Meet the Team - Aditya Nandwana
What’s your background? What did you do before AFA?
My background is a mix of things - I completed a degree in clinical engineering in Germany, went back to India immediately after to work with my family business, and then took a year off to do a Master of Science at UPF in Barcelona.
What do you do at AFA?
As the founder, I used to do pretty much everything when AFA was just me.
Now, my key tasks would be: Circuit design. Product design. Production management. Sales. Janitor. Project management. Maybe a couple of other things I can’t remember.
Unfortunately for everybody else involved, I also tell jokes and sing once in a while.
What is a normal day at the office like for you?
As I walk in, “All Star” blasts from the Apple speaker. I don't know why. Aaron set it up that way. He's the Smash Mouth fan. I stare at the mess of papers, circuits and tools on our desks and realize that we need to clean up yet again. After a cup of coffee, I check on where we are in terms of production, and divide time between that, product development and try to fix long and short term problems we’re facing.
What is one piece of gear you would love to own?
I’ve become a lot less infatuated with gear in general. I would still pick a 909 over anything else. When I can afford it, I’ll buy a Dinsync RE-909 replica - I feel it probably beats the Roland original.
What is your dream concert lineup?
An impossible question to answer… so let’s pick a few trios (including now-defunct bands) instead:
Einstürzende Neubauten / King Crimson (THRAK era) / Pink Floyd (RIP Rick Wright)
NIN / Skinny Puppy / Nitzer Ebb
The Chemical Brothers / Underworld / Depeche Mode
Iron Maiden / Metallica / Pantera
What do you do when you’re not working for AFA?
Apart from AFA and my work in a family business, I mostly serve our three cats, spend time in traffic and listen to the https://fs.blog podcast.
What are your hobbies besides modular?
Modular isn’t really a hobby for me, I rarely make music and when I do I prefer to use just a drum machine and effect pedals.
Unfortunately, I haven’t made the time to actively pursue any hobbies in the recent past. I work out semi-consistently and read a lot more of late. Exercise is definitely something I enjoy.
Lastly, thanks to my wife and some friends, I’ve started to scuba dive and love it.
How can you sell me this pen? Sell me this pen. Use only vowels.
If you were a Death Cab for Cutie song, why would the band be ashamed of you?
I would be too hectic and zero chill.
What sounds good to your ears?
I personally like raw sounds - there has to be either a sonic identity to the product that is completely its own and has very little in common with stuff that came before. A lot of it is intentional. I’d say it’s the trifecta of gain, frequency bandwidth (big bass, always!), and output headroom - I’m always trying to find some kind of equilibrium between the three.
How do you decide what goes into production and what doesn’t?
I personally feel a product has to be extremely usable, sound great in every setting, and deliver serious value to the buyer, especially if they own other things we have made. Over the course of the pandemic, I’ve also become a huge believer in “there will be no version 2, 3, 4…” - do it right the first time, don’t push out garbage, and correct course later.
It boils down to a question that is the fundamental decision-making tool “How will the customer feel about this?”. If I don’t think they will feel good about it, I go back to the drawing board, no arguments.