How Japanese Breakfast's Michelle Zauner Uses Maschine To Make Music Without Constraints

Native Instruments' Maschine software and hardware offer something to musicians working in almost every genre. Find out how it changed this singer songwriter's approach to creating music.  

NI's Maschine is sometimes thought of as a dance music or hip hop focused studio tool, but the truth is that it's much more versatile than that, finding a home with musicians working in all kinds of different genres. Over at Native Instruments' blog you can find an interview with Japanese Breakfast's Michelle Zauner where she discusses how she integrates Maschine into her songwriting and creative process. Here are some of the highlights.

"Zauner’s route to music production started out as “an afterthought” while she honed her sound via several indie bands through college. 'When I was around 25, Japanese Breakfast was the first project where I started to look at production as more of an instrument, so I started approaching it as a way of composition. I also decided that I didn’t really care about having a live band because I wasn’t anticipating touring. Then I got way more into production and I just let my imagination run wild as I didn’t have to think about what it would take to replicate it live.'

Photo credits: AVB Media Asia / Courtesy of W Records

Michelle’s writing style changed over both albums which must have led to the transformation in sound. “For many years I just wrote songs on the guitar,” she reveals. “It wasn’t until more recently that I started to vary it up a bit and see what would happen. So lately I have written a few songs starting with the bass and more with keyboards or some kind of sampled loop. I’m a really terrible beat maker and that’s why I got Maschine. I thought it would be a good way to get more involved.”

The MASCHINE has taken its place alongside other new purchases, including a Teenage Engineering OP-1, Universal Audio Apollo and another classic Juno synth, this time a 106, with Ableton Live acting as the central DAW. “It’s a simple set-up,” says Michelle of her current studio, but it is already one that has already been used on new Japanese Breakfast recordings, including 2019 single ‘Essentially’.

“I’m using it mostly for beat-making and working with the libraries, but now that we have more time off from being on the road I have got it out more and am trying to write more on it. A lot more people seem to be using consoles like this for writing; it seems like a really great system and producing that way is a real aid in the song-writing process.”

So there you have it - Maschine is just as good for singer songwriters as for EDM producers, opening up new workflows and ways of thinking. Check out the Maschine courses in the Ask.Audio Academy using the link below to learn more about how it can help you to make music.

Original piece:

Learn everything you need to know about NI's Maschine hardware and software from first steps to advanced production techniques:

Hollin Jones was classically trained as a piano player but found the lure of blues and jazz too much to resist. Graduating from bands to composition then production, he relishes the chance to play anything with keys. A sometime lecturer in videographics, music production and photography post production, Hollin has been a freelance w... Read More


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