Best-known for their all-conquering remix of Mike Posner’s I Took A Pill In Ibiza - it’s racked up more than a billion streams - Seeb (Simen Eriksrud and Espen Berg) are a Norwegian DJing and production duo who’ve also worked their magic on tracks by the likes of Coldplay and Shawn Mendes.
Their most recent single, Unfamiliar, features HRVY and Goodboys, and is the first of several Seeb releases scheduled for 2020.
As well as enjoying significant success, the duo have also managed to build up a sizable collection of synths, many of which Espen Berg was kind enough to photograph and tell us about.
“As we are diehard synth geeks and have been for a long time, this is going to be a very synth-focused gear article and we are going to talk a bit about our most beloved pieces of synth gear and why we love using them,” he says.
“We don’t always use analogue synths - in fact it’s more of a mix between VST instruments and analogue synths - but this time we wanted to give these old machines a bit of love.”
1. Roland Jupiter-6
“This one is my all-time favourite and has a lot of sentimental value on top of its aggressive and raw sound. I bought it in a backyard sale here in Oslo in 1994 and the owner thought it was an organ so I got it for almost nothing.
“I sat on it for years, using it all the time until Simen and I decided to sell it off in around 2004-2005. Always regretted it so I bought it back at a much higher price and luckily it was still in good shape cosmetically, apart from a few chips and hardware that I managed to fix. We love messing around inside these old synths and most of them need regular servicing and parts so it’s all good fun.”
“This is a part of our studio and is a very unstable piece of machinery. It sounds beautiful and wild at the same time and is notorious for malfunctioning right before important tasks like recording it and so on.
“It is a bit beaten up but has completely refurbished voice cards and is heavy like a tank. We love it for pads, massive filter sounds etc.”
“We found this in Simen’s garage around six months ago. He had completely forgotten he had put it there and it was totally destroyed with a case falling apart; full of mould, rusty tines, broken keys and so on.
“We then got in touch with Vintagevibe in the US and they sent us a whole bunch of parts for a total refurbish/restoration of this beast. I guess it was worked on for the better part of 10 days before everything worked again. We even glued back the old case and repainted it yellow.
“We got it in tune with new parts, tines and pickups and it got into full use on a camp we had. At least five great songs have come out of just having it around and always connected. With the Small Stone it sounds like it’s straight out of a Bee Gees record from the late ‘70s. A vibe monster.”
4. Korg Polysix
“The Polysix is a favourite of mine from the early ‘90s. I used to use it for heavy resonated pads and stuff like that. It was a poor man’s Prophet-5 in a way.
“I was very much into David Sylvian and his early stuff back then and the Polysix could do many of those sounds so I really used it for a lot of things. In the dance wave of the mid-’90s it saw heavy use as it had the chord function.
“This one has a brand-new case as the old one fell apart. I fitted a new and modern power supply and gave it a new keybed and MIDI via the Tubbutec upgrade kit. Sounds better than ever.
5. Roland Juno-6
“I saw this one for sale in Bergen right before Christmas. I couldn’t believe it as these are very rare second-hand in Norway. The Juno-6 was my first synth back in 1983 - I sold it and have been on the lookout for one for ages.
“I immediately jumped into my electric car and drove 550KM over a mountain to Bergen that same day. On the Hardangervidda [mountain plateau] there was a blizzard and I almost ran out of batteries up there but managed to arrive in Bergen that evening.
“The seller thought I was completely nuts but I managed to get it for a good price. It’s absolutely flawless and sounds like it’s new out of the box. It gets used every single day now. On the new record we have out, Unfamiliar, you can hear it all over. Now it has gotten MIDI too.”
6. Roland Juno-106
“Another favourite. Since the Juno-6 is without patch memory this 106 gets used when we have to dial-up a classic Juno sound quickly. It sounds great in its own way and also sees daily use - it’s great for pads and basses.
“Too bad the arpeggiator from the earlier Junos didn’t get put into this. It would have made it even better - probably the best simple analogue synth ever made.”
“This is next on the list of gear we love. It is a vibe machine and we use it for everything. Print it as a vocal send effect - the reverb it has is so nice on almost everything and we use it to record synths through, like the Minimoog for instance.
“We wish now we hadn’t sold the Roland 501 Chorus Echo we used to have too but it was a bit clinical compared to the 201.”
“This is the reissue one with smaller keys but still gets used a lot. The filters in this are crazy, they pierce through the densest mix and we use it a lot for the mid-range on bass etc. Layer it with a deep one and pump it into almost self-oscillation and then ride the filer knobs through the song. Instant aggressiveness and dynamics.”
“Well this old original gets used for bass mostly - and some leads - but it is the fattest synth bass you can imagine. It gets even more crazy when you drive the output back into itself for that distorted feeling.
“We also have the Behringer Model D and they do sound scarily similar. When you compare them side-by-side the original just has that unpredictable raw tone that we love so we go for it.”
10. Strymon Big Sky
“We love reverb and use lots of it on almost everything. We have sold off all of our outboard reverbs like the BX-20, 480, 300 and so on as we are more and more using plugins for the ease of it. But this one has a sound of its own, especially if you love the big 224-ish wide and lingering reverb from the past.
“It is the go-to box for recording the analogue synths through when we need them drenched in retro-sounding atoms and lingering reverb. It sounds absolutely great.”
“The last workhorse on the list is the Prophet-6. It just sounds great on almost anything, is reliable and has a great interface for messing around.
“We use it for bread and butter sounds but sometimes we try to push it into more wild places - the modulation section and built-in FX let you achieve some pretty wild sounds. It’s not crazy like a Jupiter or an OB and not as temperamental as a real Prophet-5 but just sounds really nice and is a joy to program.
“We should also mention that some of our other favourite toys in the studio are the Arp Odyssey, Roland SH-101, Roland SH-2 and the Moog Opus.”