Archive by Author

Workspace and Environment: Toecutter

All I have to say is “gabber flute”. This is the infamous Dave Toecutter from down under.

I started in about 1999 after asking Bomb20 through email what programs he uses (I cringe to think of this after how many people have irked me by asking the same!) I started cutting up stuff in SoundForge XP which I got a demo of. What initially motivated me was the give-a-fuck punk of late 20th Century D.H.R. and Culturcide (Texan band from the 80’s). I started in my parent’s house in 1999, then an apartment with the computer by the bed in 2000. In 2002 moved into a massive warehouse venue, sharing with 7 others and the computer by the bed, then in 2005 I moved into a room in an old stable in an industrial district in South Sydney. Now I live in a house further south, but near the train line, with no studio to speak of.

Where can we find your work?
Toecutter, Soulseek is the best spot, I have no website ATM.

What are your current favorite pieces of hardware?
I like the SP404 and Kaos Pad II. They were really cheap second hand.

What are some softwares or plugins you prefer?
MDA Combo is a classic distortion for me, apart from that I am using the simplest audio filter in Abelton at the moment, and that’s about it. I just found a freeware side chain compressor which works in Ableton, which should help me get that Vengaboys sound I crave.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
I am not sure as I don’t usually have a chance to reflect as I move often without choice from one studio to another.

Could you describe what you might think your ideal location would be?
Free, not too cold, about the size of a cell, with other people around to sleep and eat with.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining? The last?
First: Boss SP303 Dr. Sample, Last: Boss SP404 Dr. Sample.

What is on your current wish list?
None. But I could use a Gabber Flute – I saw one in France once at Boris Cavage’s house, but only as a gimmick. Also a friend has a circuit-bent toy pistol with a filter/pitch shift attached which sounds awesome – great little noisemaker!

Do you have a mobile studio setup?
It’s the same as my live set-up, AUD$200 PC Laptop running SoundForge 5.0, Abelton 4 and 6, WinAmp and FruityLoops 1.3, SP404 and Kaos Pad II.

Where were you born and how did you end up in the location you currently reside?
I am about 35 km. from my place of birth, but I don’t have time to explain the second half of the question.

Have you ever heard your music being played at a public place?
Yeah, national radio in Australia while I was at work at Kinko’s in 2004.

Are you involved in any music/sound work outside of your own projects?
From time to time I do pieces for performance artists or fashion shows. Nothing to brag about.

Explaining the picture above…:
The speakers are Mackie HR824, nice! Borrowed from Core:Tex Labs!
The harddrive on the chessboard is all my files backup from 2004 – which is not much actually!
The RAW harddrive is about to go into my PC which I have at The Barn, which was my studio for about 3 years
The Berringer mixer atop the left speaker is for live shows, when i am not running my gear in a line from laptop – through sp404 to Kaos Pad2. It’s when I need a mic. and I bring along an auxillary sampler – usually the Boss SP303 which you see to the right of the Laptop keyboard
The Monitor is because the monitor on the laptop is fucked, resulting from too much Brown Ale in NCL, UK
There is a small harddrive which is what I tour with – lot’s of samples for my Abelton Live set – a fucker when you forget WHY you take it to the gig – or don’t bring one of the LITTLE usb cables!!! ARGH!!
Midi Keyboard M-Audio Oxygen8 – really handy for noodling out baselines, or whatnot. Yes, I use melody, SOMETIMES!
To the right of the BOSS SP303 is my little sound card SOUNDBLASTER/CreAtive- it also has optical in and out, which is handy for capturing from old minidisk recordings.. aaauurghh… it was handy for 5 minutes…
The Yellow case is all the connecty bits you need for being an audio guy.
It’s mostly RCA to JACK converters. I think I am going to get a tattoo of one of those suckers!
Oh, and the I-Lamp you see on the corner of the desk is what my girl and I do all manner of electronic chores on, NOT making music! (just to put your fears at rest, I DO NOT use MAC!)

Toecutter Myspace

Venetian Snares – Otto von Schirach – Cyrusrex – DJ NAHA

I’ll be opening up for this tour in Chicago. Bring your moshing shoes cause faces will be melted! I don’t want to sound like a d-bag but the cliche “tickets are going quick, get yours now!” applies in this case.

Buy Tickets Here! Friday, December 5 • 8:00 PM • Ages 17+ • Reggie’s Live • 2105 South State Street Chicago, Illinois 60616
More info: HERE

From Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Venetian Snares is known for making experimental electronic music often in odd numbered time signatures (often 7/4). He is an unusually prolific artist, having released records on the History of the Future, Isolate/DySLeXiC ResPonSe, Addict, Zod, Distort, Sublight, Low-Res, Planet Mu and Hymen record labels.

