Synthesizing the scene

The 2018 Atlanta synth meet fosters the city’s electronic music community

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Photo credit: Christian Birk
MY SYNTHESIZED LIFE: The Atlanta Synth Meet is about building community.

Rejoice electronic gear-heads, the 2018 Atlanta Synth Meet draws nigh. Taking place Sunday, June 3 at Aisle 5, the annual ice-cream social for synthesizer-obsessives is back and aims to be bigger than ever — this year’s gathering offers electronic music enthusiasts, both casual and hardcore, an opportunity to congregate over new and vintage music gear, chat with synth makers, and enter for a chance to win prizes.

This year marks the fourth anniversary of the Atlanta Synth Meet, hosted by the Atlanta Synthesizer Club, or ASC. Far beyond its origins of mid-sized gatherings in arts exchanges, in just a handful of years, the Atlanta Synth Meet has grown into an all-day community event supported by a variety of musical tech companies. In addition to the prizes and eye-candy, this year’s meet features Californian modular-synth wizard R Beny, as well as performances by local electronic artists Dillio and Huston Singletary.

Coinciding with the growing popularity of the ASC’s annual meet, the upcoming event is drawing attention and support from beyond state lines — this year’s meet is hosted by Glow Worm Cables, with additional support and giveaways provided by Strymon, Ableton, The Moog Store, Novation, and more. Additionally, synth designers and representatives from a variety of tech companies will be there to chat with members of the local synth community.

While the additional corporate sponsorship has bolstered outreach for the event, this year’s Atlanta Synth Meet is still a local event at heart. It's free for all attendees, and synth club members are encouraged to bring their own synth rigs to show off.

It’s all about the community and giving people a chance to interact with others that they would not have otherwise” says Christian Birk, one of the Club’s co-founders. “It should give people a chance to meet others in real life.”

The intention of connecting the local electronic music scene has been at the heart of the Atlanta Synthesizer Club’s agenda since their establishment in 2013. Starting from humble beginnings as a Facebook group for local synth aficionados, the ASC is now a sprawling forum for electronic music enthusiasts to share music and ogle over synth gear from the past and present.

Derek Reed and I started the club because we felt that a lot of synth enthusiasts frown their passion in a more secluded way” says Birk. “We believed that there were far more people in Atlanta who were into this sort of thing than were visible to the naked eye; our goal was to bring those people out and create a community in which every member can share their knowledge and learn from each other.”

For the ASC’s group meetings and events, the leaders replicate the camaraderie and casual nature of the facebook group IRL. The club also hosts a variety of smaller events and performances each year, including the freeform “Modular on the Spot” performance series and the “Modular 101” workshop, which teaches local synthesizer fans about more intricate forms of sound synthesis and production.

To Jesse Nieminen, one of the administrators of the ASC, the culmination of all of these events is about creating more interactions and connectivity within Atlanta’s electronic music scene. “If there's one message we try to convey, it’s that the Atlanta synth scene has really been exploding the past few years and there is a very diverse (stylistic and demographic) group of people who have a love of gear and sound in common,” says Nieminen. “It's about the community.”

Atlanta Synth Meet feat R Benny. Sun., June 3. 2 p.m. Free. Aisle 5. 1123 Euclid Ave NE. www.aisle5atl.com.

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