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Workspace and Environment: The Sight Below

It’s been a long time since our last Workspace and Environment entry. Most of the artists we’re waiting for are on tour and enjoying summer but fear not, the grasp of fall and winter are coming and we’ll be overflowing with domesticated artists willing to share their workspace and answer our questions. Here is a modest interview from The Sight Below from Ghostly International, also be sure to check out the excellent free EP that was recently released.

tsb1

How long have you been involved with making music and what keeps you motivated?
Over 12 years. My Bloody Valentine – Kevin Shields makes perfect music.

What are your current favorite pieces of hardware?
Lexicon LXP-5 and LXP-1. I love the LXP-5’s 12-bit pitch shifting reverb. I also like this German-made Schmidt bow I recently purchased and an old Kay guitar somebody gave me for my birthday. I swear by the SPX-90’s reverse reverb.
What are some softwares or plugins you prefer?

I use Cubase for the most part. I like the Voxengo and URS plugins a lot. Lovely compressors and eq’s. URS makes a great SSL emulation channel strip!

tsb3

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
I think the weather here in Seattle facilitates a distinctive emotional aura. The overcast skies have definitely influenced my creative output.

Could you describe your ideal location to be creative in?

Tromsø, Norway. I find the landscape and extreme climate very inspiring.

You can find The Sight Below from Ghostly International at:

– myspace
– Ghostly Artist Page
– No Place For Us (Free EP!)

Workspace and Environment: On Holiday

I just watched the aftermath of someone getting stabbed in the face tonight. There’s been a lot of knife action in Chicago as of late…. Anyways! Justin and I are toying around with the idea of doing a bi-weekly streaming web show right here! I’m not sure what to expect or what we will even cover but I’m sure everyone’s mothers will come up. We’ll set a date/time later and see what happens but for now I got Marianne Williams from On Holiday to spill her guts.

onholiday1

Background
I was born into sweet Iowa then moved to awful Kansas when I was in 7th grade. I knew college was my chance to escape, and since my mom was a hippie who lived in LA during the late 60s and early 70s, I grew up hearing stories and seeing photos of California in those days. I really romanticized this city as a child and still do. I love it here, but the people get pretty intense. I find myself subletting my apartment out every once in a while to travel, explore and take a break from LA. We always had a piano in our house growing up. As a child I would sneak into the music room after my sisters piano practice to try to imitate the Chopin and Bach she would endlessly loop. I still can’t read music or play by ear, but I always felt elated by my simplified Romantic/Baroque improv approximations. When I was 15, I met an opera singer that adored my voice, and in the following 3 years he taught me all of the mezzo parts in great operas like Carmen, Aida, and Cavalleria Rusticana. I came to LA/USC to continue to study, but learning about jazz, rave and hip hop, conceptual art, performance art and film distracted me from classical training. Now, music is just a personal joy for me. The compulsion to write, play and record seems endless, and the emotional release that comes after completing some new song that has lots of ticking/tocking/interlocking layers is too strong and good to quit all together. Performing is an offshoot of writing and recording at home. When I spend 6 months or 2 years writing one song, eventually I need to play it for someone besides my bunny rabbit.

What are your current favorite pieces of hardware?
I love my upright piano- the tone is incredible. It’s 600 pounds and 106 years old, and I found it in a basement in Inglewood. Also, my Ibanez Rock and Play drum machine which I found in Guangzhou, my dead grampas accordion, the autoharp which Tlr gave me for Christmas… I’m very sentimental about instruments and can not pick a “favorite”, how unfair! I used to love my Oberheim Matrix 6 because it transports you to a magical place of cheesy 80s horror films, but Qrixs broke a bunch
of the keys and it’s been dropped a lot, so now it’s starting to program its own not-good sounds. I’m pretty sure none of that is actually “hardware,” but ah, well.

onholiday1

What are some softwares or plugins you prefer?
A friend just hooked me up with ProTools 7 and one of those fancy M-Audio firewire sound card things. That is probably pretty basic for most of you all, but it’s a huge step for me as I only had garageband before. I still don’t understand plugins. When I record, I get all of my sounds with mics or from instruments with line outs. I like to cut and edit on the computer though.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
My “studio” is in one of my living rooms. I can usually only focus on a song or practice for an hour at the most, because of all the other daily crap I have to do which is staring me in the face.

Could you describe what you might think your ideal location would be?
A huge house with huge windows on a cliff outside of Rio, with a white baby grand piano on the balcony overlooking the ocean. The amazing studio and amazing chef would lure all of my amazing music friends there to live with me and record amazing albums together.

What is on your current ‘wish list’?
Rhodes, Moog Voyager, Whirly… a really warm tone keyboard. Analog echo and reverb boxes, a (working) portable turntable, and a whole collection of vintage mics, especially an old radio announcer mic. I never buy gear on ebay, it just feels wrong, so I have to wait until I discover it in some dusty thrift store or tiny music shop.

onholiday1

Do you have a setup for live performances?
My tiny size toy grand piano, the Rock N Play handheld drum machine, distortion pedal, toy mic, regular mic, microcube or other small amp, whatever keyboard I can borrow from one of my friends (if there’s not a piano at the venue), and the few toys I’ve wired with outputs. That’s the basic stuff, but each show is different. I love to collaborate with all kinds of people- noise artists, performance artists, puppets, and beat makers, and have happily never made the same show twice.

