Two awesome things! A custom built spring reverb and a Vermona DRM-1. I own a DRM-1 and I recommend it highly to everyone. Just listen to how great these sound together.
“Finally, my custom built spring reverb is ready. (thanks much to Csaba Füle, the best)
Basically it is an RFT spring tank driven by a Doepfer A-199 module. Much bigger space, much wider spectrum, much better than Accutronics imho. Audio: It’s a basic sequence with the Vermona DRM-1 put on multi channels sent to the Spring Reverb. Changing Emphasis and Feedback here and there on the Doepfer A-199 module, changing the filter on the snare at the solo, and finally, slapping the rack hard in the end. :) It’s just wonderful. Everyone should forget vst reverbs – for a while at least. This thing sounds so unpredictable, so different every time, so alive… I have done some phased and hi-lowpassed feedback and send-return business too, really shouldn’t waste words trying to describe those sounds…” – Hargitai András
Now that I released my latest album Joyless Pleasure one thing that has me excited is that I can now talk about the songs. If you don’t mind I am going to make a post for each song going into as much detail as I can about the inspiration, influences and production. There is a reason for all the pro-audio gear lust that happens on this site. The crazy plastic and metal boxes full of buttons and dials are my secret weapons in song-writing.
I recorded a large amount of music and only picked ten songs to release. Narrowing the selection was easy because my criteria was simple. I only picked songs that were completely inspired by true events in my own life. The first song was Modern.
It’s hard for me to label my success as an musician. I don’t sell millions of albums and there are no paparazzi on my front door. However, I can make a living solely from music and I have fans pretty much in any city I go to. The music I listen to and love isn’t popular so I don’t expect my own releases to be on the billboard 100. I can’t make pop music or trance or even Minimal tracks with a purpose to chart. I can only really make my own songs. I’ve tried to conform but all that happens is I pull my hair out and stress. Music like my own had it’s day in the 80s backed by a very different kind of music industry.
As I entered my late 30s I realized I wanted more. I began to see my friends begin to purchase homes, cars and start families. I knew if I wanted to afford more than rent and drum machines I would need to get a day job. I also knew that even though I was a full time musician I only actually worked on music when I was inspired. I could easily take on more in my life. This was the point I decided to move back to NYC. I loved my time in Berlin but if you’re going after large buckets of cash my home town is where it’s at. I crossed the ocean and started looking. My only requirement is that the pay had to be high. I looked into music jobs such as cataloging sounds for Toys R Us or running a Pro-Tools rig at a small television advertising company. Too boring. I decided I needed some help so I looked for an employment agency. I walked into a place called Tomorrow’s Workplace and immediately saw a sign for a job at an Energy Services company. I knew there was green stuff in energy in both senses of the word. I have no idea why I thought I could land the job. Amazingly I got the job on the spot and quickly learned my tech savyness made be popular. I could also sell quite well. Afterall I’ve been selling music for years. A commodity most people don’t even want to buy! Fast foward to today. I left that company and started my own ESCO called ENVEN with a 78 year old ex-lawyer, mortgage broker named Charlie. In some ways we couldn’t be more different. He’s a religous concervative who thinks in numbers. Yet we have become best friends and I’ve unearthed his not so secret past as a party animal. While parts of my job are unfun I am on my way to the things I want.
As my team modernizes around Manhattan I watch the old become new. Many of the things I love about Berlin are happening here. Glass, steel and cool white futuristic lighting replace what’s left of urban decay. I’ve learned more in the past two years than the ten before it. I’ve modernized myself. That’s the inspiration behind this song.
You can hear many of my music influences in Modern such as Kraftwerk and Joy Division yet I think it has my stamp on it. Now let’s talk tech! This song is very much an analog affair. Every single synth sound and the white noise comes from a Yamaha CS-5. It took me about a week to piece the panned layers into it’s repetitive verse chorus. The drums except the kick are from my favorite piece of equipment the Vermona DRM1 MKIII. I think the DRM is so under rated under noticed. The kick is from my Jomox Mbase which is signed by Jürgen Michaelis himself. The vocals were recorded using my API 512c mic pre and Shure KSM32 microphone. There is panned Altiverb on my voice. I used a Lexicon PCM90 Impulse Response. I recorded some NYC street sounds on my iPhone which you can hear in the background throughout the song. Everything was sequenced in Ableton Live.
“All the modern. All the modern. Super Building. Super Building. Growing into a new day. Growing into a new day.”
Here’s clip from a song I am working on. Drums are Vermona DRM1 MKIII, Synth is layers of a Yamaha CS5 no real effects except I’m running the track through Altiverb but only for a Neuman mic IR (Impulse Response) not for reverb and Izotope Ozone for widening. Eventually the song will be longer with vocals.
“Synthpop is a genre of music in which the synthesizer is the dominant musical instrument. It originated as part of the new wave movement of the early 1970s to the mid-1980s, and it has continued to exist and develop ever since. The genre has seen a resurgence in popularity in the late 2000s/early 2010s.” – Wikipedia
Here’s a sample of a new song I am almost finished with called “Modern”. Clearly inspired by my day job at Energy Management Solutions. Most of the song is real analog equipment: Vermona DRM1 MKIII and Yamaha CS5. My voice is through a Shure KSM-32 and TC Powercore.
“All the modern. Super Building. Super Building. Growing into a new day.” – The Horrorist
What’s my secret to making music? I let my Gummi Bear friends do it for me! Normally they are camera shy but today they let me take photos of them recording a song. There are 10 photos and captions in total so be sure to click “Continue…” to see them all!
Red and his twin brother (also named Red) team up to add more noise into the signal chain of an Electrocomp-101 vintage analog synthesizer.
Green helps Orange change the Control Mode to Envelope 1 on an Electrocomp-101 synthesizer.
Green and Red need some inspiration before they go back to making music so they lie down for a bit on a Roland SH3 synthesizer keyboard and stare at the studio’s acoustic cloud.
Yellow and Red team up and jam on a Vermona DRM1 MKIII drum machine. Yellow changes the resonance on the snare while Red messes with the highpass filter on the lazer zap.
The next release on my record label is by French DJ and producer Stamba. I am remixing one of the songs called Deviation. All the tracks on the release are what you would call darkwave, ebm, techno. Don’t you love all these sub-genres? Take a listen:
I recreated his original song in Ableton Live, keeping his vocals but using all my own sounds. Some of the gear and plug-ins used include a Jomox Mbase-01, Vermona DRM1 MKIII, Audiorealism Bassline, Korg Legacy, PSP Nitro, Fabfilter Volcano 2, assorted TC Powercore dynamics and Sugar Bytes Effectrix.