meet DOS4GW

he never bleeds and he never fucks

So, my new setup! I figured I would write about this, because people ask me what I use and how it all fits together a fair bit, so I figure it must be interesting to someone out there. Get ready for some serious nerd business, complete with bad cameraphone pictures.

First, the boring stuff. I’ve just upgraded my PC, which is obviously the heart of the whole setup. It’s got an i7 CPU, all kinds of rams and hard drives and what not. I’m up and running with Win7 Ultimate x64, which has been giving me a bit of hassle over the last week, but I think I’ve ironed out most of my problems now. Most of my initial problems were with …

… this, a MOTU 896HD. It’s from the studio that a band that I played for a million years ago built. They are touchy things, and have given a few of us a lot of headaches over the last few years – but when it works, it’s a fantastic audio interface. Eight ins and outs make it possible for me to permanently patch in a couple of the samplers I use a lot, which saves the time and hassle of cable-swapping. The unit underneath it is a Kawai K4r, which I picked up on the cheap a few years back. It’s an interesting little synth, but I only really use it for pad type sounds – the sort of thing that I don’t have much need for. Good to have options though. It’s on the Moderate Rock album a fair bit.

My children ūüėÄ On the bottom we have one of the first Access Virus desktop modules. The synth on top is my beloved Roland System 100, which at the moment is a two oscillator beast, as I’ve only got one of the 102 expander modules. You can read more tech specs and such over here on vintagesynth. It’s an absolute monster of a synth, and I’ve used it on damn near every single DOS4GW track. The filters are pretty good, but the main reason that I love it is the rawness of the square waves that it generates, and the way the VCA just cranks. PWM POWER ACTIVATE!

Here we have a Casio CZ3000, an 80s-tastic FM thingy. I don’t use it heaps, but it has come in very handy on occasion. Underneath is an Ensoniq Mirage, which I also fucking love. It was the first consumer-grade keyboard sampler, and I love some of the factory sounds – the pipe organ disc that I’ve got is amazing. I’ve made some pretty destructive basses with it too, mostly by sampling the System100 or Virus ¬†into it.

Samplers! On top, an Akai S3000XL, which is a pretty standard classic. It’s got eight outs, so in theory it would be awesome for running heaps of shit at once, but I only ever do things one sound at a time, so a lot of the features are somewhat wasted on me. It’s quite a clean sounding sampler, so I don’t use it heaps, but it’s still worthy of a spot in the rack – unlike the U220 piece of crap underneath it that I can’t even remember why I’ve got. Should take that out really.

At the bottom of the rack is a much more interesting little beast, my Akai S612. I think this is my all time favourite sampler. Ignore what vintagesynth says about it being unusable these days – they are usually reliable but it’s a fucking interesting machine to say the least. It’s only “limited” by your imagination. Front mounted inputs, which is handy; fuck all sample time, but it sounds disgusting. The real killer is the way you set sample start/end points; there’s a slider for each! How awesome is that? It makes for some fucking amazing synth tweaking and modulation possibilities, because the sliders change the start/end points in real time. Hook an arpeggiator up to it, sample in a disgusting sound from somewhere, and just go to town on those bad boys. It really is fucking amazing – a real case of a technical ‘limitation’ having heaps of creative potential.

I’m not just using those rack units as a monitor stand (although they are helpful in that regard). The silver unit is a dbx 376 (not a review, sadly, nothing interesting really turned up) –¬†tube preamp eq, compressor/de-esser, and it’s awesome. Every synth I record goes through this before it hits the hard drive. ¬†It’s also brilliant for giving a bit of life to vocals. The preamp sounds great when you give it a bit of rizz. DANGER, EQ CLIP. Underneath the dbx is another sampler, a Roland S-220. It’s a quirky little thing, which has an alpha-dial like an Alpha Juno to edit parameters, which is a bit annoying, but I think it’s my most used sampler – the sound is a good combination of lo fi dust, dirt and years past, but not as barnacle-laden as the Mirage or S612. The “limiter” switch comes in very handy too.

Lastly we have one of the newest additions to my setup. Having a window to the outside world is something that I’ve never had in a studio space before, and I love it now. I’m easily distracted at the best of times, so that’s occasionally a problem, but having natural light in what is traditionally my nerd cave makes a huge difference to my mood. I strongly recommend it.

It’s not much, but it’s home. So this begs the question: What does your nerd cave look like? It doesn’t have to be music related. Every nerd has his or her cave. Share it with me!

You too, Bunj.

Filed under: geek shit

i don’t have to think

Go here, and watch the video. This dude is living the motherfucking dream.

