Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dave Smith Interview: We talk Tempest with a synth legend

As some of you may have noticed, I recently changed the header of the site to a certain familiar font-- that of Dave Smith Instrument's logo.  It's commemorating the release of the new Tempest, DSI's brand new analog/digital hybrid drum machine.  I'd been trying to score an interview with Dave for a couple months now, but he's been quite busy at work on his newest classic.  Finally, that interview is up today.

To call Dave an audio electronic engineer who owns is own company just doesn't quite cut it.  He's very much a legend in the world of synthesizers.  If you don't know why, you'd have to try hard to not find his influence.  Dave started Sequential Circuits back in the mid-70s, a music company.  They created the first programmable polyphonic synthesizer, the Prophet-5, in 1977.  Prophet-5s are still highly sought after today and is arguably the greatest synthesizer ever made.  In addition to that and other great products made by SCI, Dave helped create MIDI, the universal music standard we all use for our keyboards-- he even coined the term.  Sequential Circuits was eventually bought out and Dave had stints at other companies making digital products, only to return to his roots more recently with Dave Smith Instruments, who've also remade his classic Prophet-5 as the Prophet '08, in addition to other new classics like the Evolver and Mopho.

I can't help but feel lucky to get a chance to chat with such a legendary name in electronic music.  I sit here with my Mopho Keyboard and my Tetra just within reach, two of DSI's recent creations, which I love to play.  The Tempest marks a huge moment for many synthusiasts as it's a truly rare breed-- drum machines aren't as popular, let alone an analog and digital hybrid.  While I haven't tried a Tempest yet and there aren't many (if any) reviews out yet, early impressions say Dave has once again set the bar incredibly high for competitors with a new classic.  Check out what Dave has to say on Roger Linn and the Tempest below.