Ten questions with Matt Fanale of Caustic.

1.What was your first synthesizer you ever owned?

When I was a kid we owned a Casio that I played with a lot. I never learned much on it as I just banged away, but I always had fun with it. I think the first and maybe only synth I have currently is an old Casio SK-1, but I’m mostly a software guy anyway. That synth’s fun because it’s got a small sampler and I remember one improvised noise set I did with Endif and CTRLSHFT (which we’ll be releasing soon, I think) I kept sampling the live noise and then playing it with the keyboard.

2.What is your current set up, both in your studio and live?

I’ve always kept things lean, partially because I’m broke and can’t afford a million dollars worth of gear and partially because I think limitations bring more inspiration and allow you to get more creative with what you do have. I make all my music on a PC loaded with FLStudio Producer Edition (I think I’m a few versions behind—probably 8?) and a ton of VSTs/Plug-ins.

In terms of hardware I write out melodies on a Korg Nanokey and use a Triggerfinger for modulations. I also play with my Kaoscillator a bit on some tracks, as well. Basically I keep my studio as compact and basic as possible.

3.What is the next piece of gear you plan to pick up, and why?

Next piece of gear? I’m not sure, actually. I have most of the gear I really want. In terms of VSTs I’ve been wanting to snag Ohmicide and Sylenth but just don’t have the cash yet.

4.What is your favorite synthesizers, soft synth, and hardware synth and why?

As I said I’m a software guy overall. The main softsynths I use are NI Massive, FM7/8, Vanguard (Tom from A23 put out a great bank for it a while ago that I use a lot), and a ton of free synths I got off of kvraudio.com, smartelectronix.com, and other places online that I hear about. I love the TAL stuff and you’ll hear it all over my last 2-3 releases.

5.Make up something that MIDI could stand for.

Macho Infidels Dine Infrequently. Which is true. Hunger is weakness.

6.List all the synths you have ever owned.

Uh, the Casio when I was a kid and the Casio SK-1.

Now I feel lame.

7.What other bands have you been in?

I’ve been a part of The Gothsicles live for quite some time and played as part of Endif for a few years as well. I’ve done one-offs playing with everyone from Cenotype (still one of my favorite shows ever) to Chemlab, but I wouldn’t say I was “in” either of those bands.

I do have several side projects I’m in as well, which include Prude (Jared/Chemlab, Marc/Plastic Heroes, Phil/Infocollapse, Howie Beno/13mg, and a few others), The Causticles (Brian/The Gothsicles and myself), Parasite Twin (my other pal Brian and I), and a few others which haven’t been made public yet for lack of progress.

Oh, and Gothsticulate, which is Brian, me, and Geoff from Modulate. We’re the most popular side project you’ll probably never hear music from.

8.Who is your favorite band to tour with and why?

I’ve only done one official tour and that was with The Gothsicles and Prometheus Burning so by default those are my favorite, but some of my favorite bands/artists to play with are Alter Der Ruine, Everything Goes Cold, Boole, Null Device, W.A.S.T.E., and Tool.

Okay, I’ve never played with Tool, but I’d like to. Their fans would hate me.

9.Where do you see Caustic in 5 years?

Honestly I’m not sure. I “am” Caustic, so it’s not like I need to worry about keeping another contributor or bandmate happy all the time. I just figure I’ll do this as long as its fun and I have the time. It’s been an extremely rewarding project and I’ve taken it much further than I probably have any right to, so for the time being I’m just enjoying it and not worrying too much past finishing what I’m currently working on and playing a few shows. The process has always been more fun than the results (as much as I love those, too), so I’m just digging making songs and hoping they’re embraced by whoever likes this sort of crap.

10.Pick one, and why? A duck dipped in aids, Zombie sharpie marker, Green Yugo with M.C.Hammer In the back seat, or a bowl full of scabs.

I’ll go with Zombie sharpie marker, as I’d like to see a marker try and feed on my brains. Plus, I’m not into AIDS dipping sauce and MC Hammer still owes me money.


Industrial Synthesizer and Gear Review is a set of interviews that are done by my good friend Shawn Holt (of 357) - it is specifically targeted towards super synth nerds like me! I found them very interesting, and he has been kind enough to allow me to co-post them here on the blog! Double the nerdiness.

10 Questions with Michael “Moose” Best of Among the Weeds / Alaska Highway

1.What was your first synthesizer you ever owned?

