131 - Hissquiet
Artist Interviews 🎶 Studio Tours 🎛
Hello music people 👋
Today in the spotlight, Hissquiet
Currently in United States, a designer with training in music. After a big break, re-discovered the urge to make music when stumbled upon… modular synthesizers 🎶
Interview & Studio Tour
Who are you and what is your relationship with music?
I’m Ash Farrand aka Hissquiet and I’m currently living in the middle of nowhere, Western Massachusetts, where there is currently a thriving experimental music scene -some folks might be surprised to know!
I guess in middle school the music teacher saw something in me and asked me and a few other kids to join band after school and that’s where I picked up the clarinet. Later in high school I started playing the bass clarinet in marching band and because I was discovering alternative music and wanted to be more punk I took guitar classes and barely started a band at one point, we didn’t play shows. For a minute I played with Fruity Loops but not seriously.
After high school with no focused activity to get me to play music I stopped for a good decade. One evening discovering the rabbit hole that was “no talking aesthetic modular jams” on youtube during it’s peak in the mid 2010’s I got the urge to start making music again. I think the next day I picked up a midi controller and Ableton. Slowly moved into hardware synths and pedals and just recently modular.
I currently make a living as a freelance designer (designing stuff for Lisa Bella Donna, Blankfor.ms and other folks). I don’t intend to make money from music though I have from various physical and digital releases and shows, but it’s not my current aim.
Which piece of equipment in your studio is essential to your production process?
Currently it’s morphagene and data bender. I jokingly call it my version of rings into clouds. I’m making an album based around sampling and these 2 modules, creating arrangements around experimentation with these 2.
Of course every project will be recorded into my Scarlett 18i8 and Ableton. I use Ableton for arrangement as well.
What is the least expensive piece of gear that gave you the most results?
I’ve got a noise box from Loe Sounds that Aisha sent my way as a goody when I ordered a custom fuzz from her. I literally bring it to all my shows as an interactive element in my set.
Walk us through your process for creating and producing music.
I start creating lots of different ways! Here are some typical ways I will start: a mood, a sound I have in mind that I want to try to create, an experiment I have with a new patch idea or combination of tools, an inspiration from a song or life or someone on social media will usually get me experimenting as well.
With that established I will just follow the sound and see what feels right to add and discover how these elements can be improvised over time for some sort of composition.
What is a production technique that you always come back to?
Feedback cybernetics, generative systems, improvisational interactive dynamics
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How would you describe your style?
I really love finding balance between sounds and scales that are pleasing to my western pop/rock-loving upbringing and creating a space where that is disrupted and challenged and back again. Those dynamics and that oscillation between the two feels really exciting to me.
If we want to get genre specific I experiment with ambient, dark ambient and noise music.
What is a big challenge you have as an artist?
I think my biggest challenges are time management, perfectionism and chronic pain and illness. I deal with adhd, depression, autism, and arthritis to name a few things whose symptoms are not conducive to sitting down and making/finishing music.
Has building a hardware setup changed your perspective on music or life in general?
Learning modular has been such a good learning experience. I took Sarah Belle Reids modular course and up until then I was really just fiddling with synths not fully knowing how they worked. I created 2 albums and 1 EP on those fiddlings but now, even though I still have so much more to learn, I understand on a much deeper level now.
One tip on how to spark creativity?
Take a song/track you like and try to recreate a sound from it, or recreate the composition or mood. You’re sure to create something totally unique to you even if you used somebody else’s art as an inspirational jumping off point.
A book, movie, article, or album that has inspired you?
Under the Skin the film and also Mica Levi’s score for it. A truly peak audio visual experience for me.
Anything else you'd like to say?
Like I said above I’m a freelance designer and if you're looking for some help with album art, animation, j-card / CD / vinyl design shoot me a DM!
Where can people find more of your music and connect with you online?
Soma Laboratory - Pulsar-23
ASM - Hydrasynth
Make Noise - 0-CTRL | Maths | Morphagene
Torso Electronics - T-1
Chase Bliss - Mood MKII
Hologram - Microcosm
Busy Circuits - Pams New Workout
Zlob Modular - VnIcursal
Mystic Circuits - IDUM
Noise Engineering - Manis Iteritas | 2 versio’s currently with Desmodus and Yester firmware
Bastl - Pizza | Ikarie
Doepfer - A-135-3 | Matrix Mixer
Blank with @russellwoodselectromusician art
Xodes - TP8
Apollo View - Rabbit Hole
4MS - listen I/O
Shakmat - Hipass
Expert Sleepers - disting EX
AI Synthesis - AI010
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