Also CONRAD IS BACK,¬†thank fuck. Only 9,851 videos to go to get back to the 10k mark. It’s going to be a long journey, but together we will prevail.

Hung out with Glenn last night, was good to catch up with him. Hopefully we can get The Sheeps underway this month. Son of a bitch, the name is taken… some “americana” band. Maybe we can just roll with it anyway. Or maybe change the name to just “Sheeps” ? hmm. Musically, try to think of saaay…. this ..

…crossed with saaaay this.

Bad ass. Hopefully I can find a magenta suit.

Also, check this out.

Oh yeah. Awesome.

In other news, it’s St Patrick’s Day tomorrow, something that we take very seriously at work. The venue has traditionally been Fenians in the city, but it’s in the new Subi office this year. Not sure how well that’s going to go, but it’s free, so who am I to argue? Interestingly, HR have scheduled staff photos to be taken the next day, which is going to be… well, amusing to say the least. Mine is at 9:15AM. I am looking forward to looking like a hungover bastard for the next year or two in our HR management system.

Filed under: conrad, life

kiss this, kiss that yeah

All quiet on the Shenton front.

I’ve had this awful fucking gastro for a couple of days now and I’m not enjoying it. I’ve been lying on the couch, watching TV, playing games and wishing for a quick death.

I just watched Sam Neill dance with a monkey of some kind in a red meat advert, which pleases me. I’m usually super critical of advertising on television, because I watch most of the programs that interest me from downloads, on demand, or from something like ABC’s iView. Sport is the one thing that I still press the ‘TV’ button on the remote for. Tonight is cricket (IPL) and F1 (Bahrain qualifying). This means that I’ve seen about three ads this evening, over and over again. It makes me hate the ads, which makes me hate the products.

You’d think that some brightspark in Product Management or something would have cottoned on to this. No, I won’t drink VB, mostly because the ads shit me and are played back to fucking back during the cricketing season. Instead, if I’m of a mind, I’ll drink Export instead – which a lot of people would rate as a much worse beer than VB. One can grow to love any beer though.

God damn it, IPL trumpet man, you’re playing your one fucking theme too much. Spice it up man!

Anyway, this is still puzzling me. I’m in VB’s target demographic. I drink beer. I can afford to buy a carton or two a week, if I have reason to. I won’t though, I’d rather drink something that I don’t associate with morons putting together a pop up drinking stand and hugging each other weirdly.

Also, ANOTHER thing that pisses me off is the number of things that oneHD proclaims proudly are LIVE!!!11 but are only LIVE!!!11 to the east coast. Just put a little fucking asterisk there, or something, so that I can avoid Twitter for a few hours to prevent something being spoiled.

RARGHGRAHJE>

Relax. Breathe. Cool, calm water. A gentle breeze on an autumn day. Sam Neill dancing with a monkey to sell steak. ahhhh.

Filed under: life, shit I don't fucking like

they come with the flashing lights and take my famliy away

Went to this gig on Friday. It was.. fucking amazing. Does anyone know what the tune at 1:30 is? woah, like, massive. I’m not a good trainspotter with dubstep… wob, I’m looking at you.

It’s revitalised me somewhat, combined with the Melbourne experience.

Very hung over today, can’t concentrate on writing. Photoshop, you are soothing. Later, Anno.

Filed under: gigs, life

bright and clear

Ok, the show that I did on 3RRR in Melbourne is available for download! Just hit the To And Fro website – the download link is at the bottom of the playlist post. Thanks again to Dave for having me on. The man has even more eclectic taste than I, so I heartily suggest:

  1. Listening to the whole show
  2. Subscribing to the podcast via iTunes or RSS, or if you’re in Melbourne, just tune in every Sunday night at 8pm
  3. Sending him a Polaroid of yourself eating your favourite icecream

Anyway, I have to be quick cos I’ve got a big day on today – download the podcast and take a listen. I was deliriously hungover when we recorded it, so it should be a laugh.

Filed under: radio, tours

help me trust your mighty wisdom

Hooray! Got a project off to testing today. Celebrating tonight with a rousing round of Anno on the new box. It used to run like a dog on my old machine, which I suspect was caused by it being such a CPU intensive game. However with the new processor and ram, it kicks serious ass. Lots of little dudes running around, carrying hemp, trading dates with the Venetians.. amazing.

Massive weekend coming up; catching up with some mates, and then Gaslamp Killer tomorrow night, then Community gig on Saturday I think, followed by lunch at the ‘rents and then the Guerrilla Picnic on Sunday arvo. It starts around 3pm in Hyde Park in North Perth, so if you’re bored and feel like some gentle drinking to covert beats then come down.¬†¬†Also, ‘Sundae’ at the Rosemount this weekend is Paper Chain / Community, IIRC. Big weekend for the local boys.

