Ekkoflok – Flok… fl*k.. f¤*k.. ^¤*\

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

NP-Elektroakustik faders

I generally have a thing for long faders on old analog gear, my favorites being a large Neumann stereo fader and the faders on old NP-Elektroakustik gear (used by Danish Broadcasting)… It’s just so satisfying to move (and even just to look at) them.

Neumann stereo faders

However I must admit that these faders do not really get much use at the moment because I have to “solder them up” – I guess this is the curse of DIY’ing stuff… It’s easy to end up with the soldering iron as your main instrument and a pile of unused electronic junk… But it can also lead you to explore new and surprising sounds and techniques.

NP-Elektroakustik analog mixer

For a more “fun” choice I’d choose the “gear lever” found on a lot of old Scandinavian reel to reel tape recorders. These old machines are largely mechanic and so the transport mechanism is all handled mechanically. I find it oddly satisfying to operate these levers controlling the mechanics

Scandinavian reel to reel tape recorders

For a purely synth-oriented (or functional) viewpoint I’d probably choose the rate knob on the Serge Smooth and Stepped Function Generator (SSG) (when used as a sample and hold) – it is possible to go in and out of perodic and (seemingly) nonperiodic patterns just by fine tuning the knob. This is a way of generating “melodic content” that I have used a lot.

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

Ekkoflok’s homebuilt modular

That has to be my homebuilt modular….. which is ever changing… I started building it from scratch back in 2012. At first I planned on building 40(!) modules… That was before I realized the amount of work needed, I guess.
I also found that my plans/ needs for the instrument changed all the time is I learned more about synthesis and developed my own techniques.

Today I do most of my performances on a part of my modular system. I have found that it actually helps me to not bring to much modular gear, as I find you can do a lot with just a handful of modules. Sometimes I’ve brought to much gear for a live set and felt like I only scratched the surface of the sonic possibilities. When I bring a smaller setup I force myself to think creatively and push the modular to the limit.

Close up of Ekkoflok’s homebuilt modular

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

I recently bought my first synth (that is – the first one I didn’t build myself) – a Korg Volca FM. It’s so small that can easily fit in even a small bag pack.
I’ve often brought a minimal modular setup, a portable recorder and sometimes just my laptop. Last summer I wanted to get ”away from work” so I only brought my Sound Devices recorder, microphones and headphones. That way I didn’t end up working as if I were still at home (and at the same time it made me long to get home to all the patch cables).

Ekkoflok sampling the sea

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

Cecilia5 – a great tool for sound exploration. I would love to have that in a dedicated box or maybe as an app.

VCV-rack aka. the Gateway drug

With the rise of VCV-rack I think it kind of fulfilled a lot of desire for virtual versions of my modular. Still would love to see a software version of the Neutron Sound Orgone Accumulator along with more esoteric synths like Serge and Buchla. However I still think the physicality is one of my hardware modular’s main strengths. I feel that a few modules can take me a long way.

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

I have a couple of boxes filled with half- (or less) populated PCBs (printed circuit boards). Thinking of all those half finished projects makes me a bit sad.
I sold two (broken) 4-track recorders during corona…. Still sometimes asking myself whether I should have tried harder to fix them, since they were sold very quickly. However I still have two functioning ones… How many 4-tracks do one need??

Tascam 424 mkii

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

That must be my homebuilt modular synth. Since 2012 when I devoted myself to that project it has been the pivotal point of my career. It has taught me so much about music and sound. However I rarely approach it with a ”now I’m gonna make a track”, it’s more of an explorative process that often leads me to discover new sounds or form the basis of a new track idea.
My album Lydlandskaber (2017) was made entirely with one-takes and the modular as the center piece, whereas my new album Mosaik is made out of many layers of modular sounds, field recordings, prepared instruments and vocal work.
Actually it took me a long time to figure out how to use the thousands of recordings on my hard drive.
In more recent year I have begun to work more and more with tape, which I also find very inspiring. It feels like it gives me a lot without me doing anything, it sort of has it’s own life. In the digital domain I often find myself wanting to colour things up a bit or a lack of character.

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

Well, when I started making music in the 00’s I was using plugins exclusively the first years – it made me dream (and drool) of a synthesizer wall… And back then hardware synthesizers (and especially modular gear) wasn’t very accessible. Since I grew up in a family of artists there wasn’t a lot of money, but lot’s of creativity so it seemed obvious to me that I should build my own synthesizer.

