Workspace and Environment: Contriva

If anyone knows how to get into the Paris Catacombs from an alternative entrance, please drop an e-mail to They are officially closed so I am looking for an unofficial way in.Uh, with that out of the way, here is Max Ehwald of Contriva!

Max Ehwald of Contriva
How long have you been involved with making music/sound?
I’m in my first band Contriva for more than 10 years now.

What is the name you work under and where can we find your work?
So far I have no solo project. I play in Contriva, jersey, saroos and, as a live musician, in the Notwist. If I’m working on my own, it’s mainly about composing (almost always using a guitar) or editing and arranging some band recordings. I have never really produced a piece of music all alone.

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
It may sound silly but it’s the Ibanez DE-7. I use this obviously crappy pedal since they threw it on the market, but, due to its bad mechanical quality, had to buy a new on several times. I just love the sound of the “echo mode” and the simple handling.

What is your current favorite software or plugin?
I don’t use plugins so extensively right now. One that I used more often is the Arturia Arp 2600 V. It must be really well emulated, couse it sounds very lively as I think.
I normally use software as a recording tool. There’s no really “favourite” sequencing/recording software for me, I use emagic Logic like many others, only because of compatibility with other musicians. I’ll have to use pro tools now, for the same reason…

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
I always try to go to a place that is not usual or not so familiar to me when recording new ideas or composing, if I or the band has the time and capacity. so I very much like the idea of a mobile studio. Also, I tend to think it’s good for an artist or a band that has already developed “an own style”, to work with different people from album to album. but that’s again no strict rule to me. I also like editing and arranging when on a train journey, especially in a dining car ;-)

Are you involved in any post production?
I have done two movie soundtracks so far: one together with Rike Schuberty of Contriva, for a short movie (“Die Babysitterin” by Christine Lang), the second for a documentation (“Generation Model” by Anne-Krisin Jahn) together with Florian Zimmer (jersey, saroos). I find working on music for film harder than just making music, but I hope I’ll get more skilled in the future…

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
A guitar (Framus Atlantic, a german model from the 60s)

What is on your current ‘wish list’ for new hardware or software?
I’d like to have a delay pedal where you can set the delay time digitally and reproducible and that still has an interesting sound…If you have an idea, please send me a mail…

Do you have a setup for live performances?
Different setups for different bands, but more or less usual guitar/bass player setups. nothing special…

Where were you born and how did you end up in the location you currently reside?
I was born and still live in Berlin, Germany.

How many physical locations have you had your studio setup?
As I don’t own a studio setup myself, none ;-). the studio where we (contriva) recorded our last and other records (villa qrella) is also our practice room and the home base of masha qrella’s solo work, and it always has been at the same place

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