Denis Violet – Dawless Daytripper

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

Moog Mother32 knob

As a « DAWless » musician, I necessarily attach great importance to the ergonomics of the hardware, to the user interface. How am I going to use this ? Is it practical ? To these considerations is added a strong fascination for the aesthetics of analog synthesizers, which I find beautiful even when they are switched off. Sometimes I just watch them ! Regardless of the function to which they are attached, the large knobs of my Moogs, which alone embody manufacturing quality and respect for the user, are the elements of my set-up where my fingers naturally want to rest.

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

Moog Mother32 and Subharmonicon

Moog Mother32 is almost perfect. And on a weirdest side, Subharmonicon. My current set-up is a mixture of « serious » machines, like the Moogs or the Korg MS20, and synths that are a little more cheap, but have very endearing sounds, Volcas or Stylophones, and also weird and wonderful instruments like the GechoLoopsynth from Phonicbloom or Diddley Bow from Syro Instruments. I’m not necessarily looking to accumulate instruments, although every gear can add something to the sound, but ideally, a string machine, a good drum machine and instruments like the Arp2600 or the VCS3 would fill me with joy…

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

Uno Synth Pro

On vacation or when I’m walking in the woods, I always have synthesizers in my backpack. Most often, my Uno Synth Pro, which is an amazing analog synth, small and light, but very powerful, but also Volcas, my little Akaï sampler, and always GechoLoopsynth, which transforms the sounds of the world into enchantment. I must say that the portable aspect is a criterion of choice because I really like playing outdoors. In concert, it depends of course on the set-list, but in general the base is constituted by the Mininova, Mother32 and the MS20.


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

Well, only using hardware and being resistant to computers, I can’t answer this question… In fact, I tend to think that creativity is often spurred by the hardware limitations of instruments. The only limits I want to push back are those of my imagination.

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

I remember an old Boss 220E drum machine. The sound was horrible, but she was funny. Even if I don’t use my Electribe much anymore, and although it doesn’t suit my way of working, I hesitate to sell it.

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

Curiously, the main instrument used for the album « Zur Zeit der Wälder » is Korg’s Volca Keys. I still sometimes find it hard to believe… But in the end, even such a small synthesizer of this price can provide a lot of satisfaction ! Today I only use it for outdoor jamming, but I must admit that it was very important in my journey towards analog synthesis. Currently, when I compose, everything often starts from a loop played on the Moog Mother32.

Korg’s Volca Keys

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

I built my set-up gradually, both adapting it to my needs, but also letting myself be surprised by diverting the instruments from their favorite fields. I’m not unhappy with the way I went about it. If today I had no instrument, I think I would start with a good analog (my Mother32), some effects, and a machine like the Model :cycles from Elektron, which seems to have a very good sequencer.

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

Korg MS-20 patch points

I don’t get bored much with my instruments. I admit I spent a long time around the patch panel of the MS20, quite obscure when compared to the clarity of those of the semi-modular Moogs. By dint of persevering and trying, even making mistakes, I still ended up getting used to it ! What bothers me the most are often technical considerations that unfortunately we can’t do without, everything related to mixing, recording.
In the home studio, anything unrelated to instruments most often annoys me, I want it to go fast, even if it means sometimes sacrificing sound quality no doubt (perhaps -this my punk side…) That’s why I go straight to the point, even if a technician would make leaps !

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

One day, my Stylophone’s silk-thin stylus cable broke. It had to happen eventually. So I opened it up, and I only had a patch cable on hand to repair it, so I cut off one end to solder it in place of the old one. I started playing again with a jack cable instead of the stylus. And then, I looked at my Korg SQ1 sequencer, and I had the crazy idea of ​​connecting the « stylus » cable to the analog output of the sequencer and playing a sequence. Well it works ! The video of this discovery is somewhere on my Instagram…

Stylophone and Korg SQ1 sequencer

Artist or Band name?



My musical tastes are very eclectic (from classical music to ambient via post punk new wave and french chanson), the music I produce can possibly find its roots in krautrock and the beginnings of electronic music (Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Jean-Michel Jarre). I have a strong and sensual relationship with my analog synths. As soon as I have the opportunity, I defend the idea that electronic lutherie produces instruments that have a soul, that live.


Denis Violet

Where are you from?

I live in Limousin, a somewhat isolated rural region in the center of France. 50 years old, married and father of 4 children.

How did you get into music?

After studying piano and then bass in a music school, I created the group >fjord with Anne-Sophie Michaud at the end of the 90s. With our kind of french trip-hop, we did a few dates with great artists from the French scene such as Jean-Louis Murat, Dominique A, Yann Tiersen.

Ramirez plays tijuana 9-11-2016

Since 2007, I sing, play keyboards, bass and guitar with my friend, the guitarist Toto Deloménie (and for some time Cécile Venot and Yohan Mayet) in our Ramirez project. In 15 years, we have evolved from an acoustic guitar duo to pop/folk/electro songs. Our latest album, « Homme Lige », is entirely instrumental and is inspired by the collection of poems by Laurent Bourdelas, who asked me to accompany him for readings of his work.