I’m also looking forward to hooking all my shit back up now that this box is up and running, and getting down to the serious beat production. I’m not worrying so much about ‘oh I have to do this or that release’ after my trip; it seems that I’d probably be better served at the moment by doing a few remixes and working on a more steady stream of material. Also, going over east for shows isn’t the big deal that it is for a band, as it’s just me and a laptop, so I can drop everything at pretty much a moment’s notice if I have to.

Ok, that’s enough rope trading for one evening. Good night world.

Filed under: geek shit, life

as an old enemy

Well, I must say it’s been a weird week so far. Came back from a killer huge weekend, new people, new places, gettin’ my drank on, then BAM straight back to sensible shirts (napisan worked brilliantly for getting the bepanthen stains, cheers for that ppl) and sitting down in the office for most of the day. Culture shock, or something. I’m already planning when I’m going back next. I think I will include Sydney next time, if I can find a decent night to play at.

I got a new computer; that’s been exciting – I picked up all the parts on Tuesday and put them together that night. It’d been maybe.. five or so years since I had built a PC from scratch, but as my brother said, it’s like riding a bike, you never forget that shit. Everything has different numbers now – Core i7, P55, DDR3, SATA3 – but they all seem to fit together in the case in roughly the same fashion. It’s comforting to know that I can jam screws through motherboards and into tray risers with gay abandon and not scrape off even one surface mount component. I guess it’s also a bit bizarre, considering how fast hardware development is these days.

Things that have changed dramatically with computer assembly in the last ten years:

  1. It’s now quite hard to plug a hard drive in the wrong way.
  2. CPUs now have contacts, instead of pins – the pins are on the motherboard instead. Neat.
  3. Not much else.

Anyway, so I got Windows installed, and played me some TF2 last night to see how my old video card is holding up (I replaced my old system entirely except for the vid card, have to wait til next paycheque for that), and it turns out that it holds up admirably. Like an admiral. Full texture qual, shadows, reflections, highest AA on the list.¬†I suppose I was putting too much trust in my old CPU – probably because it cost me so much back in the day. Post purchase rationalisation, perhaps? If anyone who’s reading owns an iPhone, can you tell me if this rings any bells? Cheers.

Can’t wait to get home tonight and play some motherfucking Anno.

Filed under: geek shit, life

black is black, straight back

So, Melbourne.

It’s about twenty four hours since I got back, and I’m only kinda just starting to feel like a human again. It’s been a long road, filled with sleep and comfort food.

After breaking my alcohol drought at Ess Bar on Wednesday night, I went home, did some last minute checks with my luggage to make sure I had everything, and then called a cab to go out to the airport. One arrived on time, and I got out to the airport and onto the plane without incident. Slept through most of the flight over, which was awesome. Arrived in Melbourne at about 7am.

I caught the Skybus into the city, and then a cab to Krispin’s place in Brunswick. I could have caught a tram out, but didn’t know exactly where his place was, so cabbed it just to be sure I made it. I bashed on his door to wake him up. We had a cup of tea and some toast. There was a trip to the shops, and then out to a pub to meet Henry. The pub we were to meet up was closed, so Krispin and I waited out the front until Henry arrived by tram. We had planned to meet GDP at the same pub and had let him know where it was via an ancient form of communication that didn’t involve a mobile phone. There was a debacle with a venue change, but in the end H, K and I ended up at The Retreat on Sydney Road, which was a cool bar that had fake grass out the back. It was very lush and garden-like. Many a beer was had by all.

I eventually managed to contact GDP, who was having trouble with a show booking and hadn’t made it out to the pub yet. We agreed to go and meet him where he was staying instead. A 45 minute cab drive later (thank goodness they are cheaper in Melb than in Perth), we got to the place which was out on stop fucking 50 of a tram line from the city – a fair ways out, considering I had been expecting something a lot closer. Not to worry, we got there in the end, passing the hilariously named Dickmann St on the way. We hung out with DNA, GDP and the boys for a while, before getting on a tram to go down for soundcheck at Bar Open for Render, which ended up being unnecessary. That meant we could start drinking again.

By this stage we’d been drinking all afternoon, so we were pretty jolly. I think there was a kebab at some stage. The gig was awesome; I met and chat and drank with GDP, DNA, Baddums, Aoi, Faux Pas, Dave Slutzkin from RRR, Maude from PBS, and a bunch of other friendly (and mostly drunk) people. I played at about 11.45, and I think the set went rather well. Stage sound was awesome and Able said it sounded pretty brutal out the front.

