an old PPG factory tech. Who said, I have this young apprentice called Stefan, who is willing to take a look at repairing your EMT.

But the problem with the EMT was that, they never and still haven’t ever released any schematics or diagrams for it. At the time of production, they were so afraid that the Japanese would copy it, so they even sandblasted the tops of all the chips. So it doesn’t say anything on them.
There’s no traces, or anything. It’s all point-to-point soldered in the back. It’s just one huge board of chips, which no one knows what is. So Stefan has two EMT250’s on his workshop table, and he is trying to trace and test the electronics, and build up his own diagrams to figure out what happens inside of it and what each component is.

It’s just a never ending story.

So that’s the longest and possibly the most expensive restoration that I’ve ever attempted. I have never even heard it working. I just bought it and shipped it around.

Lexicon 122-s
Echoplex Tape Delay

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

I spent a lot of time listening to and trying to figure out all the old mysteries of dub music. I like Prince Jammy and King Tubby, but I especially like The Scientist, who was the apprentice of King Tubby.

Stack of delays

I loved his way of mixing dub and I always liked that sharp filter cuts he had. And that was the knob that King Tubby built from a unit like the one I told you about before. [Editor: Cinema Engineering Corporation Model 6517/e]

Those filters, I mean, you don’t find them. You have to build them… And I’m sure that King Tubby’s version was also modified, because he just needed it to be more aggressive.

Unknown Dub Machine

Artist or Band name?



Bass music


2000F aka. Frederik Birket-Smith

Where are you from?

Frederiksberg, Copenhagen, Denmark.

How did you get into music?

Mom was a DJ. Father was musician and studio owner. Guess it’s in the blood.

What still drives you to make music?

Exploration of bass and sounds, I think.

Novation Bass Station mk1 keyboard
PPG Wave 2
PPG Wave 2 Close up

How do you most often start a new track?

A beat or some sort of rhythm.

Roland CR-78

I’m not sure I’ve got a methodology or something. I least I can’t explain it. I don’t think about it really, but I just bang it out real fast. The rhythm.
I think the rhythm shows for me where the track goes. Also, I build a lot of my songs as a DJ. Which is a bit like putting music together like how I would build with Lego bricks. And I actually like it when it’s almost mechanically switching from one part to the other.

Roland TR727

Even though I mix dub stuff, I grew up listening to a lot of jungle drum-and-bass, especially grime music from the UK, and most of that is so cheaply made and is so swiftly made, that you get, a part A and a part B, and they just switch. Just so rough and so simple.

Roland CR8000

Before grime was called grime, it was called 8-bar, because the rappers just had 8 bars to rap on top of, before the song just switched sound, and I love that very, very simple almost mechanical way of building music. So I always tend to think of this as a DJ.

Roland MC-202
Roland JP8080

How do you know when a track is finished?

I test it out quite a lot… DJ’ing. I feel that it’s essential.

In bass music, people make dub plates. I used to cut a lot of plates. But I test tracks and I play them out a lot of times and then I listen. I’m listening to gauge audience reaction.

DJ decks and rack mixer

It’s actually mainly the response of people, if they appreciate or not. And what I do is even though it’s bass music, and it’s really aggressive, really dark. I like to make people almost implode.

2000F vinyl collection and decks on the back wall

I do BassUnderBuen, which is huge rave with 10,000 people here in Copenhagen under a motorway. I’ll play two or three new tracks and I can just tell… ‘okay, this track really works, this one needs work’.

I gotta test it out on a proper dance club sound system. And then I come back to the studio and rework it a little bit.

Show us your current studio

2000F Studio left side wall
2000F Studio right side wall
Unknown Prototype Valve Microphone from the ’50s
Danish DISA tube mic pre

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

This is for producers working specifically on computers, try to close your eyes as often as possible. You’ll listen differently.

Like when I have my analog mixer setup here in front of me, after I have built up the basic structure, all the stems, patterns, parts of the rhythm and the bass and so on…
Then I switch off the screen. Because I came to realize when I was in the studios, that the more I look while I mix, the more I know what is going to drop and what is going to happen. So I don’t listen as a person on the dance floor would.

The other thing I haven’t quite learned yet, but I’m trying to tell me myself all the time… is that if you’re doing edits or changes during the song structure that people need to notice in a club or in a rave situation.
It has to be very, very particular. I mean, keep it simple and obvious.

Another thing, don’t do social media. Do music.

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

2000F on Spotify