In this interview, I chat with Soma Laboratory founder Vlad Kreimer, asking him 9 odd questions for music gear makers.
1.Favourite knob or fader or switch on a piece of gear and why?
The Multimode Filter knob with its flashing lights and the red LFO Filter knob on the modified KNAS Ekdahl Moisturizer Spring reverb makes me smile when I feed it noises which can often become thunderous, scary sounds, and this unit is an instrument in its own right with a preamp, a multimode filter and an LFO. Sorry, that was two knobs! Oh, and don’t get me started on the switches on this thing 😉
2.Do you have an ‘almost’ perfect bit of kit? What would you change?
I have a thing for hardware delay pedals, and I love the Erica Synths Zen Delay; it’s almost perfect; it would have been nice to have software control or an app to have deeper controls/options like the new software version, which has bit depth and sample rate controls.
3.What setup do you bring on holiday or tour or commute etc.?
I have taken the 1010 Music Nanoboxes, Lemondrop and Razzmatazz, as they are mighty and creative little machines. Usually, I take one FX pedal, such as the Chase Bliss Habit, and it all gets recorded into the Tascam Portacapture X-8.
4. What software do you wish was hardware and vice versa?
I got my wish recently when Erica Synths made a software version of the Zen Delay, so that’s pretty cool!
5. Is there anything you regret selling… or regret buying?
I haven’t regretted selling any hardware to date. Once I decide it’s going, it’s because it isn’t making sense in my current setup. My worst purchase was the Roland TR-8.
6. What gear has inspired you to produce the most music?
The Pulsar-23 is a drum synth on steroids with 23 independent modules, I use it to synthesise drums and rhythms, bass and melodic lines, effects and sound landscapes, and it’s a crazy source of control voltage and a decent analogue FX processor all in one unit.
7. If you had to start over, what would you get first?
Any Soma Laboratory gear. The Rumble of Ancient Times is a clever little deep and gnarly synth with a Chaos button to randomise and shake things up.
8. What’s the most annoying piece of gear you have, that you just can’t live without?
Not so much annoying, but my trusty old Erica Synths Fusion Mixer I use for spicing up drums or synths. It’s only irritating because it’s in euro rack format and is one of only two modules that survived my euro rack cull. So I had to buy a wee case for them.
9. Most surprising tip or trick or technique that you’ve discovered about a bit of kit?
Not input mixing (no external input) This is routing the output back to one of your inputs on your mixing desk and using gain and EQ to create different tones/noises/synth-like sounds internally, call it a feedback loop. You can spice up your feedback loop by adding FX into the signal chain, and then you have infinite sonic possibilities.
Artist or Band name?
YUNOME, aka Pete Samplers and 12modes.
Dancing across experimental electronica, house, techno and breakbeat
Where are you from?
I am from the Wirral, a little Peninsula in the North West of the United Kingdom close to Liverpool.
How did you get into music?
One chance gig at my local youth club when I was 13, and I was hooked on Electronic music. I was lucky to grow up close to Liverpool and Manchester, which had great music scenes back in the 90s. I spent most of my teenage years in record shops and clubs there.
What still drives you to make music?
My deep curiosity for how music makes people feel and my need to make sound with whatever I can get my hands on. My wife says I am a much better human when I make music.
How do you most often start a new track?
It can be many ways, but it usually starts with me seeing or reading something that inspires me, then that gets interpreted as a synth line, or I program some drums and riff off of that.
How do you know when a track is finished?
When I am not fussing around it anymore, once it gets to the stage where adding anything else will ruin the vibe and simplicity of the arrangement, it is time to park it.
It is always best to return to it later with a bit of distance; then, you can see with rested ears and a fresh perspective.
Show us your current studio
Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?
Press record! Said my friend and fellow producer, Euan Murchie.
I often jam for hours and sometimes cannot re-create some of the things that happened during some sessions when I wanted to translate some stuff into arrangements, so having the record button armed is an obvious solution.
Promote your latest thing… Go ahead, throw us a link.
There are two 12modes tracks on my Bandcamp right now.
A YUNOME album which will drop in the autumn.
[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]