Workspace and Environment: The Locust

For a good portion of the year The Locust are on on the road and when they're not melting faces, the members are spread out across seven hundred twenty six bands and forty eight record labels. Justin Pearson, the bassist, graciously gave some time out of his lax schedule to do a quick interview and share some pictures. Enjoy!

Justin Pearson of The Locust

i was born in chicago and currently reside in san diego. i started "officially" making music/ sound about 17 years ago. i suppose what got me motivated was the obvious interest in music, bands, and the culture that was attached to certain genres of music and art. i use my legal name, justin pearson. ive been or are still part of the following bands: the locust, some girls, holy molar, head wound city, swing kids, crimson curse, ground unicorn horn, swing kids, struggle.

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
im not sure what you mean by hardware. usually that word when in musical context is attached to a drum kit's hardware. i do play drums but im not that stoked on my set to where id have a favorite piece. so ill take this and apply it to my bass set up. and easily say that its my ampeg dan armstrong prototype bass. its a fav for the obvious. its what i use to create music. sure effects, amps and so on all help in creating sounds but its the bass that i use my hands with, and it has to fit in so many ways. its like a snipers favorite gun, a race car drivers favorite car, a dogs favorite ball.

What is your current favorite software or plugin?
i dont personally use software.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
i have worked in some of the most impractical rehearsal studios. either due to little physical space, or filthy slum lord style, or a bedroom. i do feel that i can write in any place as long as there is a good connection with whom im playing with. but the nicer and more practical the rehearsal space, im sure the easier it is to write. i guess i just have low standards.

Are you involved in any sound work like films or sound design?
no. i wish i was though.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining? The last?
first was when my moms cousin loaned me a gibson les paul when i was twelve. that was what actually planted the seed of creating music in my mind. last, is something by trogotronic. dont know the name of it as it was a one of a kind pedal.

What is on your current 'wish list'?
honestly, im pretty into what i have. but again, im intrigued by the stuff that nelson from trogotronic makes. the stuff he uses in bastard noise and geronimo is amazing. so if i had the money and time, id submerge myself into his realm of sound.

Do you have a setup for live performances?
all the gear i use is used for live performances. this would include 2 ampeg dan armstrong bass guitars, two ampeg svt bass heads, a 2 x 15" speaker cab, and a slew of effects pedals.

How many physical locations have you had your studio?
im not quite sure. for some of the projects i was involved in i was just doing vocals so i had little to nothing with me. but as far as my bass set up, its traveled to many places over the years. i suppose they became a bit better over the years. or maybe not better but more specific to what i was doing and what i needed a studio for.

You can find some of Justin Pearson's projects here:


Access Virus TI - Software Public Beta 2.7

Just released today by Access, the version 2.7 Public Beta of the Virus TI Software which now includes:

- The Atomizer (Glitch/Beat chop effect, controllable via keyboard)

- Extra USB output, bringing the total USB outputs to three. (Using this removes the ability to use the TI as an audio interface)

- Support for multiple Virus TIs on one system!

Coming to future Beta/Release versions: USB Audio Input and Virus Control Center software which will let you overwrite ROM banks, make backups, and install OS versions.

Image via Flikr/Matrixsynth, original here.

On a side note, I have been a long time Virus user starting with the Virus A then the B (Indigo 1) and I've just picked up the Virus TI Polar. I can defiantly say that the integrated/plugin aspect of the TI system has really increased my productivity and my work flow. It really does work just like any normal plugin with the added benefit of having the full hardware right in front of you and total patch recall on song load. On previous versions of the Virus, I was mainly using it in single voice mode and recording each part into the computer. Now I take full advantage of using the multitimbral capabilities as well as the various output configurations. My typical setup has the main analog outputs of the Virus normalled to a DBX386 tube preamp while having the two (now three!) USB outputs running parallel to this in coming from the plugin in Logic.

Also, I've got two tracks made primarily with the virus TI streaming here: polyfuse.net if anyone is interested in hearing the sound of the TI.



I'll be playing a one off show tomorrow tonight in Paris, France opening up for Rotator and Krumble. Usually these promoters have insane artwork for their flyers. Last year they came up with some real brutality and accurately visualizes how that night sounded: peep. This year they made the flyers before I confirmed and got them printed sans my name, so after taking some cue's from Donnie Hoyle I made my own modest version. Come out and say 'bonsoir' and I'll hand you a little satanic sticker. Details Here.
You can find what you're getting yourself into: Rotator, Krumble, Surachai.

