Who we are: Brandon
Welcome back to the blog! This series is all about the people behind Noise Engineering. We’re a small but dedicated group of primarily awkward nerds, who all share a love for synthesizers, music, and all things Noise.
Name: Brandon Ivers
Job title: Level 80 Wizard. The title was originally a joke but when I found out Stephen objected to the title mainly because “you can’t go beyond level 20 in D&D” it seemed like I had to keep it.
What’s your backstory? What did you do before NE?
I’ve been a line cook, a music journalist, a teacher, and a software developer. Amazingly, I’ve never been a Level 80 Wizard until now.
How long have you been at NE?
What do you do at NE?
I work on all the things related to the Noise Engineering website, our backend services, whatever coding and automation tasks are needed. But it varies day by day. Yesterday, I helped out with some module design. Today, I’m working on shipping logistics. Hoping to make risotto for the NE crew someday.
What do you do when you’re not working?
Parenting is the main thing, but I’m always making music. Video games, especially old ones (Elden Ring is the exception right now). I love distance running and cycling and I try to do either as often as I can.
What’s your favorite NE module that you’ve worked on?
I'm sworn to secrecy because it’s not out yet, but I think it’s going to be very, very good.
What got you started in modular to begin with?
My friend Rob got me into modular around eight years ago. I’ve always loved trying every single hardware sequencer I can get my hands on, and he had an Intellijel Metropolis. It was impossible to resist.
What’s your favourite programming workaround you’ve had to do to get something working?
Sometimes I feel like all coding is a workaround, and today is one of those days.
What’s your favorite module in your system?
I’m going to sound like such a company man for saying this, but the Desmodus Versio is my favorite. I’ve been through so many effects in modular, and the Desmodus is the first one where I didn’t feel like I was working too hard to make it sound cool.
What’s your favorite patch technique?
Absolutely love feedback patches of every kind. A good feedback patch adds a certain type of movement and unpredictability that is really hard to replicate elsewhere.
Desert island module?
This is a very pragmatic answer, but probably Mutable’s Plaits because it does so many different things and it’s still easy to use.
What was your first synthesizer, modular or otherwise?
My very first “synthesizer” was an E-MU E5000. I guess it’s really more of a sampler but you could loop waveforms on it and it had this insane “cord” system that made it operate like a modular. I sold it a while ago but I still miss it.
What’s your favorite non-modular instrument?
I have a very deep attachment to my Akai s950 sampler. I’ve had four of them over the years and they are very interwoven into the history of the music I love.
What’s your favorite piece of non-NE gear?
Probably my Genelec monitors. The rooms I work in are always pretty bad acoustically speaking, but the Genelecs have some fantastic room correction software built-in. They really changed what I could hear and because I love bass so much, they made it possible for me to make mixes that weren’t totally terrible.
How did you get interested in music?
My parents were super involved in the Minneapolis music scene when I was a kid, so I got a heavy dose from an early age. But I think what sealed the deal for me was discovering raves in the late 90s. It was a complete lifestyle; we’d drive hours and hours to go to raves in the midwest and I met tons of people that I’m still friends with. And musically, “techno” was the first music I heard, aside from punk, where I felt like I could actually make it.
What kind of music do you like to listen to?
I’m really all over the place these days – my default cooking music is anything related to El Michels Affair or Madlib. If I’m driving, I listen to a lot of UK drill, grime, and old garage. I still love DJing, so I’m constantly going through new music every day and finding new favorite songs. But if I had to pick a favorite song RIGHT NOW, it would be James Brown’s “I’m Satisfied”.
What’re your musical inspirations?
For me, it’s all about UK harcore and everything that came from that. So people like Goldie, Doc Scott, and Steve Gurley are massive heroes to me forever. The first Prodigy album (Experience) still blows me away. Pretty much everything Meat Beat Manifesto has ever put out. My musical mentor, Martyn. Sully, Overmono, Forest Drive West, the Psycho Bummer crew.
What’s a module you want that doesn’t exist yet?
A Yamaha FS1R crammed into a single module.
Star Wars or Star Trek?
Star Trek, no contest!
Favorite horror movie?
It’s probably a tie between John Carpenter’s “The Thing” and Cronenberg’s “Scanners”. They’re both amazing for completely different reasons. I’m very trapped in the 80s when it comes to horror.
Favorite pizza toppings?
I worked as a line cook at an Italian restaurant for years, and we made a prosciutto and goat cheese pizza that is the gold standard (to me, at least). But I will honestly eat just about any pizza put in front of me.
What album could you not stop listening to when you were in high school?
I was really obsessed with the Germs, Black Flag, and the Descendents – a lot of southern California hardcore. I think I listened to the Germs’ album “GI” about 40,000 times.
What would your 18-year-old self think about what you do now?
I think my 18-year old self would be way too bratty and annoying to answer this question truthfully.
Favorite NE memory?
I can barely remember the last month, it’s been a whirlwind. That one time Markus said that one thing?
Links to your personal music projects?
The most recent music I’ve done is on bandcamp: