1. Favourite knob/fader/switch on a piece of gear and why?
If you’ve ever heard the metallic scream from Endorphin.es Furthrrrr Generator Mood index knob, it will not be difficult to recognize that I am a fan of it and even more during live performances. MOOD INDEX knob allows thru-zero job by modulator or FG modulating the carrier that plays the lead melody and unite both sounds in one. Especially I love using it with the additional Furthrrrrr wavefolder and that particular metallic sound is achieved with the Strong Zero VCO core. I do use Mood index knob gently during my studio recordings, but I do not shy to put it on maximum at peak hour on my live performances. People tend to love more crazy, dynamic, untamed and raw sounds at the concerts. This trick became my signature sound at some point.
2. Do you have an ‘almost’ perfect bit of kit? What would you change?
It was a long way of trials and errors to build my live system I have now (left on the picture below), which I feel like it is ‘almost’ perfect.
The only thing I would change is the size of some particular modules. The features they give for my set up are not that significant and I still love and need them but the size and weight make me want to get rid of some particular modules. I also try to avoid thru-hole built DIY modules and they add a lot in the final weight of the case. I think with modern DSP powers manufacturers have to rethink the formats of previous editions to make them more ergonomic and at the same time reduce the use and waste of components needed to produce new gear.
3. What setup do you bring on holiday/tour/commute etc.?
It might sound offbeat, but I would not bring any set up on holidays for a number of reasons.
First, if it is not a laptop, it will add a few more kilos to your luggage and will make you dependent on belongings. When I travel, I prefer to have a minimum of things with me to move around and discover new places. It is also related to my main job as I am dealing with modular gear on a daily basis, which I am happy about. In those rare vacations moments, I want to disconnect from the electronic world.
Another reason, I have a hard time focusing unless I am in my studio. Maybe it will change one day. But if I would have, lets say a month of vacation, then I would bring with me my 6kg live system… which I still plan to reduce to at least 0.5kg less weight. I could still make sketches, rehearse and advance the live program and train on better transitions and will still be able to give occasional live concerts.
4. What software do you wish was hardware and vice versa?
It is impossible for me to answer this question, as I never ever used any software for producing my music. I mean of course we all use DAWs for multitrack recording and with plugins for mixing/mastering, but every track of mine you have heard was recorded live in one take. I love real interaction with the instrument. I know many musicians want to have more modular gear available in VCV rack, as it brings more opportunities at less expense. The fact of interaction with real instrument and aesthetic pleasure is immense. Moreover, the musician can reproduce his/her work on stage with real raw sound, instead of playing your own track as a DJ.
5. Is there anything you regret selling… or regret buying?
Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.
6. What gear has inspired you to produce the most music?
Endorphin.es Shuttle system and Roland system 1M.
The Shuttle System was the first, it’s where I started my journey. As it has all the double blocks and lots of controls, I found out a way to make a two-voice patch. I’ve used one part for the bass and another for the lead. I added a drum kit from iPad’s Patterning and voilà – I had everything I needed to make a proper minimal composition. With this approach, I recorded my whole album Blck Noir. Later, Andreas, my boyfriend brought me a Roland System-1M and I did not like it at the beginning, as it was not easy for me to get used to new a interface. It always takes a long time to integrate new gear into my music. Once I took a risk and brought the System-1M to a performance and it worked out super well in a club. It is a dedicated bass voice, so it can do its job, while I can advance the Shuttle System patch. Since then these two pieces have become the skeleton for my music.
7. If you had to start over, what would you get first?
A better studio layout. A comfortable setting is what every artist has to have to be productive.
8. What’s the most annoying piece of gear you have, that you just can’t live without?
Magneto from Strymon. It is too big for my travel case, but it creates this perfect, moody rumble, that I just can’t get rid of.
9. What is the most surprising tip/trick/techniques that you’ve discovered about a bit of kit??
Eurorack is all about surprises, but you have to be a real gear junkie to find the easter eggs. Manufacturers usually hide many nice utility features in the modules and the more you work with it, the more you discover. We did a hidden noise generator in our Godspeed+ module and even described that feature on the first page of the manual, but still received many support emails, why sometimes there a noise coming out.
My new live performance patch involves many of my own pre-recorded sampled loops, layered along with drums, all synchronized by CV. It is probably a few per track, so around 15-20 samples per program to be triggered at the proper moment. I have decided to automatically change them according to CV retrieved from velocity of the note that triggers the sample start. That immediately brought the problem, as samples triggered immediately and only afterwards, did they change under CV. Some research and an update of Erica Sample Drum introduced trigger delay. Just a random 20ms delay immediately solved the issue. This was a big revelation for me to discover this. I could not even imagine it was possible and I spent a week researching and programming it to make it automatically played with the change of each pattern.