Performing Arts

Art + Music + Technology

Darwin Grosse

This podcast is about art, music and the technology that enables it. But it is also about creativity, motivation and the future of music and art. I do interviews with amazing artists and technologists, and hope to crack the surface of their practice.

Episodes

Podcast 194: Walker Farrell
46:34
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 46:34
Podcast 194: Walker Farrell

I've been hearing a lot about Walker Farrell lately. We interviewed him for the C74 newsletter, I heard a lot of talk about his live performances, and everybody has been suggesting his "Music for 0​.​∞ Musicians, Vol. 1" release as something I have to hear. And I've gotten sucked in - the work is expansive, varied - but still maintaining a artistic voice. So yeah, right up my alley.

I was glad that Walker was up for a visit, and I started boning up on his work (including his Bandcamp site and Soundcloud site). The more I listened, the more I got pulled into his work. I was also blown away by that amount of work he was able to produce - that's always something that keys me into someone that will influence me. And sure enough, learning about Walker's setup and his process got me revved up to try mimicking his ideas. Very interesting stuff.

I also think it is great to talk to someone that makes personal choices to produce creative limitations to work through. His performance plan, which creates a limited functional system out of his larger studio system, is a great way to consider making a functional performance plan, and has already influenced my process as well.

I hope you find this as inspirational as I did - and that you allow his ideas to permeate your own. Enjoy!

Podcast 193: Mike Monday
42:17
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 42:17
Podcast 193: Mike Monday

Mike Monday's adverts are all over the web. And if you get on his mailing list, you will see him even more. But it's hard not to be intrigued - especially when he has a lot of free information available for you to view, and it tends to be pretty spot-on. But I'd never seen a detailed interview with him, so I tried reaching out, and was pleased when he responded favorably.

The chat went off better than planned, because it turns out that Mike is as engaging in person as he is on his video lessons. And his history is fascinating: from double-bassoonist at Oxford to club track maniac, he'd had his hand in a lot of different musical environments. But it is his descriptions of the methods - and failures - for making music that will probably be his lasting influence on music-makers, and he spelled it out pretty openly during our talk.

I've become a believer in his work, and also appreciate how he approaches his teaching practice. But I also like the fact that he's willing to describe his influences, talk about his methods and even challenge his own perceptions; these are the hallmarks of a useful teacher. I hope that you enjoy this, and I hope you come out of it inspired as well.

Enjoy!

Podcast 192: Benjamin Wynn (Deru)
48:26
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 48:26
Podcast 192: Benjamin Wynn (Deru)

When my friend Tom Hall first introduced me to the music of Deru, I was immediately drawn in. It was the combination of complexity and structure that I love in ambient work, but it was also unabashedly electronic and had edge that I liked.

But I got a surprised when I did a little digging around, and found out that Benjamin Wynn, the man behind Deru, was also deeply entrenched in the music-for-TV world, having done music and sound design (with his partner Jeremy Zuckerman) for Avatar - The Last Airbender, Kung-Fu Panda - Legends of Awesomeness and others. A couple of Emmys speak to the quality of that work.

In addition to that (!), he is also one of the founders of The Echo Society, a composer's collective that is gaining traction by producing a concert series that pushes people's perception of classical music concert - and modern music.

All of this points to an amazingly efficient music and sound producer, and one that is able to work within - and embrace - many different sound environments. In our chat, we talk about how each of these opportunities presented themselves, but also how he is able to pull off all this work, and to keep such a high level of quality.

I'm a fan, but I'm also fascinated by someone with this kind of process and one that is so consistent with their work. I learned a lot in this, and I hope you do too.

Enjoy!

Podcast 191: Gianfranco Ceccolini (Mod Devices)
49:29
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 49:29
Podcast 191: Gianfranco Ceccolini (Mod Devices)

For me, the Mod Devices story began with their very impressive debut at the NAMM show. But guest Gianfranco Ceccolini has been working on the product for quite a while - and on the concept for even longer. Creating more than a guitar pedal, Gianfranco and company have succeeded in creating an entire ecosystem (they call it a platform, but that sounds only technical...) that can be used for the development of pedalboards for guitars, synth rigs or whatever.

I started to work with the company when they wanted to support building Max's Gen code to run on the device; thanks to heroic efforts by some of my co-workers (Jeremy, here's a shout-out!), we not only got it running, but it is as smooth as silk. But in working on this, it was clear that this wasn't a system that just appeared because of a Kickstarter campaign - there was obviously something more behind the device.

Thus, this chat. And it was really interesting - taking a love of music and a love of Linux, combining them into something that a guitarist could use, and eventually into something any musician could love. That's quite a trail, and Gianfranco maps it out for us.

A great chat about the history of a company from its founder, and a neat roadmap to their future as well. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I did talking!

Podcast 190: Devin Fleenor / S.E.E.D.
39:26
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 39:26
Podcast 190: Devin Fleenor / S.E.E.D.

Do you wonder if I follow up on random interview requests? I sure do, and this week is the result of that effort. One of the listeners sent me a note about Devin Fleenor's S.E.E.D. project - and artificial intelligence art framework. I dove in a bit - and I had to learn more. I actually reached out to people that had seen the early stages of this work at Currents New Media Festival, and I began to see how this was growing into a significant piece of work.

So then I had to talk to Devin.

I really enjoy talking to people that are really excited about the things that they are discovering, and Devin is all over that. He has set the stage for some real heavy research, but it's all about responding to the viewer in some very particular ways. Whether it is enhancing the joyfulness of a piece based on your response, or switching things up when you start to become bored, this sort of responsive artwork seems to hold some very interesting options for the future.

And it seems like a way to take A.I. into an artful, rather than just commercial, space. On the other hand, it seems like it could get creepy - which is the kind of risk that can make art exploration worth the effort. It's clear that Devin and the S.E.E.D. team are just starting to push some envelopes, but they also have set forth some serious goals for their work.

Thanks to Devin for taking the time to walk me through this. To learn more, you can check out devinfleenor.com to watch some video content about the S.E.E.D. system, and to learn more about Devin himself.

Podcast 189: Cathy van Eck
35:54
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 35:54
Podcast 189: Cathy van Eck

I always enjoy talking to people about Sound Art, because it is so undefined. If you take sound/composition, then remove the requirement to 'make music', what is left? Turns out, there's a whole world of exploration, and these artists are in the middle of it.

Cathy van Eck is helping the cause: she has written a book about her view of the Sound Art world (Between Air and Electricity: Microphones and Loudspeakers - available here), kicked off a website that helps her accumulate Sound Art examples (http://microphonesandloudspeakers.com/), and maintains an active performance practices. Her work (you can see it here) catches my brain in the right way, and it was what drew me into talk to her.

And the talk was fascinating. We dove into some of her perspectives on performance, composition, sound vs. music and the process of teaching something as esoteric as art. We also get to chat about some of the individual works, and how she approaches each one. A great view into an artist's mind.

Enjoy!

Podcast 188: Markus Reuter
49:07
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 49:07
Podcast 188: Markus Reuter

Markus Reuter is quite an amazing musician. He's already been part of several releases this year (including an amazing collaboration with Robert Rich), but he's also putting out interesting solo work, is touring right now with Stick Men, continues to develop his touch guitar technique - and has time to talk to me for the podcast. And we had a fascinating chat, where we talked about everything from the development of the U8 guitar, to fan engagement through his new subscription project, and through to some ideas about how technique and music is taught to new students.

Markus goes beyond the normal 'advanced guitar' thing; he transcends the instrument and even any specific musical idiom to embody music creation. Maybe that's why his model for the future, through an artist subscription, is perfect for him: it's a great opportunity to have people move with you through styles, concepts and techniques as you develop them without having to tightly restrict oneself to a specific sub-genre.

In our chat, we get into a lot of things about the creation of his work, and especially on how he finds useful ways to integrate his own strong voice into collaborative working situations. Having him describe his intuitions about the work and the world is an awesome insight into his brain.

If you haven't checked out his site yet, you need to do it: http://www.markusreuter.com/. Find out more about him, the broad variety of his work, and his vision for the future of independent musical production therein. And check out his work with centrozoon, Stick Men and other groups wherever you listen to music.

And enjoy!

Podcast 187: Tobias Reber
39:28
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 39:28
Podcast 187: Tobias Reber

Tobias Reber is a long time listener of the podcast that has been touching base with me about artists that he thought would be good candidates for the show. Interestingly, when I did a little research on him, it brought up a surprisingly broad range of work - from installations to prog-rock combos. You know I had to talk to him then!

If you want to see some of what I saw, you can check out his site - http://www.tobiasreber.com/cms/ - and cruise through some of the sub-site links on that page. You'll be shocked at the number of different means of expression that Tobias maintains. But it all comes from a central place, and one that I enjoyed exploring in our talks. From his work with Markus Reuter through his 'ambient percussion' pieces, we dove into both 'how' the work was done, as well as 'why' it was part of his portfolio.

I'm fascinated by people willing to take on multiple roles/identities/voices, and I found that Tobias' work had a central theme of quality that I found powerful. Listen to his work - and listen to our talk - to find out more about this incredible artist.

Enjoy!

Podcast 186: Scott Jaeger
57:43
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 57:43
Podcast 186: Scott Jaeger

Scott Jaeger is responsible for a lot of modular makers getting into the game. When he started making Eurorack modules under The Harvestman moniker, there were relatively few players: Doepfer (of course), Plan B, Livewire and - well, that was about it. Scott came into the game with something completely different: digital devices that turned the analog-based modular concept on its ear. He also was aggressive about design, control layout and user interface, and the result was that almost everyone doing a Eurorack system - especially if is was going to be used for performance - would have some of The Harvestman modules in the rack.

After expanding into more products, the company morphed into Industrial Music Electronics, and is making updated versions of the classics as well as a broad array of new modules. He is also collaborating with Vladimir Kuzmin as Iron Curtain Electronics, creating the Polivoks modules based on designs from the classic Russian analog synth. But regardless of the collab, Scott's design focus comes through on all of these synth modules, and his attention to detail makes them among everyone's favorite devices.

In our chat, we discuss everything from the name change, through Scott's explorations in music electronics, to the development of the Polivoks devices and his own work - including how he approaches synth design. We also talk a lot about how his perspective of performance and instrument design is seen in his module creations. I came out of this discussion understanding a lot more about his decision-making process, and also about why these modules feel so perfect when playing. 

A great talk with an amazing developer. Enjoy!

Podcast 185: Leanna Primiani
45:54
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 45:54
Podcast 185: Leanna Primiani

So when my friend Clifton says "Hey, man - check this person out...", I tend to listen pretty intently. In this case, he pointed me toward someone that surprised me on several levels: a conductor-become-composer that also did electronics, a film composer that released a solo album, and an artist with both staff paper and a modular synth on her desktop. How could I not interview Leanna Primiani?

And it was a great chat - we discussed how a person makes the move from conductor to composer, and how the sound designer can take an orchestral approach to the work. We also dig into something that I'm always interested in: how does a person who already does a lot of work make the move into creating a release? What is this "new music", and how do you know when it is done?

Leanna is super open about her ideas, her process and even her fears, and was super inspiring to me about all the different aspects of being a performing/recording musician. She was also quite honest about how people are responding to her electronic recording work (and it isn't always positively...), and how she has to cope with that. A fascinating side of recording that I'd not even considered.

You can check out Leanna's new 5mice release at http://anasiaanasia.com/, and find out more about her conducting/composing/film work at http://leannaprimianifilm.com/. What is fascinating to me is the way that she has found to interweave her talent, passion and interests into a several result, but they all clearly have her personal voice. An interesting view into the mind and work of a true artist.

Enjoy!

Podcast 184: Phil Maguire
42:19
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 42:19
Podcast 184: Phil Maguire

One of my weekly pleasures (introduced to me by Gregory Taylor) is the Vital Weekly newsletter. This is a weekly compendium of recent music releases (generally in the experimental/artsy area) with quick reviews, and it has a companion podcast that provides an ear on many of the works that it reviews. In a recent edition, they included a review of this week's guest - Phil Maguire - along with an excerpt from his 'Solo Computer Music' Verzimprint release, and I was quite taken.

So, as I often do, I started diving deeper. I ran across his site, and got to hear a variety of his work. I also enjoyed an ATTN magazine session that included an interview with Phil drew me into his work in a very personal way. Of course, this led me to reach out, and the next thing you know - we've got a chat going!

Phil is a super personable, interesting guy, and one that is willing to go from performance programming, to broken hardware, to detailed editing - and doesn't get bogged down with any orthodoxy on his way to expressing his voice. His description of his process points to his work finding the right way to produce his work.

All-in-all, a great interview (marred by some recording difficulties on my end...) by a great artist, and an inspiration for anyone trying to find their voice among the millions of ways to do the work. Enjoy!

Podcast 183: Dave Rossum
58:28
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 58:28
Podcast 183: Dave Rossum

Dave Rossum has quite a history. From helping to start up E-mu Systems, managing its acquisition by Creative Labs (and working with them through a 10-year run of amazing designs) and the creation of Rossum Electro-Music, Dave has been designing the heck out of music instruments. I was really excited when the Synthtopia folks we able to pull this interview together, since I've been a fan of E-mu devices for a long, long time, and have been mesmerized by the new modules he's been developing.

In our chat, we talk in detail about the development of the early E-mu modular system, the move into sampling technology, the effect of the Creative purchase and the technology developments behind the Proteus lineup. We also go into detail about Dave's design work with the new series of modules that he's working on, as well as the upcoming sampler module that has everyone humming.

This was a lot of fun, and super-educational; I learned an awful lot about the various technological advances behind samplers and sample-based systems. Given my renewed interest in sampling, that was very interesting to me. But his views on analog and digital modular designs, and his willingness to take on impossible projects and find a way to make 'em work - it was inspirational.

Enjoy!

Podcast 182: Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL)
43:01
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 43:01
Podcast 182: Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL)

NOTE: This podcast is presented as a collaboration with Synthtopia.com for the presentation of people designing and producing unique instruments. You can listen to the podcast here, on the Synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes. But you can also read the article as well as search for detailed information by viewing the transcription at http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2017/07/03/junkie-xl-the-art-of-scoring-with-synthesizers/.

Tom Holkenborg - Junkie XL - is everywhere right now. If you've seen any blockbuster movies in the last couple of years, you probably have heard his soundtracks. His recent releases are also widely heard, as are some of his early works (especially his rework of Elvis' "A Little Less Conversation"). And if you are really dedicated to sound design, you've probably stumbled on his website (www.junkiexl.com) and especially his YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/junkiexlofficial), where he has a series - Studio Time - that really gives you a close-up view of Tom's gear, techniques and passions.

When our friends at Synthtopia helped us connect with Tom, I was anxious to explore areas outside of his normal thing: I wanted to hear about his beginning story, but also how he approached composition, where he got his engineering chops and how he made music that has always jumped out of the speakers. We got to talk about all that and more, and I got a good overview of both his past work as a producer, electronica superstar and his current work doing soundtrack for major motion pictures. He's got great stories, but also great object lessons, and I think we all will learn something from his open discussion on his art.

An amazing interview - I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed putting it together!

Podcast 181: Jesse Engel (Google Magenta Project)
43:13
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 43:13
Podcast 181: Jesse Engel (Google Magenta Project)

NOTE: This podcast is presented as a collaboration with Synthtopia.com for the presentation of people designing and implementing synthesizers. You can listen to the podcast here, on the Synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes. But you can also read the article as well as search for information by viewing the transcription available here:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2017/06/25/neural-audio-synthesis-with-google/

I first got to know the Magenta Project at Google when I heard a podcast with Douglas Eck. I subsequently interviewed him for my podcast, where we talked about using machine learning to do interesting work with composition. This led to an invite to meet with the team, and I got a great introduction to their work at their Mountain View headquarters, and first got to me this week's guest, Jesse Engel.

But something interesting happened a few months ago: I got blindsided by the project when they put up details on their 'NSynth' project. This effort is about using machine learning for music, but not for composition - but rather for sound design. Somehow, I never saw that coming, but it really makes a lot of sense, and it comes up with some pretty interesting results.

As part of this series on Synthesizer Design we've talked to people about their past work in synth design. But it is interesting to also talk to someone about the future of synthesis, how computers might be brought into play to enhance the sound design functions, and how machine learning can drive (and/or be driven into managing) massive parameter sets.

Jesse Engel breaks things down for us in this talk, and we get a chance to see how big the datasets are, how all of this data might be managed, and how he goes about wrangling a bunch of scientists and statisticians into working with sound. Sometimes the work is as expected (a "better violin"), and sometimes not (the "cat flute"). It's a crazy ride, and I hope you learn as much as I did about one of the future possibilities for synth design. Enjoy!

Podcast 180: Axel Hartmann
48:06
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 48:06
Podcast 180: Axel Hartmann

NOTE: This podcast is presented as a collaboration with Synthtopia.com for the presentation of people designing synthesizers. You can listen to the podcast here, on the synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes. But you can also read the article as well as search for information by viewing the transcription available here:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2017/06/19/axel-hartmann-on-the-art-of-synth-design/

Axel Hartmann runs a design firm - designbox - that is pretty sneaky-influential to us synth folks. This is the company that does designs of hardware synthesizer for companies like Waldorf, Arturia and Moog. They also do user interface design for software and plug-ins for Antares and Universal Audio. Their designs are everywhere, and adds a lot to making our music lives a lot better than the dull black boxes and drab interfaces we'd otherwise see.

Axel has a great history, though, including the design of some of the most significant synthesizers to come out of Waldorf (including the Microwave and the big boy, the Wave), helping Dr. Moog with some initial designs for the Voyager and even running his own synthesizer company (Hartmann, the developer of the Hartmann Neuron). We talk about all of these - as well as his current work - in this wide-ranging chat.

I've loved what Axel has done to make our favorite synthesizers look the way they do. And I also appreciate what he is doing to make software interfaces both more intuitive as well as more appealing. Enjoy!

Podcast 179: Tom Oberheim
46:01
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 46:01
Podcast 179: Tom Oberheim

NOTE: This podcast is presented as a collaboration with Synthtopia.com for the presentation of people designing the synthesizers we love. You can listen to the podcast here, on the synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes. But you can also read the article as well as search for information by viewing the transcription available here:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2017/06/11/tom-oberheim-on-the-art-of-synthesizer-design/

In this first podcast in our series on Synth Designers, we talk to one of the people that was at the forefront of synth design - so much so, that his original synth design is still at the heart of his work! Tom Oberheim and the Synthesizer Expander Module (or SEM) is widely known for its rich, smooth and musical sound, and Tom's work has been featured on recordings by almost anyone that has used a synthesizer.

In our chat, Tom talks about how he got started in both electronics and music, and how he stumbled upon musical electronics. We also talk about how the SEM has been able to endure despite all the changes in backing technology, and how it differs from most of the synths that were its contemporaries. It's also interesting to hear about how the resurgence of analog culture and the emergence of DJ/producer culture caught him by (pleasant) surprise, and have set the stage for his future work.

You can see what he is up to by checking out his site: http://tomoberheim.com/, or just by talking to anyone that is a synth fanatic - they (or you...) will know his work well.

Enjoy!

Podcast 178: Cristian Vogel
01:00:49
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 01:00:49
Podcast 178: Cristian Vogel

Cristian Vogel has been around for quite a while - with his work in dance music being many people's introduction to his work. But he's moved into the realm of sound design and expansive composition, and the work has matured into something that I'm finding really compelling. His Bandcamp site (https://cristianvogel.bandcamp.com/) will give you a great introduction to the work he's doing, and I'll be you get just as drawn in as I did.

But Cristian is about to premiere a pretty serious new project: a spacial sound and theatrical performance called The Ballad of Agnete and The Merman, commissioned by the Aarhus European Capital of Culture 2017, and placed at The Åbnescene theatre at Godsbanen in Aarhus, Denmark. Cristian has been working on this piece for 18 months, and it promises to be both a compositional and technical tour de force, especially with Cristian's close cooperation with Funktion-One for the loudspeaker array, and Sonic Emotion Labs for the spacialization tools.

But in our chat, we talk about everything from Cristian's move away from club culture to his embrace of the Kyma sound design system, and also about some of the frustrations in trying to carve out a life of creative and experimental musicianship. It was a fantastic view into a creative mind, and helps me further appreciate the depth of his work.

Check out more about Cristian at http://www.cristianvogel.com/

Enjoy!

Podcast 177: Christopher Dobrian
56:52
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 56:52
Podcast 177: Christopher Dobrian

Chris Dobrian is responsible. He's the person that put together the documentation that got me on my road with Max - a road that still, in many ways, defines my daily existence. Chris' work taught me a lot about both programming in Max and manipulating sound and MIDI events, and he also taught me about writing in a way that was approachable for everyone - no matter where they were in their personal path to musical creation.

I bump into Chris rather often - he is at a lot of the trade shows and conferences that I attend. Each time we see each other, I say something along the lines of "Hey, man, let's do a podcast!" and he says "Yeah, let's do it, any time!". So when I was in St. Cloud for the SEAMUS conference, I saw there was a paper with his name on it, and I thought we'd get to do that dance again. 

Alas, he wasn't there (a paper was presented where he was a collaborator), and that made me somehow more motivated to talk with him. So there you go - maybe distance does make the heart grow fonder or something. In any case, I cornered him, we had a great talk, and I share it with you.

A little audio problem here: the Apogee ONE worked fine, but I was silly enough to have it near the laptop, and we were running Google Hangouts, which triggers the fan on my Macbook Pro immediately. I didn't catch that this was happening, and so you have to put up with a little noise-gating on my end. When it comes to mics, it's all about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

Enjoy!

[ddg]

Podcast 176: Stephen McCaul and Kris Kaiser of Noise Engineering
47:21
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 47:21
Podcast 176: Stephen McCaul and Kris Kaiser of Noise Engineering

One of the things that I try to pay attention to is this: situations where people are doing or using a thing, but not necessarily talking about it. This is the case with Noise Engineering modules: it isn't necessarily the 'I built my case around...' thing, but it seems almost everyone sneaks an NE module into their systems.

But when you dive into it a bit deeper, there is an extreme passion about those modules. With devices like the Basimilus Iteritas, you find people having that 'pry it from my cold, dead hands' reaction - many would consider it central to their recording/performance rig. And NE has been on a roll, and is on the way to being able to have a NE-only system; something that few modular companies can manage.

It's cool that this hot, fast-moving company is run by two of the coolest people you'll ever meet. Kris and Stephen (with some help from WMD manufacturing) run the whole show, from design to support, and are as passionate about their modules as we are. They also have an interesting and unique background that really informs the design and implementation of the modules they create. 

Enjoy the chat, and check out their modules: https://www.noiseengineering.us/. I think you'll get it...

Podcast 175: Lawrence English
55:14
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 55:14
Podcast 175: Lawrence English

There are a few artists I've wanted to meet for a long while, and Lawrence English is one of them. His music exudes a dark elegance, and the titles of his work make suggestions to his interests and sensitivities. Whether it is Cruel Optimism, The Peregrine or even Suikinkutsu, you can get a sense of where Lawrence is coming from!

And the chat didn't disappoint! Lawrence is clearly introspective about both his work and the politics of our current time, and seems to have synthesized some interesting theories about community, togetherness and shared interest. He is also keenly aware of how information gets passed through non-obvious means; setting up a channel between artist and audience isn't simple, but it can benefit both parties...

This is a deep conversation; I hope that you enjoy it - and that it gets you thinking about how you do your work, and how you listen to others'. And you can check out the breadth of Lawrence's work at his website: http://www.lawrenceenglish.com/

Enjoy!

Podcast 174: Doug Geers
50:21
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 50:21
Podcast 174: Doug Geers

Doug Geers keeps on popping up in my radar - and has for over a decade. He was at the head of the charge with the Spark Festival in Minneapolis, one of the best electronic music conferences in the history of ever. He's quoted on the back of one of Curtis Roads' books. His performances keep coming up in my social media feeds. And, of course, when I went to the SEAMUS 2017 conference, who is the first person I run into?

Doug Geers!

So I had my wits about me enough to blurt out "Hey, dude, I need to get you on my podcast, um, yeah!", and he unwisely agreed. Thus, this interview, where we not only find out a lot about Doug, but we also learn about his views on community building, preparing scores to be played, and developing music both within and outside of the typical scoring frameworks.

I also found out how much I appreciate Doug: Midwestern to the core, surprised at the luck that appears at every turn, and consistently pushing personal boundaries because that's the work that needs to be done. An inspiring story from a fun and interesting guy. Oh, and make sure you check out his work (including scores!) on his website: http://www.dgeers.com/

Enjoy!

Podcast 173: Jim Aikin
01:01:50
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 01:01:50
Podcast 173: Jim Aikin

Jim Aikin is one of my heroes - he introduced me (along with David Friend) to synthesizers in a way that I could grasp at the time, but also led me down many musical paths through his album reviews, deft editing of columns and excellent product reviews. I was lucky enough to corner Jim for an interview, and we ripped off a great one!

One of the things I love about Jim is that he has real, heart-felt opinions - and is willing to share them. So we get to hear about his views on music, synth development, writing and the publishing industry. But more than those tidbits, we get to hear from someone that has been on the front lines of the synth business for decades. He's written about everything from 2600's to Kontakt libraries, and has a singular feel for synth design from having experienced it all.

I'd strongly recommend that you check out some of Jim's writing: his music blog is available at https://synthage.wordpress.com/, and Keyboard Magazine has a collection of his work here. We also reference the review of the Serge Modular in this podcast; you can read it at this link.

