Interview with Dan McPharlin. Analog Miniatures.

Dan McPharlin - Analog Miniature

Synthesizer fans have been coming across photos of your Analog Miniature collections on the internet. In fact your set on has been viewed over 80,000 times. What inspired you to make these?

Well I’ve always been interested in human/machine interfaces and I think analogue synths and equipment are quite exciting visually because of all the knobs and sliders (usually one control for every function). I always wanted to design a synth but lacked the skills and resources, and making small models was something I could do. As far as I was aware nobody had built miniature synths before. I was already building small sculptures out of framing mattboards so this seemed like a logical step.Dan McPharlin - Analog Miniature

How long does it take you to make one?

Generally I’ll spend 2 to 3 days on each model, but I’m a perfectionist so if something isn’t right I will always redo it.

The photography of the miniatures is an art in itself. Do you have any comments about that? Are you a camera, lighting or Photoshop geek?

All of the above. I use a Nikon D-80 and a couple of speedlights. All of my diffusers and snoots have been constructed from cardboard and copy paper, so it is very much photography on the cheap. I love the process of setting up a photographic composition, but I still don’t see myself as a professional photographer.

Are the Miniatures your most popular work? Did that surprise you?

Absolutely. I had no idea they would appeal to anyone outside of the synth community.

I see your miniatures have found there way onto Steven Jansen’s CD cover. Are there other commercial places the Miniatures can be found?

Well I’ve done a couple of CD covers. The Moog Acid record is the other major one. I was delighted to be involved with that because I’m a big fan of the artists (Jean Jacques Perrey and Luke Vibert) and I think Non-Format also did a terrific job with the sleeve design (link). I also produced some work for a compilation on Canadian label Do Right! Music (link). There are a few other commercial projects featuring the miniatures which should see the light of day soon.

Can anyone buy one of your Miniatures? What are the details?

They can, but there is a bit of a wait. I have my hands full with other projects at the moment but hopefully in the second half of 2008 there will be some more available. In the meantime, we are working towards a few exhibitions in the US and Japan where people will have the chance to purchase.

Dan McPharlin - Analog Miniature

You also have photos of what I presume is your own recording studio. What’s your favorite gear?

That’s a tough question. I love my MPC 3000 to bits. I think with this and the 60, Akai and Linn got the interface almost perfect. From a design standpoint, it is just a beautiful instrument that is very quick and intuitive to use. Another favourite is my modular. I don’t use MIDI much at all these days. Everything is triggered from a Roland MC-4 or 808 which is a much tighter way to work. I don’t know why I struggled with MIDI for all those years! But I find myself less drawn to synths these days and more to devices that allow you to manipulate events in time. Things like sequencers and old delay units are very important to my creative process. I think my favourite bit of gear at the moment is a Bel BD-80 delay unit.

Is there a link to hear any of your music online?

I keep meaning to put some more of my work online. There are a few excerpts at, but they are quite old recordings. When time permits, I will upload some recent material. You also have some photos of your house online.

In what area of the world do you live?

I live by the beach in South Australia. It’s a beautiful part of the world, and I’m very fortunate to live here. We have the natural bush on one side and the sea on the other.

What are a few websites we should check out?

I keep a blog of work that inspires me here.

I also occasionally write for the blog, Paper Forest.

Thank you Dan! Be sure to click to Dan’s website to see all his amazing work:

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Oliver Chesler

"Hello my name is Oliver and I'm going to tell you a story." I have been recording music since 1989 under the name The Horrorist. I have released over 60 singles and 4 full length albums. To hear my music please go to:

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