1. Favourite knob/fader/switch on a piece of gear and why?
What immediately comes to mind is the cutoff knob on the Moog Sub 37. Not very original, but I love the responsiveness of it, I use the 37 on almost every recording, and I am always modulating it by hand while recording. It’s truly just a very satisfying turn and the warmth that comes from it gets me every time.
2. Do you have an ‘almost’ perfect bit of kit? What would you change?
The Roland MC-101 is a terribly fun device to work with. I have been only using that thing for the past month to produce Instagram videos while my home studio was in a transitional phase. I love how this device functions, the size and portability is great however, not being able to jump projects while performing is pretty disappointing. I’ve only played a handful of “shows” in my day, mostly when I was younger, but I solely performed on the Korg Electribe EMX-1. It was my first production station, so anything that comes close to EMX-1’s workflow is going to feel ‘almost perfect’. The MC-101 feels like a more updated, compact version of the EMX. Now that I am typing this out, I feel as though the EMX is the proper response to this question. Both have their quirks and work kind of similarly in my opinion. I do think it would be funny to play a show with only the MC-101 only on AA batteries and have the ability to switch projects seamlessly.
3. What setup do you bring on holiday/tour/commute etc.?
My last large trip, I took the Digitone, Digitakt, and the Volca Drum. This was a pretty enjoyable setup however the sounds on the Volca are lacking a bit on the low end. Maybe the next trip that will be supplemented with the Roland TR-8S, which also isn’t my favorite device sound wise, but I do love the workflow of it.
4. What software do you wish was hardware and vice versa?
I wish there was a plugin version of my Korg KP3. I run my mixer’s master through the KP3 and usually process sounds individually on the fly when recording. Most of the time I use it for the glitchy stutters and reverbs just to add a little variation to recordings. Sometimes when I am mixing tracks away from the studio I do wish I could add a bit more. I realize there are other far superior processing VSTs that can handle this, but I prefer the crudeness of the KP3 and the touchpad surface is very entertaining. There’s no software that I would want to be hardware, because I don’t really use VSTs. Generally, I don’t like being in the DAW so there are no VSTs that could even capture my attention long enough to invest enough time in.
5. Is there anything you regret selling… or regret buying?
The only thing I regret buying is the Arturia Rackbrute 6U. I wanted to get into modular gear so I purchased one and filled it with some gear until I could diversify it a bit more however, I had some power cycling issues with the Make Noise Morphagene. I was informed by the company and other people on Instagram that this is a common issue. I really wasn’t willing to constantly be flipping the power switch on and off simply to get one module to work. I also realized that I made more use out of the Moog DFAM and Mother32, so I decided to purchase the Subharmonicon and just replace the Rackbrute with the 3 tier Moog Semi-modular rack.
6. What gear has inspired you to produce the most music?
Percussion has always piqued my interest so I would have to say the Roland TR8-S has inspired me the most over the past year or so. There’s nothing super spectacular about it, it just has a really easy workflow and I love punching random rhythms into it, hitting play, and then constructing synth voices around that. That’s pretty much how most of the tracks are made. I did however recently acquire a DSI Tempest, so I am hoping to get more familiarized with that device and devote a bit more energy to that piece when mapping out songs.
7. If you had to start over, what would you get first?
I would immediately get a nice drum machine such as the Tempest along with a solid Moog as well. At the beginning I tried to supplement those higher fidelity options with cheaper pieces and ended up purchasing more as a result of that to find the sounds I was searching for. If possible, I believe the move is to save up for a few higher end pieces, instead of cheaper devices with weak builds and lacking synth engines. I also didn’t expect to get this into synthesizers though, so when I began making short videos on gear I was only looking for unrefined devices to just make quick songs on. But if one day I need to get rid of all of this, I would probably just keep the Tempest and the Matriarch… or something along those lines.
