Interview: Erik Norlander on Moog Synths, ASIA and the BMF Synthesis Tutorials

Erik Norlander, keyboardist in Asia spin-off band & massive Moog Evangelist talks music production, playing live with the infamous 'Wall of Doom', and the BMF video course: Foundation of Synthesis.  
Erik Norlander, keyboardist, producer, composer and engineer is keyboardist for ASIA featuring John Payne, the owner of a massive modular Moog synthesizer and a Moog enthusiast. You'll also recognize him from the Foundation of Synthesis video course series by MPV & the Bob Moog Foundation. A man with many strings to his bow, MPVHub caught up with Erik to find out more about him, his involvement with BMF, the infamous Wall of Doom modular synth and his personal studio and live workflows.


MPVHub: Tell us about your background and how you began your musical journey.

Erik: I started playing piano when I was 8 years old, and then I studied guitar and wind instruments in school, eventually moving back to a pure concentration on the piano at the university. I really connected with rock music when I was a kid, particularly British progressive rock and the lush, studio productions of the 1970s. Synthesizers always enchanted me, and I really got into their sound through the albums of Emerson Lake and Palmer and Electric Light Orchestra (who of course sound nothing alike except that they are both synth heavy!). I worked some after-school jobs in high school and was able to buy my first synthesizer, a terrible little Roland organ-strings synth. But it was a start! There was no turning back from there. 


MPVHub: How did you first come into contact with Moog synths? Was it love at first listen?

Erik: That's a good way to say it. Especially in the '70s, the word "synthesizer" was synonymous with Moog. We all know the famous "Lucky Man" solo from Keith Emerson, but I think it was really the ELP "Pictures at an Exhibition" album where Keith played the modular Moog live in a rock setting that had a greater impact on me. And of course the Moog synthesizer sound is dominant across the prog rock genre. From the modular to the Minimoog to the Taurus Pedals, even on to later instruments like the Rogue and the Source, those classic instruments really changed not only the world of synthesizers, but the world of music in general. 


MPVHub: What hardware and software do you use in your current studio? 

Erik: In addition to my modular Moog synthesizer, aka "The Wall of Doom," I use a Moog Voyager, two '70s Minimoog Model D synths, a rack-mounted MIDIMoog (a Model D conversion, basically) and a Moog Rogue. I also use the Alesis Andromeda (I was actually one of the designers of this instrument) and some Oberheim instruments such as my modularized collection of SEM units. I have a Hammond Model D organ from 1939 that is also a favorite, and of course my grand piano '

Rounik is the Executive Editor for Ask.Audio & macProVideo. He's built a crack team of professional musicians and writers to create one of the most visited online resources for news, review, tutorials and interviews for modern musician and producer. As an Apple Certified Trainer for Logic Pro Rounik has taught teachers, professional... Read More

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