Category Archives: Music

A few words with Mochipet

A Tale Of Modular Synthesizers – Another Open Source Success Story

Mochipet will performed at our Aaron Swartz Day Opening Party – Raw Thought at the DNA Lounge on November 9, 2018.

TICKETS to the next Raw Thought, March 8, 2019

Come to Raw Thought on March 8th (from 9pm-2am) & see Grumpy Green’s super special Psychedelic Chill Room (an immersive space for both dancing & chilling).

DJs include: Melotronix, Tha Spyryt, Ailz, & Cain MacWitish – with visuals by Projekt Seahorse – all at our March 8th Raw Thought at the DNA Lounge in San Francisco! TICKETS


All pics below of Mochipet and kitties link to Mochipet songs :-)


Lisa Rein: So you mentioned that you’ve been feeling very experimental lately, and I saw on your instagram that you’ve been messing with a lot of new equipment.

Mochipet: I always do that.

LR: Well what are you playing with recently?

Mochipet: I’m doing a lot of modular synth stuff. I’ll probably be doing some modular synth stuff on Friday.

LR: Is that just a type of synthesizer? What’s “modular synth” exactly?

@mordaxsystems @makenoisemusic @xoacdevices @ieaskulfmobenthey #modularsynth #eurorack #modular #makenoise #makenoisemaths #ieaskulfmobenthey #ifmswoop #mordaxdata #xoacdevices #xaocbatumi

Mochipet: Modular synth is basically kind of like a synthesizer, with a bunch of parts. You can take separate parts and make a frankenstein thing of whatever you want.

It’s like if you had the ability to take the EQ off of one synthesizer, and then took the amp of another synthesizer, and then put them all together. All the pieces are modular. They’re separate. So you can put them all together and make a brand new thing.

LR: So it allows you to customize your sound?

Mochipet: Yes it’s very customized because everybody can put things together in a very different ways. It’s kind of like LEGOs I guess. That’s a great analogy: yes just like LEGOs. It’s just parts.

LR: Do the parts have to be a certain brand?

Made my first spaghetti 🍝 party last night. I need more cables. #mochipet #inthestudio #modularsynth #eurorack

Mochipet: No. There are many brands of modules. That’s the cool thing about it is that it’s a very decentralized system. So, basically, there’s a standard.

It’s kind of like the Internet: If people follow the standard their pages will work in a browser. This is kind of like that with modular synths. They all have a certain voltage. They all have a certain voltage range, for notes, and things like that.

There’s kind of a standard that this German company Doepfer made that other people just adopted. So there’s a lot of really small operations, individual people, making modules.

Doepfer made their specs open. There’s a lot of standards now where I think people realize if you make them open then you’re gonna get a lot more use out of it. If it was a closed system, nobody would use it. It would be useless. You need open systems in order for people to be able to participate,, and that really opens the door up for a lot of individuals to do really unique things. Because everybody thinks differently.

Rather than having a big bureaucratic company with standards and rules dictating whatever their idea of what the industry should be like. There’s none of that. Instead, it’s just random people making different things. But they all work together. So you can connect anything to anything and it will work, and you can make unique things out of it that nobody could ever make before.

LR: So that’s what those contraptions are that we see in your photographs?

Mochipet: Yeah yeah. It’s a really cool thing. It’s kind of new. Doepfer came out with it many years ago, but the whole modular synth “scene” kind of thing is pretty new. I mean like five or ten years old. People are doing it just because they love it. They are making really interesting instruments and they like coming up with ideas. Some of these modules, there are only like 50 of them. They’ll make 50. And they’ll sell em, and that’s it.

LR: So some of them are rare and hard to obtain?

Mochipet: Yes. Some of them become rare. Some of them are very hard to find. There’s a lot of them that are made all over the world. There’s this guy in China that makes really cool ones. There’s people in Italy that make really cool modules. There’s this company Make Noise, here in the states that’s very popular. It’s kinda nerdy. It’s kind of like open source programming, but with music. It’s like people can write little programs or functions or whatever and put it into the system. And then people can take it and ya know, do whatever they want with it. Do new things with it.

This one company, Mutable Instruments. They’re in France. All these companies are just like, one guy. There’s like a guy who designs the modules and he tells a guy how many knobs. But it’s just those guys. There’s no team. So he (the guy in France) started doing digital modules, which incorporate computer programming within them. All his stuff is open source too. So, you can take his code and make the module, or add more stuff to it, or change it. There’s an open source community spirit to it, which is really nice.

