Kristin Hsiao – Show & Tell

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

The switch on my telecaster. Although it only has a 3-position blade, that’s enough for me to do a lot of expressions.


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

I’d say the ZOIA is the most versatile pedal I’ve ever seen. It has a steep learning curve at the beginning though. But I found it opened up so many possibilities for me to design sound effects every time I learned a new trick. I never thought I’d be able to create my own patches so freely.
I wish it had an auto-save function. Because I touch the wrong buttons or knobs by accident once in a while. And the not-yet-saved patch I’ve almost done, just goes blank right away… (oh no!)

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

On holiday I used to bring my acoustic guitar. But I realized that I generally like to immerse myself in nature and rarely play the guitar when I turn on holiday mode. So I don’t do it anymore. Because that’s not fair to my guitar.

Faith FSHG Hi-Gloss Saturn

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

In terms of songwriting, I love using DAWless setup more than software. But when it comes to the production phase, iZotope Ozone 9 is the must-use software every time I do mastering. It rebalances all the sounds that I’ve recorded and gives me the whole picture of my music. So, it would be great if iZotope Ozone 9, became an actual device.

On the other side, I love the control panel on the Strymon Volante, it’s pretty straightforward. But I’m also curious if it turned from hardware into software, how crazy would it be with automation?

Strymon Volante

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

Well, I won’t say it’s a regret. It’s more like a nostalgic feeling. Back in the day, I had participated in lots of live shows mostly with this guitar. It used to be with me for quite a long time.
The reason I sold it is that I wanted to find a characteristic sound that is closer to my personality traits.

Ibanez J custom RG8470

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

I’ll go with Logic Pro X for this question. As there are many stock plug-ins and loops that allow me to play around, it inspires me to generate ideas from them. In addition, I’m able to efficiently organize my thoughts in Logic Pro first. Then practically implement these ideas on my gear. So that I won’t spend extra time cleaning up the mess.

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

I would still choose an acoustic guitar if I had to start over. It’s the handiest instrument to me no matter if I’m writing a song or just having fun with friends.

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

That’s a tough one. Every device has its own traits. As for the annoying parts of devices, I’d tend to consider it as an opportunity of forcing myself to come up with new ideas rather than annoyance.

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

(Not sure if this is surprising.) One day, I was jamming with only the MicroFreak and the ZOIA. Here’s the thing. Although the MicroFreak allows me to play polyphonically, I can’t really play E1 and G5 on the keyboard simultaneously. So I tried to figure this out and then came up with a solution. The tips are written in my Jamming Diary. This can be seen on my YouTube channel – Jamming Diary #44.

Artist or Band name?



Hmmm… Experimental? Psychedelic? Ambient? A bit of chill?


Kristin Hsiao

Where are you from?


How did you get into music?

My sister taught me some guitar chords when I was a junior high student.

What still drives you to make music?

Music is my outlet for expressing inner feelings. So I’ll keep making music as long as I’m not dead inside.

How do you most often start a new track?

Just grab my guitar and randomly play some stuff. Once I find an interesting riff, I’ll record it into a looper or Logic Pro X as a pattern and loop it. Then create my own beat/loops on top of that. Or drag different loops into the project to hear if they’re suitable for the original pattern. Repeat these actions, again and again, until I’m cool with the result.

How do you know when a track is finished?

Honestly, every “finished” track is a regret whenever I listen to the playback. The only way to not fall into this trap is to keep moving on.

Show us your current studio

Desktop with lots of fun FX and synths

It’s not a luxurious space, but I have everything I need. All of my releases were made in this small bedroom studio. The sparrow may be small but it has all the vital organs.
I’m quite satisfied with it.
I also have a small room for instruments and pigs!

Sofa with lots of fun instruments and pigs!

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” — Leonardo Da Vinci

Not just in music, I hope I’m able to keep everything as simple as possible in life.

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