One thing that made the gig noticeably different from a gig in Perth was the number of smokers around. I’m not a smoker, and although I give smokers shit sometimes, I don’t really have a problem with it. I like that there’s no more smoking in enclosed bars because when it was allowed, I used to come home from every single gig with absolutely everything reeking of stale smoke. My trombone used to stink. By my reckoning, at least half of the punters at the gig were smokers. Anyway.

So yeah the gig was sweet. Thanks heaps to Baddums and Aoi for inviting me over. Ripper shit. If you’re in Melbourne, make sure you check out the next Render.

I awoke the next morning with somewhat of a hangover. I looked around, not remembering how I had gotten home. I could see my wallet and phone on the coffee table, which was a relief. Then I looked around for my laptop. Then I looked around some more for my laptop. Then I messaged a few people to see if they had taken my laptop at the end of the night. Then I rang the venue to see if my laptop was still upstairs. None of these¬†endeavors¬†ended¬†positively. I was pretty bummed about that, but tried to take the long view; I bought a cheap gigging laptop on purpose, so that if something like this happened, I wouldn’t be out too much cash. Still, I was pretty attached to that laptop – I did my first ever laptop gig with it (supporting Foreign Beggars at the Manor in Leederville, for trivia heads), and it’d been with me at gigs and on tour for almost two years now. Anyway, so that put a bit of a downer on the night.

K and I did a bit of shopping out on Sydney Road, which was pretty cool. Many crappy stores line the street, but there are some sweet little nooks and crannies in amongst it all. We watched an awful film called The Fist Fighter on K’s little projector thing, as a way of holding the hangover back, but I don’t think it worked very well – mostly because the film was so god damn loose.

Later on, I caught up with Able over at Tetris, a cool studio space thing where he is staying at the moment. We went back to The Retreat and had another few jugs and shot the shit. It was interesting to talk to him after he’s been over east for a few months now. Sounds like he is meeting heaps of new and interesting people, and getting along pretty well. He told me about doing a collab with this guy Zulu, which I am pretty keen to hear.

Then .. what then? Oh yeah, Krispin and I met up with Henry and Pete, and went over to Pete’s place for dinner and beers – both of which were excellent. Pete cooked up some lamb and snags on his schmick barbie, and I met some his mates from Melbourne who were all pretty cool. We were pretty deliriously drunk by the time the evening was really rolling, thanks to several cartons of Coopers Pale. The night wore on and everyone was looking pretty buggered so K and I left.. at about midnight I think.

We walked down the street to catch a cab from the main road, and considered our options. We were both still pretty keen so headed to a bar to tie one on. The first open bar we came to was a rockabilly place with a cheap pool table. It reminded me a lot of the Hyde Park actually. Anyway, we walked in, and it turned out a bunch of people Krispin knows from work or something were there sinking piss. Winner! So we drank there for a while, and then again back at one of their houses when the bar closed.

I awoke the next morning with somewhat of a hangover. We caught a cab back to Krispin’s place. He had to work, so I took the opportunity to relax a bit and explore the shops on Sydney Road again. I had planned to meet up with Henry in the city in the afternoon to do some shopping, so I killed some time exploring, and then went into the city and eventually caught up with Henry again. We had a look around a few shops, then caught a tram out to the RRR studios in Brunswick, where I prerecorded a chat with Dave Slutzkin for the To and Fro show, that went out on Sunday night. The podcast RSS hasn’t been updated with yesterday’s show just yet, but I’ll link it when it does. I am kinda keen to listen back to what I said, because I don’t really remember.. but I remember laughing a lot and it being fun.

Then it was back to the city to meet up with my mate Aaron, who has known me since before I was born.¬†We hung out at a place called Cookie, which was pretty cool, but weirdly for bars in Melbourne, fucking expensive. Beers were consumed. Hadn’t seen Aaron for like a minute so it was great to catch up.

While we were there, I got a phone call from a random number I didn’t recognise. It was a lady called Wendy, who had found my laptop bag at a cab rank in Fitzroy! Everything was still in it. My guess is that I passed out at the cab rank or something, then when a cab came past, I had to hustle it into the thing, leaving my bag behind in the process. Wendy was walking her dog at 6am the next morning, and had tracked me down by looking at old boarding passes I had left in the back of the bag. Amazing.

