1. Favourite knob or fader or switch on a piece of gear and why?
The Hydrasynth main encoder knob. It’s huge.
Second place goes to anything that turns up the volume.
2. Do you have an ‘almost’ perfect bit of kit? What would you change?
I wish the Synthstrom Deluge had an OLED screen and I wish the Mashine+ could make actual synth patches from scratch.
3. What setup do you bring on holiday or tour or commute etc.?
OP-1 or Deluge or iPad for granular apps like Borderlands.
4. What software do you wish was hardware and vice versa?
I used to think a bunch about this, but after getting the Hydrasynth I don’t really care about software in hardware. If I could get Pigments as hardware that would be dope. I would love more wacky probabilistic and self-patchable software stuff.
5. Is there anything you regret selling… or regret buying?
Zero regrets in selling. Selling is freedom.
Buying, I dunno. Everything I’ve bought I’ve bought because it had a reason to exist in my setup at that time. When I sell it, it’s because it’s redundant or I’ve outgrown it.
6. What gear has inspired you to produce the most music?
Up until this year, the Teenage Engineering OP-1. This year it’s been eurorack.
7. If you had to start over, what would you get first?
I still think a good DAW with a decent sample library, one good synth VST, and a hunger to learn is the best thing you could possibly start with. So I would do that.
8. What’s the most annoying piece of gear you have, that you just can’t live without?
Anything involving my computers, haha. I know that’s a cop-out answer, but like, man. They can do everything, but fuck up harder than anything else.
9. Most surprising tip or trick or technique that you’ve discovered about a bit of kit?
I think audio-rate modulation, in general, is something that never occurred to me until recently. Everytime I see DivKid do something with it I’m like “oh right, I can do that”. It’s wild.
Artist or Band name?
Jeremy Blake for music, Red Means Recording for YouTube
Electronica, Downtempo, Alternative Electronic
Where are you from?
How did you get into music?
I started playing the flute in Elementary School. Was lucky enough to be exposed to orchestral playing and jazz ensemble. Flunked out of music performance school because I was spending too much time sneaking into the studio to use the equipment and I didn’t wanna play the flute anymore. Was playing with trackers and anything I could get my hands on. Went to audio engineering school, kept experimenting. Eventually fell into YouTube music production videos. Most recently I’ve fallen hard for modular and I’m having a blast.
What still drives you to make music?
All the little pieces of things I know can be rearranged to augment some new idea. Everything can be recontextualized and spun into a new idea. There’s no end to the inspiration.
How do you most often start a new track?
Lately, a lot. Modular has been a really refreshing platform for experimentation. I’m writing at least one new thing a week.
How do you know when a track is finished?
With modular and hardware it’s easy: when the performance is done and I’ve mixed and mastered it. With DAW-based stuff, it’s when I’ve gone through all my iteration passes, like idea, arrangement, mixing, re-arrangement, ear candy, and mastering. I go by a rule of three approach: if I can listen to a track 3 times and not mess with it, it’s done. If something bothers me 3 times, I change it.
[Editor: That answer is one of the most systematic and quantified approach to that question. That I’ve read. Excellent!]
Show us your current studio
Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?
Limitation breeds innovation, tied with “put a donk on it”.
Promote your latest thing… Go ahead, throw us a link.
I make music performance and education videos here: https://www.youtube.com/redmeansrecording
You can find my music on all platforms here: https://rmr.media/findme
[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…]