Workspace and Environment: Making the Noise

We still have spots left for the Synth Meet 7 coming this Sunday. It’s sure to be as lively as all of the past events combined! Onto the article:

I found Adam Ribaudo of Making the Noise from Twitter, saying that he just released his first album. I followed a few links, bought his album and knew he used a Monome after hearing it. I wondered what his space looked like and how things fit into it. I asked, he responded. Here’s what he said…

I started making music while I was in high school around 1998. Before that, I was listening to a lot of Underworld and Pet Shop Boys and had been exposed to the MOD scene which made making electronic music seem very accessible. With the spread of pirated software, I was at some point introduced to ACID and Rebirth and also Jeskola Buzz. I now gladly pay for the tools I use. Ableton should turn around and thank a pirate…
It wasn’t until very recently that I started performing out with a set that was heavily inspired by a Daedelus set I saw in NYC in 2009. I wanted to take what he was doing, creating a seamless danceable experience, but use only originally produced material. That’s what I’ve done and that’s what I’m tuning as I go from show to show gauging the crowd’s response to each section.

My initial motivation was just exploring the soundscape that software could make and no other instrument could. I can still remember hearing lowpass filter sweeps and knowing them only as “that effect that makes everything sound like wwwaaaaa”. That and delay and reverb and synthesis just totally transported me to other places and I wanted to figure out how it was done and where else it could take me.
At this point you could say base novelty has worn off now that synthesized music is ever-present in our daily lives but a number of other things keep me motivated. One is watching the electronic music scene evolve. I love when artists bring something new to the table and that’s something I strive to do. I think we all benefit when people take chances and put something honest out there. Another is watching the electronic music tools evolve. We’re in something of a golden age of software creativity tools. Lastly, the opportunity to perform live has been a bigger and bigger motivation as I’ve come into my own skin on stage after a handful of performances. It’s a big and frightening leap for a bedroom producer but it’s paid off.

Favorite Hardware
The monome by far. Besides its sleek minimal design, the draw is that instead of telling you how it should be programmed, it asks you. Out of the box, the monome comes with no pre-programmed instructions, it’s up to you the user (as opposed to the manufacturer), to provide it with instructions. Those instructions can be written in any language that supports the OSC protocol, but you can always look to the rich community of user-created apps if you’re looking for inspiration or functionality that’s already been created.

Favorite Software
At the core of my live set is a piece of software that I wrote for the monomer called 7up. It essentially splits the monomer into pages of functions. One page can give you a step sequencer while another triggers loops, and another sends MIDI ctrl values or notes. All of these actions are recordable and can be running in parallel which makes a great interface for controlling complex arrangements live and without the need to touch the laptop. One great advantage of relying heavily on your own software is that all your bug reports go to the front of the queue.

Workspace and Environment
I live in a small one-bedroom apartment in Cambridge and having your studio 3 feet from your bed is all a producer can ask for. It helps that my setup is super minimal – consisting only of my laptop, monome, and sometimes the Oxygen8 if I’m working on melodies. In theory, it shouldn’t matter where I’m cranking out material but I’ve always found it easiest to work at odd hours during the night while at home as opposed to being out on the road.
I can’t say I’m self-conscious about my finished product but I do get unnerved if anyone is around while I’m arranging. I don’t think most people realize how monotonous producing can be. I’ve sat for hours tweaking the most insignificant parameters of the same 4 bar loop, but it never seems strange to me unless someone else is around.

Ideal Location
I sometimes fantasize about an elaborate studio setup in a remote location with no neighbors and top quality gear, but in the end I don’t think I could work like that all the time. I like that music weaves itself in and out of my life and that I can go weeks without making music, bottle up that creative energy, and unleash it when appropriate. If I locked myself in a cabin with the mission of making my best work now that I have the “perfect” setup, I’d not make anything worthwhile and go nuts to boot.

What is the name you work under and where can we find your work?
Making the Noise
Making the Noise – you can do anything. except for some things Album

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