Zoë Blade's notebook

Zoë Blade

Switched-On Marx
Switched-On Marx

I'm Zoë Blade, your humble narrator. While I'm not exactly noteworthy, there's not a lot of information out there about my setup and workflow, and I'm clearly in the best position to divulge my own secrets.

I can't remember whether I even especially liked music before I got a tracker to make my own weird little sound collages with. Growing up in Essex in the 1990s can't have hurt.

I started making music in 1997, at the age of 16, using a PC, Scream Tracker 3, a demo of Cool Edit 95, and a £3 Maplin microphone. Not having any musical instruments, I started off by simply sampling my own voice and household objects.[1] Not knowing any music theory, nor having a good ear for harmonies, my early music was abrasive and idiosyncratic.

In 1998, I moved on to Impulse Tracker. In 1999, I started buying various secondhand synthesisers to sample, chiefly an SH-101 and a DrumStation. (My friend thought I was crazy at the time, because "everyone else was moving into the box".)

I made the switch to modern DAWs. I also learned and rigidly stuck to some simplistic music theory, at which point my music swung too far in the opposite direction, becoming palatable but boring.

I eventually managed to reconcile these two extremes, belatedly realising that theory is more of a set of tips you can dip into when it's beneficial to do so, rather than a rigid set of rules to always follow. I finally managed to make music that was in key while getting back my earlier idiosyncratic edge.

Finally, I got a Doepfer A-100, allowing me to really sink my teeth into sound design on an analogue modular synthesiser. I used my simplistic music to showcase even weirder sounds than before.

In short, like the ravers who came before me, I figured out how to make music from first principles, with interesting sound design often being more prominent than the music itself. I now make music that's good enough for people to pay me to make more of it, for which I'm eternally grateful.

Equipment list

Circa Deep Cuts

Additions circa Blast Off!


  1. "Slipmats, Soldering, and Stepper Acid" Push, Electronic Sound, Jun 2018
  2. "Dot Matrix Dominatrix" Zoë Blade, Deep Cuts, 2017
  3. "IF YOU PEEK ME, I'LL POKE YOU" Zoë Blade, Deep Cuts, 2017
  4. "Phonetic Trash" Zoë Blade, Deep Cuts, 2017
  5. "Xor" Zoë Blade, Deep Cuts, 2017
  6. "Yumyum" Zoë Blade, Deep Cuts, 2017
  7. "Thursday at the Embankment" Zoë Blade, Deep Cuts, 2017
  8. "990621" Zoë Blade, Deep Cuts, 2017
  9. "Static" Zoë Blade, Deep Cuts, 2017
  10. "Makemono" Zoë Blade, Deep Cuts, 2017
  11. "Raw Drill" Zoë Blade, Deep Cuts, 2017
  12. "Dark Video, Part II" Zoë Blade, Deep Cuts, 2017

Artists: Aphex Twin | Autechre | Derrick May | Fatboy Slim | Juan Atkins | Kevin Saunderson | Kraftwerk | LFO (artist) | Man Machine | Moby | Nine Inch Nails | Orbital | Richie Hawtin | The Future Sound of London | The Prodigy | Underworld | Vladimir Ussachevsky | Wendy Carlos | William Orbit | Zoë Blade