Ipecac recording artist Otto Von Schirach is an IDM and breakcore artist from Miami, Florida of Cuban/German descent. His style is more sporadic and noisy than other artists in the genre, and his visual aesthetic leans on the heavy metal side rather than electronic. He has released most of his work on the Schematic and Beta Bodega labels, and was featured in the 2002 documentary Electro Dziska. Most recently he worked and went on tour with Skinny Puppy and produced a remix for Miss Kittin.

Cyrusrex has an extended history in the LA Electronic Music Scene, starting out as the sound designer for annodalleb in 1995, he quickly became recognized by the local music community. Since annodalleb, he has moved on to collaborate with KDC on DARKSKIES, worked on several projects with BOL, and Skinny Puppy. In 2004, cyrusrex completed his first release all.ofmeHyde, a well received album, featuring remixes by Venetian Snares & cEvin KEy.

NAHA is a Seattle based DJ. In her ten years behind the decks, NAHA has crafted her mixing style and technique which is as diverse as the genres she spins, including techno, breakbeats, digital hardcore, hip-hop, and jungle. She has found an amalgamation of these sounds in her specialty, breakcore. Her latest accomplishment is making the #33 spot on the international list of Top 100 Female DJs.

Fathme Records plague metal artist Surachai has been clearing dance floors for years leaving only true worshippers of metal. Providing punishing disjointed blast beats and spitting out non-time signatures, the once ‘breakcore’ categorized Surachai has been mending it’s own path. Focusing purely on melting off faces, he heavily relies on modular synthesizers to provide a crushing tower of sound. He currently runs the infamous Trash_Audio blog and shade:red record label with Justin McGrath.

Visuals by VJ DizyPixl!

Flashbulb – 8-9
Surachai – 9-10
NAHA – 10-11
Cyrusrex – 11-11:45
Otto von Schirach – 11:45 – 12:15
Venetian Snares – 12:15 – close

Detrimental Disco Wibble Tour – Venetian Snares, Otto von Schirach, Cyrusrex and DJ NAHA

Dec 5 2008 Reggi​e’s Rock Club – Chica​go,​ Illin​ois
Dec 6 2008 305 Music​ Loung​e – Miami​,​ Flori​da
Dec 10 2008 (Le) Poiss​on Rouge​ – New York,​ New York
Dec 11 2008 Elysi​um – Austi​n,​ Texas​
Dec 12 2008 The Knitt​ing Facto​ry – Los Angel​es,​ Calif​ornia​
Dec 13 2008 Histo​ric Sweet​s Ballr​oom – Oakla​nd,​ Calif​ornia​
Dec 20 2008 The Fez Ballr​oom – Portl​and,​ Orego​n
Dec 21 2008 Necta​r Loung​e – Seatt​le,​ Washi​ngton​

Workspace and Environment: Kamoni

Good morning world. What are you wearing?

I started off playing drums when I was a kid and my musical interests slowly migrated toward production and technology. I heard Frank Zappa’s “Jazz From Hell” when I was in music school and listened to it 5 times a day for months. That was my introduction to electronic music and it completely blew my mind. Now my main motivation is seeing technology progress while devising new ways to realize sound and music production. This is true for both the analog and digital worlds. I get inspired by Ableton Live as much as I do from a modular synth. I do all of my performing under the name Kamoni (, I have releases under Mek! Music and Black Van Records (search “Kamoni” on iTunes). In recent years I’ve been more drawn to improvising live and interacting with music in real time.

What are your current favorite pieces of hardware?
The Doepfer modular and Machinedrum have to be my favorites. With the Doepfer, I don’t feel any restrictions and I can fluidly patch together any type of sound I want. The Machinedrum has very intuitive programming. I can hack out a beat or even melodies on the MD very efficiently. I’ve been using the MD for three years now and it never ceases to inspire me.

What are some softwares or plugins you prefer?
I think Ableton Live has helped pioneer the DAW / instrument boundary that many computer musicians are still trying to overcome. I can’t imagine performing live with any other software. For me, Live is also a great sketchpad and helps facilitate free movement when trying to put a musical idea together. From a sound design perspective this is very important. Zebra is one of my “go to” soft synths. It’s intuitive, flexible and can sound pretty meaty if you program it right.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
My current studio is like a little space capsule. It was designed as an octagon and immediately draws you into a focused electronic music environment. I built it with my bare hands so I have an immediate intimacy with the space. We don’t get a lot of space here in New York City and I could probably have a live room and a control room if I set this up in the suburbs. But that’s not the point, this studio is very unique and it’s DUMBO location is ideal. You can comfortably fit about three people in there, so there’s room for a co-pilot and navigator. However, it doesn’t feel small and I can freely move around, play the DrumKat, dance, etc.

