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I’ve been playing keys for 25 years in lots of different styles, but really focused on soul/hip-hop. I started working with synthesizers 11 years ago and developed an affinity for them, as they provide a wide variety of sounds, and have specific controls to alter different aspects of the sound with precision.
1984 Roland Juno-106
It’s such a versatile board; it has the ability to sound like so many different things. Of course you cannot truly replicate a Rhodes, piano or organ, but that’s not all it’s about with the Juno. In my eyes it was made for discovery and exploration, to seek new sounds and apply it in new ways.
Everything! You can sound like a string section, a flute, or a steel drum. You can make bird sounds, water bubble sounds, or a chainsaw. I like to use it for drum sounds sometimes; you can make it sound like an 808 if you want to.
It has polyphonic portamento, which is rare and pretty neat, and it has 128 memory slots so you can save your sounds. It also has MIDI which was rare for a 6-voice polysynth at the time. I haven’t done any mods, but I do fix them myself – like repairing slider potentiometers and vco/vcf chips and other things that can go wrong with 30-year-old equipment…
Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode, A-ha, and countless other synth-pop artists of the 1980s.
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