Archive by Author

Workspace and Environment: Deru

Continuing on our Workspace and Environment series this week, we have Deru. Who originates from the south side of Chicago. Deru was also kind enough to send along one of his tracks, check it out at the end of the article…

How long have you been involved with making music?
I started making music when I was a Freshman in highschool, so about 1994. I didn’t come up with the name Deru till much later, probably around 2000. Though I played trumpet and piano growing up it wasn’t until I got into hiphop and djing that I really started to make music. I started with turntables, then an MPC, then a computer, and so on.

What is your favorite piece of hardware?
I guess I have two favorites right now. One would be my Cwejman MKII analog synth. It sounds fantastic. It’s got really quick envelopes and the oscillators sound dope. It’s semi-modular so it allows for a lot of manipulation. I built a Max patch for it that does step and random sequencing. The combination of the precision from digital sequencing with the analog sound is tight. The other piece of gear that I love is my Avedis E27 eq’s. They’re 500 series so they fit in an API Lunchbox. They’re the kind of eq’s where anything you send threw them sounds better. I’m constantly on the search for gear like this. It’s like magic. You can bypass them and send audio threw and it still sounds better. I want to find a compressor like this.

Favorite Software?
Hmmmmm. In terms of plugins their are a few Pluggo plugins that I’ve built and use a lot. I also love the DFX stuff. Oh, and Guitarrig for getting drums dirty. Man, I love a lot of plugins. In terms of software, I use Nuendo for sequencing/editing. All the NI stuff. Metasynth, CDP, Max/MSP, Supercollider, FScape, Soundhack… Lots more. I find little tweaks or tricks for each one and then I go to it when I want that sound. I’m a software ho, I use it all.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
I’ve often thought about this throughout the years. I’ve wondered how much growing up on the South Side of Chicago influenced me early on. My conclusion is that it effected me a lot. This lead me to wonder about my current surroundings, which by comparison is much more mild, much less “city”. I live in a neighborhood of LA called Silverlake, which I absolutely love, but I wonder if my music would be a lot different if I grew up here… Who knows.

Are you involved in anything beyond your music as Deru?
Yes. I am the co-owner of a music and sound production company called ‘The Track Team’ with Jeremy Zuckerman. We do music and sound for TV, films, and commercials. We’ve done loads of commercials and projects. We also do a show on Nickelodeon called “Avatar”. I also just completed a collaboration with composer Joby Talbot and choreographer Wayne McGregor. It was a ballet for the Paris Opera Ballet at the Opera Garnier. It was great, a highly successful collaboration. The piece consisted of a sting quartet, 8 piece choir, and tons of processing and electronics. It’s fairly unique I think, and will be released sometime next year, if all goes as planned.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
An MPC-2000. I loved being able to filter sounds and change their pitch. A revelation at the time. I later went to the CalArts Music Technology program to study some of the ideas that were shown to me then.

What is on your wishlist?
I’d like a versatile 2-buss compressor. I’d also like to expand my Cwejman with a eurorack full of Plan B, Livewire, and Doepfer modules. Mostly control and random voltage stuff.

What is your mobile setup?
My live performance is pretty simple, though it changes depending on the type of show I’m doing. For clubs I use my Mac laptop, midi controller, and Live. For my ambient type sets I use Max in addition to live, with various instruments going into it. I’d love to make a custom controller for this, I have all the ideas in place, just not the time.

“Tapah” by Deru (link to MP3)

Deru can be found:

Moogerfooger Analog Delay MF-104Z

Initially trash_audio was going to be a source where Justin and I talk about how we use our gear and maybe give brief demos on how we apply it to our music. It has definitely morphed into something beyond ourselves and into another level. So, try to excuse me while I break the chain of Workspaces with a quick demo I did with the Moog moogerfooger Analog Delay MF-104Z. I really love delays of all kinds but preferably tape and analogs. I haven’t been able to find any videos that showcase the delay’s power and intensity, so I figured I’d show how I will be using it. The source of sound is coming from a Roland Juno 106 that has a busted voice chip. But I think it works out well.
I have a higher quality 24mb clip that you can download: here. I recorded straight into logic at 48k using my Mackie Onyx 1220 which should explain the lack of room tone.

