Workspace and Environment: The Volt per Octaves

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon these guys but when I looked at pictures of the Husband/Wife group, I realized Anna was the woman we bugged at NAMM in the Moog booth (ie, stalking). Either way to see die hard Moog enthusiasts actually making music is refreshing.

Nick Montoya of The Volts per Octaves
I was born in Burbank, Ca. Grew up in Pasadena, Ca. Moved to Santa Barbara when I was 13 with my parents, before moving all around northern California during my high school years. I lived in Susanville, Redway, Garberville, Shelter Cove, among a few other tiny towns. Now I reside in beautiful Santa Barbara, Ca. This is the place that feels most like home. It’s summer all the time too.
I started playing cello in third grade. Shortly after that I got in to guitar and other rock instruments like bass, drums. Started my first band at age 12 called “Putrid Existence”. I was Nick Putrid, the mastermind of the band, yet the youngest. Kinda like the tough little boss in old cartoons, that orders all the big henchmen around ;) … In high school I got into electronic music when my music teacher let me borrow a virtual analog midi module. That was it… I started buying up keyboards like mad starting with my old MS 2000 (now very dead, like most of em are) and my trusty Moog Prodigy, which I ended up selling when I got my Little Phatty. Then I just went nuts and thats where I’m at right now.

What is the name you work under and where can we find your work?
My wife and I are “The Volt per Octaves”, and we both play Moogs, keys and theremin in our live, non sequenced electronic compositions.\
People say we’re “electronica”, but for some reason I hate that term. I perfer just electronic music or MOOG music. That “a” at the end just kills it for me.\
You can check us out on our myspace ( ). Our CDs can be ordered almost anywhere and can be found digitally at iTunes among many other online retailers.

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
My favorite piece of hardware of all time is my Minimoog Model D, but right now it’s in the shop for a general tune up. So, I’ve been having lotsa fun with my friend Ross Harris’s Baldwin Synthasound! It’s a super rare old analog monosynth that Baldwin made for a short time at the height of Minimoog and Arp 2600 popularity (1971).
Sounds like Dick Hyman in a box and I love it. It has one of the craziest glide times ever, like 20 seconds… But it actually says “Slide”…

What is your current favorite software or plugin?
We only use software to track/record our analog synths and drum machines. We tried a bunch of software and ended up liking Cubase the most.. Why? Not sure, ease of use I guess…

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
When we get ready to record we like to have everything ready to go. But unfortunately we have to swap out keyboards here and there ‘cuz we don’t have much room in our bedroom/home studio. It’s nice to have everything patched to the board and ready to go. That way when we get an idea we can just run with it.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining? The last?
The first piece of gear that really inspired me was my Moog Prodigy. Although it doesn’t hold a candle to my Mini, it does some cool shit the Model D can’t do. Especially the amazing Oscillator Sync. Best of probably any stock Moog, and the Little Phatty is right up there with it. A very similar sound.
The last piece was actually a dump load of keyboards all at once. My brother’s best friend just unloaded 5 decks on me. A Korg M1, Korg Polysix, Crumar T1 organ, Yamaha CP10 and a Roland Juno 6… All in different working conditions. But the Juno is very clean and worked great right away… The Korg Polysix makes very authentic “dead” polysix sounds. I think the on board-battery leaked all over the damn place ;)

What is on your current ‘wish list’ for new hardware or software?
I’d really love to get a small Pro Tools rig.. It’s seeming more and more essential all the time. But as long as we can record our stuff okay in Cubase, we’re happy.

Do you have a mobile studio setup? What does it include?
Our main setup is pretty mobile. A Mac Book, running Cubase. Our interface is great. It’s an Alesis Multimix 16 Firewire mixer. It can also double as an analog mixing board… When I got it it seemed like a no brainer. Either a 2 channel Pro Tools system for about 500.00 or a 16 channel Alesis/Cubase set up for 450.00… It’s great to be able to record everything to it’s own track in a live studio setting…

Do you have a setup for live performances?
It is very much the same as our studio setup. There is very little we leave at home. Our most common setup for a gig would be:

Anna: Concertmate MG1, Moog Little Phatty Tribute Edition, Korg Microkorg.
Me : Moog Minimoog Model D, Moog Voyager, Korg Electribe ES1, Moog Etherwave Theremin.\
Eva: (when she plays with us) : Hohner Student 32 Melodica\
0Sound: 500W Crown Power Amp, Fender PA Speakers, and the Alesis Multimix 16 Ch. board.

How many physical locations have you had your studio?
Too many to count. I’d like to think that each time the setup has become bigger, bettter more stable and all around more sonic with each piece of gear added, or taken away for that matter… My first setup in the “Putrid” days was a Malaysian Kareoke machine… Dopest punk rock garage recording rig EVER !!! ;) Sure, it’s come along way from there, but it is still very basic…\

Have you ever heard your music being played at a random/public place?
Actually yes. We were flipping through the TV one night and our music was being played in background for a friends computer generated graphic art video project for television. It was this strange little bubbley, busseling city and our song “Super Milk” accompanied the animation.

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