We spoke to Sub Focus about why his modular Eurorack synth is at the heart of his studio.
"The most unique and inspiring piece of kit I have in my studio is my Eurorack Modular synth that I started building in 2015. For the uninitiated, modulars are kind of what all synths used to look like before manufacturers like Moog started adding keyboards to them in the ’70s – I’ve always loved the ‘science lab’ look of them.
"You build them using components from multiple different small manufacturers so you can end up with a combination of modules that is totally unique to your system. There are hundreds of different modules available now so there are many permutations! You create sounds by connecting them using patch cables so when patched they end up looking like old skool telephone exchanges.
"I’ve got a 9U case that I’ve filled with modules from the likes of Intelijel, Make Noise, Mutable Instruments, ALM and more. There are a few concepts in modular that aren’t used much when making music in a computer. Using random generators to create melodies or rhythms for example. You can use them to create automatically generated randomised patterns - the challenge is to limit the random to musically-interesting values.
"Also as you can connect anything to anything by patching you can end up with interesting and sometimes unexpected results. It’s really inspiring to have something in the studio to manipulate with your hands in the real world rather than being stuck in the computer the whole time."
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"Most recently me and Dimension used it on our collab ‘Desire’, we started the track by creating the intro pads using Rings – Physical modelling synthesis – put through a Valhalla Shimmer reverb on the Z-DSP resampled into Morphagene – a granular sampler module."
"For anyone wanting to get into modular here are some links worth checking out:
Mylar Melodies has a great Youtube channel - his Metropolis video pretty much got me into modular in the first place.
Richard Devine makes amazing music purely on modular.
VCV is a virtual modular platform – good for trying out modular on a computer without the expense of building one."
Sub Focus and Dimensions' new single 'Desire' is out now