And if you care about the backstory on how/ where I got it:
I’m in D.C. visiting family and friends for the weekend, usually I live/work in Chicago. While living here, I used to work at Atomic Music which is in Beltsville, MD and I always stop by whenever I am in town because they buy and sell so much used equipment you never know what you’ll find. An analog ebay if you will. Most of the people that work there are huge guitar buffs and I was the sole keyboard/production geek with almost no clue about guitars. My paycheck more or less went back into the store. Anyways, I stopped by to see some friends and to get rid of a bass guitar and one of the owners sees me eyeing the display moogerfoogers. He knows I have a hunger for delays and he says “I know what you want, I’ll be back.” He runs upstairs, steals a box from the guy who sells things on ebay and hands me the moogerfooger! Some guy returned it thinking it was broken but they gathered it was something else in his signal chain that was causing the problems. That means I ended up with a near mint moogerfooger at almost half price. We work out a trade between the bass and some cash and next thing I know I made this video. It’s an amazing store who’s owners are right there on the floor and everyone there are some of the nicest people I’ve met. If you live in the D.C. Metro area, you probably know it by now, but if not check it out: Here.

Workspace and Environment: James Cigler

I’ve managed to sneak away from humans around me to post a new artist. We’ve gotten many more artists interested in this blog who are excited to share their workspace as we are to have them! I went to Baltimore last night to a concert and ended up talking to a couple of the bands and got them interested. It’s really nice to talk about this face to face with artists because it puts faces and personalities to their names. To me, this series is all about personality and its quite difficult to interpret them through e-mails. Also, it’s been just about a month and I’d like to steal some space to say thanks to all 18 thousand people who came by our site. We are obviously overwhelmed by all the support we’ve received by both artists and readers alike. We even managed to make enough money to eat once a month by you accidently clicking on the advertisements. Have a great weekend and enjoy James’s workspace!

After being sick last weekend and busy all week (and saturday with a mastering project) I finally got around to making a video tour for my upcoming Workspace and Environment interview on Trash_Audio. It was Surachai’s idea to make a video and it came out better than I expected. Rather than narrate this one, I thought I’d give you all a break from my voice and instead write a quick piece as the sound track. And, it made sense to use the stuff being shown in the video”. – via James Cigler

How long have you been involved with making music?
Maybe since I was 8 years old, when I got my first tape recorder and microphone and started making my own radio shows. But I didn’t pick up an instrument (the guitar) until I was 15…so 11 years as a “musician”.

What is your favorite piece of hardware?
My Livewire/Plan B/Doepfer modular is probably the easy answer. The variations on sound and pure flexibility and uniqueness make it my favorite. The hard answer, like if I could only keep one single piece of gear and the rest *had* to go, I would have to say my MachineDrum. The amount of modulation possibilities, tone sources, and the sequencer make it far more useful than just drums. It would be my “desert island” piece of kit.

Favorite software?
I’ll have to say, the UAD-1 plugin suite. I’ve used all the various DAWs and most of the software-based music tools out there and feel confident that I could get what I want done with any one of them, however, I don’t think it would sound as good as I wanted it to without the UAD plugins…they are just too good.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
My physical space is small and very messy and I think the space is more a product of my workflow than the other way around. I used to spend lots of time (and money) trying to find the optimal place to have something, but I found that after all that time spent on organizing (and not on actually having fun with the gear) I still wasn’t happy. So now I just put stuff on the desk, or on the floor, and sometimes it stays there for a while and sometimes it moves and sometimes is does all of that in the span of 30 minutes. I do like to keep a lot of toys, trinkets, and other collectable stuff around for general aesthetics. Sometimes I get a little too wrapped up and frustrated and those things remind me that I should just be having fun.

What are you currently involved in?
I do a bit of mixing and mastering on the side, I’ve done some production work on friend’s projects, but that’s been it lately. I’ve done some stuff for film shorts back in college, when I was around film students, but that’s since died out. If anyone is interested, I’m available ;) For the most part, I’m just enjoying making weird sounds.

Do you remember your first piece of gear?
I distinctly remember my first tape recording and microphone. It’s hard to draw the line after that. I know, after I started playing guitar, the first piece of hardware that I was completely infatuated with and that was the Boss DD-3 digital delay. That’s probably where my weird sounds fetish really started: playing the guitar into that with the feedback all the way up and tweaking the delay time. Delays are still my favorite effect, with any sound.

What is on your wishlist?
I’ve been dying for the Livewire AFG, the waveform phase modulation..ah I can’t wait. I’m also really looking forward to The Harvestman Tyme Sefari. I actually very recently posted a wish list on my weblog. It’s all modular stuff. Beyond modular gear, I’m looking forward to picking up a Universal Audio 2-LA-2 whenever the budget allows.

