Devious Machinations

Devious Machines founders, Jim Credland and Dom Smart chat about how the company started, their excitement about Infiltrator 2 and their devious plans for the future.

Guys, thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedules to talk to us about Devious Machines:

V1 of the Infiltrator plugin has a legion of spectacularly passionate fans – including some incredibly high-profile ones – like Peter Gabriel. How did you find that out?

JC: Ha – yeah – I got an email from Peter’s team asking about Infiltrator – apparently Brian Eno had said he should check it out. I’d had a brilliant time at Peter’s festival WOMAD when I was much younger, so I figured we could stretch to sending him a copy.

Why does the world need Infiltrator 2 (it is only a year after Infiltrator 1), what was your favourite feature of Infiltrator 1 and what are the best new features of Infiltrator 2.0?

JC: With the great response we received from users when we released V1, we also received several requests for new features in future versions. Many of these evolved into the array of new features in Infiltrator 2. Obviously the requests are welcome as Infiltrator’s success comes from the interface’s combination of its sonic versatility and user-friendly attention to detail. So if producers and musicians have suggestions, they are always worth considering. It’s just a shame we can’t fulfil every request.

Infiltrator 2 builds on the original by adding a ton of new effects, as well as the ability to modulate different effect parameters with a second envelope.
It’s the same plug-in with the same user-friendly workflow, now with significantly more creative options.

DS: Infiltrator 2 builds on the original by adding a ton of new effects, as well as the ability to modulate different effect parameters with a second envelope. It’s the same plug-in with the same user-friendly workflow, now with significantly more creative options. We are aware that it’s not been all that long since version 1, but we always intended to add new effects to Infiltrator after release, and releasing a version 2 gave us the opportunity to implement a bunch of things we wanted to do, but didn’t get to in the first version. A bunch of new things we wanted to do to expand on the potential of the first version.

JC: My favourite features of Infiltrator 1 are the One-Oh-One filter which sounds all liquid and analog, the way modulation does pitch snapping and the random preset button. I’ve become a bit of a preset junkie with it. We spent so long making the presets, and there are so many presets stored in the plug-in that I’ve become a bit obsessed with hitting the random button just to see how it will transform whatever is happening on that channel.

We’ve already got some great sequencer ideas in development for Version 3. For example it’ll be great to have variable length rows and step randomisation so you can make complex and polyrhythmic patterns.

Tell us about the new Spectral Effects feature?

DS: Spectral effects manipulate audio in the frequency domain using the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT). This allows for some weird and wacky transformations which aren’t possible using regular time-domain processing. The effects we’ve added might be considered quirky by some, but they definitely add a new and powerful dimension to the plugin’s sound design capability.

Apparently you listened to feedback from your customers and implemented new features accordingly?

DS: Yes, we always listen to customer feedback and try to address as many of the popular requests as possible. Some examples of that in Infiltrator 2 are the addition of the second envelope, the ability to modulate different effect parameters, and various new effects such as Reverse.

As well as being an unrivalled jump off point for creative inspiration, Infiltrator is a great utility tool. What are your personal favourite utility features?

JC: For me the utility stuff starts with the audio triggering. If I’ve got a drum and I want to tame the tail of it with a filter, or do some clever gated reverb to make the attack seem fatter it’s all possible with the audio triggering.

DS: One of my favourite features when using Ableton Live is the effects rack, which lets you make a custom chain of FX, map parameters to macro knobs, and save it for quick access later. I miss this when using other DAWs (I write a lot of my music in Cubase), and having Infiltrator lets me replicate a lot of that functionality elsewhere.

How did you guys meet and start working together?

DS: We were introduced by an old uni friend of mine, who was working with Jim on Loopcloud at the time. Turned out we both lived a stone’s throw away from one another and shared a love of similar music and an obsession with audio geekery, so we hit it off from there. I was only about 6 weeks into learning C++ at the time, and Jim gave me a lot of pointers.

We are driven by our passion to create quality software – the kind that we’d want to use in the studio ourselves

For a small plug-in company in its (relative) infancy, you guys are really delivering quality audio plug-ins. How do you manage to keep the quality so high?

DS: I think, from the outset, we are, and have always been, driven by our passion to create quality software – the kind that we’d want to use in the studio ourselves, which has informed what we do. Also, I think that being a small company allows us some flexibility to take time to get things right.

JC: Dom started me on the quality obsession. I mean I had standards before. But they are higher now. I’m probably a nuisance now about it – picking at details and working on things ’til midnight. There’s always room for improvement. It clashes with my desire to get things finished – the mental anguish of creative production has always been this way.

What’s coming next for Devious Machines?

JC: We’ve got new software coming. I can’t really talk about it here. Because there’s a lot of it but also because we want to finish it before anyone copies it. Honestly I’m so ridiculously excited about this one particular thing we are building at the moment – but it’s just so complicated and is taking so long to perfect. Arrrgh.

What you will see, or are maybe looking at right now, is that we are putting a bit of slap on the website, launching a new newsletter with monthly freebies and of course we will be expecting to receive an influx of new Infiltrator 2 feature requests from our Devious supporters very soon.

DS: New software, new website, and cool free stuff for our Devious Machines community. Starting this month, the email newsletter will feature exclusive free sample content, with a different focus each month. There’ll also be artist interviews and studio production tips, alongside occasional special plug-in offers.

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