Tell us a little bit about yourself and Close Encounters of the Synth Kind.
My name is Bubba Ayoub. I’m an engineering student, voracious consumer of media, amateur historian, a student blogger for the Bob Moog Foundationshameless Sriracha over user, and I play guitar and modular synthesizer in ThreeHives and solo as Juggable Offense. Close Encounters of the Synth Kind is a celebration of all things synth, with a focus on modern day modular systems that encompass all the major developments in the last 50 years of synthesis.
What was the inspiration for your project?
2014 is a huge year for the synthesizer. While the synthesizer has clear precedents stretching as far back as 1897, it was not until 1964 that Bob Moog, collaborating with Herb Deutsch, would create the practical synthesizer as we know it today. Seeing the instrument they co-created up close and personal last year during my time as a Maker Corps member at the Henry Ford Museum brought into focus just how incredible of an achievement it was to create that instrument, setting a template that has largely remained in place for 50 years. Additionally, Bob Moog would have turned 80 this year, and it would be downright criminal for me to not celebrate these two momentous anniversaries with something that’s hopefully illuminating and fun for everyone who happens to come check out the strange noises we’ll be conjuring over the weekend!
How long did it take to create your project?
I’ve been heavily into synthesizers for about 11 years. My first musical love was 1970’s progressive rock keyboard playing, and I built my first modular synth with my dad when I was about 10. The modular synth I personally will be bringing to Maker Faire was started in December 2012, and includes modules for external instrument processing, live and sequenced synthesizer parts, crude vocoding, drums and percussion, sound effect generation, sample manipulation and playback, as well as a computer interface to die for. Close Encounters of the Synth Kind started brewing after seeing the prototype Moog synthesizer previously mentioned last August, and took it’s current form however early May 2014, when the Henry Ford’s Kristen Gallerneaux brought up the idea of bringing speakers in to go along with the synthesizer demo area.
As a maker, what inspires you?
Craftsmanship. I’ve always loved well crafted objects/stuff-synthesizers, trains, cars, bulldozers, pizzas outfits, albums, code, etc. When I work on creating sounds, my goal is always to conjure the most right sound and part for whatever I’m trying to say musically. When I’m building something, a synthesizer module or a program for example, I’m always driven by the thrill of knowing that when it’s done I’ve created something that I/anyone can use for something that makes life easier/more fun/more fulfilling. My dream job in life (which I recently started, actually!) is to work in musical electronics, because first and foremost I want to make things that make cool noises for myself, but I also know how awesome it is to find the one device that ties it all together, the one that makes the sound in your head real and I want to create those devices for people. And pizza. Pizza is always an inspiration. When I find myself in times of trouble, mother Mary comes to me in the form of pizza.
What are you most looking forward to at Maker Faire Detroit this year?
My favorite part of Maker Faire is the energy-There’s an incredible joy, a contagious ecstasy that everyone seems to share when they come to Maker Faire. It’s a place where rampant, unfettered creativity reigns supreme and is constantly rewarded with the incomparable rush that comes from showing interested, appreciative people something you’ve thrown every ounce of your being into. There are so many inspiring objects and creations everywhere you look that it’s hard for me to walk away without feeling like anything is possible, and for these two days, anything really IS possible.