Welcome to the Club: an Interview with CHOMPI Club

On Community, Accessibility, and the World's Cutest Sampler

Chris Hadley + Ryan Gaston · 03/19/24

If you're not already aware of the cutest electronic musical instrument on the planet, we're happy to introduce you: it's the CHOMPI sampler, the first instrument from CHOMPI Club. Described by its makers as a "magical tape music instrument," CHOMPI is designed to make electronic sound manipulation fast and easy. From the built-in microphone to its straightforward, inviting user interface and internal effects processor, CHOMPI has all the core ingredients needed to capture and manipulate sound—transforming the world around you into a constant source of raw musical material.

The CHOMPI sampler is a highly capable and well-thought-out musical instrument, complete with MIDI input and output, external audio input, file storage on microSD, and extensive controls for sample editing, tone tweaking, live looping, loop scrubbing, and much, much more. So, don't let its playful appearance fool you: CHOMPI isn't just a toy—though you'll certainly have fun using it.

CHOMPI was something of an overnight success. It was launched in 2023 with a Kickstarter campaign, which received support from over two thousand backers. The the instrument was thrust immediately into the spotlight. It's easy to see why: CHOMPI strikes an incredible balance between flexibility and approachability, making it perfect for users of any experience level. Quickly, CHOMPI Club formed a partnership with Electro Distro, the company responsible for the creation of the Daisy platform (on which CHOMPI is based), as well as the manufacture of some of our favorite Eurorack brands: Qu-Bit Electronix, 2hp, Noise Engineering, and others. Today, the sampler is readily available, finally finding its way into the hands of creative sound-makers across the world.

So, after getting some hands-on time with the CHOMPI sampler ourselves, we reached out to CHOMPI Club founders Chelsea and Tobias to learn more about their background, the story of CHOMPI Club's evolution, and of course, their remarkable success. We interview instrument designers regularly, and beyond their instruments themselves, every single maker has some unique or interesting quality or focus. In this case, the thing that struck us most prominently about CHOMPI Club was their kindness. Plain and simple, these are good people—and their focus on accessibility, inclusivity, and education is both exciting and inspiring. CHOMPI is indeed an instrument for everyone.

In the course of our correspondence, we learned a lot about CHOMPI Club, about their adorable sampler, and about nurturing community through electronic music education. Read on to learn more about CHOMPI and the rad people behind it.

An Interview with CHOMPI Club

Perfect Circuit: As the world is introduced to CHOMPI, we’d love to know more about the folks behind it, and how your experience in music has brought you to where you are today. How did you both get started in music? What sort of musical aesthetics or communities inspired you to get involved in music making?

CHOMPI Club: Wow, ummm how much time do we have? This might be a very long answer haha. In all seriousness, we want to start by saying thank you so much for inviting us to share our love and passion for CHOMPI with the Perfect Circuit community. We truly appreciate how thoughtful and intentional your questions are. <3 With that said, let's dive in!

Chelsea and Tobias from CHOMPI Club Chelsea and Tobias from CHOMPI Club

Our musical backgrounds are pretty different from each other…Tobias basically came out of the womb making music. It’s been the most instinctual form of self expression for him since he was a tiny person, playing any instrument he could get his hands on. From exploring keyboards and tape recorders, playing drums, guitar, and all sorts of percussive formats, he grew up writing, and making music for homemade skate videos. Everywhere he goes, there is usually some kind of pocket sized music making device in his bag, and when there’s no device to be had, you can usually find him absentmindedly drumming the nearest surface with his hands.

I [Chelsea] grew up tinkering on the family piano, exploring various instruments in school band classes (like trumpets, guitars, and percussion tools), singing, dancing, and spending endless hours listening to old records or making radio mixtapes. These days I often end up being the guinea pig for testing the new CHOMPI workflows, exploring the ever expanding world of synths, and occasionally breaking out instruments like my Theremini to dabble in more fluid forms of musical expression.