Do you have a mobile setup?
90% of all my gear is fairly portable, so packing it up and taking it somewhere isn’t too difficult. I guess the most portable and powerful piece would be my MacbookPro. I pretty much have it with me at all times, work, home, studio, vacation. If I went on a trip and had to take something along to perform with, it would probably be that; or the MachineDrum .I could break down almost any of my stuff and take it with me to perform. I am working on consolidating a modular performance system though; a collection of modules that will fit in one of my Doepfer suitcases. I haven’t decided on all the modules yet, but it will most assuredly be a mostly Livewire+Plan B affair. I’m also making a special controller for this system. I’m getting a bit tired of using a regular keyboard and want something with a less quantized range, so I bought a pair of joysticks and started brainstorming on making something similar to the Wiard Joystick + JAG controller…although a little less JAG and a little more trigger buttons. :)

How many locations have you had your studio?
Lets see…bedroom, basement, garage, storage room off of garage, bedroom (different house), bedroom/office (current)…6. I guess the only real difference is more expensive stuff! Haha. The studio in the storage room off the garage was probably the biggest. It was before I started using a computer to record so I had a few racks of [cheap] outboard gear, [cheap] mics, and a Tascam 388. That thing was beautiful. After that thing, I had two ADATS (crap) and it wasn’t until it started to be come more work to keep everything working than actually making music that I actually used a computer to record music. Now all the space is taken up by synthesizers and noise boxes. As it should be! :D

James Cigler was born in Cleveland, OH, relocated to Houston, TX, then to San Jose, CA. He’s currently in the Bay Area and doesn’t plan on moving.

His webpage can be found here:

Workspace and Environment: Atom™

Monday! If anyone went to the Analog Live performance in Los Angeles this past friday, we would love to know what you thought of it. There are a few pictures that can be found: here. Richard Devine has agreed to answer a few questions about Analog Live and it will be posted once everything is in order. Also I have to get in touch with Peter Grenader, who threw the event because somehow I managed to destroy my Plan B Model 15 revision 2 upon arrival along with my Doepfer A-190 MCVS. I am simply that talented.
In case you don’t see too much action here this week on trash_audio it is because I’ll be in D.C. pretending to be human around my family. My hours of practicing smiling and walking in the sunlight will be put to the test. Also, don’t forget to write us e-mails about what you think of the blog. So here is Atom™!

Since around 1982. I started playing drums in our basement first (just drumming by myself). In 1985 or so I sold the drumkit and got a cheap drum machine. From there on I purchased more machines, mostly analog gear which was cheap because it was out of fashion in the mid ’80s. I released my first record in 1991.

What is your current favorite Hardware:
It’s still my MPC3000, even though I am not using it much these days. Every now and then I take it out of the closet and play around with it. Every time i am surprised about how good of an instrument it actually is. It’s reliable, playful, simple and sounds good. Oh…and it’s tight too.
What is your current favorite software?
I am only using one piece of software, which is Protools (currently still on LE 6.4). It’s my favourite because of the same reasons I like the MPC3000: reliable, (fun?), simple and sounds good. I have restricted myself since the beginning of my musical activities to very simple work environments. I have kicked out equipment rather than bought new one. Some years ago I got stuck with Protools and since then have not used any other software except for some very specific plugins.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
Some years ago I decided to pay more attention to specific aspects of my workspace such as furniture, curtains, and so on. “Decoration instead of gear” became the motto. All my workspaces had to have big windows and if possible a nice view (even though I tend to close the curtains in summer during daytime). I don’t like “studio” atmosphere. I don’t like cables, gear and the entire tech-look. Environments that make me feel well and relaxed are usually of a different type. I like old furniture, warm colours, ornaments and in general everything that does not look contemporary. The contemporary look usually is contaminated with bad taste and pretentious design. Further, the decoration itself helps to absorb reflections and creates a dryer sound. I can say that the decoration itself, that is, obtaining/installing as well as creating amongst it, gives me more satisfaction than obtaining/installing equipment. I can see why “studios” have to look “tech”, that is because the studio owner needs to impress the entirely clueless cast of customers. There is no reason whatever to follow that look, just because it is somewhat implied in the equipment itself. In general I’m very sensible when it comes to “making music”. I find it hard to focus in other studios that don’t fit my aesthetics and sound. I think that my workspace is a perfect combination of the technical-, creative- and aethetic aspects of my work and it has become what it is through a long development of those three components.

Extra-curricular projects
Besides my releases on “rather interesting” and other labels and as Señor Coconut, I am doing quite a bit of remixes and production jobs. Just recently I have co-composed and produced a song together with Masaki Sakamoto for the new “Space Invader” game on Sony’s portable Playstation for example.

Do you remember your first piece of equipment?
A Korg DDM 110 drum machine (a very bad drum machine by the way!).

What is on your wish list?
None. yet, I am thinking about buying another painting for the “studio”.

Do you have a mobile studio setup?
First of all, I don’t call it “studio” but “musikzimmer” (music room). It only contains a G4 Powerbook (12inch), a Digi 002 interface, Meyer sound nearfield speakers, a Microkorg and a Soundfield stereo microphone. The setup itself is portable, yet, to make it easier I just take an M-Box Pro with me and a pair of headphones if I need to work/record abroad.

Do you have a setup for live performances?
There are different setups for different projects/performances. For Señor Coconut, I just use a recently purchased Macbook, running Ableton Live, (though it’s a piece of software I don’t really like). I use it mainly as a file player, since with Señor Coconut I am playing together with an 8 man orchestra. A “solo” performance setup (as “Atom™”) is under construction. It may contain the MPC 3000 again and maybe the Tenori-on.

How many locations have you had your studio setup and how have they changed?
I had a studio back in Frankfurt which in the beginning (1985-1994) was mainly old analogue gear and very much in process of “growing” (purchasing more equipment). Around 1994/95, I decided to get rid of all the analog equipment and minimalized down to a setup of just an MPC3000, an Akai S32000 and an Akai DR8 harddisk recorder. In 1997, I moved to Chile and brought the gear with me. I replaced above mentioned equipment by the mini-setup I’m using now during the last 10 years. Here in Chile, I had three physical locations (including the current one) all of them pretty similar: windows, daylight and a nice view. In general my “studio” philosophy has changed in the sense that my interest in gear itself has totally vanished during the last 20 years. Actually I find it more important to focus on the process of creation/composition itself using a reduced selection of machines. From 2001 onwards my motto became: “invest in decoration, not in equipment!”, that’s basically what I did. New hard- or software is just a topic when the current setup breaks down. I prefer to buy a magazine about interior design and decoration rather than the keyboard magazine.

Atom™ has dozens of pseudonyms. He indicates that Atom Heart may be better known and one of his favorites being “señor coconut”. He was born in Frankfurt, Germany and moved to Chile in 1997.

You can find Atom™ at the following links:

Workspace and Environment: Sgure

I didn’t write the two sentence intro and I have a feeling Sgure didn’t either. We both don’t have the capacity to write like this. And while the intro serves it’s purpose by trying to describe his music, I was given a link and added it to the bottom of the article. Enjoy! Have a crazy weekend and if you’re in Los Angeles on friday, visit Redcat and say ‘Hey’ to Richard and Alessandro.

Sgure Bio: A vast array of vulgar pieces, glimpses into the foul and uncomfortable, intermingling with voice, speech, deafening silence and vomit create this pure utter musical torment. There is no code, no real rhyme or reason for the epic temper tantrum known as Sgure. In fact I never really started to work on music. I can only say I tried to play some Nirvana or even Red Hot Chili Peppers songs on guitar in my teenage years, then I started to understand I was not destinated to be a virtuose with any type instruments, I became more familiar with writing ideas and experimenting with stuff that was able to produce sound. Taking advice from some friends, I put money into Apple’s laptop and began to really save my work as files ;)

Regarding Hardware
I don’t have favor anything particularly, I had a real interest in patching stuff and using the nord micro modular, I did love pretending to be Jean Michel Jarre using the Kaoss pad too. The turntables are something super cool too! Spending lot of time with my friend Andy Bolus and then I dig all types of circuit bending stuff and start to do my own machine too DIY mic, weird gamepad and other inventions.

Regarding Software
Ableton Live, all the Natives gang, Peak. Everything is interesting and useful but regarding the circuit bending stuff that I love
and that “Do it yourself” thing that is a part of me, my favorite soft is max/msp, I like to patch for hours and hours, be a geek and lose friends. With max/msp you start from zero and put more interest in basic things. As I learned with my friend Alex from Chlorgeschlecht, “simple effects are the best”. max/msp is perfect for going to the / root/root/root/root.

Regarding Workspace and Environment
The more messy, the more comfortable I feel. I don’t particularly write in one place. My favorite is when the TV is on and around.

Additional Projects
Videos, silly drawings and Gazormass.

A band who can perform the riffs I need. I would love to try max 5 too.

Mobile Workstation
My lil setup is a Macbook, MOTU Ultralite or one of the soundcards I made. Also I bring a modified Sixaxis gamepad & mics. My big setup is really boring, it comes with my friends saying ‘”Freeka, you’re shity with your big rack! You wanna look american?” This big rack includes everything in the lil setup plus a Mackie, Kaoss pad, Micro Modular and never less than 5 mics, hehe.