Are you involved in any other projects?
I’m singing in an amazing psychedelic/western band called Crooked Cowboy and the Freshwater Indians. I love it- the sound is so full and intense, and I sing these wordless rhythms and harmonies with a few other singers. Also, I am helping to coordinate the soundtrack for an indie feature film called Trilby. I don’t think I’m going to contribute to the soundtrack, just organize other musicians. For me, it’s nice and necessary to step out of the role of creator sometimes, and it’s easy for me to recognize talent and innovation in the people
around me.

On Holiday can be found here: myspace.com/holidaymusic

Workspace and Environment: Pony Pants

HELLO MONDAY, DIE! Er… Hey readers….. Emily J.K, Ryan and Steve from Pony Pants were kind enough to let me poke them with the questions. Enjoy!

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How long have you been involved with making music?
We were all born in delaware and moved to Philadelphia in 2004 after two of us finished school and and all of were seeking change. We started playing together as Pony Pants in early 2005. Ryan and Steve (both who program beats & play guitars) are brothers and had been playing music together for most of their teenage/adult lives, but it was the long, cold winter that brought pony pants together. At the time, the three of us were living in a cheap bi-level apartment with a spare room that we used as a studio and music space. We hadn’t lived in Philly for too long and still weren’t really integrated in our neighborhood or scene. Lots of forced time indoor and general boredom found us in the studio room drinking copious beers, messing around, and eventually writing funny little songs together.

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
Our favorite thing right now is our Akai MPC 2000XL. We used to use a Boss Dr. Rhythm Section to program and sequence the backing beats and synths for all of our songs. After quickly maxing out the DR’s potential (Ryan had owned it since high school), we began to covet an MPC and when we found a used one last year at a music store in Philly, we jumped right on it. The high quality sampling of the Akai was a revelation, and has really pushed and improved the way we write our beats. The warm, analog feel of the Akai is as vast improvement, too, and makes us horny.

What is your current favorite software or plugin?
No.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
Well now we live in a big house that has a huge space on the third floor that is our practice space and Steve’s bedroom and art studio space. While the room at first seemed impossibly massive, it gets more cramped every day as we progressively cram more and more gear into it. The space is cozy and comfortable and it’s in our house! So we can practice pretty much any time the mood strikes. (Except when Steve is napping). Our housemates are really nice about how loud we are, and our neighbors are, too.

Are you involved with any additional projects?
Steve’s been playing guitar sometimes with another project called Soltero
myspace.com/soltero. That’s mostly it for now.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
Ryan says, “The Thor – my first drum set. It was candy apple red and dilapidated even before I got to it! The last thing I got was a Peavey JVM60, which is a badass all tube 60 watt head with 8 mod switches. Perfect for perching myself on my tone throne.” (snickers).
Steve says, “A Yamaha Cruise.” (everyone starts laughing). “And a Peavey Classic. Practice Amp. Hoopty. The last thing I got was a Boss RCXL120 Loopstation.”

What is on your current ‘wish list’?
More stacks.

Have you ever heard your music being played at a random place?
Yes! once at a vintage store in Richmond, VA. we were getting bagels next door and heard it piped in through the speakers outside.

You can find Pony Pants at: myspace.com/ponypants and badmasterrecords.com.

Workspace and Environment: Ignatius

I just noticed that we breached the 100k visitor mark a while back and this blows my mind! Thanks for everyone that has dropped by, sent an e-mail or commented on our page. Sorry if I’ve been slow at replying to e-mails but I think I got them all this week! It really means a lot that I can say my agoraphobia and slight misanthropy teamed up to make something informative and interesting. With all the corny thanks out of the way I got one for the weekend here is Ignatius!

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How long have you been involved with making music?
since 1995/6. that’s when i got my first synth and started making sounds and recording them or just saving patches figuring i’d use them later. what motivated me was just to hear new sounds. i had a good friend/housemate who was a DJ and was always bringing home records and another good friend who worked at a record store who has a completely insane record collection. so, there was always tons of stuff to listen to and explore and get stoked on. so, yeah.. i just wanted to make my own sounds and stuff that i heard in my head and just generally learn how to make electronic music. i always gravitated to the weirder darker stuff and wasn’t really getting my fill of that from going to clubs etc so that probably played a part in it too… plus it’s just fun. that’s what keeps me motivated. making new sounds and jamming and creating weird patterns being surprised by them when they all fit together into a track. plus it’s self expression and i need that.
i was born and raised in florida. i grew up in miami and lived there until i was 25 or so then moved to san diego to work in a recording studio and lived there for about 7 years. 3 or so years ago i came up to portland. i’ve had my studio in half a dozen places. usually half in the kitchen and half in the dining room. i only once had it in a spare bedroom until now of course where i’ve finished out a room with some acoustic panels and a bit of room isolation.

Where can we find your work?
ignatius is the name i’ve worked under the longest. tunes can be heard at these links:
http://www.virb.com/ignatius
http://www.myspace.com/sleepdepfun
http://www.buriedintime.com/
http://www.ignatiusmusic.com/
i do have a side project or two that revolve around live jamming then recording and editing. A friend, who goes by [SiK], and I have a weird acid x0x box type project that we work on from time to time called !!!Dica but we haven’t edited down the hours of material we have yet. We did take a bunch of left over bits and make sample packs that we sent out to friends who in turn made tracks in many styles. The outcome of that is called “Acid Offspring” and is the 4th release on the label i run called Buried In Time

What are your current favorite pieces of hardware?
I’ve been pretty hooked on the elektron monomachine for a couple years now. it integrates with other hardware really well and is just so easy to get around and fun to jam with. once you spend some time with it you can get some great sounds out of it. i’m really getting into the MPC 1000 w/JJOS2 lately though. i’ve never had an mpc so it’s a nice change from other ways of working. it’s easy to get around on but has some nice features for processing/shaping and getting expressive results. plus it’s small and stable and gets me away from the computer more. it’s hard to say what a favorite piece of hardware is. usually it’s whatever is in front of me but i do gravitate towards the elektrons + the modcan and the waldorf microwave XT though the evolver is always surprising and perhaps the best bang for the buck in a synth ever.