Many years ago, we spent a semester of college in New Zealand: while I [Chelsea] was at school studying design, Tobias worked at a local music / synth shop. This is where we got our first microKORG, and down the rabbit hole we went! There was a little community of synth enthusiasts in Wellington called the Knob Twiddlers who invited us to join them at the pub and nerd out on things they were playing and performing. They were so welcoming and generous with their knowledge of all things synth related; it left a really positive impression on us.

Aesthetically, our musical influences are quite eclectic. On any given day, you might hear old school hip-hop or indie rock filling the spaces in our home; and then it might traverse from lush modular soundscapes to world-beat rhythms, classical to classic rock; we might pump ourselves up for work with the queens of rap and wind down with strange experimental pieces to end the day. We draw inspiration and influence from so many creative mediums, not just music. We have a weird amalgamation of skill sets, and both worked a wide array of jobs: spent our lives in the fields of design, marketing, video, photography, creative direction, music, sound design, fine arts, and visual mediums in general. We always seem to find the most satisfaction in projects when they combine multiple creative disciplines.

PC: I’m interested in the ethos behind your Technological Taxidermy/Techno Logic project, and how that’s been carried on into CHOMPI Club. Can you share a bit about CHOMPI Club’s origins, what Techno Logic is and how you’ve continued its focus on education and inclusivity with CHOMPI Club?

CC: Music, art, and creativity in general are such incredible connection points in every culture, and we have been fortunate to find pockets of passionate people everywhere we go! Fast forward through heaps of music and art projects, playing in local bands, and buying way too many instruments later, we found ourselves repeatedly having people over to our house, each of them wanting to know more about the “weird synths” (aka: Modular Synth systems) that Tobias would perform with as Technological Taxidermy. We realized there was a tremendous amount of curiosity, but no place in our area where people could go learn and explore the strange and wonderful world of hardware based electronic music making. We were lamenting to some passionate music community builders about not having a centralized resource for learning this stuff where we lived, and one of those lovely people (Bana Haffar) gave us the best feedback as well as a challenge: If there isn’t something currently meeting those needs, then make it yourselves! That’s where the Techno Logic dream started taking shape.

In the beginning it was just a simple synth meetup at a co-working space, where we would bring some gear, and invite people to come explore. This eventually grew into what we called a “Co-Lab” (Collaborative Laboratory), where folks would bring whatever they had or they could use our gear, and just spend time asking questions, exploring, learning, and sharing excitement with each other. Our hope was that we would find more people to play shows with, and help create pathways for people to learn to perform. This continued to evolve for over 7+ years through a multitude of collaborations with other arts organizations, community groups, and eventually led to us developing music production curriculum for high-school / college students.

CHOMPI Club is in many ways the natural evolution of what we started with TT: it provided us with valuable insight into some of the missing pieces in the synth world. Hardware based electronic music instruments have such vast capabilities, but can often feel really intimidating when you’re first getting started. With CHOMPI Club we’re aiming to create access points for people to discover and enjoy this form of expression that has been so meaningful to us personally.

Tobias & Chelsea teaching a Techno Logic workshop (on the Make Noise 0-Coast) at a Velocity Seattle event.

[Above: Tobias & Chelsea teaching a Techno Logic workshop (on the Make Noise 0-Coast) at a Velocity Seattle event.]

PC: Electronic music is so often a solo activity, but your work in bringing people together is commendable and clearly beneficial to the musical communities involved. Why has community building been such an important focus for you both?

CC: At the risk of sounding cliche, we have a quote we frequently use to calibrate our pursuits. Christopher McCandless made a scribbled note / observation on his journeys that “...happiness is only real when shared”, and more often than not, we have found this to ring true throughout most of our endeavors. So many of us work tirelessly to create things as artists that will sometimes never see the light of day…at least until we decide to put ourselves out there and share it. When your hard work and passion have a chance to be seen and valued by your peers, it can bring a sense of purpose to all of those countless hours and sleepless nights.

