Meet the Devs: Strum and Mental Modules

This is a serie of interviews to 3rd Party Rack developers.
(If you are reading this and would like, to be featured, just write me)

In this interview we talk with Strum, the man behind the lovely Mentals modules.
(Binaries Sources)


Hi, please introduce yourself briefly (your age, where you live, what you do in your “real life”)

I’m 52 and I live on the south coast of Western Australia near Albany, I’m
a musician and play guitar and lots of other things in many styles.
Although I don’t perform electronic music I’ve had an interest in it for
many years.


Do you have any formal training/education in IT/Programming Language or are you self-taught? What level best describe you (junior, senior, advanced) ? Do you do it for living or is it just passion/hobby?

I learned programming with LOGO and BASIC at high school and had started
studying programming at university but dropped out to pursue music
instead. I did a short course in C/C++ some years ago and have toyed about
with various programming ideas at a hobby level on and off since then but
developing these modules are the first thing I’ve released publicly and my
first involvement with git and open source development generally.


What was the reason you started developing modules for VCV Rack? What interested you most?

I got interested in modular synthesisers again about a year ago when I was
looking for a open DSP board to uses as a reverb in my live guitar rig and
I came across eurorack in the search and was hooked immediately. I’ve had
a life long interest in electronic music since i was inspired by
Kraftwerk, Jean Michelle Jarre, Switched on Bach, Pink Floyd, Dr. Who and
other 70s electronic music as a kid but the equipment was always out of my
reach financially, eurorack makes analog synth affordable so I made plans
to start building up a system making some parts and buying others, I’ve
made a few small steps on that road but after discovering Rack I’m
questioning whether I need to have a hardware machine at all anymore.

I started developing modules for Rack because I needed them to make to
sort of generative music I want to make with modular and they didn’t
exist at the time and because after looking at the code for the
fundamental modules I found to my surprise I could understand how it
worked and thought, yeah I can write my own modules by following these
examples. I started into it with a multiple and making the VCMixer
stereo, finding it much faster and easier than i expected it to be I just
kept coming up with ideas and making them.

Andrew has developed such a strong clear codebase it’s easy to work within.


Do you have any previous experience in developing music apps/plugins? If yes, please tell us about that

I’ve toyed with a few ideas off and on over the years but this is my first
publicly released project.

Mentals modules

What are you working at the moment?

I’ve got a growing list of modules I still want to make that includes
currently, a few more basic utilities, A master clock that you can set a
tempo by BPM with that also provides gate lengths for rhythmic divisions
based on that tempo, A bunch of envelope related modules including a noise
gate, an envelope follower and a compressor/limiter, a long delay that can
be synced to a clock and a spectral multiband resonator. If and when I get
that all done I might try and help get some more of the mutable
instruments code going and get more into the inner workings of Rack, oh
and make lot’s of music with Rack of course. There’s a whole bunch of
project management stuff with git and versioning I need to learn as well
yet so I want to put some time into that over the next few months also.Too
much to do too little time.

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