Oh and on a totally related note, I ran into Mike Brown of Liverwire Synthesizers' blog and found a remnant of NAMM. Mike took this picture when Richard, Justin and I tried to pry ourselves from conversation to get food. The second one is a full on shot of what he brought out. Those AFG's should be reaching people relatively soon. And DAMN, I need that Chaos Computer. Oh the things I would do to you......



I'm playing a secret ambient show in Chicago tonight with minimal gear, Virus TI + Waterphone.


Workspace and Environment: Michael Fakesch

Holy F! This interview has been collecting dust for more than six months and only last night did I realize that this has been in draft form since October. Don't worry, it's been worth the wait! I mean, you waited for this right?

I was born in Rosenheim and I still live there mainly for my wife and kid. I started doing music in 1992, 1995 my first records came out, since 1998 I am a professional musician. I work under the name Michael Fakesch (which is my civil name). My former band was Funkstörung which I did for 10 years together with Chris De Luca (we split up in 2006). I used to have a studio (actually just a 808, 707, 303, a effect and a mixer) together with Chris at his home, then after selling all hardware and buying a computer we worked in the basement at his parent's house. 5 years ago we rented a nice space in the heart of Rosenheim, still only using a computer and no hardware. Almost 3 years ago, Chris moved to Berlin and I stayed in the Rosenheim studio, buying more and more equipment...now it looks like a studio once again!

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
My favourite toy is a brandnew Acidlab Bassline. It's a on-the-fly-programmable 303 clone, which was build by a old schoolfriend of mine (www.acidlab.de) it sounds like the original, looks cool, is cheap and the super intuitive programming is much better than on the original.

What is your current favorite software?
My favourite software is Cubase4 and Ableton Live....not suprising, isn't it? ;-) the audio editing in Cubase is just super great...love it! ableton has fantastic effects (like the warp-timestretcher and the beatrepeat) and it's just the best tool for jamming and playing live

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow? I am living and working in a small Bavarian town near Munich called Rosenheim. It's boring, but has beautiful surroundings like the alps, forests and nice lakes. I got a kid and wife and I really enjoy my family life there...this keeps my feet on the ground and my concentration focused on my own music. the room itself doesnt effect the way I work...when i talk about my studio I mainly mean my computer...I am like being in a virtual space. every new software, every new hardware effects my sound,...at least for one song. I like trying out new tools, playing around with them... they are always inspiring.

Are you involved in any music/sound work outside of your own projects?
Since about 2 years I am doing loads of sound design and music for TV-Ads (like Toyota, BMW, Napster, Verizon, MTV, Tesco Mobile, Disney Channel). I also started doing soundtracks for films.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
A Roland TR 808! There were times where we couldn't live without switching on the 808 every day ;-)...but then we sold it, cause we needed the money for a computer and were kinda fed up with the 808 sound (we got infected by the digital world ;-)). At the moment I am really thinking of buying a 808 again...it's just beautiful and the sound never gets outta fashion.

What is on your current wish list?
A new Mac Pro with cinema displays...just waiting for the new model-line!

Do you have a mobile studio setup?
I got a macbook with cubase4 installed...don't need more!

Do you have a setup for live performances?
My kinda basic livesetup contains: a macbook, 3 Faderfox controllers, a M-Audio soundcard, an Acidlab Bassline, a Behringer mixer, 2 Kaosspads, an Electribe mx, a MPC1000 and a Yamaha DX200.

You can find Michael Fakesch here:michaelfakesch.com


Rob Acid: Mastering Tips!

Via matrixsynth.

Guitar Pedal Demo Resource

Pro Guitar Shop Youtube
Here is something I've been searching for and think is a valuable resource when it comes to pedals. Without too much backstory, a few years ago I worked at a music shop in Maryland called Atomic Music. They employed mostly guitar buffs and I watched them talk their alien language while helping people with keyboards and recording. Since then I have been obsessive about delays and various high end/interesting pedals. I found a youtube account that has demos an array of interesting pedals that are worth checking out. As of this posting they have 150 videos ready to rock your bank account.
Props to whoever knows what pedal on the left is.


