Our next Mixpak release comes from Koyote, who drops his first solo EP Midsummer Tales this week. He kindly gave us this exclusive track to give away! It’s unmastered, raw and ready.
Koyote – Dragonfly Frenzy
Seeing as he has a crazy collection of hardware and crafted the EP from his plastic-packed studio, we thought we’d ask him some geeky questions about what he’s got and how he uses it. Watch out, here comes the science…
Tell us about your studio set-up, what’s in it and have you always had this collection?
My setup is really simple : basically, I sequenced synths and drum machines hardware in Ableton Live. Right now the core of my studio is a Juno 106, an Access Virus KB and a TR909. And I often borrow Goon’s TR808 and RZ1 drum machines. I haven’t always had these machines, when I started to produce about 10 years ago, I was using Propellerhead Rebirth, a software that emulates an 909, an 808 plus two 303’s. Then I moved to Sony Acid, sampling vinyls to create tracks. ‘The Dough’ for instance was made with Acid, and all the drum sounds, the hook and the chant come from vinyl samples. Five years ago I switched to Ableton Live and wanted to use VST instruments but couldn’t get away with them so I bought my first piece of equipment, the Juno 106. Call me old school but I can’t use plugins (actually I use them to mixdown my tracks), I need keys, knobs and the psycho-acoustic effect to play an analogue synth. But I want to try different setups to make totally different tracks so I’m definitely gonna try harder to use VST instruments. Also, my girlfriend bought me an MPC 500 so I can make beats when we go camping. That’s another thing I want to do, record electronic music without using the computer. I got an old Alesis MMT-8 sequencer when I bought the Juno, I was always afraid to use it but that’s the next step.
You must make a lot of noise. are your neighbours fans of Koyote?
I guess I make a lot of noise, it was a problem when I was living in a shitty building in Paris but a couple years ago I got myself a place in the subburbs where my only neighbour is also a musician. But I don’t think he’s a fan of Koyote. So I try to be careful at night.
How do you go about choosing what hardware to use for what tracks? what kind of sounds do you get from each piece of equipment?
I don’t really have a specific approach, usually it’s more the sound that defines the track. I start jammin on a synth or drum machine, try to create a new sound or a new beat and see what happens. I do have a few marks though, if I’m looking for a fat bass I might try the Juno first, or if I want some weird arpeggios I’ll try the Virus but there’s no really specific rules. I turn on an instrument and see what’s going on.
What’s your favourite piece of hardware and why?
I’d say the TR909, I’ve been obsessed with it since I first got into electronic music and saw Jeff Mills jamming on it live in the mid 90’s. You can’t beat the groove of a 909.
Are there any pieces of equipment that you lust after, that might complete your collection?
Yeah, a lot of pieces of equipment like the Jupiter 8 or the Roland SH101, but I don’t want to stick to old analogue hardware. I’m really interested in the new synths too like the Yamaha Motif XS7 but these are really expensive and I can’t afford them, even used.
Also, I want to produce without using a computer so a next buy could be a good sampler/sequencer like the MPC5000.
From the photo, a lot of it looks vintage – have you had it for a long time or did you have to go out to find specific pieces of equipment they don’t make anymore? What do you get from the older models that you might not in the new stuff?
I first bought the Juno106 five years ago, it was a first hand from 1986 in really good shape. ‘Going out’ mostly means going on eBay or specific websites to find specific pieces of equipment. A lot is really overpriced though. But I’m not obsessed with older models, I like hardware in general, from a Speak&Spell to the latest Virus TI. Though a lot of the older ones are much easier to use so you can focus on the sound quicker.
When you were making ‘Midsummer Tales’, what equipment did you use and why? tell us about the process.
I started with the melodies, maybe sometimes the chords. I’ve been listening to a lot of classical music since I was about 14 (and Jon Lord’s Hammond solos too) so I’m obsessed with melodies, often naive ones. I know you’ve got to start with the beat to make dance tracks but I often start with the melodies. So I did all the tracks using the Virus, and only the Virus (plus a couple of samples from the Miroslav Philarmonic bundle), using the same presets I had made from one track to another to get a global colour for the EP. And at that time I had borrowed Goon’s 808 and a multiFX bass pedal from another friend, so I plugged the 808 to the pedal to get a fat grimy sound and did all the beats with it. The sound was so good but so fucked up it took me ages to mix it down.
You said you got your inspiration for this EP while on a roadtrip around France, are the sound effects real recordings?
Unfortunately I forgot my minidisc I use to record surrounding sounds so I had to find sound effects that were close to the sounds I heard during the trip.