What can one say about the music of Fingertwister? Dub genius? D&B; maestro? Swell? All those things and more. Daniel creates music which seems to make one want to relax and dance at the same time. Complex and simple tones swarm about the listener in a surreal musical environment. From the brain to the twisting fingers to your ears, this music is a must have/must hear experience.
GOM: Let’s start with the name. I’m sure you get asked this all the time but where did the name “Fingertwister” come from?
Daniel Skantze: Hehe, that’s correct, many people ask me about it. A big interested of mine is drawing (or at least was). I loved to draw hands and feet. I was intrigued by their complexity. This and the fact that I was twisting my fingers when programming my synths made me choose fingertwister. Also, I felt like it reflected my sound in a way.
GOM: Out of all your songs, which one do you think nailed the “Fingertwister” sound?
Daniel Skantze: Hmm… The fingertwister sound has gone through some changes. My early sound was reflected pretty well in daybreak (director’s cut). Now since I begun to explore drum and bass, I think my latest tune headlights is pretty characteristic, it is a mix between dub and drum and bass.
GOM: Ah, I was going to ask you about Headlights. That’s a very good song. It’s also quite a long one. How about a little insight on the making and writing on that song.
Daniel Skantze: Until headlights I have worked without a mixing desk. All mixing was done in Cubase VST 3.7. I sampled my synths and made audio tracks of them. I had superior control over eq and fx that way but no realtime control- I have never figured out a convenient way to work with automation in VST. I begun writing headlights that way too. Then I got the chance to buy a Behringer 24 chn mixing desk real cheap… When I got it and I discovered the endless possibilities of experimenting, I rewrote the dubby parts so I could use the desk. At this point I don’t have that many outs on my synths, 6 from my Roland JV1080 and 2 from my Yamaha An1x so it was obvious that I couldn’t use an individual channel for each sound. To get as much control as possible I used 2 channels (panned L and R) as a “pool” for sounds that I didn’t need to control in realtime. I used one channel for the bass sound that plays in the dubby parts among others- maybe it was my imagination but it seemed to me that the eq of the desk gave a warmer character of the sound. The remaining channels were used for delayed sounds that I tweaked in realtime. The tweaking was essentially me playing with fx sends and occasionally the mid eq freq. This is quite obvious in the half tempo parts. I have two fx units, one Alesis Midiverb 4 and one Lexicon MPX100 (which has a fabulous reverb, ahh so sweet). I used channels for fx returns. I used two delays, one 1/8 and one 3/16 on the Midiverb and one nice and very long cathedral reverb on the Lexicon. At two points I sent the fx return back to the fx causing feedback, one of those parts is the ending. Unfortunately I had no chance of running drum sounds through the desk in this tune (too few outs) so all beats are programmed in VST. I look forward to buying a sampler with many outs so I’ll be able to use the desk even more. During mixdown I played the drums from VST and recorded from the mixing desk, it was quite an adventure to tweak everything ‘live’. Being used to program everything in detail, it felt like I had a live show I needed to retake it a couple of times. Sleeping yet? Heh, guess that was a long insight in how I wrote headlights.
GOM: What do you put on your French Fries?
Daniel Skantze: Ketchup and pepper. A friend of mine suggested ice- cream. I tried it, it wasn’t that bad but still nothing that I would make a habit of.
GOM: What are your favourite kind of pickles. Dill or Sweet?
Daniel Skantze: No pickles
GOM: Street Mimes. Toss them some money or push them over?
Daniel Skantze: I don’t really know what “Street Mimes” means. Is it beggars or musicians? Either way I usually toss them some money.
GOM: Street mimes. The guys dressed in black with white painted faces doing pantomime. You know, I’m stuck in a box and I can’t get out or walking against the wind. Mimes.
Daniel Skantze: Ahh, now I see. heh, the translation is pretty straightforward. In Swedish “Mimes” is “Mim” or “pantomim”. I guess I didn’t think of if because it is very uncommon in Sweden. Anyway… Yeah, I suppose I would toss them a coin or two if I had any and if I was in the mood. generally I like to give money to people that actually perform. I have played myself (the saxophone) in the subway so I know how it is.
GOM: Favourite food?
Daniel Skantze: Hmm, DJ Food? Seriously, I don’t know. Seafood (anything basically) is very good.
GOM: Of all the unsigned bands you’ve heard in the Internet Music scene, which ones do you think deserve that “big break”? Like regular radio airplay or massive distribution?
Daniel Skantze: Thats an impossible question to answer… There are too many great artists out there. Here are some that I’d like to see signed: Sonic Wallpaper Xylox Electrostatic Void S A Fred Dubcreator Canton Simulacra Scribe Machine The Beginning of Lotus S.O.U. shapes&forms; Despiracy In the now Danny K Astral Prizm The Tic Tok Men Subsonic Headdub SevenEyes Modern Life Poets etc. (sorry to everyone that I forgot, I hate making up lists like this- I always forget someone…) The point is that these artists are totally PRO sounding. I am not saying this because they are my friends or because I think they’re almost pro sounding. These artists should be signed, point blank! Too bad there are so many other artists that I forgot to mention. If you ask me tomorrow I would probably come up with 50 more names. No kidding, the internet scene is totally amazing.
GOM: Of all the bands out there. Who would you like to work with. Internet or otherwise.
Daniel Skantze: Tough call. Of all signed bands… Maybe Red Snapper- Richard Thair is a hell of a drummer and it is so cool that they perform everything with acoustic instruments. Maybe BT- not that I like all of his tunes but he is probably one of the best producers around. Of the mp3.com/unsigned bands… Maybe Simulacra, we have spoken about a colab before unfortunately we never came around to do it. Hopefully we can do it some time.
GOM: 5 years. Where is Fingertwister?
Daniel Skantze: Well, who could tell? Probably at about the same place where I am now- Hopefully with more experience, more equipment, some releases here and there. I am too much of a coward to even dream about becoming a full-time musician.
GOM: If you had the chance to score any movie. Which one would you like to write the music for?
Daniel Skantze: Ha, I’d love to do the music for some cliché detective movie. Maybe you know about the Tex Murphy games (Under a killing moon, Pandora Directive, Overseer)? If there were movies like that game I’d definitely like to score it. I love cliché detective movies, just check out some of my song descriptions.
GOM: What are Mother and Father Fingertwister like? Are they into music also? Did they support your music at a younger age? Also, any brothers or sisters that write music?
Daniel Skantze: None of them are into music to the same extent that I am. Mother FT played the piano when she was younger, we have always had a piano where we have lived. Father FT doesn’t sing or play any instrument whatsoever. Both of them have supported my music though. They have always driven me to gigs, showed me immense amounts of appreciation etc. One of my sisters have had lots of training in singing. She doesn’t write any music herself but she has a lovely voice. I have thoughts of trying to get her to sing in one of my tunes.
GOM: Do you have any pets?
Daniel Skantze: Because of allergies my doctor says that I can’t have pets. I’d love to have a trusty ol’ buddy dog though.
This interview was conducted with “Fingertwister” on 09/15/00 and first appeared on wmp3.fm. It has been reprinted by permission of that website (considering the fact I used to run it). You can find Fingertwister at fingertwister.com.