Today there are a LOT of options when it comes to analog synths… So maybe I’d just buy something. However I think it is important to take your time and dedicate yourself to your instrument which might be harder to do if you are constantly hunting for the ”next big thing”. I think a good place to start would be something like a Minibrute, which has all the essentials and then build (or buy) a rack of things to expand on the functionality. And then a 4-track and some tape-loops. I think it is important to try what it feels like to make music without a computer, personally it resulted in me creating an entirely different style of music and it helped me realize how I wanted to use the computer creatively.

PD in dark mode

For example I like working with Pure Data which is kind of modular-modular synthesizer in the sense that it is easy to create your own modules in contrast to VCV-rack which is rather an emulation of a hardware modular. Since I’ve spent so much time with modulars it feels very natural to think in terms of modules and patch cables. I also use Ardour for tracking and mixing but I prefer creating music without being tied to a daw and then use the DAW later in the process for refining and over dubbing.

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

Sound Devices MixPre 6

Probably used to be my Zoom H4n which has been upgraded to a Sound Devices MixPre6 – although I love many aspects of it, there are a few annoying things – for example it is so power hungry that I have to use a usb power bank which makes it a bit clumsy.

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

The Serge Dual Universal Slope Generator can double as a clock divider. The Serge DUSG is probably my all time favorite module, it can do so many things, sort of a chameleon module that you can (patch-) program to do (almost) anything. The Make Noise Maths is inspired by this module and is quite similar.

Serge Dual Universal Slope Generator

But back to the question – what I like to do is to have a master clock sending pulses to both sections of the DUSG (used as envelope) using the outputs to control a vca or vcf and then modulating the decay time of the to DUSGs. This can result in some very complex and ever changing rhythms because the envelope doesn’t start over until the cycle is completed. Another favorite of mine is to use the outputs of the DUSG to “ping” resonant filters. That way you can make a percussive sound without needing a dedicated oscillator and vca.

Artist or Band name?



Experimental/ ambient/ drone/ avant-garde


Valdemar Kristensen- aka. EkkoFlok

Where are you from?

I’m born in Næstved but my father lived in Vesterbro, Copenhagen so I guess I have experienced both the boring suburban life and the (at that time) rough atmosphere of Vesterbro with junkies and sex workers on every corner.

How did you get into music?

I think I was around 12 years old when I opened Cubase (sx3) the first time. I was playing drums at the time (and a bit of guitar). I think I heard about Cubase in some TV-show (Boogielisten???) and then I “borrowed” a copy of it. I clearly remember how overwhelmed I was by the complexity of the software, but at the same time fascinated by all the possibilities. At the time I was playing in a band (and very enthusiastic about it) and I thought the other band members were not dedicated enough. So it was a joyful moment, when I found out I could be my own one-man-band with the help of a computer and a DAW. While my friends where playing World of Warcraft I was jamming out in my basement room.

What still drives you to make music?

The music is free space where I can disappear into another dimension and completely forget about place and time.

How do you most often start a new track?

I probably spend the most time on “sound exploration” – looking for something new or exciting (to me). I then try to record (on my Mixpre or tape) as soon as possible.
I have a huge library of sounds from these sessions that I try to combine to form compositions.

How do you know when a track is finished?

It has to feel finished. When I had a more DAW-based workflow it was quite hard to tell when to stop; there is always something to change. Since I changed to working more with one-takes it is much easier I think, and the process feels more immediate

Show us your current studio

I often find myself creating music on the floor. I think it can be very inspiring to build up a new “mini-studio” with a limited amount of tools/ instruments.

Floor based studio
Ekkoflok’s Home Studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Probably “do it yourself”… I think this was a recurring theme in my childhood – that I could learn how to do things myself, be it playing the drums, drawing or building a synthesizer.

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

I released a new album Mosaik at the end of 2022. I describe it as “A sonic mosaic in sustained time”. Avalable as 12” vinyl or download at ekkoflok.bandcamp.com as well as on various streaming platforms.

[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]

Stefan Tretau – St Modular

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

Lots of Freq Knobs

First of all, I love every cutoff control. It is just such a powerful and enjoyable part of subtractive synthesis, that it will always be my first and preferred choice when looking for a knob to turn.

Elektron Octatrack

Second, the Elektron Octatrack fader is definitely one of the most powerful controls for a wide range of parameters, be it effects or sample processing. The possibilities are endless and its so easy to use.

