In demand as remixers and much remixed themselves (recent How You Say EP is a masterclass in cool), it’s when Gabe (Gurnsey), Nik (Void) and Dom (Butler) convene in the live arena that electronic improvisers Factory Floor start to get seriously intense. The Factory Floor live experience is incendiary, uplifting and relentless… in all the right ways.
Not ones to lazily chuck a few presets at a few pre-programmed beats, they use the humble MIDI clock to underpin their shape-shifting improvisations, with Gurnsey harnessing an array of drum machines and real drums, Butler taking care of the synth side of things, and Void utilising a variety of samplers and effects to treat her vocals.
Factory Floor live is an incredibly compelling experience, so Future Music magazine was never going to pass up the chance to speak with the band ahead of a recent sell-out performance at London’s Oval Space. So, in a quiet moment twixt soundcheck and gig, they caught up with Gabe and Nik to discuss the gear they take on stage.
NEXT: Roland TR-8
Gabe: “If you think about Roland, they were the pioneers of all these great bits of kit like the 808 and the 909 but, in many ways, they’re now moving those forward, which makes you think maybe they’re not just into going back and doing retro stuff.
“Integrating digital with analogue sounds, virtual analogue, kind of works better for live in a lot of ways. You can get really murky analogue stuff going on but this digital/analogue integration is the way forward… for us anyway.”
NEXT: Nord Drum 2
Nord Drum 2
Gabe: “I’ve got the Nord Drum 2; they are amazing little units. They’re tiny and weigh nothing. I replaced my Roland SPDS, which I’d had for ten years, with the Nord just to try something new.
“The Nord is incredibly versatile - virtual analogue again and it’s very ‘Simmonds-y’. The great thing about virtual analogue is that you can save it all and you don’t have to stress yourself out dialling stuff into it prior to going onstage.”
NEXT: Roland SP-555
Nik: “The SP-555 is a great little sampler. You can really bash it about and there’s a great choice of effects.”
NEXT: Eventide H9
Nik: “The US tour made us realise that we can improvise more with effects. The H9 is a great pedal to use for that.”
NEXT: TC Helicon D1
TC Helicon D1
Nik: “I know it’s a very ‘studio’ thing, but they’ve got brilliant preamps in them, enabling me to get the volume to cut through the mix.”
NEXT: EHX Holiest Grail
EHX Holiest Grail
Nik: “If you use an analogue reverb, that takes the volume down a lot. With these digital units the volume still keeps well up there.”
NEXT: Mackie 802VLZ4
Nik: “I run [my vocals] through a mixer with some Boss pedals on the aux-in, so I can take the effects on and off.”