- Age / Gender:
- 26, Male
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Level 30 Animator
Ranked as Pvt. First Class
=== IMPROV [2005 - 2007] ===
Something about having a Juno-D synthesizer made the principles of ASDR a lot more intuitive. Not to mention cut, resonance and lfo possibilities. During some experimenting with the live recording button I tweaked some knobs and taught myself automation by the making of this song. Thus far I experimented a lot with Fruity Loops 4 and continued to do so, but there were a few distinct things I grew increasingly tired of, even in times of using FL Studio 3: The standard samples and VST presets. The phase of individuality commences!
Though I was taught all synths start with basic wave forms, I had very little knowledge of oscilators and how synths were shaped. No matter what I did, I felt like there wasn't a lot I could do to get rid of that "FL Studio" feel it had (especially the TS-404, Slayer and Simsynth). Instead I decided to create my own custom waveforms in Soundforge 6 which I would loop through the Fruity Sampler (because: individuality, lol). They were crappy, out of tune but still useable. It certainly gave my music a distinctive sound: most of my songs were like a badly strung guitar.
One fateful day in December 2004 I received a review from @Kingbastard. When I went to return the favor, I stumbled upon a goldmine of tunes which changed my thoughts on music forever. It was hard to keep a grasp on the sheer definition of his music, as his songs had such experimental splendor that I could hardly conceive it as music to begin with. That is, in the confines of my shallow perception, anyway. Never before had I listened to a mix of Lo-fi, IDM, Ambient, Field Recordings and Indie Rock. It opened my eyes and blew my mind. He's been a great inspiration to me for the years to come. Even on the forums he seemed like a breeze of fresh air. Many of his old songs have since been taken down, sadly. He was the first reason I ever wanted to pick up a guitar. My attempts have been futile, however.
I also went on the lookout for new drum samples. I didn't care much for the quality or where these files might have come from. None of that seemed important to me at the time. As a result my sample library was a disaster. The soundfonts I started using were okay, but I also sampled instruments and they weren't much better. Oftentimes they were too short to be properly looped for sustenance, horribly recorded and sometimes out of tune. Songs made as a results of my field-recording adventures include What's In My Glass?, Experiment 005 and Experiment 006. Some of these samples - believe it or not - proved really versatile throughout all these years, as I still use them from time to time!
I'll discuss some of these samples since they're so much fun. One of them was a recording of me going "ohh" for a while in C-pitch. I layered that with a (slightly out of tune) sinewave and looped it. It became a pretty interesting chorus sample that I've first used on In Outer Space (1:48) and later on A Place Where We Will Go (3:35) where I used it in the outro with a decay applied to it. Attitude (1:20) used it for a subtle reverbing stereo echo and it even appeared in the original CTSG (2:42) where I used it for a bell-like transition. I think it was also layered with the bass in B-Day Beat (0:00) and for background melodies in Active Days (2:01). The melodic hooks on Bangs (1:00) used this sample in combination with bells.
Another sample I really love was created during the same days I think. Probably made using the same crappy microphone, I held it close to a lenticular pokemon collectable. Next I used my nail to scratch across the ribs, sampled the high-pitched noise, and the rest is history. It has a nice raw industrial sound that I like to use every now and then. The sample made its first appearance in Experiment 001 (0:00). It was later used as a transitional effect in Attitude (2:08) and the outro of D-Tastic (1:38). Industrial Detour (0:28) uses it for rhythmic/melodic purposes.
Like I said earlier, file management wasn't my strongest asset back in the day. In 2006 a buddy of mine hooked me up with a cracked version of FL Studio 6. This piece of software helped me create some of my proudest compositions to date. Titles include There's A Place Where We Will Go and Do You Say? I especially liked the Fruity Parametric EQ 2 as it was easy to use and made my songs sound great. I might have started using compressors around this time as well. Although I had little knowledge of how they worked. Eventually the software crack expired, leaving me with a mere demo version of FL Studio. I had no choice but to go back to version 4. Since this version couldn't open my FL6 files, I rendered these save files completely useless and threw them off my computer. Needless to say I really regret doing this, now that I'm working with version 9... Especially since I love these songs.
Writing thorough reviews is one of the best things you can do as a starting musician: It develops listening skills, teaches you new musical terms, allows you to question about tricks the composer used and possibly creates new friendships. Still in 2006, I found Kingbastard's Mixposure page and decided to create a profile of my own. For a while this was one of my favorite places on the web. They had a system that allowed you to upload one new song for every 5 constructive reviews you left on people's songs. On top of that there were many assortments of genres and people creating music for it. Hell, I even found an assortment of cherokee music on there! The site was very aestethically pleasing too, but alas, it disappeared from the internet at some point. I found a couple of great artists on there, most of which I've forgotten by now. The same can be said for a couple of Myspace musicians I enjoyed.
Probably a way more interesting story from 2006 was when a buddy of mine told me of a site called djbroadcast. This was an online deejay magazine with its own internet radio station. What's so interesting about this website is they had their own record lable. By submitting music to their website, home producers got a good chance to get signed with the company. Promotion would be a nobrainer. Winners got to sell their songs on beatport with a 50% profit. I joined the race just to show off to my friend, who tricked their system by letting all of his friends vote for him. I beat the system too but not through voting; Apparently the men upstairs took notice of me and thought I was pretty good. I got a mail with the opportunity to sign with them around the same time as him.