It was great to chat with Jim, and I look forward to doing it again at some point. In the meantime, enjoy this podcast!

Podcast 172: Matt Lange
59:42
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 59:42
Podcast 172: Matt Lange

Hot on the heels of two releases (Escapist and Punish Me), we get a chance to talk to producer, sound designer and Mau5trap artist Matt Lange. I'd first caught wind of Matt with his Ephemera album, released in 2015, but really was floored by the Patchwork album that he released in 2016. I caught his interview on the Pensado's Place video-cast, and was really excited to get a chance to talk to him.

What was fun was to talk to someone that isn't in love with electronics/modulars/gear for the sake of the gear; rather, Matt is into the emotions of music-making, and is one of those people that wants to express as much as impress. But he's got the chops to impress as well, and the combo is a lethal needle-drop.

This discussion is a wild ride through break-ups, scary jobs, poverty and rebirth. But with a family background in the arts, Matt was perfectly set up to succeed in the difficult-to-navigate music industry. If you imagine a smooth ride into Producer's Heaven, you'll want to listen to this podcast to get another (or a more detailed) view.

Enjoy!

Podcast 171: Christoph Cox
40:39
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 40:39
Podcast 171: Christoph Cox

While Youtube is a force in the media arts world, it isn't very often that a Youtube video will cause me to jump into email to try getting a podcast guest. But it really happened with this video:

https://youtu.be/hh_5_CAySXY

Christoph Cox did a lecture about Sound Art (sponsored by the Barnes Foundation) that really caught my attention. Only later did I realize that he was also responsible for the book Audio Culture, which was very influential for me in art school.

https://www.amazon.com/Audio-Culture-Readings-Modern-Music/dp/0826416152

In our chat, Christoph explores the tie-in between philosophy and sound art, discusses the temporal nature of sound art, and also considers the importance of sound within the art world. We also get off on a few tangents, which is the nature of a good conversation.

You can find out a lot more about Christoph at his faculty link:

http://faculty.hampshire.edu/ccox

Talking about the difference between sound art and music-making is an interesting debate, and really opens as many questions about 'what we do' as it provides answers. This was a great discussion, and I feel honored to have had a chance to share this podcast. I hope you enjoy it, and find it as inspiring as I did!

Podcast 170: Eric 'Rodent' Cheslak
48:07
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 48:07
Podcast 170: Eric 'Rodent' Cheslak

Eric Cheslak is known by almost everyone as 'Rodent', and is one of those Pied Piper folks that draws people into his lair. His current pipe of choice is the modular synthesizer, and he (along with Bana Haffar) put together the Modular on the Spot performance series, which takes modular people, puts them in an outdoor context (generally near the LA river) and gives them a venue to play, share and hang out. It's a powerful thing, and something that has drawn a community together - first in LA, but now all over the world.

Rodent is also a serious composer/player, and his work (which you can taste on his Soundcloud page) is a pretty unique style combo of dark industrial, experimental and idiosyncratic sound design. It's deep and satisfying, and provides an insight into the depth of Rodent himself.

This was an amazing interview because I felt like I really got to see inside the enthusiasm of Rodent and his view of the modular synthesizer as an orchestra, a very personal instrument - and a tool for community building. As he and Bana have been evangelizing both modulars and live performance, we've seen a huge uptick in people's interest and willingness to embrace these systems. And I think it is pretty easy to point to that work as a significant part of the modular explosion we are experiencing now.

Enjoy!

Podcast 169: Darren E Cowley
48:12
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 48:12
Podcast 169: Darren E Cowley

I've become a big fan of Isotonik Studios' work - their Novation Circuit editor makes that hardware sing for me, and some of their innovative Max For Live work lights up that platform. We happened to follow each other on Facebook; when I reached out to him for a chat, he was into it - and here's the result.

One of the things I really like about the offerings from Isotonik is that they are varied, super useful (both the control and audio devices are innovative as hell), and come with excellent support from the team. So I wanted to know more about that team, what it takes to keep something like this moving forward, and how someone might use Max For Live as a commercial platform.

Darren's story, like so many others, is a unique path to a cool end-game; it isn't a straight line, but it is one that is driven by passion and a love of music-making. If you haven't tried any of Isotonik's work, you should check out their site: 

https://isotonikstudios.com/

And if you happen to be a Novation Circuit user, make sure you are checking out the new work they've been doing lately - many new options are now available, and different people (like my friend Mark Mosher) are finding that different versions work best for their particular systems. Cool stuff, that's for sure.

Enjoy!

Podcast 168: Anthony Baldino
51:24
2017-10-07 17:12:15 UTC 51:24
Podcast 168: Anthony Baldino

When you meet interesting people, they often help you meet more interesting people. So it was with Bana Haffar - after doing the interview with her, she connected me with other talented artists in her LA circle. When she talked about this week's guest, she just said "He's The Shit." Anthony combines cinematic dark stuff with incredible sound design to create both deeply personal music and the outrageous music you hear in movie trailers.

Matter-of-fact, just like that. So I did a little Google-surfing, and sure enough, there is some serious talent there. Check out his Soundcloud page if you have any questions, or read an older interview with him on the speakhertz site. There's some serious magic going on there.

What was interesting is to hear how Anthony's sound design process has changed over the years. Moving from a sampling focus to modular synthesis might seem like a huge swing, but Anthony makes it seem pretty seamless - to the point where any sound he hears in his head seems to be available at his modular. Cool stuff.

So many thanks to Bana for the intro, and to Anthony for taking the time to chat. This one is inspiring, and makes me need to head to the studio for a little modular session. Enjoy!

Podcast 167: Marcel Wierckx
48:14
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 48:14
Podcast 167: Marcel Wierckx

I've seen Marcel Wierckx' name around for years, but hadn't seen his work in action. Recently, my friend Gregory Taylor ran across some of his work with dancers and was blown away. Of course, given my work with dancers and choreographers, I was really excited to learn more about what he's doing, how he builds up his performance system, and how he develops the work that he does.

The more I dug around in his lownorth.nl website, the more I found to discuss. His view on the arts is unique, and has a depth that isn't often found in the media art world. But Marcel also has a particular position on his work: he considers himself a composer, regardless of the media (visuals, OpenGL, audio, music) that he is working within.

We mostly talk about work with dancers/choreographers, which was timely; I'd just done a panel at the Berklee Voltage Connect conference about live performance, and talked extensively about working with a dance company as a means for interesting new performance options. Marcel takes this to a new level, mainly because he's been doing it for so long.

It's always great to talk to someone that is as introspective as Marcel is, and someone that embraces both teamwork and self-focused development in the creation of art. A great chat; hope you enjoy it!

Podcast 166: Ross Lamond
43:57
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 43:57
Podcast 166: Ross Lamond

I have to admit loving the looks of a good wooden modular case. There is something about it that offsets the overly high-tech look of a modular system, and turns it into an organic, living beast. And of all the case work that I've seen, it is Lamond Design's work that catches my eye most frequently. So when I decided to have a chat with a case maker, guess who I called?

This chat was one of the most comfortable I've had, simply because Ross is a very laid back guy that is quite taken by the fact that people like his work, and also grateful for the opportunity to do case-building as a gig. And with his background as an attempted musician (and it is clear that he still keeps his hand in it, even if he downplays the musical thing...), he always keeps his eye on the artistry of the work.

In our chat, we cover everything from getting started with modulars through learning woodworking from scratch. And in the meantime, it has been growing, tweaking and pumping out the best looking cases you've ever seen. If you aren't familiar, you should check it out here: http://www.lamonddesign.co.uk/index/

Enjoy!

Podcast 165: Huston Singletary
01:18:37
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 01:18:37
Podcast 165: Huston Singletary

The first time I saw Huston Singletary I was on a ride. At the NAMM show, surrounded by amazing talent, all giving their best shots at demos. A guy gets up in front of the Ableton stage and starts riffing on the latest version, showing all the new features and stuff - standard fare. All of a sudden he stops, says to someone "Hey, that's a great question!" and wheels off into an impromptu clinic on how to perform some production magic that had everyone mesmerized.

That is Huston at his best - in one of his lives. In other parts of his life, he does amazing sound designs. In other parts, it's feet-on-the-ground production. He's got bones in so many parts of the audio/music field, and it's wild to hear him talk about moving - frictionlessly - from one to the other. But above everything, he loves to help people learn about doing new things, and this is the legacy that Huston will always have to me.

I hope you enjoy this longer-than-normal, wide-ranging talk with someone that was there as studios moved to DAWs, synth stacks moved from keyboard stands into plug-in folders, and production moved from the few to the many. Huston has seen it all, and it is really interesting to hear his take on the music/production world.

Enjoy!

Podcast 164: Bana Haffar
40:25
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 40:25
Podcast 164: Bana Haffar

Bana Haffar's profile in the modular world is growing by the day. She really hit people's attention with her demo video for the Moog Mother32: Liquid Light Solid Motion, but is also gaining momentum by being involved (with Eric Cheslak) in creating and coordinating the Modular On The Spot performance series. Although a self-professed 'beginner', she's obviously found a way to express herself in the modular instrument, and has a release coming out shortly as well.

Surprisingly, in this interview we find out about an artist that has embrace Death Metal in Dubai, musical session work and the inevitable move to LA. But rather than let any of this define her (or swallow her up, as it can with many artists that move to LA), she's expanding herself with more experimentation, trying out more instruments and more collaboration.

Alas, Bana did this interview from an outdoor cafe while I was huddled in my over-heated Minnesota house; I was more than a little envious! But I was also inspired by an artist that is seeing success without ceasing her own development. That's something we can all learn from, right?

Thanks to Tom Hall for this great connection. Enjoy!

Podcast 163: Andrew Ikenberry
41:10
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 41:10
Podcast 163: Andrew Ikenberry

Qu-Bit Electronix holds a special place in my heart: there was a time when I wouldn't do a gig unless I'd loaded up a thumb drive with some new samples for munging with a Qu-Bit Nebulae - that company's first product. Since then, they've gone on to do a lot of additional modules, including a new series of devices that are in 'sets of four' - which Andrew talks about in this chat.

Talking with Andrew is also interesting because you find out about an accomplished musician that learned everything - design, programming, synthesis - out of a love of music and musical devices. Brought up under the tutelage of Dr. Boulanger at Berklee, Andrew took what he learned and made it concrete, literally wedging Csound code into a module so that he could further pursue his interests.

At the forefront of bringing digital to Eurorack systems, Andrew remains excited and fascinated by synth tools, and has some pretty big plans for the future. Listen in and enjoy!

Podcast 162: Brenna Murphy
44:54
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 44:54
Podcast 162: Brenna Murphy

Brenna Murphy is about as mediated of an artist as you will find. She combines video and animation with the development of physical objects (through a variety of means), but will also include analog synthesizers in her installations and as soundtracks for her films.

Hand-made synthesizers.

If you don't know Brenna's work, you need to check it out at http://www.bmruernpnhay.com/ (the site is a mashup of her first and last names...), where you will find a ton of different kinds of work. I especially loved the videos, since their soundtracks often sounded like they were taken straight from the vaults of late 50's sci-fi flicks. But as you dive in deeper, you find an incredible depth in Brenna's work, including the use of 3D printers, fabric printers and other fab systems to create sculptural work from her designs, and collaborations with her partner Birch Cooper (see http://mshr.info/) to create the synthesizers that sonify much of her work.

In our chat, we talk about the development of an artist in Portland - and the development of the sorts of communities that allow for this work to bloom. We also talk about the difficulties in creating work, getting it shown, and finding out how to work in an environment that wants to embrace everything - all at once.

Enjoy!

Podcast 161: Fabrizio Poce (J74)
48:51
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 48:51
Podcast 161: Fabrizio Poce (J74)

I ran across Fabrizio's work in a rather typical way - I was trolling through maxforlive.com, searching for something that would interest me (and would make for a good article for the Cycling '74 newsletter...), and I ran across some work by a developer that tagged everything with "J74". That was enough to get my attention on that evening, and I started looking into his work. There were several interesting devices, several of which were related to "guided generative" sequencing, an area that always kind of intrigues me.

So I started playing with some of the devices, and got drawn into one of them: J74 Progressive, which is a chordal (harmonic) content generator that can be as simple or as complex as you like - and it draws you in by helping make interesting and fun chord changes.

I had to learn more, so I reached out to the developer - Fabrizio Poce - and started a conversation. Next thing you know, we were doing a podcast interview! This is a great one, because Fabrizio is more than happy to share his perspectives on both musical creation and software development. This is a balance that is hard for many to maintain, so it is good to hear some ideas from a successful developer.

If you want to dive into Fabrizio's J74 work, you can check out his site at http://fabriziopoce.com/, and check out J74 Progressive here.

Enjoy!

Podcast 160: Tarik Barri
55:55
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 55:55
Podcast 160: Tarik Barri

In a quiet and self-assured way, Tarik Barri has been turning heads. His visuals for Monolake established him as a serious visual artist, while recent work with Laurel Halo and Thom Yorke are putting him at the forefront of live visual performance and programming. But when you talk to him, you'd never know - he's one of those people that is somewhat self-effacing, and both open and honest about how he feels and how he reacts to his process.

With a backstory that included some solitude in Saudi Arabia, several swipes at academia and a long-form software development process, it's probably not surprising to see Tarik have a unique and idiosyncratic (visual) voice. But he is also one of the most insightful people I've talked to when it comes to self-realization, and he was amazingly free with his opinions on how he creates his work, interacts with other artists and balances tech with art.

Catch up on Tarik's work by checking out his website, or check out some of the live video captures with him playing with Monolake and Yorke. But don't miss this discussion, which is a fascinating insight into an artist's mind.

Enjoy!

Podcast 159: Joshua Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv
56:09
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 56:09
Podcast 159: Joshua Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv

Joshua Eustis is one of the busiest and most focused people you'll run across. From his many recording/performance entities and collaborations (Telefon Tel Aviv, Second Woman, Sons of Magdalene) or his work with mainline acts (Puscifer, Nine Inch Nails), Josh's influence is woven throughout electronic music.

And you know what? Good for us! If you aren't familiar with Telefon Tel Aviv's music, take a listen - it's among my favorite music at the moment. Doing a little research will help you understand the difficulties surrounding that project - including the heartbreak surrounding the death of Charlie Cooper, Josh's collaborator with Telefon. 

But there's a lot more to talk about: what was it like touring with Puscifer - or NIN? What works better for Josh's work: hardware or software? And what are some of the tricks that he uses in order to keep up his aggressive playing and release schedule? All this and more...

I'm really grateful that Josh would take the time to chat with us, and thanks to Tom Hall for making the introduction. And make sure you keep up to date with Telefon Tel Aviv's activities as well as his other project, and keep an eye for a gig near you.

Enjoy!

Podcast 158: James Patrick (JP)
01:05:45
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 01:05:45
Podcast 158: James Patrick (JP)

If you have done any electronic music gigs in the US Midwest, or even if you've been listening to previous interviews with people that have come out of the Midwest, you've heard people speak about a mysterious figure: JP. JP helped set up gigs, encouraged people to strike out as players, or to try something new, or to show him something new. He's a dynamo in the area (he's based out of Minneapolis), and is also one of the founders of Slam Academy, a school for learning DJ'ing, production and sound design.

JP has a lot of great memories about how the scene developed, and also a lot of ideas (and opinions) about how people can learn this stuff today. He is on the front lines of getting people involved in making music, and some of his concepts refreshingly avoid the hype of 'get a job in the industry!' and replaces it with 'find a way to make your life better!'

I have to admit really appreciating that perspective.

I hope you enjoy this chat with JP - someone that is not only a friend, but someone who is an inspiration, and someone whose opinion I've come to trust. And if you are interested in the classes he has on offer, check out slamacademy.com for the whole scoop.

Podcast 157: Keith McMillen
41:30
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 41:30
Podcast 157: Keith McMillen

NOTE: This podcast is the fifth and final interview in our collaboration with Synthtopia.com on expressive MIDI controllers developments. You can listen to the podcast here, on the Synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes.

But you can also read the interview as well as search for information by viewing the transcription on at the following location:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2016/12/25/keith-mcmillen-interview-modern-instruments-should-combine-traditional-expressiveness-with-new-power/

Back in podcast episode #54, I talked to Keith McMillen about his background, his experiences in developing new musical tools, and the development of his 'smart fabric' technology that is at the heart of KMI's controllers. This time - and on the success of the Kickstarter funding of the K-Board Pro 4 - we talk with him about his experiences working on expressive controllers, and his long term goal of making every instrument able to interact with the computer.

I like talking to people with large visions, and Keith is right there: he'd like to change the world by making instruments more expressive and responsive, reduce latency to nothing - and also change the way that composers document their work so that it is available across technologies and implementations. These visions are the 'hard work' of what we need to do in electronic music, and Keith is simple not scared off by the difficulty of the task.

I hope you enjoy this discussion - we are pretty wide-ranging in the discussion, but in the end get to see the grand unifying vision of Keith's view of the future, and even what steps he may take to see them through. Enjoy!

Podcast 156: Jordan Rudess
41:47
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 41:47
Podcast 156: Jordan Rudess

NOTE: This podcast is the fourth interview in our collaboration with Synthtopia.com on expressive MIDI controllers developments. You can listen to the podcast here, on the synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes.

But you can also read the article as well as search for information by viewing the transcription on at the following location:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2016/12/18/jordan-rudess-interview-on-new-instruments-the-future-of-keyboard-performance/

In the music instrument industry, Jordan Rudess is a rock star. He is a tremendous product demonstration guru, and is able to figure out - and shred upon - almost any controller at the drop of a hat. His history with Korg, Kurzweil and others map out the best of keyboards, and he's been a demo machine with all of them.

In the software development business, Jordan Rudess is also a rock star. He's designed some of the most interesting and playable iOS music applications (including MorphWiz, SampleWiz and GeoShred), and is working with others on some upcoming goodies.

And, of course, Jordan is also an actual rock star. As the keyboardist for Dream Theater, a member of the Dixie Dregs and an amazing solo performer and recording artist, Jordan has established himself as a force in rock keyboard circles.

What's cool, though, is that Jordan is a great guy, and is really wired in on every new technology. He's embraced the expressive controller world, including devices like the ROLI Seaboard, and finds these tools to open up a new world for him in both performance and recording. We talk a little about his past, his present and what he sees for the future in this two part (all in one file...) chat.

Enjoy!

Podcast 155: Dr. Lippold Haken
56:04
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 56:04
Podcast 155: Dr. Lippold Haken

NOTE: This podcast is the third interview in our collaboration with Synthtopia.com on expressive MIDI controllers developments. You can listen to the podcast here, on the synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes.

But you can also read the article as well as search for information by viewing the transcription on at the following location:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2016/12/11/continuum-creator-lippold-haken-on-the-future-of-electronic-instruments/

No matter who you talk to about expressive MIDI controllers, one device keeps coming to the forefront: the Haken Continuum. Developed by our guest, Dr. Lippold Haken, the Continuum defined a new class of instrument that put a sensor-based system at the hands of the player. As part of creating the instrument, Dr. Haken had to invent many supporting technologies, and we see some of that in the emerging MPE specification.

But there is a lot more to Haken's work than a spec: there is also the details that he explored in the development of the Continuum. And they are quite remarkable: crazy (and expensive) sensors, highly sensitive interfaces and even the creation of the unique keyboard-like playing surface - all of this had to be developed from whole cloth.

The fact that Dr. Haken pulled it off is rather amazing, and points to the dedication that he has for his craft. This was a great discussion about the system's development, but also his vision for a specific instrument and his tireless search for the right solutions.

You can find out a lot more about the Haken Continuum at the Haken Audio website, and by checking out players like Jordan Rudess, Rob Schwimmer and others wailing on the device on YouTube. Enjoy!

Podcast 154: Geert Bevin
44:39
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 44:39
Podcast 154: Geert Bevin

NOTE: This podcast is the second interview in our collaboration with Synthtopia.com on expressive MIDI controllers developments. You can listen to the podcast here, on the synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes. But you can also read the article as well as search for information by viewing the transcription available here:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2016/12/04/geert-bevin-mpe-interview/

Everyone in the MPE/expressive controller game talks about Geert Bevin. He got his bones working on the Eigenlabs Eigenharp, but has been instrumental in helping a number of instruments come onto the market - most recently the Roger Linn Linnstrument.

But Geert is more than just a coder; he's a long time musician, guitar player, songwriter and instrument experimenter. He doesn't just work on the code, he works on the instrument, helping each device to sing its own peculiar song. Talking with him helped me understand the reverence that others had for him, because he sees the holistic nature of instrument development, and is able to think this way about making the instruments into a playable reality.

You can learn more about Geert from a number of sources, but perhaps his most interesting writings can be found on http://expressiveness.org/ where he talks directly about the devices he's built/used, and also provides a view into the things that he finds interesting in that world.

Enjoy!

Podcast 153: Roger Linn
01:00:02
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 01:00:02
Podcast 153: Roger Linn

NOTE: This podcast is presented as a collaboration with Synthtopia.com for the presentation of people working with and creating expressive MIDI controllers. You can listen to the podcast here, on the synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes. But you can also read the article as well as search for information by viewing the transcription available here:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2016/11/27/roger-linn-mpe-interview/

Roger Linn is one of my Music Tech heroes. His development of the sampling drum machine has defined a significant portion of my musical life, and I still surround myself with tools that he designed or helped develop.

In this podcast, Roger and I get to chat a little about how he got started (including his design process for the MPC, which is a little mind-blowing!), his current mission to replace on/off switches and how he perceives his own future. He also gives us some real-life example of the value of expressiveness in MIDI controllers, and talks about the musical implications of this effort.

I was blown away by Roger's relaxed attitude about these incredibly genre-altering creations, but he's the first to admit that it's the musicians, not the gear-builders, that make the difference. But in the meantime, he's out there obsessing for the good of us artists, and I couldn't be more excited.

Enjoy!

Podcast 152: Tony Rolando of Make Noise
01:02:32
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 01:02:32
Podcast 152: Tony Rolando of Make Noise

I'll admit it: one of the reasons I moved over to Eurorack systems was because of Make Noise music. I found the Maths module a remarkably musical combination of utility and fun, and the Optomix has the right bump for the money. It also had a kooky look that screamed "fun" instead of "study more"! So yeah, it was a pretty easy transition...

I was pleased to get a little of Tony's time for the podcast, and he didn't disappoint - not only did we dive into the development of his modules and systems, but I also got him to talk a bunch about how he got started in electronics, and what were the influences that drove him forward. We also talk a bit about his manufacturing process, and how he things about running a modular synth business. It's a great interview, and really reveals a lot about how great a person Tony really is.

I hope you enjoy this, and if you aren't familiar with Make Noise, you should check out their work. But in any case, enjoy my chat with Tony!

Podcast 151: Tim Place
48:08
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 48:08
Podcast 151: Tim Place

Tim Place is one of those amazing guys that, at a fairly young age, has already accomplished so much. He is one of the main designer/programmers behind the Jamoma project, developed the Teabox sensor system (as well as designing and building the best sensors in the business...), created the Hipno plug-in package and has been developing objects and systems for Cycling '74 for almost a decade.

I was anxious to talk to Tim for many reasons, but one of them was to talk about his efforts in getting his doctorate in music, why he sort of stalled out on that process, but how he was also able to leverage that experience into a useful career. And his discussions about career are somewhat familiar to me as I surf the variety of people that make it in music tech: he puts out a lot of feelers, works really hard on a lot of things, and one of them happens to 'hit'.

In Tim's case, a number of these things are still on-going concerns, with the Jamoma package at the forefront. But it's interesting to talk to Tim about his continued interest in C++ coding, his re-entrance into math (a subject he abandoned in high school) and his approach to trying many things in search of The Right Thing.

Enjoy!

Podcast 150: Tom Erbe
56:22
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 56:22
Podcast 150: Tom Erbe

Here's one of the great ones.

Tom Erbe is an amazing cat. He's been on my radar for almost as long as I've been serious about electronic music; his early work with Soundhack (subsequently expanded into plug-in and app form) was inspirational, and opened my ears for computer music outside the realm of standard sequencing. He's a serious experimental music engineer and producer, and has implemented a Williams Mix performance and recording (available on his personal website). Most recently, he's garnered a following for his work with Make Noise on the Echophon, Phonogene and Erbe-Verb.

I watch amazed as Tom float from hardware to software, all the while creating head-bending, fun results. With all of that, it's amazing to find that he's the most laid back, easy going person you'll ever talk to. What a great talk!

Enjoy.

[ddg]

Podcast 149: The Circuit Jerks
39:31
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 39:31
Podcast 149: The Circuit Jerks

I don't often get to talk to superstars - there are simply too many layers between who I am and what they do. So, generally, gear and creativity talk aren't in the mix for most stars' PR blitzes. However, Jesse Carmichael (Maroon 5) and Jason Lader (pretty much EVERYBODY!) have put out an EP as "The Circuit Jerks", and they reached out to me to talk about the process. This release, called EP1, features some unusual tracks, including two 1:11:11-long tracks that are pretty mind-bending.

What I really enjoyed about this conversation is the recognition that star status doesn't change your passions - and these two guys are rabid modular fans. I'm sorry that this chat is going to disappoint Maroon 5 fans that want to know about Jesse's love life, or train spotters that want to know what kind of shoes Elvis Costello wears in the studio. We talked hard core gear-geek talk, praising Doepfer modules, video performance tools and imagining a future of net-based sync.

Alas, at the end of the chat the real world steps in (the manager hung up on us *exactly* on schedule), and we go on our merry ways. But for a little bit, we really got an insight into the point of passion in your work, and how excitement expresses itself in music-making. This was a lot of fun, and I owe these guys for sharing the time with us.

Enjoy!

Podcast 148: Douglas Eck
30:51
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 30:51
Podcast 148: Douglas Eck

Douglas Eck and the Magenta Project first came onto my radar by doing a podcast that was posted on the Web Audio API Weekly email, and I found his discussion about music and machine learning to be compelling and focused. I reached out to him, and things came together quickly: he invited me to Google for a visit with his team, and also got the planning into motion for this podcast. Once it cleared all the hurdles, we were on!

We didn't have a lot of time, but it is clear that Douglas is experienced in presenting the Magenta team's vision "in the time allotted" - whatever that time might be. He certainly packed a lot of information into the small amount of time I was able to talk to him. Trying to understand how machine learning can work within a musical environment - as well as how it can draw musicians in, rather than pushing them away - is something I'd never considered, but it is clear that this is a big part of how the team is imagining their work.

If you are interested in musical machine learning as a concept, you'll want to check out the Magenta project at its website, and also get some basic machine learning education wherever you can find it. Hearing about the successes that Google has had with "deep learning" and "reinforcement training" is pretty interesting, and it is exciting to watch this stuff develop from the ground floor.

Want to get involved? The Magenta project is open-source, and is actively interacting with artists and art-tech folks as they are able. Start by reading their site, test-driving their tooling from Github and learning more along the way.

Enjoy!

Podcast 147: El Larson
44:55
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 44:55
Podcast 147: El Larson

This one was a bit difficult for me: when I'm talking to people about gear or circuits or code, I have no problem. But when it comes to talking about how our bodies work? I'm generally at a loss. Luckily, El Larson was very helpful as I stumbled through the words to talk about what she does. So when you hear me struggling, there it is.

In any case, it is really cool to hear about El's work with the Tibetan Bowls and a modular synth. She's thoughtful about the way that she integrates the instruments into her practice, and is also willing to talk about it. So finding out how she works, how she prepares for a session and how she deals with the variety of personalities she encounters - it's all in the open.

Additionally, though, it's great to hear about a completely different musical practice, and to find out how sound can be used to physically help people. I've not participated in a session (although now I'm pretty intrigued), but I've heard incredible things from friends, and am very curious.

In addition to the sound practice, El is also an active artist/performer - with a recent high-profile project with Millie Brown being a prime example. Balancing the practice with the artistic urge is at the heart of El's life, and it was really interesting to learn more about it.

You can learn more about El's work at her website. Enjoy!

Podcast 146: Robert Henke
01:13:31
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 01:13:31
Podcast 146: Robert Henke

What can be said about Robert Henke that hasn't already been said a thousand times? A tireless inventor, music producer, visual artist and programmer, Robert has been at the front of so much - and for me he's been a constant inspiration. He's also become a good friend over the years, and I can believe it's taken me this long to interview him for the podcast. But I always want to be careful about his time; luckily, he's at a good point for a chat, and you get to listen in!

In this talk, we go over Robert's ideas about music gear, collaboration (he's worked with some amazing people...), balancing different types of work, and choosing areas to explore. He also reveals himself to be an "obsessed pragmatic": he's has a love for detail, but he has to fight his inner voices to make sure that he produces work.

Who can't understand that?

So please enjoy this talk, and if you get a chance, give a listen to the latest Monolake release: VLSI. It's a great combo of analog, digital and hybrid, and makes for some inspirational listening.

Podcast 145: Marielle V Jakobsons
55:23
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 55:23
Podcast 145: Marielle V Jakobsons

Marielle V Jackobsons has a very interesting practice: she's part of Date Palms, does live work with bassist Chuck Johnson, and has developed an amazing instrument that she calls a "Macro-Cymatic Visual Music Instrument". She actually was a history of building unlikely instruments - and most of them are focused on vibrations in some interesting way.

If you can't quite imagine what I mean, you should start by checking out her website: http://mariellejakobsons.com/ (click on the big image to get into the site...). You can get a nice tour of her artistic statement as well as a lot of her work; once you see it, you'll want to find a way to see and hear a live show. 

With her recent release on the Thrill Jockey label, Marielle delves deeper into the mix of computers and analog systems, melodies and ambiences. It's an excellent release, and has been on constant play here in my hideout. But diving back into some earlier work (Date Palms, the Glass Canyon release) you can find a variety of styles, influences and even instrument use.

A relaxed and enjoyable chat - it was awesome to find someone with so much comfort talking about their process. Enjoy!

Podcast 144: Jonathan Snipes of clipping
49:04
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 49:04
Podcast 144: Jonathan Snipes of clipping

When my friend and coworker Andrew Benson said "Hey, you ought to check out Jonathan Snipes!", I didn't think I'd get what I did. The work that Jonathan is doing with the band clipping is a whirlwind of machine-gun rap magic and bizarre - and amazing - sound design. The use of hand-grabbed samples and handmade synth lines conjures up the best of old-school rap while simultaneously pointing to the most up-to-date sound design and music production techniques. Remarkable.

Then, in talking to Jonathan, I find out that he's got his fingers into movie and TV music as well, and has a history doing show design work with Max, and does all this realtime manipulation during shows, and...

Unbelievable.

Rather than tell his story here, I'll let him do it on the podcast. But you should also check out his personal website: http://www.jonat8han.com/, and also see him in action, doing the live variation thing in this YouTube:

video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7J_TUYGUW7o

Enjoy!

Podcast 143: Chris Lowis
46:10
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 46:10
Podcast 143: Chris Lowis

Chris Lowis first showed up on my radar via an episode of the JS Air podcast. He was talking about the history and concepts of the Web Audio API to a bunch of Javascript-heads. He seemed equally comfortable talking about either audio or programming, and I knew he'd be a great interview for my podcast.

I couldn't have been more correct. Chris has a great history; studying acoustics, working at the BBC and being involved with the standards groups that are pulling the Web Audio API spec together. The effort is starting to show some great results, with recent Web pages really lighting up some spectacular devices: synths, games and other goodies.

Where you you go to find out more about this stuff? One place is Chris' home for his Web Audio Weekly blog: http://blog.chrislowis.co.uk/waw.html. This is the de-facto clearing house for new apps, devices and libraries that work with the Web Audio and Web MIDI specs. If you want a little more active call-and-response, you can check in on the Web Audio Slack Channel. Finally, Chris himself refers to the Mozilla Developer Network documentation as a great place to find out more about the details of web audio.

Finally, when you are ready to do some coding of your own, you will probably want to take the Web Audio School:

(online trial) http://mmckegg.github.io/web-audio-school/

(github download) https://github.com/mmckegg/web-audio-school

Enjoy, and make sure you give some Web Audio examples a try! 

Podcast 142: Terry Pender
45:15
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 45:15
Podcast 142: Terry Pender

Have you had the feeling of meeting someone and immediately feeling like you were best friends? This was my experience with Terry Pender, Associate Director of Columbia University's Computer Music Center. He has an easy and laid back style that immediately puts you in a good mood - then he hits you with some of the things he's done.

It's amazing.

From mandolin gigs at Carnegie Hall (with Pradeep Ratnayake), live improv shows with PGT or film sound design, it seems like Terry has done it all. Then you find out that he did music spots for daytime TV, works with the Pulitzer committee and has put together a master work on recording technology - you've got to wonder when he sleeps!

This chat with Terry was a great chance for me to get caught up with him, but to also learn a few new things about his background, and to get some hints about how he approaches the difficult-to-teach area of recording and production. He also talks a bit about collecting the stories that he'd pulled together; it's fascinating stuff.

Sit back, take your shoes off and enjoy this chill hangout with Terry Pender!

Podcast 141: Wade Matthews
43:57
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 43:57
Podcast 141: Wade Matthews

Wade Matthews is passionate about improv. He focuses on what he calls "free improvisation", which is dependent on having great listening skills as well as great playing chops. In this chat, Wade explores how he got to the point of being improv-focused, how he thinks about different types of performance (including his concept of 'sonic portraits', which I found fascinating) and even his definition of free improv.

Wade is also a trained musician who is now somewhat post-instrumental, focusing as much on processes and electronics as he does on the woodwinds where he started. This has also had an impact on both the music that he makes and his view on musical work, and we are lucky to have him share his ideas and experiences here.

I really enjoy talks where we can get in-depth on a subject and explore some of the edge areas, and I felt like this happened here. Wade is a deep thinker who is also an eloquent speaker, and the discussion buzzed by much faster than I realized. Nevertheless, we do learn a lot about Wade's ideas on music-making, and I hope to continue the discussion soon.

Enjoy!

Podcast 140: Coralie Diatkine
46:53
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 46:53
Podcast 140: Coralie Diatkine

I really appreciate the opportunity to meet new people - especially when they are introduced by friends that I respect. Coralie Diatkine comes via Julien Bayle, who mentioned her in a conversation as "someone with a unique sound" - and also mentioned her as a up-and-coming Max'er. He pointed to her website and I was blown away.

The thing the was most interesting to me was that Coralie doesn't really hide anything. If she is experimenting with spacialization, you get to read about it on her site. Working on sound design using her sax? Also on the site. And even though she's left vocal work behind, she's also willing to share that as well. I love it when people share their whole story, and Coralie seemed willing to do that on her site.

She was also willing to do it on the podcast! In this chat, we range from her choice of instruments (and why she dropped voice) to the use of language and metaphor for compositional concept, and even spend some time examining the French educational system. I eat this stuff up, and I hope you are as fascinated as I am.

Once you listen to this, you will want to know more about Coralie. Her web world is at http://coraliediatkine.eu/, and her Soundcloud page is filled with goodies, available at https://soundcloud.com/coralie-diatkine.

Enjoy!

Podcast 139: Mark Mosher on the Rocky Mountain Synth Meetup
47:27
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 47:27
Podcast 139: Mark Mosher on the Rocky Mountain Synth Meetup

One of the most interesting meetups I've ever attended was the Rocky Mountain Synth Meetup, led by Mark Mosher. Mark started this as an outgrowth of his own desire to meet people, but it has expanded into one of the most active synthesizer-based meetups in the world - and is now a must-visit for anyone that likes (as Mark states) "drinking with a synthesizer problem".

From its humble beginnings in the basement of a Louisville CO restaurant to the huge launch party for the Ableton Push 2 release, the meetup has gone through a number of changes - some of which would hamstring a lesser meetup. Venue changes, personality riffs, people moving in and out of the area; the RMSM has continued to expand, and is healthier than ever.

Mark has provided the following information for us to share:

Meetup Summary

The Rocky Mountain Synthesizer Meetup - founded in 2012 - is the home of 480+ Denver Front Range synth geeks who share their passion for synths, build their network, get inspired, get hands-on with gear, tell people about projects and find collaborators. It is synth technology agnostic and features broad variety of rotating presentation topics and experiences each meetup - most presentations given by members themselves. The after-meetup features a performance by a meetup member.

 

  

Referenced in Show 

 

Related Mindmaps

 

My Links 

Many thanks to Mark for his openness about the meetup. I hope you'll consider doing one for your community!!!

Enjoy!

Podcast 138: David Butler
41:03
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 41:03
Podcast 138: David Butler

Walking the tightrope - that's what show control is all about. Whether you are creating lighting scenes, working with live projection or live video gen, this isn't something that you can practice ahead of time. As a result, I find the work that show control people do to be both fascinating and completely unnerving.

Take the craziness of show control, add programming chops and the willingness to go anywhere in the world - and you have David Butler. David has been developing show control tools for himself in Max and Java; given his comfort with large-scale control systems, he's able to put together programming that is able to handle massive data streams.

I was really looking forward to a chat with David because he manages the balance between technical skills and artistic vision. He does this professionally, but he does it for fun, too - and that's something I can definitely relate with. He's also into sharing both his perspectives and his work, and is working on some code that he'll be providing for other interested parties.

This is a great look at a completely different side of the performing world, and also gives you a glimpse at the levels of detail and complexity required to handle large performance system. It's also a chance to hear from a guy that is totally comfortable with the tightrope walk that is show control management. You can find out more about David's work at his website: The Impersonal Stereo.

Enjoy!

Podcast 137: Micah Frank
37:26
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 37:26
Podcast 137: Micah Frank

Micah Frank has been doing it for more than a decade. And by "it", I mean pulling amazing sounds out of the air, formatting them to be playable, and releasing them through his company Puremagnetik. I've long been a fan, and finally was able to corner Micah for a podcast chat.

In this one, we talk about everything from his background as a New York session drummer through the development of his favorite sample packs, and also talk about the tools of the trade that he finds useful. We also talk a little about the business of sample pack creation and even a little about collaboration with other artists. But mostly we talk about how one becomes a sample pack developer, and the joy that comes with embracing that gig.

I really respect Micah's work; if you haven't heard it, check it out at the Puremagnetic site, try out some of the free packs, or maybe pick up a little gift for yourself (I'd recommend the "b-systems" packs made in collaboration with Richard Lainhart, or the new Cinematic stuff we talk about in the podcast...), but enjoy our discussion!

Podcast 136: Paul Vnuk
01:00:14
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 01:00:14
Podcast 136: Paul Vnuk

There are a few people that I've known forever - even if we don't talk often. Paul Vnuk is one of those people - we were Milwaukee folk at the same period in the late 90's, have interacted with Mike Metlay over the years, and still cross paths during NAMM shows. But we seldom seem to talk; we are often busy (especially, as you'll hear, when Paul is multi-tasking at full throttle), so it seems difficult to get the time. So, we needed to make time.

I had a problem with this week's interviews, and Paul was willing to jump into the podcast for a nice chat. And the hour went by in an eyeblink; Paul has worked on so many interesting projects that I was left with a book-load of questions for the next interview (or three...) that we'll do. Nevertheless, Paul was happy to talk about whatever I'd bring up, and I wanted to talk about everything!

So we talked about recording tech, Paul's background, working on Ma Ja Le, doing loop libraries for Sonic Foundry/Sony, learning new instruments and working on remote collaborations. A fascinating interview with a really interesting guy - and I already can't wait for our next chat. And I can't wait for that next release!

So enjoy!!!

Podcast 135: Dino J. A. Deane
01:28:10
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 01:28:10
Podcast 135: Dino J. A. Deane

Dino J. A. Deane is a bit of a force of nature. He's been a session horn player and touring musician, he was one of the earliest proponents of live/real-time sampling, a sound designer before that was a widely-known 'thing', and a practitioner of Conduction, a method of real-time composition developed by Butch Morris. And he's still rocking it out there, working with a group in Denver called FluxCrew, continuing to record, and pushing the envelope with the methodology behind Conduction.

I've been getting pushed by several friends to talk to Dino, and it finally happened. And boy, am I glad I did. Dino is a deep well, and I was blown away by the people he's worked with and the experience he's had - whether working the punk/jazz scene during New York's loft heyday, tripping over Arp 2600's in L.A. during the first golden age of home studios, or exploring the brittle edges of sampling with early Akai and Ensoniq systems.

I hope you get into this conversation. If you want to know more, you need to check out his work at http://jadeane.com/, or take in a bit of live action in his YouTube channel. You can also find out more about Butch Morris at conduction.us.

Enjoy!

Podcast 134: David Beaudry
52:03
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 52:03
Podcast 134: David Beaudry

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to visit David Beaudry at his design studio in LA. It was pretty interesting; behind a laid-back facade was a passionate and excited designer/developer that clearly was "into" his work - and the practice of interaction design in general. On that day, we talked details about fluid dynamics, the generalities of getting gigs and and joys and pains of working with Max over the years.

I was really pleased to get a chance to interview David for the podcast, and his over-the-phone delivery - and insights - is just as amazing as his in-person. This is one of those interviews that seemed to go by in an eye-blink, because each question led to many potential next questions, and once we got rolling there was much stopping us. It was also cool that David doesn't try to shield anyone from the tough questions: What is the "hard thing" in the implementation of his designs? How often do you have to deal with difficult customers? When do you end up in no-win situations?

David was into talking about it all, and we are the beneficiaries. I hope that you enjoy this chat as much as I did; it was an eye-opener on many levels, and will really give you some insights the next time you are at a museum installation, kids' theme park or educational kiosk!

Podcast 133: Cory Metcalf
51:12
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 51:12
Podcast 133: Cory Metcalf

Sometimes you run across 'old souls' - people whose depth belies their physical age. Cory Metcalf is one of those people; he seems to have been born to both art and philosophy, and the depth of his expression is remarkable.

Cory is one half of the group Noisefold (David Stout, from podcast #10 is the other half), but is also an active teacher and solo artist as well. He's about to launch into a new journey even as some of his existing work is getting attention, and he (like me) is in the middle of a physical move to a new location. Since we were diverging in location, I decided to take the opportunity to touch base with him for the podcast - and to document his story.

And an amazing story it is. Cicadas, films school, monkey gods and meditation all make appearances, but not it a typical "I'm dropping my groove onto your lap" kind of way. Cory is incredibly introspective about influences (both internal and external), and is able to embrace and integrate influences in a way that doesn't subsume his own voice. How that happens is at the heart of our discussion, and I hope you find the exploration interesting.

Enjoy!

Podcast 132: Carla Scaletti
45:03
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 45:03
Podcast 132: Carla Scaletti

My first encounter with Carla Scaletti was at an AES show, where she was doing personal demos of the Kyma system in a little square in the middle of the show floor. In among mic preamps and tape decks was a bunch of computer monitors and a demo station with a mic. I was blown away when Carla proceeded to use the microphone to record her voice, then use it (her voice) to do score following - it was magic to me.

Since then, I've always been fascinated to see where the Kyma system appears. Often tied to serious sound designers, I saw it in studios, in background pictures of Hollywood sound-heads and in the workplaces of my friends in the game industry. I also started seeing it in academic institutions, where it was being used for both teaching/recording and research.

I was so pleased when Carla said she was willing to be interviewed for the podcast. I'd recently noticed that she was pretty active in the community, having given the keynote speech at the 2015 ICMC (which was also published in the Computer Music Journal), and Meg Schedel mentioned that Carla was going to be doing some sessions at Stony Brook. And now I'm happy to present this talk with Carla, where we range from her personal history to her (incredible) ideas about the nature of modern experimental composition.

Enjoy!

Podcast 131: Brian Clevinger (Absynth)
45:32
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 45:32
Podcast 131: Brian Clevinger (Absynth)

Absynth is one of my favorite software synthesizers. It is everything you'd want in a modular system, but is packages like a standard instrument - helping smooth the way for quick-and-efficient patch development. But the level of modulation and pure sound design goodness is unparalleled - and this thing is 15 years old!

It's a sign of great work when something lasts, and 15 years is forever in software terms. What makes Absynth so great? A combination of excellent design, fantastic sound and the fortitude to keep improving it the whole time.

Several people have pointed to Brian as a potential interview; I finally reached out to him and found him more than willing. Then we started talking, and it turned out to be one of the great chats that I've had. Brian is a cool guy, and was willing to be introspective about his work and perspectives. I felt like I made a new friend during our discussion - and you get to hear it happen.

Check out Brian's sound work at his Soundcloud page. And if you aren't using Absynth, you need to check it out at its Native Instruments product page. Enjoy!

Podcast 130: Logan Erickson (Low-Gain Electronics)
36:09
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 36:09
Podcast 130: Logan Erickson (Low-Gain Electronics)

I really love people that follow their passions - wherever it takes them. Logan Erickson is one of those people; his company (Low-Gain Electronics) features Eurorack modules, MU-format conversions, format jumblers, power components and other goodies. You also get a little insight into Logan's mind - he loves a lot of different things, and puts his efforts where his heart is.

In our chat, we discuss the different formats, talk about the different threads of module developments, and explore some of the ideas about the comfort of different cable and mode sizes. We also talk about the nature of custom builds; how it comes about, and how it works for a professional builder.

Logan combines building and playing, passion and business - and has the experience to make interesting and informed decisions. This was a fun interview with a fascinating guy - enjoy!

Podcast 129: Elizabeth Hoffman
47:51
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 47:51
Podcast 129: Elizabeth Hoffman

Jane Rigler opens a lot of doors for me. She's always been generous with her teaching opportunities, her performances and her contact; the last time I spent time with her, she told me about an upcoming performance with her friend and colleague Elizabeth Hoffman - and that Elizabeth would be a great podcast subject.

When Jane speaks, I listen!

This podcast is the result of that contact, and it's a great one. I really enjoy interviews where we start diving into people's motivation and concept development, and Elizabeth was more than willing to dive into that stuff. Additionally, we get a glimpse into the actual workings of a composer's career - it is never a straight line, and it is always packed full with self-education and exploration.

This is an interesting chat in many ways, but it was also fun because I feel like I got to know Elizabeth a lot over the course of the 45 minutes. I hope you do as well! You can find out more at her personal NYU website, and check out her CD (which I will continue to rave about...) at the site for the work: Intérieurs harmoniques.

Enjoy!

Podcast 128: Ben Houge
46:52
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 46:52
Podcast 128: Ben Houge

My friend Gregory Taylor made an interesting connection for me: Ben Houge, an instructor at Berklee, also had an interesting sideline, and Gregory thought I'd be interested. And boy, was he right: Ben composes music to go along with top chef's meal presentations, creating a performance that I'm dying to check out!

In our chat, I get to find out what this means, how you get the gig in the first place, and the kind of background that it takes to compose at this level. Combine this interest with Ben's background as a game composer and you clearly have an incredible chat-in-the-making. But Ben also seems to have a knack for talking to people (and getting them to talk back...), and we explore that a bit as well.

You can find out more about Ben at http://benhouge.com/, his Berklee page, or hear his work on Soundcloud. But dive in deep, and you'll find an individual with an incredible and fascinating body of work.

Enjoy!

Podcast 127: Johnny Woods
58:07
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 58:07
Podcast 127: Johnny Woods

When I interviewed Andrew Benson a few weeks ago, we talked about the video label that he worked with, and the fabulous people he knew from that experience. One of them, Johnny Woods, was willing to be interviewed for the podcast - and I jumped at the opportunity.

A crazy-fabulous animator, modular synth nut and label/economics guru, Johnny has a great vision - and interesting opinions - on a lot of subjects. And I felt like we covered a lot of them; our discussion starts with animation and end with us taking over Silicon Valley. As a result, I'm going to have to go to LA to get the cabal rolling, but in the meantime you get to hear our chat.

Enjoy listening, and make sure you check out Johnny's work at johnnywoods.com as well as the Undervolt & Co site. At the very least, take a little time out of your schedule to find some work by an artist, share it where you can, and help spread the word about the amazing art that's being made!

Podcast 126: Stephen James Taylor
52:27
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 52:27
Podcast 126: Stephen James Taylor

One of the most interesting and personable people I've met in my journey has be Stephen James Taylor. An accomplished composer and film scorer, he is also on a path that includes research into tuning systems combined with an interest in building unique instruments. The work he does ranges from Disney animation scoring to bluesy solo pieces, and he is able to weave all of his interests into an amazing sonic tapestry.

In this chat, Stephen and I dive into his microtonal interests (including his work with and on Erv Wilson's tuning mapping), his background coming up in the film scoring world, and how he dealt with the various existential crises throughout his life. We also talk a lot about the conundrum of new tunings, the required new instruments, and how a body of work gets created to support them. We also talk more about instrument design, for while Stephen is a wealth of knowledge.

Enjoy, and check out his work at http://www.stephenjamestaylor.com.

Podcast 125: Matthew Davidson
44:51
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 44:51
Podcast 125: Matthew Davidson

One of my early podcasts was with Matthew Davidson (also often known as stretta). At the time, Matthew was working with me at Cycling '74, and was also doing some teaching at Berklee School of Music and working on some monome/modular stuff.

Since then, Matthew has left Cycling and has moved into a fulltime position at Berklee, so I decided to revisit our discussion, talk a little more about what things are like teaching at the school, and what it is like for students that are first attempting to take on something as heady as that program. We also get some insights into Matthew's ideas about ensemble work (with modulars!), personal practice and the excitement of teaching as a full-time gig.

Enjoy!

Podcast 124: Victoria Lundy
48:18
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 48:18
Podcast 124: Victoria Lundy

OK, I'll admit it. Every time I've tried using a Theremin, the result have been a musical car wreck. It seems like I have no ability to control my limbs in a way that provides the instrument with what it needs, so it sounds horrible.

So therefore, it is really interesting to me to talk to talented Theremin players - and this week, I talk to the best that I know: Victoria Lundy. Victoria is a solo performer and recording artist as well as a member of The Inactivists, and is active in our local Synth Meetup. I've seen her perform in a number of different gigs, and she is alway able to hold people's attention with her personal and voice-like sound.

In this chat, we talk about becoming a Thereminist, choosing an instrument, and figuring out how to play before you get disillusioned and sell the instrument on eBay. We also talk about some of the idiosyncrasies when playing in a group, and even how you prepare for working in a Conduction ensemble. Fascinating details, and a great interview.

You can hear Victoria's work here: http://www.victorialundymusic.com/

Sorry for the terrible sound on my mic; the Evil Blue Mic - combined with unknowable problems with Audio Hijack - conspire to beat me down again. That's gotta change...

Enjoy!

