Martin Pedersen – Scores Of Zealand

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

Space Echo RE-201 Mode Selector knob. Do you really need an explanation… Just look at it:)

Space Echo RE-201 Mode Selector knob

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

Maybe my Juno 106. Great for bass, synth stabs, arps, pads.  

Roland Juno 106 and Rhodes

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

Macbook Pro, 2 Samsung T2 SD’s (1 with samples and libraries. 1 with projects), Beyer Dynamics DT headphones, iRig midi keyboard with sustain.
A laptop. Ableton / Cubase. Headphones. Soft synths – Omnisphere, Zebra, Diva. NI Kontakt and some libraries.
If you’re into strings – Some of the Spitfire Audio sample libraries are pretty  good. Small midi-keyboard (with sustain). And oh, just a quick tip about that…
If you play piano sounds on a small crappy non-weighted midi-keyboard, remember to use the velocity midi effect (in Ableton) on the track for playing with smoother velocities. Without it, it maxes out the vel. CCs real quick. Or a least that’s what it sounds like to me. 

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

Actually none I think. Every piece of hard- or software I have, is in the studio for a reason. After working almost exclusively in the box with soft synths and samples and FX in Ableton and Logic, for almost 15 years, I began to buy more physical gear. Mostly synths with analog circuits and my Space Echo RE-201. But with every piece of gear (hardware or software) in mind to cover different requirements.
Not because of better sound quality, since a lot of the “soft stuff” sounds amazing. But because of the tactile and more experimental experience of turning knobs and pushing faders.
I fucking love to put on the lab coat and just dive in and forget everything around me and just see where it takes me. If I pull up a soft synth, I get often inspired to make something, but I almost never get surprised. If I work on my Arp Odyssey, Lyra-8 or run stuff through my Clouds from Mutable Instruments, I get stuff I would never have dreamed of. It’s all the dirt, irregularities and happy accidents that I find interesting. It’s kind of more relatable on a both a mental and physical level. Specially as colours opposite to the more “clean” and “regular” stuff.  

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

Eurorack and Arturia Beatstep

Can’t really justify how much I spend on my eurorack setup. It just doesn’t get used enough. Same goes for my Moog Sub37.
Sometimes I cheat and use a plug-in… Sorry. 

Moog Sub37 and Lyra

But every time I do use it, specially for more distinct bass, its amazing with the live recorded filter modulation. Then the sound comes alive. 

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

On the “soft” side – Omnisphere, some Kontakt synths, Spitfire string libraries. Hardware – My Juno 106, the Arp Odyssey.

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

A wealthy girlfriend, cause this GAS is a sure way to be broke forever 🙂 

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

My brain
Other than that… Can’t really think of one.

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

For those of you working to picture in Ableton. It’s actually possible to change the framerate. So the film and project are in sync.

Did my first feature film without knowing this and it fucked up the sync. After several YouTube deep dives, several years later (and after switching to Logic) I found a way. 

Crtl and (left mouse click) in the timeline with min/ sec. = Choose framerate 

Pro Tip: Ableton can change frame rate of timeline for sync to film

Artist or Band name?

Martin Pedersen

Genre?

Electronic or hybrid film music – Meaning a blend of electronic and acoustic instruments, and organic  elements. 

Selfie?

Martin Pedersen

Where are you from? 

Copenhagen. But grew up in the south of Zealand. Moved back just before attending the Rhythmic Conservatory in CPH.

How did you get into music? 

My parents doesn’t play music, but the radio was always on. I started playing saxophone at the age of 12 after watching a badass norwegian jazz quartet by chance on tv in my room. 

Started making electronic music at 14 – SONY Acid Music Studio was the bomb back in the 90s. For me at least.  

What still drives you to make music?

