CDR Preamble: Florian Grote

Florian Grote is Senior Product Designer for Maschine, Native Instruments’ groove production studio. Besides his work for NI, he also produces electronic music under the moniker grassland, and conducts research in the field of cultural sociology. Florian will be joining us for CDR Berlin this Thursday to launch the new Maschine studio (see video below). As a prelude we shared Qs for As, get to know!

When and where did you first attend or hear about CDR? What do you recall?

The first CDR I attended was the one with the Mostly Robot showcase. I remember how focused the audience was, sort of atypical for an event in Berlin.

Please talk us through the range of products you’ve designed. Is there one that’s particularly special to you?

I designed a few experimental instruments in university, and then later together with artists, before I started with product design at NI. These were mainly experiments on either the electronic enhancement of existing instruments, such as the cello, or the conversion of everyday items into musical instruments. Also, I collaborated with Mouse On Mars on the concept of different innovative touch-based instruments.

At Native Instruments, I have worked on Maschine MK2 and now Maschine Studio with the Maschine 2.0 software. This project is special in any case, because it was a rare opportunity to help design a true flagship product, embedded in such a large-scale technology project (the rewrite of the Maschine software).

Please could you describe your work life/creative life tussle. Any tips or tricks for managing to keep making music?

That’s the hard part. It sometimes works out that I can make music while reviewing new functionality in a product, but at the same time, I often also catch myself reviewing functionality when really all I wanted to do is make music. I think you have to seriously start to manage the time you spend on making music, carving that out of anything work-related. If I didn’t reserve time for that, it would be really hard to do anything creative.

Continuing this conversation, do you see your technical roles and creative life as an artist as complimentary or at odds to one another?

I think it is mainly complementary, although it can definitely feel differently sometimes. But ultimately, the technical topics have to have a creative justification, otherwise I would not be interested in discussing them. So the creative background is certainly the basis, while the technical role is a necessity which I follow through in order to get ideas into real products.

Who/What has also been on heavy rotation on your audio player of late?

Lawrence – Films & Windows
Shigeto – No Better Time Than Now
Machinedrum – Vapor City

Please talk us through the track you last [cmd] ‘S’d ? ([ctrl] ‘S’ to PC users) [in other words, last project you saved]

I use Maschine, so it’s Shift + All! It’s a rather straight techno track in which I played with Maschine’s new drum synths, mainly the larger-than-life Dusty Kick. When I heard the first versions of that algorithm on big speakers, I was totally blown away. The track consists mainly of drum synth patterns which get a lot of modulation, and a very nice synthesizer bass sound. It is finally possible to mix this in Maschine now that we have sidechaining! I always use that feature extensively to glue individual instruments together.

Finally, have you any advice or words of warning for producers/musicians developing musical works in progress to play at CDR?

I think CDR is a great institution because it encourages producers to get their works out, have them played for an audience, and then use the feedback to work on it further. That makes a lot of sense to me, because it helps to avoid getting stuck on technicalities in a production. When you get your productions out and in front of people, you will always learn something that will help you in the production process.

Listen to Florian’s own music at

To register for the CDR Berlin session on October 10th go

Watch on: The aforementioned visit from Mostly Robot to CDR Berlin.