Sgure lives in Bordeaux, France and can be found at:
Sgure Music

Scream 2007: Analog Live!

Our friend, Richard Devine, will be performing along with several other musicians in a one off show based around analog equipment on Friday November 16, 2007 in Los Angeles, California. Also, another guest in our Workspace series is included in the performance, Alessandro Cortini. If you live around the area, I highly recommend checking this show.

You can more information about the event: here and here.

Peter Grenader from the Plan B User Group Forum:
As far as the equipment we’ll be using, we’ve put together an orchestra of oscillators: Off the top of my head – three rather large Plan B systems, a Doepfer/Plan B/Livewire system, Arp 2600, two cabinets of Aries, one nine panel and a medium-sized three panel Serge fitted with a custom Plan B model 13, the largest Wiard system in the world, an EMS Synthi-AKS, the EAR Performance system, a Buchla 200e, Nord Modular, a Novation, a Waldorf Wave, two tcelectronic reverbs (a
2000 and 60000), tons of delays and a Yamaha SPX90. Controller include a C-Thru-Music Axis, a Continuum Fingerboard, a Doepfer PK88 and MAQ 16/3, Roland A-33, a Fatar workstation and an Analogue Systems French

Along with a wall of effect racks, Chas Smith will be bringing two of his own instruments: the Guitarilla and the Towers. Guitarzilla is a steel guitar made of machined aluminum and welded titanium tubing. It has a 12 string neck tuned to a diatonic scale and an 8-string bass neck. It is also fitted with a small waterless Waterphone-type instrument which is bowed. The Towers are eight 1 1/4″ diameter grade 9 titanium rods with titanium plates welded on the ends which are both bowed and struck with a variety of mallets. The longest Tower is109″, standing over 10 feet tall in it’s hanger, and the shortest is 55″. They have been cut to form a scale which can be obliterated by the complexity of the sounds that the plates generate. They’re
sonically and visually majestic, bordering on astonishing. Go here for a photo:

We will be performing six pieces, one each from the six players, all of which performed by the ensemble – it’s not a series of solo performances. Three of the pieces will be world premiers.

These pictures were ganked from Matrixsynth. More pictures can be found: here.

Workspace and Environment: Zach Goheen


How long have you been involved with making music?
For fun: Since birth.
For fun and money: Since college

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
Wurlitzer “super-sprite” funmaker. It’s a 70s console organ with built in drum machine and speakers. It has buttons labeled with things like “magic chords” and “latin”. Of all the keyboards in the studio, thats the first one to get played when someone new comes over. It;s a one man fun band – especially when the Echoplex has its way with it.

What is your current favorite software or plugin?
Probably the new Native Instruments soft synth bundle as a whole. I prefer to have real things that make real sounds but sometimes you gotta fake it. I especially like the ‘Akoustic Piano’ plugin because theres no fucking way we could get a real piano up here. Five guys almost died trying to get the tape machine up the stairs.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
I think it influences it quite a bit. Compared to other spaces that I’ve worked in, I seem to make much ‘happier’ music in this room. I was sick of working in a dark attic and now there are windows and colors and a wonderful sounding room. That’s actually the biggest part for me, this room sounds amazing with the hardwood floors and the brick walls. If it was just a little bit smaller it would be echo-y, but at this size it sounds very much alive. I think its also important to not feel overwhelmed by gear in a studio. Most musicians could care less about how many plugins you have or the 300 different piano patches some keyboard may have. Especially when there’s a steep learning curve that you have to overcome just to play a sound out of a
keyboard or box. We try to keep everything ‘grab-and-twist’: no menus or display screens.

Are you involved in any music/sound work outside of your own projects?
You (Surachai) and I just finished a score for a movie (don’t you remember? It was last month!) which was shot by my roommate Ben Chappell. Most of the time I’m working with other artists to record their music. I produced an album with JT and the Clouds last year and will be working on a side project with them this winter. I like to keep the keyboards happy so I encourage friends to come over whenever they want to write. I make them keys.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
Tascam 414 casette 4track

What is on your current ‘wish list’ for new hardware or software?
I need to build a monitor controller with volume, input selection, and a mono/stereo switch. Im currently weeding through schematics.