Could you describe what you might think your ideal location would be?
I think it would be a perfectly isolated environment with natural surroundings. I have never had something like this and it’s near impossible in NYC. Maybe inside a 727 in the forests of Maine would be my ideal location.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
When I was in music school I bought a Roland XP-10. That was my first piece of hardware. The last thing I bought was a Behringer calibration mic – not too sexy.

What is on your current wish list?
The GenoQs Octopus is giving me some flirtatious looks. I would also like to start building a Buchla or Modcan modular.

Do you have a mobile studio setup?
Lately, my MacBook and MPC-1000 have been going with me everywhere. Between Ableton Live and the MPC I can do a lot and then bring it back to the studio for further refining.

Do you have a setup for live performances?
As Kamoni I have performed many times with a DrumKat hooked up to Ableton Live or the Elektrons and have just improvised for an hour. I will do a whole lot of pre-production so that I can just freely improvise knowing that everything (usually) will come out sounding good. When I perform, there’s never really a set plan so it’s always an adventure. For instance, I can play a note on the DrumKat and have and LFO in Live programmed to randomly select from an array of 50 snare drums. Then I can layer those with a melodic note that is determined by the velocity that I hit the pad – all of this in one hit! That is totally exciting for me and for the audience as well.

Have you ever heard your music being played at a public place?
I was sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s a few years ago and a Crest toothpaste ad I scored came on the TV. Around that same time, I heard some techno track on the radio that used all loop content I created for Ableton – that was very weird.

Are you involved in any music/sound work outside of your own projects?
Most of my time goes into my sound development company Puremagnetik ( We are constantly creating new content for our customer base and for 3rd party manufactures and publications. I also compose music for commercials with various music houses here in NYC. Recently, I’ve been performing with NYC artist Atarah Valentine who has an amazing album coming out in a few months.

Kamoni Website
Kamoni Myspace
Photo credits: Rachel Papo

Workspace and Environment: Alec Empire

What? Seriously? This is the epitome of the Workspace and Environment series. Enjoy!

I was born in Berlin, then moved to London , and then moved back to Berlin two years ago. I find that I can develop my ideas best at the moment in Berlin. You can be isolated, and this is exactly what I want, because I am not very excited about the current music scene. I think bands take any straw they can get, mp3 culture has stopped musicians to care about the sound of their music and the music itself, people in the music industry fear for their jobs every day…this is a nightmare…and only because people don’t want to buy music anymore. Problem is that the quality of music in getting poorer every year. Art has to take risks, art as to afford innovation….if this can’t happen because the investments simply don’t come back enough, it’s a dying industry. In Berlin you don’t feel that as much as in London. This is why I work here at the moment. But Berlin is also such a dark city. It’s great for what I do.
I have been playing my first show with my punk band when I was age of twelve. We were right in that squatting scene back in Berlin-West. It was important, because everybody was very political and had radical ideas. a few years later I moved on and got into electronic music. released my first record when I was 18 on Force Music Works in Frankfurt. Shortly after I started Atari Teenage Riot.
My motivation to make music was really the fact that I could express my thoughts and feelings directly and without limits. Many other musicians feel they have to entertain the audience. I always wanted to perform in a more honest and truthful way. Punk tought me not to give a damn…this took of all the pressure in any situation which followed. You have to deal with the consequences at the same time though. During certain times not being popular and stuff…but I like that….

What are your current favorite pieces of hardware?
I got deep into modular synths. Despite the trend of going more digital the last years, a new scene has grown which is inventing analogue synths again. Analogue Solutions, Metasonix, Doepfer…. these systems have almost no limits. And they sound fantastic. It’s expensive in comparision to digital software, but the sound is so powerful, it’s worth it. You have to be into Math as well…if you have a lower iq , you should probably stick to a guitar. I don’t mean that in a negative way because music can be great in so many different ways. The Metasonix S-1000 is an all tube synth which has sounds that have never been heard before. Most people don’t know how to use it and therefore be scared to use it….I love it.

