Talk­ing Shop: House­meis­ter


Future Music - - CONTENTS -

Over the years, the in­fec­tious, hard­waredriven jam ses­sions of stal­wart Ber­lin pro­ducer House­meis­ter have led to re­leases on es­teemed la­bels in­clud­ing BPitch Con­trol, Detroit Un­der­ground and Boys­noize Record­ings. This month, he re­leases the in­au­gu­ral EP from new la­bel Un­reel Records. FM caught up with him to find out more about his hard­ware-heavy stu­dio.

When did you start mak­ing mu­sic?

“I’ve been a DJ since ’94 and pro­duc­ing elec­tronic mu­sic since 1998. My first gear was an Atari com­puter, a JoMox XBase, a 606, a 505, a Korg MS-20 with se­quencer, a Quasimidi Sir­ius, an Ac­cess Virus, a Mackie 1604 VLZ Pro and a MOTU 828 sound­card. Not too much later I switched to Ap­ple and Logic.

“My in­flu­ences come from Ber­lin techno in the ’90s, from the club scene and my friends, who pro­duced mu­sic too, peo­ple like Tok­tok, Mode­se­lek­tor, Paul Kalk­bren­ner and oth­ers. We had a lot of fun and spent a lot of time talk­ing tech.

“My first record, the WakeUp EP was re­leased in 2001 on Ellen Al­lien’s BPitch Con­trol.”

Tell us about your stu­dio…

“The heart of my stu­dio is my Mi­das Venice F32 ana­logue mixer with 32 channels, full para­met­ric EQs and an in­te­grated sound­card. All channels are con­nected, be­cause I work with a hard­ware-only setup. It’s more fun.

“The mas­ter is the Elek­tron Oc­ta­track, which se­quences all the synths and pro­vides the MIDI clock. It’s also my re-sam­pler; when I route any in­stru­ment to bus 3/4 it goes into the Oc­ta­track in­put.

“The gear is al­ways synced, so I can press start on the Octa and all the ma­chines start run­ning. Some of the ma­chines have their se­quencers and ef­fects in­side, like the Elek­trons and the Dread­box Ere­bus. I love se­quencers and I’m su­per good at pro­gram­ming them!

“I like real ma­chines, as I can touch them, learn how they work and pro­gram them blind. It’s like a pin­ball ma­chine – you get bet­ter and bet­ter the more you play, and then you can cross the borders and do things no-one has be­fore.

“I buy and sell gear reg­u­larly. It brings new en­ergy. I don’t get that with new plug­ins.

“Se­quencers are the base of my stu­dio and there’s no bet­ter se­quencer than those in the Elek­tron ma­chines. I also love the in­ter­nal se­quencer of the DSI Te­tra, which is pretty old school, with four 16-step tracks that let you choose what they se­quence, from notes to LFO or fil­ter. It can be re­ally in­ter­est­ing. For ex­am­ple, you make a Te­tra se­quence with eight steps for the melody, a five-step LFO line, 12 steps fil­ter pat­tern and maybe six steps for de­cay… so the se­quence will change for­ever. I then se­quence the DSI se­quencer from my Oc­ta­track, which is al­ways sur­pris­ing.

“I love to­day’s small ma­chines. In the last few years I’ve sold many big­ger ones and got the smaller ver­sion, like 909, 808, 101 or the Juno.

“My whole stu­dio setup is built to work stand­ing. When I’m record­ing I like to dance.

“As for aux ef­fects, I use the Even­tide Space, the Stry­mon Blue Sky and the En­soniq DP/2.

“My mon­i­tors are the Tapco S8, which I’ve had for years; I love them. It was a sub-com­pany of Mackie and they’re good for party mode. They have a lot of bass, but I like that!”

What DAW do you use, and why?

“I’ve worked with Able­ton Live since ver­sion one. I was fas­ci­nated by the clip mode, the man­gling of sam­ples and loops, and the au­to­ma­tion pos­si­bil­i­ties. That’s all still great, but at the mo­ment I only re­ally use it for 32-chan­nel record­ing. In my per­son­alised Live tem­plate, all the channels are set up with names of the ma­chines and record is al­ready ac­ti­vated. That means that when I open Able­ton, it takes over the mas­ter clock and is ready to record. It’s im­por­tant for a quick work­flow.

“Some­times I use some plug­ins, like Reak­tor or Syn­plant to make some sam­ples for my Oc­ta­track. I also use it to cut up sam­ples. I like to record with my wav-recorder out in the streets, cre­at­ing sounds with some wood and me­tal sticks.”

What one piece of gear in your stu­dio could you not do with­out, and why?

“That would be the Even­tide Space – a re­verb from an­other planet with many knobs and the abil­ity to save your own pre­sets. I got that box some years ago, and it changed my life. It adds an­other di­men­sion to ev­ery in­stru­ment. I use it as an aux ef­fect, so I can use it on any of my gear.”

What’s the lat­est stu­dio ad­di­tion?

“I just got the Behringer Neu­tron synth and I’m su­per happy with it. It’s semi-mod­u­lar, para­phonic and has loads of knobs too. I couldn’t be­lieve how good it sounds and how many dif­fer­ent sounds it can make. I also love the look.”

What bit of gear would you love?

“I think next ad­di­tions will prob­a­bly be the Elek­tron Digi­tone and the Moog Drum­mer From An­other Mother. Both are small but pow­er­ful!”

When ap­proach­ing a new track or project, where do you start?

“I’ll have days where I just pro­gram pat­terns and sounds. For ex­am­ple, I might sit for a day just play­ing on the Ana­log Rytm pro­gram­ming beats. When one pat­tern is done, I don’t start a track, I just go to the next pat­tern and do it again – and so on.

“I’ll do that with all the ma­chines, more or less. Then an­other day I’ll switch on the stu­dio and a track is al­ready there… by ac­ci­dent. I’ll find a nice hook made with a synth, then I al­ready have loads of beats to choose from. It’s then a bit like a DJ set – all the in­stru­ments are the records which I mix. I’ll change some things, take sounds out and add what’s miss­ing.”

“In my stu­dio so many things are based on co­in­ci­dences. It’s great! Even­tu­ally I record ev­ery­thing as a live ses­sion, in­clud­ing all sep­a­rate au­dio tracks, ef­fects and the mas­ter.

“Mostly I just use the mas­ter record­ing. I don’t like to do ev­ery­thing again in the com­puter, like EQ, com­press­ing and mix­ing. I did it all al­ready out­side the box in my Mi­das mixer, and that sounds amaz­ing. The sep­a­rated parts are mostly just for po­ten­tial remixes.”

What are you cur­rently work­ing on?

“This year I’ve al­ready had two vinyl re­leases, the first was my StandUp! EP on Boys­noize Records and the sec­ond is the LateAtNight EP on Ac­ci­den­tal Records. There’s also my

SooGood EP, in­clud­ing a fan­tas­tic T Raum­schmiere remix, on Un­reel Records. Also a track on the Christ­mas com­pi­la­tion from Pan Pot’s la­bel Sec­ond State.”

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