How did you get here?

while in conversation with @imwaiting last night, i asked them out of curiosity how they stumbled across monome/lines. this got me thinking about all the different paths people have probably followed to reach this lovely corner of the internet. i would love to hear all the various stories, so i’m creating this thread. please share yours!

my story is nothing crazy but at the very least its a story to start this thread with!

back in late 2019, i was going through a very difficult time in my life. there was a very extreme amount of very unfortunate things that were all happening at the same time, and writing music/working with sound just wasn’t fulfilling to me anymore. this was extremely detrimental to my my mental health, as creating music/sound was the only creative endeavor and emotional outlet i was still passionate about. i decided that if i couldn’t sit down and try to write music, that i would preform it live and just record it instead.

from there, i began researching various ways of preforming primarily ambient music live instead of composing it in the DAW and allowing my perfectionism to take over. this led me down a very deep rabbit hole of gear that i had no idea existed and eventually led me to the subreddit /r/musicbattlestations. i spent several nights going through a bunch of posts and researching what different gear was capable of and what not, until i stumbled across a certain picture of someone’s setup. this person had a very simple setup, but there was a little box that caught my eye. it had three encoders, three buttons, and a screen and i had no idea what it was, so i decided to read the comments:

one of them read:

what role is the norns playing in this setup?

someone replied:

what role can’t it play?

i was immediately extremely intrigued and googled something along the lines of “norns synthesizer”. the more research i did, the more fascinated i became. around that time i began lurking here on lines and ~6 months later i made an account. my mental health has improved greatly since i have became an active member here and the only reason i know this place exists is because of someone’s random post on reddit. (i don’t even use reddit!)


In 2014 I was getting into samplers and was watching youtube videos when I came across Daedelus. I looked through the comments and saw that he was using a grid/(s). I then picked up a grayscale 64 and joined the old monome forum to learn how to use it.


I’d learned some MaxMSP in high school. When I was in college again, I presume I read about monome on CDM? I met Brian briefly after a performance at, what was then, Etsy’s loft space, that was organized by CDM, if I remember correctly. I sold some stuff to acquire an early walnut 256 – I was doing a lot of MaxMSP stuff at the time, so it was perfect for experimenting. I had an Arc 2 and a varibright 64 in there as well. Then I stopped making music for a few years. Fast forward to late '17, the old monome forums were gone, but I was interested in the monome eurorack stuff - explicitly Teletype, so I joined up here as the place to dig in.


In December of 2008 I read a profile of Flying Lotus in the New Yorker that featured this photo:

along with this brief mention:

The photo and the enigmatic description piqued my curiosity and led me to research the device. I joined the old forum not long after, and I bought my gs64 in January of 2010. (Has it really been over 11 years? Yikes.)


saw this… 8 years ago? back when i was making clams casino type beats with a broken laptop/cracked ableton copy. changed everything, as did all things brainfeeder

(edit probably wouldn’t be making music at all had i not seen this video and the one from teebs)


I don’t know how I ended up here… I don’t remember a before time… I stumbled into modular because youtube inexplicably recommended cuckoos tour of bastl (I had never heard of modular synths before I don’t think). [aside: did some searches in my email, and it turns out I picked up a shnth in 2017 before any other modular or electronic gear, inspired by another youtube video featuring @Rodrigo and possibly others here :slight_smile: … I was really scratching my head with that one for a long long time lol. still am, mostly]

Got a set of mannequins modules all together from @Needles (:wave:) and a few days later signed up here—I’m sure I was lead by a stray comment on another forum when researching those modules. I remember reading in the manual or webpage for w/ “more info on lines” and I thought it was a joke because that was how my grandpa would refer to things on the internet “look it up onlines” :laughing:

big fans of all y’all thanks for having me :handshake:


In middle school I read about the Yamaha Tenori-On in an issue of popular science. The concept of a button grid kinda always stuck with me. I would read about it periodically and eventually found monome mentioned in a forum or something. I took some electronic music classes in college as electives where I learned max and pd. When I finally had expendable money I bought a grid (and one of the isms systems :smile: ) and I’ve been enjoying the community since (mostly lurking).


I don’t remember exactly how I learned of the existence of Monome. It was circa 2009-10, and at the time the Monome was synonymous with the Grid. All I know is I used all my savings to buy a 64 grayscale edition, bought it immediately when they sent the email notification, and I’ve been trying to get monome products to work on Linux ever since. Don’t want to jinx anything, but I think I am close to figuring out how to use these things…


my first exposure to monome was when I happened to walk into an electronic music course at community college in san francisco in '07 or '08 and met @edison.

I remained utterly mystified by monome (and the conversations in the forum) until maybe 2016, when I picked up a grid secondhand and dug into the max world a little and joined what had (by then) become lines.


I don’t actually use anything from Monome. I found the site because I needed some technical help and neither the manufacturer nor the previous site I would frequent were helpful. I started looking around and found this place, asked the question and not only got a near immediate answer, but also was given the answer with kindness and respect. Then I would visit both this and the other site nearly daily and I realized just how horrible the other site was. I decided there and there to simply walk away from that site and have never gone back. It was a wonderful decision. I find that I rarely regret walking away from things. But, not often do I have something better to immediately go to, I just identify that something isn’t helpful with little plan beyond that. So although I am not a Monome user, this site has been wonderful and welcoming to me. I don’t post often, but I read a lot and learn quite a bit from you all. Thank you for having such a welcoming site, it’s appreciated.