What are some softwares or plugins you prefer?
Protools works for me as a recording device. On Ableton I synch certain digital files. But that’s about it. If you have the real stuff, any plug in doesn’t cut it. At the moment…this could still change in the future I hope.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
I could pretend that it doesn’t influence my work but it does. We have built a new studio in Berlin two years ago. It has 240 square meters. Two sound proof cabins. At the moment it is ideal. We used the colour white a lot. Actually you wouldn’t really find much colour in there. And what surprises visitors is that we have no paintings or posters or anything visual up on the walls. I really find this distracting. Somehow my mind would get off path. The great thing is that we can record whenever we want. To me this has proven to be one of the most important factors in delivering the best music. Especially in my music for films I have to stick to strict timelines, great ideas which can often determine a scene, save a performance of an actor even, have to happen. Therefore I don’t care recording at 7 o’clock in the morning or not sleep at all for two days. The result is most important! When I am that focussed even a very quiet noise which comes from a refridgerator or even a light bulb, influences you in some way. I am always aware of that.

Could you explain the history and motives behind Digital Hardcore Recordings?We started Digital Hardcore Recordings in early 1994. It felt so exciting to create this music because it was unheard of before…nobody did it. This was something that, for the first time probably, came out of Berlin and was never done anywhere else before. When I was DJing at the time no other records were achieving this excitement and rage in the crowd. It all started pretty simple when we sped up British breakbeat records and mixed them with speed metal and 70ties punkrock. It was something that everybody wanted. People wanted to see where their limits were…this was the most fun about it. to keep pushing and pushing it further. Many of the records we did in the early years featured digital sound effects that we came up with for the first time. Making these very short loops which can sound like your CD player starts trouble or a snare drum sound becomes a machine gun, just one example. Of course distortion and insane programming of beats and sounds was a priority for all musicians and DJs involved. This movement was met with hostility by all kinds of people. Punks reacted conservative, freaked out, ravers wanted to stop it, we even had people from a special police departement coming to our shows, because we used very radical slogans and militant images. It was very underground until UK radio legend John Peel started to play our records. Then it went pretty fast.The Beastie Boys distributed the records in the US, Japan went wild…it was unstoppable. Suddenly my band ATR reached gold status with the album “Burn Berlin Burn”.
To me this ended with 911, and of course a few days before our band member and friend Carl Crack died. He was found dead in his appartment in Berlin. A few months before Nic Endo and me started to put a band together with Charlie Clouser from Nine Inch Nails…real guitars on stage, 2 drummers…the full thing. In 2002 the Berlin scene was already almost over..that’s my opinion. UK acts like Aphex Twin, Prodigy and various others had delivered their more mainstream, softer versions of digital hardcore and reached a wider audience than the other acts on DHR…the media started to focus most on me and Atari Teenage Riot.

Are there any sonic consistency’s or limitations you try to maintain?
I love precision…I guess because I am German…there is a real method to the chaos (if I go for the wall of noise overload of information type sound I am known for.), otherwise it wouldn’t be fun. On the other side I like to go into new sonic territories all the time. I wrote many “songs” which have almost a pop structure to them. One of my signatures is the “punch” when a beat kicks in…building up to that. I hate flat music, wallpaper sound. I have also written a lot of music which is almost trance like, many people told me they meditate to that. There are people who can’t go back listening to other music after getting into mine…it seems to have a special atmosphere…once you get in there, other things become superficial.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
My first hardware was a Hohner HS-1 sampler with 2MB RAM…crazy but back then, you had to be creative and use it’s memory wisely because it would reach its limit fast. The last thing I bought was a Roland RS-202 which is an old string synth.

What is on your current wish list?
I think Lexicon builds great effect units. I am still using my 480L…would make sense to get the new one, even though a lot of people stick to the old models because they seem to have a better sound. It would be great to build a studio using the IOSONO System which is something like a new way of creating a surround sound. Read about it on our blog I heard it and it makes you feel like you are in another place. It will revolutionize sound.

What does your mobile studio setup consist of?
MAC laptop with Digidesign Hardware, Protools, Ableton and the most important thing is my mobile harddisk which has all my sounds on it. I would really try to create sound in the software – I am never happy with the results. And what I should mention as well is that I can be quite conservative as well. I use my iPhone and pen and paper when I record rough ideas. The phone works as a diary – I’ll export the audio, analyze the exact tempo and then recreate it. A lot of ideas only work in a certain tuning and tempo. You have to record this right away when you feel it. I am not so into the idea of recording an album on the beach…I have done these things over ten years ago…my album Low On Ice was done in a tent in Iceland. But nowadays when I go to the beach I’d rather play guitar or something…I like a concrete prison cell because then I am forced to imagine and be creative.

