Each week we chat about the tools of the trade with one outstanding creative to find out exactly how they do what they do. The questions are always the same, the answers, not so much. This week: Howie Lee. Click here for more User Preferences Tech Q&As.
The Creators Project: Who are you and what do you do?
Howie Lee: I’m an electronic music producer/DJ and sound engineer, mainly producing electro and dubstep music, but my focus is turning to more abstract bass music now.
What hardware do you use?
A four core processor and eight gig RAM desktop is at the center of my studio. Other devices include Lexicon U42s audio interface, Moog Little Phatty analog synth, CME VX6 MIDI keyboard and controller, NI Maschine controller, Behringer BCR 2000 controller, Blue Bluebird microphone, Technics 1200 turntable and KRK VXT6 monitors. I also have several effect pedals. In addition, I always take my Sony D50 portable recorders to capture field sounds.
What software do you use?
I use Ableton Live and <a href=“http://www.native-instruments.com/#/products/producer/maschine/” target=“_blank>NI Maschine, and plugins like ”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CAFfM0sXP8" target="_blank">Massive, Absynth and Waves bundle effects.
What piece of equipment can you simply not live without?
Actually, you can live without any of them. Hardware is only tools—the coolest sounds are always in nature, surrounding us. But if I had to pick one, it would definitely be my laptop, ’cause most other devices just assist the laptop in making sounds.
If money were no object, how would you change your current setup?
I’d remodel my studio and improve its acoustic performance. I would get a studio with an independent sub-woofer, give the computer an SSD drive and the largest LCD screen available. And it would be great to have a freezer filled with drinks. Every musician probably wants to have a huge studio themselves, even if it’s not necessary.
What is your favorite piece of technology from your childhood?
I had my first desktop when I was in junior school. It was an 80386 running DOS, and the only game installed was Rich 1. Computer games—back in those days, it was amazing.
What fantasy piece of technology would you like to see invented?
I hope there can be something that makes the sound ideas more implementable. For example, you imagine a sound in your brain, and other people can hear it. Or you can record it, perhaps resulting in all musicians losing their jobs. For live shows, you just stand there doing nothing, then sounds start coming out of the speakers. The show can also be coordinated with a VJ who is doing nothing at all but still generating visuals. Also, when I was really young, I heard that scientists have invented a biological computer, what ever happened to that?