Workspace and Environment: the deep element

Uhhhh.... allow myself to introduce myse...... nevermind...

Surachai of the deep element

I was born in Washington, D.C. and after a few years of traveling I recently ended up in Chicago. Everything got started when someone shoved a computer (that featured a turbo button that made it go 8 mHz faster!) at me when I was really young. Later someone left another computer with reBirth and Soundforge. That was about 10 years ago and here we are now....

Favorite Hardware
It'd have to be my portable Doepfer cases. Well not the case itself, but what's inside. I'm a huge fan of Doepfer, Cwejman, Plan B and Livewire modules. These things have been around the world with me and kept me constantly inspired. They have really changed the way I approach the processes of making music and sound design. I do love my Sherman Filterbank II and Juno 106 though. I really love all my gear. Its better than children. Yeah, I said it...

Favorite Software
If I had to pick just one, It'd be Logic 8. Everything is in there and most anything I'd want to use can be added to it. My only glitch with it is the audio capabilities, this is where Pro Tools and Live totally dominates. Editing audio in Logic is very time consuming and not as fluid as other programs. There are strengths to all programs, Logic with its production capabilities and Pro Tools with its audio editing but I don't confine myself to one program.

How Does Your Workspace Influence Creativity?
Entirely! I've been traveling for the past 4 years and found that if I am comfortable, I won't write much music. I may have commitment issues! Although I find myself making music in all environments, be it outdoors, peoples kitchens or bedrooms, my laptop is always around to help me flesh out ideas where I can take it back to home base and retrack it with my bulkier gear. From reading the past interviews, I think everyone agrees while having gear has its benefits, having too much distracts you from actually programming and getting your tracks together. I like to think of myself as easily adaptable to peoples studios and workspaces, so I find myself working them. Everything affects the way I live, therefore it affects my creative source.

Involved in Extra Curriculars?
I am a freelance sound designer during the day. Also I occasionally do sound design and composition for films around the Chicago area with Justin McGrath. We also run a little label that helps put our projects out into the world while keeping a uniform name. the deep element is my main project which is generally feminine, very melodic with intense and violent percussion. [co]sen_tasi is a project with JP Robles, a jazz influenced musician, its generally produced while we're apart sending in files back and forth. Heartstring Canvas is a project I have with two ladies from Florida who are Les Enfants. It's very pop and beautiful with a technical edge. Surachai is a grind/metal project I started out of frustration of not having a band or skill. I play the guitar, scream and program the drums, but in reality I cant play guitar or bass or scream very well. But I'm an audio engineer so I can make things work. Surachai is on Fathme records which is based out of L.A./San Francisco/ Antwerp, Belgium. render:error is a project I have with Justin McGrath, which is harder dance music. All the releases are found on shade:red recordings which in turn are on itunes and Amazon.

First Gear
Other than the afore mentioned computers, a Zoom RhythmTrak 234. It was a miserable piece of gear. I sampled it some years later and sold it. I don't even use the samples!

I'd love to tell apple or whoever to quickly make touch screens. Something tells me they're on the way and I'm tired of clicking. A complete Buchla system even though it intimidates the hell out of me, or more realistically a Cynthia Zeroscillator.

Mobile Setup
Generally when I travel I bring my laptop, whatever interface I have at the moment, and a portable case full of modules. I'd like to spend a second here to tell people that flying internationally with the Doepfer A100p case is actually quite easy. Although it does look like a bomb from all angles, including in the x-ray, I assure you that it's quite hassle free. People even prefer to sit away from the box, so you'll have more room for yourself. Highly recommended.

Live Performance
It depends for which project I'm performing for. Generally it includes my Macbook, Modular and mixer.

How Many Physical Locations Have You Had Your Studio?
I've lived in about 5 countries in the past 3 years and I've been quite good at weeding out gear I don't use. At first I brought everything with me assuming that everything will have a role. Then I started to notice that some things collected dust, so I eventually sold them or left them in D.C. As it stands now, I have two cases of modules with some delays and a filterbank. I hope it doesn't get much bigger than this.

the deep element Music
Surachai Music


felix said...

Is that the Doepfer BBD module I see? How do you like that thing?

surachai said...

I love it, its basically the A188-1 but six times the power and versatility. The clock is very loud, but it get sounds I've never heard before. For instance sequencing the delay time with the pretty A-155 that you have. It's an incredible module that is worth the space and the price! One of my favorite modules!

felix said...

Sweet. I was kinda on the fence with that one, but onto the wish list it goes! :D

surachai said...

I must warn you that the clock is viciously loud. It's hard to filter out, especially on longer delay times..... I feel like I have to insist that you read up on it on forums or try it before you buy it. There are a lot of angry people. Though, If you're fine with artifacts, this is brutal!

felix said...

The clock noise is kinda cool, but it is louder than I would have expected.

I have a feeling I wouldn't be using this for the longer delay times as much; at least, not initially.

I've wanted to experiment more with feedback loops and using different processors inside the feedback loops and this looked like the proverbial bees knees for such an application.

It's something I'll certainly check out in person at the AH booth @ NAMM this year.

Thanks for the advice!

Zerosum said...

"I really love all my gear. Its better than children. Yeah, I said it..."

I AGREE!!!!!!!

surachai said...

I'll most likely see you at that booth James!
And as for children, I saw a sticker on a friends fridge that says 'I prefer dogs over children because I'd rather ruin my carpet than my life.'
I can't say I'm into dogs either....... Synths for life!

Anonymous said...

You kids and yer youthful perspectives...heheheh.

I felt the same, until I had a kid. It definitely has made my life richer , fuller. My creative output is more focused because obviously there is less time.

Yes, I love my gear (and I have quite a nice set-up). However, I would NEVER choose my gear over my son (well, my Modcan system is tempting...but)...

Chris Blue said...

Is there guitar on most of your black metalish stuff. I see you have an eight string Ibanez in some pix. What amp are you using? Bluebeard on the modular too?

surachai said...

I only have a 7 string Washburn piece of crap. I run it through my Bluebeard into my audio interface and work the amp simulations. Bluebeard goes on everything.