Workspace and Environment: Contriva

If anyone knows how to get into the Paris Catacombs from an alternative entrance, please drop an e-mail to trash@thedeepelement.com. They are officially closed so I am looking for an unofficial way in. Uh, with that out of the way, here is Max Ehwald of Contriva!

Max Ehwald of Contriva
How long have you been involved with making music/sound?
I'm in my first band Contriva for more than 10 years now.

What is the name you work under and where can we find your work?
So far I have no solo project. I play in Contriva, jersey, saroos and, as a live musician, in the Notwist. If I'm working on my own, it's mainly about composing (almost always using a guitar) or editing and arranging some band recordings. I have never really produced a piece of music all alone.

What is your current favorite piece of hardware?
It may sound silly but it's the Ibanez DE-7. I use this obviously crappy pedal since they threw it on the market, but, due to its bad mechanical quality, had to buy a new on several times. I just love the sound of the "echo mode" and the simple handling.

What is your current favorite software or plugin?
I don't use plugins so extensively right now. One that I used more often is the Arturia Arp 2600 V. It must be really well emulated, couse it sounds very lively as I think.
I normally use software as a recording tool. There's no really "favourite" sequencing/recording software for me, I use emagic Logic like many others, only because of compatibility with other musicians. I'll have to use pro tools now, for the same reason...

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
I always try to go to a place that is not usual or not so familiar to me when recording new ideas or composing, if I or the band has the time and capacity. so I very much like the idea of a mobile studio. Also, I tend to think it's good for an artist or a band that has already developed "an own style", to work with different people from album to album. but that's again no strict rule to me. I also like editing and arranging when on a train journey, especially in a dining car ;-)

Are you involved in any post production?
I have done two movie soundtracks so far: one together with Rike Schuberty of Contriva, for a short movie ("Die Babysitterin" by Christine Lang), the second for a documentation ("Generation Model" by Anne-Krisin Jahn) together with Florian Zimmer (jersey, saroos). I find working on music for film harder than just making music, but I hope I'll get more skilled in the future...

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
A guitar (Framus Atlantic, a german model from the 60s)

What is on your current 'wish list' for new hardware or software?
I'd like to have a delay pedal where you can set the delay time digitally and reproducible and that still has an interesting sound...If you have an idea, please send me a mail...

Do you have a setup for live performances?
Different setups for different bands, but more or less usual guitar/bass player setups. nothing special...

Where were you born and how did you end up in the location you currently reside?
I was born and still live in Berlin, Germany.

How many physical locations have you had your studio setup?
As I don't own a studio setup myself, none ;-). the studio where we (contriva) recorded our last and other records (villa qrella) is also our practice room and the home base of masha qrella's solo work, and it always has been at the same place

Find them here: myspace.com/contriva


Surachai Modular Loops

And because all that ass kissing makes me sick, I've made some samples to share with you. Paris + catacombs closed for repairs = alone time with the modular. Repairing catacombs. Is it me or does that sound like a paradox? Anywho. these files are raw, no normalization, no compression, no sweetning. Mono, 16 bit, 44.1 Khz. Enjoy! You can download them here.

From the zip file:
Because I'm in Paris and my audio interface is in Chicago, I decided to use the line in on the Macbook. While I never done this before, It seems to work pretty well.

Use these samples however you want. Though I'd love to hear how you're using them. You can send products, questions and comments to: trash@thedeepelement.com

The current modular tour setup is:
Livewire Dalek
Cwejman VM-1
Doepfer A-188-2 BBD
Doepfer A-142-3 Quad LFO
Doepfer A-155 Sequencer
Harvestman Malgorithm
Harvestman Polivoks VCF
Plan B Mixer


Melodyne - Direct Note Access

I haven't been dazzled by a product in quite some time and usually on this blog we don't care about new products but rather how people use them. For a while now I've known that a few of my friends have been Melodyne users because mainly, they can't seem to shut up about how dope it is. But tonight, a friend sent a youtube video (he's one of the few people I actually click links from) that has finally proven to me that this product innovative, clearly exceptional and groundbreaking. Ok, so these three adjectives are really mundane but I swear Melodyne is more impressive than my vocabulary. Celemony Product Comparison Sheet

