Transcription: 0027 - Mark Verbos

Released: April 20, 2014

Darwin: All right. This week we are talking to a person I've known for a long time, I consider him a friend. If nothing else, he's the guy that I've always been able to share jokes with when we meet up at trade shows or whatever. But he's a phenomenal talent inventing in the modular world. His name's Mark Verbos, and he has set the world a-buzz with a new set of modules for the Eurorack system. We're going to hopefully talk about all that stuff. Hey Mark. How you doing?

Darwin: Thanks a lot for taking the time out to talk to us. I'd like to start off by just having you explain what you do and give us a little bit of background about how you got there.

Mark: Well, as you've already mentioned, right now, I'm going around the world introducing my new line of Eurorack modules but, the genesis of all this is that for the last 20 or so years, I've been working as a recording engineer and as a musician myself and slowly becoming more and more of a music equipment engineer or designer. The way that that happened really was that I started out making my own music as a teenager, electronic music particularly. And then I went to school for recording engineering at Full Sail in Florida. And then, right around the time that I came back, I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, around the time that I came back as a, I guess, 19 or 20 year old, I met, Grant Richter who at the time who's pretty well known to the DIY community and also known for the stuff he does now with Malakko.

Mark: He was in the process of creating his own new modular system in the mid nineties when nobody was making new modulars. And because he was from a generation before me and a really sort of serious electrical engineer, classically trained, but also a musician. He kind of became a mentor to me in this of thing. And at the time he was the king of repairing the old Buchla systems, which there aren't that many of them, but if somebody had one generally he was doing the repairs on it. And somewhere along the line through what I learned from him and whatever kind of torch passing happened, 10 years after that I became the guy who was fixing all the Buchla systems, and that launches us forward to today where I'm trying to take some of what Don Buchla did back in the day. Some of the things that I've done with that system to sort of fill in the holes with my own ideas and work with two big things that work with Buchla systems, bring all these ideas together, as well as some of my fresh ideas and, and bring them into the Eurorack format, which is really exploding right now. Last I heard of something like 80 manufacturers. So it's a big buzz.

Darwin: Indeed. Well, that's a really interesting background because,on one hand, it flies all over the map. And at the other side of it sort of looks like you had planned this all along, even though I'm sure that's not how it feels in real life. So let's, first of all, talk about your background is both a performer and recording engineer. I know that way back when I was in Milwaukee, you were really active in the electronic music scene. In fact, I think the first time we met you were advertising the paper looking for analog synths. I had an old MC-202, that I was trying to move to a new home and, we struck a deal over that. But I remember talking to you and you were very excited about the electronic music thing and you seem to be sort of like really embracing that. How did you move from electronic music into wanting to do recording engineering? Did it seem natural or was it something where you were trying to make a career given what you were interested in?

Mark: I think the way that that happened was because as a child, I was raised as a musician playing instruments and in school taking classes about music, and music theory, and whatever. At some point it became clear to me that I'd rather be making my own music than informing someone else's music. And, as I got more into recording I had bands and my own electronic stuff, as I got more into recording it, I wanted to be able to do it all myself. As a teenager, I don't think I really knew what a producer or an engineer did, but it seemed to me that I had to be one of those or both of those in order to do it all myself. So, I just wanted to be exposed to all of that, to the equipment and to the techniques for recording.

Mark: And when I got out of school I went to work as an intern, and then assistant engineer, and then engineer in a kind of big time mainstream studio in Chicago. Ultimately I came to the conclusion that maybe that's what I wanted to do, but it's a good tool set. And while I was in school I learned a little bit about repairing gear and about reading schematics and that kind of stuff. And I was always interested in that stuff. And I always kind of thought that the process of recording music, the process of making electronic music and the processes building electronic instruments is all pretty closely related.

Darwin: So how did the work with Brant and the recording studio stuff, how did that mesh in terms of your time? I'm trying to put together the timeframes in my head, and I know that I would like meet you at AES in New York and you were heavily involved in the recording studio stuff at that point. But I also remember at some period of time, when you were working with Grant, you were also really active in designing your own kind of mini systems. You were doing like little sequencers and stuff like that, just kind of for your own use as well. How do those lineup, in terms of time, did you work with Grant before or after or during the recording studio period?