Podcast 123: Andrew Benson on Professional Work
36:46
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 36:46
Podcast 123: Andrew Benson on Professional Work

I really enjoy Andrew Benson's work, even if it is completely unlike anything that I would ever do myself. Maybe that's why I like it, right? Andrew embraces extremes in color, shape and glitchiness, and the result is immediately identifiable as his own. Having this unique voice has put him in the position of doing some impressive and interesting professional work, and I wanted to talk to him about the process - and the difficulties - in making these things happen.

In podcast #19, Andrew talked about his background and influences, This time, he was kind enough to talk about some of his recent work, how he got the gigs, how he kept them, and how he made the decisions necessary to get the job done. He also talks about the process of moving when one has been part of a local art community (a thing close to my heart at the moment...) and how the tech is selected for a given piece or project. If you do art work of any sort, this podcast is going to be filled with information that will be important to you.

So have a listen, check out Andrew's work at pixlpa.com, and use that info to jack your professional life a little bit. But one of the things that I came away with after talking with Andrew is "Don't Be Scared" - perhaps the best advice anyone could ever provide...

Enjoy!

Podcast 122: J. Anthony Allen
44:44
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 44:44
Podcast 122: J. Anthony Allen

J. Anthony Allen is a busy guy - teaching at a university, in private lessons and at the Slam Academy. He also balances the teaching work with his own composition/performance work, and is the businessman behind some of these ventures. Makes me tired just thinking through his day...

In this conversation, we discuss the differences in teaching in different venues, how someone gets into composition in the first place, and how to manage the balance of composing and commerce. We also talk about developing new performance systems, and J. gives me the scoop on the Minneapolis scene.

This is one of those interviews that makes me want to work harder - or maybe smarter. I hope you find it helpful for yourself! Enjoy!

Podcast 121: Jesse Terry on the Ableton Push
48:27
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 48:27
Podcast 121: Jesse Terry on the Ableton Push

I first got to know Jesse Terry during a trip to Berlin, and we've remained in contact ever since. The product 'owner' for the Ableton Push, he has been involved with hardware controller design and development since the Akai APC controllers. So when I got a chance to chat with him about his method - and interests - it seemed like a natural fit.

Jesse has a long background with 'knob-ful' designs (he's an old-time analog head, like me) as well as 'pad-ful' designs (he and I also share a background with MPC devices), so he was probably an obvious choice for working on the Push controller. However, it is his attention to detail and tireless search for perfection that helps push the envelope of what we consider 'state of the art' controller systems.

If that sounds like a sales pitch for Jesse - well, I'm sorry. But I really like Jesse's work a lot, and his willingness to talk about the fun and the pain in creating the Push and Push 2 controllers might help you understand why I feel that way.

Enjoy!

Podcast 120: Gregory Taylor on The Radio
01:02:54
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 01:02:54
Podcast 120: Gregory Taylor on The Radio

Gregory Taylor was at my house last week to work on an upcoming show, and I pinged him for his third AMT podcast interview. This time, though, I had something really specific in mind: I wanted to know more about how he did his radio show, how he selected music for it, and what he used to determine material that would capture his attention. As before, he did not disappoint!

Gregory's work in broadcasting is quite astounding. He's run the same radio show, with a few short breaks, continuously for 30 years, programming interesting mixes of experimental music on a Madison-based community radio station (WORT FM, 89.9), and has listened to more of this music than probably anyone ever has. His knowledge of both labels and artists is encyclopedic, but his discussions of them are - as always - interesting and story-filled.

Gregory's show, RTQE, is from 9-11pm (CST) Sunday Evenings, and the shows are archived and streamed for off-time listening for up to two weeks. I hope you enjoy this discussion about the development of a community station, Gregory's RTQE show, the loss of NMDS (and its effect on music selection) and having *your* work played on the radio. Fascinating stuff!

Enjoy!

Podcast 119: Bruce Odland (The TANK)
31:07
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 31:07
Podcast 119: Bruce Odland (The TANK)

I first heard about the TANK a while ago, but it was recently re-initiated in my brain by Jane Rigler, who reached out about the recent Kickstarter for it. It is a huge (and I mean HUGE) water take from days of old, and it has been re-purposed into a performance/recording space. This effort has been led by Bruce Odland - today's interviewee.

Bruce started this project as a sound artist touring the west, but has become entranced by the sound - and the performance opportunities - provided by The TANK. In this chat, we hear about how the TANK changes the people that work with it, and how individuals become part of a bigger instrument in a way that we don't get to experience in our laptop-based studios, or with our Walmart-purchased musical artifacts.

I hate to talk more about this when Bruce speaks so eloquently about the beginnings and the futures of The TANK Center for Sonic Arts. So listen to the podcast for more insight. And when you want to dig deeper into The TANK, check out their site at:

http://tanksounds.org/

This is an amazing project, and my thanks go to Bruce for the chance to learn more. Enjoy!

Podcast 118: Suit & Tie Guy
01:30:07
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 01:30:07
Podcast 118: Suit & Tie Guy

I love when one of my chats gets opinionated. It always leads to an interesting discussion, and it always ends up revealing more about a person than expected. Anyone that knows Suit & Tie Guy will know that he's opinionated - galore. But his opinions are well-formed, well-researched (often through hard-learned lessons) and well-presented.

In this interview, we wander all over the landscape. Why do mid-90's Lexicon reverbs sound so great? What makes the Juno 6 so special? How many gigs do you have to do with a Hammond before you won't carry it up stairs? What is the purpose of deconstructing a sequencer into its component parts? All this - and a lot more - is revealed in our chat. Awesome, awesome stuff.

If you aren't familiar with Suit's work, you will want to check out STG Soundlabs to find out more about his modular work (including the amazing Mankato filter and the STG Soundlabs Modular Sequencing System), and the Suit & Tie Guy website for his personal work. It's fascinating to see the work of someone with incredibly broad vision work its way into a cohesive whole.

Enjoy!

Podcast 117: Trond Lossius
45:02
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 45:02
Podcast 117: Trond Lossius

Trond Lossius has been in a similar orbit to me for a long time. I've known him (virtually) because of his activity within the Max world, but I also know that he was a primary figure in the Jamoma modular patching project. Then later, I found out he was also into a lot of surround environmental work, and I realized that he'd be a good subject for a chat. My friend Tim Place pointed out that he's got a fascinating story, so I went for it.

And I'm glad I did. I really enjoy the stories of people that deal with significant transition in their lives, and Trond definitely has seen this. Having started in the sciences, he transitioned into music composition out of sheer will. He also found a way to pull himself out of shyness, and is always pushing himself by transitioning away from comfortable territory and into new challenging work, technology or collaboration. I really respect this - it can be scary, but Trond has developed it into an artform.

So here's a great interview with him - enjoy! And to learn more about his work, visit his website here.

Podcast 116: Arjen van der Schoot
56:14
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 56:14
Podcast 116: Arjen van der Schoot

A long time ago, Gregory Taylor set up a dinner hang-out with Arjen van der Schoot, from Audio Ease. They had just released their ground-breaking Altiverb, and it blew away everyone at the AES show. We chatted over pizza, and I learned a little about the process, their plans for the future, and how much fun they were having.

Jump forward a decade (or more...) and I get a chance to catch up with Arjen in this podcast. He is still dedicated to great sound, and is still having a lot of fun. We talk about the process of doing IR shoots, how he chooses a place to record, and some of the complexities of the job (this is one of the few recording jobs where you have to be a little scared of wildlife...). But he also gives a great overview of how convolution reverbs work, how impulse responses are created - and he also gives a great introduction to the Speakerphone plug-in, which is Audio Ease's second product. I now know what I'm getting myself for Valentine's Day!

I've always enjoyed interacting with Arjen, and this was a great way to have a detailed catch-up. I hope you enjoy the chat as much as I did!

Podcast 115: Anna Weisling
44:09
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 44:09
Podcast 115: Anna Weisling

Anna Weisling is a typical Wisconsinite: she downplays her accomplishments, points out her flaws and mostly talks about how others really did all the work in her career. But when you look at her work (http://www.aweisling.com/), much of it speaks to a depth that is exceedingly artistic.

Or let me say it this way: I like her work!

In any case, in this chat with Anna, we talk about her trek through a variety of places, people and projects as she's become a busy and active artist - even as she pursues a Georgia Tech PhD. I actually resonate with a lot of her story, since it is that rural-to-not track that I took as well. Hearing how someone from a similar background found a completely different way to succeed is very interesting to me - and I trust it is interesting to you as well.

Enjoy!

Podcast 114: Ricky Graham
42:05
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 42:05
Podcast 114: Ricky Graham

Ricky Graham is someone that I came to respect through his work. My friend Gregory turned me on to his music, and listening to it became part of my daily routine. Then I reached out to him about doing the podcast, and was happy to get his consent. I needed to get ahead on recordings, so this one was done while visiting LA for the NAMM conference.

I was intrigued by Ricky's work as a guitarist that is also, clearly, neck-deep in technology. I was also drawn in by his hacker-like mentality in finding ways to make things work - and work together. This chat was as laid back as could be, and I quickly forgot I was talking to anyone but a good friend, because he's as engaging to talk to as can be. We ended up talking guitar synths, rugby, guitarisms within software and even balancing tech with playing.

As happens so often with great guests, this discussion immediately got me interested in trying out some new techniques, doing some actual recording and just plain getting-off-my-duff. Whether you are into guitars or not, you are sure to be inspired by Ricky Graham.

You can check out his work here: http://rickygraham.net/

Enjoy!

Podcast 113: Douglas Repetto
46:14
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 46:14
Podcast 113: Douglas Repetto

Douglas Repetto is quietly putting together an outrageous CV. He was the originator of the music-dsp mailing list, the seedbed for tons of music coders. He was also the founder of dorkbot: people doing strange things with electricity, one of the first Maker-style organizations, and a great way of meeting other artists. He is a crazy-prolific media artist, and also the director of the Sound Arts MFA program at Columbia University.

So yeah, he's busy.

But he was also nice enough to do an interview with me twice. The first interview, in early September of last year, went wonderfully - but was also lost because of a problem with the recording software. This, along with the problems during Miller Puckette's interview, let to the Kickstarter campaign that purchased a Zoom H2n for the podcast. But this interview was awesome, and I was really glad we could pull this together.

You can learn much more about Douglas at his online center-of-info.

Enjoy!

Podcast 112: Gino Robair
49:29
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 49:29
Podcast 112: Gino Robair

A short time ago, I saw something on my Facebook feed that caught my attention: Gino Robair had been named Editor in Chief at Keyboard Magazine. Since this magazine had been at the center of my early obsessions with synths, and Gino had sort of 'grown up' in front of me as a contributor to these magazines, I was pleased to see this happen. It was as if my generation had finally taken over...!

So I reached out to Gino, hoping to talk to him about magazine arts and stuff. But I also knew that he had an active performing career - and I ended up focusing on that part of his background and work. He's an amazing performer, has a lot of insights on improv and compositional techniques, and has had a chance to work with some really amazing people. I'll bet you'll be as surprised as I was about the depth of his work.

Enjoy this podcast - it's a killer!

Podcast 111: Julien Bayle Revisited
40:11
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 40:11
Podcast 111: Julien Bayle Revisited

One of the most prolific people I've talked to is Julien Bayle. First interviewed for podcast #17, I decided to revisit Julien's story because of a text interview I'd done of him for the Cycling '74 site. He'd been reworking his systems and performance techniques because of a renewed interest in "everything modular", and I wanted to see where that had taken him.

I also like talking to Julien because he is always willing to talk about his future projects - he doesn't worry about people grabbing his ideas, because he recognizes that it is the voice of the artist, not the name of the concept, that is important in doing art installations and performances.

In this chat, we end up talking a bit about the creative process and different issues that need to be balanced. I think we get a good insight into Julien's way of thinking in this insightful interview.

Enjoy!

Podcast 110: Ícaro Ferre
44:00
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 44:00
Podcast 110: Ícaro Ferre

Ícaro Ferre is one of those people that I ran across because of his work, and we've ended up getting to know each other a bit. His work on the CV Toolkit was an eye-opener, and it turned me on to working with a computer in a way that was different than I'd ever approached. All of a sudden, the computer was an assistant (rather than an overlord), and I really liked the feeling.

I've also started playing around with his MFL devices, and am finding them equally enjoyable to work with. You probably should take a look at his site:

http://spektroaudio.com/

In this chat, we talk about Ícaro's background, his perspective on software development, and the state of the music/music-tech scene in his native Brazil. He also lays down some knowledge about interesting ways to approach creating variation during performance that immediately had me patching my modular. A great guy, some great products and an easy style translate into an excellent podcast. Enjoy!

Podcast 109: Giorgio Sancristoforo
47:29
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 47:29
Podcast 109: Giorgio Sancristoforo

Giorgio Sancristoforo has been on my radar for quite a while - mainly due to his software development work. He uses Max/MSP to develop interesting composition systems. He's probably best know for the Gleetchlab software, but I really fell in love with the Berna software, which provided a chance to experience 'old school' electronic music composition with all the limitations of the original labs.

If you aren't familiar with his software, you should check out his website:

http://www.giorgiosancristoforo.net/

While you are there, also take a look at some of his other work. His music is really interesting, and he was also involved in the creation of a documentary about electronic music, and he is an extraordinarily busy live performer. He's also been teaching, and working with AGON on various works.

I hope you enjoy this chat; Giorgio is an amazing guy, and I appreciated the opportunity to dig into the details with him.

Enjoy!

Podcast 108: Dave Hill Jr
38:48
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 38:48
Podcast 108: Dave Hill Jr

It seems like I've known Dave Hill Jr. forever. He was writing magazine articles and book (Ableton Live Power for versions 2-4) about the time that I was writing a lot of magazine articles, running the Creative Synth website and writing about Ableton Live myself. We first met it person at a NAMM conference, and we've kind of been in touch ever since.

So when I decided to try something different with the podcast, my first thought was to talk with Dave, and I'm glad I did. It was a great way to get some insight on how marketing works in the music/art software space, but it was also a chance to talk about the past, the future and even the hardware vs. software thing. Oh, and we get to find out that marketing in the music gear space comes via players, not via Wharton School graduates. Whew!

Dave's super busy, so I'm glad he was willing to take the time to chat. I hope you enjoy this view into a different side of the creative business space.

Podcast 107: William Mathewson of WMD
43:39
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 43:39
Podcast 107: William Mathewson of WMD

William Mathewson is one of the most active guys in the modular synthesizer community. He is one of the most inventive designers (in the podcast, you'll even hear how some modules start off as jokes...), the head of a bustling modular company, and the manufacturing source for a lot of the current modular devices available. I got the chance to spend some time with William at his office/plant, and we had a great chat.

One of the things that I'm always fascinated with is the process by which synth designers go about their business, and William was super open about how he comes up with designs, how he actually implements them, and how he sees people using them. It's also really interesting to hear his background: how he got from being a 'coffee guy' at a recording studio to the head of one of the largest modular companies in the States. Very interesting, and very inspiring.

This is one of my favorite interviews because William is one of my favorite guys in the business. Enjoy!

[Edit: A slight change to the file was done on Sunday afternoon. Sorry for any confusion!]

Podcast 106: VJ Manzo
43:50
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 43:50
Podcast 106: VJ Manzo

VJ Manzo in an incredibly prolific individual - he's written several books (two out this year!), kicked off a major initiative with his EAMIR.org website, and has developed some extensive Max object libraries. He's also taking over the maxobjects.com site, which is a relief to many that depend on this resource.

So how does someone develop all these skills - and keep on generating new stuff? In VJ's case, it's a combination of drive, excitement and a desire to help people learn music technology. Enjoy this all-over-the-map chat with VJ as we talk about history/background, his ideas for education, and why he wants people to learn to make their own tools. This is a fun interview with an important voice in music tech education.

Enjoy!

Podcast 105: Leafcutter John
43:06
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 43:06
Podcast 105: Leafcutter John

I've gotten so many requests to interview Leafcutter John - but it really blew up after his recent work at the Ableton Loop conference. I reached out to him and he was nice enough to say "Yes" to the interview request. What was cool is that it started out like an interview, but quickly turned into a chat about how we do our respective things.

This was a great one, and I can't wait to meet John in person. Awesome guy - and someone that has been quite thoughtful about what and how he does his thing. If you know Leafcutter John's work, this won't surprise you. But if you are new to his work, I think you'll really get into this talk.

Enjoy!

Podcast 104: Mark Egloff
44:13
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 44:13
Podcast 104: Mark Egloff

Mark Egloff has, quietly, inserted himself in many of our lives. As a Ableton-ista, he has worked on Push design, worked on the interface system for other hardware devices and even gotten involved in the manufacture of the new Push 2. But he's also taken an interesting path to becoming a serious (and prolific) Max for Live programmer, and has started az-labs.com, an outlet for the Live utilities that he enjoys building.

So how does a university business graduate become a critical cog in the world of hardware/software hybrid systems? And what does he think the future looks like? You may be surprised at his answers!

I always enjoy talking to Mark, but this opportunity to dig into both his personal and professional history was really special. Having just gotten my new Push 2, it is awesome to talk to one of the people with their fingerprints all over that system.

Enjoy!

Podcast 103: Kerry Leimer
47:43
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 47:43
Podcast 103: Kerry Leimer

I've been following Kerry Leimer's work for some time; after several friends simultaneously pointed to his work (and his label), I became a big fan. Therefore, I was especially pleased when I got a chance to release a duet album (with Gregory) on PoL, tourbillon solo. But in addition to running one of my favorite labels, Kerry is also an incredible artist, weaving relaxed but deep sonic cloth out of his unique sound design.

This is one of the great interviews of this series, because it hits all my prized marks: we talk about history, but we also talk about the process of doing work, and the mindset that makes it all come together. Kerry was incredibly open about how - and why - he does the things he does, and I felt fortunate to be on the listening end of this inspiring message.

If you've not yet experienced the Palace of Lights sound, or Kerry's music, you will want to check out these links:

The Label: http://www.palaceoflights.com Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/k_leimerBandcamp: https://kleimer1.bandcamp.com Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/palaceoflights

I hope you enjoy Kerry's work as much as I do!

Podcast 102: Rodrigo Constanzo
47:05
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 47:05
Podcast 102: Rodrigo Constanzo

Brian Crabtree (monome.org) dropped me a line and suggested that I consider chatting with Rodrigo Constanzo. I wasn't sure I'd heard of him, but when I checked out his site, I realized I'd been following his work for a while. The Party Van software was certainly a hit in its time, but I was most intrigued by the karma~ MSP object, and the ability to bring advanced looping to my Max programming.

Spending time with Rodrigo was great, because he revealed both how he works and why he works, something that people find difficult to talk about. But he was super-willing to explore why he likes looping, how he uses software to both play and collaborate, and how he engages with his audience using DMX lighting.

Really fun talk, and a great view into this creative multi-artist. Enjoy!

Podcast 101: Chuck Surack of Sweetwater Sound
43:33
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 43:33
Podcast 101: Chuck Surack of Sweetwater Sound

Chuck Surack is a legend in music circles, having created one of the largest MI retailers in the world with Sweetwater Sound. It is interesting to understand how he got there - from a mobile recording studio-in-a-bus, through his initial (and sometimes painful) experiences as a sound designer, then into building a massive business getting us the gear we want.

Chuck is much more than a successful retail businessman. He continues to be an active musician and complete gear nut. And he is actively involved in helping young people continue to make music part of their lives through his work with non-profit organizations.

Chuck has also been one of the great supporters of user groups and online communities. I saw this first-hand when he helped make the K2000 mailing list and online users group one of the most vital places on the web. It's been my great pleasure to interact with Chuck over the years, and this interview should help you understand why I hold him in such high regard.

Enjoy!

Podcast 100b: Darwin Grosse (me!)
58:02
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 58:02
Podcast 100b: Darwin Grosse (me!)

This is the second part of the interview, where Gregory Taylor inteviews me - Darwin Grosse. Whee!

Podcast 100a: Darwin Grosse (me!)
01:01:01
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 01:01:01
Podcast 100a: Darwin Grosse (me!)

OK, I was a little nervous about this.

A number of people had decided the content of podcast #100 for me. They all said the same thing: "Podcast 100 has to be you, man!" So, while I felt like I had talked a lot about myself during the first 99 podcasts, I agreed to it - with trepidation.

So, without a lot of extra noise, I give you part one of a two-part interview with me, Darwin Grosse. Some of this is about the podcast, other parts are about how I got into audio work, and even more are about how I became an analog-head. During the editing of this, I realized that the story is about me, but also about people like Oscar, Grant and others that shaped me. So in a way, it is also a light shining on them.

I hope you enjoy this, and it helps you know me a little better. And don't worry - starting next week we will feature other (and probably more interesting!) people.

Enjoy!

Podcast 099: Ian Boddy
43:23
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 43:23
Podcast 099: Ian Boddy

I'm so excited about this week's chat - with DiN label owner and prolific musician Ian Boddy. Ian pretty much defines the continuing production of classic electronic music, and his various works - with ARC, collaborations with Robert Rich and Markus Reuter and others - keep him active and not pigeon-holed. But he is also an active library music developer and even sound designer.

So yeah, Ian is pretty busy.

Luckily for me, he was willing to chat for a bit about how he does what he does, what are some of his inspirations and how he is able to keep 'fresh'. This was a great opportunity for me to see inside the mind of are real "producer" (in that he is always producing).

If you haven't spent much time around the DiN label, you should check it out here:

http://www.din.org.uk/din/

Enjoy!

Podcast 098: Alec Brady
48:54
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 48:54
Podcast 098: Alec Brady

Alec Brady is a new friend - he introduced himself as part of my "if you know somebody that should be interviewed" request, and I realized that I'd seen a bunch of his work in the Max for Live Facebook group. He's also a fan of the podcast - so that helps!

Alec presumes to be a beginner, but I find his MFL work to be inventive and fun, and his perspectives on music making to be quite mature. He is also surrounding himself with music-making and music technology, and the result is someone that can talk with experience on many, many topics.

This is a little different from most of the podcasts: it isn't single-focused, but rather wide ranging and current. This makes sense, because Alec believes that he is at the beginning of his journey - although we should all be feeling that as well. I really enjoyed this chat, and I hope you do too!

Podcast 097: August Black
41:59
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 41:59
Podcast 097: August Black

I'm trying to explore some new parts of the media art world, and one of those less explored areas has to do with broadcasting. So often, media art seems to be driven by net-stuff, computers and streaming something-or-other. But if you look at some of the most interesting media-based storytelling, it occurs on and through the radio.

My guest (and coworker) August Black has a history with this stuff, having worked with art-broadcast people in creating guerilla radio systems. His view on 'creating a place' for art to happen is an interesting view of an alternate media art, and his distrust of traditional art structures makes it seem a bit radical - until you start thinking about it, and it just seems smart.

August has got a lot of work on the web - he just chooses to hide it well. You can see some of his work at the following links:

standupradioSimple Worlduserradiofundamental radiodatadadaThe Wavefarm Project

Enjoy!

Podcast 096: John Keston
46:36
2017-10-07 17:12:16 UTC 46:36
Podcast 096: John Keston

John Keston came onto my radar in sort of a random way - he sent me a link to some of his music, and I kind of fell in love with it. It was sound designerly, but also musically deep. Then I started digging into his work, and it touched on a lot of my interests.

So wouldn't you know that, when I interviewed him, I find out that our paths were constructed in similar ways. Musc, tech, art - it boils together to become an interesting - and personal - mix. In John's case, this was programming, music and gigging, expansion into visual arts and finding a way to bring it all together. Some of his concepts on scores and improvisation are incredibly insightful, and I really appreciated him sharing his background and perspectives.

Some of the links to his work are useful for getting in deeper:

johnkeston.comaudiocookbook.orghttp://isikles.bandcamp.com/releases

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

(Note: There was a factual error in a previously published version of this interview. Fixed now!)

Podcast 207: Paul Birken
50:31
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 50:31
Podcast 207: Paul Birken

This is the last podcast supporting our Kickstarter campaign for a new recording chain. The campaign runs through December 11th - please help out the podcast:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/823319547/mic-pre-update-for-art-music-technology

Paul Birken's name has come up in a few previous podcasts - he was one of the people pushing the techno envelope in the widespread and influential Midwest techno scene. He's still working his ass off; according to him, music remains an 'everyday practice' for him. And his output would back that up, between the massive amount of work available on his Bandcamp site and all of the live tracks he has on the Tonewrecker Soundcloud site, he remains one of the hardest working guys in electronic music.

But the interesting thing is that he balances this all with a job and a family - he's been vocal about not needing (or even necessarily wanting) to be a full-time musician. How can this be? Well, he's got some unique insights about musicianship that are quite interesting and inspiring, and I'll have to say that I now have a broader vision of what a creative life can look like.

We also took the chance to stroll down Vintage Gear Lane, covering everything from old Kawai sequencers to Sequential Circuits samples. And how you travel to gigs when you are hardware focused. And how you don't take crazily-valuable vintage gear on the road. The reality of life for a techno performan (not DJ) means some compromise - while still maintaining a purity of purpose.

Enjoy!

Podcast 206: Seth Cluett
39:58
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 39:58
Podcast 206: Seth Cluett

This is the third podcast supporting our Kickstarter campaign for a new recording chain. The campaign runs through December 11th - please help out the podcast:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/823319547/mic-pre-update-for-art-music-technology

Seth Cluett has got his hands in everything. He's an academic at the Stevens Institute, a widely-traveled artist and composer and a prolific writer. He's also currently an artist-in-residence at Bell Labs, which is a damned auspicious posting. He's also keenly tied into a lot of different art movements and activities, and you can see by checking out his website: http://www.onelonelypixel.org/

The fun thing about talking to Seth is the ability to follow trails into obscure musical areas - and realize that this is a well-worn trail for him. Whether you are talking classic computer music concepts, modern sound art expression or working with scientists, it's all in the mix for him - and the combination of backgrounds and skills makes this a great conversation.