If I focus on my work in film. What drives me is, I just love storytelling SO much. Co-storytelling as a composer or just watching a film or a good show. Or just listening to a piece of music that can be a story on it’s own. It’s all about the emotional responds. To be totally immersed, letting everything else fade away around you. It all inspires my creative work and drives me to be a better storyteller. Film music or, the score, is a vital part of most film. I love amplifying the spirit of the film and storytelling with my music.
Music can reveal a films inner life in a way that can’t be fully articulated in any other way. It can have a telling effect on how the characters in the story come across – on how we perceive what they are feeling or thinking. The more engaging the drama – The truer the story becomes. Ok… I totally stole those lines from somebody. Can’t remember who… But I agree.

How do you most often start a new track?

Maybe a cool place to start is – How and when in the production phase I start composing the music for a new film or show.

Because it also relates to how I start a new track – Or “cue” – as it’s called in film. 

When – It always starts with initial talks with the director. What is the heart of the story. 

Are there musical references to draw from or is that up to me. And how do I translate that into what the DNA of the music will be. The earliest in the productions phase was composing after reading the script.   

Working on the score for the first season of the tv-show “HOOLIGAN” I worked from the script and from dailies (unedited footage shot that day). That gives me an idea of the mood and tempo in the scene. How the camera is worked, the lighting and how the actors express themselves and interact with eachother.

Working on the score for the feature film “What Will People Say” I started working from scenes and a fully edited, but not picture locked film (Not locked meaning – most of the scenes are pretty much lined up, but not cut to the final length or order.) 

How – I typically start with talks with the director about the story and the initial overall vibe. 

Maybe also guided by musical references / tracks / cues. Parts of my score for the feature film “What We Become” was initially used as temp music in “What Will People Say”, before I was contacted to do the score. Temp (temporary) music is what the editor / director uses under scenes to “colour” the scene and drive it along. Temp can also help the composer to make a cue for a specific scene, that have a similar mood / function. Some composers love it. Others fucking hate it. I really don’t mind it. The hardest for me has been composing a new cue, from my own cues from other films used as temp. Making the cue kind of like it, but still sounding original for that specific project.    

Hands on – I work in template in Logic. With everything set up with instrument groups, subgroups and fx groups.  

Logic and Controller

If it’s the first piece of music made for the film or show, I almost always open Logic. Look at the blank template. And go “Oh fuck, how do I do this? Maybe I should just find a job cutting grass or something more tangible. Normally that goes away quite fast. 

I like to think about instrumentation and make sound palettes used in the specific project, before a single note is “written”. 

During the process of working on the score, instruments and elements get cut out or added, defined by what the cues is made for if an instrument just doesn’t fit the overall vibe.

I do write themes. Sometimes from the beginning of the project. Just on a piano. 

But often I’ll start with giving characters or elements in the film, specific individual soundpalettes. Or maybe a single instrument per character as a point of departure. 

On a lot of scenes with underscoring, I start with a pad, evolving atmosphere or bass sound. “droney stuff” used as a bed for others elements. 

Sometimes you need tempo driven elements to start it off. Arps or percussive elements. Sometimes a theme. I can start out with a massive sound in one scene. An almost do nothing in another. It’s all up to what serves the storytelling. And the film overall.

So the answer is… It depends. But I usually start every new track / cue with two questions – “What purpose does the music have in this scene? What is the feeling of the music in this scene?” And musically go from there.

I’m pretty heavy on the synth and electronic side. I use Omnisphere, Arturia Analog Lab and NI Kontakt libraries a lot. 

So often I’ll set up interesting sounds within that. Some sounds from libraries. Other sounds are based on samples I’ve found, put into Omnisphere’s sampler and processed in different ways.. 

If a cue calls for something weirder like pitch-modulating or microtonal stuff, I usually start with using my analog synth’s – The Arp Odyssey or Lyra-8. If a scene calls for a more melancholic mood, I love using my Juno 106, for softer pads with a bit of modulating drift.      

Fun fact – I often get inspired by working together with the sound designer on a film. Maybe they use some auditive elements – buzzing light fixtures or aircon sounds I dig. I then use that sound or something like it processed, as musical elements. When I did the score for the feature film “What We Become”, Peter Albrechtsen – the sound designer on the film, inspired me a lot. 

I incorporated some of his sounds used as musical components. It glues the music and sound design well together.