Mark: All of these things kind of happened on top of each other, but when I came back from school in 95, I knew that I wanted to build synthesizers. I had a few books and I had a little bit of information and I was following around in the internet, and some of the lists and stuff, but I wasn't equipped to really do it. There were some parts of the process that were still a mystery. I actually bought this, EMS Putney from an 80 year old man and it didn't work and I attempted to fix it and wasn't successful. And then somebody gave Grant's phone number saying, this is a guy who can fix this. So I called him without ever having met him, just cold called him.

Mark: And he immediately said, no, he said, I don't fix stuff anymore. I learned my lesson on that. And then he couldn't resist. He said, wait, where, where are you getting this stuff? You know, just bringing it over. I hate to see these things not working. So when I got to his place and I went into the basement and saw a museum of electronic music, the Buchlas and a Big Surge and ARP 2600, and EML stuff, and a Putney, and a Synthi, and just on and on and on. It became clear that this was the guy that was going to expose me to a lot of things that I never would've had the opportunity to get near. And then he pulled out his prototypes of what he was putting together that would become what he was calling weird then, but then ultimately came wired.

Mark: And that was the transition where things like, how do you make a circuit board? Finally there was an answer to that question because he was somebody who was doing it. So I started to do my own and when they didn't work, I could always go to him as a sort of safety net. And in that process, I think you and I were both kind of guiding him in what he was putting together, telling him there's no way that somebody making techno whatever use it that way. Trying to get him out of his technique for making music and more toward ours. We were all learning at the same time. And he had a lot more formal training in electronics, obviously since that was what he studied.

Mark: And he was working at that time. I think he was designing a metal detector per se, but he just enabled me and also my friend, Gabe Catanzaro, who was at the time studying at MIAD. He was going into the labs at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, going into the labs and building enclosures. So I would build the electronics and Gabe would build these boxes, folding up plastic to create boxes or metal or whatever. And Grant would always be there to save me when I got in over my head. So it was a little bit at a time. During that time, when was over there a lot, I was there for a year or so maybe 95, 96 when I was living in Milwaukee and going over to his place all the time to either bring something of mine that didn't work, to be fixed or solder wires on the pots for him or whatever. And then I started working in a recording studio in Chicago, and I was up there all the time, back and forth between Milwaukee and Chicago, always learning more from him. He has a lot more to offer than just being an electrical engineer. He's also [inabudible] of all things underground and a really sort of quirky, interesting person.

Darwin: Right. I think it's interesting because I think for as much props as Grant has maybe gotten for his work, I still think there's so much more that people could discover about him. I mean, between his love of modular synths and his love of Vespas and his love of ridiculous old, obscure music. I always felt like every time I had an opportunity to spend an hour with him, I would learn something amazing. So he's an incredible guy, and I hope that history treats him appropriately for that, you know?

Mark: Yeah. It's a strange thing how the history of electronic music and the history of instrument design is different because of the nature of the technology. It must have been very, very difficult to find out about a synthesizer in the seventies when there wasn't really anywhere to advertise them. And now we have the internet. So in a way everybody's a star, but in another way, nobody's a star. So it's a smaller world than ever, but in some ways it's a bigger world than ever. So he still is a hero to me and really a trailblazer in the idea of bringing all of this very forgotten technology back to life for musicians. You know, for guitar players, the idea of using 50 year old technology is just normal.

Mark: I mean, pretty much never got past two bands. But for electronic music, for a long time there was a lot of momentum into new, new, new, new, and forget about the old and put it in a closet and never touch it again. I don't know when the official turning point is, but somewhere it became acceptable to try out what, in some ways is really obsolete ways of doing things. And it's interesting to see a new generation of users cherry pick whatever parts of this stuff they want and package it together in new ways. And what's happening with Eurorack is really interesting because there are some manufacturers that are focused on, I'm doing clones or reissues or old style things. But then there are also brands that are only doing modules based on microprocessors and doing things that weren't possible in the seventies and are kind of a fusion of old and new and, creating some new middle ground it's an old way of addressing a new idea or something like that.

Darwin: Yeah. I agree with that. In fact, this idea of exploring the oldest part of kind of a hybrid music development stylist not just in modular synths, I mean, you see it in a recording. I just had a talk with a student yesterday who is just infatuated with old cassette multi-track decks and their peculiarities and the Tape-op crew is very much embracing of a hybrid of old and new. So it is really an interesting time to watch not only electronic music, but music technology in general make that kind of shift. So, at some point you moved to New York, which growing up in Milwaukee, boy, that must've been a bit of a trip. Did you sort of like bring your music and recording career with you there? Or did you start fresh when you got to New York?

Mark: Actually, I spent three years in Berlin Germany between. Basically I got to that point in the recording studio, working as a staff engineer where I became really frustrated with the work that I was doing, I kind of felt like I was never going to get a great projects because any great project that came to our studio brought their own engineer. And so I was ending up with a lot of the projects that were like the kind that call and ask, how much is your room per hour. And then when they arrived to the session, they say, wait, there isn't an engineer included? So they'd get me. At some point I said, I can't do this anymore. And I lived in Germany and just did my music and worked on my synthesizers.

Mark: And really at that time, my own music was my primary focus. But in 2003, I moved to New York and, whatever stuff I had in my dad's basement, equipment wise that I didn't take with me overseas and whatever I had in various places in Chicago and whatever, I packed it all up and brought it to New York and then set up shop here and started doing, engineering, and producing, doing a lot of the mixes and working with some bands and that kind of thing, in addition to doing my music. All the while, doing the synthesizer building as a hobby, really. Building my own stuff, but never actually selling anything. And maybe around 2005 started to do some custom work, and do a lot of repairs of Buchla stuff. And that transition more or less happened because I had such a presence in the community on the internet for the followers or the obsessors of the Buchla stuff.

Mark: And, I had experienced using it, and I was definitely interested in owning it but, mostly my experience at that point was, as far as the electronics were concerned, was with building some of the circuits and modifying some of the ideas. And I had the experience through Grant of seeing a lot of them taken apart and him doing repairs for people and telling me what he was doing and whatever. And I had all of the documents from him but, really it was around that time also that he decided that he couldn't do the electronics work anymore. At least not the hands-on portion of it. He's still doing the design, but he he'd gotten to a point where his hands weren't feeling very great.

Mark: So in a way at that point he started to pass that work to me because he felt like I could handle it and he didn't want to do it, or couldn't do it. So me coming more of a technician and, not that I ever stopped engineering or that ever stopped making my own music, but it becoming a bigger part of my life to do the sentence designing and synth reparing really just happened kind of naturally. I didn't one day decide, now I'm going to start doing this too, or instead. It kind of a little bit at a time that can a bigger and bigger part of my life.

Darwin: You know, it seemed like your embrace of the Buchla stuff and the internet sort of coincided in a pretty handy way, because that was the point at which people who had a Buchla system sitting in a closet and wanted to resurrect it actually had a mechanism where they could kind of look around for people to help out. And you really became the go-to Buchla guy, such that not only were you doing repair work, but you were actually developing new modules for Buchla format. Right. It seems like kind of an intimidating thing to say, Buchla in many eyes is sort of a master of this kind of stuff. It seems a little intimidating to say, well, and then I'm going to put something in a box to sit right next to it. How much did you sort of like worry about honoring the goals and the techniques of what booklet had been doing with his early systems?

Mark: It's definitely a concern. And the first time that I had a module not belong inside of someone else's system and they had a picture of their cabinet and it was a Buchla system with one of my modules in the middle. It was definitely, I guess it's the same kind of thing it's like sending your kid off to college, you're proud, but you're also a little bit concerned that maybe they're not up to task. The way that it happened really was that I had a client here in New York who has more Buchla modules probably than anybody, he mentioned to me that, that he was looking around for a two 42 programmable Pulser, which in addition to being probably if not the rarest, one of the rarest, Buka 200 modules, which doesn't necessarily make it any better.

Mark: It just makes it rarer. But he's a musician and he uses his blue play every day to make music that ends up on TV. He he's done themes for TV shows and all sorts of big time work. We got into the conversation about, about that module. And I said, it seems crazy to end up spending. I mean, at the time, I, I, I don't know what, what amount of money I expected, but I'm sure it would be very expensive and now much more than then. If you found one to, to, to make it yours and good luck even finding one, but then at the end of the day, it's 12 steps long. It's three rows of, of pulse, like programmable pulses. And there's no reset. And it's a very primitive and sort of, not that, not that powerful of a module. And I said, wouldn't it actually be more suitable for what you're trying to do.

Mark: If, if we just designed the ultimate program will Pulser had had all the things that you want it to have. So at that point, I drew up a sketch about what I thought that might be. And he looked at sketching, made a couple comments, and then he said, yeah, let's do it. And we made the, the agreement that I would make one for him. And one for me, which, which I thought was really cool, right. So I made one for him and one for me. And then he put a picture of his, his system somewhere on the internet. And people started calling, contacting him and asking what that was and could they get one? And then the next thing we knew, I was making five of them. And then the next, you know, shortly after that, it was 10 and that was the beginning of it.

Mark: So, the thing that was important to me was that I try to understand what the, what the philosophical, platform that, that the bucco 200 was built on is, and tried, tried to match that, you know, try to stay, stay in with that. And among the things that are important, in the, the Buccolam manifesto, are all the signal levels being the same and the, the control, all of the parts that are used on the panel from the same, really longstanding high-end, brands like the switches are all C and K and the jacks are, Johnson, banana jacks, and switch craft, audio jacks, and all of that stuff. But also that, that, that, that it, and that it fits obviously in the, in the case of like everything about it, you know, matches with the, with the bookle system.

Mark: So, to, to build something that maybe was a hole in the system, like something that doesn't never did not to take an idea that Don had and try to one up him not to compete with him, on, on building, but, you know, trying to show what he did wrong and do it better, but, you know, maybe something that, that wasn't there, that that would be nice for a user to have. And so the idea from the beginning, wasn't, wasn't for me to, to, to make modules so that you don't have to buy a blue glove, but also, but to make some, some extra things that could be added to exist in glucose.

Darwin: Yeah. Well, that's, that's a real interesting point because, when I take a look at the modules that you were kind of responsible for, it did seem to be, if anything, it made the whole system more viable musically. And again, but it, but like in a very reverential way, w what do you think Don thought about you doing this?

Mark: Well, I talked to Don about it a little bit, and, and he, his attitude was, was, has always been the, he doesn't want to go back. He never wants to repeat anything that he did before. And he wants to always look forward to, to doing things that are new and more advanced, but he all in one conversation that I had, where, fairly early on in, when I was doing this, there was a kind of uproar in the users group about, about this stuff. And, and, so I got on the phone with him to talk with him about it, and he basically said, there's nothing I can do about it. So I don't want to do anything to you. And there's nothing that I could do, so do whatever you want. But then he turned around and gave me, I don't want to say a lecture because it was actually very polite, but he gave, gave me a lot of points or, pointers or, or, or, experienced stories about what it's like to design things to the music industry and ways of protecting myself against getting ripped off recommendations for how to deal with things.

Mark: And he, and he told me stories about, doing weather research for NASA and all kinds of really interesting things. So I think for him in a way it was, I can't speak for him, but I think that it was kind of, what I was doing was sort of silly or like, it wasn't interesting because it was well, part of it was that he said, you only thing that you have to worry about is an ethical problem. And I thought, Oh, no, if you think it's ethical to sell people, obsolete technology, which is something that had never even had occurred to me. I mean, it's the thinking of mine was that it's ethical to sell people, anything that they want to buy. Right. So if, you know, if somebody told you that if you didn't know anything about guitars, and then someone told you that the amplifier technology that we all prefer is from the forties, you would think he would think that that's crazy.

Mark: And that there must be a better way of doing it. And, you know, on paper, there's a better way of doing it transistors or whatever, new digital amplifier techniques or whatever the user is prefer. Something that's from an electrical engineers side, incredibly obsolete, right? So the most important thing, and Don didn't say this to me himself, but I read it in, in an interview that he did. He, he said that the kind of paraphrasing, but that the most important thing is to design the instrument panel first and then make the electronics, do whatever you need, because then when the electronics go obsolete, the device itself never will.

