Toto Ronzulli – Trumantic

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

Moog Cutoff filter

I really like the filter “cutoff” knob on my Minimoog Voyager. I love it because it’s so big and easy to use. It’s a pleasure to play with it anytime when you’re looking for the right filtering for your sound.

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

Ah… I think that easily changes over time. Hard to answer, but if I think of a “perfect effects kit” I say the trio Particle, Microcosm and Space. I’m using this combo heavily for my next record. I’m putting everything in it, from guitars to vocals and so on.

Red Panda Particle, Hologram Electronics Microcosm and Eventide Space

Many times I’ll throw in my Boss RE-20 Space Echo as well. Definitely changing over time is natural, so I would never want to have a “definitive kit”, especially when you start working on something new, changing something is a good way to be more creative.

Roland RE-20 Space Echo

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

During vacations I try not to think too much about music, but I always have with me my laptop with many vst, a small two octave midi keyboard by Korg and my Beyerdynamic heaadphones.

MacBook, midi keyboard and Beyerdynamic headphones

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

UAD Plugins

I have an Apollo rack unit from Universal Audio as my audio interface and it’s fantastic the quality of the included plug-ins, they sound so good and the sound is so hardware-like, I couldn’t ask for more in a way. Until a few days ago my dream was to get a Tascam Portastudio 414 MKII and it’s amazing that a soft-synths company called Robotic Bean has reproduced one and at such a low price, it sounds really great and I can’t wait to try it out. 

4 Track Cassette Tape

I love the endless possibilities of virtual instruments and their fidelity compared to hardware, but I would still love to get a Revox B 77 MKll to record anything onto tape and to add some wow/flutter turbulence and saturation to my songs. I love that recorder and will be buying one soon!

Revox B 77 MKll

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

I try to have “the essentials” in the studio, having a lot of equipment would be really nice, but it would confuse me during production and take up too much space. That’s why I choose my gear carefully, but I probably regret buying the Digital Multi Echo RE-1000 by BOSS. It’s a fun and uncontrollable unit because it doesn’t have the “rate” knob, but I use it so rarely and that’s why I think I can do without it. 

Boss Digital Multi Echo RE-1000

I regret selling my Roland Gaia, I didn’t love its “cold sound” but through a few pedals you could make it awesome. I miss its front panel because it was very intuitive, I had the ability to play out wacky sounds in minutes.

Roland Gaia

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

The equipment that has inspired me to write new music are many, but if I had to pick one I would probably say my Minimoog Voyager. 

Minimoog Voyager

Currently though, I’m using the Prophet Rev2 Desktop really heavily for everything, especially on my upcoming album. I love that sound and its polyphony so much.

Prophet Rev2 Desktop

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

UAD Apollo Soundcard

Probably an Apollo interface. It has infinitely improved my mixes, production and recording. I realized that many times it’s just not enough to have great synths or a ’65 guitar, if you don’t have a good audio interface with high definition sound in recording and post-production.

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

Furman M-10x E

The “Furman M-10x E” because it is bulky and has so many cables on the back of the desk! It’s also not fun, it only has an “on/off” switch (it has 2! haha) on the front panel. The reason I can’t do without it is pretty obvious. It saves the life of all my equipment all the time and I feel safer having it. I will be getting another one soon. I’ve always had bad experiences with the unstable electricity in my town, I remember the day after I bought the Voyager, oscillator number 3 had stopped working. It was frustrating to send back and still wait for a replacement. I have since decided to get a stabilizer and “Furman” does the job just fine.

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

Lately I’ve been testing a mixing technique that doesn’t require an acoustically treated room.

Just apply a VU meter to your daw’s master bus, play the kick around – 3 and gradually raise the bass until everything gets to 0, then mix everything else in. It may sound wrong but it sounds really good if you have good EQ on the low end. I also always test my mixes on a very small JBL to get a concrete reference of how the track sounds elsewhere. 

Tiny JBL speaker

I’ll add that I love to dirty some parts of my songs with lots of layers of backing tracks that go into different equipment and pedal combinations to create that “dreamy” atmosphere underneath a melody for example.

Dreamy fx pedals

Artist or Band name?

Truemantic

Genre?

Alternative / Indie / Electronica

Selfie?

Toto Ronzulli aka. Truemantic

Where are you from?

Margherita di Savoia, Puglia, Italy.

How did you get into music?