First I ever used was either the Korg MS10 or Jen SX1000, but the first I owned was a brand new Roland SH101 with the mod grip, dark grey with the leather strap & flightcase! Cost a fortune!! I ended up firing the internal step sequencer from the Roland TR707’s click output (cowbell?) running from a Korg SQD1 sequencer… ah, college days!

2.What is your current set up, both in your studio and live?

Oh gawd, my current studio is mostly top secret as I use a lot of hardware for sound creation & effects, which gives us a more unique sound – if everyone is using the same software plug-ins they are more likely to sound the same! Komplete8 can only go so far…

Live for ‘Among the Weeds’ I use a custom designed & built electronic drum kit utilising Pintech triggers on a speaker stand firing in to a Roland TD8 or TD10ex. Nicknamed ‘the drumtree’ it makes a lot of people scratch their heads as even drummers sometimes don’t “get it”…

The studio is kinda crazy – 25 years of hardware buying (with little selling) means I have a huge collection all running from an Apple G4/933 & Cubase VST. I can hear the laughter now!! Yeah its old, but I can run 32 separate MIDI outputs in to my gear so everything is always plugged in, and Steinberg’s MIDEX8 interfaces & Cubase VST running LTB means ZERO MIDI delays on playback!! AKA accurate as hell!! My Yamaha 02r keeps it all together…

3.What is the next piece of gear you plan to pick up, and why?

Novation Ultranova simply because it is the best VA currently available! This thing is nuts to the extreme, both in programmability & sonic power. The more I play on it at work the more I realize its at the top of the list. It’s a very short list too!

4.What is your favorite synthesizers, soft synth, and hardware synth and why?

Difficult question! A toss up between the Waldorf Q & the Oberheim Matrix 12. Awesome VA vs probably the best analogue synth ever made… I’ll be buried with my Waldorf Q32…

Software would have to be ABSynth…

5.Make up something that MIDI could stand for.

Most Idiots Don’t Identify… still amazes me that people come in to the store & ask about the ‘new’ MIDIs software (its been around since the early 80s people!!!) or claim that its totally dead & are still using USB controllers & software. Its ALL run by MIDI!

6.List all the synths you have ever owned.

Massive list!! I started with Casio’s awesome CZ3000 then added Ensoniq’s SQ80 & EPS, the Roland D550MEx (the upgraded multi-timbral version), Korg Wavestation EX, Roland MKS80/MPG80, Akai’s huge S1000kb sampler. At one point I owned 3 Wavestations…! Oberheim Matrix1000/Matrix12/Xpander followed…

More highlights included 5 Alesis QS series romplers, Waldorf Q32 & MWxt, 2 Yamaha SY77’s & an SY99 plus a DX7/DX5, Korg N364/WS-SR/T3, Nord Lead 1/2/3, Emu PX7/Orbitv2/ Audity2000/World/2 EIII samplers, 2 E4xt samplers & an Emax1 sampler… I’ll stop there shall I?!

7.What other bands have you been in?

“Shootersway Park” was my first real project back in college (late 80s) which morphed into “Q With An E” then around ‘96 changed to “alaskahighway” with whom I released 2 albums. “Among the Weeds” is the current time consumer, with album 3 nearly in the can.

8.What drum machines have you owned if any?

Heaps! Current favourites include Roland TD10ex & TD8 virtual drums plus the R8M/TR606/TR707/TR909, Alesis SR16/18 with the DMPRO & DM5, Yamaha RM50/RX11/RX15/RX5/RY30, Emu Procussion, Korg S3 & ES1/ESX1, Boss DR660, Hammond 1968 analogue thingy, LinnDrum2… So yeah, I’ve owned a few…

9.Where do you see “Among the Weeds” and “alaskahighway” in 5 years?

“Among the Weeds” will continue to build on the first few albums, trying some new directions but still based on technology. The style is getting darker & bigger, not by choice but simply by itself. Rose Z Vine & I have always written well together, and with David K Anderson on board he’s lending a lot of grit.

"alaskahighway" is currently on vacation but I may release a 3rd dance/industrial album under that name some time.

10.Pick one, and why? A duck dipped in aids, Zombie sharpie marker, Green Yugo with M.C. In the back seat, or a bowl full of scabs.

Has to be Zombie sharpie marker… Minutes of fun as it’d help other people identify the zombies!!