What got you into synths?

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
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Re: What got you into synths?

Post by gcoudert » Thu Jan 06, 2011 7:28 pm

I discovered Jean-Michel Jarre around 1976 but it was really ELO's "Time" album in 1981 that turned me on to synths. I had this old Bontempi organ on which I played Twilight and other tracks from the album! I was 14 at the time and totally obsessed with that album, which I had originally bought for "Hold on tight" because I couldn't find a copy of the single in any of my local shops. I fell in love with the album and still listen to it quite often.

I got my first synth in 1985 (a second-hand Roland Juno 60 for FF6000), soon followed by a JX-3P.
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Re: What got you into synths?

Post by Dogboy73 » Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:47 pm

danbroad wrote:just as a poll, how old are we all? I'm guessing, Dogboy73 that '73 was around the time of your birth
What gave it away?! :)
I'm '75, and I see the same sort of influences and progression into all of this as you've had.
So you'd be around 35 then? Did you own a Commodore 64 by any chance? Some good sounds going on there. That got me into electronic sounds as well. I love some of the music the likes of Rob Hubbard was banging out. I used to tape the game soundtracks onto cassette & listen to them on my Walkman :D S**t I think I've still got the tape!! I Also used to have a program on the 64 called Electrsound. You could program your own sounds & create 3-channel arrangements. That was my first foray into actually using 'synths' I guess. I think I was about 13 or 14 at the time. Ah, those were the days :D

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Re: What got you into synths?

Post by danbroad » Sat Jan 08, 2011 3:47 pm

Never had a computer until I qualified from university - but I remember being a *guru* at programming the Casio CZ101.... ! Jarre's Oxygene gatefold LP, with all that tasty analogue goodness [IIRC, was he sitting in front of the mammoth sequencer Michael Geiss made for him? And yes, the synths listed by name.... and my Dad's [now regrettably binned] Tangerine Dream LP collection

I would record CZ101/old Yamaha PSR home keyboard blips and lines onto my folk's tape deck, then using the tape-to-tape function, multitrack it.... this is way before I knew about multitracker programs... And then record in some acoustic guitar using the headphones as a body-mic....

I s'pose Dad wondered why he got through so many sets of 'phones....
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Re: What got you into synths?

Post by mharris80 » Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:19 pm

danbroad wrote:just as a poll, how old are we all? I'm guessing, Dogboy73 that '73 was around the time of your birth - I'm '75, and I see the same sort of influences and progression into all of this as you've had. It'd be quite telling to see how different generations were exposed to synthesis... the older guys because it was all new, us 'middling' guys because some of the classic albums were cut - the late 70's through older siblings/parents, and the 80's through our gradual awareness of pop, and the younger folks because of the 90's dance explosion.

We're already seeing the 'plugin' generation of producers, and there's the same split - the 'early adopters' and the 'classic tunes' listeners... just interesting observations, really!


Born in 1980. Floyd and Rush are what really got me interested. Floyd more so. Dark Side through The Wall just blew me away, and made me want to figure out what made some of those crazy sounds.

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Re: What got you into synths?

Post by Richard Gear » Sat Jan 08, 2011 6:31 pm

A Casio sk-1 at 8.

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Re: What got you into synths?

Post by Aaron2 » Fri Aug 24, 2012 11:31 pm

OK, I'm gonna bump this thing because the topic was so fascinating .... :D

"Cars" by Gary Numan got me into synths. That song sounded so powerful, and rocked so hard, even for 1979, I couldn't believe that it was a bunch of machines making those sounds. (OK, so it was really people playing the machines, but you get the idea. :lol:)

I was 11 when that song came out.

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Re: What got you into synths?

Post by vicd » Sat Aug 25, 2012 10:27 am

I'll say "blame it to the eighties!"

Jarre, Space, Kraftwerk, ABBA, Pink Floyd, Saga; literally sh*tloads of other disco/space-rock/prog-rock stuff with lots of keyboard parts all around. Film scores were all that. Many-many-many really bright guys (and not-so-bona-fide copycats) from this side of the iron curtain as well.
Paul Mauriat? Yesss. Manfred Mann? Yesss. ELO? 3ple Yesss!

Engineering/tech education brainwash was high, hence a muddy flow of pop-sci articles like "the future is now - we're gonna tell you how computers and electronics change music creation and playing".

Happened to enter an organ-playing circle, got my hands on a transistor organ beast there. Turned out I liked it more than the real one (quite an experience of going 20 miles, then back in a marginally heated bus to get your 45 minutes of real pipe organ exercise - no big fun for a Siberian winter).

Spent some of the money earned during a school vacation job to get a toy keyboard - and immediately circuit-bent it by adding a pitch-bend pot on the front panel; now could get those nasty PEEEEEOOOOOWWs...