Contour – Shuttle Express

Last, but not least, I bought a multimedia editor controller called “Contour – Shuttle Express” that allows me to create shortcuts for certain functions in the Eagle CAD program, which I use to design circuit boards. This has drastically improved my efficiency and speed when designing PCBs.

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

S-CAT Double-Trouble Dual Filtered Distortion

I recently bought the S-CAT Double-Trouble Dual Filtered Distortion and I would immediately call it a perfect device. It has two channels, one optimized for synths and one for drums, and sounds delicious. I started to used it with the Roland TR8-S and the Behringer TD-3-MO and immediately went into an acid-frenzy. Here’s a video snippet where I also used it with the little Roland T-8 Aira compact groovebox.

Fun thing! :-

Blokas Midihub

Also worth mentioning is the Blokas Midihub, an interface and standalone MIDI processor that is as flexible as a midi interface can get. With the included editor, you can configure every midi setting imaginable. The only improvement would be a larger version with at least 8 channels.
Finally, the “GIVE2“ Oscillator I designed is still my favorite and I use it in almost every single patch. The only thing I would change in a future version would be to add faders instead of knobs and VCAs for each waveform at the mix output.

GIVE2 oscillator

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

A couple of years ago I put together a small Eurorack case that would somehow eliminate my GAS for the Buchla Music Easel (I named it “Euro Easel” ;-} ). It’s a small case with quite some limitations, but it has just the right modules to create very interesting sounds…. and it worked, I haven’t bought the Easel yet 🙂 It’s my travel case that I choose to take on vacation. You can find some videos about it here.

Takin’ it Easel

If I can’t take the travel case with me, I like to use an iPad or the three Aira Compact Grooveboxes, which are definitely fun.

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

There are many multi fx vsts available, but there are just few ways to add multi fx with a hardware device that is not a pedal. I currently use the Octatrack to add effects to the main output. But I would like to have a device that looks like one of the Pioneer FX series units and has a functionality like Sugar Bytes Turnado VST, Fabfilter Effects VST or the Ozone Mastering Tools – and nothing less 😉

VCV Rack

If VCV Rack didn’t already exist, I would want to see some sort of modular software to test and review modules. Fortunately, VCV Rack is already the perfect solution for that. It has helped me to come up with new module designs that combine various module functions into one unit. In VCV Rack I tested their practical application in advance before writing schematics and making prototypes.

I can’t think of any other hardware that I would like to see as a software solution.

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

I wish I still had my Korg Electribe R and the Clavia Nord Micro Modular. They were way ahead of their time and I really enjoyed using them.

These were some of the last sounds I made with the Micro Modular, and it breaks my heart not to have it on my desk today.
There are some modules I bought that I didn’t keep for long. But the list would be too long to mention them here.

As for my designs, there are a few modules I have published that I regret creating.
Mostly because my design skills have improved and I wouldn’t design them the way they used to be published. But I won’t tell you which ones they are 🙂

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

The ST Modular Beast

Definitely my modular. Especially the last album „Ostinato Modulare“, released in 2020, is strongly inspired by modular synthesis. But also other releases have their origin in melodies and sequences I created on my modular system.

A little close on the ST Modular Beast

Also worth mentioning is the “Mopho“ from Dave Smith Instruments, which I used very often in the past. It’s such a great sounding and powerful little instrument when used with a software editor.

Little Mopho hiding there

I also often used the Korg Gadget iOS app to sketch out ideas that eventually found their way into a final track.

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

Any Groovebox (Syntakt, Roland TR8-S, or Roland MC707 or similar)

Elektron Syntakt

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

My soldering iron! I used to love soldering and enjoyed that deep yoga-like relaxation of soldering in repetition and deep concentration. But the solder fumes and flux residue, the time it takes me to solder prototypes and troubleshoot, and the fact that my body doesn’t like sitting in one position for long periods of time are increasingly annoying me.

Soldering iron

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


I would like to mention the moment when I found out how easy it is to order ready soldered PCBs. I used to solder all SMD components myself and at some point decided to use PCB assembly for prototyping. This dramatically increased the speed at which I could work on my PCB designs. That was both a surprise and a relief.

Closer to the PCB

Apart from that, almost every single unit has some “hidden” features that surprise me – like the ducking functionality with the FX tracks on the Syntakt, the control-all functionality on most Elektron units, or the way you arrange effects in scenes on the Octatrack.