I was born in a club! At the end of the 80’s my father opened one and later in the 90’s it became very influential in southern Italy. Artists like “Afrika Bambaataa” were performing. I was born in ’94 and all this pushed me towards this direction. I remember when I was 4 years old my parents bought a toy drum set and I broke it by banging on the drums! Ahahah.
In the mid-nineties the club closed and reopened in 2006. All my teenage years were spent at the console with resident DJs and international guest artists like “Tony Humphries”. That’s why I started as a DJ and later as a musician, studying theory, solfeggio and practicing piano for years.

What still drives you to make music?

I realize that every time I sit in my room I feel so fascinated by the creative process. In a way I can’t describe the feeling I get, it may simply be an emotional state that drives me to create something new. Some days it’s frustrating to spend hours in the studio, other times it’s all I want. It’s like something you have inside that needs to be released!

How do you most often start a new track?

I hum and record with my smartphone a melody I have in my mind. Next, I sit in the studio and try to develop the theme. I think a film or book can influence my stylistic choices, but I also think the production is more of a “try and try again” in my studio.

How do you know when a track is finished?

When I add final texture elements and not additional “tool track”.

Show us your current studio

Truemantic studio

It’s not a real studio really, but something like a room.

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Create your own sound! It doesn’t matter how… Just do it!

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

https://truemantic.bandcamp.com/album/truemantic

https://margueriterecords.bandcamp.com/track/truemantic-destruction

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbws5Iz5TcKjS3iN7O_tMiw

My last two releases were 4 years ago and a lot has changed since then, from production to my setup! My first album ‘Truemantic’ came out in 2018 and my single ‘Destruction’ came out a year later. I’m currently working on my new album, concretely for about a year. There are so many amazing collaborations on it! I can’t wait to share it and play it live. I hope to stop by Copenhagen too!


Matthew S – Matteo Scapin

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

I love the Cutoff knob on my prophet Rev 2. Thanks to it, I can modulate the sound in a thousand ways.
Aesthetically the monopole is not beautiful, but I have a lot of fun to use it!

Sequential Prophet Rev 2

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

Roland MC707

My kit is satisfactory, but I like to change musical instrumentation often. I would love to try as many musical instruments as possible! Collaborating with different brands I have the good fortune to try many different instruments, which I have used a lot, for many of my musical projects.

Arturial MicroFreak

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

My travel kit consists of Keystep pro + Ableton + Zoom H6.
When I’m on tour or on vacation I avoid carrying too many tools! I like to be as comfortable as possible!

Arturia Keystep Pro

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

I always wanted a version of Max by Cycling ’74 in a hardware format, that would be pretty cool. I wouldn’t know what to turn into software, I prefer hardware!

Abletob Push 2 and studio desk

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

Hmmm, I have no regrets.
Maybe, thinking about it, I’m missing my Deepind12 by Behringer a little bit. I used it very little, maybe I underestimated the sound of this synthesizer, it had very interesting sounds for my productions!

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

In this period I used a lot the prophet rev2. In every one of my productions there is the sound of this synthesizer. I love the sound depth of it. I love it!
This synthesizer together with my pedals creates sound textures that no VST can create! I use VSTs a lot, but the analog heat is unmatched!

Earthquaker Avalanche Run and fx pedals buddies

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

Maybe I would have liked to have started with Analog Rytm by Elektron.
A lot of my producer friends recommended this drum machine.

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

Surely the ZOIA by empress, I love to use this instrument, I often use this pedal/ Synth for my productions. Unfortunately it is very difficult to create presets for my projects!… But I love it.

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

I use the prophet rev2 with the particle by red panda and the FABRIKAT by Pladask elektrisk to create the audio textures for my projects. This is a great kit to create infinite audio landscapes! Every time I use these tools pre satisfied with the final result!


Artist or Band name?

Matthew S

Genre?

Electronica/Ambient

Selfie?

Matthew S

Where are you from?

Italy

How did you get into music?

I started learning to play guitar in my city’s school when I was 13 years old. from there was born my passion for music. Fortunately now is my job!

What still drives you to make music?

I always have a strong need inside to continue to create and communicate through music, my best communication channel is music! I think it’s my addiction now!

How do you most often start a new track?

Usually to start a song I create improvisations with my synthesizer and sampling sounds with Ableton

Matthew S at the MC707

How do you know when a track is finished?

To create a song I take a long time, when I believe that there are no other changes or additions to do I consider it over and ready for the mix and master!