I had a great time talking with Seth, and hope that you'll have a great time listening. Thanks!

Podcast 205: Rob Hordijk
44:01
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 44:01
Podcast 205: Rob Hordijk

This is the second podcast supporting our Kickstarter campaign for a new recording chain. The campaign runs through December 11th - please help out the podcast:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/823319547/mic-pre-update-for-art-music-technology

Rob Hordijk is one of those designers - when he makes something, it seems to hold "the magic". Whether we are talking about the Benjolin, the Rungler, or one of his system 'sections', Rob makes the kind of gear that people dedicate their lives to.

I was really pleased to get the chance to talk to Rob, and was amazed at his approach to synth development: he has a design methodology created from his experiences of electronics, art and system design. The combination makes for an impressive process, the the results speak for themselves.

It is also interesting to hear about how he pursues the artistic angle of his work, and how he interacts with the art and music worlds. I really enjoyed this talk, and I hope you like listening in.

You can learn more about Rob's work at this site, and you can see Rob in action at this YouTube link. Check it out, and enjoy!

Podcast 204: Dave Small (Catalyst Audio)
43:49
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 43:49
Podcast 204: Dave Small (Catalyst Audio)

This is the first podcast supporting our Kickstarter campaign for a new recording chain. The campaign runs through December 11th - please help out the podcast:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/823319547/mic-pre-update-for-art-music-technology

Dave Small is clearly obsessed with The Home Run: whether it's the Time's Arrow (a deep and amazing modular sequencer) or the upcoming line of Buchla-inspired modules, Dave doesn't go halfway in any way. He has taken his passion and turned it into product, and the result is a uniquely personal product line.

In our chat, we talk about the process of coming up with a unique sequencer, how he decided to pursue a Eurorack lineup that honors the original Buchla 100-series modules, and what he's gone through in order to bring all of this together. He's also open about the process of learning to become savvy in electronics, coding and everything else required for creating modules - having a background in economics!

Dave is an inspiration to everyone that roots for determination and drive, and is a great example of the kinds of builder that successfully create the amazing new tools we've come to expect. Enjoy the listen, and don't forget to leave a little at the Kickstarter!

Podcast 203: Sam Battle (Look Mum No Computer)
45:17
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 45:17
Podcast 203: Sam Battle (Look Mum No Computer)

OK - Sam Battle is just amazing. He's a bundle of energy - and an obsession with making cool synths. From the famous 'Synth Bike' to the Jacob's Ladder drum machine, his creations span the range from crazy to outright insane. You can get a good taste of his work at his in-process website, or by following him on the Look Mum No Computer Facebook page.

This was a great chat - Sam is hilarious, and his story is really quite amazing. From his move from guitar to synth, to his amazing work space, to his adventures in making his own modular in his own format(!), the story is as fascinating as the result. But it comes with some danger (during the interview, we talk about one video that actually scared me - because of the worries about jewelry near high voltage...), but a lot of fun.

Sam is rockin' the video world, and all of his stuff is supported by his Patreon site: if you can help him out, I know he'd appreciate it. This is just the kind of guy we want to support!

Thanks again for continuing to follow the podcast. If you haven't already done so, please follow the Art Music Technology page on Facebook; we've got some announcements coming up that will be really important to all the listeners. Otherwise - have a great one, and we'll see you soon. Enjoy!!!

Podcast 202: Jason Corder
46:39
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 46:39
Podcast 202: Jason Corder

Jason Corder is a whirlwind of production. Over 70 releases. Tons of work with game music and sound design. Video work a-plenty. Live performances. The whole package - he's the kind of guy that is an inspiration to me. And I think you'll feel the same way.

You can check out Jason's work at http://noise.offthesky.com/, or dig some of his more performative work on his Soundcloud page here: https://soundcloud.com/offthesky. There are a number of interviews of him online; they are worth reading, because they further the story of this remarkable musician and sound designer.

This is a little treat from us at the AMT podcast to you: here in the US, it's Thanksgiving, which means hanging around family (and wanting badly to get back to the studio...), eating like crazy and waiting around for Black Friday sales to kick off. I thought it would be nice to have something to listen to during this mess; I hope you enjoy. And if you are outside the US, it's a nice chance for me to say "Thank You" for continuing to listen.

This is one of my favorite chats ever; I hope that you get as inspired by Jason's perspectives as I did. I just picked up some MPC libraries on sale, so I think I'm going to ditch everybody and crank out some toonage! Enjoy, and Happy Thanksgiving!

Podcast 201: Kim Bjørn
41:06
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 41:06
Podcast 201: Kim Bjørn

Kim Bjørn is on a mission - he wants to highlight design in electronic instrument creation, and he wants to document it as completely as possible. With his recently-released book Push Turn Move, we get interviews with developers, performers and researchers, and really get to understand not only the design, but the decisions behind the design, of the instruments we love.

Whether you are into Teenage Engineering's ultra-cool designs, or you prefer the Jupiter 8 Mothership view of instruments - or even if you prefer a U-HE plug-in interface to anything in hardware - you are going to find a lot in this book to dig. And my discussion with Kim got even further; he breaks down his thinking process in pulling together the book, and also found ways to dig deeper than previous authors had done.

I'm a big fan of the book; if you are into electronic music, or product design, or usability - or even instrument design, you are going to find this a wealth of information there. And listening to our chat will help you understand the organization of the thing, as well as the background the Kim has that makes him the perfect author for the task.

Take a listen - and enjoy!

Podcast 200: Morton Subotnick
40:07
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 40:07
Podcast 200: Morton Subotnick

Personal heroes. This is a very personal subject for most people, because our choice of heroes says a lot about us. My reverence for Morton's work has a lot to do with how it changed my ears - and therefore my life.

Being introduced to Silver Apples allowed me to think of music as a less discrete, more fluid, material. Don't need to limit yourself to standard instruments focused on verses and choruses; you can choose to use electrons to develop phrases, premonitions, echoes and silence instead. I was never able to think of (or hear) music the same way again.

In this chat, Morton and I talk about his current work, the events that got him to think about electronic music, and how he came to revisit the use of the Buchla modular system. We also talk a little bit about his upcoming book project, and the documentary that is being made about him. But it was a relaxed and enjoyable chat - appropriate for this highlight of my podcast: Number 200.

Thanks again to everyone that has been listening over the years. Keep on listening, and I'll keep on doing it - now enjoy!

Podcast 199: Jill Fraser
48:48
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 48:48
Podcast 199: Jill Fraser

You may not have run across Jill Fraser's name before, but you almost certainly have heard her work. With hundreds of TV commercials under her belt, as well as several feature films and a couple of tours, she's become part of the world's earworm. She's also been performing more recently - with Peter Grenader - as zZyzx Society, and even occasionally taking her gear into the desert to play for the coyotes!

Jill is part of the CalArts group that came of age in the late seventies, featuring Morton Subotnik as one of the key instructors. Moving from school almost directly into feature films as studio work has given Jill an uninterrupted line of creative work for almost four decades! Listen in while we surf Jill's Serge-driven career.

You can find out more about Jill's work, and see/hear some of her performances, by checking out her website: http://www.jillfrasermusic.com/. And if you are in LA, keep an eye out for the zZyzx Society gigs, since they combine composition, improv and modular instrumentation in a very unique way.

Enjoy!

Podcast 198: Ariadne (Christine Papania and Benjamin Forest)
44:00
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 44:00
Podcast 198: Ariadne (Christine Papania and Benjamin Forest)

When I first got the pointer to the band Ariadne, I did a drive by - and then a double-take. They describe themselves as an "experimental sacred music duo"; while that resonates, it was also a little bizarre. Sacred music is very seldom experimental, and vice versa. But a quick tour through their Soundcloud and Bandcamp sites helped me understand better - they create a haunting mix of ambient, industrial, noise, drone and operatic sounds that don't necessarily sit in any particular category, but still sound approachable and lovely.

When we spoke, I learned that, rather than through-composed, this work is the result of improvisational practice using prepared texts. That sort of rattled my imagination about how something like this could be created; I always think of the 'song' and the 'tracks' coming first, but Ariadne finds a way to weave it together in the process of practice.

They also implement the work as WebGL visual works, which you can experience at their main website (http://www.ariadnedigital.net/). The images match the music in both its depth and the touch of the disturbed, and it totally sucks me in. Enjoy this discussion with a couple of choir kids turned into performing media arts adrenaline junkies, and imagine the sounds of massive renderings in the background as we speak!

Enjoy!

Podcast 197: Mike Hodnick (Kindohm)
45:54
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 45:54
Podcast 197: Mike Hodnick (Kindohm)

Mike Hodnick is one of those people that others have been pointing me toward for a while; he's deep into electronic music, he does some incredible performances, he has a deep well of releases and he is a coding fiend. The fact that all of this is wrapped together - using the Tidalcycles library for Haskell - in one neat package, and one that Mike is completely comfortable chatting about.

Just after this interview, I ended up taking a workshop with Mike and really loved working with Tidalcycles (often just called Tidal). But when I listened through Mike's work, I got the sense of the organizational prowess of Tidal, and of Mike's brain. So it was a lot of fun picking his brain on how he works, how he performs and how he decides what to release.

I've become a fan, and I suspect you might too. You can check him out on hit site: http://kindohm.com/. You can also hear some of his work both on his Bandcamp site and his Soundcloud site. His latest release is RISC Chip on the Conditional label. Check out the work, and check out Tidalcycles - and enjoy our chat!

Podcast 196: Alessio Santini (K-Devices)
42:50
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 42:50
Podcast 196: Alessio Santini (K-Devices)

I'm a fan of the K-Devices products - and one in particular. Holder, a simple little spectral hold function, ends up in almost every Live set that I work on. It's focused, efficient and easy-to-understand - all the hallmarks of an excellent devices. So when PR Master Marsha Vdovin checked in on a possible interview, I was all over it!

It turns out that K-Devices' mastermind - Alessio Santini - is as cool as his devices. He's got a great story (I've not met many people that move from a Doom Metal obsession to making synths!), and a long history in sound design. But his background is also one that will be familiar to many: when he found a passion, he dropped everything to pursue it. The result is making a life that is personal and complete: a story that is worth hearing.

I really enjoyed talking to Alessio, and was interested in his development concepts, his moves into iOS development, and his own work on an upcoming musical release. Oh, and the fact that he uses Holder on almost all of his Live sets told me that we had a lot in common!

Check out the K-Devices products in the Packs section of ableton.com, or at their website: http://k-devices.com/

Enjoy!

Podcast 195: Mark Ballora
52:07
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 52:07
Podcast 195: Mark Ballora

It's good to have friends! I ran into a bit of a buzzsaw this week, and all of a sudden it looked like I didn't have an interview! I put out a call on Facebook, and people really rose to the challenge - including this week's participant. Mark Ballora was suggested by Meg Schedel, and a quick look at his website made me agree - he was a perfect guest.

I've been interested in the idea of data sonification; since we are in an age of Big Data, it seems like there has to be more ways of engaging with data than just looking at colorful charts. Mark, from Penn State, is deep in the heart of this, and has been working with data ranging from weather changes to heart rate tracking. But what is most interesting is his willingness to jump into almost any data 'stew' and see what comes of it - as well as his willingness to makes something musical out of the result.

I really appreciated Mark taking us through the various details of putting together a data sonification, and it is also interesting to hear him describe the process that he has gone through in order to validate the results on both the artistic and the scientific side. I hope that you learn as much from this chat as I did.

Enjoy!

Podcast 194: Walker Farrell
46:34
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 46:34
Podcast 194: Walker Farrell

I've been hearing a lot about Walker Farrell lately. We interviewed him for the C74 newsletter, I heard a lot of talk about his live performances, and everybody has been suggesting his "Music for 0​.​∞ Musicians, Vol. 1" release as something I have to hear. And I've gotten sucked in - the work is expansive, varied - but still maintaining a artistic voice. So yeah, right up my alley.

I was glad that Walker was up for a visit, and I started boning up on his work (including his Bandcamp site and Soundcloud site). The more I listened, the more I got pulled into his work. I was also blown away by that amount of work he was able to produce - that's always something that keys me into someone that will influence me. And sure enough, learning about Walker's setup and his process got me revved up to try mimicking his ideas. Very interesting stuff.

I also think it is great to talk to someone that makes personal choices to produce creative limitations to work through. His performance plan, which creates a limited functional system out of his larger studio system, is a great way to consider making a functional performance plan, and has already influenced my process as well.

I hope you find this as inspirational as I did - and that you allow his ideas to permeate your own. Enjoy!

Podcast 193: Mike Monday
42:17
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 42:17
Podcast 193: Mike Monday

Mike Monday's adverts are all over the web. And if you get on his mailing list, you will see him even more. But it's hard not to be intrigued - especially when he has a lot of free information available for you to view, and it tends to be pretty spot-on. But I'd never seen a detailed interview with him, so I tried reaching out, and was pleased when he responded favorably.

The chat went off better than planned, because it turns out that Mike is as engaging in person as he is on his video lessons. And his history is fascinating: from double-bassoonist at Oxford to club track maniac, he'd had his hand in a lot of different musical environments. But it is his descriptions of the methods - and failures - for making music that will probably be his lasting influence on music-makers, and he spelled it out pretty openly during our talk.

I've become a believer in his work, and also appreciate how he approaches his teaching practice. But I also like the fact that he's willing to describe his influences, talk about his methods and even challenge his own perceptions; these are the hallmarks of a useful teacher. I hope that you enjoy this, and I hope you come out of it inspired as well.

Enjoy!

Podcast 192: Benjamin Wynn (Deru)
48:26
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 48:26
Podcast 192: Benjamin Wynn (Deru)

When my friend Tom Hall first introduced me to the music of Deru, I was immediately drawn in. It was the combination of complexity and structure that I love in ambient work, but it was also unabashedly electronic and had edge that I liked.

But I got a surprised when I did a little digging around, and found out that Benjamin Wynn, the man behind Deru, was also deeply entrenched in the music-for-TV world, having done music and sound design (with his partner Jeremy Zuckerman) for Avatar - The Last Airbender, Kung-Fu Panda - Legends of Awesomeness and others. A couple of Emmys speak to the quality of that work.

In addition to that (!), he is also one of the founders of The Echo Society, a composer's collective that is gaining traction by producing a concert series that pushes people's perception of classical music concert - and modern music.

All of this points to an amazingly efficient music and sound producer, and one that is able to work within - and embrace - many different sound environments. In our chat, we talk about how each of these opportunities presented themselves, but also how he is able to pull off all this work, and to keep such a high level of quality.

I'm a fan, but I'm also fascinated by someone with this kind of process and one that is so consistent with their work. I learned a lot in this, and I hope you do too.

Enjoy!

Podcast 191: Gianfranco Ceccolini (Mod Devices)
49:29
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 49:29
Podcast 191: Gianfranco Ceccolini (Mod Devices)

For me, the Mod Devices story began with their very impressive debut at the NAMM show. But guest Gianfranco Ceccolini has been working on the product for quite a while - and on the concept for even longer. Creating more than a guitar pedal, Gianfranco and company have succeeded in creating an entire ecosystem (they call it a platform, but that sounds only technical...) that can be used for the development of pedalboards for guitars, synth rigs or whatever.

I started to work with the company when they wanted to support building Max's Gen code to run on the device; thanks to heroic efforts by some of my co-workers (Jeremy, here's a shout-out!), we not only got it running, but it is as smooth as silk. But in working on this, it was clear that this wasn't a system that just appeared because of a Kickstarter campaign - there was obviously something more behind the device.

Thus, this chat. And it was really interesting - taking a love of music and a love of Linux, combining them into something that a guitarist could use, and eventually into something any musician could love. That's quite a trail, and Gianfranco maps it out for us.

A great chat about the history of a company from its founder, and a neat roadmap to their future as well. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I did talking!

Podcast 190: Devin Fleenor / S.E.E.D.
39:26
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 39:26
Podcast 190: Devin Fleenor / S.E.E.D.

Do you wonder if I follow up on random interview requests? I sure do, and this week is the result of that effort. One of the listeners sent me a note about Devin Fleenor's S.E.E.D. project - and artificial intelligence art framework. I dove in a bit - and I had to learn more. I actually reached out to people that had seen the early stages of this work at Currents New Media Festival, and I began to see how this was growing into a significant piece of work.

So then I had to talk to Devin.

I really enjoy talking to people that are really excited about the things that they are discovering, and Devin is all over that. He has set the stage for some real heavy research, but it's all about responding to the viewer in some very particular ways. Whether it is enhancing the joyfulness of a piece based on your response, or switching things up when you start to become bored, this sort of responsive artwork seems to hold some very interesting options for the future.

And it seems like a way to take A.I. into an artful, rather than just commercial, space. On the other hand, it seems like it could get creepy - which is the kind of risk that can make art exploration worth the effort. It's clear that Devin and the S.E.E.D. team are just starting to push some envelopes, but they also have set forth some serious goals for their work.

Thanks to Devin for taking the time to walk me through this. To learn more, you can check out devinfleenor.com to watch some video content about the S.E.E.D. system, and to learn more about Devin himself.

Podcast 189: Cathy van Eck
35:54
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 35:54
Podcast 189: Cathy van Eck

I always enjoy talking to people about Sound Art, because it is so undefined. If you take sound/composition, then remove the requirement to 'make music', what is left? Turns out, there's a whole world of exploration, and these artists are in the middle of it.

Cathy van Eck is helping the cause: she has written a book about her view of the Sound Art world (Between Air and Electricity: Microphones and Loudspeakers - available here), kicked off a website that helps her accumulate Sound Art examples (http://microphonesandloudspeakers.com/), and maintains an active performance practices. Her work (you can see it here) catches my brain in the right way, and it was what drew me into talk to her.

And the talk was fascinating. We dove into some of her perspectives on performance, composition, sound vs. music and the process of teaching something as esoteric as art. We also get to chat about some of the individual works, and how she approaches each one. A great view into an artist's mind.

Enjoy!

Podcast 188: Markus Reuter
49:07
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 49:07
Podcast 188: Markus Reuter

Markus Reuter is quite an amazing musician. He's already been part of several releases this year (including an amazing collaboration with Robert Rich), but he's also putting out interesting solo work, is touring right now with Stick Men, continues to develop his touch guitar technique - and has time to talk to me for the podcast. And we had a fascinating chat, where we talked about everything from the development of the U8 guitar, to fan engagement through his new subscription project, and through to some ideas about how technique and music is taught to new students.

Markus goes beyond the normal 'advanced guitar' thing; he transcends the instrument and even any specific musical idiom to embody music creation. Maybe that's why his model for the future, through an artist subscription, is perfect for him: it's a great opportunity to have people move with you through styles, concepts and techniques as you develop them without having to tightly restrict oneself to a specific sub-genre.

In our chat, we get into a lot of things about the creation of his work, and especially on how he finds useful ways to integrate his own strong voice into collaborative working situations. Having him describe his intuitions about the work and the world is an awesome insight into his brain.

If you haven't checked out his site yet, you need to do it: http://www.markusreuter.com/. Find out more about him, the broad variety of his work, and his vision for the future of independent musical production therein. And check out his work with centrozoon, Stick Men and other groups wherever you listen to music.

And enjoy!

Podcast 187: Tobias Reber
39:28
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 39:28
Podcast 187: Tobias Reber

Tobias Reber is a long time listener of the podcast that has been touching base with me about artists that he thought would be good candidates for the show. Interestingly, when I did a little research on him, it brought up a surprisingly broad range of work - from installations to prog-rock combos. You know I had to talk to him then!

If you want to see some of what I saw, you can check out his site - http://www.tobiasreber.com/cms/ - and cruise through some of the sub-site links on that page. You'll be shocked at the number of different means of expression that Tobias maintains. But it all comes from a central place, and one that I enjoyed exploring in our talks. From his work with Markus Reuter through his 'ambient percussion' pieces, we dove into both 'how' the work was done, as well as 'why' it was part of his portfolio.

I'm fascinated by people willing to take on multiple roles/identities/voices, and I found that Tobias' work had a central theme of quality that I found powerful. Listen to his work - and listen to our talk - to find out more about this incredible artist.

Enjoy!

Podcast 186: Scott Jaeger
57:43
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 57:43
Podcast 186: Scott Jaeger

Scott Jaeger is responsible for a lot of modular makers getting into the game. When he started making Eurorack modules under The Harvestman moniker, there were relatively few players: Doepfer (of course), Plan B, Livewire and - well, that was about it. Scott came into the game with something completely different: digital devices that turned the analog-based modular concept on its ear. He also was aggressive about design, control layout and user interface, and the result was that almost everyone doing a Eurorack system - especially if is was going to be used for performance - would have some of The Harvestman modules in the rack.

After expanding into more products, the company morphed into Industrial Music Electronics, and is making updated versions of the classics as well as a broad array of new modules. He is also collaborating with Vladimir Kuzmin as Iron Curtain Electronics, creating the Polivoks modules based on designs from the classic Russian analog synth. But regardless of the collab, Scott's design focus comes through on all of these synth modules, and his attention to detail makes them among everyone's favorite devices.

In our chat, we discuss everything from the name change, through Scott's explorations in music electronics, to the development of the Polivoks devices and his own work - including how he approaches synth design. We also talk a lot about how his perspective of performance and instrument design is seen in his module creations. I came out of this discussion understanding a lot more about his decision-making process, and also about why these modules feel so perfect when playing. 

A great talk with an amazing developer. Enjoy!

Podcast 185: Leanna Primiani
45:54
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 45:54
Podcast 185: Leanna Primiani

So when my friend Clifton says "Hey, man - check this person out...", I tend to listen pretty intently. In this case, he pointed me toward someone that surprised me on several levels: a conductor-become-composer that also did electronics, a film composer that released a solo album, and an artist with both staff paper and a modular synth on her desktop. How could I not interview Leanna Primiani?

And it was a great chat - we discussed how a person makes the move from conductor to composer, and how the sound designer can take an orchestral approach to the work. We also dig into something that I'm always interested in: how does a person who already does a lot of work make the move into creating a release? What is this "new music", and how do you know when it is done?

Leanna is super open about her ideas, her process and even her fears, and was super inspiring to me about all the different aspects of being a performing/recording musician. She was also quite honest about how people are responding to her electronic recording work (and it isn't always positively...), and how she has to cope with that. A fascinating side of recording that I'd not even considered.

You can check out Leanna's new 5mice release at http://anasiaanasia.com/, and find out more about her conducting/composing/film work at http://leannaprimianifilm.com/. What is fascinating to me is the way that she has found to interweave her talent, passion and interests into a several result, but they all clearly have her personal voice. An interesting view into the mind and work of a true artist.

Enjoy!

Podcast 184: Phil Maguire
42:19
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 42:19
Podcast 184: Phil Maguire

One of my weekly pleasures (introduced to me by Gregory Taylor) is the Vital Weekly newsletter. This is a weekly compendium of recent music releases (generally in the experimental/artsy area) with quick reviews, and it has a companion podcast that provides an ear on many of the works that it reviews. In a recent edition, they included a review of this week's guest - Phil Maguire - along with an excerpt from his 'Solo Computer Music' Verzimprint release, and I was quite taken.

So, as I often do, I started diving deeper. I ran across his site, and got to hear a variety of his work. I also enjoyed an ATTN magazine session that included an interview with Phil drew me into his work in a very personal way. Of course, this led me to reach out, and the next thing you know - we've got a chat going!

Phil is a super personable, interesting guy, and one that is willing to go from performance programming, to broken hardware, to detailed editing - and doesn't get bogged down with any orthodoxy on his way to expressing his voice. His description of his process points to his work finding the right way to produce his work.

All-in-all, a great interview (marred by some recording difficulties on my end...) by a great artist, and an inspiration for anyone trying to find their voice among the millions of ways to do the work. Enjoy!

Podcast 183: Dave Rossum
58:28
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 58:28
Podcast 183: Dave Rossum

Dave Rossum has quite a history. From helping to start up E-mu Systems, managing its acquisition by Creative Labs (and working with them through a 10-year run of amazing designs) and the creation of Rossum Electro-Music, Dave has been designing the heck out of music instruments. I was really excited when the Synthtopia folks we able to pull this interview together, since I've been a fan of E-mu devices for a long, long time, and have been mesmerized by the new modules he's been developing.

In our chat, we talk in detail about the development of the early E-mu modular system, the move into sampling technology, the effect of the Creative purchase and the technology developments behind the Proteus lineup. We also go into detail about Dave's design work with the new series of modules that he's working on, as well as the upcoming sampler module that has everyone humming.

This was a lot of fun, and super-educational; I learned an awful lot about the various technological advances behind samplers and sample-based systems. Given my renewed interest in sampling, that was very interesting to me. But his views on analog and digital modular designs, and his willingness to take on impossible projects and find a way to make 'em work - it was inspirational.

Enjoy!

Podcast 182: Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL)
43:01
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 43:01
Podcast 182: Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL)

NOTE: This podcast is presented as a collaboration with Synthtopia.com for the presentation of people designing and producing unique instruments. You can listen to the podcast here, on the Synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes. But you can also read the article as well as search for detailed information by viewing the transcription at http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2017/07/03/junkie-xl-the-art-of-scoring-with-synthesizers/.

