Crew Called Self – Sounds of Horror

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?

Aesthetics? 

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?

Mimeophon 

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!
~Jon (yohan753) 

Jon Bohm (One half of Saddle Up the Robots) – Sounds of Horror

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 none other than Jon Bohm who performed a Halloween solo set. Be sure to check out his full band’s Instagram to learn more about Saddle Up the Robots.

Jon Bohm

Modular synths seem to be a pretty specific niche.  What draws you into modular vs. standard synths or other options?

 It’s inherently momentary and I find that to be fun. 

Why do you choose to perform live on what can potentially be a fairly complicated setup?

 Because what is life if you don’t bother to challenge yourself?

How long have you been playing on modular?

Couple years. Been doing this electronic music thing for much longer though. Bought my first synth when I was 19.

What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of modular synths?

Finding time to work on patches. You really do need to put in a lot of hours to make sure a 10 minute performance doesn’t sound like hot garbage. 

…though hot garbage doesn’t have a sound.

What type of music (non-modular) do you find inspirational?  Artists and/or genres.

Truthfully what I find inspiring varies by the day and mood I am in. I know. Super contrived answer. 

My favorite band is Depeche Mode, FWIW.

Can you name a module that inspires you the most?

Far from a unique answer but I think the BIA is just fucking brilliant. It’s rather aggressive but extremely versatile. I love that you can CV the hell out of it and find moments of beauty in between all it’s harshness.

What was the first module you purchased/acquired?

Does the 0-Coast count? That motherfucker is starting to gain a reputation as the gateway drug of eurorack.

If not; Pamela’s New Workout. Opened up so many doors almost immediately and really gets you thinking in a very “non-linear” frame of mind which you need to channel when starting to wrap your head around modular workflows.

What was the last module you purchased/acquired?

Recent acquisitions include a Mimeophon and an Antiphon. I like phon. 

Currently, what is your favorite module?

I really love modules which sort of play along with you. Marbles is a great example of that. Producing good results is very much about understanding it’s “rule set”, if you will. Love shit like that.

That said I would probably (definitely) have a different answer if you asked again tomorrow. 

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?

While I love to embrace that non-linear which I think breeds a lot of that “weirdness”, I do always try to bring it back to building something that’s inherently “musical”. But even what that means is subjective for each of us, I’d imagine. 

Can you give a brief “rig rundown” or “patch notes” from your Halloween performance? 

 4 synth parts: Cwejman BLD2, NE Sinc Iter, MI Plaits, Super Synthesis 2 OP FM (highly underrated module btw)

4 drum parts: MI Peaks for bass and snare, EMW T-Drum (2x) for hats, BIA for general percussive madness 

Fuckton of modulation provided by Maths, Voltage Block, Batumi, Marbles, Clep Diaz, PNW 

Spookyness molded by filters and effects WASP filter, SEM filter, Mimeophon, and Disting doing a bit crush thing 

Then I also brought along a Yamaha Reface DX for some dissonant FM chords. It was Halloween, afterall. 

Follow up Question…I’ve been debating getting an SEM filter.  I have the Wasp currently. Which SEM do you have and how would you say it differs from the Wasp?

I love both. Doepfer filters sound so good and are so cheap….it’s hard to avoid buying them. The wasp as you know is very aggressive and gritty the SEM is a bit tamer but definitely has a unique, spooky character all of its own. I think both are great for creating very atmospheric sounds. Like if I were to write a horror movie score SEM would be the opening theme and the the Wasp would be for a scene where someone gets murdered lol

John Carpenter’s early scores were all written and recorded on SEM. The filter is what gives his stuff such a unique (and fucking awesome) sound.

Lastly, how would you describe your Halloween performance to someone unfamiliar with this crazy modular world we live in?

Like if the score to Suspiria and the noises a dial up modem makes had some sort of evil love child.

Thanks Jon!! Looking forward to checking out your next show!
~Jon (yohan753) 

Ben The Glorious Bastard – Sounds of Horror

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 Ben the Glorious Bastard. Be sure to check out his Instagram to see what else he has going on.

Ben the glorious bastard

Modular synths seem to be a pretty specific niche.  What draws you into modular vs. standard synths or other options?

I guess I felt like I explored all the other options? Haha! Actually, I always wanted to have a modular but for the longest time it was pretty expensive with quite few options. When Eurorack developed, modules became more affordable and lots of interesting things popped up. The 0-Coast has been my gateway into the modular world. From then, I was down the rabbit hole!

Why do you choose to perform live on what can potentially be a fairly complicated setup?

Cause it’s fun! A live patch is only as complicated as you make it so I think it’s always doable to do something that stays fun to play and, hopefully, fun to listen to.

How long have you been playing on modular?

2 years. 

What do you find to be the most challenging aspect of modular synths?

The price. Other than that, it depends how you look at it. Sometimes I’m bothered by the lack of standards in Eurorack, like what’s 0-5V, -5/+5V, 0/10V, 0/8V, etc. I’d say that poses a challenge to the user. Another challenge is, once a patch is gone, it’s gone. It’s pretty difficult to take accurate and exhaustive notes and exactly replicate a patch.

What type of music (non-modular) do you find inspirational?  Artists and/or genres.

I started playing the modular with mostly Terry Riley in mind, precisely A Rainbow Over Curved Air. The sounds on this record come from an organ and tapes but it has that modular vibe to it. All of of his work is a major inspiration. Other artists like Sun Ra, Giorgio Moroder, Parliament, Lee Perry, RZA, Ennio Morricone, Megadeth, lots of different genres.

Can you name a module that inspires you the most?

It would go between the Verbos Harmonic Oscillator and Mannequins Just Friends. One classic and one modern. Both outstanding modules. So many possibilities and sounds.

What was the first module you purchased/acquired?

Maths because otherwise you cannot tell people you have a modular and the Random*Source Serge Triple+ Waveshaper. The latter is truly a fantastic sounding module I can’t recommend enough.

What was the last module you purchased/acquired?

Hex Inverter Mutant Brain, incredible MIDI to CV module, entirely and easily configurable.

Currently, what is your favorite module?

Just Friends. I mostly used it as a modulation source for more than a year and now I use it as an oscillator. It’s so good, so many possibilities and incredible sounds. 6 oscillators with FM and mind-blowing controls.

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?

Yes. I totally separate the patch sessions. There are times I’m specifically focusing on a technique or on doing something musical or on going fully weird and outside of the box in any possible way. I think it’s important to have clear times for each. If I remember correctly, Devarahi says something like that in his classic book. To each their own though, as long as you have fun.

Can you give a brief “rig rundown” or “patch notes” from your Halloween performance? 

Pretty simple 3-voice rig controlled by a Stillson Hammer MkII driving an Harmonic Oscillator, Just Friends and a Mangrove modulated by Sisters, Maths and Cold Mac.

Lastly, how would you describe your Halloween performance to someone unfamiliar with this crazy modular world we live in?

Tu-tu-tu-tu-tah-tah-tah-tah-Boom-tu-tah-Bap-t-t-t-tahtutaht-Boom-tchitchitchi-Bap 

Put into words it’s kinda like Hip-Hop beats mixed with modular and I try my best to keep it entertaining.


Thanks Ben!! Keep up the good work…and I can’t wait to check out your next performance!
~Jon (yohan753)

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