Interview with Lance Hill, curator of VSM Vintage Synthesizer Museum of Los Angeles

The sixth episode dedicated to the discovery of Research Centers, Museums and Recording Studios where electronic music in all its forms is studied and practiced. My journey started with the Museo del Synt Marchigiano (please find the interview below). After that, I virtually moved to Fribourg in Switzerland, where I interviewed Vincent Borcard, director of the SMEM Swiss Museum for Electronic Music Instruments (please find the interview below). With his help I learned about a studio located in Australia: the MESS Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio. The co-director and co-founder of the firm is Byron Scullin. I exchanged a few words with him (please find the interview below). In the forth episode my journey takes me to Japan, in the city of Nakatsugawa, where I interviewed Hideki Ishikawa, director of Musee KORG design & history, more commonly known as Nakatsugawa Korg Museum (please find the interview below). In The fifth episode I arrived in Italy, in the city of Camerano, in the Marche region, where I interviewed Claudio Capponi, director of Farfisa’s Museum (please find the interview below). Now I’m in the United States, precisely in Los Angeles, to exchange my digital talk with Lance Hill, curator of VSM Vintage Synthesizer Museum. Before inviting you to read the interview, I would like to thank Daniela Germani for her help in the Italian English translation:

Here the Italian Translation

When was the VSM Vintage Synthesizer Museum founded and why?
VSM opened in 2014, though the collection was being amassed with a studio being the goal, several years before that.
The Vintage Synthesizer Museum is open by private hourly appointments. All of the equipment is set to play and record.

What was the inspiration for the VSM Vintage Synthesizer Museum?
The main inspiration was just being able to provide synth enthusiasts with access to rare synthesizers. At the time I started working towards the goal of building the studio, there were very few new analog synths being made, so vintage synths were pretty much the only option for analog synthesis.

I was also greatly inspired by local projects such as: the Pacific Pinball Museum, Audium, Robot Speak, and the Jejune Institute.

Where is it?
Currently, VSM is located in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA.

What instruments and collections does the museum have?
A comprehensive list can be found on our website:

Can you give me some examples of interesting models you have in the museum? For history, for
There is an ARP 2600 that was owned by Joe Zawinul.
The Simmons SDS3 and the Pearl Syncussion belonged to Frank Tovey aka Fad Gadget.
We have a Gleeman Pentaphonic Clear, which is very rare.
We have an Ionic Performer, which is also very rare.

Are there any interesting stories about the VSM Vintage Synthesizer Museum? Anecdotes, interesting stories about how you carried on the collection etc. etc.?
VSM was open for almost a year before I created any social media accounts for it. About two weeks after creating a Facebook account for VSM, a producer at the San Francisco ABC television station saw the account and sent over a crew to do a story on VSM. This brought a lot of attention, where we had had none before.

What is the best way to experience the museum?
The best and only way to experience VSM is to book an appointment, so you can interact with the instruments in person.

Is it open to external collaborations? Collaborations in projects with other museums, with other associations, with private and/or public institutions?
Yes, VSM is open to external collaborations. When VSM was located in the Bay Area we worked with the Berkeley Art Museum, the California Academy of Sciences, and other public and private institutions for events and programming. We currently have a couple things in the works here in Los Angeles, and look forward to teaming up with others here.

Do you have any possible developments in mind? For example a book or a documentary that tells its story through interviews and videos?

Do you have any projects or exhibitions in progress? Exhibitions in progress on particular instruments, exhibitions on the evolution of some instruments etc. etc. ?
VSM doesn’t offer proper ‘exhibitions’. There is currently a Waldorf Wave in the studio, which will only be here for a few months, so that would be about as close to an exhibition as we get.

To be clear: the main function of the Vintage Synthesizer Museum is to allow folks hands-on access to the instruments here. The most common use of the space is as a recording studio, as we have everything routed to a central recording interface. We just rent out the space by private, hourly appointments.

Link: Vintage Synthesizer Museum Home page

Link: Vintage Synthesizer Museum Facebook Page

Link: Vintage Synthesizer Museum Twitter Page

Link: Vintage Synthesizer Museum Instagram Profile

Link: Vintage Synthesizer Museum Youtube Channell