Récemment signé chez Aliens Production, CSIDB est le project de NickZoll, chercheur de sons qui détient le super-pouvoir de maîtriser le système de séquenceur des machines Elektron, cela explique probablement la finesse de ses compositions et la complexité des parties ryhtmiques de son dernier EP Infected. Il revient sur les outils utilisés dans le cadre de sa dernière production.
Recently signed on Aliens Production, CSIBD is Nickoll's project, a sound researcher who acquired the superpower of mastering Elektron sequencer system, and that probably explains the subtlety of his arrnagements and the complexity of the ryhtm parts on this last EP Infected. He comes back on the tools he used for this last production.
Gears and software
What gears/softwares did you use for Infected EP ?Generally speaking, I am a big fan of hardware, so all sound design and composing is done out of “the box”. I use a PC mostly for mixing and mastering.
Talking about hardware, in the current release I used several units of my favorite Swedish brand Elektron, namely Analog 4, Analog Rytm, Octatrack, Digitone and Analog Drive. Besides that, I rely heavily on my old buddy Moog Sub37, the track Marginal is mostly done on this synth, even percussions, I made them on Sub37 and sampled it to Octatrack for sequencing. As the main polysynth I use the Korg Prologue 16 voices version. Dave Smith Mopho keyboard version boosted with Tetra pops up here and there, Mopho is my oldest synth. I also used a couple of boxes from Sound Objects. Modulation effects are usually the ones that come with the synths, they are particularly good in Elektron devices, I also use a couple of fx racks, TC m-one xl is worth mentioning, I love this box for huge dirty reverbs.
In terms of software, I can’t say much here since I use it just a tiny bit. I am a long term Ableton Live user. I love sound toys plugins, especially radiator and decapitator when I need to saturate something. For mixing and mastering I heavily rely on izotope nectar and ozone. Besides that, I use reverbs from Eventide and Valhalla, and some built-in Ableton utility plugins.
Your favorite gear(s)/software(s) ?I believe industrial as a genre heavily relies on sampling, analog synths and old fashioned FM. I use Octatrack and Analog Rytm for sample manipulation, Analog 4, Moog Sub 37 and Korg Prologue for warm and overdriven analog tones, Digitone and Korg Prologue to create cold dystopian FM sounds.
I love Elektron devices for their fancy sequencers and inspiring workflow. Moog is my favorite synth for tweakability, awesome gain/saturation abilities, and its bass of course.
Besides that, Korg Prologue is a sound designer's dream synth.
Any evolution in your setup ?
Over the last 14 years I have used a lot of different gears, currently I am very happy with my setup. All sequencers are synchronized to Octatrack, just press play button and dive into inspiration. My composing process is completely dawless which is a lot of joy. Nowadays I heavily rely on Elektron’s sequencers with their famous p-lock, that’s a great way to achieve live, always changing and pretty experimental I would say production.
Do you use/tweak presets ?I don’t really use presets, I don’t even use the patches I have previously created myself. Every time I start a new track, I like to start from scratch and tweak each sound to match the others.
Besides that I do quite a bit of field recording, Zoom H6 is always with me, it provides a portion of the percussive madness that you may have noticed in my tracks.
Do you design you own sound ? On which synth/plugin in particular ?I do design my own sounds. In fact I spend more time tweaking the knobs rather than composing and producing actual tracks. I pay a lot of attention to percussions, some of them are field recorded sounds that are mangled in Octatrack, the others are synthesized by one of the synths that I have.
Any personal synth story ?
Besides that, I have a long history with Korgs. My first ever hardware synth was Korg Z1, later I used R3, Radias, Electribes EMX1 and E2, I even had a couple of Volcas. Korg’s Prologue is my current favorite analog poly. I think this synth is very underappreciated, it sounds great, has a bunch of nuances, but you have to learn how to use it properly, sweetspots are rather narrow.
What would be your main writing/composing method ? Do you start classical rythm/bassline then arrange around it ? Do you already have structure in mind ? Do you improvise, record sessions then select ? ...
Whatever comes first, it may be some percussive pattern, or a bass groove, or anything else. I do not have a specific recipe. Sometimes I have a clear idea in my head, very often I don’t and I just interact with my hardware looking for inspiration. Isn’t it interesting? Composing as an act of merging between man and machine.
Do you produce/mix in the box or do you use mainly external gears (effect/comp/eq...)
To work with eq-ing and dynamics I rely on izotope, it is pretty good for the task. For fx it is both, mod effects are mostly hardware, saturation is hardware and software, final work with room is mostly software.
What is your most painful / enjoyable step in track production ? Sound design, arrangement, mixing, mastering ?
The answer is pretty straightforward. I love interacting with hardware, I hate sitting in front of the screen and clicking the mouse. I enjoy sound design and imposing steps, I enjoy much less mixing and mastering, but my general belief is nobody would do it better for me than myself.