Video: Junkie XL to Sell a Huge Portion of His Gear Collection on Reverb

Tom Holkenborg. Photo by Olaf Heine. Used with permission from the artist.

Tom Holkenborg, aka Junkie XL, has been a true force in composition and music production for decades. While creating dance hits in his earlier career to scoring some of the most-acclaimed film music of recent years—like Mad Max: Fury Road, Deadpool, Alita: Battle Angel, or, with Hans Zimmer, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice—he's always used an array of instruments, often playing them all himself.

Fans of his work have likely seen this gear in action on his Studio Time YouTube show: walls and walls of 5U and Eurorack modular systems, shelves of vintage synths and drum machines, guitars and effects, and plenty of recording gear to capture the magic.

Holkenborg will part with a large portion of this collection through The Official Junkie XL Reverb Shop, opening December 9.

More than 200 synths, samplers, and other electronic instruments, nearly 100 pedals, 30-plus microphones, dozens of guitars, drums, and more—all of this will be available on Reverb. Many of the items have found their way onto Holkenborg's film and TV soundtracks, and all of them have been played and well-maintained in his studio.

Rare synths like the Roland Jupiter-8 are in immaculate condition, while affordable samplers like his '80s Roland S-50 have all the modern upgrades one could want—a floppy-to-USB drive with a huge library of sounds and an external display screen for easy use.

"I’ve always been a bit of a gearhead, as many of you know,” Tom says. “Throughout my career I’ve amassed an amazing collection of instruments that I love and have cherished, but I simply can’t use them all anymore! I’ve made some amazing music with these items, they are instruments that deserve to be played, rather than used a couple of times a year. I want to get this gear in the hands of creators who can use it every day."

As the full-contact composer increasingly uses live orchestra, music software, and digital instruments in his current work, fans and peers will have a chance to own pieces from Holkenborg's impeccable hardware collection.

The Official Junkie XL Reverb Shop will include his Moog Minimoog Voyager XL, which has been used on several of his biggest scores and features a semi-modular patchbay not found on other Voyager models.

"I acquired the synth when this model came out in 2012–13. It's been used in pretty much every movie that I've worked on ever since," Holkenborg says. "Its low-end is so amazing. The sound design possibilities in the low frequencies are amazing. It’s used in Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s used in Deadpool, Alita: Battle Angel, Mortal Engines—I can go on and on. It’s used everywhere. It’s a workhorse."

The shop will also feature a particularly special item: Holkenborg's stunningly accurate ARP 2600 clone (with a sequencer) that was used on much of the Deadpool soundtrack. The machine is all analog and was built in 2015 to the exact specifications of the original ARP 2600. The proceeds from this special sale will go to support the Pediatric Cancer Foundation—a cause important to Holkenborg, whose family and friends have been affected by cancer.

Other highlights of the shop include:

  • A Boss Chorus Ensemble that Holkenborg used in Deadpool to give the film an '80s guitar sound. "I remember picking this up on my first US tour as Junkie XL, so that might have been '98," Holkenborg says. "It's an incredible pedal and it sounds very full and very rich, and I made incredible results with this. I've used it with synthesizers. I've used it on bass. I've used it on guitar."
  • Several CS series synths from Yamaha, including a rare CS-70M, a CS-60 he used on Netflix's Spectral, and a CS-40M Holkenborg has employed often. "I've been using it for bass sounds primarily. Excessively used on the Zack Snyder cut of Justice League, very much used on Max Max, and everywhere where I needed that really growling sound."
  • An Oberheim Stretch DX drum computer, Obeheim Promer EPROM creator, and an EPROM eraser. As a complete setup, Holkenborg used it to create his own samples and load them into the Stretch DX. "The play-back of samples is so bizarre that you get the really interesting quality," said Holkenborg. "This set was used a lot for Deadpool, where I sampled my own drum kit and cymbals and stuff, and I created my own drum kit—and with that I was programming all the beats." In the sale, he's including EPROMs that still hold his own sounds, while the Promer and eraser will allow you to create plenty of your own.
  • A Sequential Circuits Prophet-T8 that he used on surfing documentary Distance Between Dreams and Netflix's White Lines.
  • A PPG Wave 2.2 with a Waveterm A wavetable computer. Such a combination, in working condition no less, is incredibly rare. "I think there maybe, if you're lucky, five or eight operating worldwide," Holkenborg says. "I've used it a lot for a lot of different projects where dreamy sequences are required, because it has a really ambient quality to it," especially, like the Prophet-T8, on Distance Between Dreams and White Lines.

While the next generation of composers and producers have the opportunity to get some amazing gear, Holkenborg will get to focus his energy on his current process: designing, building, and playing his own digital instruments, conducting orchestral sessions, and continuing to employ the select hardware gear he uses the most.

"I remain a full contact composer," Holkenborg says. "Hands on will always be my approach. My new setup is certainly slimmed down, but I’ve found it to be quite liberating and inspiring, and I look forward to showing you what I’ve been up to very soon."

There is, quite literally, too much great stuff to list here. So you'll have to check out everything Holkenborg has to offer when The Official Junkie XL Reverb Shop opens December 9. Sign up with your email address above to be notified as soon as the shop is live.

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