Years ago when we were living in New Zealand—and first stumbled into this wonderful world of synthesis—having a welcoming community to ask questions / help us get started, was so critical to our enthusiasm and excitement as beginners. We have witnessed firsthand how powerful sharing opportunities and resources can be, and how much richer the experience is when more diverse perspectives are included. Since then, we have been really fortunate to find dear friends who are also eager to support each other's various projects over the years.

CHOMPI is really designed to help bridge the gap between many of those different artistic worlds. We recognized there was an opportunity to invite curious creatives, who may not necessarily consider themselves traditional “musicians”, to come discover just how fun this world can be. There is so much joy to be found within the “wow-moments”—when someone finally finds a device or modality they can connect with to express themselves in an authentic way. Being able to share some of that joy with others has become one of our lifelong pursuits!

PC: Do you have any recommendations for folks out there looking to start their own community efforts around electronic music? What are some things you think made your work in community building a success?

CC: We have often found that many artists really just want a place to belong…to discuss and share the things that they are passionate about. Many of us can sometimes feel like lonely islands, so bringing people together to find camaraderie can be life giving. It’s also just fun to nerd out on things you’re interested in with other enthusiastic people. It can be as simple as bringing synths to the pub, or putting on events where people from all walks of life have the opportunity to explore this unique format of creating music.

We probably sound like a broken record, but interdisciplinary collaboration has been essential to our community growth. It requires a willingness to share resources, to create spaces to learn from each other, and listen to feedback or identify gaps that we can work together to fill. Community building is hard work, and people will probably tell you you’re crazy at some point...but if you’ve ever been on the receiving end of that type of kindness, it can be pretty impactful. For those looking to bolster their own synth communities, we highly recommend teaming up with other arts organizations in your city…you don’t have to go it alone! Often, electronic music can pair really well with other forms of artistic expression: gallery exhibits, performance art, video projection and multimedia can all be quite complementary to a modular synth performance. You might be surprised how many opportunities are out there once you start looking outside the traditional music venues and nightclubs.

In fact, we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish 90% of our Techno-Logic programming without the help and support of a local arts organization in our area called TERRAIN. They were vital in helping us find venues for our events, as well as connecting with other artists for collaborations. Our hope is that we can reciprocate the generosity we’ve been shown over the years…pouring it back into the world to provide more opportunities for people who may not typically have access to this strangely wonderful form of self expression.

[Above: Tobias and Chelsea teaching a workshop during a Techno Logic event.]

PC: At our Burbank store people are already buzzing about CHOMPI. How are people taking to it from your perspective? Have there been any fun surprises you’ve seen in how people are using the instrument?

CC: Holy smokes…the response since we launched CHOMPI last year has been nothing short of remarkable! CHOMPI is such an interesting platform in that it can be enjoyed by people who have never played an instrument before, just as much as someone who's been playing for 20+ years. It’s definitely a bit quirky at times—designed to be exploratory, so I think a lot of people are struggling to know exactly how to define or categorize it. CHOMPI welcomes you to experiment, make mistakes, and try alternate approaches to certain tasks. Some people don’t gravitate to the abstract nature of the clock-less workflow, while others feel as if they’ve been searching for something like it for a long time.

This project has generated sooo many joyful surprises though! One of those being just how widespread / global CHOMPI’s user base has become. Our customers (aka: CHOMPI Club pals) come from such a wide variety of backgrounds, and bring so many different insights and ideas to the table. To see those folks all have a place to connect and share their sonic CHOMPI journeys has been super inspiring…we feel so fortunate to be along for the ride!

PC: CHOMPI’s success on Kickstarter, as well as similar successes like the Electro-Smith Daisy Seed on which CHOMPI is built, suggest that crowdfunding offers a lot of potential for empowering thoughtful new designs outside of conventional funding. What are your impressions on the Kickstarter campaign success, and what inspired you to take this approach to funding the project?