In my work with disabled people, I occasionally lead a workshop of expression and creation with electronic music as a medium, in partnership with the Limoges Conservatoire de Musique, and I am very proud to have introduced, for example, the theremine and the Kaoss Pad in this temple of «serious » music.

Denis Ramirez performing

Another thing that is important for me. Limousin is a region where nature is everywhere. As I walk a lot in forests or in the fields near my house and I always have a few portable synths on me, I often make music which reflect on the threatened beauty of nature.
Even though my music does not necessarily have an intrinsic political message, I would like it testify at least to this fight of our time, to save what can still be saved.

What still drives you to make music ?

Music never ends. Even with a finite number of notes, even with a finite number of sounds, music has no end ! How many years can you spend hunched over the same machine, producing music every day that’s different from the day before ? I don’t think I will ever have the answer to this question.

How do you most often start a new track ?

When I work for Ramirez, I usually start from the text or a fragment of text. What I prefer then is that Toto takes care of composing the music and that I collect it to make the arrangements. In my more personal projects, I often start with a texture, a sound that inspires me, and/or a simple loop with Mother32 or the SQ1. I make it evolve, with some effects (I can’t imagine a track without delay/reverb). I can then spend a lot of time improvising a lead voice, with the MS20 or the Werkstatt, which is a perfect little Moog for that.
I then add as little as possible (see the track « Lige » in our latest album « Homme Lige ». There is only an eight-note loop played on the Werkstatt.) ….

How do you know when a track is finished?

[Cont’d from above]… And I know it’s over … when it’s time ! I willingly impose a time constraint on myself, if after a few hours I can’t get anywhere, I’ll start from scratch the next day…

Show us your current studio

Denis Ramirez’s studio desk

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard ?

Bernard Summer, from New Order, who said something like this : « There is nothing, and suddenly it’s there, as if a voice were dictating the song to you ». Basically, letting go, not putting up barriers of good taste, genre, or style. Take everything that comes, let it rest, and then sort it out.

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

Ramirez appears sporadically, on the other hand I have a frenetic musical activity on my Instagram account, on which I post a minute of old school electronic music daily. You can find it here : @denis_violet

Ramirez’s music, from « L’atelier », which traces the period 2007/2017, to « Homme Lige », produced in 2022, is on the main streaming platforms.
Spotify and YouTubeMusic

Ramirez Homme Lige

[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]

Chris Calvert – Enjoy Scenery

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

Rossum Panharmonium

If we’re talking sensorial tactility, then nothing beats the firm yet liquid luxury of turning any of the knobs on the Rossum Panharmonium (or any Rossum module, for that matter). I don’t think any other manufacturer uses them, but it seems like they really get how important the tactile nature of Eurorack is. 

As for the actual function, the Panharmoium’s ‘Voices’ knob can take you from a close approximation of the input source to an ethereal choir just by reducing the number of oscillators. Less impressive on synth sounds, but plug my Dictaphone in there with some fingerpicked guitar and you’ve got an ambient track right there. almost feels like cheating.


A close second would be any of the knobs on the T-Rackonizer. From “is this thing on?!” to “woah!!!” in about two degrees of turn. Even though I’ve read the fucking manual, I still don’t know what I’m doing, but it sounds amazing. 

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

Sounds weird, but maybe my SQ-1. I’ve had a few sequencers, but none have allowed me to play around so intuitively, and none have resulted in more surprising sounds than that little black, metal brick. I say ‘sounds’ rather than melodies because I often use one channel for pitching the Loquelic Iteritas and one for Rings, run the two channels polyrhythmically and then you get these moments where the two pitches clash to create the grinding, clanging tones. HOWEVER, the fact that Korg uses a different sync standard to everyone else means I always have to mess around with clock dividers and I’d definitely make the battery life better and the battery access less like an ode to Russian military hardware.

[Editor: Ha! Yeah that battery access drove me batty as well]

Korg SQ-1

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

Before COVID, I was traveling from Copenhagen to Stockholm by train every week to see my girlfriend, and so when Intellijel’s Palette Case came out, I felt the planets aligning. Five hours in a comfy seat with mains power and beautiful Swedish countryside flying past your window – is there a better place to get lost in making sound? The nest of patch cables always garnered interesting looks from fellow passengers, though! My plan is to revive the palette this summer with a battery and record some stuff out in the wilderness. 

