Tech Talk with Octave One

Detroit techno legends on their favourite kit and production techniques

Words: Andy McGirr

“Unlike some producers, we’re big fans of basslines so we spend a lot of time ensuring the bassline and drum timbres gel together really well. We sit and tweak a sound until it fits us, not necessarily if it fits the market or the sounds that are popular at the time.”

So say Detroit legends Octave One, who are hitting a string of festivals across Europe this summer with their not-to-be-missed thundering live techno shows. Here, the brothers and 430 West label heads, Lenny and Lawrence Burden, divulge some studio and production insights.

What equipment did you use back in the day?
“We started making music around 1987/88 with very minimal equipment. We had two drum machines – a Kawai R50 and Korg DDD-1 – an Akai AX61 synth and an Akai S612 sampler. We later added a Roland TR-909 drum machine. Back then it was all hardware, that’s all there was in those days to make a track.”

What does your main studio consist of now? 
“These days the studio is centred around a Midas mixing console with Pro Tools for recording and loads of plug-ins. We still have lots and lots of hardware, some of it is rack mounted, like the Roland MKS-50 Alpha Juno, plus a vast collection of effect processors, such as the Lexicon Vortex, classic keyboards like the Roland JP-8000, and some newer instruments like the Arturia Microbrute and Novation Bass Station II. It’s a big collection, probably more than 50 pieces of kit.” 

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