8. What’s the most annoying piece of gear you have, that you just can’t live without?
Everything that has annoyed me I have gotten rid of almost immediately, especially all of the devices I have received broken (which has been a lot). The setup needs to be easily accessible so that tracks can be created in a matter of minutes if necessary. The only somewhat ‘annoying’ thing is the sequencer on the Sub37. I really dislike that sequencer. Luckily, that was remedied when Novation sent me the Launchpad Pro to try out. If you have a Sub37, I highly recommend pairing it with the Launchpad Pro.
9. Most surprising tip/trick/technique that you’ve discovered about a bit of kit?
The retrigger function on the Digitakt definitely changed the way I approach sampling a bit. Anything that randomizes patches or samples in an effortless manner will always catch my attention. The best part of electronic music is letting the machines take control of the song.
Upon looking back at these questions I have noticed that a lot of big pieces I wrote about have been replaced or are in the process of being replaced. These pieces include the MC101, Matriarch, Digitakt, Tempest, and the Launchpad. There’s a lot more that has been moved out of here, but those were unmentioned previously.
A few things that have entered the studio that I have been enjoying as of late are the Tascam Model 24, Polyend Tracker, Polyend/Dreadbox Medusa, Roland MC 707, Novation Afx Station and Peak. I have been trying to size down quite a bit as a result of tentative future plans. The goal is to have a somewhat sizable and versatile studio that may load into a few separate road cases, if mapped out correctly. Another goal I have set for myself has been becoming more efficient in the producing and recording department hence the acquisition of the Model 24 and replacing the Tempest with an MC 707 and TR8S. Even though the Tempest is hard to part with, I noticed it immensely slowing down my production speed, which I really can’t afford at the moment. The Tempest is such a powerful device, but it was consuming a lot of my studio time and limiting me from moving around the studio more than I would like. Generating tracks on a fairly quick basis is something that I really value. Maybe one day a Tempest or Rytm will cycle their way into the studio, but as for right now I need to focus on not becoming so attached to devices and the fluidity of a home studio.
Artist or Band name?
Where are you from?
How did you get into music?
My family had encouraged me to take guitar lessons when I was 8 years old. I pursued that until my guitar teacher got arthritis when I was 16. At that point I decided to move on to electronic music by purchasing a Microkorg and the EMX-1 mainly because Rou from Enter Shikari had those.
What still drives you to make music?
I’m not sure, I am just drawn to producing sound by any means. It’s not a conscious effort, I like picking things up and seeing what they can produce. It’s more fun with synthesizers and drum machines though, especially through monitors with a subwoofer. I don’t see myself as a musician or producer, I am more of a hobbyist. I am fortunate enough to have collected some nice gear and I see them more along the lines of having nice furniture. It is something to have in the room for you to enjoy on a daily basis. These devices just happen to produce noises that are very pleasing to me.
How do you most often start a new track?
Any random sequence I pull up on a drum machine.
How do you know when a track is finished?
I don’t know what constitutes as finished. I don’t put out much music anyways, most of it is either deleted or just stored in random external hard drives. If on the off chance I decide to put something out I try to finish it as soon as possible and deem it finished when I am tired of listening to it.
Show us your current studio
Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?
I don’t think I have ever received creative advice because I have never really actively seeked it nor have I seriously pursued music. There is that cliche saying that you hear musicians reference in interviews about ‘doing it for yourself’ and whatnot. I think that is the right approach. Music does not have to be for monetary or social value. It can be practical like riding a bike or working out, something you do on a daily basis that you enjoy or something to keep your mind focused. I produce my favorite sounds around 3am when I am about to shut everything down after making 5-7 songs prior to that. So I guess not caring about what is produced or what happens to it and ‘doing it for yourself’ is the move for me.
Promote your latest thing… Go ahead, throw us a link.
I have a pretty strict schedule of posting daily beatmaking/performance videos on Instagram and weekly videos on YouTube (different content from Instagram). All of my releases are also on all streaming platforms. I will provide all links below.
[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…]