What got you started into synthesizers?

Discussions about anything analog, digital, MIDI, synth technology, techniques, theories and more.
Rokk
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 155
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:57 pm

Re: What got you started into synthesizers?

Post by Rokk » Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:43 am

In my very early childhood my dad used to listen a lot to Kraftwerk and Tangerine Dream and I guess this made a strong impression in my mind. When I discovered analog synthesizers some 14 years ago I felt like at home.
My first one was Korg Poly 800 which I got for a small change.

User avatar
ppg_wavecomputer
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 1047
Joined: Wed Feb 06, 2013 3:37 pm
Gear: more keys than hands (and feet)
Band: ['ramp]
Location: teutoburg forest, eastern westphalia, germany
Contact:

Re: What got you started into synthesizers?

Post by ppg_wavecomputer » Mon Apr 21, 2014 10:03 am

In around 1975/76, I first got to listen to Wendy Carlos´ "A Clockwork Orange" score (not the WB album) which blew me away for some reason (I was three years old and couldn´t tell the difference between a real orchestra and a "synthesiser" my dad told me it was). "Autobahn" by Kraftwerk and "Oxygene" by Jarre followed a little later, plus the usual suspects (i. e. Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Vangelis, and later Michael Garrison, Tomita, Synergy, Steve Roach, Robert Rich, Michael Stearns, Brian Eno... the works). The rest is history.

The first synthesiser I actually laid my hands on was a Korg MS-10 a colleague of my dad´s borrowed me for a weekend. That was in 1987.

Stephen
"Like the light from distant stars, Stephen Parsick's music has existed for some time, but is only now reaching us on Earth." Chuck van Zyl

https://doombientmusic.bandcamp.com/

https://ramp1.bandcamp.com/

https://stephenparsick.bandcamp.com/

Smoking_Gnu
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:00 pm

Re: What got you started into synthesizers?

Post by Smoking_Gnu » Mon Apr 21, 2014 7:32 pm

I've been into metal since high school, and got the idea to actually get a band going my sophomore year in college, with a friend of mine on guitar and bass, myself on vocals and either programmed drums or a separate drummer. I was interested in some of the more atmospheric sides of metal at the time (Early Enslaved, Lunar Aurora, Burzum, Aborym etc for those interested) so decided I would pick up a synthesizer to flesh our sound out - I'd never played keyboards but knew enough about music theory through my 8 years of saxophone playing to figure I could just play simple melodies and chords. Finally bought an oxygen 49 and cubase essentials the 1st semester of my junior year.

That band never came together, but I began getting into electronic music through my friend introducing to Deadmau5 around the same time. It was his much more minimal, trancey stuff from Random Album Title and For Lack of a Better name, and the concept of building up and breaking down these minimal but heavily-layered melodies over time appealed to my interest in the similar song styles of atmospheric black metal. Wanting to make use of the small fortune (for a college student) I spent on the 49 and CE, I decided I'd start learning how to write electronic music. And that was that.

The decision was definitely out of left-field, largely because I had abandoned my saxophone and any kind of music-playing after starting college. For the longest time I just thought "nah, I'm not a music person, I guess I'll have to stick with writing" (my area of study) but eventually thought "What the h**l, there's nothing here to lose." Learning actual songwriting theory (I knew how to read music and the general difference between major and minor keys, but that was it), programming, recording setup etc was definitely difficult due to my lack of having started such pursuits in high school, but I decided I'd just bulldog through it...And now the results are finally starting to pay off and I'm very glad I made such a random decision.

User avatar
calaverasgrande
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 1038
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:29 pm
Gear: MG1, MP201, MF101, MF102, Taurus 3, SH09, KPR-77, Streichfett, Dark Energy, X0Xb0x, Dronelab, Synsonics Drums, Machinedrum, Modular.
Band: N.S.V.
Location: New York
Contact:

Re: What got you started into synthesizers?

