You know a classic Roland 202, 303, 404, 606, 707, 808, 909, and whatnot can make techno. But in the hands of Andreas Tilliander, these vintage Roland boxes are like classical instrumentation. They can form delicate ambient ensembles, or dark, pounding rhythms. And far from being only a grid to switch on and off, they become improvisational tools that spawn live performances and organic sessions. It’s little wonder that Andreas goes by the moniker TM404 – the Swedish-born producer seems like he might have been raised by a family of Roland boxes rather than humans.

So, we took the opportunity to catch up with how Andreas is playing.

The time is right. TM404’s Acidub emerged middle of last month, a set of opuses on the objects, primordial excursions into rhythm and melody retold through hiss and shadows. The album is laid out along a curve, climbing out of darker, murkier origins into the groove of “Treso” and the angular melodies of “202/303/303/303/606/606” until arriving at the burbling conclusion of “303/303/303/606.” Andreas is unquestionably someone who can move a dancefloor – he can whip this gear out at Ibiza, and practice jams on the beach with batteries (thanks, Roland engineers). But it’s wonderful here to see the full range: he can also compose odes for headphones.

But a favorite of mine is “MC202” quartet. It’s gorgeous and delicate, a stand-out aria of the album. And we’re fortunate here on CDM to premiere its video, which watches it being played against loving images of the gear.

Here’s more – 303/303/303/303/303/606/606 played live:

“Fine,” you say, “but that’s just some prepared music videos. That says nothing about whether someone can play live.”

“Ah ha!” I say, “but FACT Magazine recently put Mr. Tilliander under time restrictions in their ‘Against the Clock’ series – you’ll be more impressed by that!”

Here we go beyond the x0x series and adds some Swedish engineering, in the form of Elektron. But it has that lovely, spontaneous feeling that only comes from playing live. FACT writes:

Using his trusted Roland equipment alongside modern gear including the Elektron Octatrack, Tilliander builds up an atmospheric acid house track in just 10 minutes with no laptop in sight.

“I don’t know if it was a good track but I guess that’s not the point,” Tilliander says. “I was trying to program the 303s while recording, which is strange for a listener to hear. It was good. There were some parts where I forgot to use different synths but there’s plenty anyway so, I’m satisfied.”

Good stuff. I actually think it’s not so much that Andreas uses vintage Roland gear that matters as that he focuses on a particular instrumentation, and works on the technique of playing that live – not forcing live playing where it isn’t needed, but exploring a clear set of ideas. And that’s the essence to me of live playing, and why it can open up some possibilities DJing alone can’t.


Do check out the record; it’s lovely. Out now on Kontra-Musik.

You can follow Andreas on Facebook:

Let’s watch the man at work.




  • Dominic Arkwright

    I think maybe your third para is describing that Spotify playlist rather than the Acidub album. No matter, I couldn’t disagree 😉

    • Nagasaki Nightrider

      The tracks “202/303/303/303/606/606” and “303/303/303/606″ are on the first album from 2013 not the new one. Just sketchy CDM reportage and whatnot.

      • Dominic Arkwright

        Well, I’m not sure “sketchy” is necessary! Easy mistake and all that…

  • Markus Näslund

    Roland 404?

  • lala

    there is no roland 404
    4 is considered as unlucky number

    • lala

      u r not talking about that little sampler (sp404sx), are you?

      • Nagasaki Nightrider

        Tilliander claimed the 404 digits for himself. That’s the twist, y’all.
        He’s not so boring as to refer to himself as an actual piece of vintage

        • lala

          the opening line of this article is
          You know a classic Roland 202, 303, 404, 606, 707, 808, 909, and whatnot can make techno. 😉

    • NRGuest

      Would you say the Roland 404 was…

      Not found? 😛

  • straight in to my favourites playlist! Thanks

  • Matt Jackson

    Andreas is the master!

  • wndfrm

    andreas is super talented and a nice guy to boot. supremely jealous of his studio 🙂 the intellijel rig alone is drool-worthy, let alone all the vintage roland..

  • Polite Society

    In case anyone else wanted to see the Fact Mag Against The Clock video

    I am quite a fan of that series of videos. Fascinating seeing people’s process under that kind of time pressure. You immediately see what their priorities are when creating a track.

    Though this one is more of a 10 minute improv jam.

    • Polite Society

      The more I look at that collection the more jealous I get.