When and where did you first attend CDR? How do you recall feeling? What was the night like?

My first CDR was the October South London event at Rye Wax. On arrival I confirmed my attendance with the CDR crew at reception and registered my track which I had already submitted online. I was given a card to fill out with my artist name and the name of the track and genre. This was then handed to the DJ who would add it to his playlist. Ten minutes after I filled out the card my track was playing on the sound system. It felt really good to hear it loud on the sound system in front of a live audience.

Over all it was a good night. I enjoyed myself, met and chatted with some nice people and will definitely go again. I heard about 2 or 3 really stand out tracks from other artists that I would absolutely love to hear again.

Tell us about your music, and how you go about making it?

I’ve been making music for years. It all started when I first picked up a guitar around 1986. I learned all my music theory from Iron Maiden books borrowed from the library. It was 1990 before I got a taste for the technology. A friend and I picked up an old Roland TB-303, TR-707, SH-101 and a Juno synth for a scandalously cheap price. Back then nobody really knew what they were and how valued they’d become. With these basic tools we honed our craft and bashed out techno tracks. Well that was then. Nowadays I’m more computer based but not completely in the box as I’m still a sucker for hardware. I don’t really want to give away any of my production secrets but the hybrid studio is my preferred way of working. I’m still an old techno freak at heart but I enjoy writing genres outside my comfort zone, breaking the rules and experimenting with unusual keys and time signatures. My soundcloud portfolio is rather diverse.

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

Inspiration can literally come from anywhere. It could be by listening to other music. Other styles, other genres. Even stuff out of my dad’s record box can trigger an idea. It could come from messing around on my guitar. It could come from opening a random page on a chord book or a rather nice preset patch on a synth or sample library. Even the most weird random events and occurrences can trigger an idea. Once I get that ear worm I work pretty quickly to get the idea down before I forget it. I’ve always been a big fan of horror soundtracks and I love the whole synthwave thing that’s happening right now. After 30 years of house and techno the ear gets tired and the sound of the 80’s never sounded so fresh as it does right now. This is a big inspiration for me.

Talk us through your setup?

My setup has evolved and changed so much throughout the years. I became a bit of a synth addict and would buy anything because it was the latest hot product and not realise that most of it was just a gimmick and it actually sounded shit. Its only when I got more serious about the production side of things did I realise the merits of kit with individual outputs. I also learned that instead of buying that snazzy new synth that you don’t need try spending your money on a compressor or a good set of rack fx instead. It was this new mentality that radically changed my setup. I accumulated a lot of gear and for one reason or another you don’t end up using it or your tastes change or you’ve got overlap and duplication with some of it. What’s the point of having two synths that do the same thing and sound the same. I decided to keep what was useful and sell the rest of it off and make some smart purchases with the money. I’ve also found that having less gear increases your creativity and productivity.

On the instrument side I have: 3 analogue mono synths (one British, one USA and the other Japanese. All sound different), analogue poly synth, virtual analogue synth, wavetable synth, FM synth, rompler, a sampler, a guitar, a bass and a few other bits. All based covered here.

On the production side I’m using: A pair of Yamaha HS5’s, an Allen & Heath QU16 mixer/audio interface, Ableton Live and an assortment of flashy plugins and virtual instruments.

Any words of advice for those who may be nervous about attending a CDR event, and having their WIP tracks played?

I’d say don’t be nervous as there is absolutely no need to be. Nobody knows that the track that’s playing is you unless of course you jump up and down and draw attention to yourself. You can be as anonymous as you like. My advice is when you go there try and find a nice place to sit (or stand) at the sweet spot between the two main speakers. Listen to your track carefully. Nobody knows your track as well as you do. Take notes. Was the mix muddy? Was the bottom end cluttered? Did it lack body? Too much compression? etc. With these things in mind go back to your mix, fix the mistakes and make your adjustments. This after all, is what CDR is all about.

Follow Dzod on his Soundcloud here.