Do you have a particular setup for live performances?
This really varies from performance to performance. I use my MPC2000XL as a sequencer/sampler, add a selection of synths to that, but then most important, I use an old DAT machine for its digital analogue converters, they sound hard, they cut through on a big PA. I had long conversations with Nine Inch Nails years ago. The converters Tascam and Panasonic build in the 90ties had the most punch. We also use my Sherman Quad filterbank a lot. But we also run machines through guitar and bass amps.

Have your physical locations changed?
Many many times. I keep my studio set up flexible. It’s just a tool after all. When people become lazy and don’t change their set ups, very often they get stuck repeating themselves. And it’s sometimes not them, it’s just the laid out path that they fail to see. The studio has to adapt to me , not the other way round. I have gone from very small, more minimal set ups to crazy large warehouse spaces…there is no hierarchy…make it work for you…in the biggest, most expensive studios in the world flops are being recorded…this has nothing to do with it.

Have you ever heard your music being played at public places?
AE: Yes, often…on the radio, or in shops…a song from my band ATR “Kids are united” was even played in football stadiums in England. I have to admit, this is always a great feeling. to watch other people react to it, or not react at all, if they are shopping and of course the music is quiet, it becomes quite funny, you see they notice a change in atmosphere, but are not sure where it’s coming from….

Are you involved in any music/sound work outside of your own projects?
Yes, of course…I am classically trained… My music was often used in films and games. I have worked with Japanese actor/director Tadanobu Asano on a film a few months ago. Have completed a score for a film called “Days of Chaos”, and am working on another film called Phantomania right now. Often other artists ask me for permission to use my music in installations or fashion shows. My music makes people pay attention, it drags them into another emotional place. This is perfect for films and games.

Where can we find your work?
I release mostly under my own name Alec Empire, but have produced and written a lot for other artists. I have remixed Bjork, Einsturzende Neubauten, Korn, Rammstein, Mogwai, Guitar Wolf, Thurston Moore, Primal Scream and many others.
One of my bands is called Atari Teenage Riot. You can find my records in most stores which sell music and on all download portals. We also run our own store online with collectors editions. Certain music I do is only sold there via the internet. It’s called The Hellish Vortex Online Store. I have been involved in over 100 releases on various labels, major and indie. I have done soundtracks as well.

Alec Empire
Eat Your Heart Out Blog
Hellish Vortex
Alec Empire Myspace
Atari Teenage Riot Myspace
Standard gear porn: Joáo

Workspace and Environment: Distorted Memory

Started out about 10 years ago. A friend of mine installed Fruity Loops on my computer and it was all downhill from there. At that time I wanted to write EBM / Industrial music (which I still write). I always had music in my head that I really wanted to hear but could never find it so I set out trying to make it myself. In certain aspects I’ve succeeded, especially recently, but for the most part I still haven’t written the music I want to hear so I keep writing. I’ve got two projects, the main one that I’ve been doing since day one is called Distorted Memory which is my Dark Electro / EBM project The other project, which is probably more interesting to the readers of this blog is called CAKEBUILDER which is my more bizzare and experimental project. The place where I can use all the stuff that is too fucked up for clubby industrial music. Most of the stuff is Breakcore oriented, but some is more dubstep or even dark classical in style.

What are your current favorite pieces of hardware?
Either my Virus C or Ti. If I want a certain sound but can’t get it on anything else I can usually make it on the Virus. Plus they look like something off the fucking death star, so you can’t go wrong there. I also have to give props the the Blofeld, that thing is great, it can make some extremely noisy and evolving sound fx, has a wicked arpegiator, and is actually fun to program despite being mostly menu based.

What are some softwares or plugins you prefer?
For the most part I use the NI Komplete suite, especially Reaktor and Massive. I use quite a bit of VSTs in the studio some of my other favorites are Nexxus and X-Treme-FX. I’m planning on getting Omnisphere soon which to me is one of the most exciting VSTs I’ve ever seen.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
A LOT. For years my studio was confined to a bedroom or musty basement with no windows or airflow. I always found that to really take away from my work flow. One studio I had in a basement would actually cause me to get light headed and nauseous if I worked down there for too long…sometimes I would come up with some pretty interesting stuff under those conditions, but for the most part it sucked nuts. Now I have a nice studio that I gutted and redid in the master bedroom of our new house, lots of space, two big windows, plus lots of plugs, that really helps. I also find your surroundings in life play a big factor. I find I’m always the most creative when I spend lots of time around other musician friends or creative people in general, but when I go through phases where the career takes over and I don’t spend much time with friends my creativity really declines.

