Name: Aleix Gimeno aka Gimenö
Occupation: Producer, DJ
Current Release: Gimenö's Movement is out via TUTU.
Gear Recommendations: With hardware, I'll go with any of the Elektron machines, they are so powerful and great sounding. With software, my favorite is Reaktor, which has endless possibilities and also great sound quality.
If you enjoyed this interview with Gimenö and would like to find out more, visit him on Instagram, and Soundcloud.
What was your first studio like?
I started in my bedroom, like many other producers, with a computer and a sound module. Following that, I began purchasing my first synth, a Novation Supernova, an EMU sampler, and a nice used Mackie 8 bus.
I had all of this hardware in my bedroom in a short period, and I needed to make an early move by investing with a friend in our first music production studio to have a professional environment. That greatly aided my ability to focus and grow as a music producer.
How and for what reasons has your set-up evolved over the years and what are currently some of the most important pieces of gear for you?
I started with hardware because it was the only way to work at the time. I switched to ITB as DAWs and plugins advanced because of the time savings, quality, and limitless options. ITB has grown boring to me over the past few years, so I returned to hardware to spend less time looking at a screen and more time listening to the music and sounds.
When I create new music the Elektron machines are my favorite tools because you can do things with them that you can't with other tools. After all, they are so innovative and powerful.
Some see instruments and equipment as far less important than actual creativity, others feel they go hand in hand. What's your take on that?
The most important thing to me is creativity; sometimes it comes naturally thanks to certain tools but sometimes it comes from listening to music, watching a film, or going out for a walk.
A studio can be as minimal as a laptop with headphones and as expansive as a multi-room recording facility. Which studio situation do you personally prefer – and why?
I prefer the studio because it allows me to record with analog preamps, mixers, and hardware, but going out and working on an iPad or laptop can be very inspiring.
I also found that changing to another studio or working from home can give you new ideas.
From traditional keyboards to microtonal ones, from re-configured instruments (like drums or guitars) to customised devices, what are your preferred controllers and interfaces? What role does the tactile element play in your production process?
It's always more inspiring to be able to play and record live with controllers, groove boxes, synths, or keyboards.
In this scenario, the Analog Keys synth is my favorite because it has so many performance options, such as the modular synth, the Digitakt, and the Octatrack.
In addition, I like to control Ableton Live with my iPad via the Touchable app, which allows me to control everything from Live without constantly looking at the screen.
In the light of picking your tools, how would you describe your views on topics like originality and innovation versus perfection and timelessness in music? Are you interested in a “music of the future” or “continuing a tradition”?
I like having the influence of the past but combining it with new ideas and technology to create something new and exciting. That's how I like to create my music.
Most would regard recording tools like microphones and mixing desks as different in kind from instruments like keyboards, guitars, drums and samplers. Where do you stand on this?
I love music hardware because I'm also a mixing and mastering engineer. But the instruments and music you can create are more important than the tools for the final sound of your music.
It makes no difference what tools you use if the sounds, arrangement, or music aren't good!
How would you describe the relationship between technology and creativity for your work? Using a recent piece as an example, how do you work with your production tools to achieve specific artistic results?
It's important and has a significant impact on my creativity. When you try out a new instrument or tool, you always come up with new ideas.
Every track on my album Movement was created with a different approach, using different instruments or ways of composing the music to create a good variety of sounds and music.
For example, in the track “Ports”, I recorded midi melodies in Live and processed the synths heavily with various effects and reverbs to achieve the ambient atmospheres I desired. Following that, I recorded the melodies in audio and reversed them to edit the echoes that came before the notes to create this pre-echo effect.
Within a digital working environment, it is possible to compile huge archives of ideas for later use. Tell me a bit about your strategies of building such an archive and how you put these ideas and sketches to use.
Yes, I always record ideas and save them for later use. I also have a ton of patterns and sounds in the hardware that I use for the live sets that I can use in new tracks.
It's essential for me to not lose these ideas when I play live or in the studio by recording jams inside a project or saving sounds and patterns.
How do you retain an element of surprise for your own work – are there technologies which are particularly useful in this regard?
My favorite technique for capturing elements of surprise is to record live and use automation. In order to be a little unpredictable and generate new notes, I also like to use polyrhythmic patterns and randomization.
Later, I record all of these new notes on MIDI clips so that I can control them within a song arrangement.
Production tools can already suggest compositional ideas on their own. How much of your music is based on concepts and ideas you had before entering the studio, how much of it is triggered by equipment, software and apps?
It's a combination of the two; sometimes you come to the studio with an idea for a melody or groove, and other times, while playing with an instrument or software, you find something inspiring to start a new song.
Have there been technologies which have profoundly changed or even questioned the way you make music?
Yes, it was very motivating when I first started using my DAW-less live setup, and the options I learned about in some Elektron machines and the modular synth. It significantly changed how I approach writing new music and also the way of play music live.
To some, the advent of AI and 'intelligent' composing tools offers potential for machines to contribute to the creative process. Do you feel as though technology can develop a form of creativity itself? Is there possibly a sense of co-authorship between yourself and your tools?
I think AI is very interesting for mixing and mastering tools because it allows you to be faster on technical things and focus more on the music. But I don't like it for the creative process because it's similar to using a lot of sample libraries. I believe it is preferable to create original content and don't let the AI make music for you.
What tools/instruments do you feel could have a deeper impact on creativity but need to still be invented or developed?
I would love to have more sequencers giving me new options for composing music. I really enjoy trying and getting new sequencers because they are so powerful and constantly evolving, with new options and features.