Zach Goheen lives in chicago and can be found at:

Workspace and Environment: Chris de Luca vs Phon.o

Hello people. Since I have decided to take this saturday evening to work on music and the blog, I’m throwing up a post for the weekend. I’ve always felt a sort of humbleness when people speak to me in English when it is not their native tongue. This usually happens when traveling but more recently, through these interviews. When English is not the artists first language, or even when it is, they agree to some small changes to keep their ideas fluent. I try to keep the integrity of their words and the context by not putting a spin on their ideas. So if you catch errors in the text regarding hardware or spelling, please let me know because I pretend to be human. With that said and out of the way, here is Chris de Luca vs Phon.o!

Chris: I started making music around 14 years ago.
Phon.o: I started making music around 10 years ago.
CLP: Chris was one part of Funkstörung, after the split in 2006 we started a new project together with called CLP (Chris de Luca vs Phon.o). Since about one year we’re working on an album which is almost done. We also did several remixes which you can listen to it on our website.

Play favorites with your hardware
CLP: There are so many good pieces and they all have different special features, but we would say that our fave is still the Nord Lead, because you can create so many different sounds with it and it always sounds so weird and special ,especially if we run it through the Chandler TG1 or our custom made distortion filter. Another favorite is our Amek 9098 compressor, damn, this piece is a weapon on drums and vocals. For us it is very important to put in a warm analog sound on our tracks. Favorite Software
CLP: It is a plugin done by a friend called Disctruction. This plugin is just amazing, it’s a combination of many plugins like granulator, bouncy, dblue glitch, etc, but all in one. It would take us to long to explain all features it has. :) …also we love the Duende plugins from SSL. we use the compressor and the drumstrip on all our files. It rocks!!

Can you talk about your workspace?
CLP: We like squares, it makes our sound more rectangled. So far we have a small studio in Chris’s flat. It smells like herbs and our table is too big for the room. Behind us there is messy stuff like boxes and a mattress, things like that. We really need a bigger studio and we actually found something really big together with our friends Apparat and Kid 606. After all the construction work is done and we finally can move in, we will tell you how this workspace will be. ;))

Are you guys involved with anything outside of your current project?
From time to time we’re working for advertising and film music. We also do a lot of remixes and productions for other bands.

Do you remember your first piece of gear?
Chris: It was the Roland TR-808. I’m a drum freak and this machine just blew me away and it was easy to play around with.
Phon.o: The Roland TR-606 was my flash.

Whats on your wishlist?
CLP: Oh, our wish list is very long, but if we have enough money (maybe in 20 years… ) we want to buy a Studer mixing console a SE Electronics ATC-1X, a Korg M3, a Protools System, 2 japanes knifes, and a Avalon AD 2044.

What does your live setup look like?
CLP: It includes 1 Powerbook, 1 Macbook Pro, 2 M-audio FastTrack Pro, 1 Akai MPD 16, 3 different Faderfox controllers, 1 Kaoss Pad Mini, 1 Kaoss pad 2, 2 customised distortion filters, 1 Evolution UC-33, 1 Behringer B-control rotary.

Chris de Luca was born in Rosenheim, a town near Munich in south Bavaria, Germany. He moved to Berlin about 3 years ago.
Phon.o was born in Thüringen (East Germany) where they have the best sausages ever. In 1997 he moved to Berlin.

You can find Chris de Luca vs Phon.o at

Workspace and Environment: Protman

How long have you been involved with making music/sound?
I’ve been making sound and music since early high school when a friend turned me on to MOD tracking, which is still my primary way of sequencing. We won battle of the bands that year with our computers, and were then DQ’d for having an “unfair advantage”. The judges then gave the prize to the band with their parents playing the lead instruments. Do we have to talk about this?

What is your current favorite piece of hardware? What makes this your favorite?
My wireless xbox360 controller; I’ve rigged it up to function like having seven Kaoss pads in my hands at once.

What is your current favorite software or plugin? What makes this your favorite?
Schism Tracker, an Impulse Tracker emulator that works on any OS. There are so many reasons that it’s my favorite. I’ve been using the interface for so long; it’s like I become one with the computer while sequencing. I also prefer to combine it with a 1984 IBM “clicky” keyboard. That reminds me to add a “clicky” Das Keyboard to my wishlist. This also makes me require laptops with a full qwerty+numpad. I wish they made laptop keyboards more durable with more motion and clickyness. I need to pound my fist on it from time to time to see what happens. My favorite plugins are ones with very minimal or nonexistent GUIs like the MDA and Tweakbench plugs.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
I very often need to refresh and rearrange my workspace and workplace. Keep things and thneeds to a minimal minimum. If my surroundings become too static, I feel I become pathologically static creatively as well, and I’m pretty sure I need to go to rehab for internet abuse. Maybe yall can conspire an intervention for me.

