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My Favorite Machines

Munich's Zombie Nation shows off the gear that made RGB possible

By Ken Taylor
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Google “Zombie Nation” and you can forever be sure that the artist’s hockey-arena anthem “Kernkraft 400″ will appear within the first few results. It’s likely both a blessing and a curse for Munich producer Florian Senfter, who probably never intended for the track to find such huge success—but who’ll never be able to shake it from any mentions of his name.

That said, Zombie Nation’s latest LP for Turbo Recordings, RGB, does its fair share to distance its maker from his now-classic bombastic tune. RGB‘s 16 tracks dig into deeper, more subdued techno territory with the odd groovy excursion thrown in for good measure, and sound much more suited to dark dancefloor frenzies than the fist-pumps of drunken frat boys. Here, Senfter gives us a look at some of his favorite studio gear, which he used to construct this newest opus.

My Elektron Octatrack

The Octatrack is a standalone sampler with integrated sequencer. You could call it
a Groovebox Deluxe. It´s fairly easy to handle, but can get complicated when you go more deep. The integration with the unique sequencer makes it outstanding. In fact, I know no other machine or software where you can mangle sounds in such an extreme way. There are so many tricks in that box, it´s hard to grasp. But the crossfader plays a crucial part in getting the box alive. In performance mode, you can change up to 30 parameters (like filter, pitch, etc.) per track, and you have a total of eight tracks. That makes 240 parameters of your music playing at one crossfader. (Not that anyone would do that, but just to give you an idea of the horsepower.) This is what I did on my track “Pony.” The sound playing is a tiny millisecond loop, and by moving the crossfader, the loop position and loop length get changed.




My Sequential Prophet IV

This is one of the classic polyphonic synths and it was first built in 1978. It has become quite rare and I am happy that mine is looking so shiny. [I got mine] in the German countryside. A hobby musician was selling it, whose life seemed to have moved on. He obviously had bought it back in the days and not used it much. I was so happy. The reason why I kept the Prophet and got rid of the Oberheim OB-8, for example, is because of its versatility. The filter, the bass, the general vibe I get from this thing is: I am serious and I am yours. I used it for everything except the drums on my track “Worth It.”



My Teenage Engineering OP-1

This tiny box is from 2011 and I bought it right when it came out. It´s a great design inside-out, the most forward-thinking synth I know. And its battery lasts 10 hours, which makes it perfect for long trips. The Op-1 is really light, so I carry it with me often when I am on tour. After my album was done, I realized that as many as six tracks started with the OP-1 (“Momplays,” “Schoove,” “Maingame,” “Brownsville,” “Jacky,” “Falling”) I say “started” because the main sounds and patterns are OP, but I then transferred it to Cubase to beef them up of a little. My favorite thing to do is sampling radio with the integrated FM receiver. You just press a button and it’s laid out on the keyboard.

**And for added effect, check out Zombie Nation tweaking synths at Turbo’s studios: