The Hacker – “Your imagination has to do the job, not the new plug-in you just bought!” – Tech-Talk with DJ Wildhoney
Michel Amato a.k.a. The Hacker is a French electroclash and techno producer and DJ. For many years he’s been working together with Miss Kittin (Caroline Hervé). Recently he released the track “Physique” from his new solo project “AMATO” on Cititrax, a sub-label of Minimal Wave.
SL: How long ago did you buy your first keyboard ever? Which technology did it use (MIDI, 3.5″ floppy disks,…) and do you still own it?
MA: I bought my first keyboard in 1989, it was a Korg MS20, at that time I didn’t know anything about technology. I bought it because I thought that it looked good! It was a good choice, I still use it today!
SL: Which computer(s) and software do you currently use in your (home)studio?
MA: After 15 years with Cubase, I moved to Ableton lately, and I’m very satisfied.
SL: Can you describe all synth gear and hardware you use nowadays? Which piece is the most valuable for you?
MA: I have a Korg MS20, Roland Jupiter 6, Roland SH-101, Roland System 100M, Roland TR-808, Korg Monopoly and I just bought a Roland JP-08 (new version of Roland Jupiter 8). I also have a Roland Space Echo 201. My 808 and my MS20 are the two most important instruments for me. I start every track with those two, then I add other synths. I use the 808 and MS20 for 20 years now, they are totally part of “my” sound.
SL: When performing live, which keyboards and software do you use on stage?
MA: Not much! For my next live show I want something really minimal and easy to travel with. I’m going to use the Beatstep Pro from Arturia, a Korg MS20 rack and the Korg ElecTribe SX (ESX-1).
SL: According to your opinion, which are the most legendary synths ever produced?
MA: Korg MS20.
SL: And which are according to you the biggest synth artists/bands ever?
MA: Depeche Mode and Kraftwerk!
SL: Share with us the worst case scenario that ever happened to you live on stage or in the studio!
MA: Once I was playing live using samplers, synths and a Roland TR-909. Suddenly the 909 was receiving all the MIDI channels! So the 16 channels of the 909 were all playing! It made a terrible noise and I had to make a start/stop to continue the live show. The funny thing is that the people loved it, haha!
SL: The unavoidable question: do you prefer analog or digital synths more? And what’s your opinion about the virtual analog concept?
MA: I prefer analog synth, it’s dirtier, it’s warmer, it feels more “real”.
SL: Isn’t the digital technology evolving too quick and becoming too complicated for artists nowadays?
MA: Yes, exactly! When I bought my first synth, I spent months working on it. Now you have new stuff coming out every week, they’re all interesting and cheap! It’s too much. I force myself now to work with a limited amount of equipment so I don’t get lost. It’s important to have limitations, your imagination has to do the job, not the new plug in you just bought.
SL: How will the future of creating electronic music look like?
MA: Directly from our minds to the machines! That would be great!
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