Back to: About Michael Winchester Design

POTAR is an audio art project established in 1997 when I bought my first 4 track recorder.

The POTAR bio below was worked up for me by a friend.

Michael has always loved to take things apart to see what’s inside of them. You know… the type of kid that was curious to see what makes things work. In fact, he once had an AM/FM tape deck that one day stopped working. So Michael stabbed it with a kitchen knife and brought the AM/FM part of the radio back to life. This event was a defining moment in his life. From there on, Michael was hoping for things to break around the house to try and repair the problems that existed inside.

Michael’s early music encounters weren’t all with random stabbings. He actually played the clarinet in elementary and junior high school. Although every time he’d blow on that clarinet, his heart was longing to play the saxophone, which was out of his family’s budget. Ultimately the clarinet ended up not working out, as Michael’s heart was somewhere else. But, Michael knew he still wanted to play and grow as a musician. So he did what any teenage boy would do…he asked his parents for a set path and bought him an acoustic guitar. (Michael says that while he never played the instrument he really wanted, he has to give his parents props for doing what they could to foster his musical development.)
Michael ended up singing in a few metalish/ska-type bandings with buddies from school. Then, after things fizzled out around 1997, he experimented with music on his own. Recording on a Fostek 4 track while using drum machines, keyboards, guitars, and many effects. His journey was taking him down the street named noisy. He played a style leaning more toward hardcore, influenced by the Butthole Surfers, Public Enemy, Devo, and Long Beach legends WA$H. Potar was the name of this first project in 1997. After a couple of friends heard it and the name, POTAR quickly became a nickname: much to his chagrin.

In early 2003 the volume pot on his Roland TR-505 went out. While searching the internet for a replacement, Michael discovered CIRCUIT BENDING. On his internet search, the first machine he saw was a TR-505 that had been “Modified” for some industrial group. A couple of clicks later, he discovered the Anti Theory site. A whole new world of sound opened up that day for him. He was immediately hooked.

Some of Michael’s first bends were on his Roland TR-505 in 2004. But of course, he needed more. Michael did a few Micro Jammer toys and whatever else he could score to bend. By 2005 he found and bent his first Casio SK-1 and Yamaha DD machines. Michael started recording more and more. His music was overwhelmed with bent goodies. He recorded again under the moniker POTAR. Around this time, he started uploading demo videos of his bent gear to share sites, finding the likes of bending pioneers Igor Amokian, who then turned his sounds onto Tiger Claw Records’ ears. Where in 2007, Potar released a split CD with getlofi.com founder Alex Dyba of Talking Computron.

Potar has been part of the Long Beach Los Angeles area bent scene performing at such festivals and events as Bend This! Fore at Echo Curio, Avant Garden at El Jardin, Not Robot Not Human at Koo’s Art Center, and many more. In 2007 Potar held his first circuit bending workshop. Presented by Long Beach artist collective Hooray For Humans, it was a great success. Held at the {open} Bookstore (2226 E 4th St. Long Beach, ca) to an attending class of about 26 music enthusiasts of all ages, everyone who attended received a toy to bend and their own soldering iron to keep!

In early 2009 Michael started performing live and attempting to bend anything musically electronic. 2017 and beyond have seen Potar being booked for solo performances in Long Beach, Los Angeles,  Orange County and San Pedro.

2019 saw the introduction of Michael’s first custom musical instrument, The Eclectric Kalimba Spring Thing. In late 2020 that design further evolved into the Sound Urchin.

More on POTAR can be found HERE

Back to: About Michael Winchester Design

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