Darwin: All right. That's interesting. That's really great advice. I like how you, you sort of frame that as, Don always wanting to move forward because, I remember it even back, you know, when, when I was hanging around with grant and playing around with this Buco system in the basement, I'm like, how could he ever have left this behind? And then you'd look. And it was like, well, you could see he got excited by different technologies that came along. And next thing you know, he's doing the, the thunder and the lightning, and he's really into like performance movement and stuff like that. You could see that he had a desire to change what he was working on and the way that he was approaching problems. And so he himself sort of has a philosophy that's built around that. A result of all of what you did with the book was stuff led to this new series of your rec modules that you created.

Darwin: And my God, did you create a storm with that? I mean, first of all, because, because they're beautiful and they look unlike anything else, secondly, because you announced it and they were like ready to go that day, which is like, so the opposite of not only the modular systems, but the music industry in general music industry tends to want to give you nine months to worry about being the first person to get a thing before, you know, and so all the pre-announcement and the dates for plan shipments, and then the revised dates for plan shipments, and you just kind of like blew it up, which was really interesting. Cause it happened just before Nam. So you were able to get a lot of attention from that, too. How much of your book load design booklet system design experience and background was brought to bear on this and how much did you sort of have to push yourself in terms of making a new, new module design, a new circuit design?

Mark: Well, there's no question that I'm modifying my, my instinct for how to design something was, was a bit of a chore because the power supplies are different. The voltage ranges are different, the ergonomic situation is different. So in a way it's almost like I'm starting from scratch with a lot of the, a lot of the directions that things have to be taken. And among the things are the fact that, you know, in a Buchla system system, the smallest module is, seven inches high by four and a quarter wide. And in a Eurorack, the smallest something could potentially be as small as one HP, which is, I don't know, a third of an inch wide. So when, what you find is that in a, in a Buka system, some of the modules are like four of this, six of that. Some, a lot of like multiple things where the, the two 81, quad function generator is for attack release envelopes in, in one module.

Mark: And the, the low pass gate is for low pass Gates and one module. And the source of uncertainty, two 66 is noise and fluctuating, random voltages, a couple of times, and a few different stored randoms and a integrator and sample and hold all in this one module. And when you get into your rack, you don't really see that, that kind of thinking it's more like each of those things is broken up into its own module, right. And part of the, the Buka philosophy, at least by the, the later 200 series stuff was to, to package, the building blocks together in such a way that a musician could get to certain techniques just by flipping a switch and, and introducing new thing and have it all doing a lot of the work of getting to that patch already configured behind the scenes so that it isn't like a laboratory experiment to create the patch. And I wanted, I wanted to bring a lot of that, kind of thinking in, into what I was doing. So the tendency is for my modules to be a bit bigger physically than most of the uric stuff, right. Because of where I'm coming from.

Darwin: Well, they're, they're bigger, but they're also packaged in interesting combinations, which also seems to be something that you drew from the booklet design class, if you saw, you know, if we take a look at like your, what would be your VCA, it actually has some tone controls, a little resonant filter built in. It's got, it's got a nice array of, tenure murders all available. And so it's really a package that has sort of like a musical entity to it. It's the final piece in a voice, right?

Mark: Yeah. And as far as the, the, the tenure murders or reversing attenuators or whatever, we call them, I try to put them on pretty much every CV input, because as a, as a modular user, I find that it's frustrating to not have the ability to, to scale the voltage coming in. I mean, it's, it's, it's, it just seems like the only solution to me. Right. But it doesn't really require much more in the electronics it's, you know, it's a pretty simple circuit, so you might as well throw it in there anywhere that it might. And part of, part of the philosophy that also something that I, I am drawing from blue glove is, is the idea of using different size knobs for, for different controls. And trying to, trying to give you the most obvious control for each module is, is on a big knob.

