Synth heads, get your keyboards ready. This February 12, Nasty Nachos will be hosting its eleventh installment of Freq Boutique at Denver’s Fort Greene Bar. Similar to an open mic night, but for synthesists, the event will include happy hour drink specials and a night full of modular synth beats — and performers, arrive before 8 p.m. if you want to claim your slot for the night.

For the past 11 months, the Fort Greene Bar has housed this event thanks to the efforts of Alex Anderson, Nasty Nachos’ creator. Along with fellow synthesizer and drummer Matt Tanner, the duo aims to constantly evolve and advance each live performance, finding influences in the works of Todd Terje, Daft Punk and a little bit of ’70s funk.

nasty nacho, meg o'neill, kait starr, synthesizer

“The Denver synth community is awesome, positive, supportive and relatively diverse. We’ve got people from age 15 all the way to 86 and everything in between, with all sorts of ethnic groups represented,” Anderson shared. “However, in my observation, the scene seems to be dominated by males… I hope to change that!  Denver Synth Ladies, I know you’re out there!  Come out to Freq Boutique, perform if you want and just hang out!”  

Anderson first caught the synth-bug back in college, when a fellow bandmate exposed him to experimental sound techniques. When he found it was nearly impossible to keep a band together due to conflicting schedules and diverging long-term goals, the artist found he could produce albums all on his own thanks to a single synthesizer. Needless to say, this pursuit didn’t come without its challenges. After learning various software programs to expand his range of sounds, Anderson found himself worrying about keeping the process organic. “I lost a bit of the original soul in my music because I was trying way too hard to make everything perfect,” he disclosed. “The computer ruined it for me because I could spend way too much time correcting and placing things with a mouse rather than just playing the part and letting the performance happen.”

Since then, Anderson has greatly improved his talent through a job offering at the local modular synth and guitar pedal manufacturer, WMD. With this newly-acquired knowledge, the synthesist began creating tutorial videos for those who hope to enter the art. The YouTube channel now houses well over a hundred videos, showcasing everything from synchrodyne expansions to aperture frequency modulation demos.

Still intrigued by Nasty Nachos and the synthesizer community? Get involved this Monday at the Freq Boutique event. More information can be found here, and if you can’t make it this time around, the Fort Greene Bar will be hosting an even crazier celebration for the one year of Freq Boutique on March 17 with booze, dancing and synthesizers galore.

All photography courtesy of Meg O’Neill.

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