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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > May-18 > THE XL GEAR JUNKIE


Tom Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL, is a multi-platinum-selling producer and remixer who also happens to be one of Hollywood’s most in-demand film composers, having scored films including Mad Max: Fury Road, The Dark Tower and the latest reboot of Tomb Raider. Andy Jones meets a man who likes to get Eurorack geeky, even on his days off…


Tom, hard at play on one of his Modular Sundays
© Tom Holkenborg

As you’ll read over the next few pages, Tom Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL, has quite the studio. This comes from ‘35 years of gear hoarding’, during which time Tom has gone from playing in metal bands to being one of the most successful producers on the planet, to now being one of the elite movie-soundtrack composers in Hollywood. A lot of success in these arenas has brought with it a lot of new and classic gear for Tom: a self-confessed gear junkie, if you’ll excuse the play-on-name. Indeed, as we meet – albeit virtually by Skype – he is sat in front of a vast modular system and he reveals that, even at weekends, he is at the patch bay.

“Every Sunday is a ‘Modular Sunday’.” Tom says. “I get out of bed, I make myself a cup of coffee and start wiring up cables and that’s all I do all day. I record everything continuously into my sequencer and on Monday, thank god, my assistants come in and one of them will take that audio file and chop it down to thousands of different pieces and categorise each one in folders for future use. I am constantly saying to aspiring composers and musicians that the only people who really do ‘get it’ are people working in the electronic-music scene who are constantly looking for new sounds and putting them in folders for future use. When you have time, you work on your library, and when you don’t have time, you fall back on all of the stuff that you were doing when you did have time!”

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About MusicTech

Imagine some of those iconic cinematic scenes without the music. The scintillating establishing scenes of Blade Runner’s futuristic Los Angeles, Elliot and E.T. soaring past the full moon on their flying bicycle or Luke Skywalker staring up at the twin suns of Tatooine. In our cover feature this month, we present the complete guide to the process from a professional standpoint, with industry advice and even step-by-step guides to try some of the unique creative processes yourself. In addition to our main feature, we also speak with in-demand composer Junkie XL about his work on top-tier blockbusters and commemorate the 20th anniversary of Air’s Moon Safari in this month’s Recording Spotlight. Our expanded tutorial section now (once again!) covers Pro Tools, as well as our usual range of reviews, tips and the second part of our Essential Guide To Plug-In Effects. We hope you enjoy the issue…