Mark: And then everything's kind of built around that physically and try to have kind of a signal flow feel and, and just make it so that, so that again, so that you can get the, the patch without, without thinking of it like a, like a scientist, but thinking of it like a musician. And I think that, that's the biggest thing that, that I learned from when Buco was, was to design, to design the front panel. And then after that figure out how to make that circuit, because, the other way around doesn't really make sense from a musician's perspective, there are definitely instruments that are, are, are designed were more like on breadboard experiments that turned into something that had a lot of possibilities. So then they thought, okay, let's just put jacks for all

Mark: Yeah, yeah, exactly. And at the risk of actually, you know, sounding critic, I mean, there, there's more than one way to skin a cat, but I think that the, some of the, the search circuit struck me as that, where it feels like that anywhere that may be, it's almost like circuit bending level, like maybe you could do something with the, with the signal and we might as well put a Jack there, you know, and I try to be a bit more deliberate about the way that things work and the, you know, the, the, some of the circuits that, that are in the third system can do 20 different things depending on how their past. Right. But the danger I think, is that people won't really remember or understand how to make those patches. And then that gets in the way of the musicality. Sure,

Darwin: Sure. Well, of the, of the modules that you have out currently, I mean, you have, what is in essence, a pretty full voice of, I think it's about the only thing I would say is just not a very clear, like on envelope system, but other that you here, you have like a pretty full false, which of the current modules do you kind of consider, like your baby, your, the, the thing that really represents your, your favorite circuit or your favorite design?

Mark: I think that that, that position is, is shared by the voltage multistage and the harmonic oscillator. And the reason that I, in part, it's not a coincidence that those two circuits are, are ones that, that I'd done as Google format modules and then adapted into, this, this line, because those are, they're built on old ideas in a way, but they're ultimately like unique, unique ideas and the way that they're, that they're presented unique to my design.

Mark: And they're, they're the, the most popular modules. So far in the marketplace, in addition to being the ones that I'm the most invested in. So that's actually a payoff for me, but, the specifically the harmonic oscillator, it was there in the sixties. Buco made, an oscillator that, that had that used, this wave folding technique to create all the harmonics, from, from the crime or in his case, it was from a saw tooth core oscillator and then turned into a triangle and then folded across, and I'm using a triangle cord, but that idea existed. But in the time that he did it, first of all, it wasn't possible to get the waves very pure because, there's a lot of matching involved in a lot of, of, of mixing signals together. And they have to be scaled properly in order for the, the wave from period to be any good.

Mark: So the I've worked on a few of that, one 48 oscillator and, it sounds kind of green wave cabling, but that, but also that module had just, just CVN for the, for the pitch and then outputs for the harmonics. And, and that was it. And really what I brought to the table that I think makes it musical and makes it really useful is that all of the, the harmonic outputs are mixed with a voltage controlled mixer with slides here. So you can draw the mix, but also individual CD and for all of all of the harmonics, and then also controls where you can sweep across in various ways and actually plug in some sort of external control voltage source and select individual harmonics, or, open up a whole bunch of sweep across them and open them up in, in a way almost like you would open up a low pass filter, right.

Mark: And it's been really interesting things happen that are completely fresh. It's additive synthesis, but doing additive synthesis in analog is, is a fresh perspective on, on synthesis. And, and it's, it's interesting because there is no, there's nothing to compare it to. So, when I see what I see people use that module for the first time, I usually see them walk up with some skepticism and then there's a kind of Eureka moment where they realize that there are things that they can do that had, there's never been a way to do before. And it's so excited and suddenly have a whole bunch of ideas. So that's really the, the reason that you make this stuff is to try to inspire people to do, to make music and to do something different than they've been doing over and over.

