American producer and DJ Edward Ma, aka edIT, has been a major force on the LA scene since the late 90s. After the release of his 2004 debut album, Crying Over Pros For No Reason, Edward formed electronica powerhouse The Glitch Mob with Josh Mayer and Justin Boretta. Five albums and a heap of singles and remixes later, the band are known the world over for their hard-hitting, visceral productions and dazzling live shows, the latter centering on the innovative Blade 2.0 touchscreen performance system.
For his Patch and Play offering, Edward has cooked up a suitably glitchy-but-epic rhythmic preset for MASSIVE X that covers every area of the frequency spectrum, offers eight Macros for immediate adjustment, and features one of the most artful Performer setups we’ve ever seen. Hear it in action below, then download it for free and read on to find out how it was made and get Edward’s take on MASSIVE X and more.
What was your first experience with the original MASSIVE?
MASSIVE was obviously completely game changing when it dropped – it ushered in a new era of soft synths that would go on to define multiple genres of modern dance music, like the 909 did with techno. Wavetable synthesis previously wasn’t very popular, but MASSIVE put it on the map, and now it will be synonymous with this time period like FM synthesis was with the 80s. Pretty much every major synth maker (soft and hard) now has to have a wavetable synth in their arsenal, to the point that I don’t reach for wavetable synths first these days. That’s the impact that MASSIVE has had on the culture.
MASSIVE was also the first soft synth that offered a very simple and intuitive UI to make custom sounds that were never heard before. The Performer alone changed the game and pretty much forced many other soft synth makers to create similar modulators, where you could draw unique waveforms.
What were your expectations when MASSIVE X was released?
Obviously, Serum took the spirit of MASSIVE and iterated on it with visual feedback and tons of FX, and further pushed wavetable synthesis as the modern sound of popular dance music. I was expecting a ’Serum killer’ – like the one wavetable synth to rule them all, the next synth that all EDM producers would be using to make their warpy wobble bass hits. But MASSIVE X went in a really different direction, creating a synth that’s insanely deep and offers a lot of new and interesting concepts and ideas. When I was testing the beta, my first impression was that it wouldn’t be for the faint of heart. I didn’t think the average producer would have the patience for it, but those who are truly interested in new and unique synthesis techniques would be rewarded for their patience. It’s incredibly deep but armed with all the necessary tools to make some very unique and refreshing sounds.
Tell us about the inspiration behind the MASSIVE X patch you’ve made for us.
I’ve called the patch ‘Sine Of The Times’, as it’s meant to mirror the feelings that I think we’re all going through right now, due to COVID-19, the civil rights revolution, the economic fallout, the uncertainty of the times and our new reality. The patch is meant to make you feel uncomfortable, confused, uneasy and unsettled. This was all achieved using the paintbrush tool to draw unique LFO curves, and the modulation editor to bend and warp the Performer curves in untraditional ways, giving the patch a very unsettling feeling of speeding up and slowing down. And the core concept uses MASSIVE X’s simplest oscillator – ’SQ-Sine-Saw’ – to create something very complex and unpredictable.
How do presets influence the music you make?
I think presets are great. I’m not like those synth purists who say, ‘I only make my own sounds and I’m above using presets’. That’s not me. I think presets are great for getting an understanding of what a synth is capable of. They’re also great learning tools for reverse engineering sounds and understanding how they’re constructed. If I have a very specific idea of a sound that I want to make, it’s always quicker to make it from scratch. But I love discovering great presets to stimulate my creativity.
What does a typical writing session with The Glitch Mob look like? Are you all in the same room or, thanks to COVID-19, only working remotely?
We’re no strangers to trying new things and creating music in different ways. Sometimes that means we’re all in the room together. Sometimes that might mean one of us starts a demo that later turns into a Glitch Mob song. There’s no really no right or wrong way. Due to COVID, we got rid of our studio, split up all of our gear and have each been working from our homes. We have a massive library of collective sessions, samples, patches and presets that we’ve created over the years, and all of that is shared on Dropbox.
You also have a solo project in the works. What can you tell us about that?
When the quarantine started, I cancelled my Netflix and HBO, and dove deep into my studio and finished my third solo LP, Come To Grips. A lot of the tunes were written on tour and on the road, in hotels, tour busses, green rooms, etc. It’s a personal collection of snapshots and a reflection of where I have been creatively these past few years. The sound mirrors the current state of the world and I hope we can all come to grips with what’s happening and do our part to make positive change.
Interview: Carmen Rizzo