Post by calaverasgrande » Tue Apr 22, 2014 1:52 am

well my mom was a graphic artist that worked with a lot of R&B and funk bands. She made T-Shirts and posters for them and designed logos. She designed the first Neville Brothers stuff and took most of the early photos you see of that band. So as a kid I grew up hanging out with a lot of these New Orleans musicians. All mind blowing players at that.
I kind of clicked with Arthur Neville, the keyboardist of the Neville brothers. As we both were science fiction fans and he thought my Von Daniken inspired Ancient Aliens shtick was pretty funny. So I got to hang out at his house up the street from ours and play with Junos, Jupiters, pretty much anything but the Yamaha CS80 (I think it was a CS80, but I could be wrong. This was 30+ years ago). Which I thought was a corny looking piece of s**t next to the futuristic looking Roland stuff, but was apparently the best keyboard he had.
If you saw the Nevilles in the 80's and Art did the "Close Encounters of the 3rd kind" or "Star Wars" theme while they were sound checking, that was our little nerd joke.
Anyway, that was all aided and abetted by Radio Shack that came out with the Moog MG1 about the same time. A real synth, but one that I could afford! While Art was happy to let a nerdy kid fiddle with his synths (I think he saved some of the patches I made) it wasnt the same thing as having my own.
I mowed lawns and did odd jobs but never got enough to buy the MG1 before they stopped selling them. So I bought an Atari 800 instead.
Though years later I did get an MG1!

I'd also have to say that Gary Numan and a lot of the Vince Clarke stuff like Yaz completely blew my 13 year old mind.When I heard that music could be that far removed from album oriented rock that it was where I would be going as well. Especially "Cars".
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave

User avatar
briandc
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 251
Joined: Fri Feb 22, 2013 11:38 am
Real name: brian
Gear: 4 Midi controllers and anything linux! :)
Contact:

Re: What got you started into synthesizers?

Post by briandc » Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:47 pm

Nice thread!! It's always fun to read other "testimonies"...

For myself, I think Howard Jones was a big influence, along with sci-fi such as Dr. Who. The sounds took me to another world. Still do. Maybe I'm still there.. :D

I started a similar thread where I put my "story" here:

My love of musical synthesizers


brian
Feeling trapped behind Windows? Try linux: More than 500 flavors to choose from!
LinuxSynths.com
amSynth on Soundcloud

User avatar
calaverasgrande
Expert Member
Expert Member
Posts: 1038
Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:29 pm
Gear: MG1, MP201, MF101, MF102, Taurus 3, SH09, KPR-77, Streichfett, Dark Energy, X0Xb0x, Dronelab, Synsonics Drums, Machinedrum, Modular.
Band: N.S.V.
Location: New York
Contact:

Re: What got you started into synthesizers?

Post by calaverasgrande » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:09 pm

ppg_wavecomputer wrote:In around 1975/76, I first got to listen to Wendy Carlos´ "A Clockwork Orange" score (not the WB album) which blew me away for some reason (I was three years old and couldn´t tell the difference between a real orchestra and a "synthesiser" my dad told me it was). "Autobahn" by Kraftwerk and "Oxygene" by Jarre followed a little later, plus the usual suspects (i. e. Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Vangelis, and later Michael Garrison, Tomita, Synergy, Steve Roach, Robert Rich, Michael Stearns, Brian Eno... the works). The rest is history.

The first synthesiser I actually laid my hands on was a Korg MS-10 a colleague of my dad´s borrowed me for a weekend. That was in 1987.

Stephen
Yeah I forgot to mention Carlos.
The local theatre in my old neighborhood happened to be a rep house. So my teenage years I was watching Kubrick, Kurosawa and Fellini films instead of the slasher flicks at the cineplex.
The Clockwork Orange score easily predates the synthpop and new wave bands which had a huge influence on me, but I think a lot of us kind of forget it (and Tron) because it's not "a band".
Still, you can't deny the carnivorous hugeness of the Clockwork Orange themes. The versions of classical compostions are great for their timbre and amazing technical achievement. But her own compositions are as beguiling to me as those are. I did not know until years later that she experimented with microtonal scales, though I am not positive that she did so on that soundtrack, it does sound rather foreign to my ear in places. And I still hold that soundtrack as a benchmark for what a great synth sound can be.
Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave

Rezisehtnys
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:32 am
Real name: Casey
Gear: Ensoniq VFX
KORG Monotron
KORG Triton
Peavey Fury 1992
Peavey KB-300
Peavey Milestone 1984
Roland JX-8P
Waldorf Micro Q
Yamaha KX5
Yamaha SY77

Re: What got you started into synthesizers?

Post by Rezisehtnys » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:09 pm

Things can only get better, right? :P

User avatar
SeventhStar
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 160
Joined: Sun Dec 22, 2013 3:27 am
Gear: (Sequential Prophet 600, MULTI-TRAK & TOM), DARK STAR, Arturia Prophet V & Modular V, M-AUDIO Keystation 61es
Location: AZ

Re: What got you started into synthesizers?

