I was at a friend’s synth BBQ party last Saturday afternoon, where my friend had 20 or so of his modular synth friends (aka synth geeks) hanging out at his house in beautiful Rancho Cucamonga and many were taking turns playing modular synth sets in quadraphonic surround sound. That was epic! So naturally, I brought along some burgers and bratwurst to share, and I brought some Synthplex postcards to handout to those synth brethren who perhaps hadn’t heard about Synthplex yet. Surprisingly, most all of them had heard about it and lots of people were congratulating me and thanking me for making Synthplex a reality. I have to say, that felt tremendous to have people so thrilled. And yet, no one could be more stoked than “Me and Michael” (which is the title of a brand-new song from MGMT that is pretty awesome).
So, one of the guys there is a modular synth manufacturer in LA and he asked me, “What made you decide to do this Mike?”
I paused for a moment, and I thought to myself, “Because I’m sadistic?”… but I did not quip that insolent reply. Instead, I told him that I am a huge fan of electronic music festivals and live music in general, and I have been traveling all over the US and Europe, to go to these various festivals and I especially like the ones that are heavily synthesizer oriented. Then I named off some of my favorite festivals that I have attended or want to attend, like; Moogfest, Knobcon, Superbooth, Coachella, SXSW, Desert Daze, Music Tastes Good, Lollapalooza, Electric Daisy Carnival, FYF and Sasquatch! Just to name a few.
I got to tell you, by going to music festivals as much as I do, it really keeps me feeling young and alive and vibrant! And these music festivals make my legs ache big time, but it is all worth it! I digress… The bottom-line is; I’m a total music festival junky and a complete synthesizer freak! Los Angeles didn’t really have any music/ synthesizer technology festivals happening like a Synthplex, so I started doing more than just dream about it. Because I am wired as an entrepreneur, I started writing things down in my journal/ notebook. I started taking notes about what I liked and didn’t like about each festival I experienced. Then I started to formulate a business plan and one day I just decided that I needed to move things forward.
Last October, I had my first draft of the business plan complete and I went to Burbank to see my good friend Eric Persing the owner & genius at Spectrasonics, and he invited my other synth buddy James Bernard into the meeting as well, as James is Spectrasonics director of media. So, I gave them my overview/ concept on my synthesizer show, and originally, I wanted to put the show in Anaheim, as I live in Orange County. But they both cautioned me and strongly suggested that LA/ Burbank/ Hollywood is the place you ought to be. Then Eric told me about the LA Marriott Burbank Airport Hotel & Convention Center, that is, “right by the Burbank airport”. When he said, “right by”, I soon discovered that he meant “right by”! You can walk to the hotel from the airport! Eric and James were the first two who helped me to sort out these very important details.
I went through all my entire list of ideas & concepts, and Eric & James gave me a few more great ideas before I left. At some late point in that meeting, Eric said, “You should really talk to Michael Boddicker about your synth show idea (at the time it was unnamed)”. He went on to explain that, “Michael had been talking about doing a LA synth show something like this for years now.” And he added, “You two might hit it off and be good together”.
After that, I went home and honed my business plan further and I started talking to the rest of my synth friends (I’ve got a lot of them) and I started to pick their brains on what they thought of my ideas and discussing what month we should put this synth show on. Opinions on that subject were varied, then one of my synth friends from Wisconsin said, “You should have this show in February or March, when all of us snowbirds want to get the heck out of the snow and go to sunny Southern California”! That was it… that was the Eureka moment, that told me we needed to do it in March or April… but in early March was SXSW and mid-April was Coachella, so late March became the plan.
Now January rolls around and winter NAMM is happening, and I meet up with the industry legend Michael Boddicker and I reintroduce myself to him and I give him my honed business plan and my contact information and a couple days after NAMM I get a call from Michael and he tells me that he is very impressed and we begin to sort out our plan and within a short time we determine that we will be great partners who will compliment each other well and we set about creating our LLC. We go visit the hotel and convention center together and we both decide that this is the perfect place to start out with Synthplex in 2019.
So that is the short version of the story on the birth of Synthplex.
What made me decide to do it (create Synthplex)? It was the fact that I am a highly driven man and creative and I love to develop new plans and carry them through. It all made sense, because I love synthesizers and I love live music and because I found Michael and he agreed to partner with me. I think together he and I are a great team. Separately I don’t think either of us would be able to pull this off without the other one. So, we are “solid as they come”… more lyrics from that Me and Michael song from MGMT. Peace out.