My hands-on approach for making music

Björn Fogelberg in the studio 2018

Ever since I started making music in the mid-80s, hardware synthesizers, effects, and such things have been an essential and vital part of it. In the beginning, it was completely out of necessity. As I moved on from making music on my Commodore 64 and Amiga computers, software synths weren’t a thing yet. If you wanted to get serious, you had to buy the real stuff.

Me being in my early 20s and without a job meant I couldn’t afford the things that my synth heroes back then would use. My first piece of hardware was a simple FM synthesizer from Yamaha called FB-01. I made some songs on it but soon decided that I wanted something more, preferably something that had drum sounds as well. That turned out the be the Roland D-110. This 80s-sounding module became the central instrument on my first album 64, which I released myself on CD in 1996.

My studio has grown in size since then and a lot of gear has come and gone over the years. The D-110 was soon upgraded to a Kurzweil K2000. It had a powerful, modern sound engine. This opened up a whole new world of possibilities. My music started to sound like something that wasn’t made in a bedroom on outdated equipment. My second album Karooshi Porn, released in 1999 was mainly created on the Kurzweil, with some help from a Roland System-100, SH-09, and a TR-606 drum machine.

Today I have a pretty large palette of tools to choose from. The studio is in constant flux. One of the most recent things added is a small Eurorack modular system. It was extensively used on my 2017 full-length album Focus. I really like the limitations of a smaller Eurorack system. For me, sometimes limitation can equal creativity. The hours disappear fast when you work on it and it has been a source of many ‘happy accidents. Really inspiring stuff.

Below you find a more or less complete list of all the tools I use to make music these days.

Synths & Drum Machines

Access Virus b

Arturia Microfreak

Behringer TD-3

Elektron Sidstation

Korg Volca Sample

Korg Wavedrum Mini

Roland J-6

Roland SH-09

Roland System 100 Model 101, 102, 104

TTSH v3 (Arp 2600 Clone)

Roland System-100

Eurorack

2hp Arp

4MS Rotating Clock Divider

Bastl Cinnamon

Bastl Propust

Bastl Skis

Doepfer A138 Mixer

Doepfer A160 Clock Divider

Doepfer A151 Sequential Switch

Doepfer 2 x 180-2 Multiple

Dreadbox Lil Erebus

Erica Synths Pico Drums

Erica Synths Pico Mod

Hexinverter Make Noise Function

Manhattan Analog 2 x CP3

Music Thing Modular Chord Organ

Music Thing Modular Spring

Music Thing Modular Turing Machine

Mutable Instruments Braids

Pittsburgh Synthesizer Box

Rebel Technology Στοιχεῖα

Sonic Potions Penrose Quantiser

Teenage Engineering PO-33 KO (LPZW Mod)

Thonk AT-AT-AT

Tiptop Audio Hats909

Weston AD110

Adam A7XRoland System-100 SequencerTTSHEurorack

Software

Ableton Live 10

Sound Forge 12.6

Effect plugins

Arturia Rev Plate-140

Baby Audio Crystalline

Baby Audio Spaced Out

Boz Digital Labs Bark of Dog 2

Celemony Melodyne 4

Eventide Blackhole 3

Eventide Crystals

Eventide TriceraChorus

Exponential Audio Excalibur

Fabfilter Pro Q-2

Izotope Ozone 9

Izotope Ozone Imager 2

Izotope Trash 2

Izotope Vocal Doubler

Output Movement

NoiseAsh Audio Vocal Finalizer

Slate Digital Fresh Air

Soundspot Halcyon

Soundspot Ravage Lite

Soundtoys Little AlterBoy

Surreal Machines Crack

Surreal Machines Diffuse

Surreal Machines Modnetic

Valhalla Delay

Valhalla Shimmer

Valhalla VintageVerb

Waves LoAir

Waves OneKnob Phatter

Softsynth plugins

Native Instruments Analog Dreams

Newfangled Audio Pendulate

Output Arcade

Output Exhale

Spitfire Audio BBC Symphony Orchestra

Spitfire LABS

Spitfire Audio Originals – Felt Piano

Effects

Dual EQP (2 channel Pultec EQ Clone)

Prime 4000E Mixbus Compressor (SSL 4000e Clone)