Tom Holkenborg - Junkie XL - is everywhere right now. If you've seen any blockbuster movies in the last couple of years, you probably have heard his soundtracks. His recent releases are also widely heard, as are some of his early works (especially his rework of Elvis' "A Little Less Conversation"). And if you are really dedicated to sound design, you've probably stumbled on his website (www.junkiexl.com) and especially his YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/junkiexlofficial), where he has a series - Studio Time - that really gives you a close-up view of Tom's gear, techniques and passions.

When our friends at Synthtopia helped us connect with Tom, I was anxious to explore areas outside of his normal thing: I wanted to hear about his beginning story, but also how he approached composition, where he got his engineering chops and how he made music that has always jumped out of the speakers. We got to talk about all that and more, and I got a good overview of both his past work as a producer, electronica superstar and his current work doing soundtrack for major motion pictures. He's got great stories, but also great object lessons, and I think we all will learn something from his open discussion on his art.

An amazing interview - I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed putting it together!

Podcast 181: Jesse Engel (Google Magenta Project)
43:13
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 43:13
Podcast 181: Jesse Engel (Google Magenta Project)

NOTE: This podcast is presented as a collaboration with Synthtopia.com for the presentation of people designing and implementing synthesizers. You can listen to the podcast here, on the Synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes. But you can also read the article as well as search for information by viewing the transcription available here:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2017/06/25/neural-audio-synthesis-with-google/

I first got to know the Magenta Project at Google when I heard a podcast with Douglas Eck. I subsequently interviewed him for my podcast, where we talked about using machine learning to do interesting work with composition. This led to an invite to meet with the team, and I got a great introduction to their work at their Mountain View headquarters, and first got to me this week's guest, Jesse Engel.

But something interesting happened a few months ago: I got blindsided by the project when they put up details on their 'NSynth' project. This effort is about using machine learning for music, but not for composition - but rather for sound design. Somehow, I never saw that coming, but it really makes a lot of sense, and it comes up with some pretty interesting results.

As part of this series on Synthesizer Design we've talked to people about their past work in synth design. But it is interesting to also talk to someone about the future of synthesis, how computers might be brought into play to enhance the sound design functions, and how machine learning can drive (and/or be driven into managing) massive parameter sets.

Jesse Engel breaks things down for us in this talk, and we get a chance to see how big the datasets are, how all of this data might be managed, and how he goes about wrangling a bunch of scientists and statisticians into working with sound. Sometimes the work is as expected (a "better violin"), and sometimes not (the "cat flute"). It's a crazy ride, and I hope you learn as much as I did about one of the future possibilities for synth design. Enjoy!

Podcast 180: Axel Hartmann
48:06
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 48:06
Podcast 180: Axel Hartmann

NOTE: This podcast is presented as a collaboration with Synthtopia.com for the presentation of people designing synthesizers. You can listen to the podcast here, on the synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes. But you can also read the article as well as search for information by viewing the transcription available here:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2017/06/19/axel-hartmann-on-the-art-of-synth-design/

Axel Hartmann runs a design firm - designbox - that is pretty sneaky-influential to us synth folks. This is the company that does designs of hardware synthesizer for companies like Waldorf, Arturia and Moog. They also do user interface design for software and plug-ins for Antares and Universal Audio. Their designs are everywhere, and adds a lot to making our music lives a lot better than the dull black boxes and drab interfaces we'd otherwise see.

Axel has a great history, though, including the design of some of the most significant synthesizers to come out of Waldorf (including the Microwave and the big boy, the Wave), helping Dr. Moog with some initial designs for the Voyager and even running his own synthesizer company (Hartmann, the developer of the Hartmann Neuron). We talk about all of these - as well as his current work - in this wide-ranging chat.

I've loved what Axel has done to make our favorite synthesizers look the way they do. And I also appreciate what he is doing to make software interfaces both more intuitive as well as more appealing. Enjoy!

Podcast 179: Tom Oberheim
46:01
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 46:01
Podcast 179: Tom Oberheim

NOTE: This podcast is presented as a collaboration with Synthtopia.com for the presentation of people designing the synthesizers we love. You can listen to the podcast here, on the synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes. But you can also read the article as well as search for information by viewing the transcription available here:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2017/06/11/tom-oberheim-on-the-art-of-synthesizer-design/

In this first podcast in our series on Synth Designers, we talk to one of the people that was at the forefront of synth design - so much so, that his original synth design is still at the heart of his work! Tom Oberheim and the Synthesizer Expander Module (or SEM) is widely known for its rich, smooth and musical sound, and Tom's work has been featured on recordings by almost anyone that has used a synthesizer.

In our chat, Tom talks about how he got started in both electronics and music, and how he stumbled upon musical electronics. We also talk about how the SEM has been able to endure despite all the changes in backing technology, and how it differs from most of the synths that were its contemporaries. It's also interesting to hear about how the resurgence of analog culture and the emergence of DJ/producer culture caught him by (pleasant) surprise, and have set the stage for his future work.

You can see what he is up to by checking out his site: http://tomoberheim.com/, or just by talking to anyone that is a synth fanatic - they (or you...) will know his work well.

Enjoy!

Podcast 178: Cristian Vogel
01:00:49
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 01:00:49
Podcast 178: Cristian Vogel

Cristian Vogel has been around for quite a while - with his work in dance music being many people's introduction to his work. But he's moved into the realm of sound design and expansive composition, and the work has matured into something that I'm finding really compelling. His Bandcamp site (https://cristianvogel.bandcamp.com/) will give you a great introduction to the work he's doing, and I'll be you get just as drawn in as I did.

But Cristian is about to premiere a pretty serious new project: a spacial sound and theatrical performance called The Ballad of Agnete and The Merman, commissioned by the Aarhus European Capital of Culture 2017, and placed at The Åbnescene theatre at Godsbanen in Aarhus, Denmark. Cristian has been working on this piece for 18 months, and it promises to be both a compositional and technical tour de force, especially with Cristian's close cooperation with Funktion-One for the loudspeaker array, and Sonic Emotion Labs for the spacialization tools.

But in our chat, we talk about everything from Cristian's move away from club culture to his embrace of the Kyma sound design system, and also about some of the frustrations in trying to carve out a life of creative and experimental musicianship. It was a fantastic view into a creative mind, and helps me further appreciate the depth of his work.

Check out more about Cristian at http://www.cristianvogel.com/

Enjoy!

Podcast 177: Christopher Dobrian
56:52
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 56:52
Podcast 177: Christopher Dobrian

Chris Dobrian is responsible. He's the person that put together the documentation that got me on my road with Max - a road that still, in many ways, defines my daily existence. Chris' work taught me a lot about both programming in Max and manipulating sound and MIDI events, and he also taught me about writing in a way that was approachable for everyone - no matter where they were in their personal path to musical creation.

I bump into Chris rather often - he is at a lot of the trade shows and conferences that I attend. Each time we see each other, I say something along the lines of "Hey, man, let's do a podcast!" and he says "Yeah, let's do it, any time!". So when I was in St. Cloud for the SEAMUS conference, I saw there was a paper with his name on it, and I thought we'd get to do that dance again. 

Alas, he wasn't there (a paper was presented where he was a collaborator), and that made me somehow more motivated to talk with him. So there you go - maybe distance does make the heart grow fonder or something. In any case, I cornered him, we had a great talk, and I share it with you.

A little audio problem here: the Apogee ONE worked fine, but I was silly enough to have it near the laptop, and we were running Google Hangouts, which triggers the fan on my Macbook Pro immediately. I didn't catch that this was happening, and so you have to put up with a little noise-gating on my end. When it comes to mics, it's all about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

Enjoy!

[ddg]

Podcast 176: Stephen McCaul and Kris Kaiser of Noise Engineering
47:21
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 47:21
Podcast 176: Stephen McCaul and Kris Kaiser of Noise Engineering

One of the things that I try to pay attention to is this: situations where people are doing or using a thing, but not necessarily talking about it. This is the case with Noise Engineering modules: it isn't necessarily the 'I built my case around...' thing, but it seems almost everyone sneaks an NE module into their systems.

But when you dive into it a bit deeper, there is an extreme passion about those modules. With devices like the Basimilus Iteritas, you find people having that 'pry it from my cold, dead hands' reaction - many would consider it central to their recording/performance rig. And NE has been on a roll, and is on the way to being able to have a NE-only system; something that few modular companies can manage.

It's cool that this hot, fast-moving company is run by two of the coolest people you'll ever meet. Kris and Stephen (with some help from WMD manufacturing) run the whole show, from design to support, and are as passionate about their modules as we are. They also have an interesting and unique background that really informs the design and implementation of the modules they create. 

Enjoy the chat, and check out their modules: https://www.noiseengineering.us/. I think you'll get it...

Podcast 175: Lawrence English
55:14
2017-12-14 10:50:45 UTC 55:14
Podcast 175: Lawrence English

There are a few artists I've wanted to meet for a long while, and Lawrence English is one of them. His music exudes a dark elegance, and the titles of his work make suggestions to his interests and sensitivities. Whether it is Cruel Optimism, The Peregrine or even Suikinkutsu, you can get a sense of where Lawrence is coming from!

And the chat didn't disappoint! Lawrence is clearly introspective about both his work and the politics of our current time, and seems to have synthesized some interesting theories about community, togetherness and shared interest. He is also keenly aware of how information gets passed through non-obvious means; setting up a channel between artist and audience isn't simple, but it can benefit both parties...

This is a deep conversation; I hope that you enjoy it - and that it gets you thinking about how you do your work, and how you listen to others'. And you can check out the breadth of Lawrence's work at his website: http://www.lawrenceenglish.com/

Enjoy!

Podcast 174: Doug Geers
50:21
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 50:21
Podcast 174: Doug Geers

Doug Geers keeps on popping up in my radar - and has for over a decade. He was at the head of the charge with the Spark Festival in Minneapolis, one of the best electronic music conferences in the history of ever. He's quoted on the back of one of Curtis Roads' books. His performances keep coming up in my social media feeds. And, of course, when I went to the SEAMUS 2017 conference, who is the first person I run into?

Doug Geers!

So I had my wits about me enough to blurt out "Hey, dude, I need to get you on my podcast, um, yeah!", and he unwisely agreed. Thus, this interview, where we not only find out a lot about Doug, but we also learn about his views on community building, preparing scores to be played, and developing music both within and outside of the typical scoring frameworks.

I also found out how much I appreciate Doug: Midwestern to the core, surprised at the luck that appears at every turn, and consistently pushing personal boundaries because that's the work that needs to be done. An inspiring story from a fun and interesting guy. Oh, and make sure you check out his work (including scores!) on his website: http://www.dgeers.com/

Enjoy!

Podcast 173: Jim Aikin
01:01:50
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 01:01:50
Podcast 173: Jim Aikin

Jim Aikin is one of my heroes - he introduced me (along with David Friend) to synthesizers in a way that I could grasp at the time, but also led me down many musical paths through his album reviews, deft editing of columns and excellent product reviews. I was lucky enough to corner Jim for an interview, and we ripped off a great one!

One of the things I love about Jim is that he has real, heart-felt opinions - and is willing to share them. So we get to hear about his views on music, synth development, writing and the publishing industry. But more than those tidbits, we get to hear from someone that has been on the front lines of the synth business for decades. He's written about everything from 2600's to Kontakt libraries, and has a singular feel for synth design from having experienced it all.

I'd strongly recommend that you check out some of Jim's writing: his music blog is available at https://synthage.wordpress.com/, and Keyboard Magazine has a collection of his work here. We also reference the review of the Serge Modular in this podcast; you can read it at this link.

It was great to chat with Jim, and I look forward to doing it again at some point. In the meantime, enjoy this podcast!

Podcast 172: Matt Lange
59:42
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 59:42
Podcast 172: Matt Lange

Hot on the heels of two releases (Escapist and Punish Me), we get a chance to talk to producer, sound designer and Mau5trap artist Matt Lange. I'd first caught wind of Matt with his Ephemera album, released in 2015, but really was floored by the Patchwork album that he released in 2016. I caught his interview on the Pensado's Place video-cast, and was really excited to get a chance to talk to him.

What was fun was to talk to someone that isn't in love with electronics/modulars/gear for the sake of the gear; rather, Matt is into the emotions of music-making, and is one of those people that wants to express as much as impress. But he's got the chops to impress as well, and the combo is a lethal needle-drop.

This discussion is a wild ride through break-ups, scary jobs, poverty and rebirth. But with a family background in the arts, Matt was perfectly set up to succeed in the difficult-to-navigate music industry. If you imagine a smooth ride into Producer's Heaven, you'll want to listen to this podcast to get another (or a more detailed) view.

Enjoy!

Podcast 171: Christoph Cox
40:39
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 40:39
Podcast 171: Christoph Cox

While Youtube is a force in the media arts world, it isn't very often that a Youtube video will cause me to jump into email to try getting a podcast guest. But it really happened with this video:

https://youtu.be/hh_5_CAySXY

Christoph Cox did a lecture about Sound Art (sponsored by the Barnes Foundation) that really caught my attention. Only later did I realize that he was also responsible for the book Audio Culture, which was very influential for me in art school.

https://www.amazon.com/Audio-Culture-Readings-Modern-Music/dp/0826416152

In our chat, Christoph explores the tie-in between philosophy and sound art, discusses the temporal nature of sound art, and also considers the importance of sound within the art world. We also get off on a few tangents, which is the nature of a good conversation.

You can find out a lot more about Christoph at his faculty link:

http://faculty.hampshire.edu/ccox

Talking about the difference between sound art and music-making is an interesting debate, and really opens as many questions about 'what we do' as it provides answers. This was a great discussion, and I feel honored to have had a chance to share this podcast. I hope you enjoy it, and find it as inspiring as I did!

Podcast 170: Eric 'Rodent' Cheslak
48:07
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 48:07
Podcast 170: Eric 'Rodent' Cheslak

Eric Cheslak is known by almost everyone as 'Rodent', and is one of those Pied Piper folks that draws people into his lair. His current pipe of choice is the modular synthesizer, and he (along with Bana Haffar) put together the Modular on the Spot performance series, which takes modular people, puts them in an outdoor context (generally near the LA river) and gives them a venue to play, share and hang out. It's a powerful thing, and something that has drawn a community together - first in LA, but now all over the world.

Rodent is also a serious composer/player, and his work (which you can taste on his Soundcloud page) is a pretty unique style combo of dark industrial, experimental and idiosyncratic sound design. It's deep and satisfying, and provides an insight into the depth of Rodent himself.

This was an amazing interview because I felt like I really got to see inside the enthusiasm of Rodent and his view of the modular synthesizer as an orchestra, a very personal instrument - and a tool for community building. As he and Bana have been evangelizing both modulars and live performance, we've seen a huge uptick in people's interest and willingness to embrace these systems. And I think it is pretty easy to point to that work as a significant part of the modular explosion we are experiencing now.

Enjoy!

Podcast 169: Darren E Cowley
48:12
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 48:12
Podcast 169: Darren E Cowley

I've become a big fan of Isotonik Studios' work - their Novation Circuit editor makes that hardware sing for me, and some of their innovative Max For Live work lights up that platform. We happened to follow each other on Facebook; when I reached out to him for a chat, he was into it - and here's the result.

One of the things I really like about the offerings from Isotonik is that they are varied, super useful (both the control and audio devices are innovative as hell), and come with excellent support from the team. So I wanted to know more about that team, what it takes to keep something like this moving forward, and how someone might use Max For Live as a commercial platform.

Darren's story, like so many others, is a unique path to a cool end-game; it isn't a straight line, but it is one that is driven by passion and a love of music-making. If you haven't tried any of Isotonik's work, you should check out their site: 

https://isotonikstudios.com/

And if you happen to be a Novation Circuit user, make sure you are checking out the new work they've been doing lately - many new options are now available, and different people (like my friend Mark Mosher) are finding that different versions work best for their particular systems. Cool stuff, that's for sure.

Enjoy!

Podcast 168: Anthony Baldino
51:24
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 51:24
Podcast 168: Anthony Baldino

When you meet interesting people, they often help you meet more interesting people. So it was with Bana Haffar - after doing the interview with her, she connected me with other talented artists in her LA circle. When she talked about this week's guest, she just said "He's The Shit." Anthony combines cinematic dark stuff with incredible sound design to create both deeply personal music and the outrageous music you hear in movie trailers.

Matter-of-fact, just like that. So I did a little Google-surfing, and sure enough, there is some serious talent there. Check out his Soundcloud page if you have any questions, or read an older interview with him on the speakhertz site. There's some serious magic going on there.

What was interesting is to hear how Anthony's sound design process has changed over the years. Moving from a sampling focus to modular synthesis might seem like a huge swing, but Anthony makes it seem pretty seamless - to the point where any sound he hears in his head seems to be available at his modular. Cool stuff.

So many thanks to Bana for the intro, and to Anthony for taking the time to chat. This one is inspiring, and makes me need to head to the studio for a little modular session. Enjoy!

Podcast 167: Marcel Wierckx
48:14
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 48:14
Podcast 167: Marcel Wierckx

I've seen Marcel Wierckx' name around for years, but hadn't seen his work in action. Recently, my friend Gregory Taylor ran across some of his work with dancers and was blown away. Of course, given my work with dancers and choreographers, I was really excited to learn more about what he's doing, how he builds up his performance system, and how he develops the work that he does.

The more I dug around in his lownorth.nl website, the more I found to discuss. His view on the arts is unique, and has a depth that isn't often found in the media art world. But Marcel also has a particular position on his work: he considers himself a composer, regardless of the media (visuals, OpenGL, audio, music) that he is working within.

We mostly talk about work with dancers/choreographers, which was timely; I'd just done a panel at the Berklee Voltage Connect conference about live performance, and talked extensively about working with a dance company as a means for interesting new performance options. Marcel takes this to a new level, mainly because he's been doing it for so long.

It's always great to talk to someone that is as introspective as Marcel is, and someone that embraces both teamwork and self-focused development in the creation of art. A great chat; hope you enjoy it!

Podcast 166: Ross Lamond
43:57
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 43:57
Podcast 166: Ross Lamond

I have to admit loving the looks of a good wooden modular case. There is something about it that offsets the overly high-tech look of a modular system, and turns it into an organic, living beast. And of all the case work that I've seen, it is Lamond Design's work that catches my eye most frequently. So when I decided to have a chat with a case maker, guess who I called?

This chat was one of the most comfortable I've had, simply because Ross is a very laid back guy that is quite taken by the fact that people like his work, and also grateful for the opportunity to do case-building as a gig. And with his background as an attempted musician (and it is clear that he still keeps his hand in it, even if he downplays the musical thing...), he always keeps his eye on the artistry of the work.

In our chat, we cover everything from getting started with modulars through learning woodworking from scratch. And in the meantime, it has been growing, tweaking and pumping out the best looking cases you've ever seen. If you aren't familiar, you should check it out here: http://www.lamonddesign.co.uk/index/

Enjoy!

Podcast 165: Huston Singletary
01:18:37
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 01:18:37
Podcast 165: Huston Singletary

The first time I saw Huston Singletary I was on a ride. At the NAMM show, surrounded by amazing talent, all giving their best shots at demos. A guy gets up in front of the Ableton stage and starts riffing on the latest version, showing all the new features and stuff - standard fare. All of a sudden he stops, says to someone "Hey, that's a great question!" and wheels off into an impromptu clinic on how to perform some production magic that had everyone mesmerized.

That is Huston at his best - in one of his lives. In other parts of his life, he does amazing sound designs. In other parts, it's feet-on-the-ground production. He's got bones in so many parts of the audio/music field, and it's wild to hear him talk about moving - frictionlessly - from one to the other. But above everything, he loves to help people learn about doing new things, and this is the legacy that Huston will always have to me.

I hope you enjoy this longer-than-normal, wide-ranging talk with someone that was there as studios moved to DAWs, synth stacks moved from keyboard stands into plug-in folders, and production moved from the few to the many. Huston has seen it all, and it is really interesting to hear his take on the music/production world.

Enjoy!

Podcast 164: Bana Haffar
40:25
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 40:25
Podcast 164: Bana Haffar

Bana Haffar's profile in the modular world is growing by the day. She really hit people's attention with her demo video for the Moog Mother32: Liquid Light Solid Motion, but is also gaining momentum by being involved (with Eric Cheslak) in creating and coordinating the Modular On The Spot performance series. Although a self-professed 'beginner', she's obviously found a way to express herself in the modular instrument, and has a release coming out shortly as well.

Surprisingly, in this interview we find out about an artist that has embrace Death Metal in Dubai, musical session work and the inevitable move to LA. But rather than let any of this define her (or swallow her up, as it can with many artists that move to LA), she's expanding herself with more experimentation, trying out more instruments and more collaboration.

Alas, Bana did this interview from an outdoor cafe while I was huddled in my over-heated Minnesota house; I was more than a little envious! But I was also inspired by an artist that is seeing success without ceasing her own development. That's something we can all learn from, right?

Thanks to Tom Hall for this great connection. Enjoy!

Podcast 163: Andrew Ikenberry
41:10
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 41:10
Podcast 163: Andrew Ikenberry

Qu-Bit Electronix holds a special place in my heart: there was a time when I wouldn't do a gig unless I'd loaded up a thumb drive with some new samples for munging with a Qu-Bit Nebulae - that company's first product. Since then, they've gone on to do a lot of additional modules, including a new series of devices that are in 'sets of four' - which Andrew talks about in this chat.

Talking with Andrew is also interesting because you find out about an accomplished musician that learned everything - design, programming, synthesis - out of a love of music and musical devices. Brought up under the tutelage of Dr. Boulanger at Berklee, Andrew took what he learned and made it concrete, literally wedging Csound code into a module so that he could further pursue his interests.

At the forefront of bringing digital to Eurorack systems, Andrew remains excited and fascinated by synth tools, and has some pretty big plans for the future. Listen in and enjoy!

Podcast 162: Brenna Murphy
44:54
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 44:54
Podcast 162: Brenna Murphy

Brenna Murphy is about as mediated of an artist as you will find. She combines video and animation with the development of physical objects (through a variety of means), but will also include analog synthesizers in her installations and as soundtracks for her films.

Hand-made synthesizers.

If you don't know Brenna's work, you need to check it out at http://www.bmruernpnhay.com/ (the site is a mashup of her first and last names...), where you will find a ton of different kinds of work. I especially loved the videos, since their soundtracks often sounded like they were taken straight from the vaults of late 50's sci-fi flicks. But as you dive in deeper, you find an incredible depth in Brenna's work, including the use of 3D printers, fabric printers and other fab systems to create sculptural work from her designs, and collaborations with her partner Birch Cooper (see http://mshr.info/) to create the synthesizers that sonify much of her work.

In our chat, we talk about the development of an artist in Portland - and the development of the sorts of communities that allow for this work to bloom. We also talk about the difficulties in creating work, getting it shown, and finding out how to work in an environment that wants to embrace everything - all at once.

Enjoy!

Podcast 161: Fabrizio Poce (J74)
48:51
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 48:51
Podcast 161: Fabrizio Poce (J74)

I ran across Fabrizio's work in a rather typical way - I was trolling through maxforlive.com, searching for something that would interest me (and would make for a good article for the Cycling '74 newsletter...), and I ran across some work by a developer that tagged everything with "J74". That was enough to get my attention on that evening, and I started looking into his work. There were several interesting devices, several of which were related to "guided generative" sequencing, an area that always kind of intrigues me.

So I started playing with some of the devices, and got drawn into one of them: J74 Progressive, which is a chordal (harmonic) content generator that can be as simple or as complex as you like - and it draws you in by helping make interesting and fun chord changes.

I had to learn more, so I reached out to the developer - Fabrizio Poce - and started a conversation. Next thing you know, we were doing a podcast interview! This is a great one, because Fabrizio is more than happy to share his perspectives on both musical creation and software development. This is a balance that is hard for many to maintain, so it is good to hear some ideas from a successful developer.

If you want to dive into Fabrizio's J74 work, you can check out his site at http://fabriziopoce.com/, and check out J74 Progressive here.

Enjoy!

Podcast 160: Tarik Barri
55:55
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 55:55
Podcast 160: Tarik Barri

In a quiet and self-assured way, Tarik Barri has been turning heads. His visuals for Monolake established him as a serious visual artist, while recent work with Laurel Halo and Thom Yorke are putting him at the forefront of live visual performance and programming. But when you talk to him, you'd never know - he's one of those people that is somewhat self-effacing, and both open and honest about how he feels and how he reacts to his process.

With a backstory that included some solitude in Saudi Arabia, several swipes at academia and a long-form software development process, it's probably not surprising to see Tarik have a unique and idiosyncratic (visual) voice. But he is also one of the most insightful people I've talked to when it comes to self-realization, and he was amazingly free with his opinions on how he creates his work, interacts with other artists and balances tech with art.

Catch up on Tarik's work by checking out his website, or check out some of the live video captures with him playing with Monolake and Yorke. But don't miss this discussion, which is a fascinating insight into an artist's mind.

Enjoy!

Podcast 159: Joshua Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv
56:09
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 56:09
Podcast 159: Joshua Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv

Joshua Eustis is one of the busiest and most focused people you'll run across. From his many recording/performance entities and collaborations (Telefon Tel Aviv, Second Woman, Sons of Magdalene) or his work with mainline acts (Puscifer, Nine Inch Nails), Josh's influence is woven throughout electronic music.

