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Michael Paradinas Interview

May 1998 via via telephone by Paul Clark.

What equipment do you use?

Well, I have an Atari with Cubeat, and I've got Cubase as well. That's it really, sequencing wise. I've got a DX11, Nord Lead 2, D50, Casio FZ1 and an ESI-32.

That's the one that came out just before the ESI-4000 isn't it?

Yep.

Basically the same thing though?

Yeah, but you can get it up to 64Mb (of RAM) instead of 32Mb. I've also got an MPC-3000 (Akai) which is for playing live. I load up everything from the Atari into that. I've also got a mixing desk, a Spirit Folio (Soundcraft), and some effects.

Do you find yourself importing stuff into the Atari from a mixing deck, or do you record it real-time?

All real-time. You can't put anything into the Atari, just MIDI information.

Oh, I wasn't aware of that?

Yeah, I've got an old one from about 1988, it's only a sequencer. I use samplers.

So you use Cubase to triggers the samples.

That's what it does, the old one. They've introduced audio capabilities in recent years.

You performed at the Hammerstein last night (opening for Bjork), and again tonight. How did it go?

It went alright I think. There were a lot of people into it, especially around the back. Down at the front there was a core of fans who were a bit abusive, which is to be expected I think.

How many times have you been over here performing?

In New York I've been here twice before, and twice in San Francisco.

What do you use on stage?

The MPC-3000 and the ESI-32, and that's it, going through the mixing desk.

On your new EP (Brace Yourself) there's a track - Vaken Bolt - which sounds like there's some vintage Moog sounds in there...?

Really. It sounds really analog.

Wicked isn't it. You don't think FM can sound like that but is does. If you EQ it right and put a bit of reverb on it, and have that portamento at the right number y'know it'll sound like that.

So how familiar are you with the kind of processes that go into the operation and manipulation of FM synthesis.

I'm pretty familiar with it. It's very easy to get a handle on it once you know it, though I've only got a four operator synth, unlike the DX7 which you can do a lot more with, I've only got four algorithms and the DX7 has six.

When I first heard Lunatic Harness, which was also the first time I'd heard your music, I noticed there was just so much stuff going on. Don't you ever find that you have to kind of backtrack out of a place where all the rhythmns have taken the music?

Some of the tracks demand it, for me. I've been getting into more of the subtler beats I think, like on the two slower songs on the new E.P.. Vakken Bolt has a pretty simple beat, and Intellitag as well.

Obviously the complexities which you introduce into the music reflect the way you are. The way you think.

It's just how I hear rythmns in my head.

So you don't sit down and actively try and make it sound complex?

Oh no, no. That's how I think it should be. I'm trying to make it funky.

How's the electronic scene in Europe, who do you find yourself hanging out with?

So you don't all hang out, heading off to...

South Africa or something, no. It's the same as you, I've got friends and we all like the same sort of music and can end up making up the same sort of music and all know each other and that'll get called a scene. That's how scenes get made I suppose.

Is there a scene in Worcester?

No, there isn't.

Just you?

Yeah, I moved there.

Well that's a good enough reason to move then I guess

Yes it is. It's pretty quiet.

What do you have on your shopping list?

Well, I want to get a compressor.

A compressor?

Yes, because my songs I think are too dynamic. I want to get them sounding louder. Also another EQ so I can get different things out of tracks. I don't want to get into the audio on the computer thing really, I'd rather have a stand alone unit for everything, maybe.

So you're not too concerned about virtualizing your whole hardware set-up.

No, not really. I mean, I can do it all with what I've got so there's no real reason to change at the moment. The new Akai samplers look pretty good though, the new S-6000's. They look like they've got a good interface.

It seems like the Atari is a really popular device over there in England!

It is, and it handles MIDI faster than a Mac or a PC.

Does it really?

Yeah, because MIDI goes straight in so you don't have to get a separate box (MIDI interface). I also really like the interface, and there's nothing I can't do on it. Sequencing wise.

So how do you put your music together?

I don't know, I just write. I go into the studio and write.

So it's not a case of rhythmn first, then melody or whatever...

Well I tend to work in loops you see, so I'll lay down the whole thing, I'll work for five minutes laying down the whole thing, everything, in a loop, and then work with that. Maybe do a few loops, and then try to link the three loops together and into an arrangement or something, and then I'll play drums over those loops, just like a real drummer would.

Website: Mike Paradinas