And so it went on...


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Re: What got you into synths?

Post by glome_music » Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:57 pm

Growing up in the late 80's, but it was a slow process having no money, i used to go to Guitar Center all the time and play with Sequential Prophet VS and Studio 440 until they kicked me out permanently lol... i mean where is a 12-14 year old going to get that kind of cash. Musically, you know radio was good then -- first it was classic rock, all the standards (Rush "Tom Sawyer", Edgar Winter "Frankenstein", a lot of Pink Floyd) then later, I switched to an "alternative" station discovered Gary Numan and Ultravox (imagine hearing "Mr. X" for the first time) then there was one midnight dance show that i secretly listened to on a tiny radio at almost no volume (my parents would have killed me), just to tape stuff, my favorite tracks from what I could tape were Section 25 "Looking From a Hilltop"... Adonis "No Way Back", Anne Clark "Our Darkness"... in the early 90's I actually did buy all this stuff :) what was completely messed up is they called it the import show because the labels were imports but 75% of the music on this show was coming from Chicago and Detroit or inspired by that.. it was all house music basically, very diverse, but mixed like a house set... i thought it was from europe and made by white people, you know not having internet was a major handicap for the culturally disconnected and led to all kinds of mistakes and delusions, wasn't until the Details article in 92 that I figured it out, was shocked. ... and this is something I did not really even share with friends until college because if you listened to electronic or alternative music at that time, you were stigmatized at least where i come from.

then my last awakening, the year before leaving for college (1991) I really liked this House track Cabaret Voltaire -- What is Real so then I went to Tower in hopes to buy the single, all they had was the Mix-Up tape from 1979 and i thought, that's really curious, well that started a completely different journey into industrial music (and my biggest regret is i did not find out about Suicide's first album, or This Heat or any of that super influential stuff until mid-90s, again being in a complete cultural vaccumm.. .again remember no internet, no youtube or anything like that).. anyway that started an interest in dub/noise techniques, fx loops, later modulars, thinking of the entire studio as an instrument, without exposure to industrial & experimental music (though i never jived with a lot of the negativity in the scene) i would never have had ANY of the ideas of how to configure a studio, as i do today...

so definitely my interest in synths and electronics was motivated by all the music I heard, motivated by this idea of a space which was completely open and anything possible, people expressing themselves almost by creating their own genre of music.. and all this is completely lost today. there is nothing in music today that can come close to the excitement of those times or hearing all that stuff for the first time, i feel really bad for those growing up today

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Re: What got you into synths?

Post by iProg » Wed Aug 29, 2012 7:45 am

Cupid & Psyche by Scritti Politti
Power Windows by Rush
The Wake and Ever by IQ

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Re: What got you into synths?

Post by DesolationBlvd » Thu Aug 30, 2012 5:32 pm

The usual new wave stuff. I realized it was the keyboardists and not the guitarists that were making the sounds I liked.

Sega Genesis soundtracks. They did so much with a chip similar to the little DX series. Very little of that treacly E. PIANO 1.
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Re: What got you into synths?

Post by Nannerfan » Thu Aug 30, 2012 9:10 pm

A tie between LSD and MDMA.

These days I prefer 2-CE

no more "god factor"

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Re: What got you into synths?

Post by vladimotor » Fri Aug 31, 2012 6:21 am

Depeche Mode.

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Re: What got you into synths?

Post by Sefirosu » Thu Nov 08, 2012 6:39 pm

A live performance DVD of the band Emerson Lake and Palmer (Brussels 1971) and more particulary Keith Emerson playing his huge Modular Moog. It has fascinated me and it keeps on fascinating me

then Tangerine Dream for the hypnotical loops and the mind-blowing nappes, Vangelis who creates poetry with synth and Kraftwerk the forerunners

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Re: What got you into synths?

Post by Rick N Boogie » Fri Nov 09, 2012 12:34 am

I like alot of different styles of music, but in the 70's, it was prog rock, Yes, Gentle Giant, Floyd, ELP, etc. I became a bassist, but always loved those otherworldly synth sounds I heard from my favorite bands. Then, Geddy Lee showed me you can be a bass player, and play synthesizer. So, I bought my first one about 6 yrs ago, a Little Phatty. In the last 2 yrs, I've been through 9 more synths, but only own four presently. It's a disease, a nasty, incurable disease.
Bassist, synth junkie

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Re: What got you into synths?

Post by MrFrodo » Wed Jan 02, 2013 5:18 pm

It was wired into my DNA.

Seriously, I was two years old when the album TOTO IV was issued. The synthesizer section in the opening track, "Rosana" is what ultimately "got me into synthesizers," when I was old enough to understand what they were.
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