I was looking through some old photos last night and I came across a photo of myself in my studio in 1995. It was in this room I wrote the first Things to Come Releases including One Night in NYC and many of the early Industrial Strength Records I recorded. This studio was in my mother’s basement. Her bedroom was just above it. Looking back I realize how funny it is that I was screaming my head off down there. I do remember I was going to a wedding and thought, “OK I look cool lets take a photo in the studio.”. So hah please look past my uncool look and let’s see what gear I had!
– Atari 1040ST & SM124 High Resolution Monochrome Monitor running Cubase and Dr. T’s KCS.
– Yamaha NS10M Studio Monitor Speakers driven by a Crown Microtech 500 AMP.
– Roland TR-909 Drum Machine
– Roland TR-707 (not pictured… sat to the right of the 909)
– Roland TB-303 Bassline Synthesizer
– Roland SH-101 Synthesizer
– Roland Juno-106 Synthesizer
– Roland SH3 Synthesizer
– Electrocomp-101 Synthesizer
– Roland S-50 Sampler with external monochrome CRT
– Akai S950 Sampler
– Korg SDD-2000 Digital Delay
– Mackie 1604 Mixer
– Another large old mixer (in the photo with the record, CD and DATs on it)
– Tascam 1/4″ Patch Bay
– Tascam Dual Cassette Deck
– Tascam DA-30 DAT Machine
– Turntable for Sampling Records
– Ultimate Support Systems Desk with extra “wings”
– Ultimate Support Systems A-Frame Keyboard Stand with extra “wings”
– Ultimate Support Systems 3 Tier Keyboard Stand
– 2 SKB Rackmount Cases
– Slanted 19″ Rackmount Stand with Wheels
Today kids own a ton of gear. Back then my studio was considered “a lot of stuff”. In making this list you can see how Roland owned the techno world or at least you can see how much I love their stuff. This photo was right before Apple Macs became powerful enough to run Cubase VST with audio recording. So all the vocals I did back then had to be recorded live in one pass to DAT (digital audio tape). One night in NYC, Dark Germany, Mission Ecstacy, etc… all recorded live to DAT in one pass. Of course I would make mistakes and had to start the tape again. So what things in this photo do I still own today? I moved to Brooklyn and the TB-303 and Juno-106 were stolen. I sold the Akai S950, Dat Machines, Mackie Mixer, SH-101 and TR-909. I never regretted selling the 909 actually and until I saw this photo I forgot I even once owned a SH-101! I sold the Korg SDD-2000 digital delay and I do regret that. I will buy one again on eBay someday. I still own the Electrocomp-101. You can’t really see it in this photo (it sat above the SH-101). My father gave it to me and I’ll never part from it. It’s number 521 of 2000 ever created. I still own, love and use the Roland SH3. This is a SH3 not SH3a. The 3 has the original filter in it which was a clone of a Moog design. Moog threatened to sue Roland to they created the weaker 3A revision. While it’s fun to fetishize gear it’s very important to remember it’s not the equipment it’s the artist. Just make music, have fun and tell YOUR story.
The Synth Project MC-20 is an iPad with the iMS-20 App running built into a custom Korg MS20 controller. This gets me thinking that someone should built and incredible generic iPad synth controller. Something like the Akai SynthStation 49 but you know… more awesome.
“The MC-20 Controller for the iPad has a 3 Octave Full Size Keyboard. So the size of the Case is nearly 1:1 of the original MS-20 Synthesizer. The case has a iPad Slot to let the iPad inside the Case and you don´t need any place beside the case for the iPad The normal parameters are controlled by the USB64 Midi Interface from Doepfer, via Knobs and pots like the real Hardware Synth. To handle the patch cords, i use the iPad. I think, this will be a good way, because the patch sockets of the App and the VST Instrument too, have no Midi CC´s. The Advantage is, that i can use with iPad App, the Sequencer and the Drum Machine of the App too. So i have a little so-called MS-20 Workstation” – synth-project.de
Since the release of the very first Akai EWI, pronounced like “Kiwi”, acronym for Electronic Wind Instrument was released in 1987 I wanted one. There’s nothing more expressive than the human mouth so even though my lips never touched an EWI I assumed these would sound unique. I have no desire to be a traditional Sax player but imagine adding 16 bars or highly expressive wind driven sound behind your second verse. As I mentioned I never did buy and EWI. When they were release I was 17 years old and anything well over $1000 was going towards a car.
So today I was surprised and happy to see an all new EWI is being released. The new EWI is whistling my name louder than ever because the new kid retails for only $299 and connects via USB. The only thing I dislike about the EWI-USB is that it’s missing the glide plate which I think is pretty important for a wind instrument to have. Maybe the EWI 4000 is the still the better choice? Perhaps a EWI-5000 with USB is also on the way?
The EWI USB comes with it’s own software synth called Aria but the first thing I would do is pair the hardware with NI Massive or an Ableton Simpler patch loaded a sample with my own voice screaming.
In the early 90s I was in several techno acts. To toot my own horn a little I have over 75 12″ singles out there. This video reminds me how John Selway and I as Disintegrator used to make music. The guy in this (awesome) video is covering the classic track Energy Flash by Joey Beltram. I really loved watching this. Seeing the Akai discs and Mackie mixer being muted/unmuted again was cool. Thanks for the flashback attack!