CC: To be honest, we are still figuring out how to navigate it all. Our initial goal and business model was based on our experience in the Eurorack community, but CHOMPI quickly traversed into so many other spaces, it still blows our minds. The way our Kickstarter went was both wildly exciting and incredibly overwhelming at the same time. As a tiny team, our expectations for growth were significantly smaller than—and dare we say naïve to—the reality of what transpired. On one hand, we couldn’t have accomplished anywhere near the current level of production or development updates without this level of crowdfunding success, which is incredible…but it also forced us to scale and pivot much more rapidly, so we have definitely experienced some growing pains along the way.

There are pros and cons with every approach to funding a company from scratch. However, one really cool aspect of crowdfunding is that many of the people who initially support you are also passionate about innovation, and feel invested in your unique story of trying something new. Many of those folks have become deeply supportive and provide such insightful feedback as we continue to grow and refine this platform. There’s been no shortage of blood, sweat, and tears poured into this endeavor—that’s for sure—but the crowdfunding model has certainly helped strengthen our initial groundwork around the CHOMPI Club community as a whole.

PC: With all the excitement around your first instrument, how have you both been adjusting to the significant demand?

CC: Well, any time this comes up we feel that it’s critically important to acknowledge that there’s no way we’d still be standing if it wasn’t for our amazing manufacturing partners at Electro-Smith (Electro-Distro). We couldn’t do this without them and are so thankful to have found such a fantastic group of people to work with.

Secondly, we would be lying if we said that we didn’t need a nap ;) It continues to astonish us that so many people out there have connected with our little instrument…but due to how quickly everything has evolved, it’s also required an insane amount of effort. We’ve been working round the clock to build more infrastructure for engagement and support, improve and update the learning resources, as well as continuing to push development for expanding the possibilities of the CHOMPI platform. Now that there are thousands of other CHOMPI users out there, the “CLUB” is starting to take on a life of its own (in the best way possible). We so deeply appreciate the vibrant and passionate community that is growing, sharing resources, providing insightful feedback, and helping us lay the foundation for what’s ahead.

And maybe this goes without saying, but we’re still a very small team trying to grow sustainably, while holding true to the reasons we started this adventure in the first place. We’re learning how to balance it all, growing some thick skin, and doing our best to keep our sanity at the same time… lol ;)

A few members of the CHOMPI x Electro-Smith team. Left to right: Andrew, Tobias, Chelsea, Michael, Stephen.

[Above: A few members of the CHOMPI x Electro-Smith team :) Left to right: Andrew, Tobias, Chelsea, Michael, Stephen.]

PC: Before we dive into some questions about CHOMPI’s impressive and inspiring sound I simply must ask…how did you arrive at such an adorable little sampler?! Why “CHOMPI” and what’s the story behind the instrument’s unique and lovable visual language?

CC: There are several intertwined factors that led to the playful form this device has taken. CHOMPI’s initial concept took shape at the same time we were developing the curriculum for a high school music production program. If you have ever met a high-schooler, you know that they can quickly bring you back down to size, no matter how “cool” you think something might be. At times, their feedback can be pretty brutally honest, but also profoundly insightful. They’re often less inhibited by the fear of making a mistake or “doing it wrong”, and willing to jump right in. Their playfulness, humor, and creative ideas can overflow like popcorn when given the chance, which definitely played a huge role in CHOMPI’s personality.

There seems to be a plethora of instruments out there that can be used as really useful and powerful tools, but they can also unintentionally feel uninviting to folks who don’t have background knowledge or prior experience. Throughout our time developing curriculum and teaching workshops, we began to recognize that when you can help break down the intimidation factor for someone, they are able to connect with devices / instruments in ways they may never have even attempted to interact with before. With CHOMPI, we wanted to create an access point for curious exploration to thrive, to reconnect with the playfulness of our youth by using bright colors, big knobs and friendly icons that prompt you to “Push the big red button!” Sometimes we forget to have fun while making music, and we are hoping to bring some of that energy back into our own creative process.

