127 - Martin Yam Møller
Artist Interviews 🎶 Studio Tours 🎛
Hello music people 👋
Today in the spotlight, Martin Yam Møller
Currently in Denmark, his approach in music making is combining the extremes until something clicks. But he does not only make music. He is also very active on YouTube creating content around gear and he does interviews of other musicians 🎶
Interview & Studio Tour
Who are you and what is your relationship with music?
I'm half Chinese and half Danish, currently living in Denmark with my family.
Grew up in the 90's in Hong Kong, where I started playing punk rock drums in my early teens... Over the years that somehow morphed into becoming an electronic music producer who makes lofi ambient beats, as well as an indie folk songwriter.
Yet somehow I'm still using the same 90's 4-track cassette tape machines as a basis of the aesthetic that I like to work with.
Hmm, kinda odd now that I think about it.
Which piece of equipment in your studio is essential to your production process?
That would be the Tascam 424 mk1.
I use it for my livestreams on YouTube, where I improvise and mix together sounds from cassette tapes that I have recorded... Playing what I like to think of as a kind of dub music from a parallel-universe, with 4 fx pedal loopers.
In the photo from my livestream, you can see (left to right) the Eventide H90, Empress Reverb, Echosystem and Hologram Electronics Microcosm.
What is the least expensive piece of gear that gave you the most results?
Yamaha GuitarLele. It's a half sized 6 string acoustic, that sounds somewhere between a classical guitar and a ukulele. Wrote many riffs on that thing, along with my old iPhone 6 and Koala Sampler.
A close second place is the Zoom MS-70CDR multi-fx. It has so many algorithms and it is really flexible. Also I quite like that it has 2 jacks for stereo input. Instead of a single TRS input which a lot of fx pedals use. Which is maddening!
Another way of answering this question is "any laptop, headphone and whatever DAW". If you think about it. The capability of what you can do with that, is pretty much infinite. So even if it cost more that 5 grand. It is still the least expensive in comparison to 'infinite' results, right?
I dunno, we're living a golden age! Guess that's just hard to spot when it's simple a part of everyday life.
Walk us through your process for creating and producing music.
For the lofi ambient beats and drone-scape stuff, I pretty much use anything and everything.
Ableton, Reaper, Splice loops, Teenage Engineering OPZ, Looper fx pedals, Toy instruments, DIY modded odd guitars, 90's rack synths and many, many different iOS apps.
With all of the above, I then compose a metric sh!t-ton of music. After some months I then select the best bits to record onto 4-track tape. Of which I now have a collection of over 250 cassettes.
I use these to mix together and improvise, like a DJ, for my livestreams on my YouTube channel.
As for the indie folk songs. I just sit down with a guitar and play. But writing that kind of stuff takes a really long time.
What is a production technique that you always come back to?
Layering, it's fascinating.
You can support G.A.S. Newsletter
If you’re enjoying these studio tours & the interviews, chances are your friends will enjoy them too. Help me reach more readers, and grow this community, by sharing this issue:
How would you describe your style?
I often aim for something 'magnetic'. I dunno why, but that word pops up into my head a lot when I'm selecting music to record to tape. Also crunchy, sleazy, sloppy-saurus and hectic meditation.
Being half Scandinavian and half Asian, I often try to jam together two extreme contrasts, just to see how the juxtaposition unfolds.
What is a big challenge you have as an artist?
Well, in the creative process.... I suppose the biggest challenge is finding the right balance. Not just mixing of volumes. But a balance of pitches, timbres, rhythms, emotions and stories. Feelings even!
With regards to life as an artist... The obvious challenge is finding enough time. Which, I actually also think is kinda bullshit. Because there is no more or less time for anyone. We all have exactly 24 hours in a day, 7 days a week etc.
It's really a matter of priority. Finding out what is most important to you and then choosing to spend the time to actually do it.... In fact, now that I think about it..... It's clearly a challenge of prioritizing desires, and balancing those. There it is again...
Has building a hardware setup changed your perspective on music or life in general?
Nope. Hasn't changed. I've always thought that a hardware setup is a material conversation between maker and user.
One tip on how to spark creativity?
The only way to spark creativity is to create. Therefore - Make creating a habit.
For example 'spend 15min every day programming a beat' or have a determined spot on the couch where you go to pluck on the guitar after work or school.
A book, movie, article, or album that has inspired you?
Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
Sound On Sound Sigur Ros Interview July 2002
Boards of Canada - Music Has the Right to Children
Do you have a question in mind that you think I should have asked?
You didn't even ask me what my favorite knob/switch or fader on a piece of gear was!
(I can't answer that, it's like choosing between your children! I love'em all dearly)
Where can people find more of your music and connect with you online?
I'm very active on YouTube making how-to tutorials and interviews.
Also on Instagram, where I mainly demo fun little setups.
And I also have blog with interviews of my fellow musicians, where I ask them 9 Odd Questions for Music Gear Junkies.
Oh dear lord. I've had way too much.... I once had a Kyma Capybara 320 system, mainly because I was a huge fan of Ben Burtt - a fantastic sound designer. I still could not make sounds like Ben Burtt, because his ideas are ... well, visionary (there really should be an equivalent word for that in audio ... "sonic-nary"?
But I think my favorite setup is the MoogRack, which is a tall, wooden rack of most of the MoogerFoogers in combination with the Voyager RME synth. All tied together into Ableton via a soundcard and a big touchscreen. Took me 10 years to collect and connect it all.
I've made a lot of hefty beats for cassette tapes with this setup.
Also got a couple of small Eurorack cases. Very focused on hands-on controls with a single synth voice, sequencer and a granular sampler. Still lots to explore with those little beauties.
Though my current crush is the Ableton Push 3 Standalone... sold a lot of gear to buy it, even my beloved Akai MPC Live.... But totally worth it!.... My Precious!
In Case You Missed It
For jams, knob-twists and pad hitting videos go to G.A.S. Instagram
Do you know someone who would like this email? Forward it to them 📤💗
As a means to support G.A.S. Newsletter, affiliate links might be included in the issue. If you make a purchase through them, I get a commission with no extra cost to you.