Could you describe what you might think your ideal location would be?
Where I live, anywhere inside is ideal. Winnipeg is so fucking cold and miserable half the year. <

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining? The last?
Yamaha CS2X and a Roland MC-303 FTW!!!! Both were completely fucking useless, especially for a beginner. By the time I had figured out how to do anything cool with those two pieces of crap I had moved on to better machines. The last purchase of mine was actually my custom Mac Pro and Cinema display, probably one of my best purchases to date.

What is on your current wish list?
Modulars…..I’m selling off a bunch of stuff and am going to build a eurorack system, loaded with a few Livewire modules for good measure. I think I’ll probably get myself a Machinedrum at some point, but at this point I’m focusing on getting a modular system started, and realistically after I get it most funds will go towards new modules. Also like I mentioned before I’m pretty sure I HAVE to have Omnisphere…in order to live.

Do you have a setup for live performances?
It depends on which project I’m performing with. For Distorted Memory I run tracks off a Macbook running Cubase 4. I have my vocals running through my Virus C for tempo synced delays and EQ and a keyboardist playing one of my synths, which depends on where the show is. For local shows I’ll bring out something big like the V-Synth, but for out of town gigs it depends what the promoter can get me as I don’t like flying with keyboards. Usually I’ll ask for a JP-8000 since it does the trick, I know it well, and it’s pretty easy for the promoter to get a hold of locally. For CAKEBUILDER I’ve always just run tracks off CD decks and mixed live, sometimes I’ve brought circuit bent stuff into the mix that I’ve made but I always end up smashing it on stage and haven’t built anything recently. In the future I’ll probably move over to using the macbook live with a controller or two.

How many physical locations have you had your studio setup in over time and how have they changed?
If you count the first set up in my parents’ living room, then 5. Each time I’ve moved, the equipment has always improved, but the biggest change is the room itself. Went from parents’ living room to bedroom to mom’s basement to my own basement to a custom renovated master bedroom.

Have you ever heard your music being played at a random/public place?
I’ve gone to see movies at the indie theater and heard my music in the previews for other movies or film festivals. I’ve also heard my stuff on college radio and at our shitty goth bar quite a bit. But the coolest was randomly coming across a repeat of a 1/2 hour documentary the local news channel did about breakcore in Winnipeg and seeing me playing live.

Are you involved in any music/sound work outside of your own projects?
I do a lot of short film work. I’ve scored a few short films and am about to start my next one which will be the most complex and ambitious film project I’ve started yet.

Distorted Memory Myspace

Trash_Universe: Live Video Cast, Tonight!

Join the Chat!

Early warning for tonight, we’ll be broadcasting live from Trash_Audio headquarters in Chicago tonight with special guests The Flashbulb, Machinedrum and more! I will update this post later with the time of the broadcast. Two past shows are archived here: Blog TV

*update* Broadcasting live now, improv electroinc music around 10PM Central time.

video_Output – Richard Devine & Josh Kay

The pictures featured in this last post (except the first) were from City Skies festival in Decatur, Georgia last weekend. They brought out a bunch of goodies that include: 3 Doepfer cases filled with Harvestmann, LiveWire, Plan-B, Cwejman, Cyndustries and were able to rock the dual Livewire AFG’s for the first time. Plus the Cwejman S1, Korg Chaos KP3, Jazzmutant Lemur, and Yamaha Tenori On. And you’re probably already playing the video so I’ll shutup.

A high quality mp3 of the set can be found HERE!

audio_ Output: Devine Sound

For some reason it has taken Richard Devine and Josh Kay both an exceedingly long time to do the inevitable: Launch their own sound design company. The boutique company, Devine Sound, has a well rounded client base that includes Coke, Lexus, Nike and other companies in their ‘Clients’ link (Hey, do you think I really know this off the top of my head?). So if they already have an incredible clientele why is this important? They want your business. They will be offering an extensive library of sounds that will make your next post-production project stand out from the rest. I was able to throw some inane questions at them hoping to shed some light on their processes.

The Point
I wanted to start a small boutique company that focuses on designing interesting sounds for all types of media applications, film, TV, video games etc. The direction is more on sound effects, but is open to an entire world of sounds, everything from foley acoustic sounds, to high tech interface sounds, surreal ambience’s to microscopic tiny mechanical sfx. It really is us trying to create high quality cutting edge sound effects. Our true love has always been electro acoustic music where a single precisely placed, and extremely unique sound can have a tremendous emotional impact. This is very similar to our approach.