I especially dig the primary sound in the musical palette of the SWAT team. That sound was initially made out of a metal chair being dragged over a concrete floor in an very large room. So sometimes my cues starts with a “real” sound that’s been processed.

How do you know when a track is finished?

When nothing weird sticks out, the scene moves along and you are engaged all the way. On a more overall view. A film is never finished. It premieres. Meaning you have until your deadline… Then it’s finished no matter what. 

Show us your current studio

Martin Pedersen’s Studio
Martin Pedersen’s Entrance
Martin Pedersen’s Studio Lounge

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard? 

Love what you do. And try out new stuff.  

A new approach to the material – Like working  with certain dogmas, new gear, a new instrument. Listen to genres you normally don’t do. Things that pushes you out of your typical musical comfort zone. The more I learn, the more I keep re-falling in love with music.    

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

One of the bigger recent things I’ve done is the tv-show “HOOLIGAN” season 1. 

On  https://www.dr.dk/drtv/saeson/hooligan_343889

These days I’m working on my second album titled “COCOON”. Release later this year. Spotify

[Editor: You can find more about Martin at his site www.composermartinpedersen.com]


[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]


Joel Negus – Synthing Classics

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

Cutoff on the Moog Sub25. Nothing like the ladder filter!

Moog Subsequent 25

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

The Vermona DRM-1 mkiii is amazing, but maaaan I wish the trigger inputs were on the front panel!

Vermona DRM-1 mkiii and Lyra-8

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

OP1 basically lives in my backpack if it’s not out in the studio. I’ll often develop ideas on it that end up staying on a track.

Teenage Engineering OP-1

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

Couldn’t come up with a direct answer to this question 😂 so decided to answer it by saying that the Arturia Polybrute beautifully blends software / hardware as a complete instrument.

A Strymon Zuma trying to hide an Arturia Polybrute

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

I used to own a Korg SV-1 until my dad passed his 1977 Rhodes down to me. I always enjoyed playing the sv-1 and realize I shouldn’t have sold it whenever I see one.

On the Rhodes again… I cain’t wait to get on the Rhodes again!

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

The Moog Subharmonicon!!! More ideas have started on that thing than any other instrument for me (except maybe the piano).

Moog Subharmonicon and friends

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

If I had known just how magical tape echo was, I probably would’ve wanted it sooner… but it probably wouldn’t have been first 😂

Echo Fix EF-X2

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

The helping hand for soldering!!!

A helping hand for soldering

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

I recently learned about the tails mode on the Earthquakes Avalanche Run – haven’t used it yet, but I couldn’t believe I didn’t know about that before I bought it!

An avalanche of eurorack! Run!!!

Artist or Band name?

Joel Negus

Genre?

Various, often in classical / jazz / electro-acoustic worlds

Selfie?

Joel Negus

Where are you from?

Born and raised in Chicago IL, but I’ve been in Cleveland OH for 15 years.

How did you get into music?

Both of my parents are professional musicians. Growing up, I was a boy soprano 🤵 and my dad had me sing on a number of commercials on the jingle scene. Eventually I fell hard into the punk rock scene, which turned to metal – I was a part of starting the band Born of Osiris. Changed directions in high school and focused on classical / jazz upright bass.

What still drives you to make music?

Creativity cannot be severed from relationships. The very act of making itself is collaborative – this connection to others is a constant source of inspiration.

How do you most often start a new track?

Playing an instrument and a spark hits. Recently though, trying to think more in silence before jumping in – starting more in my head. Always looking for different ways to compose!

Korg MS-20

How do you know when a track is finished?

I rarely “feel” that it’s finished, but I suppose it’s when I’m at the height of my excitement over it. I’ve found it best to wrap it up somewhat quickly when I’m really excited about how things are sounding.

Show us your current studio

A solemn of guitars
Bass-synth, bass-ukulele, contra-bass

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

We can’t just think about what we’re making, but the social context in which we’re making.

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

I just released a score I did for a modern dance company in town called Inlet Dance Theater. The piece was called Red Tape and was a total joy to collaborate on. Cheers!

https://joelnegus.bandcamp.com/album/red-tape-original-score


Liam Killen – Killer Beatz

1. Favourite knob/fader/switch on a piece of gear and why?
OPZ knobs are so smooth- they’re the easiest things to spin- easier than any other knob that i’ve seen. It’s quite genius actually! A +  to Teenage Engineering on that design (as per usual).

TE OPZ
Teenage Engineering OPZ

2. Do you have an ‘almost’ perfect bit of kit? What would you change?
Recently I’ve been discovering Arturia’s software synth bundle. Synths/keyboards include: DX7, Jupiter 8V, Fafisa, Prophet V and many more. KILLER and super affordable pack that I would recommend to anyone, I got it off Splice.com
I love me some synth hardware, but I just don’t have the space, budget, time and interest to deal with it and this is an amazing alternative.

3. What setup do you bring on holiday/tour/commute etc.?
I would bring my laptop, just because I can do most of what i’m capable of doing at home with just that- and of course my OP1 because of how portable and easy to use it is. It also makes for a great midi keyboard, instead of using the keys on my laptop. Sometimes I actually prefer a mini set up rather than all of the gear I have at home. 

IMG_1081.jpg
Teenage Engineering OP-1

4. What software do you wish was hardware and vice versa?
I’m beginning to wish that all hardware was software just because of how much easier/less expensive/more accessible it is in that format. That being said, there’s nothing quite like a modular synth, or an OP1 and I don’t think it would ever be possible to replicate it 100% using software (watch it happen this year). Honestly, I don’t have a solid answer to this question right now. I like everything as is, that being said, I feel like a combination of hardware + software is the way to go as a producer in 2020.

5. Is there anything you regret selling… or regret buying?
I recently bought an API lunch box- but then never needed to buy pre amps to go with it. I bought it to record drums, which i’m not really doing much of anymore, because I no longer have a studio to play at. So now it’s just sitting at my friend’s place…collecting dust.
I will say that buying gear is a skill- like all of the gear that I own now, I use, where as when I first started collecting gear, I bought things that I thought were cool, but I didn’t really need. I feel like it’s just something that you have to go through- so just make sure that you take care of your gear so you can resell it when you’re done.

6. What gear has inspired you to produce the most music?
Recently i’ve been using the SP404 a lot and have been composing tunes specifically for the sound and aesthetic of the instrument; so more in the lofi genre. That being said, i’ve been exploring what other genres work and the thing is quite diverse! I recently posted a live set on my Youtube channel, for anyone who’s interested, linked right here below.

Liam Killen killin’ it

7. If you had to start over, what would you get first?
I’m happy with where i’m at now, not sure I would change anything to be honest! I’m glad that I started on drums because it gives me that rhythmic intuition that most people don’t have. Sometimes I do wish that I had started my Youtube channel earlier so that i’d have more of a following, but it takes time and i’m really enjoying the process anyway. I genuinely do love creating videos for you guys and so i’m going to keep doing it!

8. What’s the most annoying piece of gear you have, that you just can’t live without?
I bought a Pocket Operator Modular 400 months ago. The gear itself is not annoying at all…What’s annoying is assembling the thing. I’m pretty sure that the screws that came with it were not the proper ones- so I had to find these tiny little watch screws to put the thing together. Assembling it was probably the most annoying thing that i’ve ever experienced. That being said though, now that it’s all built, it looks so pretty!

Teenage Engineering PO400 and a little Rick and Morty PO35

9. Most surprising tip/trick/technique that you’ve discovered about a bit of kit?
When I was taking drum lessons, my teacher taught me what I think is one of the most important things that i’ve learnt in music- and that’s the long/short note method. I wouldn’t be able to explain it thoroughly over text but it has to do with syncopation of long and short notes and how there’s actual rules to what makes something groove. Basically, Quarter notes are long and so they are accented and syncopated notes followed by a rest are also long- also accented. Everything else is a short note, and there for played as a ghost note. These rules basically revolutionized the way that I think about rhythms and music in general.
In the synth/gear/modular world, these rules are nowhere to be seen, but I try to make them work in my electronic music tracks, which I think helps give me a certain edge. Maybe i’ll get into this in a Youtube video one day now that I think of it… hmmmmmmm. 


