A Day in the Life of Surachai

After a beautiful night of dinner, movies and in-depth conversation, we were parting ways until I sealed my fate....

Me: "Hey, do you want to come in and play with my modular?"
Her: "I have no idea what that is but ok ?"

We haven't talked since......


Workspace and Environment: Trifonic

Trifonic had a party yesterday in San Francisco promoting their debut album coming out in a few days and here we are with their interview. Rarely do I promote other people's music [Buy it now - Justin] but this album is melodically and technically beautiful. Don't worry I won't do an album review, only the interview...

Brian Trifon of Trifonic


I started playing guitar when I was 11, so I've been involved with music for 14 years. I studied jazz guitar in college and began exploring electronic music production at the same time. I work with my brother Laurence under the name Trifonic. Our debut album "Emergence" will be available directly from our website, www.trifonic.com, starting February 26, 2008. It will also be available on iTunes, Amazon and the other usual suspects.

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
The Virus TI is my favorite hardware piece at the moment. It can produce a wide range of sounds, and it has great digital filters and FX. The Virus is especially good for creating warbly, wobbly, nasty basses. I like to sample bass sounds from the Virus and process them with distortion, compression and then resample the sound. I typically repeat the processing and resampling a few times until I get the sound I want. I have a soft spot for those classic DNB Reece sounds, and the Virus is perfect for that as well as other synthetic sounds.

What is your current favorite software or plugin? What makes this your favorite?
Logic Pro 7 and 8 are my favorites. Sculpture, Logic's physical modeling synth, is capable of all sorts of rolling and bouncing melodic sounds that are emotional, strange and unpredictable. We used to Sculpture on our track "Parks On Fire" to make the melody line that sounds like a marble rolling around. I also love Logic's Space Designer convolution reverb. You can load any sound file as an impulse and get wonderfully unexpected results. Logic 8 has an amazing new plug-in Delay Designer, which is a multi-tap delay that gives you pan, pitch and filter control over each delay tap. Its pretty crazy.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
The vibe and ergonomics of a workspace are essential. Our studio is set up in a tiny room, which is conducive to working efficiently and taking advantage of all of our gear. Everything is within arm's reach and very accessible, and we have most of our hardware running through a patch bay. So it's pretty effortless to incorporate any piece of equipment that we want. On the other hand, our room isn't big enough for a full bass response, and that was a problem at first. We work around that issue by using a second set of monitors with a sub so that we can compare the bass levels. I also spent a lot of time listening to reference music when we first set up the studio, which really helped me get a feel for what things are supposed to sound like in the room.

Are you involved with music outside of your own?
I worked for BT as a guitarist/programmer from 2003 to 2007. I worked on a film score with him recently for the movie "Battle In Seattle" (Charlize Theron, Ray Liota, Woody Harrelson.) I've also been doing some session guitar work for the video game composer Jesper Kyd. I find visuals very inspiring when I create music, so I really enjoy working to picture.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
In 1994 my parents bought me a sunburst Fender Strat that was made in Mexico and a Crate GX-10R amplifier I was in 6th grade. It was my first guitar and it was awesome!

What is on your current 'wish list' for new hardware or software?
Hardware: Cwejman S1 Analog Synth, Pedal-steel guitar, Mandolin, 5-string electric Bass
Software: Sonnox Oxford plug-ins, Live 7


NAMM Infiltration + Dieter Doepfer Videos

Some things are better never than late. This one is a general overview of our NAMM invasion.

This video is of Dieter Doepfer explaining some new and old modules. Some nice little tips and his favorites are mentioned.

Thanks go out to: Shawn Cleary of AnalogHaven, Mike Brown of Livewire, Richard Devine, Scott Jaeger of Harvestman, Dieter Doepfer, James at felixinferious.blogspot.com, the guys from Elektron that came to party, and your mom. A few pictures from our time in California can be found on this previous post: Selected Stills


Workspace and Environment: LSD

Leon Dawson of LSD

I started playing around with loop-based sequencing (Sony ACID) when I was about 19. A few years later I started studying music production, this is when I got 'serious'; on my 21st birthday I bought a midi workstation (Yamaha RM1X) and switched from loop based stuff to midi based music. I'm 26 now so I guess you could say I've been 'involved' for about 8 years. What gets me motivated is hard to say, I get a rush whenever I hear something new... I have always, and I mean ALWAYS, been passionate about music. My record collection is measured in thousands and thats not including CDs, tapes and MP3... One day I was messing around on ACID doing a remix of some obscure funk track when my mums friend walked in and said 'you should study music production' the next week he gives me a prospectus and before I know it I'm studying Dance Music Production. Music is like a drug to me, I've been on an endless high for as long as I can remember. I'll be here as long as the music is, I'm addicted. Thats my motivation, music its self.