Also, a modular system is an endless source of “happy little accidents,” as Bob Ross would say. There are so many different techniques to use CV. Every time I patch, I’m surprised how musical challenges can be solved with modular control voltages. I remember being overwhelmed by the possibilities offered by a single function generator. Depending on the patching technique you can use it as an oscillator, a filter, a distortion and an envelope with sustain stage.

Not what you think of when you see a module like this, is it?

A single module can be a world in itself, spreading its CV tentacles into an endless modular universe full of surprises.

Artist or Band name?

Stefan Tretau / ST Modular / ST Records


From Ambient to Techno


Stefan Tretau

Where are you from?

Oberhausen, Germany

How did you get into music?

Well, it’s not the piano and guitar lessons I used to get, but it was actually a friend’s Roland MC- 303 that I was lucky enough to use in 1999. That was my rabbit hole that I never got out of.
Shortly after that we bought a Roland MC-307, a Future Retro 777, a TB-303, a Micro Modular and a Jomox Xbase 09 and we started playing acid live acts as Complexx303“ in the early 2000s. Some time later it was just a small step to jump into the Eurorack universe. I bought my first Eurorack modules in 2016.

Stefan’s first eurorack case

ST Modular also started with a little push from a friend. He showed me how to build a Schmitt- Trigger oscillator, and I couldn’t believe how easy it was to recreate it on a breadboard. That was the second rabbit hole that somehow replaced the synthesizer-hole for some time. So instead of making music, I breadboarded, read books, created magic smoke, and eventually designed a desktop synthesizer, effects pedals, and a first Eurorack module, a passive mult.

Live synth setup

However, before I got into Eurorack designs, I focused on pedal and synthesizer designs. In the video linked here, you can see how I create all sorts of noises with these DIY boxes. You can also see a first logo design there, which is the predecessor of the current ST Modular logo.

Now that I had a foot in the door I could not resist to deal further with concepts and circuit diagrams and spent whole weekends researching on the internet and watching youtube tutorials.

First synth design called Dillen in 2015

When the first working Eurorack module was built (Triple Tom), I didn’t actually intend to offer modules or boards to other builders. It was then the builders themselves who kept asking for boards and finally got me to make a first attempt to offer PCBs in cooperation with pushermanproductions.com in 2018.
And ST Modular was born.

What still drives you to make music?

That moment you surprise yourself.

How do you most often start a new track?

A kick and a bassline or a sound/melody that fascinates me.

How do you know when a track is finished?

I used to be very fast at producing and it wasn’t uncommon to finish a track in one day. I once participated in a remix contest for a label called “Karmarouge” and produced and submitted my remix within a single day. Surprisingly, my track was chosen to appear on the final vinyl release.

So, I’m not a perfectionist I guess and I don’t spend hours working on a snare sound.
If the track conveys a certain vibe, I can’t remove anything superfluous from the mix and nothing else extremely bothers me, it’s done!

ST modular System

As for the ST modular designs, each new prototype has to go through several weeks of extensive testing in my case. I design modules primarily for my personal use. If I don’t like the experience of playing with it, it doesn’t get released. I have a whole case full of finished prototypes that I have never published. They work technically fine, but they somehow didn’t turn out the way I had imagined.

Show us your current studio

Attic home studio
To the left of the Attic home studio
Center of the home stuio
Left side with the modular beast

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

Just sit down and start!

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

ST Records – Latest Release „Ostinato Modulare“

ST Modular – Euphoria (DIY Semi-Modular Synthesizer)

ST Modular – Eurorack DIY

Follow me on Instagram

[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]

Hissquiet – Blissed Moods

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

Chase Bliss Mood

I’m always fascinated by the range of knobs that there are, but I think my favorite knobs are the ones on the Chase Bliss stuff, I currently have the Mood. They are just so smooth with the ideal amount of tension. They just feel sturdy a well made, like I’ll fade into an effect perfectly every time.

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

Bastl midi looper

I think probably my latest bit of kit, the Bastl midi looper, does almost exactly what I wanted it for, which is to more organically make sequences with midi and overdub CC parameters. It perfectly pairs with my hydrasynth which doesn’t have a sequencer, but I wish it recorded the polyphonic aftertouch of the hydrasynth pads on the initial record. Idk maybe it does and I just haven’t spent enough time tweaking the settings, but that would be really really nice. But other than that it’s brilliant.

