Martin Steer – Bad Stream
Having grown up with and on the internet, Berlin native Martin Steer has transformed its pull into a concept album that is just as immediate and intangible as the digital world. Bad Stream is guitars and machines vanishing in the spaces between Radiohead, Moderat and Nine Inch Nails only to reemerge as Techno, Noise, and Drone. Bad Stream, then, is his modus operandi, a soundtrack to the feelings of resignation, isolation, and cynicism within neoliberal cyberspace and to that strangely numbing comfort of bodies transmuting into zeros and ones in real time. The album is available on Martin’s own ANTIME Records.
We chatted with Martin about how he’s using the Tempest.
What made you choose the Tempest?
“It was back in 2012 when I was sick of always working on the laptop with software synths and samplers in Logic. What I wanted was a new machine with no big screen, but complex, warm and powerful, and with a really special haptic. That’s when I discovered the Tempest.
I wanted analog drum computer with real sound character and a complex synth engine. And that’s what the Tempest is for me: a super unique and flexible instrument for performing various styles of electronic music live but also very helpful for songwriting in many genres. It took me some time to understand and find the best workflow and how to use it for my vision of electronic music, but these years of exploring the instrument so deeply were really exciting. Now I have this machine/friend by my side that I can trust for the rest of my future as a musician.“
How are you using it?
“I have been diving very deep into this machine over the last seven years. I’ve done every update, and the Tempest was kind of moving with my musical evolution. I started using it as a drum machine for my experimental techno, IDM/glitch and rlectronica live sets as the center instrument of the setup combined with 404 sampler, Kaoss pads, 303’s and my modular guitar pedalboard. In parallel, I started working on my Bad Stream concept album five years ago and was using the Tempest in the studio for single-track recording. I created my own drum and synth Sounds.
I started almost every song of my record jamming on the Tempest and that´s where the ideas emerged. Experiments became songs and creativity emerged with a drum groove, a synth pattern, or a sound. Then everything else grew around it.
The Tempest is kind of the skeleton of my sound — a very vivid, colorful, and solid framework of sound. I have four project categories I’m using: techno, ambient-synth, IDM and drone. I used it a lot with the Huge Audio Clubber which compliments it so well for compression. Also the Strymon Big Sky reverb, Kaos Pad KP3, the Roland RE501, the Sherman Filter Bank, and the IZOTOPE stutter glitch effect. With additional effects, you can make it even more special, characteristic, and mighty.
At heart, I’m really a guitar player, and along with guitar, the Tempest became the second key instrument for my musical language. I think that’s because it’s so intuitive to use and play. It’s almost like a guitar to me in that it makes it quick and easy to come up with a lot of inspiring ideas.“
What’s one of your favorite things about it?
“The sound. The combination of drums and synth and how they melt into each other. You can really feel the machine breathing and feel its organic sound. It’s a little monster, for sure. I never liked these super-clean standard drum computer sounds. I think Dave Smith went a step further and tried to create a kind of retro-futuristic drum computer. Of course you need patience to discover it like every instrument, but it’s absolutely worth it. And it’s great to play live with pedals and effects. I’d love to add a second Tempest for the live shows some day. For me it’s a modern classic. I’ve put it into the music video from my first single Already Dark.
Any interesting tricks or techniques you’d like to share?
“I love to use the Tempest with the DSI Tetra because the sounds compliment each other so well.“
MORE ABOUT THE TEMPEST
For more information, check out the Tempest product page.
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