What are some softwares or plugins you prefer?
Audiomulch is what i’ve used most in the past 7-8 years. it just makes sense to me and i love having a non-notebased sequencer to work with. it’s great for so many things but i use it mostly for composing entire songs and getting crazy w/the automation of snapshots of the various contraptions and VST’s then record all of that and put the files in logic for mixing. I use Live some too for editing since audio editing in logic can be cumbersome some times.
i use the logic plugs often. i like sculpture and the ES2 though all the plugs are useful and can sound good in the right context. the ringshifter is great. I use kontakt in logic as well. it’s great to stuff it with samples from the hardware and then use all the sound shaping/filtering/modulation etc that kontakt offers. NI stuff is generally really good for that kind of thing. i like weird delays and filters. the PSP stuff is great. I like nitro a lot. Also, uh-e filterscape is really awesome and does some great things to drums and is great for adding movement to anything really. the audiodamage stuff and smart electronix stuff is really cool too. I love the soundtoys plug ins. there’s not much like those out there. They just sound ‘natural, warm. analog’ and can so some great rhythmic delay things and the filters/pitchshifting is awesome. the URS eq’s are really nice. i like the classic EQ bundle with the A and N series eq’s.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
i like a nice secluded dark place so i can forget about what’s going on outside my little space. if i’m distracted i just can’t get things done. but i guess if i had a big quiet room w/windows looking out into a forest or lake or something i might like that too.. so far i haven’t been in that situation. I think i might like making music on the bottom of the ocean as well.

ignatius2
Could you describe what you might think your ideal location would be?
well, i think i’m pretty much there though some times i’d like to be an hour or so away from a small city. in the woods or on a mountain or something. some place where i can walk out the door and not see another house or person and wander the woods for inspiration or something. be some kind of nerdy monk.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining? The last?
i bought a yamaha cs1-x in 1995/6. since then any kind of synth that has a matrix editor interface has been a cakewalk. the last piece of hardware was the MPC-1000

What is on your current ‘wish list’?
hmmm. there’s always a module or two for the modcan that i’d like. i have been waiting for my cyndustries quad low pass gates for over 2 years so i guess that’s what is high on my wish list. but if i was dreaming i’d say a 20 channel tonelux rig with 8 eq’s and 4 compressors and a small 500 series lunchbox to go along with it. but really i’m happy with what i have and i’m not lacking for any sound shaping tools…though a chandler germanium compressor would be nice. that and audiomulch 2.0 :)

Do you have a mobile studio setup?
it depends. if i’m going to see some family then i bring something. either a laptop or an elektron but if it’s a trip not conducive to bringing gear then i grab the yamaha qy-10 just to noodle on. usually i just read when traveling unless i have some kind of deadline or am on some kind of creative roll.

Do you have a setup for live performances?
for a while it was just a laptop running audiomulch with a patch that i had tweaked for a while. I would just press play then improvise. After a while though i kept improvising the same type of thing and
i got really bored. I played an ambient set a while back with the laptop + audiomulch and the monomachine. that was nice. Lately i’ve just been jamming with friends w/the elektrons and some roland x0x stuff. I’m working on a new audiomulch patch and i finally bought a controller so i’ll design the patch around the controller and maybe plug the monomachine into the set up some how and see how spontaneous i can get. improvisation is the fun part for me but it’s nice to have some safety nets.

ignatius3
Have you ever heard your music being played at a random/public place?
i have some friends who are DJ’s who have play some of my tracks from time to time. that’s always cool to hear. Also, at decibel festival in seattle a few years ago they played the entire first release from Buried In Time outside of the auditorium where they do the ambient showcases. that was cool since i had just handed out a bunch of them the day before.

Are you involved in any sound work outside of your own projects?
I track vocals for friends now and then and it’s nice to work in that capacity where i’m just trying to capture someone’s performance. When i lived in san diego i did some sound design here and there but nothing high profile. It was enjoyable when that work would come along because it broke up the usual things i was doing like working long hours on other people’s music as an engineer/assistant engineer or studio manager or just being the guy who ran things in the studio.. I used to do a bit dialogue editing as well. I’m not motivated to go seek out that kind of work anymore as i don’t care for the pressure or tedium and would rather make my own tunes for their own sake. Not that i haven’t considered writing a bunch of 30/60 second jingles in a certain style and try to license them and I’d love to score some goofy indie sci fi or horror film. that’d be fun. Being in a commercial studio can be great as well.. about 50% of the time anyway. there are always compromises.

Workspace and Environment: The Teknoist

Big day here! If you have been stalking us, you would already know I’ve uploaded two Surachai albums which can be found: Here. They’ll be permanently available through my profile page to the right. With all that crap out of the way, I present you with Mike Teknoist!