Post by SeventhStar » Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:35 am

I've decided to make my response into a photo essay.. These TWO guys here are the primary culprits for my interest in synthesizers:

Image


Image


Howarth's Glasses are Awesome!!
Image

These Soundtracks
Image

This Soundtrack too
Image

This guy's speech with synth in background..
Image

The music that accompanied this bad-a*s here
Image

Can't leave out this guy's theme song and soundtrack!
Image

Did I already mention this weirdo here?
Image

Last, but not least, these TWO weirdos here, who created the instruments for the other weirdos above to make music with.
Image

User avatar
Weirdofromouterspace
Active Member
Active Member
Posts: 336
Joined: Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:30 pm
Real name: Bodo
Gear: MFOS SLMS+ & Ultimate, TTSH, DX7IID, DX21, Minibrute, Poly-800, microKORG, microSAMPLER, Volca Beats & Bass, JX-03, Tr-8, Kawai K1, Jasper
Location: Germany

Re: What got you started into synthesizers?

Post by Weirdofromouterspace » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:09 am

Hi,

my music addiction began in '75 when I got my first guitar and took beginner's lessons. At the end of the decade, I developed my own heavy Beatlemania infection, much to the disapproval of my mom. She still doesn't like them now because I played them all day without an interruption :lol: . Never mind, I still like them :-) .

However, my real musical awakening was somewhen around 1980 (I was about 13 at the time) when friends introduced me to the must-haves of 70s rock music: Deep Purple and the follow-up bands, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd, The Doors... you know what I mean :D . I'll be thankful for the rest of my life. The first record I ever bought for myself was DP's 'Made in Japan' live album. Which I still have and love.

I actually wasn't that much into synths in those days. When you turned on the radio in the early 80s, most of what you'd hear was that typical 80s synth pop (bands like Depeche Mode, Tears For Fears, and that kind of stuff) which I absolutely loathed at that time and still do not like at all today. At that time I actually developed some kind of 'synths are *blargh*' attitude, which was actually not fair towards the instruments. Anyway, I soon enough figured the instruments were not to blame - after all, bands like Pink Floyd, ELP and even - although to a lesser extent - my all-time favorites Deep Purple and Rainbow used them. So it should've been 'synth pop is *blargh*' 8-) :twisted: . I stand by this until today ;) . I still do not like most 'pop' music now - and hip-hop, techno etc. make me leave the room ;-). I do like a few electronics-only bands though, namely Kraftwerk (now who doesn't?), Tangerine Dream, the fantastic but not very well known debut album by The United States of America, J-M Jarre, Alan Parsons, Klaus Schulze and a few more. Recently, I 'discovered' a rather retro-sounding psychedelic rock band which I'll see live in concert in a week :yahoo: , and who make heavy (double meaning of the word intended ;-) ) use of analog synths - Vibravoid. I don't know if they are known outside Germany, but they sound a bit like Pink Floyd jamming with Hawkwind, and Amon Düül joining in occasionally.

In the early 90s I played guitar and sang in an amateur rock band, and this is where synthesizers come in. We decided some of our songs could do well with some organ-or-whatever stuff, and I finally bought my first synth somewhen between 92 and 94 (I don't remember exactly). It was a DX21, which I still have and use. My programming attempts were not very successful, though... it probably wasn't exactly very clever to try and get some "fat and mellotron-like" sounds out of the DX21 :lol: . I know that now.

Those days are long gone, but I am very happy I still had some tapes (self-recorded audio, and even a video recording someone took at one of our concerts and gave it to us) which I then copied to a CD and a DVD.

Today, I mainly record my own stuff at home, just for fun and without any professional ambitions. It is actually quite simple: I do not have enough hands to play one or two guitars, a bass guitar, drums, synth, and possibly additionally sing and/or play a sax... So multi-tracking is the thing to do if I want to hear how my songs actually sound :) .

And then, just a few months ago, I decided to add an analog synth to get sounds the DX21 is simply not intended for. It is small, almost square and its name is 'Minibrute' :-). Man, I just love that thing.

When things get rolling it is hard to stop them... this is why I now also got a DX7IID off Ebay. Must be the hunter's & collector's gene in us all ;-).

Let's see where this is going from here... :D .

Music was my first love and it 'll be my last (John Miles).
Don't forget to TURN ON THE SYNTHESIZER. Often this is the reason why you get no sound out of it. - ARP 2600 manual, 1971

User avatar
Walter Ego
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 897
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:17 pm
Gear: Various noisemakers hidden around my home and classroom. And a great quantity of caffeine.
Band: 12"VS
Location: Near Boston

Re: What got you started into synthesizers?

Post by Walter Ego » Wed Apr 23, 2014 4:16 pm

It's the otherworldly music of the alienated. At least for me.
Walter Ego
seamonkey wrote:I nominate this for STUPIDEST THREAD ever in the history of the internez. ;)

Sensory
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2014 4:31 am

Re: What got you started into synthesizers?

