TapeOp Interviews – Tony Rolando & Kelly Kelbel

Some great insight of the beginnings of Make Noise and Make Noise Records. Make Noise Records is currently experiencing delays with the pressing plant for the MNR005/Surachai release. No release date yet.

What prompted you to assemble The Shared System and develop a Music series?

Tony: I was thinking about advertising and thought for $2,000 why not put out a record? So we contacted artists that work with and support us. They do cool videos, talk to people about the modules and our company, so we decided on something that would be good for everyone. We’d give five artists the same collection of modules, called The Shared System. With all things equal, the variable wouldn’t be the studio, the recording process or instrument, it would be the artist. We’d see how their personalities would shine through. I feel like reverb is such an important part of electronic music, so we let them use their own reverb, but everything else was the same. Hopefully, the records would get people talking about the Make Noise Shared System, but also what someone like Richard Devine did with it. I met with Surachai, in New York City, at the Control Voltage Fair. He loved the idea and wanted to curate it. I didn’t want to have five artists make five records that all sounded the same, and felt confident he would pick artists who were diverse enough to show all the directions you could go with a modular, but were also well-versed with our system, so they could get started fast. Like you noticed when you borrowed ours, even for someone who knows how to use modulars, there’s always a massive learning curve. So much of music technology today is designed to do some specific task. You can get an app to make hip-hop beats or a compressor to give you the vocal sound of The Beatles’ records or whatever. What’s gorgeous about the modular synthesizer is that it’s the exact opposite of that. Often, at trade shows, people will ask me, “What problem is your product solving?” Typically I say that it’s creating them. This product does not solve a single problem, unless you say it solves the problem of inspiration. It provides a great deal of that.

Kelly: The Shared System series shows people that there are many different ways to make music with it. Richard Devine did the first record, the second one’s by Alessandro Cortini, then Robert A. A. Lowe. Surachai makes a sort of synth-inspired black metal, so we have no idea what his will be like. It’s all to showcase that people are making music that spans a lot of different genres. Five in the series, 500 copies, pressed to vinyl. Trash Audio is selling most of them, but if you order a Shared System, we include whatever record is currently in production. Our dealers that sell the modules can also order them. We’re talking about building another system and doing an Acid series.

TapeOp Full Interview

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