Roland SH-09

Other Hardware

Adam A7X studio monitors

Arturia Beatstep Pro

Arturia Keystep 37

Behringer MiniMON

Behringer Ultrapatch Pro

BeyerDynamic DT 770 Pro Headphones

BeyerDynamic Custom One Pro

Cv.ocd Midi to CV Converter

Dell G322Q 32″ 4K UHD Monitor

Gear4Music Heavy Duty Studio Arm Mic Stand

K&M 26775 Table Monitor Stands

Kenton Pro 2 Dual Channel MIDI to CV Converter

Mooer Pure Boost Pedal

Nuraphone 2

PC, AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 4.20 Ghz, 16 GB, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, Windows 10 Pro

Pioneer DDJ-400 Performance DJ Controller

Røde NT 2 Microphone

SubPac S1

SubZero XLR to USB Signal Converter / Preamp

SubZero Portable Vocal Booth Isolation Ball

Traktor Audio 10 External Sound Card

Yamaha UX 256 Midi Interface

Dual EQP Pultec Clone
Roland System-100Adam A7XRoland System-100 SequencerTTSHEurorackRoland SH-09Dual EQP Pultec Clone

Synths & Drum Machines

Access Virus b

Arturia Microfreak

Behringer TD-3

Elektron Sidstation

Korg Volca Sample

Korg Wavedrum Mini

Roland J-6

Roland SH-09

Roland System 100 Model 101, 102, 104

TTSH v3 (Arp 2600 Clone)

Eurorack

2hp Arp

4MS Rotating Clock Divider

Bastl Cinnamon

Bastl Propust

Bastl Skis

Doepfer A138 Mixer

Doepfer A160 Clock Divider

Doepfer A151 Sequential Switch

Doepfer 2 x 180-2 Multiple

Dreadbox Lil Erebus

Erica Synths Pico Drums

Erica Synths Pico Mod

Hexinverter Make Noise Function

Manhattan Analog 2 x CP3

Music Thing Modular Chord Organ

Music Thing Modular Spring

Music Thing Modular Turing Machine

Mutable Instruments Braids

Pittsburgh Synthesizer Box

Rebel Technology Στοιχεῖα

Sonic Potions Penrose Quantiser

Teenage Engineering PO-33 KO (LPZW Mod)

Thonk AT-AT-AT

Tiptop Audio Hats909

Weston AD110

Software

Ableton Live 10

Sound Forge 12.6

Effect plugins

Arturia Rev Plate-140

Baby Audio Crystalline

Baby Audio Spaced Out

Boz Digital Labs Bark of Dog 2

Celemony Melodyne 4

Eventide Blackhole 3

Eventide Crystals

Eventide TriceraChorus

Exponential Audio Excalibur

Fabfilter Pro Q-2

Izotope Ozone 9

Izotope Ozone Imager 2

Izotope Trash 2

Izotope Vocal Doubler

Output Movement

NoiseAsh Audio Vocal Finalizer

Slate Digital Fresh Air

Soundspot Halcyon

Soundspot Ravage Lite

Soundtoys Little AlterBoy

Surreal Machines Crack

Surreal Machines Diffuse

Surreal Machines Modnetic

Valhalla Delay

Valhalla Shimmer

Valhalla VintageVerb

Waves LoAir

Waves OneKnob Phatter

Softsynth plugins

Native Instruments Analog Dreams

Newfangled Audio Pendulate

Output Arcade

Output Exhale

Spitfire Audio BBC Symphony Orchestra

Spitfire LABS

Spitfire Audio Originals – Felt Piano

Effects

Dual EQP (2 channel Pultec EQ Clone)

Prime 4000E Mixbus Compressor (SSL 4000e Clone)

Other Hardware

Adam A7X studio monitors

Arturia Beatstep Pro

Arturia Keystep 37

Behringer MiniMON

Behringer Ultrapatch Pro

BeyerDynamic DT 770 Pro Headphones

BeyerDynamic Custom One Pro

Cv.ocd Midi to CV Converter

Dell G322Q 32″ 4K UHD Monitor

Gear4Music Heavy Duty Studio Arm Mic Stand

K&M 26775 Table Monitor Stands

Kenton Pro 2 Dual Channel MIDI to CV Converter

Mooer Pure Boost Pedal

Nuraphone 2

PC, AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 4.20 Ghz, 16 GB, GeForce GTX 1660 Ti, Windows 10 Pro

Pioneer DDJ-400 Performance DJ Controller

Røde NT 2 Microphone

SubPac S1

SubZero XLR to USB Signal Converter / Preamp

SubZero Portable Vocal Booth Isolation Ball

Traktor Audio 10 External Sound Card

Yamaha UX 256 Midi Interface