It's hard to comprehend that audio is now easily manageable as MIDI notes. Direct Note Access, or as the clever marketing team over at celemony call it: DNA, is opening a door I've always regarded as closed. I thought Logic's audio to MIDI function was impressive, but ate serious ass when it came to translating any audio file with more than one note. Melodyne's ability to decipher how many parts are playing, what frequency they're at and ability to edit them clearly blows my mind and defies everything I'm used to. I can't really see myself trying to fix guitar or vocal harmonies, rather trying DNA on really complex audio sources and see how it responds. Or testing it's limits, finding glitches and exploiting whatever characteristics this program has. I do have questions on how it reacts to effected sound sources, like distorted guitars, complex synth patches and the sound of Justin's voice.

It's nice to know that Justin and I don't have to do the dozens of takes on our barber shop project (mainly from my crying). Finally we can play our modular synths without tuning them (did I ever before?). And finally people who play Rock Band/Guitar Hero may actually sound good after using Melodyne (with alcohol...... and roofies). Although it is slated to be released in Fall 2008, if you buy the plug-in version 1 for $299 now, you'll get the upgrade to version 2, which includes DNA, free. Normally version 2 will be $399.

In other 'news', the tour starts up again in a couple of weeks. It has truly been a rollercoaster and I'm exhausted. I have a few gigs left, the next one is in Paris on the 29th of April, a few other random places, finishing up in Amsterdam then it's back to Chicago in May. I want to thank everyone involved and everyone that came out so far.


audio_Output: Richard Devine - The Electronic Music Manuscript

Just released by Sony is the The Electronic Music Manuscript sound library, which happens to be a brilliantly thought out collection of sounds plus an 'above and beyond' style presentation that you don't often see as part of commercially released sound libraries. The two CD set comes bundled with a large number of photographs which highlight some of Richard's methods of mayhem, two videos showcasing the creative processes, a huge interview with Richard giving a more in depth look at his work and history, NI Battery kits and finally the 24bit WAV files...

I caught up with Richard this week for a quick interview about the release...

JM: It's great to see a library full of sounds that you can't exactly tie to a specific genre that come from a more experimental direction, what was your inspiration for the overall collection?

I wanted to make a library that would be useful for many different people. I was aiming for sound designers, composers working in Film/TV, radio, video games, and electronic music. I tried to create some really unique material that could be used in a loop format with ACID and Apple Loops, but also include single shot and Battery kits for those who want to program and manipulate the sounds on a more detailed level.

More ahead.

JM: People generally know your work from the electronic side of things, but I know you also use a lot of weird acoustic instruments and different types of microphones/pickups. Did any of that make it into the library?

I have recently been going out and doing tons of field recordings. I had Josh Kay who is a close friend of mine work with me on a lot of these recordings and sounds. We both used the Beyer Dynamic 930C stereo pair microphones for a lot of the outside ambiences and Foley objects. We also used the Rode NT4, AKG C-1000’s, DPA-4017’s Shotgun Microphones, Sony ECM-MS 5 and the Blue Dragon Fly microphone for the instruments here at the studio. We used the Sound Devices Mic Pre’s for all the outside location recording material. We recorded lots of strange instruments like the Water phones, Tibetan Singing Bowls, Talking Drums, Space Phones, Thunder Drums and Wooden Log Drums. We also recorded a small collection of Indian Pan Flutes, Bamboo Flutes, Ocarina’s and several Didgeridoo’s that I got in Australia. Some of favorite recordings came from the African Finger Pianos. We did a whole bunch of sessions doing prepared Finger Pianos. I have about 12 different ones that we recorded doing all sorts of strange stuff to. We would take a very John Cage approach to experimenting and getting new sounds out of these instruments. Sometime Hammering nails into the wood and using Magnets, Rubber Bands, Paper clips, wires, and small mechanical motors to play onto the metal tongs. You would be amazed at some of the variety of sounds we got. We did a 4-day recording session of my old Kurtzman grand piano, which was amazing. We placed the Water phone on top of the Piano Strings and played the water phone with a Violin bow, and let the metal bowel resonate into the chamber of the piano. It was a super creepy sound. All of these recordings made it into the final library. I was really happy with how this all turned out.

