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Ken Freeman, Tony Mansfield and Martin Ware

Article from Electronics & Music Maker, March 1982


Ken Freeman



"I'm an electronic musician. I'm a composer, very much so now. I used to do a lot of sessions, but I've got about ten jingles on the air at the moment. I'm getting into composing more and more now. I got a CLIO award for a Gordon's gin advert — I used the Synclavier to good effect on the start of that."

Keyboards

Yamaha CS80 (unison/triggering, 8-way phase shift and pitchbend/brass mods); Synclavier II (XPL language, plus Commodore Pet); Freeman String Machine; "use of a Fairlight".

"The Synclavier I got because of the conviction that computers are here to stay, and if you don't get involved you get left behind. I've used the Synclavier/Pet set-up for the BBC, for a "Play For Today" in the spring called "Crimes". The String Machine I built years ago, some people still say it's the best string sound around and we tried unsuccessfully to get it marketed in this country. I took it to America and Lowrey had a go at it, then they left about half the oscillators out of it. I was pioneering the thing.

"The more synths with touch sensitivity on the keys, the better. If you compare what a synthesiser does to what a real instrument does, you just haven't got the amount of control over the sound — you can only get feeling in with great difficulty. You have to use your whole body to play an instrument properly. One finger on a keyboard isn't enough."

Sequencers

Has used self-built Pet/ARP Odyssey interface; now uses Synclavier.

FX

Roland Space Echo, phaser, flanger.

Percussion/drum machines

Pet/Korg Rhythm 55 interface (Machine Code program available — write to Ken Freeman c/o E&MM for details).

Favourite studio/engineer

Advision/Geoff Young. R. G. Jones/Jerry (surname unknown).

Home recording

Teac 8-track; Studiomaster 12/2 mixer; two ¼in Revoxes. "Very reliable — the Teac's absolutely amazing."



Tony Mansfield


New Musik

"My basic role is as a producer rather than an instrumentalist or a technician. From a production point of view, synths are really good tools. I'm more of an ideas person than an actual musician — I play most of the things but it takes time. I think I'm quite resourceful — if you gave me a tin whistle and a ukulele I'd find some use for it."

Keyboards

Oberheim OBXa; Prophet-5; Roland Vocoder Plus VP330; piano (whatever's in the studio).

"The Oberheim is my main, favourite instrument, the fact that you've got the split keyboard facility is beneficial for live work or composition. If you spend time in the studio, you're going to track those things on anyway. The Prophet I've used for about the last two years. It's a very simple system for someone like myself — very instant. It's a good instrument to develop on. Sequential Circuits opened it up for all the others. The Prophet and the Oberheim are very similar systems, but they do have their own individual characteristics.

"I think everybody's trying to make the ultimate polyphonic synthesiser, but there are always going to be slight differences between makers. Ultimately, someone will bring out a synth that's got everything! With keyboards now, I think they've got to be made accessible to the kids, to the people who are going to grow up and develop them."

Sequencers

Roland CSQ600 (to Prophet).

Amplification

Oberheim DI to desk.

Percussion/drum machines

Simmons SDS-V module. Triggered by pads or Roland CR78.

Favourite studio/engineer

"I enjoyed working at Air recently on Yukihiro Takahashi's solo project (from YMO)." Strawberry South. TMC studio. "I work exclusively with Peter Hammond, he's something of a perfectionist."

Home recording

Two Revox B77s. "I tend to do very'mock-up' rough demos at home — I don't want to spend hours re-creating it in the studio."



Martyn Ware


Heaven 17

"I've been using synths for four years, but I'm beginning to go off them. We're starting to realise that acoustic instruments have a much larger dynamic range. We're moving more into the traditional producer's role: less playing, more telling people what to play. It's quite feasible that our next album will be more orchestral-based, we've started working with an orchestral arranger."

Keyboards

Roland JP4; Roland JP8; Synclavier II (hired); Roland Vocoder Plus VP330; Roland System 100M.

"We bought a JP4 a few years ago and it's served me well. The basic oscillators aren't brilliant, but Roland equipment's pretty well designed. Their design is more open to experimentation than, say, a lot of the American designs. They're more interfaceable than, up till recently, a lot of the other brands. Interfacing the Vocoder with the JP4 or JP8 is useful. I first hired a Synclavier when we did the Hot Gossip album and it was just amazing, I couldn't believe it. It should be for 10 grand, but I'd recommend hiring one because it's very easy to master.

"I think people would like a different method of manipulating a synthesiser, other than a keyboard. But having said that, I'm no keyboard player — it really is the easiest way to manipulate a synthesiser unless you're into more esoteric fields."

Sequencers

System 100's analogue sequencers linked to Linn drum computer.

Amplification

Everything DI'd on stage (and studio).

FX

"The standard stuff — delays, harmonisers, you name it."

Percussion/drum machines

Linn LM-1 drum computer — synths are synced to this.

Favourite studio/engineer

John Foxx's studio, The Garden. "Totally live - we like it." Engineers - Nick Patrick, Peter Walsh.

Home Recording

"We had our 8-track in Sheffield till recently — moving to London now, we'll get a small 8-track here."



Previous Article in this issue

Tascam 124AV

Next article in this issue

Wersi Comet


Publisher: Electronics & Music Maker - Music Maker Publications (UK), Future Publishing.

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Electronics & Music Maker - Mar 1982

Feature by Tony Bacon

Previous article in this issue:

> Tascam 124AV

Next article in this issue:

> Wersi Comet


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