Background
I was born in Manchester but grew up in North Wales and moved to Bristol. I’m looking for somewhere new to live though. As I said, I get itchy feet. I blame ADHD haha. I’ve been playing records in clubs since I was 15 years old, it was a natural progression I guess. I started messing around with Amigas and Ataris and trackers etc but then sort of just went back into playing records solely, turntablism and stuff. I wanted to master those kinds of skills 1st. Then I started playing around with Cubase on the PC and haven’t stopped. The amount of ideas that I was having I guess was motivation enough at the time, constantly sampling noises, speech etc from all over the place. And the fact that there wasn’t enough of the type of sound I wanted to hear around. There’d be the odd track that blew me away and I could never really understand why there wasn’t more along that vein so the obvious choice was to make it myself. Staying motivated isn’t that hard, it’s kind of 2nd nature to just get up and write music 1st thing in the morning. My whole day revolves around that, that and watching movies or reading. Its not really a choice, more an instinct kind of thing (like a zombies hunger for brains). I cant imagine not doing it so I rarely have to find motivation because its all I want to do. You can find my *ahem* work on my own label ‘Ninja Columbo’ for a start and then on a lot of other electronic music labels such as Planet Mu, Deathchant, Rebel Scum, Cock Rock Disco and soon Ad Noiseam, Deathsucker… I could go on with upcoming stuff but I wont. You can get a taster on my myspace obviously, myspace.com/ninjacolumbo

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
Hahaha… heres my kit list at the moment: a laptop, a pair of Sennheiser HD25 headphones… not even a midi controller atm.
So I guess its my laptop, it was custom built 3 years ago and its like my brother. 17.5inch screen, 3.4 Pentium 4 processor, 2 gig of ram. It’s a tank, although the screen needs replacing as an inch or so on the right hand side is now broken because I dropped it. Finding time to send it away when I’m touring etc is hard so I’ve been working with it broke for a while.
My girlfriend blew my monitors getting far too carried away listening to music so the headphones have been a saviour. I seem to do alright.

What is your current favorite software or plugin?
I’m using the Ixl spectrum Analyzer a lot on my master out for visually checking my eq but effect wise I use PSP Nitro a heap and the GRM tools bunch. The SSL compressor also.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
I’m actually a vagrant at the moment and kind of have been for a while, I can’t settle anywhere it seems but I’m looking for a new place. I’m staying in a friends spare room but the surroundings are gorgeous. No neighbours, just fields and farms so that’s really relaxing and it’s a joy to wake up there. I go for a run around 7am and do some stretches while watching a variety of US sitcoms like Frasier and Everybody Loves Raymond haha :s … then make some tea and fire up my laptop. I have adhd so I’ve got to do quite a few things at once and constantly get up and mess with something else, start watching a film then turn it off 20mins in then back to work on a different track, then wash the dishes, then the film again etc haha.. When I have settled for a while in a place I found it so nice and productive to get up and have that set work area that everything is just waiting for you to switch on. Then again I’ve written some of my best tracks while on the move in other countries so im kinda on the fence on whats the best. Although I think my not having a proper base time is finally up. I long for my own studio space now though so il get back to you when Im settled with some new kit etc and tell you how im doing, what films im half watching etc ;)

What was the first and last piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
My Atari ST and a really dodgy midi controller was the 1st. The last were a pair of Event tr8 monitors

What is on your current ‘wish list’
I’ve got a list of essential things that I intend to buy over the summer in time to hibernate in Winter 08 but no specific models really as yet. A couple of pairs of different kinds of monitors, an analogue desk and a new midi controller..

How many physical locations have you had your studio setup?
Jeez! Umm.. A LOT. Iv had 2 decent set ups in different locations. One in Manchester and one in Bristol. They were pretty much the same as each other, big desk, laptop and pc, midi controller and some decent monitors, turntables, dj mixer etc. But mostly iv just lived like iv been touring because I guess Iv just never really stopped properly so its juts been my laptop and headphones.

Have you ever heard your music being played at a random/public place?
I was on a tram in Manchester once and heard a guy in front of me listening to an old rave tape of mine with an mc shouting my name on it.. that and the same happened in Wales when someone drove past in their car.

Workspace and Environment: DuranDuranDuran

HAI! Justin and I have shitty little profiles to the right now. Before they linked to our websites but now they are filled with information for you to stalk us. Also, if you’re Chicago write us an e-mail (to the right) so we know who to spam when we have a party. A heads up: Justin is performing next friday in Chicago and we’ll give you more details on that when it gets closer. We’re both working on releases to be given away on Trash_Audio aaaaaand… I think that’s it. Here is Ed Flis of DuranDuranDuran!

Background i was born in philadelphia in 1980, moved to berlin earlier this year. fell in love with the place when i came hear for the first time back in 2003, and since then i’ve known more and more people who’ve moved here. eventually realized it’s about as cheap as philadelphia and i could get more work, and there’s less of a chance of becoming a violent crime victim. this city blows my mind every day. i used to fuck around with a program called soundedit on my dad’s computer when i was a kid (precursor to soundedit 16 if anyone remembers that), started making music proper when i was about 15, so i guess about 12-13 years now i’ve been doing this. jesus.

What is the name you work under and where can we find your work?
mainly working under the name Duran Duran Duran lately, tho i have a bunch of other projects not worth going into, main side project now is RAVETASM POSSE. you can hear some of this stuff here:
http://www.rhinoplex.org/edflis
http://www.myspace.com/duranduranduran
http://www.myspace.com/ravetasmposse
and for people who still buy music you can get most of my stuff from systemicaudio.com.

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
never been able to afford hardware really, other than the odd piece of shit dollar store synth.