Richard, melodies are missing from your tracks, can you explain why this is a conscious decision?
Yes, I have always considered my music to be more focused on sounds and textures. I would say that I am more of a sound collage artist. It’s quite obvious when you listen to my recordings you can hear layers and layers of complex sounds, which are sometimes synthetic, and acoustic. I love trying to use alien sound scapes to take the listener into entirely different realms of the mind. I try to stay away from using conventional instruments, structures and melodies. I am more interested in having the sounds tell the story.

Josh, what do you make of Richard’s lack of melody?
Richie is like a voltage controlled switch. He can make a sickly sweet, sappy, and tear jerkingly beautiful melodic song with little or no rhythmic content or he can make a song that sounds like the inter workings of space elevator. Maybe via osmosis I can influence him to somehow mix the two. =)

Could you describe the life cycle of a sound from beginning to end?
We have started creating sounds hundreds of different ways. It will never start the same way. Sometimes we will sample something that is completely insane, like fireworks, or burning trees, or huge mechanical utility fans, and playing them like steel drums. We try go try to come up with some really left field sounds, and try to go in the not so typical approach to making the sounds. I might start out by making a kick drum on the Cwejman S1mk2 then run it through an Eventide H-8000 for detailed frequency modulation then run that into the Arp-2600 Spring Reverb, then finally coat the final sound in the Kyma system for really intelligent FFT time spectral blurring and smearing of the sound to create maybe a completely strange new sound. Like making an entire 5 minute ambient track out of only using 1 second of sound. We really have a completely different approach to what kind of sound we want to create, and hopefully we will inspire composers, sound designers, anyone interested in experimenting with sound. The sounds that we ware working on will hopefully work for many musical styles like Minimal techno, Electronica, Electro, IDM, Electro Acoustic, Noise, Experimental Breakcore, or sounds for Film & TV. We are basically creating sounds that are very complex and strange, and at the same time give users something really fun and useful for making music with. We also aim to try and make sounds for software and hardware companies, developing the sounds of the future. We work on many projects for some of the most well respected hardware/software companies. Our clients have included everyone from Apple Computers, Microsoft Software and Gaming Division, Sony, and literally hundreds of corporate media companies.

How do you guys compliment each other in this endeavor?
There are many benefits to working with another partner. First you have a second set of ears that hears thing from a completely different prospective. So having second opinion is always great when you have been working on a project long period of time. Having someone come in and listen to what you have been working on with a fresh pair of ears will usually reveal some things that you may have overlooked or not have thought about. Plus you have someone that you can bounce ideas off of. Having an extra hand help out with editing files, and file sorting is great. I have worked with Josh for many years in the record industry and we have a great relationship with him. He is an excellent programmer/sound designer. He has always brought really innovate ideas to the table, and is great with problem solving in really tricky situations. He is also very dedicated and works very hard, and cares about the quality of the work.

What should users expect out of your Free Downloads section?
We wanted to give away sounds every few months so users have something to play around with. I love hearing what other artists and composers do with our sounds. Hearing how other people use these sounds will teach us a lot about how we can make new sounds in the future that will even be more interesting and useful for anyone interested in using sounds that are really unique. So the whole idea was to give away a selection of sampled sounds that could be used either as sound effects or as percussion sounds for electronic drum programming, or sprinkled into a music composition/sound design project. It’s really completely open, and we have no rules as to how the sounds should be used. The most important thing is that we want to inspire everyone to make cool music with these sounds.

These sounds will range from everything from field recordings, prepared & exotic instruments, unique convolution impulses, and samples from our ever-growing collection custom acoustic and electronic instruments. We are also planning on releasing a completely new sound design library that will be sold on the web site early later next year. Giving away these free samples will give people an idea of whats to come and maybe stimulate interests in our other future libraries.

They have a Sound Design Library available as well as an open Remix Contest sponsored by Native Instruments and Sony. You can also read about their last Library: The Electronic Music Manuscript in a previous article Justin wrote!

visual_Output – Friend in Town

A dear friend came into Chicago and while I showed him around, he took loads of pictures which can be found: Here. As you can tell, he snuck in some pictures of my setup and a fraction of Justins. I think he captured our environments in their natural state. By that I mean, he has exposed Justin as a vampire who’s studio is lit only by the humming glares of computer screens and LED’s. Justin also programs upside down. Usually with a cape.

