This past Halloween, New York Modular Society invaded The East Village Playhouse for one hell of a show! Sounds of Horror!
NYMS members Dysonant, Jon Bohm (one half of Saddle Up the Robots), DJ Cherishtheluv, Crew Called Self, This Digital Landscape and Ben The Glorious Bastard took the stage for a night of bleeps, bloops and frights. I had the opportunity to virtually sit down with each of the performers and ask a few question about their individual modular philosophies and performance setups.
This week’s interview will be with none other than DJ Cherish the Love. Be sure to check out her Instagram to see what else she has going on.
Modular synths seem to be a pretty specific niche. What draws you into modular vs. standard synths or other options?
Knobs Knobs Knobs! And Patch cables! I am also a huge fan of DAW-less improvisation as well as collecting expensive modules like they are Pokemon. Kidding! Sort of. I love the fleeting aspect of modular in general. It’s like a constant lesson in detachment and enjoying the moment. And them modules are so cute and exciting to get a hold of, like candy. I am happy to introduce them to my young students, but looking for ways to put modular in their lives in a way that it’s not inaccessible/prohibitive due to cost. I would love to someday create an inexpensive synth build that is easy to own…
Why do you choose to perform live on what can potentially be a fairly complicated setup?
Most instruments I play, I feel, the sound comes from me. Modular I feel like takes more of that, and I feel like I am coaxing the sound out if it. So cool.It’s a challenge, and I feel like I am constantly learning when I dive into.
How long have you been playing on modular?
This is my first year! After a seven-year synth hiatus (all things synth sounding left with my divorce) and I am so happy to revisit, discover, learn and teach from here on.
What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of modular synths?
Understanding the flow, the options, so many options, figuring out how to achieve what I envision in my mind. Modular is full of theory and science, yet so unpredictable! At this Halloween performance, I learned an awesome lesson about shifting and phasing between my modules. I had set up at 4:30pm, once I turned the volume back up hours later to perform, without an updated soundcheck, it was a totally different pattern than the one I was mentally preparing to play my violin to. I love this about modular, all the surprises, so you kinda have to learn how to throw away perfectionism.
What type of music (non-modular) do you find inspirational? Artists and/or genres.
Hip Hop/Trap, Ambient, classical piano, violin and dance music are on my mind when I tweak the knobs. Rhythm and Flow’s winner, D Smoke, is inspiring me a ton right now.
Can you name a module that inspires you the most?
Make Noise Morphagene, I want that one next, or MATHS, or the Make Noise Pressure Points Touch Controller.
What was the first module you purchased/acquired?
Doepfer Wasp, I have used the synth in the past, and it’s so cool to have the module.
What was the last module you purchased/acquired?
Tiptop Audio Bass Drum 808, and I’m about to get the cowbell, because more cowbell!!
Currently, what is your favorite module?
I am super inspired by my doepfer A-178 Theremin module, it’s an awesome trigger!
How do you prioritize musicality vs. the “weirdness” that modular offers? For example, are there times when you abandon harmony in favor of weird and interesting patches and vice versa?
I think that the priority is expression in the way that makes you light up inside and makes your brain get all stimulated. Sometimes its melodic, other times is rhythmic, then the rest of the time, it textures and randomness, all of which I love to discover thru modular. I just want to weave a cool moment, and hopefully, I had hit record!
Can you give a brief “rig rundown” or “patch notes” from your Halloween performance?
On Halloween, I used Serato to playback a terrifying live recording of the Hagibis Typhoon that hit Japan in early October, a moog DFAM, Mother 32, 2 doepfer theremins, doepfer wasp, Earthquaker Devices Arpanoid and Organizer, Yamaha electric violin ….. and, a machete!
Lastly, how would you describe your Halloween performance to someone unfamiliar with this crazy modular world we live in?
My performance was creepy, bleepy, textured, and crunchy.
Thanks DJ Cherish the Love!! Awesome answers…and I can’t wait to check out your next performance!!