Droid Zen – Robot Meditations

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

LSDJ and friends

The election of the music gear depends on the emotion feels, desires to learn new music vocabularies or the song itself ask you the tools to create it, but the DMG-01 (any Game Boy model, with LSDJ and other music rooms) is one of my favorite music instruments, because is probably the best example that making music is a game and working with this tool is so fun. You know, you can made the DMG-01 a synth, sequencer, drum machine and MIDI controler; all in one, is fantastic.  When you compose music with DMG-01 the form to see the complete music enviromment and aproach the ideas conditions the results, and let you explore unique options, wich would be impossible to conceive with other kinds of music tools; mantra: “one thing is with a guitar and another with a violin”; new mantra, “one thing is with a traditional synth and another with DMG-01”. Another favorite tool to ordering sounds is the Speak & Spell, it´s very rock, and the tape machines are pure magnetism. 

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

Another nice odd question my friend. I think if that chaos or randoms sounds are incorporated in all music tools, we could see the extra layers of the marble to create a better scupture. Sometimes we can control and generate our own chaos and random ideas, it´s part of the creative drift, but if we had the option to turn on and off an alternative chaos to compose is that what would change everything.

Light and layers

Optimize the creative cables. We all need the chaos, it´s like an angry ocean, you know, removes sediments, and create opportunities to see new forms of musical life. Imagine a random 5th channel on LSDJ; or more crazy also, like an extra random rope in the guitar, piano, violin, etc., to change its pitch without our being able to prevent it; composing assuming that randomness would be a good exercise.

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

Game Boy DMG-01 of course (it takes up little space in the suitcase) and a Zoom H6N or H4N. Sometimes I carry my guitar, but a paper and pencil are always the best tools.

Zoom recorder. Boss Pedals and GameBoys running LSDJ

Now, let me ask you a similar question.

What setup would you like to carry on a vacation to Mars or Space Station?

And imagine that there is a weight limit per passenger… perhaps Carl Sagan could advise us better at that time.

[Editor: I’d bring a tank of oxygen, it’s great for making sounds and it’s my absolute favourite for breathing. 🙂 Throw us an answers in the comments below]

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

Reason´s Subtractor Synth please! But I´d be very happy with all Propellerhead Software hardware racks, and I would like to have a Circuit Bending software, but one in which you can add and also buy toys to short-circuit them, just imagine, go to the library and select a Speak and Spell as a base, and have the possibility of hacking it virtually, for example: add controls for pitch, loops, hold, glitch, CV ports, LFO’s, etc.,

Korg Volca FM. Earthquaker Devices Dispatch Master and saucer

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

Yes, a wrong Mabuchi engine. I bought 2 of those motors to hack the Tascam Porta 03 and due to an inattention I bought the same motor model. Also I bought a TI-82 calculator and it still fills its main functions: addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

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

Nice question my friend, and answer is: the Reason from Propellerhead Software, my guitar of course and the LSDJ. Most of my compositions start from any part of this trinity.  Sometimes I imagine a melody playing a synth from Reason and continue it on LSDJ and other times I start something on LSDJ and take it to Reason, and my guitar is always there to solve any musical puzzle that comes up and initiate other ideas.

Sound as rituals

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

Tesla and Space X Stock when those companies started too; to be able to by more synths and audio equipment, but I wouldn’t change the order of things with which I started making music: my guitar, and actually, I have the desire to buy a drum set since my childhood.

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

TI-83 Calculator! It’s so heavy to use them with the Houston Tracker, sometimes I hate it, don’t get me wrong, because when I can make it sound, the bass lines sound so powerful, and I find it crazy to be able to make music with a calculator and place notes with sine and osine, but maybe I do several things wrong because I cannot turn off the calculator once I use them and I have to do the entire Houston Tracker installation process and when I compose something I have to take photos of the screen as a backup and breathe very deeply if unexpectedly it crash, but that “little calculating bug” produces good sounds and I would live very sad if I did not have my TI-83, I would even miss my TI-82 to which I still cannot install the Houston Tracker; somebody help me with that!

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

Synth Rotek’s Atari Punk tunes very well, it is unstable, but with patience it can sound very powerful. Atari Punk in general are valuable wildcards to create and express emotions, when I connect any sound source in its CV ports, like a DMG-01, sounds really fat, on fire!.

If you connect the Atari Punk to an arpeggiator or fuzz pedal, you can rock out for a long time, and with long reverbs they can sound like trival songs. Another trick is to rock the DMG-01. Using an overtone pedal and a distortion, you can get really crazy sounds! Sometimes it’s great to do power chords: two channels sounding at the same time, the first channel does the tonic and the second channel the fifth, but, to this channel different values are applied with the D (delay) command to each note, then you can spice it up with individual wrappers per instrument, put values in with the K (stop) command and Vualá, it sounds so close to a guitar.

Through the porthole

Artist or Band name?

Droide Zen


I’m going to paraphrase a great musician: Kevin Johansen “Soy un Desgenerado” (without musical genre). 


Droid Zen

Where are you from?

Guyaquil – Ecuador

How did you get into music?

I honestly don’t remember an exact date, because I liked the music for as long as I can remember, music is part of my biology.

What still drives you to make music?


How do you most often start a new track?