What is your current favourite piece of hardware?
That's a really difficult question, the first thing that comes to mind is my PC but that would be cheating. I guess I would have to say the Yamaha RM1X. There are so many memories connected with it and its so much fun to use, even though a lot of the sounds are dated it still has many uses.

What is your current favourite software or plugin?
Propellerhead's Reason. It's so easy to use & great for quickly putting down ideas. Also it integrates easily into my set up when running Cubase as host.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
I find it has a direct effect on it. Not only because of physical things like accoustics but on a subconcious level too. I find a cluttered/unorginised workspace hinders creative flow.

Are you involved in any musical extra curricular activity ?
I am currently in the process of building up a portfolio of work with a view to Composing For Games, this is an area I am very interested in at the moment. I have also joined a local radio station in an engineering capacity and will soon be hosting my own show 'Introducing'. I have previously and continue to work with/record local bands and master their albums. Another area I am interested in is Audio Visual Art, I have a lot of ideas but dont have the skills/expertice to follow them through. I hope to soon be working with a AV artist but as yet havent found the right one.

What is on your current 'wish list'?
An Akai MPC2500, A Moog rack (any), a CME controller keyboard, Propellerhead's Recycle (it would save me so much time), a good mic, a rack-mount PC case, a (hardware) 303 emulator.

Do you have a mobile studio setup?
Yes. (basic) 'oxygen 8' midi keyboard + Elderol UM-1sX midi adaptor + Laptop running sequencers + Zip drive for transfering samples to/from my S5000.

Do you have a setup for live performances?
Not as such, but it I do have some things I can easily deteatch and reorginise for live use:
Roland TR-626 + Korg Electribe ER1 + Yamaha RM1X + Akai S5000 + Korg Electribe ES1 via Steinberg MidEX8 - midi patchbay + Laptop and Soundcraft Spirit SX mixer.

Where were you born and how did you end up in the location you currently reside?
Born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland. Still reside here.

How many physical locations have you had your studio setup in over time and how have they changed?
I have moved house 5 times in the last 8 years (twice last year). It has changed a lot, its got bigger. It's become more orginised, thank god for patchbays! It's become part of the furniture. I started off with a PC, some crappy pc speakers, a groove box, a couple of turntables and a mixer... I now have a full on studio complete with out-board effects, patchbay, mixing desk and studio monitors. Every 6months or so I take the whole thing apart and reconfigure/organise it. It's always a struggle trying to find the 'best' location within any space for the setup especially when you dont live alone but I usually get away with a lot, my studio currently takes up about 1/3 of the living room and 10% of the bedroom.

Leons work can be found under several aliases: LSD, Counter Culture Consortium, Leon S. Dawson, Kid Chameleon, Pure Synthesis, DJ Dub and ElectroMondo. He was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland where he still resides.


Workspace and Environment: Stereo Total

Ask me to do an interview in French and/or German and I am screwed. I must say that I'm completely humbled by the overall correspondence that takes place between international artists and myself. Their capacity to communicate in English is a reminder that I ONLY speak English.... and Thai... and a bit of German. With that out of the way, we will be uploading some videos of our time at NAMM soon. I think we spent more time harassing other people and ourselves than finding out anything useful. Anywho, here is Stereo Total!

Brezel Göring of Stereo Total
How long have you been involved with making music?
Since I was 15. I was born in Kassel (which I hated) and I ended up in Berlin, which is - for a German city - not bad.

What is your favorite hardware unit that you use?
4-track Tascam cassette recorder: It is easy to handle, small and sounds very good.

