Interview – VCOADSR

Back in February I interviewed VCOADSR for DivKid’s Month Of Modular. Here’s the interview. Catch up with VCOADSR with releases here – http://vcoadsr.bandcamp.com/ – you can also see how his sound and set up has changed across performances videos from both me and Sonic State. Check out this one the Brighton Modular Meet for a good techno injection.

So Phil, for those that haven’t seen any footage of you playing live or being at a gig tell us about your set up. It’s centred around your 12U modular system but what else are you using live?

As you say my 12U eurorack modular is the centre of my studio & live set that’s organised into 3 monophonic voices, 1 polyphonic voice and a drum section section. These are all going to my Mackie Onxy mixer where I’ve got an Eventide Space reverb & TimeFactor delay pedals on the sends when playing live. The main musical ideas and rhythms are all being sequenced from the Sequential Cirklon sequencer but within the modular there’s a ton of internal sequencing and modulation to add interest to the various parts. Basically means that each gig I play is never the same which for me is important both as a live experience for the audience but also for my own interest too.

What’s your process in the studio? Recording jams, multi-tracking, running stems and then FX mixes etc. How involved is your DAW both in terms or arrangement of tracks and parts and also in terms of sound generation and/or processing? 

Last year I caught Moritz von Oswald trio playing at BLOC weekend that pushed me in the direction of early dub techno. I became really interested in the production ideas of dub in general and how the process of mixing itself was a performance when it came to playing the sends & returns. So for my new EP I wanted to experiment with some of these dub production ideas and decided to do the core composition and sound design on the modular and then once I was happy I’d multi-track several jams of the song, as if I were playing a live set, into Ableton. Then I’d edit these down into more coherent structured arrangements before running each stem back out to the mixer for further dub takes were I’d jam the sends and returns dub style. Every track on the EP was made using a variation on this technique even the remix track, at the end of the EP, went through this process.

What’s coming up from you next?

Well, apart from the new release I’m still focussed  on performing live to get my music out in front of people – to me it’s important that people get to experience the dynamics of live, and to be fair raw, electronic music that isn’t processed & compressed to death. Like any other live performance with an instrument you’ve got prepare and practice but this is also where a lot of my new material comes from so playing live more should lead to new ideas and tracks later in the year.

People LOVE to chat gear, more than music sometimes so let’s do just that! Which modules are used across the album. Without listing every single one, what stands out as the key pieces for say drums, bass sounds and the sequencing? 

So in terms of the melodic & bass content, on the EP and live set, these are coming from the amazing Akemie’s Castle by ALM and the Hertz Donut mkII by The Harvestman. The Akemie’s is by far the most interesting and versatile oscillator I’ve owned in the 6 years I’ve been using modulars, and having the chord output is the icing on the cake. It would be criminal if I didn’t mention the Makenoise QMMG – is vital to my modular setup with it packing in 4 VCAs, 4 LGPs, 4 LPFs & 4 HPFs in just 24HP! A real shame that this module is no longer manufactured. Drum duties are mixture of the 808/909 Tiptop audio drums as well as Dinky’s Taiko again by ALM and in terms of sequencing you won’t be surprised if I’m going to say the Cirklon. This is THE hardware sequencer to have IMHO and it is seriously deep in functionality – I’ve barely scratched the surface so far, after having it for about a year, but a word of warning if you want one you’re going to have be patient…I was on the waiting list for 200 days before mine was ready, but without it I don’t think I could play the type of live set I’d want to.

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