The name itself actually came from Tobias’s childhood nickname (an avid snack lover, he was always chompin’). As we worked through developing the visual personality of the instrument, it felt so natural to bring those aspects of our core selves into the process; the character itself is basically Tobias’s inner child. We’re both pretty quirky people, so the more we leaned into that, the more it began to take on a life of its own!

[Above: Chelsea with her prototype of the Classic Black CHOMPI Sampler; Tobias with his prototype of the Limited Edition Pink CHOMPI Sampler.]

PC: Your kickstarter campaign mentions the Casio SK-1 as a source of inspiration for CHOMPI’s approachable entry point to sample-based sound design. Are there other instruments, devices, or musical techniques that were inspiration points for CHOMPI?

CC: So much of CHOMPI’s original concept came from asking ourselves “Wouldn’t it be nice to have our old SK-1 combined with a multi-FX module, and a looper pedal, all in a portable form factor?”

The immediacy of sampling an idea (even if it’s a silly one) and being able to jump right into exploring the possibilities, was central to the overall basis for the instrument. Sample-based sound design consistently proved to pique the interest of our students and community members (ourselves included). Combining the power of real time sampling with techniques inspired by modular synths can expand a simple sound into a whole new sonic territory.

In addition to the SK-1, many combinations of desktop devices chained together, iterations of compact modular systems, and pedal board configurations were assembled in our attempts to share that experience—before we ultimately came to the realization that we might just need to design our own instrument ;)

PC: CHOMPI is described as a “magical Tape-Music instrument”. Are tape-music, musique concrète, and related genres important to either of you in your own musical lives?

CC: One of the earliest forms of sound design for both of us was playing with microcassette recorders. The sense of wonder and often hilarious satisfaction that comes from capturing sounds with a TalkBoy, and manipulating them by changing the speeds cannot be understated. Like seeing yourself in a fun-house mirror, or making something out of a ball of clay and then stretching or squishing that into oblivion—it changes the way you perceive the world of sound all around you.

That being said, it’s probably important to acknowledge that throughout this process, we’ve recognized that folks seem to all have slightly different definitions of what “Tape-Music” means. Within the context of CHOMPI, it’s all about creating asynchronous loops that don't require a tempo or a grid. Embracing the unpredictability or “happy accidents'' that can reveal themselves when you’re not locked into a 16 step sequence can lead you down marvelous paths you may never have considered otherwise. In that way, the music concrete approach has been foundational to creating CHOMPI’s “clock-less” workflow.

The signature purple Transport Knob made by Rogan Corporation (made in the USA)

[Above: The signature purple Transport Knob made by Rogan Corporation (made in the USA).]

PC: One of my favorite things about CHOMPI is how diverse the sound design can be with different sampling sources. What are some of your favorite sounds to sample with CHOMPI, either personally or from things you’ve heard from other users?

CC: Oh man, this could have so many answers! On one hand, if you pair CHOMPI with a modular system or compact device like an 0-Coast… the possibilities are pretty much endless! On the other hand, CHOMPI itself is a bit like a sponge: it’s all about embracing the space that you are currently in and allowing your compositions to be influenced by your surroundings. One of our club members on Discord recently shared a story after discovering some new ways to use their CHOMPI. They initially had it in the studio, and while they enjoyed using it with their other instruments, the real fun revealed itself when they took it on an excursion outside. They explained, “When I took CHOMPI out of the studio…CHOMPI came alive…that’s where CHOMPI is happiest!”

Personally, one of the ways we love to collect memories of a place or an adventure, is to take sound samples of that particular moment. Whether we’re walking through the forest, pausing in the middle of communal city buzz, or being intrigued by the flavor of a new destination on our travels, capturing the feeling of that experience through sound is our favorite!

The possibilities can continue to expand every time you pour a different sample “ingredient” into this device; the resulting compositions can be completely distinct. We’ve spent years digging through thrift shop crates collecting cassettes or random albums that might contain little nuggets of soundscapes, or samples we find interesting. Sending those tunes through a cassette player into CHOMPI makes it so fast and easy to grab little sound snacks, layer, effect, and loop them in a myriad of ways. Seriously soooo fun—always full of weird and delightful surprises.