JM: While working with a company as large as Sony did they apply any limits to what you were able to create or did they let you design the library in the way that you wanted it?

The first person to contact me about doing the library was Richard Thomas who is one of the head directors of Audio at Sony Creative Software. We met at the 2007 NAMM show, and started talking about doing a library. Richard had mention to me that they had been interested in doing a library with me for a while. I was worried that it might be limited to a specific format or genre, but to my surprise they where completely open to what ever I was going to give to them. They had already done their homework and were keeping an eye on me for quite some time. They were familiar with my music, and the sound design work I have done for other companies. So it was a blessing that I was able to release this project with them without any limitations. They gave me total freedom over everything which is really amazing.

JM: The library actually comes with notes, photographs and even two videos. This is something I have never seen as part of a sound library, can you tell us a little more about this?

Yes, we wanted give more details about the project and how we recorded it. I almost felt like this was like releasing another record in a way. I love getting something that feels like you can get a glimpse of that artist life within a specific time period. I wanted extra linear notes, pictures, and videos so people could get an idea of how it all came together. To have some visual references that could be associated with the project. I think it is much more memorable then just having a bunch of folders with sounds on a DVD.

JM: Was there any specific or unusual sound design techniques that you used for any of the content in the library?

We used a lot of different techniques for this. We did lots of layering and combining of acoustic sounds with synthetic sounds. Like taking the sound of a train passing by and layering that with pitched down animal breathing sound, or layering the sound of a car driving over a bridge and layering that with the VCO of a Buchla 200e. Then sending them through a Eventide H-8000FW. We also used the Kyma System for lots of sound morphing and spectral FFT processing of sounds. I would run tons of field recordings through Kyma and get some really odd FM based modulated sound scapes, and beautiful granular bits. We used the Nord Modular G2 and Roland V-Synth GT for lots of Format and Elastic type sounds. A large portion of sounds where created using the Cwejman S1 and Doepfer Modular systems that we have here. We even used a handful of circuit bent machines like the Highly Liquid bent 707, and TR-808.

JM: As far as I know this is your first commercially released sound design library, are there plans for more in the future?

Yes, I have lots of cool things planned the future. I am hoping to get into making my own custom hardware sometime. I have lots of interesting concepts that I have been trying to realize into hardware. I have been talking to Mike Brown (Livewire Synthesizers) and working with many software companies developing new interesting sounds for other virtual plug-in packages. We are also trying to launch our own small boutique sound design company DevineSound. I want to launch some really crazy new libraries in the near future for users who have Kontakt and Battery.

'The Electronic Manuscript: A Richard Devine Collection' can be purchased and previewed here.


Kammerl Audio Plugs

Greetings from Barcelona! Everything on this tour has been insane and the responses have been great! So thanks if you happened to come out. For the next few weeks I have some downtime and decided to go around the beaches asking if people want massages. Or more. Anyways, onto the reason I'm making a post....
Julius Kammerl just sent an e-mail informing me that he has just released his plug-ins to the public for the outrageous price of free. They have previously only been available for select artists including members of Funkstorung. I've been waiting (pestering him) for months for these to finally be released and even though I have tinkered around with them for about a day, I can say that they'll make it in the heavy rotation of plugs I'll use.
First and foremost I must compliment Klaus Kaske on his artwork for all the plugs. Anything that promotes some sort of bizarre bestiality is fair game in my book. There are five plugs and the names are extremely vague: The Slicer, The Scratcher, The Pitcher, The Looper, The Warm Distortion. Should you have questions about the functions of the plugs, there is a nifty readme that explains it in very basic and useful terms.
These plugs seem to be an intelligent, high quality and more functional reiteration of some of Live's already existing plugs. Strangely I'm drawn to The Warm distortion and The Pitcher because of it's subtle but extremely high attention to detail. The Pitcher exactly what it's supposed to do but opposed to some other pitch benders, this one sounds great! The Looper is an endless stream of inspiration and fun. Hearing the loops slowly circulate through the file can suck you in for hours. I can keep doing these one liners but just download the thing and make your own mind up.

"Michael Fakesch is going to release a dvd with music videos on K7. These plugins are also part of this dvd as a little extra feature. "

Click on the logo below to get to the goods....