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First is (and always will be) my prized Minimoog. I’ve had this since 1992. I bought it when I didn’t even fully know what it was and what it could do! All I knew was, I needed one because its the daddy of Analogue synths and most of my fav records from the 70’s and 80’s had used one.
This machine is a classic for a reason – Every time I turn it on I coax something out of it that genuinely surprises me, even after 30 years of owning it!
Not to mention the raw sonic power it has. Can’t beat it. It’s on nearly every record I’ve made.
Second in my fav list is currently the Roland June 60. I have the new boutique version. Incredible synth, bassline heaven, pad heaven, percussion heaven, there’s not much this thing isn’t good at. Love it.
And Thirdly, another old classic I’ve had since the 90’s (can’t even remember the actual year I bought this lol) My Roland SH101.
The simplicity of this synth is its biggest strength. It’s basic but its super fat and gritty and the filter on it is insane. Bassline, Leads and mad noises are its forte.
I think sound design is so overlooked these days, probably because there are so many sample packs of old synths available and also Splice and Loopcloud are packed with off the shelf sounds ready to grab.
But understanding how to create sounds is the key to interesting, unique and vibrant productions. Its also a huge source of inspiration when writing.
And this means understanding synths. It’s taken me many years and If I were to start all over again, I would dedicate much more time to really mastering synthesis early on in my career.
The best quote I ever heard regarding music was back in school. Music lessons back then were always a bit of a free for all, and everyone just used to make loads of noise banging the shit out of the glockenspiel or something like that. But bizarrely amongst all the usual classic instruments they had a brand new Yamaha DX21 synth (I have one now too) so I always ran to grab that first before anyone else. Anyway, I was playing something on the synth (or attempting to) and I asked the music teacher if what I was doing was right or wrong…He said when it comes to music “If it sounds right, then it is right” I never forgot that. It’s basically saying forget the rules, your ears will tell you what’s right (as long as you’re not tone deaf haha).
If I could collab with anyone in the world it would definitely be my musical idol Stevie Wonder!
The first record I ever owned was the Wombles Christmas Party album in about 1979
But the first 12” I ever bought was Nitro Delux – Lets Get Brutal 1986.
I must dig that Wombles album out and see if there are any samples lurking on there haha.
Check out Martin Ikin’s new course “Secrets Of Tech House” here now.