LR: Does he actually release it under an open source license?

Mochipet: Yes!

LR: (Lisa looks it up online.) Hey cool it’s a Creative Commons: cc-by-sa 3.0 license.

Mochipet at MeowWolf.

A Little Information About the Vegan Pizza at our Q & A Event January 11th

TICKETS (or just RSVP to

A little update on the pizza we are serving for our Aaron Swartz Q & A Event.

It’s really really tasty — and not what you would expect.

There was a time, not too long ago, when the words “Vegan Pizza” struck fear into the hearts of many a pizza lover.

Well, friends, that time has past.

This vegan pizza is very very tasty pizza (from DNA Pizza) – you might not even notice – it just happens to be vegan.

I wanted to let folks know a bit about the “Vegan Pizza” we will be serving from DNA Pizza.

A gluten-free crust is available upon request. I’m not sure if it’s necessary, so, if you’d prefer it,  even require it, please do email me at

These are the three styles of pizza we’ll have on hand:

Vegan Potesto: vegan pesto, garlic roasted potatoes, roasted garlic

Vegan Shmegan: olive oil base, vegan ricotta (Note: It’s great! I tried it!), tomatoes, basil, chopped garlic

SFV: olive oil base, red onion, green onion, tomato, chopped garlic

Thanks! :))

Hope to see you from 7:30-9:30 pm – Here are more details about what we are doing then – with special guest Ryan Shapiro.


The Week In Aaron Swartz Day-Land-January 3 2019

It’s hard to keep up with the developments on numerous fronts in the Aaron Swartz Day community, so we’re going to start posting little updates about the week before to help keep you informed.

Here are last week’s media & developments:

1. Q & A Event – January 11th at the DNA Lounge, 7:30pm – This is the sixth anniversary of Aaron’s death. We are having an event to discuss what exactly happened to him with an opportunity for lots of Q & A for those with specific questions at the DNA Lounge from 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm. Vegan pizza will be served and Lisa Rein and others will be answering some questions to help folks gain a better understanding about what actually happened.

2. Video and partial transcription of Barrett Brown and Trevor Timm at the Aaron Swartz Day 2018 Evening Event – Barrett explains the main takeaway from his new book “My Glorious Defeats: Hacktivist, Narcissist, Anonymous: A Memoir” – and also how he and Aaron had communicated via email and were collaborating on a project before Aaron’s death.

3. Video and partial transcription of Cindy Cohn & Cory Doctorow with Annalee Newitz discussing “The End of Trust” – a new McSweeney release. – Cory and Cindy give it to us straight regarding the challenges of attempting to protect our privacy against prying eyes, and offer some strategies for dealing with them.

4. A blast from the past: Aaron’s close friend Ben Wikler dispels the commonly misunderstood notion that Aaron somehow died for the Freedom of Information. (Or died over “freeing” the journal articles he downloaded from JSTOR – more on this soon, but quick version is that there’s no evidence he was going to release them at all.)

5. Interview with Cain MacWitish, one of our Raw Thought DJs performing January 11th at the DNA Lounge. Here’s CAIN’S SET FROM OUR NOVEMBER 9, 2018 EVENT.

6. Interview with Tha Spyryt, one of our Raw Thought DJs performing January 11th at the DNA Lounge. Here’s THA SPYRYT’S SET FROM OUR NOVEMBER 9, 2018 EVENT.

7. COME TO THE DNA LOUNGE  ‘RAW THOUGHT‘ on  February 8th from 9 pm – 2 am. TICKETS

Raw Thought was the name of Aaron Swartz’ blog, and his writings and life hath inspired a monthly gathering of music, life & looking beneath the surface, also named “Raw Thought.”

Mind bending visuals, generated live by Projekt Seahorse will be projected on four screens in two rooms. Our crew of seasoned DJs and experimental upstarts (both human and alien) will combine to keep your heart pumping in two rooms!


Raw Thought DJ “Tha Spyryt” Interviewed in Mondo 2000

Tha Spyryt will be performing at 11:30 pm, at the next RAW THOUGHT at the DNA Lounge (A Dance Night with a Psychedelic Chill Room) on January 11, 2019 at the DNA Lounge – 10pm – 2am. Also performing: Mochipet, Ozlo Glowing and Cain MacWitish.

Check out Tha Spyryt’s complete set from the first ever “Raw Thought” music event – at the Aaron Swartz Day opening night party, November 9, 2018.

