Inaugural SynthPlex Synth Festival Launches

Michael Lehmann Boddicker and Michael Learmouth

SynthPlex 2019 – the inaugural year of a new synth festival – kicked off Thursday, March 28 in Burbank, California.

The event, organized by Michael Lehmann Boddicker and Michael Learmouth. Boddicker is a Grammy award-winning synthesist, producer, song-writer and studio owner. Learmouth is a life-long electronic musician and producer who uses both vintage and modern synths on his various music projects.

The duo decided that California needed a major synth festival – and that holding one in the LA area would offer unique opportunities, because of prominent role in so many areas of music.

SynthPlex 2019 is being held at the LA Marriott Burbank Hotel. The Marriot adjacent to the Burbank airport, so it’s easy to get to, while also being minutes away from downtown LA:

On Thursday, the event started with afternoon seminars and an evening of music performances for early arrivers.

Inventor and synthesist Wolfgang Michalowicz performed an experimental electronic set, with an emphasis on pointilistic spatial effects:

The band Robot Nature took things in a very different direction, mixing synth pop, power rock and pyrotechnic vocal work by lead singer DPAK:

Nasty Nachos’ Alex Anderson delivered a tight modular set, layering driving beats with electro basslines and tasty synth effects:

Composer and sound designer Alan Howarth capped the evening with a solo set that focused on his soundtrack collaborations with John Carpenter. Howarth performed on synths and guitar, and accompanied his set with visuals from the films:

Daytime programming at SynthPlex has included a Q&A with Thomas Dolby, a keynote with Tom Holkenborg and a session on alternate controllers:

Tom Holkenborg (Junkie XL):

Alternate controllers with (L to R) Roger Linn, Cory Pesaturo, and Judd Miller:

The event space and vendor areas are full of rare vintage gear, some of the latest synths and and some unexpected surprises:

 

These are just some first impressions of the event. Videos and detailed coverage of SynthPlex 2019 will be coming over the next few days.

4 thoughts on “Inaugural SynthPlex Synth Festival Launches

  1. Very cool event! Lots of cool stuff going on, saw the original Minimoog prototypes and I’ve had the chance to talk with Junkie XL (amazing guy), legends Roger Linn & Dave Smith, and Martin Gore.

    Apparently JJ Abrams was one of the attendees yesterday, but somehow I missed him.

    Another big highlight was seeing Thomas Dolby perform at the banquet last night. He’s an fantastic performer, on both technical and creative levels, and did a twisted take on Blue Monday, an amazing tribute to Bowie, and of course his big hits.

    1. Not long after Eric P and crew shot a photo of me at their booth, Abrams was on the scene.
      I have seen him around town a bunch of times and he is a very kind person. We have discussed synths often. The first time we met, I did not even realize it was him until about 30 minutes into conversation.

      I was impressed with Synthplex and will go again!!!

      It was much more enjoyable than NAMM.
      Also much closer to both my home and my studio.

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