I'm not sure what happened all of a sudden, but I got really self-aware. First and foremost, I was not really a Deejay (neither am I now), so why was I here? Neither was I very knowledgeable or skilled. My methods of making music were all wrong! Even though I was oblivious to all of this up to now, reality must have kicked in or whatever. I didn't know much about contracts at the time, but somehow convinced myself it would be full of downsides and obligations that would make my hobby a hell. And what if I were to be interviewed or something? I wasn't ready for that sort of stuff! The whole ordeal made me nervous, especially since it was my mother's hobby to visit fortune tellers, and one them had the audacity to predict someone would screw me over in the music business. In the end I never even read the contract or visited their office. I politely returned their mail by saying I wasn't ready for it. In a way I felt like Icarus, who flew too close to the sun. It was nothing like that though; I never got off the ground to begin with!
This moment definitely marked a decline in motivation for me as a musician, although I may have been too stubborn to realize it at the time. I had grown content with certain aspects of my life and while I was still very passionate music, it wasn't my salvation any longer. At the time I was pretty interested by spiritual stuff, and I made a friend who told me she found her "Soul Song". It supposedly refers to music that resonates with the very core of your being. I'm pretty sure I haven't found mine to this day, and I wonder if I will ever find it. The concept is still pretty amazing to me. Especially the thought that I might someday create someone's soul song, which would be a great honor. Towards the end of 2006 I moved to a new place with my parents. Somewhere along the way I lost a lot of samples on my computer. Early in 2007 I took something of a break, only to get active again in Spring. As I was recovering from a scarring event (I won't go into details), I had picked up a book which motivated me to take life into my own hands. Around this time I got into a band, fully convinced I was an amazing musician (spoiler: I wasn't).
I'll have you know, band practice was a disaster for me. My Juno-D was too big to lug around with a bicycle and I didn't have a driver's licence. I had no one else to rely on but my father, who did not have all the time in the world. I thought it would be easier and somewhat cool to use a keytar, so I bought a Yamaha SHS-10. Little did I know that thing is laughably bad (it's still pretty cool to own though). Even so, it was a lot easier to carry around. This is what I usually practiced on.
Most of my time as a bandmember was spent jamming without making any actual results. I developed a strong affinity for organs and electric pianos around this time, which became another aspect of my sound. Especially EP's with a long release time were my type of thing. Another thing I started to like were improvs, solos and compact monologue synthesizers. Anyway, I went to a lot of the band's gigs without even playing along. The band already had like 3 or 4 songs they could play. So I tried my best to come up with fitting background melodies but they were all declined. I played only one gig together with the band (with the Juno-D, mind you). Little did I know, the band decided on some last-minute enhancements to the song. I screwed up my part because there was some confusion about how it needed to be played. I played it off as if nothing happened though.
A few sessions later I brought my Juno-D to band practice and we were jamming. I tried hard but nothing I played seemed to match with what the rest of the band was playing. Maybe their gear was improperly tuned. I can't remember, I only remember the song was rather fast-paced. On top of that the rest of the band wanted to do a Killing In The Name Of cover by Rage Against The Machine. I was fairly certain I didn't fit in with them at all at this point, being the third wheel and all. That's when I had something of a break down and went ouside for a breather. When the band eventually stepped outside we had a short conversation. Since this wasn't working out, I left the band. It had already come to their attention that I took music far too serious. Their advice for me was to start a solo carreer of sorts. Gee, thanks.
- Reasons To Create: Underneath my humble exterior was an eager desire to overcome my peers. More than once I told people "I use jealousy as a means to motivate myself to surpass the person I envy". It took quite a while for me to realize I was making a contest out of everything. This continued to burn me up even further.
- Creative Developments: Besides upgrading to better software, the pointers I received were of great help leveling up. One could argue whether I experimented too much or too little. Personally I think I explored too much and learned too little. This is why I didn't understand virtual instruments and barely even touched them. I also improved very little on the keys. The mix of my songs became somewhat better, though oftentimes muddy. The samples I used during these days certainly gave my songs an individual style.
- Outcome: I tried out as many samples, effects and genres I could possibly think of but never quite got into synth design for some reason. Even effect presets were oftentimes left untweaked. I seeked exposure outside of Newgrounds and almost got signed to a record label in the process. I had developed a sound of my own and my compositions were definitely improving.
"Brand yourself, be yourself. Don't imitate or emulate your favorite composers, other else people would rather just hire the original. I found the most work in my career because I made a sound that was unique to myself, and people approached me because of what I can produce."
"Human brain is hardwired to pick up patterns, that's why pop music has "chorus" sections. Finding the right balance between repetition and new material makes the difference between 'boring' and 'that feels familiar'."
"'Simple' and 'complex' music is subjective. To that point, they are not better than one another. Something that is deemed, 'good' is based off the unanimous majority. Everything in music is based off the opinion of what is right or wrong. To that point as well, there is no right or wrong."
"The way I understand it, when musicians release teasers, they are either looking for feedback, stuck, or unwilling to share the full version of a track that is going to bring them earnings as the result of its use in a game. Or, shall we say, unwilling to spoil the fun. It keeps listeners anticipating more."
"On a more serious note, it doesn't matter how long something takes, or how much effort you put in. If people like it, I deem it a success. Of course I still want to put in as much effort as I can, to increase my chances of people liking something. While people don't like to hear me say this, 'music is a business'."
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Total Medals Earned: 1,813 (From 236 different games.)