Hi, Doctor Nick! - Headphones, Analog Synths, and Building a Fanbase

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It's been less than two months since Nick Hook officially joined the XLR8R team, yet his Thursday advice column already feels like a well-established part of the site's weekly repertoire. Hook may not be an actual doctor, but he's got plenty of wisdom to share—about music, travel, production, DJing, romance, gear, and just about everything else. Week in and week out, throngs of readers write in to doctornick@xlr8r.com in hopes that the good doctor will kick down some knowledge to them. If you have a question of your own, don't be shy—just send it in. Otherwise, read on and see Doctor Nick's thoughts on building a fanbase, analog synths, and headphones.

Hi Doctor Nick,
What's a good way to get your music out there when you have no fanbase whatsoever, but you know there are people out there who wanna hear that shit?

What's good son? Is it dope? Send it to me. I'll check it out.

Make that shit like Gremlins. Get one fan, turn it into two, keep it multiplying. But make sure you don't send tracks out prematurely—just cuz you made something doesn't mean you have to start a SoundCloud and start spamming all of us. Take your time. Listen to what you love. Is your music on that level? Is it bringing something new? If not, that's totally cool, keep working. It's our hobby anyways, right? I do feel that video content is more important than ever before. If you have a dope track and a dope video, then you are multiplying the possibility that someone could hear the track. I think Flying Lotus' video for "Parisian Goldfish" made a bunch of people that would never sit through one of his songs sit through it.

After you have some shit, just get it out there. I don't know where you live, so that factors in, but in New York, I'm always meeting some cats that have tracks. This kid rolled up to me with a USB key at the Fool's Gold party. We all wanna hear new shit, especially if you deliver it to us in a way that is non-confrontational. Don't make us listen to it in your presence, just say, "Hey, here are some tracks. It would be be cool if you peeped them." If I don't, don't kill me, but maybe I will. Sometimes I get wasted and leave the CD or something at the club, but i always try. If I forgot, give it to me again. It's all good.

Hi Doctor Nick,
How do I turn a Minitaur into a polyphonic synth? I don't own one yet, but I will soon. It will be my first hardware synth. Thanks in advance.

Okay. This is the illest question, so listen. Analog synths are analog for a reason. It's real. It's electricity. One oscillator makes one sound. It's built by hand. Thats what the Minitaur is. Digital, on the other hand, can recreate anything—that's why it's polyphonic. Regardless, an analog synth is a great purchase for many reasons. I've been working with Moog since 2005—I have a Model D, a Voyager, and a delay pedal. They are the best.

I reached to my man Amos over at Moog and he spit out a few more tips:

Answer 1: You don't, obviously. :)

But if you want to be clever...

Answer 2: Of course it won't sound or behave anywhere the same, but you can sample the raw sound of the Minotaur and play it polyphonically using Ableton's simpler or sampler instruments.

Answer 3: You should also try running polyphonic soft synths into the Minitaur's external input, so you can warm up the sound by running it through the Minitaur's Moog filter and amplifier.

Hi Doctor Nick,
What are the headphones that sound just like proper big club monitors?

To be completely honest, I have NO idea of the answer to this question. The most "exciting" headphones I've owned are the AIAIAI ones. The bass is definitely extra loud and it sounds punchy. I'm that guy that's had every pair of headphones and has then lost them at some point.

Maybe in the comments if people wanna chime in... a real doctor should be honest, right? If you don't know, you gotta say, "Hey, I don't know."

Hi, Doctor Nick! appears every Thursday on XLR8R. Do you have a question for Doctor Nick? Please submit your inquires to doctornick@xlr8r.com. Nick Hook can help you.