What is your current favorite software or plugin?
i’d have to go with logic 8, especially the ultrabeat drum machine plug in.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
i can work pretty much anywhere it seems, as long as i can be loud. occasionally i get bored of staring at the same 4 walls and will go sit down in the park or a cafe with a pair of headphones. one thing i will say i’ve noticed is i’m more productive when i’m around creative people.

Are you involved in any sound work outside of your own projects?
i’ve done a bit of mastering for bands, would love to get into film composing. especially porno, think that would be ace.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
hard to say, if you count guitars the first thing i remember is getting my shitty yamaha fender ripoff back in 96, first synth i remember scoring was the casio sk-1 off ebay in 98. uhhh last piece of gear i bought is probably my soundcard, which is on it’s way out at the moment.


What is on your current wish list?
jesus are you kidding? i want everything. eventide h8000 at the top.

Do you have a mobile studio setup?
just a laptop and a decent pair of headphones is really all i need.

Do you have a setup for live performances?
varies from show to show, usually just a laptop, soundcard, midi controller when i travel. shows closer to home could contain everything from contact mics to lawnchairs.

How many physical locations have you had your studio ?
well as a proper studio i’d have to say just here and philadelphia, haven’t really changed much!

Have you ever heard your music being played at a random/public place?
yeah embarassingly i heard a track at a party a few months ago and thought “damn i need to make more music like this” then realized it was one of my records…

Workspace and Environment: Realicide

I’m Back in Chicago and it feels good! This tour was sickening, both in the slang driven ‘neat’ way and the literal pray-for-death way. There are too many thanks to dish out so I simply won’t. Now it’s time to beg for work in the hotdog city. Freelance for life!
In more interesting news and probably the sole reason you come here is: Workspace and Environment! The fine gentlemen of Realicide somehow got these amazing answers to me while in the midst of their U.S. summer tour. Come and read a extensive interview with Mavis Concave, Robert Inhuman and Vankmen of Realicide!


How long have you been involved with making music?
Robert Inhuman: I started really primitive programming and tape collage work in my teens, but it wasn’t until I was out of high school that I started working in bands. I became interested in creating music for its slightly more immediate process and effects versus what I’d focused on prior, drawing and painting. I have stuck with it because it is most closely related to a socially acceptable catalyst for physical public interaction; live shows and the dialogue that is attached to them. I’ve stuck with music and bands because it is still a lingering platform for ideas, especially in “underground” culture, for now at least.

Vankmen: I have been involved with Realicide for a few years. It went from collabing on releases to from performing with the band, collabing live, and contributing beats for material.

Mavis Concave: I’ve been officially writing music for ten years now. I started when I was about 13 or 14 years old with a primitive IBM desktop computer and a general MIDI program. I would program entire instrumental songs and pretend I had a band with some friends at school who played guitar and bass. When I was 15 years old, I accidentally saw the band Mr. Bungle live. I went to see Incubus, Puya, and System of A Down because at the time I was way into that whole nu-metal thing or whatever. But that concert changed my life. Mr. Bungle was the first band to radically change my view of listening to and creating music. Within a year of seeing them live, I had discovered endless new music that I really enjoyed… not just the bullshit my friends enjoyed, therefore I enjoyed by default. Also within that year, I wrote and record about four or five collections of solo music on four track tape machines and computers.
I stayed motivated throughout high school because I went to an arts school. I majored in instrumental music, trumpet, but was heavily involved in the composition and jazz departments. I was very fortunate to have teachers supporting my growing interest in composition. I ended up going to college for music composition with the intentions of writing film soundtracks. After a year of officially being in the music conservatory, I dropped out of that program and designed my own liberal arts degree in audio engineering and related media. This is where I really started to become heavily involved with electronic music production such as digital hardcore, gabber, speedcore, harsh noise, etc. Although I felt rejected by most of my peers in college, I was again very fortunate to have professors and mentors supporting the direction I was heading in music and in life.
My main motivation now is mixed. I truly love making music as an art form, I always have. But I also feel a calling to communicate to people on an individual level. Although music is the same message broadcast to a large population at once, it is the individual listener who initially choses to receive and interpret the message, thus resulting in and individual interaction. I have a responsibility to communicate messages that will instigate positive change for individuals, even if that change is a temporary or small one.

What is the name you work under and where can we find your work?
Robert: I tour with Realicide and you can find it at www.realicide.com or any number of places that distro / feature abrasive contemporary hardcore music. But above anything online, you can find it face to face in as many cities as we can get to.

Mavis: I work under my own name as well as DJ THUMPER!, which is my project based in popular music breakcore, gabber, cut-ups. Generally, I always have tracks on the usual channels such as MySpace and Soundclick but lately everything is outdated as much new solo material is long overdue to come out. In the near future, I hope to start a video blog about experiments with hardware and software music production and performance.