Tha Spyryt is performing on January 11 at the DNA Lounge at this month’s “Raw Thought” Event

A Conversation with Tha Spyryt – A Raw Thought DJ Performing January 11 at the DNA Lounge

If “Raw Thought” sounds familiar, it should. It was the name of Aaron’s prolific blog – and one of the main goals of these events – besides providing a great place to meet people and dance – is to continue to spread Aaron’s knowledge and ideas to a larger audience.

Tha Spyrytis a member of Aaron Swartz Day’s Raw Thought Crew that performed for the first time together on November 9, 2018.

LR: So how long have you been creating music?

Tha Spyryt: Creating music? Music is more of a translation or interpretation of creation.

Four years off and on learning production seriously, my friend Moda Graphik taught me Ableton in 15 minutes which got me into it, however stopped for awhile and now refocused on it as a means to harness all mediums of art I work on, or “create” / translate. Before that spent many years in the underground, club, and festival scene performing live visuals with major headliners, participating in tour life, or creating new media content and being immersed in music production/event culture…

LR: What’s your favorite new piece of equipment?

TS: My friends :). Making noise with people seems to be one of the best parts about performing or playing instruments music what have you. Lately I have been learning to understand that we are all the best machines we will ever need.

Technology is just an extension, but implementing our strengths can be a place that new possibilities arise. + Along with new friends is new studios, new instruments, and new spaces to travel to. Experience, vision, & inspiration: equipment that is intangible yet crucial to the construction of any piece. Bliss random answers always serve hot meals, though a miracle is often the luck of decisive reaction.

***Remembering Aaron – A thoughtful Dinner Party***

Come to the Raw Thought dinner party on Friday, January 11th, at the DNA Lounge at 7:30 pm (before the music performances start at 10pm). We will be discussing and learning about Aaron’s life & history, including some Q & A time that I’ve been promising for a while. We will also discuss some of the new things we have learned over the past year about the bizarre situation around Aaron’s court case.

Please do RSVP by writing: (Space is limited.)

We will move forward together and make the world better!
No one can stop us <3

Check out Tha Spyryt’s All Purple EP

The Kitchen Sisters Profile Aaron Swartz Day Co-Founder Lisa Rein as “The Keeper of the Day”

Aaron Swartz Day as told by Lisa Rein

Aaron Swartz Day co-founder Lisa Rein talks about about her work with the annual hackathon. Founded in 2013 after the death of activist and programming wunderkind Aaron Swartz, the event draws attention to Aaron’s story in hopes of protecting others from similar circumstances and offers a yearly showcase of the many projects initiated by Aaron as well as new projects inspired directly by him and his work.

Lisa also talks about her background as archivist for Chelsea Manning: “When I learned more about Chelsea, without getting into whether you agree with what she did or what she didn’t do, she definitely followed her heart and wanted to improve the world and that’s an Aaron Swartz Day thing.”

The original tracks by Lisa used in this piece include: Hiding, Slipping Away, and It’s Alright.

Produced by Michal Wisniowski and The Kitchen Sisters

Lisa Rein, Co-Founder, Aaron Swartz Day. Chelsea Manning’s Archivist, Dr. Timothy Leary’s Digital Librarian (Photo: Kevin Footer – Art Design/Concept: Kenneth Bryan Smith)

DJ Spooky’s Talk and Performance From the Creative Commons Launch in 2002


Aaron Swartz Day 2018: The Inside Story – Part 1: DJ Spooky At The Creative Commons Launch (2002)

Complete Transcription, Video, and “Trailer” of “Rebirth of a Nation”

DJ Spooky at the Creative Commons Launch, in San Francisco, December 2002. He is holding up an “Ad busters” flag.

From the transcription, DJ Spooky, Creative Commons Launch, 2002:

To make a long story short, when they asked me to do a piece for this, I was thinking about it. I am in the middle of about three different projects. One of them is “Birth of a Nation” I am remixing that. It’s an early D.W. Griffith film. And many copyrighted works that are pre-1920 are still accessible. The film makes kind of a statement about the ownership of culture, and of course, about ownership of memory. Collective memory.

So that’s the project that’s going to be associated with Creative Commons. What I’d like to do is show a snippet of it. I presented an early work in progress of it at the Castro Theater.

Essentially whenever you hear something and the idea is made, it’s always a sense of playing with memory. What I’m fascinated with in the Eldred case, is the idea of who controls memory. How can you recall an image or a sound that’s essentially part of a collective unconscious. How we think of things that just go through your mind every day and how you externalize that. That’s what DJing is about. It’s playfulness. It’s reverence for controlled memory. Reverence for the found object.