What is your current favorite software or plugin?
Retro player, which gives everything the sound of a 78 shellac record

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
We have these pictures (see photo) all over our studio/rehearsal room: This definitely influences our workflow

Are you involved in any music/sound work outside of your own projects?
I made two one hour radio plays (one about Patty Hearst, another based on a novel that Francoise Cactus wrote). My music was used in several movies, a game, a tv show and in a comercial.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
A Korg Mono/Poly

What is on your current 'wish list'?
The further away from computers I am the happier I am: so my wish list is to stop using a computer for music

Do you have a mobile studio setup?
A four track, a Neumann mic and a Focusrite pre amp and a Yamaha SU 10 Sampler

What is your setup for live performances?
A Boss dr sample 303, a Yamaha SU 10, a Doepfer modular synthesizer and a self-built midi trigger machine, a Midiman mixer and a Zoom guitar pre amp and a guitar. Francoise has a drum set and a trumpet.

How has your studio evolved?
The place shown in the picure is the first and only work space I ever had. It is in the cellar of a squat and we are in there since 15 Years (1993)

Stereo Total is Françoise Cactus and Brezel Göring.
They can be found on myspace.com/stereototal or www.stereototal.de


Sightings: Mark Romanek Documentary

I realize this post belongs more on Matrix or another gear porn site as it's nothing more than 'LOOK!' A friend let me borrow some DVD's since I'm not leaving my apartment today because the high for today's weather in Chicago is 2. TWO!
I'm a few years overdue to watch The Director's Series second series, which includes four more directors to the already inspiring three. The first series is mandatory watching and realize that between Gondry, Cunningham and Jonze, Bjork is their play thing. As a piece of useless trivia: Spike Jonze went to my highschool in Bethesda, MD and we hang out alllllll the time(repeated letters denote sarcasm). The videos are artistic, iconic, beautiful, etc. but I'm particularly interested in the production/behind the scenes/interviews of the work. In the 40 minute documentary on the DVD I saw somethings I've never seen in these series. As a segway, Flea states he 'fucking hates' one of Romaneks videos and if you're distracted by his face, you'll miss a nice Doepfer A-100 system in the background. In another shot it has multiplied by two in addition to some patch cables. From my limited experience I say it's a hybrid between one of the suggested setups and some random modules.

Later on when Trent Reznor is talking about his work with Romanek there is a lonely Sherman Filterbank II under a rig of Pro Tools interfaces. I'm sure this is before he bought one of everything at Analog Haven.

But most importantly there is Shannyn Sossamon. She's dreamy. What? No. You're the stalker.


L.A: Lust 4 Lace

If you are in L.A. on valentines day and you are reading this, it says a few things. One: you will not be snowed into your apartment. Two: you are probably single because you enjoy reading blogs about dude's tools. Three: you're smart enough to know that women get increasingly desperate and lonely as Valentines creeps in. Not only do you take advantage of this, your middle name is 'the cherry picker'. So as a person who can walk freely outside but preferably behind men and in the shadows, I invite you to Lust 4 Lace. I don't know much about the event other than it's some sort of indie sex party. BUT it's in a museum, so that makes it ok. Right? I composed a three part .... composition *sigh* for a short film my beautiful friend Willia shot and it will premiered among the dozens of films shown that night..

The following review is by Gabriel Solorio:
“You say you want to try, for several days perhaps.
Perhaps for several weeks.
Perhaps even for your whole life.
Try what? She asks.
Loving, your answer.”
(The Malady of Death by Marguerite Duras)

Inspired by Marguerite Duras’s novel 'The Malady of Death', artists Willia Drew and Carlos Zamora have created a beautiful and deceptively sensual short film that addresses subjects that will indeed resonate with and confront the viewer. 'A Kind of Ache' is simultaneously an exploration of the yearning for love through sexual contact and an interrogation of both conventional ideas of who ought to be intimate with each other and established sex roles. As a whole, the piece is a tribute to romanticism and a critique of simple traditionalism. The film’s rich colors along with its polite settings and softcore porn-esque quality provide a particular sensuousness that make delving into the critical and intellectual aspects of the work that much more compelling and what are found in those parts cleverly surprising.

['A Kind of Ache' is a new video piece by Carlos Zamora & Willia Drew. Music by Surachai. Performances by Pete Borboa, Maurice Harris, Ceri Z., Cindy Conde, Chris Zeischegg & Prince Willia. Full running time is 11 minutes. ©2008. The piece will debut at the Lust 4 Lace show on Valentines day.]

Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibits (LACE)
6522 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90028 [map]
Phone: 323-957-1777
Hours: Wed-Sun 12-6 Fri 12-9
Event Date: Feb 14th 8:00PM - 11:00PM


Workspace and Environment: Yip-Yip


Jason Temple and Brian Esser of Yip-Yip
Jason: I was born in Connecticut. my family moved to Florida when I was eleven. Probably because there's no state income
tax and it's cheap to live here.
Brian: Chicago, IL. my family moved here (Orlando, Florida) when I was five.
Jason: March 31st, 2001 is when Yip-Yip started.

What is your favorite piece of hardware?
Jason: Korg MS-10. I've had it for five years or so and it's the perfect synthesizer.
Brian: I just got a Moogerfooger freqbox, so I am pretty excited about that. My Synare PS-1 is probably still my favorite though.

What is your favorite software?
Brian: We only use Acid 4.0 and Sound Forge 7.0, that that's basically all we have ever used, so those are our favorites.

How does your environment influence your workflow?
Brian: Being surrounded by gear and other fun stuff always helps. Since we moved to a new house, things have been great because we have more room. We can have everything out and ready to use, instead of half of it boxed up in the closet.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
Brian: My first synth was a Roland JP-8000. It was a graduation present from my parents. We used it for the first few years of Yip-Yip, until it died and I got a Moog MG-1.
Jason: I got my saxophone when I was nine or ten. I played in elementary and middle school. I played it again in high school for a few months when I was in a ska band. It sat in my closet for almost a decade after that. I just started using it again for Yip-Yip. My first synth was a Theremaniacs Theremin I got on ebay about eight years ago.

What is on your current wish list?
Brian: I'm not supposed to have a wishlist anymore according to Jason and Rachel, but I do still want a gong sheet, a working shin-ei surf/siren pedal (mine came broken), a crash cymbal, an Ace-tone top-1 organ, and the mfos mini-synth plus mini-controller kits.
Jason: Korg MS-20, MS-50, MS-02, MS-03, VC-10, SQ-10, Multimoog, Synthi, EDP Wasp or Gnat Deluxe

What does your live setup consist of?
Brian: Yes, my side is a Moog MG-1, a Galanti clipper combo organ, Boss SP-404 sampler, Moog freqbox, EHX Pog and frequency analyzer, Synare PS-1, mixer, cymbals and a gong.
Jason: Korg MS-10, MS-01, MS-04, Micromoog, Washburn ax:9 analog delay, Guyatone analog stereo chorus, alto saxophone, Synare sensor, a crummy cymbal, a crummy mixer.

How has your studio evolved?
Brian: We have had Yip-Yip rooms at the last 3 places we've lived. They mostly just get bigger, with more stuff.
Jason: We've recorded ourselves since we started. We've recorded ourselves in seven physical locations.

You can find them online:
www.yip-yip.com, or myspace.com/yipyip


Workspace and Environment: Everlovely Lightningheart

When your questions are longer than the answers you receive, you're probably doing something wrong. I generally try to patch up answers, with the approval from the artists but I was pretty lost with the responses Faith gave me so I decided to just leave it. Everlovely Lightningheart actually might hate us, but were nice enough to send a picture and answers. It doesn't matter because we love them anyway.

Faith Coloccia of Everlovely Lightningheart

How long have you been involved with making music?

12 years

What is the name you work under and where can we find your work?
Everlovely Lightningheart- Hydra Head Records, Weather Machine Records, HydraHead.com
Mamiffer- Dead Accents Records, Hydra Head Records
VUM- not released yet

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
Piano hand made in Germany, and Brain. Piano- endless composition experimentation field. Brain-"

What is your current favorite software or plugin?
The mind. Cannot misplace

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
Chris has sex on the left side, and Faith is currently homeless, for 2 more days

Are you involved in any other sound work?
The Calm At The Edge of The Sea, and another film. Coming up


Selected Stills From California

A condensed summary of our pornographic gear expedition in L.A. and Anaheim/NAMM. Catch the picture where Justin is using my Sherman Filterbank as a pillow. I had to throw something at him to get him to move off it. I'm starting to document where my Doepfer has been through pictures. It's survived a lot of mayhem: L.A., Chicago, D.C., Paris, Nurnburg, Vienna, Hamburg, Berlin, Barcelona, Madrid, London among other places beyond my memory. The last two pictures are by Sarah Sitkin using only our(Tony Welter of Eustachian and Surachai) horrid bodies and her great vision. She rules!