Why I Switched from Percussion to Synthesizers

Access Virus TI2 Polar synthesizer - top

When I decided to switch from bass guitar to percussion in 1996, one of the main reasons was my fascination with timbre. The same fascination had led me to experiment with synthesizers in the mid-1980s as a supplement to my bass guitar. My first synth in those days was the duophonic analogue Octave Cat. In 1988 I bought a Sequential Circuits Pro One, a monophonic analogue synth. The Pro One had the big advantage over the Cat of staying in tune!

Synth Pedals

Simon O'Rorke using synth pedals: Mission Engineering custom latching footswitch; M-Gear EX-P; two Mission Engineering EP-1s; Mission Engineering EP-1R

I usually augment my synthesizer's keyboard with four expression pedals and a footswitch. I don't know why more synthesists don't do this, but it is evidently not very common. So at gigs I often get asked to explain why and how I am using all these foot controllers.

Why I Play Drums Standing Up

Simon O'Rorke playing cymbals and drums

This article was written in 2001 as part of the liner notes for the album Squeakspeak by The Slab. Though I mostly play synthesizers rather than percussion these days, it may be of historical interest.

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