Scottish producer Ross Birchard, AKA Hudson Mohawke, has revealed his favourite synths and go-to gear in an interview with Resident Advisor.
Birchard praised the Dave Smith Sequential Prophet-6, claiming that it has a "richer" sound than a classic Moog. He also highlighted the Korg M50, which he recalls buying in 2007, and has used on almost everything he's recorded since. "It's kind of corny sounding but in a very pleasing way," Birchard told RA. "It has those pivotal house and techno sounds, they're kind of cheesy but naive, honest. And I like that a lot of the presets don't sound anything like the instrument that they're trying to sound like."
The producer also mentioned the Roland Alpha Juno-1, a 6-voice analogue polysynth from the late '80s. "That one also has a lot of sentimental rave sounds, the original Hoover sound," Birchard said. "It also has the chord function where you can make a setting from whatever pattern of notes you want, hit it as a chord, and then every time you hit it, it's those three notes. That's where rave stabs originally come from. I like using it even though it's not very easy—it's from that era where things were shifting to screens and they hadn't really figured out how to do loads of menus."
Discussing the newer synths in his collection, Birchard praised the Jupiter-X - "It has the classic Roland vocoder on it. It does everything, and it's very hands-on and doesn't have a lot of menus. It's nice to fuck around with" - and the ASM Hydrasynth, which he says "sounds amazing". "It has this 'random' button on it that you can use to forever generate random parameters for every parameter on it, and it'll just make that sound," Birchard continued. "Sure, it might be totally unusable. But after you do it a couple of times, then you've got a sound that's never been made before."
Elsewhere in the interview, Birchard spoke about his preference for the DAW FL Studio, which he's used consistently throughout his career. "I've tried other things, and I've kind of always stuck to this because it has this weird, idiosyncratic way of working that is not entirely logical, and doesn't immediately make sense," he told RA. "But once you figure it out, it leads you to making things in a different way than, say, looking at Ableton all the time. It has a strange workflow that is incredibly quick. It has its drawbacks and it's prone to fucking up at crucial moments. But I still love it, and I can't move away from it."
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