KEYBOARDISTS – GET FUCKED!

I play keyboards. If I was in a band, I would be called ‘the keyboardist.’

But I am not a keyboardist, I am a motherfucking SYNTHESIST. 

The difference is this: 

If I was given the new Moog One polyphonic synthesiser to demo for a YouTube video, I would do two things. First, I would play it mainly polyphonically. Secondly, I would create patches to show off the power of the first Moog poly since the Memorymoog.

I would not take a hugely expensive polysynth and do endless monophonic blues widdling with a generic hard sync patch that’s older than my fucking balls. I wouldn’t just skip through presets without showing the actual power of the synthesis architecture. 

If a new, flagship piano was released , they wouldn’t give it to me to demo. You know why? BECAUSE I’M NOT A FUCKING PIANIST. I can fake piano, sure but I haven’t got the classical or jazz chops to give a full, informative demo of the timbres a new instrument of that type is capable of creating.

Imagine if I did a video with a new grand piano and proceeded to just play the bassline to Blue Monday for ten minutes. And then gave it a 3/10 cos there was no aftertouch. 

My stereotype of keyboardists is that they had piano lessons as a kid but then gave up. They have some chops but they’re neither pianists nor synthesists. They’re preset bashers with little to zero interest in sound design / patch creation. They can play every wedding reception favourite song ever but all with no feel. None of them can keep time. And they love doing generic blues soloing. Boy, do they love doing generic blues soloing. Give them a crappy “guitar solo” patch on a synth and you’ve got eight hours of predictable notes coming your way. Which, ironically, is something actual guitarists struggle their entire fucking lives to avoid.

This is what used to happen when I used to go to Turnkey in London to have a go on a new rompler. I’d get to the new synth I want to see aaaannddd…

…. some keyboardist would have beaten me to it. They call up an organ patch: blues solo. They call up a bassoon patch: blues solo. They call up a polyphonic orchestral patch: blues solo. They call up a drum kit: two seconds of intensely arrhythmic tapping and then off to find another patch to blues solo over.

Do you seem my rather laboured point? A keyboardist just plays the same licks on every bloody keyboard they encounter, on every patch. A synthesist would play a violin patch in a violin style, an acoustic guitar patch in the note/string order of an actual acoustic guitar, a haunting Sakamotoesque patch in that style. And, most importantly, a synthesist creates NEW sounds, NEW styles. Synthesists are not frustrated guitarists, we have our own thing. 

We dream of caressing a polysynth like the Moog One. Three oscillators per voice… mmmm… creamy. Classic Moog ladder and other filters? How can we fuck that up? Multiple arpeggiators that we can assign multitimbrally? Time to patch up my own drum kit and maybe throw in some Karplus-Strong via the multi-effects. 

I would love to see more synthesizer demos by synthesists. 

Please.