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.


Prior Use – Andreas Bak-Reimer

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

Gettin’ it on with the Roland SH-1

The power switch on the Roland SH-1. It’s an old synth, and the button has a distinct mechanical quality to it. The way it feels, the way it sounds, and the way the power LED lights up immediately – it just feels like getting it on! The SH-1 does that really swell PWM (pulse width modulation) that I enjoy immensely, and simple as it is, it invokes an atmosphere of a simpler time, with a lot of nostalgia to it.

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

My Roland Juno-106 is close to perfect for it’s purpose. Countless 80’s and 80’s emulating tracks have been born using it, and it’s built in a way that grants plenty of sweetspots, and not so many dead ends. Some people prefer non-DCOs, and have plenty to say about the 106 being a budget synth, but mine’s fresh back from service, and it makes me happy.

Roland 106

I sometimes wish it had another oscillator with an easy option for detuning, to get a wider sound from it, but there is a lot to be said about limitations to foster creativity.

… Also, I am not particularly fond of the way the resonance sounds when it’s cranked way up. It’s glassy instead of being juicy – and rarely that’s a good thing. On the other hand, I don’t have any other things that sounds like that, so it’s probably best to leave that unchanged.

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

Roland TB-03

Laptop, almost certainly. I am no where near anything dawless, and don’t have anything that I could arrange anything with, besides a computer. If I weren’t writing, but merely playing around, I would bring my Roland TB-03, or Yamaha Reface CS – built-in speakers and battery operated, they are 1. 2. go!

Yamaha Reface

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

Absynth, Brain, Modular.

Software -> Hardware: I think Native Instruments Absynth. I have had that since forever, and still use it heavily. Also, I would like to see the physical shape/color/layout of such a thing!


Hardware -> Software: My brain. Although it feels soft at times, I consider it hardware. It certainly interfaces like 40+ years old hardware (poorly that is), it is sometimes difficult to control when hot or cold, and it’s almost never in tune. Also – patch memory is severely limited. If I could instantly recall patches, production tricks, channel-settings and export/bounce the tunes and sounds directly, like with a lot of software, then… Well, it might take out the fun at times.


To be serious: My modular setup would be nice as software – mainly for patch recall.

Eurorack modular

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

I never sold anything ever, so that doesn’t apply. And therefore I never regret selling anything either!

I once bought a portable recorder, thinking I could get a lot of good sample material that way. I only did once, but it never made it into a track I finished. I have fond memories of getting up early to catch a few big trucks on big roads going by, though… So, no regrets I guess…

Tascam Recorder

I bought an Ensoniq SQ-R module, because it features Transwave synthesis. Never used that, but it had a nice belltree sound that I used once or twice. It’s probably the thing I’ve bought that comes the most close to being a regret.

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

My trusty iPod classic 80 GB. That’s a lot of late 90’s goatrance… Listening to that is what inspired me most over the years. It had a growing line of dead pixels over the course of a year, and when the line was fully dead, the pixels started working again from the beginning of the line! A year after, the whole display was good again. That is probably my strangest experience with any electronic gadget ever.

iPod classic

If I should channel this to some sort of an inspirational tale, it would something like how the small and weak Hobbits defeated the mighty Sauron – it might appear to be failing, and an unlikely source of victory, but give it some time, and it will surprise you.

That is also why I have never sold anything. You never know.

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

A decent room for working in. Go all crazy thinking about getting the ‘right’ monitors, nice preamps, the perfect cables (ugh!)… But if your room is horrible, none of that matters. I have sunk a fair bit of time into acoustic treatment, and it has made a world of difference.


Also: time. So that’s it. Time and space – that’s all I want. At first…. Then a Mac.

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


Mac laptop

Again, my computer. Ill timed software updates, one too few CPU cycles in stacked projects, failing disks… The woes are many, but I wouldn’t have written a bar of music without it.

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

Roland JV-2080

About 20 years after I got my Roland JV-2080, I realized it was capable of faux PWM. If I set a regular sawtooth wave on one osc, and an inverted sawtooth on the other, and modulate pitch slowly and independently, then it happens. I wish I had known that 20 years earlier, but that would probably mean I wouldn’t have bought my SH-1 (with the fab power button) – so it’s all good!

Artist or Band name?

I have mainly been producing under the moniker “Amygdala”. Goa and psychedelic trance in the old (old!) sense of the word.

Lately, I have been making some drops in the already over saturated ocean of synthwave music. I enjoy that very much, and as a child of the 80s, it takes me back to a simpler time – worries forgotten. The moniker for this activity is “Prior Use”.


Many kinds of trance music: Goa, psychedelic, melodic, uplifiting, minimal, tech-, progressive.
Besides that, a bit of synthwave, and the odd “psy-bient” piece.


Andreas Brain

Where are you from?

I am from Denmark – just a tad north of Copenhagen, but most of my music has been produced in Århus. You can really tell what a big difference those 170 km makes!

How did you get into music?

My parents and brother. Music was omnipresent at home when I grew up. My parents encouraged me to take up playing violin when I was 6, and I have had some great experiences with that. When music production became reasonably available to the regular consumer with computer interest, I was hooooked! At first, it was just another thing I could do with the computer, but rather quickly it was pretty much all I ever did with it.

What still drives you to make music?

The two biggest drivers are probably the “flows” and “highs”.

Flow when I can be completely engrossed in production, enjoying the situation, and getting something done which I like and feel as an accomplishment. Time flying as I ignore my body’s attempts to drag me to the loo, trough or bed.

Highs when I hit something that (in the moment) is spectacular – a catchy tune, a sweet timbre, or a really dope fill or transition. It can still make me laugh after all these years, and the surge of energy and motivation I get from that is unparalleled.

How do you most often start a new track?

Sometimes I start with a very simple idea like a tune, a chord progression or a synthesizer patch concept. Then Drums. Then bass. That’s the most usual case, although sometimes I skip directly to the drums. Lately, I have been thinking that it’s not the best way to go, as I am finishing fewer and fewer tracks. I often end up with a pretty decent groove, but lacking the centerpiece idea that makes the track stand out. I polish the rhythmic section and transitions, until there is not space left in the spectrum (frequency and/or mental) for anything else.

So, from now on, I am trying to start off a new track with an idea, and then build drums and bass around that. We’ll see how that goes.

How do you know when a track is finished?

When a track has all the arrangement elements (intro, good stuff, breakdown, great stuff, climax, outro – or some other configuration), I bounce it and listen away from the studio. I make a lot of notes I want to change, enhance, remove, whatever. When that list feels complete, I do those changes. Hopefully I am happy with the result, because at that point I am usually fed up with the piece. I am not one for endlessly tweaking everything, and I have a tendency to detail focus early – which means I “decide” that this bit is perfect, and then unconsciously prohibit myself from editing it (too much 🙈).

I know there is some degree of contradiction in the above, but I’ll just hide behind “you can’t argue art”.

Show us your current studio

Andreas Studio
Andreas synths

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

I bought a CD from Eat Static sideproject Dendron (Merv Pepler). I think he burned the disc himself and mailed it. Included in the package was a makeshift invoice with the words “always experiment” on it. I think that’s pretty good advice. It’s hard, because as time grows scarce I tend to stick to the beaten path, but even though it feels like it’s safer and more productive that way, I get less enjoyment from it.

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

As mentioned above, I dabble in synthwave. Swing by and tell you friends.

[Editor: if you want to check out Andreas psy-trance stuff it’s here:]