This might sound sappy, but it’s pretty incredible to think about all of the different CHOMPI users all over the world, each soaking up (sampling) their own unique environments on the same little instrument, and sharing them with one another. Almost like a tiny sonic footprint of that artist's personality! The heart of CHOMPI lives in having a conversation with your surroundings, your emotions, the things that spark curiosity for you as an individual, and how you then use those elements in your creative practice.

CHOMPI Sampler at the park

[Above: CHOMPI Sampler at the park!]

PC: Having been able to explore CHOMPI and get lost in its lush sound world, one thing that strikes me about the instrument is how streamlined the sound design is without ever feeling limited—from the sample manipulation to the effects, it feels like the set of tools provided are everything I need from the instrument. In that way, the instrument really leans into a character that feels unique and inspiring rather than providing a more general-purpose machine. How did you arrive at this balance between approachability and depth, and to what degree was that important to your design goals?

CC: This balance is largely due to the nature of how we discovered the need for CHOMPI in our education spaces. We mentioned earlier that we consistently saw sparkles of curiosity shine when providing access to capturing and manipulating sounds. One of our most successful workshops was a crash course in sampling. Throughout the process of trial and error, teaching, and refining the curriculum, we started to solidify which features were critical, and which might actually do more harm than good up front. We’ve spent years testing different configurations of gear through a variety of workshops, with all sorts of creative folks who each bring a completely different set of assumptions, perspectives, and knowledge levels to the table.

We’ve discovered that part of what makes certain hardware instruments more appealing than a standard MIDI controller and a DAW is their limitations. Sometimes having too many options can be crippling to the creative process. With CHOMPI, the hope was to strike the right balance between the surface layer of primary features and the deeper advanced functions found through button combinations and shift functions. In order to keep things immediately fun it needed to be super straightforward right up front…but the more you get to know it, the more “cheat codes” you are likely to discover.

One other factor that maybe isn’t as widely known, but critically important to how we designed the workflow, stems from Tobias’s experience as a person with severe visual impairment. He has bravely battled lifelong hereditary eyesight issues, but that deterioration has accelerated in recent years, leading to intense vision loss. Slowing the progression required many rounds of surgeries, career, lifestyle and community program changes. We had to completely rethink the trajectory of where our life, passion projects, and vocational endeavors were headed. For a good portion of 2022, Tobias was completely blind between rounds of surgeries and couldn’t access or play so many of the instruments that had become his respite. Not being able to see small details on a screen, or navigating patching his modular systems accurately left a deep impact to say the least.

While I [Chelsea] was at work, Tobias would spend hours each day working his way through and mentally developing the workflow concepts while holding a 3D printed model of CHOMPI. We would both spend nights, weekends, and every moment in between working to solve the design challenges that come with limited vision. This meant that using touch, tactile feedback mechanisms, large colorful LEDs, and distilling the features down to the most critical elements for composition became a primary focus. Our specific parameters of need became foundational to solving this design challenge, and leaning into creating something unique which could be enjoyed by a varying array of learning modalities.

Tobias walking through CHOMPI Prototypes and 3D Models.

[Above: Tobias walking through CHOMPI Prototypes and 3D Models.]

PC: CHOMPI’s physical interface is satisfyingly tactile, and I quickly found myself developing muscle memory around certain functions. As a performance and improvisational instrument, it seems impressively practicable and something worth growing with. What sort of considerations led you to this interface design, both in terms of component choice and physical layout?

CC: With regards to the actual hardware…CHOMPI is probably more closely related to a Eurorack module than a traditional desktop device. In fact many of the components used on CHOMPI are the exact same parts that many high-end modules use. Almost every aspect of the external design can be customized: from the enclosure panels, keycap styles, even the mechanical key switches themselves can be hot-swapped. We love to tinker with our devices, whether that’s changing the panel of a module, to stickering up the outside of a case, to tweaking the firmware settings, customization is part of the fun! There aren’t too many desktop devices that allow for user customization of hardware the way that Eurorack does, so being able to bring that aspect of personal expression into the design of CHOMPI was a key consideration.

