About Bing Satellites
I have been experimenting with music for as long as I can remember. I become a fan of Brian Eno as a teenager and that had a profound effect on me.
I had been in bands in my teens and early 20s but was never particularly happy.
In the early 2000s, computers had evolved enough to make it possible for one person to make music relatively easily.
With some software and the loan of a sequencer and synth from my brother, Bing Satellites began.
The name came from the start of a song of mine (entitled 'Bing Satellites') which started with bleepy noises which sounded to me like satellite signals. Not a ping, it was softer, more like a bing.
I thought the name was good - enough space and enough silliness to keep me happy.
Here's the thing though, if I had googled the two words first, I would have found that there were Chinese military satellites called Jian Bing already orbitting the Earth - Bing Satellites already existed!
Feel free to share my music with your family and friends, on your website or non-commercial radio station.
If you wish to use my music for commercial purposes, please contact me.
My studio - Mission Control or something
First of all, the name.
Some of you may have noticed on the liner notes of a few releases that I my studio is called MCos. Well, if I'm going to go by a silly space related name, then surely my studio should too. MCos is short for Mission Control or something.
The centre of the studio is the laptop.
Many sounds come from within Propellerhead Reason.
It is fairly easy to use and has a wide range of sounds that can be played, programmed and edited in real time. There are add-on 'Refill' packs specifically for Reason but I have found almost all the sounds I need provided within Reason itself.
I play instruments in Reason with the M Audio Oxygen 61 midi keyboard.
I also use 'real' instruments.
I have a microphone ready for voice, flute, clarinet, acoustic guitar or anything else that comes to hand (anything that makes a noise).
I also have electric guitar (Skylark Steinberger M Series copy), and baritone-tuned electric guitar (a normal Stratocaster copy - my first guitar - tuned down five semitones so the open strings play B E A D F# B), which go through my pedal board, and a fretless bass.
Current pedal board (in order):
Behringer CS100 Compressor Sustainer
Behringer SM200 Slow Motion
Ken Multi (unknown model) Distortion
Behringer Hell Babe Optical Wah Pedal
Yamaha DI-10MII Distorion
Ken Multi MCH7 Chorus
Zoom 506 Bass multi fx (although designed for the bass, this does some great things to the guitar)
Behringer VM1 Vintage Time Machine (chorus/vibrato and delay)
Zoom 507 Reverb (delay, reverb and chorus/flanger)
Behringer RV600 Reverb Machine
Digitech X-series DigiDelay
Boss DD-20 Giga Delay
I also use a Boss DD-3 delay pedal, set up as a feedback loop through the mixer
and another Behringer RV600 Reverb Machine.
Synths and things
I use a Yamaha RM1x sequencer, mainly as a sound source.
It was given to me, along with some other studio equipment, by my very kind friend JCM.
I also use a Korg K Station (which, very importantly, makes that 'peeoosh' sound I tend to use a lot), Korg TR rack synth, Emu Proteus 2000 and the wonderful Roland SH-32.
These can be played with a second midi keyboard (M Audio Oxygen 49) via Ableton Live (which can also be used as a sequencer).
Due to the large number of audio sources, I use two mixers in sequence. The second is a usb mixer connected to the laptop.
Audio from the usb mixer and Reason goes through Ableton Live.
I also use Waves plug-in effects but most important is a free plug-in called AngstroLooper. It is basically acts as a very long delay, something like a tape loop.
For Twilight Sessions recordings, the loop is 16 bars long (around 90 seconds) and set to decay slightly.
For Soothing Images, I use this loop and feed it into a similar loop 6 bars long.
I control various parameters within Ableton Live (volumes of separate tracks and more) with a Korg NanoKontrol.
It is small but perfect for this job. I can assign faders to different controls in Ableton in real time.
I used to use a Behringer FCB1010 midi foot controller but found it too cumbersome to operate and modify on the fly, so now I use a very cheap three pedal usb controller. It does a similar job as the NanoKontrol but it's on the floor. It means I can keep playing the guitar or keyboard but still make changed in Ableton Live.
My latest addition to the studio set-up is an Alesis DM10 studio electronic drum kit.
So far, it has only appeared on this track (from 23:30 onwards). Expect more soon.
Described in this much detail, my studio sounds complicated but it is all set up, ready to go with me sat in the middle, spinning around on my office chair.
The room that is my studio is small - cosy but nor cramped. It gets light all day, from sunrise to sunset. In fact, considering I live near the centre of Manchester, I get a fantastic view of the sunset almost all year (around midsummer the actual sunset is obscurred by nearby buildings). I live right next to a busy road and a motorway, but this room gets the least noise of any in my flat. And there are trees all around (less than there used to be but still nice). I'm very lucky to have such a nice space to create music.