Was bemoaning the toxic atmosphere of MuffWiggs to @Gregg - who I originally met there, have worked with since, become friends with and have visited in Paris. He told me this is a much more chill, supportive, positive and diverse forum. I agree! I do lots of music and art stuff, but don’t do much in the Monome realm, a bit in Max/MSP tho.


Minneapolis has a helpful synth community. Back in 2017 the teletype caught my interest, and I mentioned to our local FB group I was interested in picking up a used TT if anyone had one. A fellow lines member also from that group lent me not only his TT, but also Earthsea, White Whale, TXi, TXo, and Grid for a few weeks to try the larger ecosystem as a whole. They also mentioned this site.

It probably goes without saying I perused the monome ecosystem (not all in one go), I’m really glad I did, and not just for the things


I was looking for something like the FORTH system we used in Allen Strange’s Electronic Music class at SJSU and stumbled on the Teletype, which lead me here. So much information and inspiration on this forum!


im also from minneapolis! used to live in the loring park neighborhood right next to downtown. went to IPR!


A friend and I began tinkering with synthesis, hardware, code, Max, the lot of it, in 2016. At some point, he linked to something here, and I stayed. Notwithstanding my utter innocence of anything Monome, this place feels much more like internet-experimental-musics home to me than, say, other places on the web.


“you may ask yourself,…………”
letting the days go by, let the water hold me down…”
(sorry, got the song stuck in my head now from the thread title :yum: )

I am the ultimate fly-on-the-wall! :mosquito:
let’s see… hard to explain… in ’98 or so, met Ezra at Oberlin(that’s another story… with Peter Blasser, Stefan Tcherepnin, and some others… actually, funny side-blurb- Stefan, one year, lived in a house where Chelsea Clinton’s boyfriend-at-the-time stayed, he said the secret-service made things pretty awkward for everyone there every time she visited)…
then in 2002, Brian and I lived in the same dorm-flat first year of grad at CalArts so i met him there, and Ezra also started there at the same time: i remember one of the first days, had to go to the music-school office for registration of some kind, saw Ezra there and i introduced the two to each other :blush: …but they would’ve met without me, no matter what :joy: i just like to falsely take that credit :angel: we all took many classes together and played many games of John Zorn’s Cobra(one time even with visiting-artist-in-residence William Winant)…
me and Brian, in fact, attended one of the very first meeting/rehearsals of Ezra’s band from back then, “The Mae Shi”(still got a lyric stuck in my head from that night: “The Machiiiiine, It Cries For Its Mother!!”)
also around then, i saw the first prototype of Brian’s grid(a cigar box with 8-buttons in a row and leds located near them…), and then i met Daedelus when he came to that same flat to pick up his first 256, and around same time, saw Brian performing with his own grid and started to realize: the leds would go under the buttons! and that it would remain open-ended!… so around the beginning I bought a 40h kit, then got obsessed with grids for awhile: spread my nonsensical and wordy ramblings all over the old monome forums til everyone was nicely traumatized… along the way, helped a few there with max patches(i did some contract for cycling74 which gave me an upper-hand in Max starting around Max5 and that got me even more obsessed with monomes…), eventually as i was growing old and tired, thought i’d step back for a bit, but then Rodrigo came along and pulled me right back in asking me to dev karma~, and long story made not-short-enough-at-this-point:
no matter how often i fall out of existence, i keep coming back to check out what Ezra, Brian, Rodrigo, Glia, Edison, and all you other crazy creatives here do… and i can honestly say this has been the best full-circle fly-on-the-wall flight of my life! :crazy_face: :metal:


yes! those were the days sam! really felt like i was into something amazing. getting to go to school and geek out with awesome folks over what was blowing my mind… (i hope that serge is still at city college)

i found monome through tehn’s videos.
mlr literally kept me up at night for a while.
live sample cutting!
was just so different than anything going on.
2007 i was a starving artist in the bay area, (think i made less than $9,000 that year) living in the bay.
i sold some gear for a 40h kit, having never soldered before. and just motivated myself to make it happen.
was a steep learning curve, but those were hands down the most creative times i’ve ever had.
then just digging into the forum…
this space has always been friendly, smart, cordial and supportive like nowhere online ever.
getting to meet and play with so many folks from here was incredible…
still in contact now!

vimeo videos
beta testing mlr mods
flying out to play princeton…
so many good things
hell, monome videos got me hired at my career as an audio engineer…
monome is life bruh.



I went to CalArts as well, but was in a different school. Always regretted not spending more time looking into what the school of music was doing. I had no idea how interesting it was at the time, all I remembered was the students hanging out in the hallway, with a gourd that had a long handle with piano wire, and they’d play it with a stone. Didn’t understand that they had anything to do with electronic music, nor did I know that they had a Serge there (or that it started there). But I was lost in my own world at the time. Kills me now, but I think that’s sort of the thing with art school, you never really understand what you have, or how amazing it is at the time.


ha, funny, feel like i saw that gourd-thing before… ya, best part of CalArts, though, were the art-openings(i can’t believe there’s a school that pays for the whole school to have several kegs and full reign over the campus to throw some wild art-gallery-based party every Thursday :joy:), i think all the music-students looked forward to meeting the folks from other schools at those, too… if i recall correctly, brian switched out from regular music to ‘InterMedia’ just so he could collaborate and learn from folks in other schools… i’m sure we all enjoyed the same general mindset, CalArts provided such an amazing mix :+1:


I lurked around for many years as I contemplated first grids and then other aspects of the monome ecosystem. While I still haven’t jumped into the monome ecosystem, I’ve appreciated the thoughtfulness and depth of conversation that occur across a range of topics and generally find the style here better suited to longer form discussion and exploration of ideas.