Show us your current studio

Matthew S Studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

“Set a goal and don’t give up until you reach it. The professionals do not give up in front of the first obstacle and already think 3 moves in advance. While your teammates are still discussing the reasons for the band’s dissolution, you must already be progressing on your next project: tempus fugit!”

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

My Spotify:

https://open.spotify.com/artist/57ZTe0YAuhG04dtH42nM1Y?si=c98CgImcRWSyC3XgIBJ7oA

or my website:

https://matthewess.com/


[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…
]


Pablo Ortega – Mellow Cello

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

The volume knob on my monitor controller. It is huge and I am constantly using it when mixing. 

Monitor controller

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

Yellow Cello very Mellow

I think my cello. But like all string instruments, there are days when it sounds better and others when it sounds worse, it is a bit moody depending on the weather. I would want it to always sound the best! But that is just the nature of the instrument.

Prophet Rev2

I also find the Prophet rev2 pretty pretty good. It would really be a dream if it would include a proper analog high pass filter and a better sounding reverb (I find its reverb sadly almost unusable).

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

I usually try not to take any piece of gear when I go on holidays because otherwise it is harder for me to really ‘disconnect’ if I know that I can make music at any time. When going on tour I always have most of my instruments with me anyway, but in most cases my laptop with Ableton Live would be enough to keep creating. When I am away I mostly do sound design or drum loops, witch I can use when back on the studio. 

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

Macbook running Phonec VSTi

I have recently discovered a very special soft synth called Phonec 2. It has lots of character and some very interesting integrated effects, like a random pitch modulator like Shallow Water. On top of that you can randomize all its parameters, which sometimes leads to unexpected patches. It think it sounds more organic than many hardware synths I have played – the problem is that I don’t love to use soft synths, I much prefer to be able to turn every knob with my fingers.
A hardware unit that I would definitely love to see in software is the Moog MuRF.

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

Precisely, I kinda regret selling my Moog MIDI MuRF. It seemed to me like a lot of money for a single effect at the time, and because of that it was difficult to justify keeping it. But it has a very special and lovely sound. Now that they are not being produced anymore they have gotten even more expensive. As of regrets I honestly don’t have many, if buy some gear with which I don’t connect after a while, I sell it rather fast.

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

Probably my piano or the Prophet 08 (and later the rev2).

Schimmel Upright Piano

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

A laptop with Ableton Live. Then, a polyphonic synth and a piano. Also a simple but high quality soundcard interface and a pair of Beyerdynamic 770 or 880. I would have more than enough with that for a long while.

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

I kind of love all pieces of gear I currently have. I have a bit of a minimalistic mentality, so everything I don’t love or use regularly I end up selling. That allows me to get to know more gear, expand my music making approaches and then integrate the instruments and workflows that really suit me.

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

I like to make my synth sounds subtly imperfect, so I love to map a slow random LFO with low amplitude to parameters like filter cutoff, amp envelope, oscillator tuning, amp decay, noise… there is no limits there. I do this all the time with the Prophet rev2.
Another one little trick I discovered a short while ago on Ableton/Mac is to create a custom key combination for freezing and flattening the tracks. That is saving me a ton of time and it allows me to not have to interrupt my workflow that much.


Artist or Band name?

Pablo Ortega

Genre?

Electrónica/Ambient/Classical

Selfie?

Pablo Ortega

Where are you from?

I was born in Spain, but I have been living in Germany for the last 10 years.

How did you get into music?

I started learning to play cello in my city’s conservatory when I was 11 years old, and piano a couple of years later.

What still drives you to make music?

I have a strong need inside to keep creating, it is something I cannot ignore for a long period of time . Maybe it is a bit like an addiction (a good one I hope?). 

How do you most often start a new track?

I usually improvise on the piano till I come across an interesting idea, which then I record and try to develop into a longer sketch. 

How do you know when a track is finished? 

I often come to a point where I feel that if I keep adding or changing things, the track is gonna get worse. I think that is when. Then, if I find it to be good enough, I wait a couple of days/weeks and then I mix it. If the track isn’t that good I just accept the fact that maybe it isn’t meant to be and move forward. I try not to seek perfection with every piece I produce because that way it is easy to get lost into a rabbit hole.

Show us your current studio

Pablo’s studio
A cellist’s pedal board

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Don’t try to make your music perfect every time, just keep creating -this is also kind of my inner mantra when trying to keep myself creative.

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

My last (and also first) EP ‘Still Waters Run Deep’ which I released two months ago:

https://sptfy.com/stillwatersrundeep

Also my youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/PabloOrtegaMusic


[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…
]