Name: Local Suicide
Members: Brax Moody, Vamparela
Nationality: German & Greek
Occupation: Producers, singer-songwriters, DJs
Current Release: Local Suicide's Eros Anikate is out via Iptamenos Discos.
Gear recommendations: We love Erica Synths' crazy Zen Delay unit, which was created by Erica in collaboration with Ninja Tune founders, Cold Cut.
Another piece of gear we don't want to miss in our studio is our beloved Roland D-50 from 1987 with Legowelt's famous patches on a cartridge and all the classic presets that we know from some of our favourite hits (Duran Duran, Vince Clarke, Gary Numan, Jean Michel Jarre, etc.) from when we were kids and teenagers throughout so many genres.
If you enjoyed this interview with Local Suicide, visit the duo's official homepage. They also have accounts on Instagram, Facebook, and Soundcloud.
What was your first studio like?
Our first studio together was around 2010 and was a mess. It consisted of an Electribe ESX-1 drum machine, a MicroKorg, a modded Monotribe, a cheap Philipps computer mic and a 4-track Portastudio tape recorder.
We recorded loads of fun jams there!
How and for what reasons has your setup evolved over the years, and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?
Especially in the beginning, we were experimenting with different kinds of sounds and gear. We constantly bought and sold synths, FX units and drum machines but have slowed down in the last few years as the setups in our studios have a nice workflow.
In our garden hut, we have a minimal setup which is more band-sound-oriented with a nice old Technics organ, guitar, bass and piano for jamming. The studio in our summer flat in Greece has loads of cool smaller synths and is excellent for long sessions and heavy club tracks with an SH-101, 303, Jomox MBass, Minitaur, Streichfett, Pro-1 etc.
[Read our feature on the Roland TB-303]
Our main studio in Berlin hasn't evolved much in the last few years, as we were quite happy with our workflow there. The key elements were the Arp Odyssey, Roland Jupiter Xm, Moog Sub 37, Roland D-50, Roland TR-8s and some fx units. However, we felt it was time to get the studio out of our living room and are now renovating and moving everything to our new shared studio with Italo Brutalo & T.Raumschmiere.
Some see instruments and equipment as far less important than actual creativity. Others feel they go hand in hand. What's your take on that?
We also think it's not really the equipment that is decisive for the track but much more the brain and hands behind it. A good example are Red Axes, among our top 5 all-time producers who purposely use inexpensive and weird gear but achieve amazing results with it.
But of course, bigger and more expensive instruments often give you more possibilities and faster workflows to get you where you want.
A studio can be as minimal as a laptop with headphones and as expansive as a multi-room recording facility. Which studio situation do you personally prefer – and why?
We've made tracks in the super fancy Red Bull studios in Berlin but also on a long flight to Mexico with headphones and VSTs only, and we still like the result of both recording processes.
From traditional keyboards to microtonal ones, from re-configured instruments (like drums or guitars) to customised devices, what are your preferred controllers and interfaces? What role does the tactile element play in your production process?
We didn't use many controllers in the past, and our Push & APC are getting dusty.
The only such gear we use often is the Arturia Beatstep for building quick sequences and getting a more organic feel to VSTs by triggering velocity and gating old drum machines and synths.
Most would regard recording tools like microphones and mixing desks as different from instruments like keyboards, guitars, drums and samplers. Where do you stand on this?
We have friends (Italo Brutalo, Andreas Krach) that use gear like mixers as instruments.
We sometimes also send sounds through old analogue gear and record them to give a nostalgic feeling and remove the digital clearness or use broken inexpensive mics to get a certain vibe and sound.
Within a digital working environment, it is possible to compile huge archives of ideas for later use. Tell me a bit about your strategies for building such an archive and how you put these ideas and sketches to use.
We don't really have a structured audio archive at the moment and usually don't use an element we recorded twice.
There are some drum samples that we often go back to (Toms from Zenhiser on Splice) and often record sounds while travelling (Examples: 'Attention please to Mr/Mrs' in 'Abu Dhabi with Rodion / the analogue camera sound in 'Click Click' with Skelesys), but we mostly record everything from scratch. This may be why the range of the sound of our tracks is very broad.
Production tools can already suggest compositional ideas on their own. How much of your music is based on concepts and ideas you had before entering the studio, and how much of it is triggered by equipment, software and apps?
We rarely have a concept in mind when going into the studio. It's all happening on the spot in the moment and is mainly triggered by the mood at that time. We both write down vocals when we have an idea which we then match to a sound sketch.
Have there been technologies which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music?
There are countless little tricks and ways to record and tweak sounds that we learned from befriended producers like Rodion, Theus Mago, Curses, Skelesys and Kalipo while making music which we are using a lot.
[Read our Curses interview]
To some, the advent of AI and 'intelligent' composing tools offer the potential for machines to contribute to the creative process. Do you feel as though technology can develop a form of creativity itself? Is there possibly a sense of co-authorship between yourself and your tools?
There always was a co-authorship between us and our tools, as many elements in our music were mistakes or happy accidents that we ended up liking and then building on.
We haven't really used any AI in our creative process yet but are currently working on a new project for a French fashion magazine where we were asked to create a track which sounds like what we imagine music in the year 2070 to be.