Are you involved in any music/sound work outside of your own projects?
I’ve been involved in zillions of small projects for independent films and other media. I’ve been commissioned for some remixes; one for Beck that wound up being a fun fiasco. I also work freelance for several wireless hardware, content providers, and distributors. Pretty soon you’ll be hearing tracks of mine built into Kyocera phones. There was also a ridiculous track of mine I never expected to be used as background music for some Playboy soft-core. “Campy” can’t quite describe the results. I would definitely enjoy doing more of that.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
My Gravis Ultrasound MAX soundcard! It’s huge! And pink! Google it.
It allowed me, for the first time, to use 16bit sounds as opposed to 8bit; though it did limit me to 512KB of sample data. Santa gave it to me the same xxxmas I acquired “The 7th Guest”. That was when I got really deep into tracking, staying up till 3am on schoolnights and making audio cassettes to listen to in the morning. The memories of “Mod4Win” and “Cubic Player” are really making me wistful of my childhood.

What is on your current ‘wish list’ for new hardware or software?

I want the full, thousand million dollar, version of Ableton 7 in addition to items on: . Otherwise, nothing special. I prefer to get funky with the fundementals rather than goofing off with new toys and warez. Less is more. I just ordered an 18″ long 37 mini-key usb midi keyboard, too. I expect it should fit in my backpack. I need to ditch this dumpy behemoth CRT and get a nice wide flatscreen for my desktop, too.

What is in your live setup?
Laptop, headphones, game controller. I am also soon integrating a Dance Dance Revolution pad I translated to midi; maybe a couple.

Where were you born and how did you end up in the location you currently reside?
I was born on Long Island, NY. (Is it right to say “on?”) My family moved to Chicagoland when I was about one for an opportunity at Sears & Roebuck. Since 1998 I’ve been moving all over Chicago with various friends and musicians, initially to be part of K-Rad way up on the north side. The longest I’ve lived anywhere was at Heaven Gallery in Wicker Park, but I’ve since moved near the near-southwest art district in Pillzen where my roommate Alexander and I bounce musical ideas off each others’ faces.

How many physical locations have you had your studio setup in over time and how have they changed?
Hmm.. one, two, three, four, five, six, back to four; so seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven (same floor as ten, but a dramatically different space), twelve! i don’t know if I really have time to elaborate. It was only at the sixth space where my bedroom and studio were not the same room. In the second iteration of the fourth space I lofted a California king sized mattress over my studio which also acted as soundproofing. Using only 4x4s, a handsaw, and a power-drill; I wish that determination came in a bottle or spray. There could also be an 8.5th space as I set up a small studio in an empty office of the bizarre ISP I worked for. Home is where you make it, homey.

Protman can be found at:
Protman Music

Workspace and Environment: Captain Ahab

Hey people. Hope you had a good weekend. I’ve been slightly busy at work (they had me here on Saturday), so I skipped out on posting on Monday. Justin managed to guide me on how to put up the e-mail address here. It’s on the right, so send us comments/feedback or simply a ‘hello’. We love e-mail! Here is Jonathan Snipes from Captain Ahab to start off this week.

How did you start off?
I’ve been making music with computers for about 17 years. At first it was writing little monophonic tunes with the PLAY command in GW & Q-Basic, then finally getting a real computer (that could run Windows!) and playing around with Cakewalk and Noteworthy Composer.

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
My /MOTM / Blacet /Tellun /Wiard /CGS /Oakley /Bananalogue Analogue Modular Synthesizer is my favorite (almost my *only*) piece of hardware. People talk a lot about the versatility of an analogue modular environment, but coming from computers and (particularly) MAX/MSP, I find modulars *fairly* limiting … it’s kind of the lowest amount of customizability that I find acceptable in hardware. I can’t really see myself buying any synthesizers with fixed-signal paths, except for ones that I think are fairly unique in their sound/approach (i.e. Yamaha FS1R, Oberheim OBMX, etc. ) What’s really astounding about all this analogue gear is who phenomenal it sounds. Those of us who have grown up with computer-based music production systems have often been only using things that attempt to emulate the sounds of analogue (and fall short) – this sounds good almost no matter what you do, so there are no more excuses. You make a shitty track with Reason or something, and you say, “Well if I had some better gear I could make better music.” This is it. This synth sounds fantastic, so it’s all up to me to write things for it that are good. This in conjunction with Redmatica Autosampler kicks ass. Any sound I make I can then sample in a few clicks, and have forever in polyphony inside logic. Awesome.

