Marco Freivogel shows us around the hardware-loving techno duo’s studio.
My Studio – Exercise One
This is our complete space here in Berlin, featuring a young producer in the studio.
On the left you can see most of our live setup: Moog Minitaur, DSI Mopho, Elektron Analog Four, MFB Tanzbär, Octatrack and a Korg Electribe MX as sequencer for the Moog and Mopho.
I got the TR-808 this summer. Actually I found it in Berlin for a really good deal. Right away we used it on lots of tracks for our new album, especially on ‘Verlooka’ and ‘Stay’. The 808 is completely hooked up via the 11 tape input channels on the Mackie and so we recorded lots of sessions via multi-track recording through the eight buses on the old Mackie 24/8.
There’s lots of stuff said and written about this machine but just a few weeks ago I learned from the guys from Phils Synth that the clap is actually generated by noise generators that also take in sound from the machine’s surroundings. So this is why the clap and snare drum always sound different from 808 to 808, as it depends where it’s placed.
Roland SH-101, Electron Octatrack & Analog Four
One of my wife’s friends buys and sells gear regularly – he uses it for some productions, then he gets rid of the toys again. In the same way, I’ve bought some gear from him, and I sold some again as well, but the 101 is a piece that I kept. The sound is still so unique and pleasing. It’s so easy and simple to use, and the bass is just sublime. Triggered via the 808, these two guys are one of a hell combo and I will never get bored of playing around with them.
When we decided to get rid of the computers for our live set, I started to search for ways to use samples or recording possibilities in a simple and creative way. This was just when the Octatrack came out. At the beginning I really had fights with this little bastard as it is so complex and you really can use it in thousands of different ways. I had some confusion and some more fights, but then I had a moment where it became so clear how well this machine is made for me.
Elektron is for me one of the most forward-thinking companies these days, the Analog Four synth is so well thought out. What you get for the money is unbelievably good. The Analog Four is such a strong character. He’s dark, melancholic and incredibly beautiful!
After three years of working with a Little Phatty, it was time for me to get a serious synthesiser from Moog. The Voyager!
The difference is huge. We used it for the bassline of ‘Verlooka’ and the arpeggiated sequences of ‘Electric Glare’ and and and… The Voyager is like the base or mother of our studio, and I have to say he sounds so amazingly good! Using it as a classic key instrument or to do sound design, it’s just so incredibly solid.
Focal Twin6 Be
When we started the production for our first album, In Cars We Rust, in 2008, we thought we needed to change our monitors. At that time we had some Genelecs. I forget which ones, but we were never really happy with them. They just made everything sound good and powerful – but the truth was often miles away from that! In this time our mastering engineer Bo from Calyx just got the Focals for his EQing room and he highly recommended them to us. As we trust his advice we went and bought this nice pair and they are fantastic speakers. You really can work for a long time on them – they are strong in low and in high volume but most importantly they sound really true and transparent. With them we suddenly became better producers. Our mixes just sounded wider, deeper and much better balanced.
Schönheit der Technik [The Beauty of Technology] by Erich Hartmann (painter and graphic artist, 1886 – 1974).
From the very first time I saw those portraits by Erich Hartmann of computer boards and circuits I was fascinated by the clean structures, but it was the colours that grabbed me most. I got them from my father, who was an early computer programmer.