Vankmen: Vankmen – www.myspace.com/vankmen

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
Mavis: Since Spring of 2006, I’ve been consistently using the first edition Korg Electribe ES-1 sampler as my main hardware drum machine. If you aren’t familiar with it, most people just call it “the green Electribe” and that usually clears things up. This is the first sampling drum machine I ever bought and it has remained the best piece for my style. I really enjoy the simplicity and obvious limitations of the machine because it forces me to be creative with my hardware setups and performance tricks. For example, the ES-1 only allows you to store up to 100 mono samples with a total of 90 seconds sample time. I have to carefully pick and choose what samples to store in the machine so I can efficiently perform old songs as well as have breathing room to create new songs. I like the hands-on interface with lots of real-time knobs and step sequencing, but also the advanced meticulous editing that can happen after your ideas are put down. I also love that you can store several different complete memory sets on Smart Media cards. I can fill up the entire machine with samples, patterns, and songs… then back everything up as one file on the memory card. I can then create a completely different set of samples, patterns, and songs, back all that up, and switch between the two sets. This is really great if you are in multiple projects that have contrasting music styles. I own two of these machines now, both of which I’m working into my live rig for Realicide’s upcoming US tour dates this Summer/Fall. One machine will be loaded with only breakbeat kits and the other will be loaded with gabber and hardcore kicks, snares, cymbals, and synth tones.

Vankmen: Circuit bent DR-550… When used as a sound module, it’s great for really harsh gabber like drums and noises.

Robert: I mainly use a microphone, but sometimes not even that, honestly. Speaking for the group as a whole, I’d say we’ve benefited overall the most from the Korg ES-1, sampling drum machine, because of its affordability and easy adherence to live manipulation.


What is your current favorite software or plugin? What makes this your favorite?
Mavis: My favorite piece of software, pretty much the only real software I use these days, is Ableton Live. It’s a fully recordable digital audio workstation (DAW) as well as an excellent live performance tool. Similar to the Korg ES-1 sampler, I can put my ideas down quickly and accurately and then go tweak all the fine details later. I use Ableton Live to record, mix, and produce all of my tracks now. I really enjoy that it consists of one window workspace with the only pop-ups being VST plugins. I also use this program to perform as DJ TH
UMPER! in conjunction with one or two simple MIDI controllers. Triggering loops and rearranging music on the fly is so easy and natural. Don’t take it from me though… There are so many other people who say everything I just mentioned and more. I’m just another supporter of the program. Research it.
As far as software plugins, I really dig the distortion VST made by Shuriken called “Berrtill”. Most importantly, it’s freeware… quality freeware. The distortion is modeled after circuit bent electronics and it hits the nail on th head. Fuzzes, glitches, overdrives, bit reductions, ring mods… Check it out. I much prefer hardware synths over plugins but the ArcDev Mainliner X2 is a pretty hardcore mono bass synth in VST form. I highly recommend it if you dig rave synths and lots of modulation capabilities. And again, it’s good quality freeware.

Robert: I mainly stick with CoolEditPro, again because of familiarity and a fast easy process of collaging digitally. But again, for the group overall, I think Ableton Live is currently the most beneficial software.

Vankmen: I love Reason 3.0. It’s just quick to get ideas down and the multiple ways of routing devices is great.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
Robert: For me, not a lot because I have had to make due with very little in terms of comfort and convenience, especially when I do not have a home, or am usually in a very temporary home. It is somehow not uncommon for my workspace to be the floor in the corner of someone else’s room, or someone else’s studio space just for a day or two… But I think for the other members of the band, the nature of their space affects their productivity and focus much more. I have just had to learn to cope with very limited resources.

Mavis: Where ever I live is generally where I work and it has a huge impact on my workflow. A few months ago, I lived in a pretty nice, cozy house in southwest Cincinnati, right on the Ohio River. I moved in thinking I would be super productive with my small studio setup on the second floor and no neighbors that would complain about high volume music all day and night. Something about that house prevented me from completing over half the tracks I started recording while living there. Now I live across town in a smaller apartment with less roommates and more neighbors. I work on music of some kind everyday.
I need to have enough physical space for my gear and be surrounded by people who encourage the work that I am doing. I can’t be surrounded by people who write off my music production as a nuisance to have in the household. That is probably the biggest creativity/productivity block there is for me.

Are you involved in any music/sound work outside of your own projects?
Mavis: I would very much like to be a sound designer for a hardware based company, such as Korg, Roland, or Yamaha. I’m interested in designing the architecture of the sounds in drum machines and synthesizers as a profession. Who knows if it will ever happen, kind of a dream job I guess.
Other than that, I casually offer independent audio engineering services to anyone interested. From recording, mixing, producing complete tracks to simple MIDI programming or adding electronic elements to music to composing film soundtracks. I’m available, rates are negotiable, and I won’t compromise the client’s vision for the project, they get the final say. The more I work shitty day jobs to pay bills, the more I want to push this kind of audio work harder and make a living.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining? The last?
Robert: Tascam 414 Portastudio; my first 4-track tape recorder; it went through a lot and I remember it being a serious investment when I was in high school. The most recent is probably the Korg ES-1 I’m borrowing from Kyle Parker (Infinite Body) with Mavis’s patterns loaded onto it to use during times he’s not around this year.

Mavis: The first piece of hardware I ever bought for electronic music was a Boss SP-303 Dr Sample. I got it for dropping electronic beats on intros and bridges of Realicide songs during live shows with a drummer in 2002. After we parted ways with the drummer, I bought my first drum machine, the Alesis SR-16. I used the SP-303 and SR-16 is nearly every Realicide show I was a part of from 2003-2006.
The last piece of hardware I obtained was a Korg Electribe EA-1 analog modeling synthesizer… AKA “the blue Electribe”. I picked up this machine for experimenting with using external effects pedals as oscillators after seeing Jon Prunty use one for the European tour Realicide did in Spring 2008. This is the second time I’ve owned this machine, which is really rare for me. I just wasn’t ready for it the first time I owned one.

Vankmen: The first piece I ever got was my Boss DR-550. It’s been used in the performances with Realicide on the westcoast last year and is in several upcoming recorded tracks with Realicide.