So essentially, that’s what DJing has become. It’s almost a basic fabric; part of the the fabric of contemporary culture. So, there’s that kind of thing, which to me it becomes kind of what I like to call 21st century – a new form of folk music or folk culture…

these issues, always migrate. You control one thing, the net will thread its way around it. And so on and so on.

That sense of control, one of the terms Larry always uses a lot, in his great book “The Future of Ideas” – if you haven’t read it yet; you should – is the idea of “creative co-authorship.” Being able to actually reach into a text and reconfigure it. And if there’s something we’ve seen throughout the 21st century, whether you are looking at the outside of things, or the underground or overground, it’s that sense of; whether you are looking at William S. Burroughs or the Jack Kerouac and the beats in the 50s, or the Dada scene in the 20s, or the early cinema people working with that, is that America has always been the place of “the mix.” But somehow, I think in the 19th century we were a net importer of intellectual property, whereas after a certain point we became a net exporter, and that’s when all these kinds of control issues come up.

Early Bird Passes Now Available For This Year’s San Francisco Event

New! Saturday’s Hackathon Schedule!

(From left to right) (Top Row) Aaron Swartz, Cindy Cohn, Brewster Kahle, (Bottom row) Barrett Brown, DJ Spooky

Get your “Early Bird All Access Pass” Here

After Tuesday August 14th at Midnight, Get your Tickets here

These Early Bird Passes are only available until midnight on August 15th.

Hello everyone in Aaron Swartz Day-land. We are expecting a full house this year for our San Francisco Hackathon and subsequent Reception & Evening Event. This will be our largest event to date, and many of our speakers are flying in from out of town.

For these reasons, in order to supplement our finances for this year’s grand extravaganza, we have decided to sell some “Early Bird All Access” Passes.

So, until midnight on August 15th, you can buy an “Early Bird All Access Pass” for only $20! (For up to 100 passes, while they last.)

Each “Early Bird All Access Pass” Includes:

1) Admission to both days of the Hackathon ($25 value) (Don’t panic. No one will be turned away for lack of funds. See the note at the bottom of this announcement :)

2) Admission to Reception and Evening Event ($50 Value)

3) Admission to After Party – 10:30 pm-2am ($20 Value)Location TBD

8pm – Evening Event – Special Guests Speaking or Performing (or both):

DJ Spooky (Multimedia Artist, DJ/Musician, Author, Historian, Educator)

Barrett Brown (Author of the upcoming book: My Glorious Defeats: Hacktivist, Narcissist, Anonymous: A Memoir, Pursuance Project, Journalist, Former Political Prisoner)

Lisa Rein (Aaron Swartz Day, Creative Commons, The Swartz-Manning VR Destination, ASD Police Surveillance Project, ASD Solar Survival Project)

Daniel Rigmaiden (Cell Phone Surveillance Expert, Exposed Stingray to the Public)

Cindy Cohn (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

Brewster Kahle (Internet Archive)

Steve Phillips (Pursuance Project, Noisebridge)

Mek Karpeles (Open Library, Internet Archive)

Plus More Special Guests – We will be making daily updates here!


Saturday & Sunday – 10am – 6pm

New This Year: On site VR, Robotics & 3-D Printing Demonstrations.

Hackathon Speakers Confirmed So Far (Many more coming):

Barrett Brown (Author of the upcoming book: My Glorious Defeats: Hacktivist, Narcissist, Anonymous: A Memoir, Pursuance Project, Journalist, Former Political Prisoner)

Steve Phillips (Pursuance Project, Noisebridge)

Cyrus Farivar (Author of “Habeus Data,” Technology Journalist, & Radio Producer)

Daniel Rigmaiden (Cell Phone Surveillance Expert, Exposed Stingray to the Public)

Tracey Jaquith (Internet Archive)

Tracy Rosenberg (Oakland, Media Alliance)

Dave Maass (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

Matteo Borri (Robots Everywhere LLC, NASA (Mars Rover Contractor), ASD Solar Survival Project)

Lisa Rein (Aaron Swartz Day, Creative Commons, The Swartz-Manning VR Destination, ASD Police Surveillance Project, ASD Solar Survival Project)

Mek Karpeles (Open Library, Internet Archive)

Get your “Early Bird All Access Pass” Here

After Tuesday, August 14th at Midnight, TICKETS HERE

Above: Lisa Rein and Barrett Brown at San Francisco’s Noisebridge Hackerspace.

As always, please write if you need a free ticket. There are student discounts too, but you need to write us first to get the code.