Workspace and Environment: K. Joseph Karam

I’m trying to get back on track with the Workspace and Environment interviews and I think as the season starts to change, people will be more inclined to stay inside and be forced to answer our questions. Unless if they’re around California then those guys will never get back to us! Luckily one of them did: Joseph Karam of The Locust. Enjoy!

I’ve been hacking away on different musical objects since I was a kid and have always thrived on the different ways sound has affected me. When I would come across something new that bent my brain it would be subjected to my incessant scrutiny, listened to obsessively and broken down to it’s subtleties to the dismay of anyone within earshot of me. I try to take that scrutiny and put it to the task of exploring different themes and ways of writing songs or creating aural environments, always looking to tread on new musical territories. Most of what I’ve recorded and released in the last handful of years has been with The Locust. I’ve also played with Le Shok, T Cells, David Scott Stone, by myself and with various other Orders in and around the Los Angeles area. I was born in the Los Angeles area and currently live in Long Beach.

What are your current favorite pieces of hardware?
The Moog Voyager and MOTM synth are a lethal combo and what I’ve used most lately. The Ibanez AD202 analog delay is up there as well (great feedback). My piano is probably my favorite and longest lasting musical friend.

What are some softwares you prefer?
I use Logic as a compositional tool and audio sketchpad. No real preference there, it was cheaper to get going than Pro Tools.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
What’s really important to me is to be able to have a space I can work in that’s free of distraction. I’ve had a bunch of different rehearsal spaces and studios and the only consistent thread among them has been that they’re cramped. In my home setup I find that having everything up, running and organized when I need it helps tremendously throughout my writing process.

Could you describe what you might think your ideal location would be?
It depends on the project. I think the environment you’re in can influence how you write and record but I only ever think about it explicitly when it’s a project that is site specific.

When touring can you explain the difficulties of touring with a modular setup?
It can be a sensitive instrument and unforeseen damages are sometimes difficult to work around. I’ve arrived in Europe only to find pots damaged, screws loose and a TSA pamphlet letting me know who to thank. People always seem curious about whether the number of different variables to mull over is intimidating or not and it certainly can be when you’re working on the fly and in the middle of a set. Like most things, once you get to know your setup you learn to maneuver through it and identify problems that may arise with increasing dexterity.

Can you explain the benefits of touring with the modular?
It sounds great, has got a lot of power behind it and is incredibly flexible. I love hearing it through good sound systems and in strange rooms. Sometimes I’ll set up patches I’m working on just to see how they sound in a given space, or, when given the opportunity, I’ll throw something up just to see how much we can get the place to rattle. Using the modular on the road also keeps me on my toes, even when everything else has been locked down through repetition on tour.

Do you create patches nightly or do you have preset patches you remember?
I always work patches out before a tour. On some occasions I’ll change things up if I get tired of the flow or find that they’re not working in the set. When I have time for a decent sound check I like to try to tweak the patch to suit the room or sound system.

What are your favorite modules?
Current favorites: MOTM 410 (Triple Resonant Filter), Encore Electronics Frequency Shifter, Zeroscillator, MOTM 480 VCF, Blacet Time Machine… They all sound great and satisfy certain cravings I’ve recently had.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
There has always been a piano in my house and I’ve had various Casio keyboards when I was younger but the first synth I bought later in life was a Crumar Performer. It was initially used when I joined The Locust and was later put into service by Darryl in Le Shok, where it sustained many, many injuries before it was finally retired. My most recent addition to the MOTM is the 480 VCF.

What is on your current wish list?
Buchla 200e, Vox Jaguar….

Do you have a mobile studio setup?
Not really. I have a PreSonus Firepod I take with me when the occasion arises. I used to drag a Tascam 58 around with me. I still have back problems.

Do you have a setup for live performances?
In the last year or so I’ve traveled with the Voyager, a 1 or 2 row cabinet of MOTM modules and a rack case with odds and ends (CV Expander, AD202…).

How many workspaces have you had?
I’ve had a handful in the last 10 years from a Juno 60 and a four track in a trailer I lived in to various garages, rehearsal spaces and bedrooms I’ve occupied. Early on my home setup was mostly based around a few synths, an E-mu Drumulator and two different ½” 8 track machines I would alternate between. When I started building the modular my emphasis shifted more towards exploring its use and capabilities. My current setup has been the most functional, allowing me to keep a decent stock of equipment at my disposal. My focus in the last year has shifted to writing and I feel like my current space reflects that, but change is always looming and as my priorities shift my spaces tend to do the same.

Are you involved in any music/sound work outside of your own projects?
No, but I’m always open for a good gig.

The Locust Myspace
Le Shok Myspace