What is on your current ‘wish list’ for new hardware or software?
Mavis: I would very much like to buy a Korg R3 for my main hardware synthesizer. I’ve been looking into it a lot and saving up my money by selling large amounts of other gear. Bills keep piling up and other priorities prevent me from getting one right now. I really look forward to getting one though.

Robert: I’d want to get a great PA that we can take anywhere, so that we never have to deal with sound guys EVER again. That would be great… Otherwise, I really need to get a working laptop cos it’s been hard to stay in constant communication in LA without my own source of internet or a space to work in regularly.

Do you have a mobile studio setup?
Robert: Everything about my life is mobile this year. I have my car which contains all my stuff. None of that is studio gear though, I just mean boxes of books and records + a few clothes.

Do you have a setup for live performances?
Vankmen: the setup I used for the Realicide performances is the Boss SP-505, Boss DR-550 (circuit bent), and various circuit bent guitar pedals.

Mavis: My setup for live gigs varies over time. The last live setup I had in Realicide consisted of two Korg ES-1s for drums and blasts, a Boss SP-505 sampler for synth/guitar loops/riffs, a few effects pedals for feedback, and a Behringer mixer.

Robert: My mouth. I have to run drum machines and tapes this summer when I’m in between bandmates, but it is a last resort. I normally don’t touch anything at shows besides a mic and people.

Background
Robert: I am from Cincinnati, but now I’m basically nomadic between there, Los Angeles, Saint Louis, New Orleans, everywhere… I had some great times struggling in Ohio, but ultimately got done studying the dead end it is for the kind of work I am interested in pursuing.

Mavis: I was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. I went to college about 100 miles northeast in Columbus, Ohio. That’s the only other city I’ve lived in at this point, something I’m not proud of. Post-college now, I live in Cincinnati again, temporarily. I’m planning on leaving Ohio at the end of 2008 to move East, possibly Pittsburgh or Philadelphia. I haven’t made solid arrangements yet bu
t I’m looking forward to the change in location.

Have you ever heard your music being played at a random/public place?
Robert: All our shows feel like that to some degree, to me anyway.

Vankmen: One time I heard a DJ play my song off Teen Suicide 01 at a random party. That was pretty cool.

Workspace and Environment: Mr. Projectile

Yo Yo Yo! One last gig in Amsterdam on Saturday the 11th, then it’s home back to Chicago! But before any of that happens, here is Mr. Projectile!


Background
I was born in NY,NY and through a long series of twists and turns throughout my 33 years i’ve landed in San Francisco at the moment. I’ve been making music since 1994… but I must say it wasn’t very good music. My music probably didn’t get good until around 1998. I had a few beginning motivating factors. I first heard proper electronic music in 1992 on a radio show called Depth Probe in Minneapolis. The feeling I got instantly was: what had I been missing out on? So a huge contributing factor in the beginnig was me wanting to be a contributing factor to the electronic music world. I would say that it is still the huge motivating force behind why I love making electronic music.

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
Nord Modular G2. I haven’t found a synth that better suits the type of music that I do. The knob setup, the build quality and the software editor are the best that i’ve seen. I use the Nord a lot to do the things that i don’t want to manually do, such as random sequenced bleeps and arpeggiations. The ability to improvise with it while performing is a huge thing also.

What is your current favorite software or plugin?
I’m pretty pumped on Guitar Rig these days. Everything on it just has this smoother more round sound than anything else. I keep finding myself going back to those plug-ins more than anything else.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
At the moment I think I have one of the smallest rooms in San Francisco. It’s pretty cramped, but I think the upside to that is that I only have to swivel maybe a foot to reach everything I need which over the years i’ve found increases my workflow… when I’m not having to move around too much to get to things.

Are you involved in any sound work outside of your music?
Does playing Super Mario Galaxy count?

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
Technics KN-2000, for those who want to laugh… look it up on youtube. I recently built a x0x b0x which i’m farily in love with now.

What is on your current ‘wish list’ for new hardware or software?
Call me crazy but I want my mc-303 back. That thing was so simple. Also after looking at Richard Lainhart’s site, I now want a Buchla 200e pretty bad.



Do you have a mobile studio setup?
My current studio is my mobile setup. Macbook Pro, Firewire 410, Machinedrum Sps-1, x0x b0x, and a Nord Modular G2.

Do you have a setup for live performances?
I am currently using my whole studio for live perfromances. I’m having a lot of fun playing the bulk of the songs out of the computer and then using the gear to sort of improvise over the songs. It’s also nice to know that anything I do at home can instantly go on the road as well.

How many physical locations have you had your studio setup in over time and how have they changed?
Savage MN, St. Paul MN, Minneapolis MN in three separate places, Santa Fe NM in two separate places, Missoula MT in two separate places, Santa Cruz CA, and two separate places in San Francisco.

Have you ever heard your music being played at a random/public place?
I have had friends play my songs while at various events which is always a nice gesture. I once heard one of the Skam DJ’s play a song of mine while opening for Autechre.

Find his stuff at:
junodownload.com/semisexual
semisexual.addictech.com
myspace.com/misterprojectile

Workspace and Environment: Justin Pearson of The Locust

For a good portion of the year The Locust are on on the road and when they’re not melting faces, the members are spread out across seven hundred twenty six bands and forty eight record labels. Justin Pearson, the bassist, graciously gave some time out of his lax schedule to do a quick interview and share some pictures. Enjoy!

