This past Halloween night, the NYMS 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 is with Crew Called Self. Be sure to check out his Instagram to see what else he has going on.
Crew Called Self
Modular synths seem to be a pretty specific niche. What draws you into modular vs. standard synths or other options?
Flexibility in sound design and other synths don’t have the potential for discovery that modular does. Every time I patch the modular it leads me in a different direction even if I try to patch and play it the same way.
Why do you choose to perform live on what can potentially be a fairly complicated setup?
How long have you been playing on modular?
Just over two years.
What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of modular synths?
I think choosing the right modules for what you want to do. There’s so many options. Not that that’s a bad thing. You just really have to think about where to begin and where to go next.
What type of music (non-modular) do you find inspirational? Artists and/or genres.
I was a big MPC guy for a long time so a lot of boom bap 90’s hip hop. I’m also a big funk, disco, and house guy when I DJ.
Can you name a module that inspires you the most?
Klee Sequencer. That thing is incredible.
What was the first module you purchased/acquired?
Mother 32 was my first intro to modular but the first actual module I put in a rack was a Synthrotek Dirt Filter that I built and still don’t know what it’s supposed to do. It’s awful.
What was the last module you purchased/acquired?
Currently, what is your favorite module?
Mimeophon but ask me again next week lol.
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 am here for the weirdness. I usually let the rack get weird and lead me in a direction. Then I try to tame it and bring it together in harmony.
Can you give a brief “rig rundown” or “patch notes” from your Halloween performance?
I programmed the Halloween theme in the Motger 32 and patched that into mimeophon. M32 became the master clock into Bastl Little Nerd that did clock multiplication and randomness , I also had a Doepfer clock divider for some parts. I rand the kB out of m32 into the Dixie 1vt/oct for baseline that ran into tip-top forbidden planet and Erica pics dsp. Maths was the EG for the Dixie and I also had Maths summing triggers for the 808 kick, taking a steady 4/4 pulse and summing it with random 16th notes from Little Nerd. 2hp hats also got random 16th triggers.
Lastly, how would you describe your Halloween performance to someone unfamiliar with this crazy modular world we live in?
I mutilated Halloween.
Thanks Crew Called Self!! Looking forward to checking out your next show!