Favorite Software?
Max/MSP & Pluggo. I can build pretty much any effect I need and have it as a plugin inside logic. AND, the plugins can share information back and forth. Like audio – I can send audio back and forth between plugins on different channels without the use of Buses or Auxes. pretty sweet. Max is so versatile. I use it for almost everything. From building synthesizer and plugins to building cueing engines for live theater to building loop management playback systems for live Captain Ahab shows. Can’t say enough good things about MAX. I make all my tracks in Logic, which I probably use more than Max, but Max is my favorite, no question.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
I’m not in an ideal space by any means, if it affects my workflow, it’s probably an extremely negative influence. I’m still pretty poor, so I have a kind of crappy house. It’s full of termites and mold, and the plumbing backs up a lot. That sort of thing. My studio is situated in the garage, where there’s lots of mold and dust, and the lighting is just absolute shit. The room itself sounds really bad too, lots of slapback & ringing echoes. I recently made a curtain over the garage door out of packing blankets. This has improved the reflections & isolation somewhat, but I need to get more blankets and do up the rest of the walls too. These things being said, this is the first time I’ve had space to spread out, which is really great. In previous apartments my studio has always been just a corner of my bedroom, doing vocal recordings in the closet. Having a separate building allows me to be really messy without getting in the way of the rest of my life (which, of course is also really messy, but in a different way). That’s good. Whoever lived in this house before us clearly also used the garage as a recording studio, because they had built a vocal both in it. Very recently I’ve torn it out (because the walls were moldy and the door didn’t shut) and now I’m rebuilding it better, trying to make it deader & give it more isolation.

Are you involved in any music/sound work?
Yes – I’ve been working with composer Bear McCreary (Battlestar Galactica) on making synth sounds & loops for some of his scores. We did Wrong Turn 2 (direct-to-DVD horror movie starring Henry Rollins) together, and currently we’re working on The Sarah Connor Chronicles (Terminator spin-off show on Fox this January). I also do quite a bit of composition & sound design for live theater. More and more live theater performances involve me bringing the modular out & making soundscapes live.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember buying?
I got a Kurzweil K2000 in 2001, which was pretty much all I used for a few years. The first couple of Captain Ahab releases are pretty much 100% K2000, sequenced in Cakewalk, then later in Logic. Before that I just had a computer with cakewalk 5 and a Yamaha PSR of some variety. I also had a Mackie 1402-VLZ pro and a Digitech S100 effects box.

What is on your current wish list?
Metasonix Wretch Machine, Yamaha FS1R, Hartmann Neuron, Cynthia Zeroscillator, Millenia HV-3D, Oberheim OBMX, Sound Devices 722, SSL Duende, Meyer HD1s, Max 5, Buchla 200e, Metric Halo 2d card, Yamaha GX1, that new Livewire oscillator, the Cjweman compressor, etc etc etc

Do you have a mobile studio setup?
I have a Marantz CF recorder & AT-825 for making field recordings, but if I really need high-quality recordings, I bring out my MacBook Pro, Metric Halo ULN-2, and Neumann TLM-103.

Do you have a setup for live performances? What does it include?
MacBook Pro, MOTU Ultralite, Shure SM58, Max/MSP, Faderfox LD2 & DJ2

How many physical locations have you had your studio setup in over time and how have they changed?
I’ve had my studio in five different places over the years. My mom’s house, my dorm room, two apartments, and this current house. I suppose a dorm room studio doesn’t really count – I couldn’t really do any real work/recording there, and I didn’t start making records until the next apartment, where I was doing all my vocal recordings in the bathroom. Yeesh. The next apartment at least had a closet (acoustically treated by my hanging clothes, of course) for vocals, but I was still set up in my bedroom. Now, this is the first place I’ve not had my setup in the same room that I sleep in. Now I’m not even connected to my living space. This has its advantages & disadvantages. I don’t keep my roommates up all night by playing the same loop over and over and over again, but I also don’t have as easy access to everything – when my setup’s in my bedroom, I can just leave a song open, then go make dinner and run in and work on it for 2 minutes while the water is boiling or whatever, but with everything in a separate building, I have to divide my time more specifically. I’ve been struggling with
that, as I have a pretty short attention span and like doing 100 things at once in little 2 minute bursts.

Jonathan Snipes was born in Riverside, CA and resides in Los Angeles, CA. He is a part of Captain Ahab and Unnecessary Surgery. They can be found on Deathbomb Arc, Irritant Records and Experimental Music Research.
Captain Ahab Music

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