Again, breathe and feel peace by my limbic system, And have the fortune to see an idea that excites me. Jorge Drexler in an interview said that making music is like a hunting ground, with different entrance doors, where you enter to hunt the same, but through different doors. The song that starts from the text, a sequence of chords, a melody, noise or random proceses is different. 

How do you know when a track is finished?

Perhaps intuition, you never know, maybe a track is never finished. Songs like that have only single chord have a life and their own and their own evolutionary path. The thermometer that I trust when I make music is the feeling, if the result transmits energy to me and when I add something the original emotion changes or that energy is lost, well, it’s time to stop and let the song breathe on its own, and listen to it after a long time and if it still retains the same feeling, it was always alive from the beginning.

Show us your current studio

Studio cat

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

A universal advice: live with the mistakes that we will make. 

Another good advice is one that Leda Valladares gave to Pedro Aznar: feel the ancient cosmic, sing with the guts, without worrying so much about aesthetics, your song must be credible. In spanish you say: cantar desde las entrañas.

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

[Editor: Check out the Droid Zen channel 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…

The Galaxy Electric – Synth & Tape Duo

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

Big fan of the Rogan Alpha knobs used on some of the vintage Buchla stuff, namely the original Music Easel. I actually bought some to use on a DIY Video synth I am working on. They look great on those modules as well.

Rogan Alpha knobs

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

Perfection is not something we typically strive for with our gear. We actually appreciate the imperfections. So, the most perfectly imperfect bit of kit that we own is our Tascam M-308 8 channel 4 Bus mixing desk. It’s from the mid 80’s I believe. It’s a bit dark as compared to say, a brand new set of high end A/D converters. But it has character, warmth, and a thickness that we haven’t been able to achieve with a DI or vanilla Audio Interface. We typically use it as a front end for our tape machines.

Tascam M-308 8 channel 4 Bus mixing desk

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

For any musical getaway we would bring a portable Buchla rig, our vocal FX chain (space echo pedals!), some tape loops and our Tascam 4-track. This gives us all the textures and effects we need to have fun and get spacey. It also works for a live improvised drone, which is something we do pretty regularly on our livestreams.

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

I have the software versions of the Buchla 296e and 259e for Modular. Sometimes I wish I had the hardware versions. It would be fun to patch them with the rest of my system. I also wish Softube would port more of the Buchla stuff over. It would be great if I could completely duplicate my rig in software.

Buchla 296e and 259e for Modular

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

The way I see it, gear is an endless journey you shouldn’t be afraid to go on. I take a lot of risks when it comes to buying and selling. Sometimes I sell something to try something else and then sell that to get the other thing back again! Then I realize I’ve just gone in a circle. I don’t really have any regrets that can’t be corrected. Most things turn up eventually. Patience is key. If you are in love, don’t let it get away!

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

By far, the tape machines we’ve collected, mostly TEAC and Tascam reel to reel and cassette 4 tracks and the Buchla style synthesizer. Also really love different flavors of spring reverb! I have an old point-to-point wired Shure Reverberation Mixer I am quite fond of.

Shure Reverberation Mixer

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

I would probably build or obtain well built Buchla clone modules. It’s hard to say whether I would choose a 258 or 259 dual oscillator. Really depends on the day and mood.

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

Tascam Porta 02mkII

Tape Machines can be a real hassle to keep up. I have belts fail, heads get worn, channels stop working or act inconsistently. They cause me a lot of anxiety, but at the moment the two that we use the most, TEAC A-3440 and Tascam Porta 02mkII are acting reliably. Knock on wood!

Teac A-3440

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

I’d say the one that is the most fresh on my mind is that you can turn a multi-channel function generator (if it is the kind that outputs a trigger when the function completes its cycle) into a basic sequencer by cascading the stage pulse outs to the next channel’s input and the last stage’s pulse back to the first. Your decay rates control the timing of each channel and the cv output of each stage. You could connect other modules to make it a bit more interesting, but it’s a fun way to generate a sort of drunken pulse pattern as the basis for a patch. I made a video featuring this sort of thing called Patch and Tell – E1- Buchla Clones 280 266 – Pseudo Sequence – Source of Uncertainty -1979 DAO.

Artist or Band name?

The Galaxy Electric


Cosmic Tape Music


The Galaxy Electric

Where are you from?

LA originally, now, the Midwest.

How did you get into music?

Both of us grew up feeling called to music and participated in school and church music programs. Eventually we decided a band was the only way to fulfill the artistic lifestyle we craved and stay true to our unique musical voices within.

What still drives you to make music?

Over the years we have honed our skills and have been able to narrow what we do down to something we call Cosmic Tape Music. Getting extremely specific about the type of music we make has made us even more passionate about our creative pursuits.

How do you most often start a new track?

It really depends on the type of piece but usually either a riff, a vocal, or a pre-recorded groove. Our latest album, however, is all improvisations that were made using synchronized loopers with the outcome going straight to tape.

How do you know when a track is finished?

The ideas stop flowing even after several listens, sessions. It’s kind of like a water soffit that is eventually dry. You have to trust that it is done when the ideas either slow to a stop or start to feel forced. Sometimes, we listen years later and hear more. That can be frustrating, but it’s rare. I think it comes with experience to learn to get good closure with a track.

Show us your current studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Be uniquely you, and do what only you can.

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

Our new album Pre-Orders run from Aug 12 – Sept 8:


And our main website and shop links:



[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…