Even before he founded the seminal Nine Inch Nails, songwriter Trent Reznor was pushing the envelope. In the mid ’80s, he would play every instrument on his demos (except drums) himself, as he couldn’t find a band who could recreate his musical vision on tape. Reznor’s debut album with Nine Inch Nails, Pretty Hate Machine, was assembled in the same way, and was released to critical acclaim. It was 1989, and MIDI’s relatively recent introduction had spawned a new breed of quasi-intelligent drum machines and synths (including the Novation Bass Station, released in 1992), which Reznor set about mastering. The simultaneous advancement of computer-based sequencing technology coupled with Reznor’s thirst for technical experimentation put Nine Inch Nails on a production-standards pedestal and helped to keep them, and Reznor, at the forefront of musical innovation.
In his career, Reznor has made music for video games — including the original Quake — and scored movie soundtracks, winning a Golden Globe for his work on The Social Network. Today, he’s lauded as one of modern music’s key influencers. His trademark production techniques from over two decades of musical output are recognisable in all kinds of new music, from techno to industrial rock, electro to mainstream pop.
There are few producers who represent the LA beat scene better than Daedelus. In Dummy Mag’s documentary Not A Beat, Not A Scene, the Santa Monica native introduces his collective as “a group of disparate individuals that is so impacted by amazing music — be it jazz, classical, ambience, electronics — that they decided to band together and make something that physicalised their affections.”
Daedalus’ personal influences include a who’s who of seminal electronic music makers, from Aphex Twin to DJ Shadow, but there’s something in his music that is somehow more infectious, more song-like, which makes it stand out musically just as much as his Victorian gallant inspired dress code does in the flesh. On stage, Daedelus wows audiences with his feats of technical ingenuity, commanding Ableton Live with an array of controllers, including the Novation Launchpad.
We first heard of Arca through our friends at UNO NYC, a record label known for their far-reaching exploration of the electronic music cosmos. It was 2012, and Arca’s sound was a refreshingly bright object throwing shade on the EDM backdrop. After releasing a handful of EPs on UNO, the Venezuelan producer appeared to go quiet, in terms of new releases at least. But this period of apparent inactivity was in fact preparation for some powerful collaborations that would see Arca recognized as one of the most influential producers in the music industry.
Firstly, it was with Kanye West, with whom Arca produced four tracks on Yeezus, then with FKA Twigs on her Mercury-nominated debut record LP1. Soon after, it was confirmed that Arca was co-producer of Björk’s Vulnicura.
We’re immensely proud to work with Arca. He uses a Novation Impulse 61 and an UltraNova in his studio.
alt-J have solidified their position as one of most successful indie bands of the generation. Their first album An Awesome Wave was the 2012 Mercury Prize winner, while their follow-up This Is All Yours topped the charts in its first week of release in the UK and the USA: an impressive feat.
The band have also conquered the USA on tour, joining only a handful of UK bands to break through to the American market in the last decade. They’ve sold out shows in the most American of cities, and played on the grandest of stages, including the Coachella festival and New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Keys player Gus Unger-Hamilton has used an UltraNova on stage, but now prefers an Impulse 61 as his main controller. The band have a BassStation II in the studio.
The kiwi pop sensation was becoming a household name long before her album Pure Heroine dropped in 2013. And by the time she won two GRAMMY awards in 2014, Lorde had become one of popular music’s most prolific trend setters: an astonishing achievement for someone just 17 years of age.
So when drummer and keys player Jimmy Mac was offered the chance to play in her band, he leapt at the chance, and quickly began to assemble his touring rig in order to be able to recreate some of the complex production touches found on the album.
The centrepiece was a Novation Impulse 61, chosen by Jimmy because “It’s so easy to use; everything’s just assigned to everything.” He also likes the pads, the fact their LED backlights allow for him to see them on a dark stage, and that the MIDI input and output allows for control signals to be sent around the stage between him and drummer Ben Barter.
Listen to KiNK and it’s hard to place him on the musical map. With a taste of jacking Chicago house, a sprinkling of New York disco, flavours of UK funky and a large helping of classically German techno, KiNK crams all his influences into his own unique and exciting melting pot.
Growing up in communist Sofia, Bulgaria, where club culture was only allowed to blossom after the 1989 fall of communism, KiNK was propelled by the dance music groundswell that erupted in the early 90s. “After communism, Sofia became one big party city; it’s like the party hasn’t stopped since then.”
Mixes for RA and FACT and an unmissable Boiler Room performance from Moscow broadcast KiNK to armies of dance music fans, while his technically impressive live shows have wowed crows across the globe.
KiNK uses Launchpad S, Launchpad Mini and Launch Control XL.
The flow of electronic music coming out of the UK in the late ’00s was staggering. Riding the wave that emanated from the original South London dubstep scene were literally hundreds of new producers, each adding their own stamp to a sound which, in turn, laid the foundations for the commercial EDM that was to sweep America (and popular music) in the following years.
One of the standout artists in this cohort of genre definers was XXXY, whose brand of post-dubstep referenced the UK funky and garage sounds of a decade earlier, but simultaneously provided a fresh slant on the classic sound. It was understated but driving, massively listenable, and above all, exceptionally well produced.
Fast forward a few years, and Rupert Taylor is still on the leading edge of the wave. As musical trends have changed, so has his production style, and he’s now more likely to be making house and techno at 123bpm rather than UKG at 140. One thing hasn’t changed, however: he still uses a Novation 61SLMkII in the studio
As dance music collectives go, Crew Love are among the strongest and most diverse. Comprising the talents of Wolf + Lamb, Soul Clap, No Regular Play, Slow Hands, Tanner Ross, PillowTalk, Nick Monaco, Navid Izadi, Deniz Kurtel, Voices of Black, Life on Planets and many more, the family of musicians, producers and DJs join forces to form a globe-trotting supergroup.
The crew flourished in Brooklyn, NY at their a spiritual home of The Marcy Hotel. As well as offering safe haven for artists from out of town, it was an event space for NYC's most committed clubbers, and also doubled as a studio where Crew members collaborated on some of their finest work. Sadly shuttered in 2014, The Marcy lives on only in spirit, but the Crew Love is strong as ever.
Members of the Crew Love family have, over the years, used Novation UltraNova, MiniNova, Launchpad S, and Bass Station II, plus various Impulse and SL MkII controller keyboards.
We’re not exaggerating when we call Madeon a musical genius. The young Hugo Leclercq came to our attention just weeks before his unforgettable ‘Pop Culture’ YouTube video was released, which featured Hugo craftily playing a mashup of “39 songs I like” on a Novation Launchpad and Zero SL MkII. He’s been close with the Novation team ever since, though the hype on social media, touring with Lady Gaga and launching his own headline tour, to the run-up to his 2015 album Adventure.
His imaginative approach to music and technology puts him in a league of his own, and he’s one of only a handful of artists we know who has successfully transitioned from social-media sensation to legitimate, world-class artist. We’re incredibly honored to be involved with Madeon.
Simon Green has been pushing the envelope of electronic music since 2000, when his debut album Animal Magic was released on the then-fledgling Tru Thoughts record label. Since then, Bonobo has been at the forefront of independent electronic music, and has released a huge body of work on Ninja Tune, as well as collaborations with tastemakers Floating Points and Erykah Badu to newcomers Andreya Triana and DELS. His North Borders Tour saw him play with a full band at venues and festivals around the world in what was one of the most highly acclaimed live shows of 2014. Simon uses a MiniNova as part of his main live rig, with keys player Mike Lesirge backing him up on a Bass Station II.