Justin Pearson of The Locust

Background
i was born in chicago and currently reside in san diego. i started “officially” making music/ sound about 17 years ago. i suppose what got me motivated was the obvious interest in music, bands, and the culture that was attached to certain genres of music and art. i use my legal name, justin pearson. ive been or are still part of the following bands: the locust, some girls, holy molar, head wound city, swing kids, crimson curse, ground unicorn horn, swing kids, struggle.

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
im not sure what you mean by hardware. usually that word when in musical context is attached to a drum kit’s hardware. i do play drums but im not that stoked on my set to where id have a favorite piece. so ill take this and apply it to my bass set up. and easily say that its my ampeg dan armstrong prototype bass. its a fav for the obvious. its what i use to create music. sure effects, amps and so on all help in creating sounds but its the bass that i use my hands with, and it has to fit in so many ways. its like a snipers favorite gun, a race car drivers favorite car, a dogs favorite ball.

What is your current favorite software or plugin?
i dont personally use software.


How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
i have worked in some of the most impractical rehearsal studios. either due to little physical space, or filthy slum lord style, or a bedroom. i do feel that i can write in any place as long as there is a good connection with whom im playing with. but the nicer and more practical the rehearsal space, im sure the easier it is to write. i guess i just have low standards.

Are you involved in any sound work like films or sound design?
no. i wish i was though.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining? The last?
first was when my moms cousin loaned me a gibson les paul when i was twelve. that was what actually planted the seed of creating music in my mind. last, is something by trogotronic. dont know the name of it as it was a one of a kind pedal.

What is on your current ‘wish list’?
honestly, im pretty into what i have. but again, im intrigued by the stuff that nelson from trogotronic makes. the stuff he uses in bastard noise and geronimo is amazing. so if i had the money and time, id submerge myself into his realm of sound.

Do you have a setup for live performances?
all the gear i use is used for live performances. this would include 2 ampeg dan armstrong bass guitars, two ampeg svt bass heads, a 2 x 15″ speaker cab, and a slew of effects pedals.

How many physical locations have you had your studio?
im not quite sure. for some of the projects i was involved in i was just doing vocals so i had little to nothing with me. but as far as my bass set up, its traveled to many places over the years. i suppose they became a bit better over the years. or maybe not better but more specific to what i was doing and what i needed a studio for.

You can find some of Justin Pearson’s projects here:
myspace.com/thelocust
myspace.com/headwoundcity
myspace.com/holymolar
myspace.com/groundunicornhorn

Workspace and Environment: Michael Fakesch

Holy F! This interview has been collecting dust for more than six months and only last night did I realize that this has been in draft form since October. Don’t worry, it’s been worth the wait! I mean, you waited for this right?

Background
I was born in Rosenheim and I still live there mainly for my wife and kid. I started doing music in 1992, 1995 my first records came out, since 1998 I am a professional musician. I work under the name Michael Fakesch (which is my civil name). My former band was Funkstörung which I did for 10 years together with Chris De Luca (we split up in 2006). I used to have a studio (actually just a 808, 707, 303, a effect and a mixer) together with Chris at his home, then after selling all hardware and buying a computer we worked in the basement at his parent’s house. 5 years ago we rented a nice space in the heart of Rosenheim, still only using a computer and no hardware. Almost 3 years ago, Chris moved to Berlin and I stayed in the Rosenheim studio, buying more and more equipment…now it looks like a studio once again!

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
My favourite toy is a brandnew Acidlab Bassline. It’s a on-the-fly-programmable 303 clone, which was build by a old schoolfriend of mine (www.acidlab.de) it sounds like the original, looks cool, is cheap and the super intuitive programming is much better than on the original.

What is your current favorite software?
My favourite software is Cubase4 and Ableton Live….not suprising, isn’t it? ;-) the audio editing in Cubase is just super great…love it! ableton has fantastic effects (like the warp-timestretcher and the beatrepeat) and it’s just the best tool for jamming and playing live

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow? I am living and working in a small Bavarian town near Munich called Rosenheim. It’s boring, but has beautiful surroundings like the alps, forests and nice lakes. I got a kid and wife and I really enjoy my family life there…this keeps my feet on the ground and my concentration focused on my own music. the room itself doesnt effect the way I work…when i talk about my studio I mainly mean my computer…I am like being in a virtual space. every new software, every new hardware effects my sound,…at least for one song. I like trying out new tools, playing around with them… they are always inspiring.

Are you involved in any music/sound work outside of your own projects?
Since about 2 years I am doing loads of sound design and music for TV-Ads (like Toyota, BMW, Napster, Verizon, MTV, Tesco Mobile, Disney Channel). I also started doing soundtracks for films.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
A Roland TR 808! There were times where we couldn’t live without switching on the 808 every day ;-)…but then we sold it, cause we needed the money for a computer and were kinda fed up with the 808 sound (we got infected by the digital world ;-)). At the moment I am really thinking of buying a 808 again…it’s just beautiful and the sound never gets outta fashion.

What is on your current wish list?
A new Mac Pro with cinema displays…just waiting for the new model-line!

Do you have a mobile studio setup?
I got a macbook with cubase4 installed…don’t need more!

Do you have a setup for live performances?
My kinda basic livesetup contains: a macbook, 3 Faderfox controllers, a M-Audio soundcard, an Acidlab Bassline, a Behringer mixer, 2 Kaosspads, an Electribe mx, a MPC1000 and a Yamaha DX200.

You can find Michael Fakesch here: michaelfakesch.com

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