How and where we source components, the durability of those pieces, and the pursuit of ethical manufacturing processes also matters a great deal to us. If we had everything made overseas, we could probably generate a lot more profit, but ironically that is not why we set out to do this. Our personal community is filled with inspiring makers, passionate artists, and resourceful small businesses who care about and invest in making the world a better place for everyone.

Wherever possible, we choose to support businesses that we respect and believe in. CHOMPIs themselves are manufactured and assembled here on the west coast, with many of the components being sourced in the USA. Does it cost more to make them this way? Absolutely. But the return on investment goes far beyond a monetary metric; this is one way we're able to use our resources to engender reciprocity for the communities who have supported us on this journey.

The tactile experience of CHOMPI is also supremely important to us. The combination of Tobias’ vision restrictions and my [Chelsea’s] kinesthetic learning preferences, meant that we knew it had to be fun to touch…it had to beckon you to just pick it up and start exploring. There’s something about bubbly form factors, round chonky buttons, and vibrant colors that can make anything feel more inviting.

A rainbow of possibilities for custom CHOMPI Sampler components.

[Above: A rainbow of possibilities for custom CHOMPI Sampler components.]

PC: In addition to the sampling and looping capabilities, CHOMPI’s MIDI mode seems great for integrating sounds from modular and other synthesizers into its fun and fast workflow. As modular synthesists yourselves, how do you see CHOMPI interfacing with the broader electronic music ecosystem, in modular and beyond? Any plans for a CHOMPI Club Eurorack module?

CC: Well you never know what the future might bring…for now, like we mentioned earlier, CHOMPI does love to make friends! So teaming it up with your Eurorack system comes highly recommended. In many ways we see CHOMPI a bit like a butterfly net of sorts: a tool that helps you collect a myriad of interesting sounds super quickly. It has the ability to take a single sound source (like a small modular system or an analog instrument for instance) and create an expansive world of possibilities.

Then when you want to go in a new direction, you can change the patch, swap the SD card samples, or wipe the “Etch A Sketch” clean so to speak, and begin the process all over again. We love experimenting with different ways to use CHOMPI with other devices and sound sources, pairing it with effects pedals, using sounds derived from nature or vocal tones, or throwing quirky tape loops into the mix. It’s not a one-size-fits all device. Rather, it’s more like a music box designed to reflect whatever you pour into it.

PC: With the CHOMPI being based on the Daisy platform, you’ve mentioned alternate firmwares and updates are something to expect, as well as the new customizable options in firmware 1.0.8. What sort of ideas do you want to explore in future updates, and is there anything you can share now about upcoming iterations of CHOMPI?

CC: Sooo, we aren’t at liberty to speak too much about this stuff quite yet, because we aren’t the only company involved. However, now that CHOMPI is officially out in the wild, firmware is definitely one of our primary focuses! We’ve already released two updates to CHOMPI’s primary firmware since January, with a couple more currently in beta.

Even though we can’t get into the specifics at this time, we would like to mention that we have several exciting possibilities planned for 2024. With a few formal releases of Alt-Firmwares already in the works, as well as some more in-depth options for users to create their own firmware...we should have more concrete details to share with everyone later this year. Stay tuned :)

PC: CHOMPI is a joyful little sampler and we’re so excited to see where it takes you both and the broader electronic music community. Before we go, what’s next for CHOMPI Club?

CC: Well, we’d be lying if we said we weren’t looking forward to finally taking a half a day off every now and then… haha ;)

But honestly, one of the things we are really looking forward to is pursuing more connections with people and organizations in the broader synth community—plus attending more events (like SuperBooth 2024)! We're excited to collaborate with artists, cultivate relationships with awesome companies like you [Perfect Circuit], provide more opportunities for educational support, and generally expand the CHOMPI Club ecosystem.

Order your CHOMPI Sampler here!