And you know what? Good for us! If you aren't familiar with Telefon Tel Aviv's music, take a listen - it's among my favorite music at the moment. Doing a little research will help you understand the difficulties surrounding that project - including the heartbreak surrounding the death of Charlie Cooper, Josh's collaborator with Telefon. 

But there's a lot more to talk about: what was it like touring with Puscifer - or NIN? What works better for Josh's work: hardware or software? And what are some of the tricks that he uses in order to keep up his aggressive playing and release schedule? All this and more...

I'm really grateful that Josh would take the time to chat with us, and thanks to Tom Hall for making the introduction. And make sure you keep up to date with Telefon Tel Aviv's activities as well as his other project, and keep an eye for a gig near you.

Enjoy!

Podcast 158: James Patrick (JP)
01:05:45
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 01:05:45
Podcast 158: James Patrick (JP)

If you have done any electronic music gigs in the US Midwest, or even if you've been listening to previous interviews with people that have come out of the Midwest, you've heard people speak about a mysterious figure: JP. JP helped set up gigs, encouraged people to strike out as players, or to try something new, or to show him something new. He's a dynamo in the area (he's based out of Minneapolis), and is also one of the founders of Slam Academy, a school for learning DJ'ing, production and sound design.

JP has a lot of great memories about how the scene developed, and also a lot of ideas (and opinions) about how people can learn this stuff today. He is on the front lines of getting people involved in making music, and some of his concepts refreshingly avoid the hype of 'get a job in the industry!' and replaces it with 'find a way to make your life better!'

I have to admit really appreciating that perspective.

I hope you enjoy this chat with JP - someone that is not only a friend, but someone who is an inspiration, and someone whose opinion I've come to trust. And if you are interested in the classes he has on offer, check out slamacademy.com for the whole scoop.

Podcast 157: Keith McMillen
41:30
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 41:30
Podcast 157: Keith McMillen

NOTE: This podcast is the fifth and final interview in our collaboration with Synthtopia.com on expressive MIDI controllers developments. You can listen to the podcast here, on the Synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes.

But you can also read the interview as well as search for information by viewing the transcription on at the following location:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2016/12/25/keith-mcmillen-interview-modern-instruments-should-combine-traditional-expressiveness-with-new-power/

Back in podcast episode #54, I talked to Keith McMillen about his background, his experiences in developing new musical tools, and the development of his 'smart fabric' technology that is at the heart of KMI's controllers. This time - and on the success of the Kickstarter funding of the K-Board Pro 4 - we talk with him about his experiences working on expressive controllers, and his long term goal of making every instrument able to interact with the computer.

I like talking to people with large visions, and Keith is right there: he'd like to change the world by making instruments more expressive and responsive, reduce latency to nothing - and also change the way that composers document their work so that it is available across technologies and implementations. These visions are the 'hard work' of what we need to do in electronic music, and Keith is simple not scared off by the difficulty of the task.

I hope you enjoy this discussion - we are pretty wide-ranging in the discussion, but in the end get to see the grand unifying vision of Keith's view of the future, and even what steps he may take to see them through. Enjoy!

Podcast 156: Jordan Rudess
41:47
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 41:47
Podcast 156: Jordan Rudess

NOTE: This podcast is the fourth interview in our collaboration with Synthtopia.com on expressive MIDI controllers developments. You can listen to the podcast here, on the synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes.

But you can also read the article as well as search for information by viewing the transcription on at the following location:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2016/12/18/jordan-rudess-interview-on-new-instruments-the-future-of-keyboard-performance/

In the music instrument industry, Jordan Rudess is a rock star. He is a tremendous product demonstration guru, and is able to figure out - and shred upon - almost any controller at the drop of a hat. His history with Korg, Kurzweil and others map out the best of keyboards, and he's been a demo machine with all of them.

In the software development business, Jordan Rudess is also a rock star. He's designed some of the most interesting and playable iOS music applications (including MorphWiz, SampleWiz and GeoShred), and is working with others on some upcoming goodies.

And, of course, Jordan is also an actual rock star. As the keyboardist for Dream Theater, a member of the Dixie Dregs and an amazing solo performer and recording artist, Jordan has established himself as a force in rock keyboard circles.

What's cool, though, is that Jordan is a great guy, and is really wired in on every new technology. He's embraced the expressive controller world, including devices like the ROLI Seaboard, and finds these tools to open up a new world for him in both performance and recording. We talk a little about his past, his present and what he sees for the future in this two part (all in one file...) chat.

Enjoy!

Podcast 155: Dr. Lippold Haken
56:04
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 56:04
Podcast 155: Dr. Lippold Haken

NOTE: This podcast is the third interview in our collaboration with Synthtopia.com on expressive MIDI controllers developments. You can listen to the podcast here, on the synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes.

But you can also read the article as well as search for information by viewing the transcription on at the following location:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2016/12/11/continuum-creator-lippold-haken-on-the-future-of-electronic-instruments/

No matter who you talk to about expressive MIDI controllers, one device keeps coming to the forefront: the Haken Continuum. Developed by our guest, Dr. Lippold Haken, the Continuum defined a new class of instrument that put a sensor-based system at the hands of the player. As part of creating the instrument, Dr. Haken had to invent many supporting technologies, and we see some of that in the emerging MPE specification.

But there is a lot more to Haken's work than a spec: there is also the details that he explored in the development of the Continuum. And they are quite remarkable: crazy (and expensive) sensors, highly sensitive interfaces and even the creation of the unique keyboard-like playing surface - all of this had to be developed from whole cloth.

The fact that Dr. Haken pulled it off is rather amazing, and points to the dedication that he has for his craft. This was a great discussion about the system's development, but also his vision for a specific instrument and his tireless search for the right solutions.

You can find out a lot more about the Haken Continuum at the Haken Audio website, and by checking out players like Jordan Rudess, Rob Schwimmer and others wailing on the device on YouTube. Enjoy!

Podcast 154: Geert Bevin
44:39
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 44:39
Podcast 154: Geert Bevin

NOTE: This podcast is the second interview in our collaboration with Synthtopia.com on expressive MIDI controllers developments. You can listen to the podcast here, on the synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes. But you can also read the article as well as search for information by viewing the transcription available here:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2016/12/04/geert-bevin-mpe-interview/

Everyone in the MPE/expressive controller game talks about Geert Bevin. He got his bones working on the Eigenlabs Eigenharp, but has been instrumental in helping a number of instruments come onto the market - most recently the Roger Linn Linnstrument.

But Geert is more than just a coder; he's a long time musician, guitar player, songwriter and instrument experimenter. He doesn't just work on the code, he works on the instrument, helping each device to sing its own peculiar song. Talking with him helped me understand the reverence that others had for him, because he sees the holistic nature of instrument development, and is able to think this way about making the instruments into a playable reality.

You can learn more about Geert from a number of sources, but perhaps his most interesting writings can be found on http://expressiveness.org/ where he talks directly about the devices he's built/used, and also provides a view into the things that he finds interesting in that world.

Enjoy!

Podcast 153: Roger Linn
01:00:02
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 01:00:02
Podcast 153: Roger Linn

NOTE: This podcast is presented as a collaboration with Synthtopia.com for the presentation of people working with and creating expressive MIDI controllers. You can listen to the podcast here, on the synthtopia website (in an embedded player) or on iTunes. But you can also read the article as well as search for information by viewing the transcription available here:

http://www.synthtopia.com/content/2016/11/27/roger-linn-mpe-interview/

Roger Linn is one of my Music Tech heroes. His development of the sampling drum machine has defined a significant portion of my musical life, and I still surround myself with tools that he designed or helped develop.

In this podcast, Roger and I get to chat a little about how he got started (including his design process for the MPC, which is a little mind-blowing!), his current mission to replace on/off switches and how he perceives his own future. He also gives us some real-life example of the value of expressiveness in MIDI controllers, and talks about the musical implications of this effort.

I was blown away by Roger's relaxed attitude about these incredibly genre-altering creations, but he's the first to admit that it's the musicians, not the gear-builders, that make the difference. But in the meantime, he's out there obsessing for the good of us artists, and I couldn't be more excited.

Enjoy!

Podcast 152: Tony Rolando of Make Noise
01:02:32
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 01:02:32
Podcast 152: Tony Rolando of Make Noise

I'll admit it: one of the reasons I moved over to Eurorack systems was because of Make Noise music. I found the Maths module a remarkably musical combination of utility and fun, and the Optomix has the right bump for the money. It also had a kooky look that screamed "fun" instead of "study more"! So yeah, it was a pretty easy transition...

I was pleased to get a little of Tony's time for the podcast, and he didn't disappoint - not only did we dive into the development of his modules and systems, but I also got him to talk a bunch about how he got started in electronics, and what were the influences that drove him forward. We also talk a bit about his manufacturing process, and how he things about running a modular synth business. It's a great interview, and really reveals a lot about how great a person Tony really is.

I hope you enjoy this, and if you aren't familiar with Make Noise, you should check out their work. But in any case, enjoy my chat with Tony!

Podcast 151: Tim Place
48:08
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 48:08
Podcast 151: Tim Place

Tim Place is one of those amazing guys that, at a fairly young age, has already accomplished so much. He is one of the main designer/programmers behind the Jamoma project, developed the Teabox sensor system (as well as designing and building the best sensors in the business...), created the Hipno plug-in package and has been developing objects and systems for Cycling '74 for almost a decade.

I was anxious to talk to Tim for many reasons, but one of them was to talk about his efforts in getting his doctorate in music, why he sort of stalled out on that process, but how he was also able to leverage that experience into a useful career. And his discussions about career are somewhat familiar to me as I surf the variety of people that make it in music tech: he puts out a lot of feelers, works really hard on a lot of things, and one of them happens to 'hit'.

In Tim's case, a number of these things are still on-going concerns, with the Jamoma package at the forefront. But it's interesting to talk to Tim about his continued interest in C++ coding, his re-entrance into math (a subject he abandoned in high school) and his approach to trying many things in search of The Right Thing.

Enjoy!

Podcast 150: Tom Erbe
56:22
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 56:22
Podcast 150: Tom Erbe

Here's one of the great ones.

Tom Erbe is an amazing cat. He's been on my radar for almost as long as I've been serious about electronic music; his early work with Soundhack (subsequently expanded into plug-in and app form) was inspirational, and opened my ears for computer music outside the realm of standard sequencing. He's a serious experimental music engineer and producer, and has implemented a Williams Mix performance and recording (available on his personal website). Most recently, he's garnered a following for his work with Make Noise on the Echophon, Phonogene and Erbe-Verb.

I watch amazed as Tom float from hardware to software, all the while creating head-bending, fun results. With all of that, it's amazing to find that he's the most laid back, easy going person you'll ever talk to. What a great talk!

Enjoy.

[ddg]

Podcast 149: The Circuit Jerks
39:31
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 39:31
Podcast 149: The Circuit Jerks

I don't often get to talk to superstars - there are simply too many layers between who I am and what they do. So, generally, gear and creativity talk aren't in the mix for most stars' PR blitzes. However, Jesse Carmichael (Maroon 5) and Jason Lader (pretty much EVERYBODY!) have put out an EP as "The Circuit Jerks", and they reached out to me to talk about the process. This release, called EP1, features some unusual tracks, including two 1:11:11-long tracks that are pretty mind-bending.

What I really enjoyed about this conversation is the recognition that star status doesn't change your passions - and these two guys are rabid modular fans. I'm sorry that this chat is going to disappoint Maroon 5 fans that want to know about Jesse's love life, or train spotters that want to know what kind of shoes Elvis Costello wears in the studio. We talked hard core gear-geek talk, praising Doepfer modules, video performance tools and imagining a future of net-based sync.

Alas, at the end of the chat the real world steps in (the manager hung up on us *exactly* on schedule), and we go on our merry ways. But for a little bit, we really got an insight into the point of passion in your work, and how excitement expresses itself in music-making. This was a lot of fun, and I owe these guys for sharing the time with us.

Enjoy!

Podcast 148: Douglas Eck
30:51
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 30:51
Podcast 148: Douglas Eck

Douglas Eck and the Magenta Project first came onto my radar by doing a podcast that was posted on the Web Audio API Weekly email, and I found his discussion about music and machine learning to be compelling and focused. I reached out to him, and things came together quickly: he invited me to Google for a visit with his team, and also got the planning into motion for this podcast. Once it cleared all the hurdles, we were on!

We didn't have a lot of time, but it is clear that Douglas is experienced in presenting the Magenta team's vision "in the time allotted" - whatever that time might be. He certainly packed a lot of information into the small amount of time I was able to talk to him. Trying to understand how machine learning can work within a musical environment - as well as how it can draw musicians in, rather than pushing them away - is something I'd never considered, but it is clear that this is a big part of how the team is imagining their work.

If you are interested in musical machine learning as a concept, you'll want to check out the Magenta project at its website, and also get some basic machine learning education wherever you can find it. Hearing about the successes that Google has had with "deep learning" and "reinforcement training" is pretty interesting, and it is exciting to watch this stuff develop from the ground floor.

Want to get involved? The Magenta project is open-source, and is actively interacting with artists and art-tech folks as they are able. Start by reading their site, test-driving their tooling from Github and learning more along the way.

Enjoy!

Podcast 147: El Larson
44:55
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 44:55
Podcast 147: El Larson

This one was a bit difficult for me: when I'm talking to people about gear or circuits or code, I have no problem. But when it comes to talking about how our bodies work? I'm generally at a loss. Luckily, El Larson was very helpful as I stumbled through the words to talk about what she does. So when you hear me struggling, there it is.

In any case, it is really cool to hear about El's work with the Tibetan Bowls and a modular synth. She's thoughtful about the way that she integrates the instruments into her practice, and is also willing to talk about it. So finding out how she works, how she prepares for a session and how she deals with the variety of personalities she encounters - it's all in the open.

Additionally, though, it's great to hear about a completely different musical practice, and to find out how sound can be used to physically help people. I've not participated in a session (although now I'm pretty intrigued), but I've heard incredible things from friends, and am very curious.

In addition to the sound practice, El is also an active artist/performer - with a recent high-profile project with Millie Brown being a prime example. Balancing the practice with the artistic urge is at the heart of El's life, and it was really interesting to learn more about it.

You can learn more about El's work at her website. Enjoy!

Podcast 146: Robert Henke
01:13:31
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 01:13:31
Podcast 146: Robert Henke

What can be said about Robert Henke that hasn't already been said a thousand times? A tireless inventor, music producer, visual artist and programmer, Robert has been at the front of so much - and for me he's been a constant inspiration. He's also become a good friend over the years, and I can believe it's taken me this long to interview him for the podcast. But I always want to be careful about his time; luckily, he's at a good point for a chat, and you get to listen in!

In this talk, we go over Robert's ideas about music gear, collaboration (he's worked with some amazing people...), balancing different types of work, and choosing areas to explore. He also reveals himself to be an "obsessed pragmatic": he's has a love for detail, but he has to fight his inner voices to make sure that he produces work.

Who can't understand that?

So please enjoy this talk, and if you get a chance, give a listen to the latest Monolake release: VLSI. It's a great combo of analog, digital and hybrid, and makes for some inspirational listening.

Podcast 145: Marielle V Jakobsons
55:23
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 55:23
Podcast 145: Marielle V Jakobsons

Marielle V Jackobsons has a very interesting practice: she's part of Date Palms, does live work with bassist Chuck Johnson, and has developed an amazing instrument that she calls a "Macro-Cymatic Visual Music Instrument". She actually was a history of building unlikely instruments - and most of them are focused on vibrations in some interesting way.

If you can't quite imagine what I mean, you should start by checking out her website: http://mariellejakobsons.com/ (click on the big image to get into the site...). You can get a nice tour of her artistic statement as well as a lot of her work; once you see it, you'll want to find a way to see and hear a live show. 

With her recent release on the Thrill Jockey label, Marielle delves deeper into the mix of computers and analog systems, melodies and ambiences. It's an excellent release, and has been on constant play here in my hideout. But diving back into some earlier work (Date Palms, the Glass Canyon release) you can find a variety of styles, influences and even instrument use.

A relaxed and enjoyable chat - it was awesome to find someone with so much comfort talking about their process. Enjoy!

Podcast 144: Jonathan Snipes of clipping
49:04
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 49:04
Podcast 144: Jonathan Snipes of clipping

When my friend and coworker Andrew Benson said "Hey, you ought to check out Jonathan Snipes!", I didn't think I'd get what I did. The work that Jonathan is doing with the band clipping is a whirlwind of machine-gun rap magic and bizarre - and amazing - sound design. The use of hand-grabbed samples and handmade synth lines conjures up the best of old-school rap while simultaneously pointing to the most up-to-date sound design and music production techniques. Remarkable.

Then, in talking to Jonathan, I find out that he's got his fingers into movie and TV music as well, and has a history doing show design work with Max, and does all this realtime manipulation during shows, and...

Unbelievable.

Rather than tell his story here, I'll let him do it on the podcast. But you should also check out his personal website: http://www.jonat8han.com/, and also see him in action, doing the live variation thing in this YouTube:

video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7J_TUYGUW7o

Enjoy!

Podcast 143: Chris Lowis
46:10
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 46:10
Podcast 143: Chris Lowis

Chris Lowis first showed up on my radar via an episode of the JS Air podcast. He was talking about the history and concepts of the Web Audio API to a bunch of Javascript-heads. He seemed equally comfortable talking about either audio or programming, and I knew he'd be a great interview for my podcast.

I couldn't have been more correct. Chris has a great history; studying acoustics, working at the BBC and being involved with the standards groups that are pulling the Web Audio API spec together. The effort is starting to show some great results, with recent Web pages really lighting up some spectacular devices: synths, games and other goodies.

Where you you go to find out more about this stuff? One place is Chris' home for his Web Audio Weekly blog: http://blog.chrislowis.co.uk/waw.html. This is the de-facto clearing house for new apps, devices and libraries that work with the Web Audio and Web MIDI specs. If you want a little more active call-and-response, you can check in on the Web Audio Slack Channel. Finally, Chris himself refers to the Mozilla Developer Network documentation as a great place to find out more about the details of web audio.

Finally, when you are ready to do some coding of your own, you will probably want to take the Web Audio School:

(online trial) http://mmckegg.github.io/web-audio-school/

(github download) https://github.com/mmckegg/web-audio-school

Enjoy, and make sure you give some Web Audio examples a try! 

Podcast 142: Terry Pender
45:15
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 45:15
Podcast 142: Terry Pender

Have you had the feeling of meeting someone and immediately feeling like you were best friends? This was my experience with Terry Pender, Associate Director of Columbia University's Computer Music Center. He has an easy and laid back style that immediately puts you in a good mood - then he hits you with some of the things he's done.

It's amazing.

From mandolin gigs at Carnegie Hall (with Pradeep Ratnayake), live improv shows with PGT or film sound design, it seems like Terry has done it all. Then you find out that he did music spots for daytime TV, works with the Pulitzer committee and has put together a master work on recording technology - you've got to wonder when he sleeps!

This chat with Terry was a great chance for me to get caught up with him, but to also learn a few new things about his background, and to get some hints about how he approaches the difficult-to-teach area of recording and production. He also talks a bit about collecting the stories that he'd pulled together; it's fascinating stuff.

Sit back, take your shoes off and enjoy this chill hangout with Terry Pender!

Podcast 141: Wade Matthews
43:57
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 43:57
Podcast 141: Wade Matthews

Wade Matthews is passionate about improv. He focuses on what he calls "free improvisation", which is dependent on having great listening skills as well as great playing chops. In this chat, Wade explores how he got to the point of being improv-focused, how he thinks about different types of performance (including his concept of 'sonic portraits', which I found fascinating) and even his definition of free improv.

Wade is also a trained musician who is now somewhat post-instrumental, focusing as much on processes and electronics as he does on the woodwinds where he started. This has also had an impact on both the music that he makes and his view on musical work, and we are lucky to have him share his ideas and experiences here.

I really enjoy talks where we can get in-depth on a subject and explore some of the edge areas, and I felt like this happened here. Wade is a deep thinker who is also an eloquent speaker, and the discussion buzzed by much faster than I realized. Nevertheless, we do learn a lot about Wade's ideas on music-making, and I hope to continue the discussion soon.

Enjoy!

Podcast 140: Coralie Diatkine
46:53
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 46:53
Podcast 140: Coralie Diatkine

I really appreciate the opportunity to meet new people - especially when they are introduced by friends that I respect. Coralie Diatkine comes via Julien Bayle, who mentioned her in a conversation as "someone with a unique sound" - and also mentioned her as a up-and-coming Max'er. He pointed to her website and I was blown away.

The thing the was most interesting to me was that Coralie doesn't really hide anything. If she is experimenting with spacialization, you get to read about it on her site. Working on sound design using her sax? Also on the site. And even though she's left vocal work behind, she's also willing to share that as well. I love it when people share their whole story, and Coralie seemed willing to do that on her site.

She was also willing to do it on the podcast! In this chat, we range from her choice of instruments (and why she dropped voice) to the use of language and metaphor for compositional concept, and even spend some time examining the French educational system. I eat this stuff up, and I hope you are as fascinated as I am.

Once you listen to this, you will want to know more about Coralie. Her web world is at http://coraliediatkine.eu/, and her Soundcloud page is filled with goodies, available at https://soundcloud.com/coralie-diatkine.

Enjoy!

Podcast 139: Mark Mosher on the Rocky Mountain Synth Meetup
47:27
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 47:27
Podcast 139: Mark Mosher on the Rocky Mountain Synth Meetup

One of the most interesting meetups I've ever attended was the Rocky Mountain Synth Meetup, led by Mark Mosher. Mark started this as an outgrowth of his own desire to meet people, but it has expanded into one of the most active synthesizer-based meetups in the world - and is now a must-visit for anyone that likes (as Mark states) "drinking with a synthesizer problem".

From its humble beginnings in the basement of a Louisville CO restaurant to the huge launch party for the Ableton Push 2 release, the meetup has gone through a number of changes - some of which would hamstring a lesser meetup. Venue changes, personality riffs, people moving in and out of the area; the RMSM has continued to expand, and is healthier than ever.

Mark has provided the following information for us to share:

Meetup Summary

The Rocky Mountain Synthesizer Meetup - founded in 2012 - is the home of 480+ Denver Front Range synth geeks who share their passion for synths, build their network, get inspired, get hands-on with gear, tell people about projects and find collaborators. It is synth technology agnostic and features broad variety of rotating presentation topics and experiences each meetup - most presentations given by members themselves. The after-meetup features a performance by a meetup member.

 

  

Referenced in Show 

 

Related Mindmaps

 

My Links 

Many thanks to Mark for his openness about the meetup. I hope you'll consider doing one for your community!!!

Enjoy!

Podcast 138: David Butler
41:03
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 41:03
Podcast 138: David Butler

Walking the tightrope - that's what show control is all about. Whether you are creating lighting scenes, working with live projection or live video gen, this isn't something that you can practice ahead of time. As a result, I find the work that show control people do to be both fascinating and completely unnerving.

Take the craziness of show control, add programming chops and the willingness to go anywhere in the world - and you have David Butler. David has been developing show control tools for himself in Max and Java; given his comfort with large-scale control systems, he's able to put together programming that is able to handle massive data streams.

I was really looking forward to a chat with David because he manages the balance between technical skills and artistic vision. He does this professionally, but he does it for fun, too - and that's something I can definitely relate with. He's also into sharing both his perspectives and his work, and is working on some code that he'll be providing for other interested parties.

This is a great look at a completely different side of the performing world, and also gives you a glimpse at the levels of detail and complexity required to handle large performance system. It's also a chance to hear from a guy that is totally comfortable with the tightrope walk that is show control management. You can find out more about David's work at his website: The Impersonal Stereo.

Enjoy!

Podcast 137: Micah Frank
37:26
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 37:26
Podcast 137: Micah Frank

Micah Frank has been doing it for more than a decade. And by "it", I mean pulling amazing sounds out of the air, formatting them to be playable, and releasing them through his company Puremagnetik. I've long been a fan, and finally was able to corner Micah for a podcast chat.

In this one, we talk about everything from his background as a New York session drummer through the development of his favorite sample packs, and also talk about the tools of the trade that he finds useful. We also talk a little about the business of sample pack creation and even a little about collaboration with other artists. But mostly we talk about how one becomes a sample pack developer, and the joy that comes with embracing that gig.

I really respect Micah's work; if you haven't heard it, check it out at the Puremagnetic site, try out some of the free packs, or maybe pick up a little gift for yourself (I'd recommend the "b-systems" packs made in collaboration with Richard Lainhart, or the new Cinematic stuff we talk about in the podcast...), but enjoy our discussion!

Podcast 136: Paul Vnuk
01:00:14
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 01:00:14
Podcast 136: Paul Vnuk

There are a few people that I've known forever - even if we don't talk often. Paul Vnuk is one of those people - we were Milwaukee folk at the same period in the late 90's, have interacted with Mike Metlay over the years, and still cross paths during NAMM shows. But we seldom seem to talk; we are often busy (especially, as you'll hear, when Paul is multi-tasking at full throttle), so it seems difficult to get the time. So, we needed to make time.

I had a problem with this week's interviews, and Paul was willing to jump into the podcast for a nice chat. And the hour went by in an eyeblink; Paul has worked on so many interesting projects that I was left with a book-load of questions for the next interview (or three...) that we'll do. Nevertheless, Paul was happy to talk about whatever I'd bring up, and I wanted to talk about everything!

So we talked about recording tech, Paul's background, working on Ma Ja Le, doing loop libraries for Sonic Foundry/Sony, learning new instruments and working on remote collaborations. A fascinating interview with a really interesting guy - and I already can't wait for our next chat. And I can't wait for that next release!