Artist or Band name?
Liam Killen

Genre?
That’s a tough question- we’ll say Electronic Music for now. 

Selfie?

IMG_1074.jpg
Liam Killen

Where are you from?
Montreal, Canada

How did you get into music?
I always knew I wanted to do something in music but that “something” has changed a lot throughout my life. I started very young at the age of 9 on the drums- my parents bought me a kit because I was constantly banging rhythms on tables. When I was around 15, I became pretty much obsessed with jazz drumming- wasn’t much of a sporty kid so I figured i’d focus my energy on something that I was naturally good at. I ended up going University in jazz performance on drum set- which I graduated from in 2015. I knew I couldn’t make a living off of jazz performance so I branched out during my time in university- played in a million bands, started learning new instruments and eventually got into music production, which i’ve been making a living off of for the past 5-6 years. Just recently though, like in the past 6 months, i’ve really started focusing on creating video content and not just music, and finding my voice and personality over social media, mainly my Youtube channel. I’ve been having a lot of fun with it and it will remain my focus for the foreseeable future. 

What still drives you to make music?
I’ve always been a very motivated person when it comes to music- like i’m really not hard to inspire. Honestly, recently i’ve been listening to less spotify stuff and more to people over social media, like on instagram and youtube and learning from them, which gives me plenty of motivation. I also just feel “at home” when i’m creating- it’s been a solid outlet for me since as long as I can remember, which is why i’ve worked so hard to make it my living. 

How do you most often start a new track?
Recently, i’ve been starting tracks by either programming a solid drum beat that I vibe with, or with a really inspiring sample, whether it’s one of my own or someone else’s. I used to be against using other people’s samples, but if you think about it, the biggest producers in the world do it, so why would wouldn’t I? Why limit myself?
I’ve noticed that the whole sample thing is controversial for some people. So here’s another interesting way to think of it:
My roots are in a band setting. So for me, I was a piece of the puzzle as was everyone else in the band, I was basically a hired gun a lot of the time. So let’s say you use a drum sample in one of your tracks, something that you had no hand in ACTUALLY creating, isn’t that basically the same thing as a band leader hiring a drummer to play drums on his track? That’s sort of the way that I look at it now. And lastly, if it sounds good it’s good! Also it has to be legal, lol. 

How do you know when a track is finished?
I usually like to take a couple of days away from the track when I think that it’s finished. If when I go back to it i’m able to listen through without being “taken out of it” or distracted by an element of the track, that’s when i’m happy. I try to limit myself in that respect though, because it’s easy to go in circles, especially when it comes to the mix, in which case it becomes a waste of time. Just put it out!

Show us your current studio
It’s such a mess right now! My videos look pretty clean, but then when you see behind the scenes, you see how messy it really gets. 

IMG_1075.jpg
Liam’s studio desk
IMG_1076.jpg
E-piano and E-Bass
IMG_1079.jpg
E-Drums and E-Guitars and other guitars

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?
I’ve noticed that a lot of people have a hard time getting started- and 90-95% of being prolific is just sitting down at your computer/instrument, and starting. Once you come up with an idea or something that inspires you, you’re in the clear!

Promote your latest thing… Go ahead, throw us a link.
I’m constantly releasing stuff and the best way to keep track is through my social medias. I’m always posting new videos to my Youtube channel and I’m also releasing my first official EP to all listening platforms, so stay tuned for that, out April 7th, 2020. EP cover and Youtube channel linked down below. 

Liam Killen YouTube

CURIOUS final.PNG
LK Curious album cover

[Editor: Liam is obviously a Teenage Engineering fanboi, just like me. But do YOU think that collecting gear from one manufacturer is a good thing or a bad thing, for creating a personal musical style? Leave a comment below]