Intellijel’s Palette Case with buddies

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

This is a tough one, but apart from things like wishing that Spitfire’s Cinematic Piano was a real piano in my actual apartment, I’d have to say some of the Inspired by Nature Max for Live devices like Bouncy Notes. I know there are similar things in hardware, but the graphical visualization feels very accessible and intuitive. I think it’s nice to ‘see’ how generative things work so it doesn’t just feel like a black box with pleasing random shit coming out of it. Conversely, I’d love if there was good Marbles-like plugin for my DAW. VCV Rack has a lot of ports of other MI modules, but not Marbles. I’ve lost count of the number of times Marbles has formed the foundation of a track. 

[Editor: I’ve been informed that Marbles has been added to VCVrack. Thx TimCox … It’s just called Random Sampler]

Mutable Instruments Marbles

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

What I love about Eurorack is that there’s such a great second-hand market, so regrettable purchases can be recycled in no time. Recently, I’ve been regretting selling my Chronoblob 2. I got rid of it when I went over to a hybrid Euroack/DAW setup and figured plugins would handle all my delay needs, but I underestimated the creative, compositional power of a delay. I used to put a fairly mundane beat or melody into the Chronoblob, turn that delay time knob, and suddenly you were transported into a ping-ponging, syncopated kaleidoscope.

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

I know it’s a boring answer, but it has to be the modular. For me it’s the ultimate creative instrument because it’s never just one thing – it evolves. Not just through buying new modules but also the ones you think you know really well. There’s always some way you’ve never thought of using something. I also love that it’s ideally suited to randomness and experimentation. I always feel like I’m guiding this thing rather than playing it – or sometimes it’s even guiding me. You feel like you’re discovering rather than composing. 

Eurorack modular… so many knobs!

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

My journey from first synth (Korg Minlogue) to first Eurorack module was about six months, so I’d probably just cut straight to the modular. However, if I could ‘start again’ but keep everything I already have, then I’d love to try the ‘guitar and bunch of interesting pedals’ route. I’m actually on the lookout for a guitar or lap steel to put through the modular, so I guess it’s kinda happening. 

Studio stuff

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

Clocks. Since I went partly back ‘in the box’, the most frustrating time I’ve had is syncing things up. I’ve got all my midi set up through the Poly 2, but I always end up with some Morphagene loop I’ve mangled, or some distorted thing that seems to have no beginning or end that I want to put some sample strings on in Logic, but then I can spend hours trying to get it to behave. 

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

I’m not sure if it’s surprising, but maybe using Rings as a resonator to process audio rather than a voice on its own. The problem is that plucking Rings makes such a seductive sound, it’s easy to forget what Emilie Gillet’s original intention was. I like to put a really nasty VCO through it, like the Loquelic or Manis Iteritas, and then play the pitch of that and Rings like I mentioned before. You discover sounds that you couldn’t conceive of without just playing around.  

Rings and Manis Iteritas

Artist or Band name?



Ambient? Soundtracks from imagined movies? Elevator music for extremely tall buildings? 


Chris Calvert

Where are you from?

Born in England, lived in Copenhagen for 14 years, and currently in Stockholm.

How did you get into music?

Played all sorts of instruments for five minutes at school, then discovered the bass and played that in school bands. Then guitar in a few bands in London. Then nothing but bedroom strumming for years until I figured something was missing and bought that Korg Minilogue. 

What still drives you to make music?

Music so immediate and powerful. Everything else in life feels so tangled and overthought – nothing’s just what it is anymore. Music isn’t like that. You hear it and you feel something. And the great thing about making it is that you get to experience it as you’re creating it and you can use the feelings it elicits to fuel the music. I have a terrible attention span for everything else, but with music I can go deep and long without needing to come up for air. 

How do you most often start a new track?

I like to start with something random, often just to have some kind of melody to drive a VCO for the purposes of sound design. Then I just try to follow that – maybe it’s nothing but maybe it’s something, and even if it is, it’s never the thing I thought it would be. 

I often just record track after track of some kind of texture or melody in Logic, trying not to be too precious. Then I’ll go back another day and listen again and if something feels good, I’ll try and add something to it that steers it in a particular direction. I remember reading once about how jade sculptors would just look at a solid block of jade and decide what they would carve based on the swirls and patterns they saw inside it. I try and think like that. The music is already in there, I just need to be open to it and carve away. 

How do you know when a track is finished?

At the end of any work session, I bounce down a mix and upload it to SoundCloud. Then I live with it for a bit on walks and make mental notes about the bits that I feel are off or that I stumble over, and then I go back and change them. I know it’s done when nothing breaks the ‘spell’ of the track when I listen. 

Show us your current studio

Chris Calverts Studio
Chris Calverts Studio with plants and daylight

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Something my girlfriend said when she was getting into her ceramic work. She was talking about how she often fell into the trap of getting obsessed with the end product: what was it for? Was it good enough? Was is it finished? She would snap herself out of it by focusing on how much she enjoyed just having her fingers in the clay. So, whenever I get obsessed with results, I just remember that sometimes I just need to get my fingers in the clay.  

DIY resonator. Fingers right down there in the clay.

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

Just released my second album:

Confabulations by Scenery