Interview: A Conversation With Dave Smith and Roger Linn

Electronic music production has been shaped drastically by the hard work of the featured interviewees in today’s video. Back in January, Ean had a chance to interview Dave Smith and Roger Linn, two music technology masterminds who have created some of the most influential electronic instruments of the last thirty years. In this exclusive 15-minute DJTT interview, hear them discuss analog instruments vs digital instruments, why analog is coming back, how to get started with analog gear, and more!

We’re continually excited to see these guys continue to be as passionate about their work as ever with their collaboration on the Tempest analog drum machine. Have any questions for Dave and Roger that you want to ask? Let us know in the comments and we’ll get them to share their thoughts when they can.

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Comments (22)
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  • rob

    To make everyone’ sentiments simple:
    Analog is great! (learning, quality, human side, etc) –> 🙂
    Ah, but Analog is expensive. (money, poor, human life, etc) –> ‘(
    So, we use digital…

  • Balkstar

    What a fantastic interview guys! The way they described Analog really is starting to make sense. I’ve been using Ableton Operator for a couple of years now, but started using a Korg Monotribe recently and can attest to the playability and quality sound that seems to fill the spectrum without needing additional effects in the chain to make it sound awesome. I did an interview with Goldbaby, whose Analog based samples are built into the Dave Smith Instruments Tempest Machine, that others might find interesting here: Cheers – Balky

  • thanatos

    a midifighter with his own sampler engine and sequencer would be the shit. truly great expressive instrument for finger drummer

  • David Davies

    Great interview, how would life be without these two guys?……

  • User

    Excellent interview! We owe so much to these Giants in the Electronic world.

    I would love to see the audio normalized for the next interview – a bit low on the amplitude!

  • holtron

    Great interview. A couple questions I would’ve liked to ask Roger Linn are, what did he envision the use(s) of the MPC would be when he created it? Would he have ever anticipated the success of his drum machine and it’s responsibility for the explosion of an entire genre of music? How does he feel about the music it helped to create, like/dislike it?

  • Christopher Duran

    Two legends! Mpc 60 not only did rap and that famous Shadow album, but also powered the UK rave scene in the early 90s , just ask Underworld and The Chemical Brothers.
    Not to mention some awful pop music too lol

  • djayclay

    Excellent interview!!! The Linn drum machine is responsible (along with the Roland 707) for sum of the greatest House tracks that came out of Chicago in the mid to late 80’s! Great work DJTT!!! Keep the history lessons coming!

  • Anonymous

    Hate to break it to Mr Linn, but the limits to digital sampling, the Nyquist Limit that’s part of classical Shannon Sampling Theory, is being roundly ignored by modern sampling techniques. Compressive Sampling is allowing designers to come up with new machines that use Randomness and Sparsity to overcome these limitations and return full frequency reconstructions – no artifacts (to an arbitrary statistical limit). People have started building hardware to do this, so it’s only a matter of time before you really will not be able to tell the difference. It’s coming!

    • Ryan Supak

      I tend to trust what Roger Linn has to say about sampling.


  • DJ PC3

    Pretty tight guys… didn’t know how these people were so instrumental to the current scene

  • Eric Levine

    I would love to sit in this room with these 3 guys! Well done DJTT!

  • Sam Moore

    Good Article. Definitely was feeling the same about using daw’s and the like of human interaction. But ever since I got my Maschine that feeling is all gone as my laptop sits to the side with the display almost closed. I really never need to look at the screen and search for anything anymore and the knobs are very smart in what I can utilize at any given point. Not saying that these guys are wrong just saying that the Digital technology is definitely moving away from searching screens and clicking and towards direct human interaction that is much more like analog systems. More interviews from awesome behind the scenes guys like these would be awesome!

  • Dj Les Os

    it seems like dave smith doesn’t really like computers. Granted this guy is pretty much one of the godfathers of MIDI. I agree for the most part that having an analog device is the best way to go. But for a broke ass closet producer like myself, dropping anything over 500$ is a pipe dream. Thanks again DJTT and to Dave Smith and Roger Linn. Great Interview

  • Jake

    Great interview!!! I definitely feel more and more lately like the fun in music has been taken out of the equation when the computer entered on the scene. There’s just something about turning a knob and getting a sound vs clicking a mouse and getting a sound. So much more organic and real. It’s also good to see better controllers coming out nowadays, like the midifighter or ableton’s push, that allow a user to take advantage of some of the benefits of digital, while getting back to that organic feel of analog.

  • owen

    Awesome interview

  • Louis

    Great little interview 🙂

  • Keeb

    Very cool indeed. It’s nice to see DJTT touching more on the production side of things as well, particularly as of late. Kudos, guys.

  • RockingClub

    Really cool interview!
    Quite nice to have an interview with the kings behind the scenes, behind the music products we use, as well besides all the the great artist interviews.
    I very much appreciate the fact that DJTT is also keeping an eye out for production related stuff which is closely related to the DJing side for sure!
    Hopefully to be continued 😉