After 16 years as Dave Smith Instruments, what inspired the switch back to the Sequential name?
There were a few reasons: we have just released a second Sequential product; “dave smith instruments” was always too long and clumsy of a name; but mostly due to the fact that it’s not just me as it was for the first 5 years of the company. Our products are designed by the entire Sequential team, so eliminating my name reflects that.
With the Prophet-6 and the Prophet X being released under the Sequential brand, has this change been in the works for a while?
Actually, this is very recent, after the Prophet X was already out for a couple months. It all happened quickly!
So now that it’s done how are you and the company feeling about the re-brand and the reaction to it?
We’re still in the process of the name switch, but overall it was definitely the right thing to do, and only positive comments from outside the company.
Going forward under the Sequential banner will anything change in terms of your approach to your instruments?
Nope; nothing else has changed, just the name
The industry has changed almost immeasurably since Sequential Circuits was founded in the ‘70s, but you’ve always been a step ahead. How do you see the industry changing going forward?
Well, it’s impossible to predict the future, but we’ve always simply gone forward with our best ideas for new musical instruments. We have no long-term plan, we do not chase “market trends,” we just try to craft new instruments that have their own voice and personality. I do believe that analog subtractive synthesis is here to stay this time; it’s passed the test of time!
You’ve earned the nickname “The Father of MIDI” – back in the ‘80s, did you have any idea of the massive impact that the MIDI language would have on the industry?
Yes and no; I knew it would become a standard, and it would enable the market to grow significantly. We knew computers would be involved. But there was no way to predict billions of installations between instruments, computers, and cell phones! Or that we’d still be at version 1.0 35 years later.
Now that the Sequential name is back in full effect can we expect any reissues or re-imaginings of classic Sequential synthesizers in the future? Or is that top secret information?
It would be top secret if we were doing it, but most people know I would never re-do an old synth. The closest we’ve come is the Prophet 6 and OB 6, which are not copies, but designs that capture the basic soul of the older synths.
At the risk of favouritism, do you have any favourite DSI / Sequential artists over the years?
Hah, that’s really hard, especially including the Sequential days! As soon as I start a list (Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Peter Gabriel…) it’s too hard to stop, since there are hundreds of artists that should be mentioned.