Martin Gretschmann/The Notwist



Can you tell a bit about yourself, how and why you got into music, a bit about your history and how you became successful? 

When I was a teenager I always wanted to be a DJ, but in the end I turned out to be the bassplayer of my neighbours punkrock band. After a couple of years, I found out that four strings were not my destiny. I wanted to make music on my own, not just single notes. So that was when I started off with Sampling, Atari STs and four track machines. Some time later I happened to work with the Notwist for their third album 12, 'cause I was the only one with a powerful sampler around. At the same time I started doing my own music with Console and some time later I finally came back to where my dream started: Being a DJ (This is what I am doing under the alias of "Acid Pauli"). 

Why did you choose to use a Lemur controller? 

The Lemur is just countless customized controllers in one. Also the visual feedback is great. This is just what a lot of people say about JazzMutant's controllers. It's confusing to use a classical controller, with display or without. "What does the sixth fader do in the second song???" I don't know and I don't want to know. I just want to have the elements I need and I want to see what they do. That's exactly what the Lemur does. 

How are you using it ? 

As a lot of people here, I use it as a live controller at the moment. I took quite a lot of time to programm the Notwist The devil, you + me liveset. The challenge has been to use just a Lemur, a small keyboard for playing some organ parts, two Wiimotes and a computer that neither has a mouse, nor a keyboard, nor a display. 

The key to realize this is the Lemur for sure. And also this little piece of software called OSCulator. With OSCulator you can create MIDI data (also OSC-data) out of the Wiimotes' buttons and movements. You can create key combos and trigger Applescripts. And also use OSC-sources (like the Lemur) to create these commands. With this setup I can control everything I need with the Lemur and the Wiimotes, I even load new songs or switch off the computer after the show with the Lemur. 

I will try to use this setup also at the studio. For example you can create buttons for all your favourite key commands on the Lemur, so you don't need to remember what the hell was "command-alt-shift-h". You just press the Lemur-button named "Create new Smashhit" and your brain remains free for remembering the most stupid Homer Simpson-quotes. 

How has using the controller changed the way you work? 

It got me away from the laptop screen and the computer keyboard. It's good for a musician to be surrounded by customized and musical interfaces, rather then by computer keyboards and screens... 

What do you find most useful about it in terms of features? 

The fact that I can build my own control surface. And most exciting, I can have many of these. One for each song if I want. 

What would you like to see in future revisions of the software? My own graphics maybe, more memory, more feedback, direct Apple script support, haptic feedback, cheaper price, WLAN-Lemur with batteries. 

What is your overall philosophy or approach when it comes to music (playing, recording, production)? 

I have been working with computers on stage for almost fifteen years now and I've always experienced that it's important not to overload the setup. I have seen artists perform with dozens of synthesizers or drummachines or controllers, but in fact they spend quite a big amount of time in finding the reason why this or that isn't working the way it should. In the past years I have always been reducing the number of machines or controllers to a number that I can oversee easily. It still astonishes me how much you can achieve with limitations. I rather have a few parameters I know how to handle than having the whole world in my pocket, but getting lost in it. 

Although in other occasions this could be the best thing to do: to get lost. So in the end, most important thing is: Rules are made for breakin' them. 

What are you currently doing and what have you got planned for the near future? 

Hopefully some more time at the studio one day...
Building a Lemur set just for improvisation.



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