“When you work with waves it’s essential to keep your vibrations in check.” The LA-based producer shows us round his home studio.
M. Geddes Gengras – My Studio
Green Machines mkII is based in East LA, in an extra bedroom in my house. I usually end up using my laptop to record these days so I’ve gotten pretty portable, but all of the fun stuff is in here. I ‘treated’ the room by throwing all my records in here and putting a rug down – it sounds weird but workable. It’s more important to me to be able to work whenever inspiration strikes than to have a perfect space to do it in.
For the past five or so years, the modular synthesiser has been at the center of my music, conceptually, compositionally, and especially in the world of timbral exploration. An open patching system allows me to find endless new tones and behaviours with a few simple, building block-style components. For live work, it presents a fully customisable instrument and interface every time you re-patch it. My case has a hodge-podge of different stuff in it at any given time, but some of my favourite modules right now are coming from Make Noise, Synthesis Technology, and ADDAC among many others.
Allen & Heath Zed 14
I like to use a mixer, both for live performance and recording, to have more tactile control and sound-sculpting options. The Allen & Heath Zed 14 is the only small- to mid-size mixer I’ve found with four auxiliary sends, which gives me a lot of flexibility running effect chains or feeding sound back into the synth. I’m also a sucker for the long faders and the really decent EQs.
For recording, I’m usually tracking one stereo take at a time, so the API A2D was a huge upgrade for the sounds I was able to achieve. Two channels of the famous API sound (which sits perfectly between a really clean but harmonically dense sound) along with two channels of really excellent AD conversion. Pretty much everything goes through these now.
Roland Space Echo
The Space Echo is rightly a legend because it is a VIBE machine. I have a lot of delay units in my studio, but I’ve yet to find something this doesn’t sound good on. One of my favourite tricks is to turn the speed up high and the repeats all the way down to get all the tape saturation with none of the echo.
Probably the coolest piece of gear in my studio, the Publison DHM-89 is a true oddity in the world of digital effects. An early digital delay and pitch-shifter, it’s somewhat analogous to an Eventide box, but it has a really deeply weird and glitchy character. It can also be used as a really basic sampler and allows some rudimentary granular sound play. I was first turned on to this thing at The Worm in Rotterdam when we were recording the Celebrate Music Synthesizer Group record and was obsessed until I finally tracked one down in LA. This was used heavily on ISHI – all the tracks were passed through it again and again to add a shimmery harmonic gloss on everything. For a masterclass on what this machine can do, check out Bernard Parmegiani’s ‘La Création Du Monde’ here.
Vibey Gifts and Scores
A collection of vibey gifts and scores, including a fake crystal from one of the chandeliers at The Mohawk that my friend Diva stole for me, a chunk of the wall from the Black Ark, and an incense burner I brought back from Nara, Japan. When you work with waves it’s essential to keep your vibrations in check.