Post by Sensory » Thu Apr 24, 2014 5:37 am

awesome thread !

User avatar
vin14
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 146
Joined: Tue May 19, 2009 7:07 pm
Gear: ∂Juno1 / BassStation Rack / CS-5 / D-50 / DX7 / Juno-106 / M1 / Minibrute / SK20 / SY85 / Trident / Voyager OS / Minimonsta / ImpOSCar
Band: oddball
Location: Ireland
Contact:

Re: What got you started into synthesizers?

Post by vin14 » Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:18 am

Simple really, my favorite music from when I was a kid in the early to mid eighties, which strangely enough wasn't by full-on synth acts, however the synths were a big part. Ultravox with that Odyssey lead, Duran with those Crumar Strings and Numan with that Polymoog lead. Kraftwerk deserve a mention too amongst many others, as do Depeche Mode and Pet Shop Boys, but we're probably getting more into samplers at that stage.

Rezisehtnys
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 211
Joined: Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:32 am
Real name: Casey
Gear: Ensoniq VFX
KORG Monotron
KORG Triton
Peavey Fury 1992
Peavey KB-300
Peavey Milestone 1984
Roland JX-8P
Waldorf Micro Q
Yamaha KX5
Yamaha SY77

Re: What got you started into synthesizers?

Post by Rezisehtnys » Fri Apr 25, 2014 3:03 pm

vin14 wrote:Simple really, my favorite music from when I was a kid in the early to mid eighties, which strangely enough wasn't by full-on synth acts, however the synths were a big part. Ultravox with that Odyssey lead, Duran with those Crumar Strings and Numan with that Polymoog lead. Kraftwerk deserve a mention too amongst many others, as do Depeche Mode and Pet Shop Boys, but we're probably getting more into samplers at that stage.
Can't say for certain with the Pet Shop Boys without looking it all up, but Depeche Mode continued to use synthesizers along with the samplers throughout their career. At times I want to grab an EMax just to get my early Depeche Mode on. :P

User avatar
Sheherezadeh
Newbie
Newbie
Posts: 37
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2014 3:55 pm
Gear: OB6m/Prophet 08/Sub 37/Tetra/Minilogue/Slim Phatty/MS20m/Mini+Micro Brutes/Virus TI/AN1X/Ion/JP8000/Z1/Microkorg XL/System 1m/Rocket/XS8/NE373/RD700GX

Re: What got you started into synthesizers?

Post by Sheherezadeh » Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:41 pm

I started with a digital piano/controller (PC-88 MX) that had a few hundred sounds but no way to really edit any of them other than applying a few bare bones effects and layering several patches together, so any real kind of synthesis just wasn't possible. Growing up the artists I listened to tended to feature a lot of keyboards (from Elton John to Yanni to Dream Theater to Depeche Mode, etc.), and I was always amazed at the different noises that keyboards could produce, particularly the sounds that didn't resemble any other instrument on the planet.

I became attracted to rock and guitar playing, and keyboards mostly went on the back burner for awhile, though I still played occasionally and keyboards still tended to be a common feature in my listening. Then several pieces came together, I saw Yes live with Wakeman, I got into listening to jazz a lot more heavily, I started playing piano and then keyboards in a band. I went on a quite lengthy research binge for months on end, acquainting myself with the keyboard world, starting to buy some gear, which included a ROMpler rack (Motif ES) and a virtual analog (Ion). I started teaching myself synthesis and programming, tweaking presets, some of my own creations, etc.

It was an odd realization to me at the time that I'd been playing keyboard instruments for around a decade at that point, but had never really learned techniques like pitch bending and such. Years went on, my playing volume went back down some, I was also playing more bass and drums instead of keyboards. Electronic music gradually took over as my most listened to genre. I eventually bought a lot more keyboards once I was in a steady job, and I started playing more keyboards in bands again. Now I endeavor each day to play a little better and know a little bit more.

georgemarauder
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 210
Joined: Fri Oct 28, 2011 6:47 pm

Re: What got you started into synthesizers?

Post by georgemarauder » Fri Apr 25, 2014 6:48 pm

My influences aren't the typical 80s synth bands and stuff, but more of the obscure jazz-funk, soul-jazz, etc. of the 70s that used synthesizers. Manzel, Roy Ayers, Lonnie Liston Smith, Kool and the Gang, etc.

Also, Pink Floyd, Sun Ra, Giorgio Moroder.

Post Reply