So enjoy!!!

Podcast 135: Dino J. A. Deane
01:28:10
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 01:28:10
Podcast 135: Dino J. A. Deane

Dino J. A. Deane is a bit of a force of nature. He's been a session horn player and touring musician, he was one of the earliest proponents of live/real-time sampling, a sound designer before that was a widely-known 'thing', and a practitioner of Conduction, a method of real-time composition developed by Butch Morris. And he's still rocking it out there, working with a group in Denver called FluxCrew, continuing to record, and pushing the envelope with the methodology behind Conduction.

I've been getting pushed by several friends to talk to Dino, and it finally happened. And boy, am I glad I did. Dino is a deep well, and I was blown away by the people he's worked with and the experience he's had - whether working the punk/jazz scene during New York's loft heyday, tripping over Arp 2600's in L.A. during the first golden age of home studios, or exploring the brittle edges of sampling with early Akai and Ensoniq systems.

I hope you get into this conversation. If you want to know more, you need to check out his work at http://jadeane.com/, or take in a bit of live action in his YouTube channel. You can also find out more about Butch Morris at conduction.us.

Enjoy!

Podcast 134: David Beaudry
52:03
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 52:03
Podcast 134: David Beaudry

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to visit David Beaudry at his design studio in LA. It was pretty interesting; behind a laid-back facade was a passionate and excited designer/developer that clearly was "into" his work - and the practice of interaction design in general. On that day, we talked details about fluid dynamics, the generalities of getting gigs and and joys and pains of working with Max over the years.

I was really pleased to get a chance to interview David for the podcast, and his over-the-phone delivery - and insights - is just as amazing as his in-person. This is one of those interviews that seemed to go by in an eye-blink, because each question led to many potential next questions, and once we got rolling there was much stopping us. It was also cool that David doesn't try to shield anyone from the tough questions: What is the "hard thing" in the implementation of his designs? How often do you have to deal with difficult customers? When do you end up in no-win situations?

David was into talking about it all, and we are the beneficiaries. I hope that you enjoy this chat as much as I did; it was an eye-opener on many levels, and will really give you some insights the next time you are at a museum installation, kids' theme park or educational kiosk!

Podcast 133: Cory Metcalf
51:12
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 51:12
Podcast 133: Cory Metcalf

Sometimes you run across 'old souls' - people whose depth belies their physical age. Cory Metcalf is one of those people; he seems to have been born to both art and philosophy, and the depth of his expression is remarkable.

Cory is one half of the group Noisefold (David Stout, from podcast #10 is the other half), but is also an active teacher and solo artist as well. He's about to launch into a new journey even as some of his existing work is getting attention, and he (like me) is in the middle of a physical move to a new location. Since we were diverging in location, I decided to take the opportunity to touch base with him for the podcast - and to document his story.

And an amazing story it is. Cicadas, films school, monkey gods and meditation all make appearances, but not it a typical "I'm dropping my groove onto your lap" kind of way. Cory is incredibly introspective about influences (both internal and external), and is able to embrace and integrate influences in a way that doesn't subsume his own voice. How that happens is at the heart of our discussion, and I hope you find the exploration interesting.

Enjoy!

Podcast 132: Carla Scaletti
45:03
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 45:03
Podcast 132: Carla Scaletti

My first encounter with Carla Scaletti was at an AES show, where she was doing personal demos of the Kyma system in a little square in the middle of the show floor. In among mic preamps and tape decks was a bunch of computer monitors and a demo station with a mic. I was blown away when Carla proceeded to use the microphone to record her voice, then use it (her voice) to do score following - it was magic to me.

Since then, I've always been fascinated to see where the Kyma system appears. Often tied to serious sound designers, I saw it in studios, in background pictures of Hollywood sound-heads and in the workplaces of my friends in the game industry. I also started seeing it in academic institutions, where it was being used for both teaching/recording and research.

I was so pleased when Carla said she was willing to be interviewed for the podcast. I'd recently noticed that she was pretty active in the community, having given the keynote speech at the 2015 ICMC (which was also published in the Computer Music Journal), and Meg Schedel mentioned that Carla was going to be doing some sessions at Stony Brook. And now I'm happy to present this talk with Carla, where we range from her personal history to her (incredible) ideas about the nature of modern experimental composition.

Enjoy!

Podcast 131: Brian Clevinger (Absynth)
45:32
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 45:32
Podcast 131: Brian Clevinger (Absynth)

Absynth is one of my favorite software synthesizers. It is everything you'd want in a modular system, but is packages like a standard instrument - helping smooth the way for quick-and-efficient patch development. But the level of modulation and pure sound design goodness is unparalleled - and this thing is 15 years old!

It's a sign of great work when something lasts, and 15 years is forever in software terms. What makes Absynth so great? A combination of excellent design, fantastic sound and the fortitude to keep improving it the whole time.

Several people have pointed to Brian as a potential interview; I finally reached out to him and found him more than willing. Then we started talking, and it turned out to be one of the great chats that I've had. Brian is a cool guy, and was willing to be introspective about his work and perspectives. I felt like I made a new friend during our discussion - and you get to hear it happen.

Check out Brian's sound work at his Soundcloud page. And if you aren't using Absynth, you need to check it out at its Native Instruments product page. Enjoy!

Podcast 130: Logan Erickson (Low-Gain Electronics)
36:09
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 36:09
Podcast 130: Logan Erickson (Low-Gain Electronics)

I really love people that follow their passions - wherever it takes them. Logan Erickson is one of those people; his company (Low-Gain Electronics) features Eurorack modules, MU-format conversions, format jumblers, power components and other goodies. You also get a little insight into Logan's mind - he loves a lot of different things, and puts his efforts where his heart is.

In our chat, we discuss the different formats, talk about the different threads of module developments, and explore some of the ideas about the comfort of different cable and mode sizes. We also talk about the nature of custom builds; how it comes about, and how it works for a professional builder.

Logan combines building and playing, passion and business - and has the experience to make interesting and informed decisions. This was a fun interview with a fascinating guy - enjoy!

Podcast 129: Elizabeth Hoffman
47:51
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 47:51
Podcast 129: Elizabeth Hoffman

Jane Rigler opens a lot of doors for me. She's always been generous with her teaching opportunities, her performances and her contact; the last time I spent time with her, she told me about an upcoming performance with her friend and colleague Elizabeth Hoffman - and that Elizabeth would be a great podcast subject.

When Jane speaks, I listen!

This podcast is the result of that contact, and it's a great one. I really enjoy interviews where we start diving into people's motivation and concept development, and Elizabeth was more than willing to dive into that stuff. Additionally, we get a glimpse into the actual workings of a composer's career - it is never a straight line, and it is always packed full with self-education and exploration.

This is an interesting chat in many ways, but it was also fun because I feel like I got to know Elizabeth a lot over the course of the 45 minutes. I hope you do as well! You can find out more at her personal NYU website, and check out her CD (which I will continue to rave about...) at the site for the work: Intérieurs harmoniques.

Enjoy!

Podcast 128: Ben Houge
46:52
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 46:52
Podcast 128: Ben Houge

My friend Gregory Taylor made an interesting connection for me: Ben Houge, an instructor at Berklee, also had an interesting sideline, and Gregory thought I'd be interested. And boy, was he right: Ben composes music to go along with top chef's meal presentations, creating a performance that I'm dying to check out!

In our chat, I get to find out what this means, how you get the gig in the first place, and the kind of background that it takes to compose at this level. Combine this interest with Ben's background as a game composer and you clearly have an incredible chat-in-the-making. But Ben also seems to have a knack for talking to people (and getting them to talk back...), and we explore that a bit as well.

You can find out more about Ben at http://benhouge.com/, his Berklee page, or hear his work on Soundcloud. But dive in deep, and you'll find an individual with an incredible and fascinating body of work.

Enjoy!

Podcast 127: Johnny Woods
58:07
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 58:07
Podcast 127: Johnny Woods

When I interviewed Andrew Benson a few weeks ago, we talked about the video label that he worked with, and the fabulous people he knew from that experience. One of them, Johnny Woods, was willing to be interviewed for the podcast - and I jumped at the opportunity.

A crazy-fabulous animator, modular synth nut and label/economics guru, Johnny has a great vision - and interesting opinions - on a lot of subjects. And I felt like we covered a lot of them; our discussion starts with animation and end with us taking over Silicon Valley. As a result, I'm going to have to go to LA to get the cabal rolling, but in the meantime you get to hear our chat.

Enjoy listening, and make sure you check out Johnny's work at johnnywoods.com as well as the Undervolt & Co site. At the very least, take a little time out of your schedule to find some work by an artist, share it where you can, and help spread the word about the amazing art that's being made!

Podcast 126: Stephen James Taylor
52:27
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 52:27
Podcast 126: Stephen James Taylor

One of the most interesting and personable people I've met in my journey has be Stephen James Taylor. An accomplished composer and film scorer, he is also on a path that includes research into tuning systems combined with an interest in building unique instruments. The work he does ranges from Disney animation scoring to bluesy solo pieces, and he is able to weave all of his interests into an amazing sonic tapestry.

In this chat, Stephen and I dive into his microtonal interests (including his work with and on Erv Wilson's tuning mapping), his background coming up in the film scoring world, and how he dealt with the various existential crises throughout his life. We also talk a lot about the conundrum of new tunings, the required new instruments, and how a body of work gets created to support them. We also talk more about instrument design, for while Stephen is a wealth of knowledge.

Enjoy, and check out his work at http://www.stephenjamestaylor.com.

Podcast 125: Matthew Davidson
44:51
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 44:51
Podcast 125: Matthew Davidson

One of my early podcasts was with Matthew Davidson (also often known as stretta). At the time, Matthew was working with me at Cycling '74, and was also doing some teaching at Berklee School of Music and working on some monome/modular stuff.

Since then, Matthew has left Cycling and has moved into a fulltime position at Berklee, so I decided to revisit our discussion, talk a little more about what things are like teaching at the school, and what it is like for students that are first attempting to take on something as heady as that program. We also get some insights into Matthew's ideas about ensemble work (with modulars!), personal practice and the excitement of teaching as a full-time gig.

Enjoy!

Podcast 124: Victoria Lundy
48:18
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 48:18
Podcast 124: Victoria Lundy

OK, I'll admit it. Every time I've tried using a Theremin, the result have been a musical car wreck. It seems like I have no ability to control my limbs in a way that provides the instrument with what it needs, so it sounds horrible.

So therefore, it is really interesting to me to talk to talented Theremin players - and this week, I talk to the best that I know: Victoria Lundy. Victoria is a solo performer and recording artist as well as a member of The Inactivists, and is active in our local Synth Meetup. I've seen her perform in a number of different gigs, and she is alway able to hold people's attention with her personal and voice-like sound.

In this chat, we talk about becoming a Thereminist, choosing an instrument, and figuring out how to play before you get disillusioned and sell the instrument on eBay. We also talk about some of the idiosyncrasies when playing in a group, and even how you prepare for working in a Conduction ensemble. Fascinating details, and a great interview.

You can hear Victoria's work here: http://www.victorialundymusic.com/

Sorry for the terrible sound on my mic; the Evil Blue Mic - combined with unknowable problems with Audio Hijack - conspire to beat me down again. That's gotta change...

Enjoy!

Podcast 123: Andrew Benson on Professional Work
36:46
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 36:46
Podcast 123: Andrew Benson on Professional Work

I really enjoy Andrew Benson's work, even if it is completely unlike anything that I would ever do myself. Maybe that's why I like it, right? Andrew embraces extremes in color, shape and glitchiness, and the result is immediately identifiable as his own. Having this unique voice has put him in the position of doing some impressive and interesting professional work, and I wanted to talk to him about the process - and the difficulties - in making these things happen.

In podcast #19, Andrew talked about his background and influences, This time, he was kind enough to talk about some of his recent work, how he got the gigs, how he kept them, and how he made the decisions necessary to get the job done. He also talks about the process of moving when one has been part of a local art community (a thing close to my heart at the moment...) and how the tech is selected for a given piece or project. If you do art work of any sort, this podcast is going to be filled with information that will be important to you.

So have a listen, check out Andrew's work at pixlpa.com, and use that info to jack your professional life a little bit. But one of the things that I came away with after talking with Andrew is "Don't Be Scared" - perhaps the best advice anyone could ever provide...

Enjoy!

Podcast 122: J. Anthony Allen
44:44
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 44:44
Podcast 122: J. Anthony Allen

J. Anthony Allen is a busy guy - teaching at a university, in private lessons and at the Slam Academy. He also balances the teaching work with his own composition/performance work, and is the businessman behind some of these ventures. Makes me tired just thinking through his day...

In this conversation, we discuss the differences in teaching in different venues, how someone gets into composition in the first place, and how to manage the balance of composing and commerce. We also talk about developing new performance systems, and J. gives me the scoop on the Minneapolis scene.

This is one of those interviews that makes me want to work harder - or maybe smarter. I hope you find it helpful for yourself! Enjoy!

Podcast 121: Jesse Terry on the Ableton Push
48:27
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 48:27
Podcast 121: Jesse Terry on the Ableton Push

I first got to know Jesse Terry during a trip to Berlin, and we've remained in contact ever since. The product 'owner' for the Ableton Push, he has been involved with hardware controller design and development since the Akai APC controllers. So when I got a chance to chat with him about his method - and interests - it seemed like a natural fit.

Jesse has a long background with 'knob-ful' designs (he's an old-time analog head, like me) as well as 'pad-ful' designs (he and I also share a background with MPC devices), so he was probably an obvious choice for working on the Push controller. However, it is his attention to detail and tireless search for perfection that helps push the envelope of what we consider 'state of the art' controller systems.

If that sounds like a sales pitch for Jesse - well, I'm sorry. But I really like Jesse's work a lot, and his willingness to talk about the fun and the pain in creating the Push and Push 2 controllers might help you understand why I feel that way.

Enjoy!

Podcast 120: Gregory Taylor on The Radio
01:02:54
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 01:02:54
Podcast 120: Gregory Taylor on The Radio

Gregory Taylor was at my house last week to work on an upcoming show, and I pinged him for his third AMT podcast interview. This time, though, I had something really specific in mind: I wanted to know more about how he did his radio show, how he selected music for it, and what he used to determine material that would capture his attention. As before, he did not disappoint!

Gregory's work in broadcasting is quite astounding. He's run the same radio show, with a few short breaks, continuously for 30 years, programming interesting mixes of experimental music on a Madison-based community radio station (WORT FM, 89.9), and has listened to more of this music than probably anyone ever has. His knowledge of both labels and artists is encyclopedic, but his discussions of them are - as always - interesting and story-filled.

Gregory's show, RTQE, is from 9-11pm (CST) Sunday Evenings, and the shows are archived and streamed for off-time listening for up to two weeks. I hope you enjoy this discussion about the development of a community station, Gregory's RTQE show, the loss of NMDS (and its effect on music selection) and having *your* work played on the radio. Fascinating stuff!

Enjoy!

Podcast 119: Bruce Odland (The TANK)
31:07
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 31:07
Podcast 119: Bruce Odland (The TANK)

I first heard about the TANK a while ago, but it was recently re-initiated in my brain by Jane Rigler, who reached out about the recent Kickstarter for it. It is a huge (and I mean HUGE) water take from days of old, and it has been re-purposed into a performance/recording space. This effort has been led by Bruce Odland - today's interviewee.

Bruce started this project as a sound artist touring the west, but has become entranced by the sound - and the performance opportunities - provided by The TANK. In this chat, we hear about how the TANK changes the people that work with it, and how individuals become part of a bigger instrument in a way that we don't get to experience in our laptop-based studios, or with our Walmart-purchased musical artifacts.

I hate to talk more about this when Bruce speaks so eloquently about the beginnings and the futures of The TANK Center for Sonic Arts. So listen to the podcast for more insight. And when you want to dig deeper into The TANK, check out their site at:

http://tanksounds.org/

This is an amazing project, and my thanks go to Bruce for the chance to learn more. Enjoy!

Podcast 118: Suit & Tie Guy
01:30:07
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 01:30:07
Podcast 118: Suit & Tie Guy

I love when one of my chats gets opinionated. It always leads to an interesting discussion, and it always ends up revealing more about a person than expected. Anyone that knows Suit & Tie Guy will know that he's opinionated - galore. But his opinions are well-formed, well-researched (often through hard-learned lessons) and well-presented.

In this interview, we wander all over the landscape. Why do mid-90's Lexicon reverbs sound so great? What makes the Juno 6 so special? How many gigs do you have to do with a Hammond before you won't carry it up stairs? What is the purpose of deconstructing a sequencer into its component parts? All this - and a lot more - is revealed in our chat. Awesome, awesome stuff.

If you aren't familiar with Suit's work, you will want to check out STG Soundlabs to find out more about his modular work (including the amazing Mankato filter and the STG Soundlabs Modular Sequencing System), and the Suit & Tie Guy website for his personal work. It's fascinating to see the work of someone with incredibly broad vision work its way into a cohesive whole.

Enjoy!

Podcast 117: Trond Lossius
45:02
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 45:02
Podcast 117: Trond Lossius

Trond Lossius has been in a similar orbit to me for a long time. I've known him (virtually) because of his activity within the Max world, but I also know that he was a primary figure in the Jamoma modular patching project. Then later, I found out he was also into a lot of surround environmental work, and I realized that he'd be a good subject for a chat. My friend Tim Place pointed out that he's got a fascinating story, so I went for it.

And I'm glad I did. I really enjoy the stories of people that deal with significant transition in their lives, and Trond definitely has seen this. Having started in the sciences, he transitioned into music composition out of sheer will. He also found a way to pull himself out of shyness, and is always pushing himself by transitioning away from comfortable territory and into new challenging work, technology or collaboration. I really respect this - it can be scary, but Trond has developed it into an artform.

So here's a great interview with him - enjoy! And to learn more about his work, visit his website here.

Podcast 116: Arjen van der Schoot
56:14
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 56:14
Podcast 116: Arjen van der Schoot

A long time ago, Gregory Taylor set up a dinner hang-out with Arjen van der Schoot, from Audio Ease. They had just released their ground-breaking Altiverb, and it blew away everyone at the AES show. We chatted over pizza, and I learned a little about the process, their plans for the future, and how much fun they were having.

Jump forward a decade (or more...) and I get a chance to catch up with Arjen in this podcast. He is still dedicated to great sound, and is still having a lot of fun. We talk about the process of doing IR shoots, how he chooses a place to record, and some of the complexities of the job (this is one of the few recording jobs where you have to be a little scared of wildlife...). But he also gives a great overview of how convolution reverbs work, how impulse responses are created - and he also gives a great introduction to the Speakerphone plug-in, which is Audio Ease's second product. I now know what I'm getting myself for Valentine's Day!

I've always enjoyed interacting with Arjen, and this was a great way to have a detailed catch-up. I hope you enjoy the chat as much as I did!

Podcast 115: Anna Weisling
44:09
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 44:09
Podcast 115: Anna Weisling

Anna Weisling is a typical Wisconsinite: she downplays her accomplishments, points out her flaws and mostly talks about how others really did all the work in her career. But when you look at her work (http://www.aweisling.com/), much of it speaks to a depth that is exceedingly artistic.

Or let me say it this way: I like her work!

In any case, in this chat with Anna, we talk about her trek through a variety of places, people and projects as she's become a busy and active artist - even as she pursues a Georgia Tech PhD. I actually resonate with a lot of her story, since it is that rural-to-not track that I took as well. Hearing how someone from a similar background found a completely different way to succeed is very interesting to me - and I trust it is interesting to you as well.

Enjoy!

Podcast 114: Ricky Graham
42:05
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 42:05
Podcast 114: Ricky Graham

Ricky Graham is someone that I came to respect through his work. My friend Gregory turned me on to his music, and listening to it became part of my daily routine. Then I reached out to him about doing the podcast, and was happy to get his consent. I needed to get ahead on recordings, so this one was done while visiting LA for the NAMM conference.

I was intrigued by Ricky's work as a guitarist that is also, clearly, neck-deep in technology. I was also drawn in by his hacker-like mentality in finding ways to make things work - and work together. This chat was as laid back as could be, and I quickly forgot I was talking to anyone but a good friend, because he's as engaging to talk to as can be. We ended up talking guitar synths, rugby, guitarisms within software and even balancing tech with playing.

As happens so often with great guests, this discussion immediately got me interested in trying out some new techniques, doing some actual recording and just plain getting-off-my-duff. Whether you are into guitars or not, you are sure to be inspired by Ricky Graham.

You can check out his work here: http://rickygraham.net/

Enjoy!

Podcast 113: Douglas Repetto
46:14
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 46:14
Podcast 113: Douglas Repetto

Douglas Repetto is quietly putting together an outrageous CV. He was the originator of the music-dsp mailing list, the seedbed for tons of music coders. He was also the founder of dorkbot: people doing strange things with electricity, one of the first Maker-style organizations, and a great way of meeting other artists. He is a crazy-prolific media artist, and also the director of the Sound Arts MFA program at Columbia University.

So yeah, he's busy.

But he was also nice enough to do an interview with me twice. The first interview, in early September of last year, went wonderfully - but was also lost because of a problem with the recording software. This, along with the problems during Miller Puckette's interview, let to the Kickstarter campaign that purchased a Zoom H2n for the podcast. But this interview was awesome, and I was really glad we could pull this together.

You can learn much more about Douglas at his online center-of-info.

Enjoy!

Podcast 112: Gino Robair
49:29
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 49:29
Podcast 112: Gino Robair

A short time ago, I saw something on my Facebook feed that caught my attention: Gino Robair had been named Editor in Chief at Keyboard Magazine. Since this magazine had been at the center of my early obsessions with synths, and Gino had sort of 'grown up' in front of me as a contributor to these magazines, I was pleased to see this happen. It was as if my generation had finally taken over...!

So I reached out to Gino, hoping to talk to him about magazine arts and stuff. But I also knew that he had an active performing career - and I ended up focusing on that part of his background and work. He's an amazing performer, has a lot of insights on improv and compositional techniques, and has had a chance to work with some really amazing people. I'll bet you'll be as surprised as I was about the depth of his work.

Enjoy this podcast - it's a killer!

Podcast 111: Julien Bayle Revisited
40:11
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 40:11
Podcast 111: Julien Bayle Revisited

One of the most prolific people I've talked to is Julien Bayle. First interviewed for podcast #17, I decided to revisit Julien's story because of a text interview I'd done of him for the Cycling '74 site. He'd been reworking his systems and performance techniques because of a renewed interest in "everything modular", and I wanted to see where that had taken him.

I also like talking to Julien because he is always willing to talk about his future projects - he doesn't worry about people grabbing his ideas, because he recognizes that it is the voice of the artist, not the name of the concept, that is important in doing art installations and performances.

In this chat, we end up talking a bit about the creative process and different issues that need to be balanced. I think we get a good insight into Julien's way of thinking in this insightful interview.

Enjoy!

Podcast 110: Ícaro Ferre
44:00
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 44:00
Podcast 110: Ícaro Ferre

Ícaro Ferre is one of those people that I ran across because of his work, and we've ended up getting to know each other a bit. His work on the CV Toolkit was an eye-opener, and it turned me on to working with a computer in a way that was different than I'd ever approached. All of a sudden, the computer was an assistant (rather than an overlord), and I really liked the feeling.

I've also started playing around with his MFL devices, and am finding them equally enjoyable to work with. You probably should take a look at his site:

http://spektroaudio.com/

In this chat, we talk about Ícaro's background, his perspective on software development, and the state of the music/music-tech scene in his native Brazil. He also lays down some knowledge about interesting ways to approach creating variation during performance that immediately had me patching my modular. A great guy, some great products and an easy style translate into an excellent podcast. Enjoy!

Podcast 109: Giorgio Sancristoforo
47:29
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 47:29
Podcast 109: Giorgio Sancristoforo

Giorgio Sancristoforo has been on my radar for quite a while - mainly due to his software development work. He uses Max/MSP to develop interesting composition systems. He's probably best know for the Gleetchlab software, but I really fell in love with the Berna software, which provided a chance to experience 'old school' electronic music composition with all the limitations of the original labs.

If you aren't familiar with his software, you should check out his website:

http://www.giorgiosancristoforo.net/

While you are there, also take a look at some of his other work. His music is really interesting, and he was also involved in the creation of a documentary about electronic music, and he is an extraordinarily busy live performer. He's also been teaching, and working with AGON on various works.

I hope you enjoy this chat; Giorgio is an amazing guy, and I appreciated the opportunity to dig into the details with him.

Enjoy!

Podcast 108: Dave Hill Jr
38:48
2017-12-14 10:50:46 UTC 38:48
Podcast 108: Dave Hill Jr

It seems like I've known Dave Hill Jr. forever. He was writing magazine articles and book (Ableton Live Power for versions 2-4) about the time that I was writing a lot of magazine articles, running the Creative Synth website and writing about Ableton Live myself. We first met it person at a NAMM conference, and we've kind of been in touch ever since.

So when I decided to try something different with the podcast, my first thought was to talk with Dave, and I'm glad I did. It was a great way to get some insight on how marketing works in the music/art software space, but it was also a chance to talk about the past, the future and even the hardware vs. software thing. Oh, and we get to find out that marketing in the music gear space comes via players, not via Wharton School graduates. Whew!

Dave's super busy, so I'm glad he was willing to take the time to chat. I hope you enjoy this view into a different side of the creative business space.