We had to hustle to meet some of Henry’s mates for dinner, which was over at a place called The Lambs Go Barrrr (lol). We drank there for ages, they had like a million beers behind the bar, and we tried to go for different beers every time. We moved on into the city at some stage, and went looking for the bar where Dom was playing, but after wandering around for ages we couldn’t find it. K and I chilled in a random pub while H and P went looking around for the place – which, as it turned out, was just around the corner. We moved on, and Dom played about half an hour after we got there (which was about 1am, I think). He was amazing. A tech dnb exposition like no other.

After dancing around like an idiot for too long, we eventually bailed and went our¬†separate¬†ways. I cabbed it back to K’s place and slept for a million years.

I awoke the next morning with somewhat of a hangover. My flight was leaving in four hours, so that meant I had time to grab some food, check some more shops in the city and pick up my laptop from Wendy The Great before Skybussing to the airport for the flight back. Then it was straight from the airport in Perth to the pub – but that’s another story.

So that’s a breakdown of what went down on the weekend. I wish I had more time chilling with Baddums, DNA, Aoi, GDP and those guys, but they had gigs in Brisbane on the Friday and Saturday nights so they weren’t in the area. I wish I had gone to the Aquarium and the NGV, but it wasn’t to be. I enjoyed having a massively social weekend, rather than doing my usual solo city exploration, which is generally what I end up doing if I’m in a new city. The gig was awesome, and chatting to Dave on RRR was sweet too. Catching up with Krispin, Henry, Pete, Aaron and all the new mates really made it a memorable weekend.

I’m planning on being back in Melbourne quite a bit in the next year, so if you live in Melbourne and I didn’t have time to catch you on this trip, don’t stress, I’ll be back to do more gigs and talk more shit to whoever will listen. Thanks especially go out to the man like Krispin; crashing his place was awesome and I really appreciated getting to know some of the weirder, hidden spots in Melbourne.

Back to work tomorrow!

Filed under: gigs, legends, life, tours

when I’m feeling tired she puts food through the door

I’m at the airport. I’m a bit pissed, but not shitfaced. I will make it. I’m checked in and .. I can’t escape from the airport. ¬†yesssssssssssssssssssssssssssss

Thanks to all who helped me drink a beer earlier. Things I’m looking forward to:

1. Listening to The Shape Of Punk To Come on the flight over

2. …

3. Profit.

I’ve made calls and emails and arranged many things. Everything seems to be going to plan – touch wood. Most of the career friendly events are happening on Thursday and Thursday night. Then, it’s pretty much all systems drink until I fly back out on Sunday arvo. I’m squeezing in a prerecord for 3RRR at some stage, and catching up with a lot of mates – but these are all liquid events, that can move around anything that comes up.

Also I plan on whipping Krispin at table tennis. BRING IT.

It looks like.. something.. caught her.

YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

I love all of you. I’ll be back on Sunday.

Filed under: life, tours

i don’t mean to stare

k so I might have been lying when I said I wouldn’t have time to post again. I’m trying to post at least four times a week to this thing to keep myself on track, and god damn it I’m not going to let work get in the way.

Super Boring Project 2 – The Reckoning is going quite well **touch wood**. Future Hugo is not going to be very happy with the way I’ve hacked in some of the changes, but it’s a time sensitive project that will be great to have off my mind when I’m getting onto a plane on Wednesday night. Also, it’s not been that super boring, which was a surprise to say the least.

I’ve just finished loading my Ableton set file with some new stuff. I’m not sure how it’s gonna go, but there’s only one way to find out really. Hope the kids like it. Also, if you listen carefully, you’ll be able to spot how much I am loving Mobb Deep at the moment. It’s a little embarrassing actually.

Ok, I think I’ve managed to put together a suitably random mix for going on the radio in Melbourne. Hopefully the dude is still keen, because more radio is more … good. The mix features¬†Venetian¬†Snares, Mobb Deep, an old Chemical Brothers track, and some other totally-ill-fitting shit. I enjoy making little mixes. I don’t know what other people think of them, because I get a lot of shit for my taste in music, mostly because I own a lot of Luther Vandross and George Benson. I don’t care what you say, Luther was a fucking musical genius. Also, get ready for some motherfucking Lionel Richie:

Classic tune.

I’ve stopped thinking about the whole EP/album thing for the moment. It’s so cheap for me to go over east, seeing as it’s just me and a laptop, so I’ve come to the conclusion that it’d be pointless to try to rush something out just for the sake of it. When I finish off a release, I can just go back (and in fact I plan to go back at least two more times this year).

Anyway, I’ve finished my work for the evening, so I think I’m going to play some TF2, and get to my book early. YAY I LOVE BEING OLD NOW

Filed under: tours, work

wait, what?

I'm putting together a new album. I'm also writing about it! hooray. shit is going to be cash.

archives, innit

system 100