Whether they are a gear nerd or a gear noob, the type of gear an artist uses has a huge impact on their signature sound. In this regular series called MY GEAR, Noisegate picks the brains of exciting and diverse artists for a behind-the-scenes scoop on their musical setup…
Mladen Milinkovic is tech maverick. A local fixture in the Melbourne music scene, you can often see them carrying their old desktop computer out of a venue at the end of the night, following an amazing display of melodic but unconventional pop. Whilst their band LALIĆ gained attention within the local scene with grungy and complicated guitar songs, a full guitar band with a mesmerising live show, Mladen has just released their newest album called Pretend Ranger, a self-produced hit-list of autotuned emotional bangers. Genre is no barrier for Mladen and you can always bank on their songwriting to twist conventions. Catch them at this exciting point in the career before they metamorphasise into whatever incredible genre-bending iteration they become next.
Can you describe your current live set-up? What instruments do you have in your band? What equipment do you use?
For all three of my main live projects I use a similar set up; a desktop computer (which means box, screen, keyboard and mouse) going out through a 2 track interface sending out backing tracks. Then I use a midi controller keyboard to filter and reverb and limit and saturate the live beat as it’s coming out both to mod for the room we’re playing in and also to add effects. The other part is our autotune rack, which is an integral part of most of the music I make, and the love of my life.
How does your live setup differ to your recorded music?
In one sense they’re interconnected because I’m working so much with backing tracks. I update them in-between most shows and they grow, all the songs grow and develop as live mixes in the studio. I really like having that direct relationship with the sound output at shows and I guess in a sense it blurs the live and recorded music together, which is a contrast to when LALIĆ band was playing and recording albums where the records were made with the intention of being vastly different than the live set because of the advantage of the overdubs you can do at home and then I guess it got to a point where I just really wanted to bring my studio to live as that’s what I was most passionate about. I would also say on top of that, on the records I’ve been very conscious and careful of being subtle with effects and so live I can kind of explore more intense narrative with filtering and reverb and distortion and stuff and not be so precious but be in the moment.
Is your gear integral to your sound?
I would say like no but yes but no. Sometimes I dream about having nice gear, but I’ve always been about making the best out of whatever I have access too, so the yes part is like the gear that I have had has been integral to my sound but like only because that’s all I had? Like when a friend lent me a Space Echo it became part of the sound of the album I was working on at the time while I borrowed it. Or when another friend gave me a Casiotone it became integral to my sound until it broke and then that kind of changed how I continued making music without it but with it’s influence? So I guess a better answer would be yes but no but yes. Although I gotta say, if the autotune ever broke I would die. It’s super integral on the level that it’s been such a beautiful tool for making anyone more comfortable with their voice and expressing themselves, and that itself is musically and sonically worth its weight in gold!
What was the first piece of music equipment that you ever bought (or came into contact with)?
Technically not gear, but I gotta say the program Audacity. I found out about it in year 7 media class and instantly fell in love. It totally brought me into electronic music. Really when I think back I gotta say for years and years the only music gear I had was laptops. I’m gonna say laptop! But also, the microKORG. Diego bought one when we were like 15 and I fell I love with it.
What is a dream piece of gear that you would love to own?
Oh my gosh, I’m gonna say the Sony C-800G which is a microphone that costs like 10 million dollars but it’s a dream because it just sounds like sweet real life in your ears and it’s really smooth and crisp (and Drake uses one and I’m a total Drake fan).
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