FJAAK, the Berlin-based trio of hardware heads, have really made a name for themselves over the last half a decade. Having grown up together in Spandau on the outskirts of Berlin, Felix Wagner, Aaron Röbig, and Kevin Kozicki began making music together early before they moved to techno. The trio first cut their teeth in electronic music by organizing illegal raves in and around Berlin, which eventually led them to run their own techno series, Machine Vibes. Based on all hardware setups and vinyl-only sets, the series took them not only to clubs beyond the German capital’s borders but all over Europe, steadily growing their reputation and fanbase.
2014 marked the turning point of FJAAK’s career, when 50Weapons bosses Modeselektor decided to take the young trio under their wings. The collaboration saw them release five EPs on the label within 18 months, while incessantly travelling the world. In 2017, they released their self-titled debut full length on Modeselektor’s main imprint, Monkeytown Records; and, earlier this year, they returned with another full-length effort, this time via their own FJAAK imprint, combining the energetic peak-time sound with sophisticated breakbeat arrangements and atmospherically dense ambient textures. In support of the album, XLR8R connected with FJAAK to learn about the key gear behind their work.
Akai MPC 60
This candy is the first MPC ever made by Roger Linn and we used it a lot for drums on our last album. The coloration and the groove of this sampler and sequencer is on fire! For drums and especially for claps and percussions. Sometimes we use the MPC60 also for sequencing synthesizers, pads or other hardware machines. Just the groove and sound made this machine an indispensable part of our studio process. Especially for our last album, Havel. We used it for all the groove, drums, and percussions in "**Smells like Security**."
The Roland SH-101 is one of our favourite pick for baselines and FX stuff and we really love the flexibility of this synthesizer. It's possible to do entire albums just with this machine. We've known about it since we read about it in interviews from artists we looked up to some years ago when we started to produce music. Also, a lot of hip-hop artists used it. It's kind of a legendary piece of equipment, we would say, and we love hip-hop :)
The TC 2290 by T.C. Electronic is our favourite delay because of its algorithm and user interface. It's simple, only the most important parameters are available, and most of it is handled at the same time and that results in a very good work flow. Everything is made just in seconds. You can do a lot of nice stuff like chorus, flanger fxs and really, really good delays. It's on almost every second pad or synthesizer line of ours right now. We used it in "**Smells Like Security**" as well, but also for "I Can't Live Without You by my Side."
The Lexicon 300 is like the small brother of the most famous reverb, the Lexicon 480 L. It's close and there are some pre-sets which are just insane, like the"large room"; it's just brilliant for drums, synthesizers, and FX. Because of the old transformers inside, it's also colorful and we also like the little distortion of the Lexicon300. We still remember when we bought our first machine from Lexicon. The MPX 100. We bought it for less than a $100 and then used it for our first live set at Panorama Bar when we played there for the first time. As you need reverbs for almost everything in your production, we used this a lot on Havel. For example, the interlude "Arctic Warmth" contains some reverbs from the Lexicon 300.
Urei 1176LN REV F
This diamond is maybe the most famous and most cloned compressor of all time. It is the fastest compressor in the world and really good in front of a tube compressor because it eats all bad peaks you’ve got in your signal. The transformers of this machine are also really colorful; sometimes we just use it for coloration without compression. Specially on claps/snares and basically on all drums, it is really good. This one is also necessary for imitating most of the well known and established vocal chains. We used it for the beat in "**Smells Like Security**." It added a lot of punch to it and we love this machine!.