I start with an idea that comes to me in an instant and then design it roughly on paper. If it is a good idea then I become so obsessed with owning it for real that I spend months slaving away in my bedroom until I have actually made it.
I mainly use analogue electronics to build my instruments. I think that the analogue sound is timeless because of its infinite depth and character. I believe that analogue synthesizers should be progressive and not seen as retro.
I was originally inspired by the very early synthesizers like the Trautonium or the Ondes Martenot, they were created at a time before the idea of the synthesizers became too fixed. I am not interested in recreating the classic synths from the 60s and 70s.
In recent years, many of us have become aware that there is something special about analog sound processing, because we can hear it in contrast to digital sound. I am interested in widening this gap by increasing analogueness, or as I prefer to think of it as a kind of intangible life-like quality. I have started to believe that the character of analogue sound has a lot to do with chaos theory and that progression with analogue circuits is to find similarities to natural chaotic systems and to design my circuits that nurture complex behaviour, rather than the traditional approach which is to suppress imperfections to get the circuit to behave like some mathematical ideal.
The way I want to do this is to make circuits that behave in a holistic way, each part of the system is influencing everything else. A violin is a great example of a holistic sound generating system, all it's vibrating elements are very interconnected. Is it a coincidence that the sound of the violin is so rich and complex despite being so simple in it's construction? For an opposite example think of a church organ, physically complex but each element is isolated, and the sound is comparatively boring. My older, more naive designs were created more in the spirit of the church organ. They relied on the brute force of complexity and were over-engineered. I am now going to use fewer elements, but with more interaction between the elements. Circuits using discrete transistors, or even better valves, tend to have this holistic behaviour.
For future work I see the violin as my inspiration. Not literally, however - I am not planning to make some kind of violin synthesizer, I just want to come close to it's complex life-like qualities using electronics.