Blending a sci-fi sensibility with some pop production polish, electronica artist ticktock (AKA Sebastian Zieler) has been setting tongues wagging recently with the release of two EPs.
The latest of these, Fault Lines, was released earlier this month, and envisages a positive future for us. “Where the last EP [TCOLT] was all Riddley Walker, everything-has-fallen stuff, Fault Lines is a future that succeeded,” says ticktock of his 5-track release. “Machines think, minds are expanding - and at the same time, it’s all green and lush and in harmony with nature. It’s techno-optimistic sci-fi, really. Hopeful and longing fantasy.”
You can listen to Fault Lines now on SoundCloud, and while you're doing that, click through the gallery and discover the gear that was used to create it, as ticktock discusses his studio essentials.
This is my setup! It’s portable - in that I hardly have anything - but I mainly use it at home. I tend to record live drums in my rehearsal space with Jacob Koefoed, who will be a much bigger part of the next ticktock release along with Jens Skovgaard. Both of them are in the live band, too.
Anyway, most of the newest ticktock EP was put to hard disk in this room. Like nearly everyone else, I run Ableton Live and Pro Tools on a MacBook Pro. I also use MetaSynth and SoundHack to create and alter sounds.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50X headphones
The bass response isn’t 100% accurate, but everything is so clear. I love these headphones. And they’ve been missing for a few days. No idea how - they’re usually on my head. Come back, M50Xs! I promise I’ll treat you better this time.
KRK Rokit RP-5 monitors and M-Audio Fast Track Pro interface
It's always good to mix on both monitors and headphones. I’ve borrowed these from my friend Martin, the Duke. I borrow quite a lot of gear - I don’t own any mics, either. The vocals on my latest EP, Fault Lines, was recorded using a Shure SM7B, which I’ll buy whenever I can.
I prefer using dynamic mics for vocals these days - the frequency range of most condensers is a bit too much. I get what I need from a decent dynamic microphone.
I use an old M-Audio Fast Track Pro interface with an equally old version of Pro Tools. I make most of my music in Ableton Live (and use a different soundcard for recording), but often finish tracks in Pro Tools - even importing files into Pro Tools from Ableton makes them sound a little fuller and clearer. I want to upgrade to a newer version of both programs soon, but money, y’know. Soon! My bookie has told me to put down some money on a totally sure thing next week...
Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface
I use this for recording and any work in Ableton. I’ll upgrade as soon as I can, but this has served me well so far. Also pictured: a wooden talisman carved by my friend Will Edgecombe. Corrects any latency issues in a heartbeat...
Big Muff Pi (Russian)
This thing 'analogues' (as a verb) all things digital really well. If you want your synths, soft and otherwise, to sound like they were welded together 100 years ago, this is the pedal you need.
And my nephew, Xavier, made me the Mexican death mask out of pearls for Halloween. It looks badass.
The beats that aren’t played on a traditional kit are often first played on this, then tweaked afterwards in Ableton. I also use it as a controller for homemade samples - both in the studio and live. Such an intuitive instrument!
External hard disks
You can’t accuse these things of being very photogenic. Moments of panic at having forgotten to do so, followed by moments of clarity, make me back my stuff up to each of these drives and to the cloud every now and then.
This is my favourite synth. I don’t have superlatives or exclamation marks enough to express how good this thing is. I’ve had it for nine years and I’m still finding out new things on it every few months. The filter on this thing is killer.
An integral part of making music. Gotta be select about my notepads. This one was bought at Goldsmiths, back when I was at university. If it wasn’t for tuition fees putting you in crippling debt for life, I’d call these wonderful notepads (with thick paper and a rough feel) cheap. I’m on my last one at the moment.