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

Elektron Digitakt and iPad

I think my favorite things to bring, are my digitakt and/or my ipad. With a myvolts power cable, a portable charger and some samples, I could really make a whole album on the digitakt. Ipad also is very powerful and has so many music apps that I use in my recordings all the time. Some of my favorites are Spacecraft, Tardigrain and Fugue Machine.

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

Spacecraft app

I wish the Spacecraft app was a pedal or a feature of some groovebox. It’s this granular synth that you can record anything into and make beautifully textured ambient or noise soundscapes. You can get a wide range of sounds out of it. I seriously oftentimes don’t even bother with hi-fi samples and just use the ipad mic, because it just adds extra texture.

VCV rack

This one is kinda silly, but I wish VCV rack was hardware, like, it is hardware right? But the part of it that I want to bring into hardware is the low cost (haha) and also the ability to save patches and arrangements. Which I guess is the point of a modular synth, but still. I haven’t gone down the hardware modular synth rabbit hole yet, but I’ve been using VCV Rack as a way to learn exactly what I want from a system some day.

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

I regret selling my Digitone. It was a really great groovebox synth. I made a whole album on it, Sublunar Reverie, so I decided it was time to sell it and try something else out. Selling stuff is how I justify getting something new and making sure I actually really want the new thing. It went towards the Hydrasynth which I definitely don’t regret buying, but I just wish I had them both haha.

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

Hologram Electronics Microcosm

Hologram Microcosm for sure. I almost don’t want to bring it out when I’m working on something because I’ll spend hours tweaking the modes wondering if the next tweak might be even better than the last, but it all just sounds really great! I have a bit of a thing for granular gear can you tell?

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

I think learning a dynamic instrument like the clarinet was super important to the way I do music, even if I rarely bring it out now. Some folks have said that I have a sort of classical music dynamic going on with the kind of music I make and I probably agree with that. Second though, I’d probably get into synths rather than a guitar, maybe a groovebox like the Digitone or Digitakt if something like that had come out then.


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

Any piece of gear with cat hair on it, haha, no but for real though any connectivity stuff, cables, midi, bluetooth. I think I spend 1/3 my time reserved for making music just making sure things are connected correctly. My studio is not only used for music, but I do my freelance graphic design work there as well, so I can’t really have it all out and connected. In an ideal world things would just work ya know!? 

Cables of all colors

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

The random button on the Hydrasynth is wonderful. It will create a patch for you or you can tell it to scramble up a patch that you already have based on percentages. Sometimes the patches are too wild and I have a blast reeling them into something more palatable to use, but you can end up creating something that you wouldn’t have easily come up with any other way.

ASM Hydrasynth

Artist or Band name?



Hmm… maybe ambient music that isn’t really background music? More dark ambient, drone or sometimes I like to get noisy and cinematic.


Ash Farrand aka. Hissquiet

Where are you from?

I grew up and live on the East Coast of the States currently, but I’ve been all over the States. The East Coast feels like home though.

How did you get into music?

I did the whole orchestra/marching band thing when I was younger, but more recently (5ish years ago) I got into music, because I found folks like Hainbach, Anne Annie, and Amulets back in the day when they were doing more “no talking” hardware jams and quickly got a DAW and a midi keyboard and the rest is history.

What still drives you to make music?

Music is my therapy, it allows me to express myself. I really enjoy getting lost in a moment while I’m improvising sound and everything else in the world kind of goes to the wayside for a few minutes. I do it for me first and if others happen to like it that’s a definite bonus.

How do you most often start a new track?

I can start with a sound that’s interesting to me which can kind of evolve into a certain mood all on its own or sometimes I already have a mood that I want to try to capture with a sound. From there I think about how adding effects or layers could elevate or evolve or contrast with what that mood. That’s usually how a track emerges; it’s very emotion-based.

How do you know when a track is finished?

There are 2 criteria for this. When it sounds perfect and there’s nothing I want to change about it or if it’s nearly perfect and I’m simply done working on it. Some might call that laziness, but I can be a bit of a perfectionist on some things so sometimes it’s just best to let go, nobody will notice.

Show us your current studio

Hissquiet studio
Hissquiet studio 2
Hissquiet studio 3

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

I had a rad guitar teacher that really introduced me to the idea that everything can be music. I remember he started riffing off of a fan that was making a rhythmic sound and it really opened my eyes to the possibilities of music.

Slot Drum

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

I’ve got some tapes available of my latest album Solastalgia with Mystery Circles: https://hissquiet.bandcamp.com/album/solastalgia

All the links are here on my website: https://hissquiet.com/