Darwin: Well. Absolutely. And I, I just think it's really exciting to see not only an opportunity to do some additive synth brought to the Euro table, but also, have it, have it be packaged in such a smart, you know, such a smart way, cause edit synthesis, you know, there there've been people that have tried to do it, but it's very from a very digital standpoint. And I think to have this more pure analog, pathway to attack it, but also one that has such a clear and straightforward presentation does really open up some neat options. Well, we're just about, at the end of our time here, but I wish we had more because I'd love to talk to you. I mean, one thing I'd like to know is can you give us any hints about what the next things that might be coming from for both electronics might be,

Mark: Well, I have a touch plate keyboard sitting on my work bench right now, but yeah, it is working. It has a couple of bugs that need to be higher now, but that's right around the corner and I'm working on a dedicated envelope generator that will we'll have some, some, some corks I don't really want to do. I don't really want to do, something that's like the rest of the pack. So I have a couple of ideas for how to make something that is a little bit special and, you know, a couple of other ideas, but we'll let those come out match. Well, one

Darwin: Of the things that, a couple of what I told a couple of people that I was going to an interview, a lot of questions were about the, the design work of your modules. So first of all, apparently there's quite a Twitter about, about where did you get those incredible knobs? Those are so cool, but everybody talks a lot about the, the graphic design and the physical design of the module face plate. Did you do the graphic design or did you work with someone else on that?

Mark: I did all the design of the modules themselves. I have a designer who did the logo, which doesn't appear on the, on the modules, but is on the website and on all the letterhead and media and stuff. So, no, I was, I was a little bit, reluctant to let go of the reigns of the panel design because I thought that was such an integral part of the, of the designing of the module. Right. So, so if people like it, then that makes me extra happy. Yeah.

Darwin: People, people are blown away by it. It's, that it really brought a level of, a lot of people talk about bringing a new level of graphic design to the module thing. So instead of everything looking sort of like grunge, meth addict, you know, graphic design, this stuff is so classy and so beautiful. So congrats on that, that has caused quite a stir as well. So before we leave, there's a couple of things I want, I want to raise. First of all, you talk about this kind of a string throughout your entire careers. And really, since you were a teen has been doing your own music, are you still doing music?

Mark: I am. And actually it's been a kind of, interesting thing too. I think you said before that I was doing performances and had been doing that all along. But, since I launched this product line, I've done, a few performances using my synthesizer as the main instrument. And it's been kind of a, rebooting of my, my, my operation as a musician to now kind of combine these forces together and in an additional new way. And, it's been pretty cool. I, I just came back on Sunday. I came back from Germany and I was at the music Mesa trade show in Frankfurt. And then I was in Berlin for a week, with doing some in-store and some demos for the, people Promax four and national there's Loudon. And I did a performance at the arena club in Berlin using this, and some, so yep. Still doing it

Mark: I haven't done any in the last two years. I haven't done any releases of my own. Yeah. I've done lots of that kind of stuff. And, and produced bands. And there's a band, a band called Minx that I produced this year or last year, I guess. And, ultimately it's kind of a one man band. So I even after the, the album was finished, I played keyboards in the band and went to Japan with them as a member of the band.

Darwin: Well, that's great. And then one last thing, you are a self-made electronics guy to the point that you're doing this, make this amazing work and mouse. Some of that it comes from, you know, spending 20 years dedicating herself. And some of it comes from spending time in the basement with grant Richter. Not everybody has those opportunities. If someone wanted to get into a synth design or module design or just musical electronics, what would you say kind of in the world of now would be a way to approach that?

Mark: It seems to me that now is a better time to learn, learn this stuff than ever before. Thing is that if, if you would go to school for electrical engineering today, you wouldn't learn about any of this stuff. You'd learn more about programming. So in a way, this is, this is the music electronics, or specifically analog synthesizers are interest. It wouldn't actually even be something you could go to school for anymore, but with all of the kids and the community sort of crowdsourced, projects that are out there now, it's a much, a much safer world than it was 20 years ago when this was kind of a deeply guarded black art, where if you didn't meet somebody like grant, then you would never actually get the information. We now it's all over the internet and there are even new books about it. The books that I had when I was starting out were 20 years old at that point, but now this know current information, there, there are people with blogs or with websites that are very supportive and, and really kind of give it all away. So it's, it's really a good time to be, to be, an enthusiast, I think.

Darwin: All right. Well, thank you so much your time. Again, I have probably two hours more stuff I'd love to quiz you on. Thanks again for taking the time and congratulations on, not only, getting the Verbos electronics modules out, but congratulations on the tremendous amount of attention that you're getting for that. I hope I hope those translate into, a long history for your company. Thanks a lot. And we'll talk again soon.

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