Who are you and what do you do? How long have you been a working musician?
My name is Mic Newman. I’ve been a steady music maker and sometime cigarette smoker for the better part of a decade. I’m predominantly based in Melbourne, Australia, but have been known to galavant around the world for extended periods of time.
What is your educational background? Are there any schools, courses, or books you recommend?
I can proudly tick high school off the ‘to do’ list. Other academic accreditations come in the form of Visual Design. Not quite something I put into direct practice, although, it certainly plays an important role subconsciously in the creative process.
What hardware are you using?
Currently I own a small assembly of outboard kit. Some old, some new. From the top:
Roland JUNO-106 – An all round classic poly synth. I find it really nice for chords and pads. It also has a nice bottom end for bass.
Yamaha DX-7 – Great for those unusual but usual sounds that you can’t get from analogue synthesis. I find however, that like most women, trying to program her is a real drainer on the creative juices, so I haven’t delved into her full potential yet.
Roland SH-101 – This is my studio’s ‘Ghetto Booty’. It has the thickest bottom end on this side of the river.
Yamaha DX-27 – The little sister of the DX7 but has a raspier and slightly lower-fi sound.
Korg Monotron – This was a novelty purchase and I don’t really use it.
Rode NT1000 – A condenser Mic. I wish it had a better timbre so I could get my money’s worth.
Genelec 8020 – Amazingly compact monitors which I use for reference against my Alesis M1’s.
Apogee Duet – My audio interface.
What software are you using?
I’m a relative newcomer to Ableton. I slowly weened myself off Logic and made the complete switch to Live. I find it incredibly intuitive and it allows you to jam out ideas which really refreshed my workflow. With Live I use the Korg Legacy Collection, Waves Bundle for processing and the D16 Drum Machines.
What would be your dream setup?
Let’s just say I’d need 5 pages to list it, and a warehouse to house it.
Can you describe your creative process? Is there a particular routine or schedule you stick to?
Not really. Depends what the idea is and whether I begin with a sample, vocal or if it’s a remix. Having hardware has also changed my workflow entirely. In the days when I was using only software, I would almost always begin with kick, drums, bass etc. Now though, I’ve found my starting points change with every session. I can begin a track with any one of my synths or drum machine, which has been a great way of maintaining a fresh approach as well as keeping some of the focus away from the computer screen.
Where do you shop for and discover music?
I do most of my shopping online. On the rare occasion I’ll go to a record store but since most of them are gone these days, we’re left with little choice.
Any highlights from your latest musical discoveries?
Really quite enjoying a lot of music at the moment. Particularly the stuff from Floating Points, as well as the last couple of Clone Royal Oak releases from Gerd and Arttu; and of course, the new Todd Terje record, Inspector Norse.
What’s brewing in your studio?
I have some releases due out in 2012 on Tsuba Records and Illusion. Plus a few exciting things which I’m not ready to mention just yet
Any production tips & tricks you’d like to share?
Not sure there’s anything useful I can add that hasn’t been said before. In the end, everyone needs to create their own journey. There are enough readily available tools for anyone’s dog to create music, so there’s really no excuse.