Poztman is the winner of our first Music Making Contest, gathering the most votes out of 124 entries in total with his amazing track Crystalline Chant. He was kind enough to release the Crystalline Chant project file as a free download for everyone interested in checking out the techniques used in this contest winning entry (click here to download the RAR archive and please note that Ableton Live 9 is required for opening the project file).
Poztman has also created the fantastic Mangling Audio sound library, which is the first 99Sounds release in 2015. We talked to Poztman about creative sound design, music making, databending, sound mangling and other geeky stuff in the interview which you can read below. Enjoy!
99Sounds: First off, thanks for joining our first music making contest and congratulations once again for winning it! You’ve created a truly amazing track with 99Sounds sample libraries and it’s very cool that you’re offering the project file as a free download for everyone! Which DAW did you use for the project and did you use any 3rd party effects (so that people downloading the project file could know what to expect)?
Poztman: No problem! I honestly was really surprised that I won this contest and I immediately felt driven to share this knowledge of how I did it with the rest of the world.
I made Crystalline Chant with Ableton Live 9 Suite, using mostly the stock effects and instruments. Aside from that I also used SmartElectronix’ Ambience reverb plugin and Voxengo’s SPAN, a wonderful frequency analyzer. I guess a lot of the EQ work could/should have been done with other plugins, but it just worked for me!
One thing I should mention: The project file has nothing on the master buss, but that’s because I master in a different project. Nothing fancy going on there, mixing is way more important.
99Sounds: Can you give us a bit of background info about how you approached the production of this particular track? Was it much different from the way you work on your other projects? How did you feel about the limitation to not use any external instruments or samples? What was the biggest challenge for you while working on this track?
Poztman: Well the obvious difference was that I had to work with a select number of samples, no synths or other instruments. So I really tried to get the most potential out of the samples by transforming, cutting, chopping them and so on.
Apart from that, the track grew like most of my tracks. I kind of had an idea of what I wanted to make, but mostly went through an action-reaction thing with the tracks. Writing a riff or sequence, listening to the whole track again and making further decisions based on what I heard and what the music told me to do. I’m a very chaos-driven producer when it comes down to creating and arranging phrases, I like the organic approach. In contrast to that, I try to be very methodical with the mixing and sound designing.
The limitation was actually very liberating for me, because I love challenges. They motivate me, push me into making things I never would make. Challenges and limitation force you to be creative. I guess that’s what music should be all about !
The biggest issue was having no access to a sub, which is really important to me. So I just made a sub out of a kick, problem solved :P !
Also, finishing the track in a way that I liked was hard for me, but I’m glad with the results now!
99Sounds: Have you listened to the other tracks in the contest? Any personal favorites?
Poztman: Yeah, I certainly did. There were lots of cool tracks, I really liked all those creative vibes. Some of them were really complex and crazy, others took the more simple but sublime path.
Pagou – DRUNKSPACETRIP was one of my first favourites, I really dig the IDM and trippy vibe. Rough Sleeping – Dark Ambient Horror Soundtrack is a dark ambient masterpiece, I dig eerie stuff! The Duck Call by Steal This was one hell of a trippy track, with trap/jungle vibes. Awesome! Babakov – Above Those Rains should also be mentioned, I really liked the ambient bits.
99Sounds: Speaking of music, what are you listening to these days? And who is your favorite artist ever?
Poztman: That’s a tough question. I listen to a lot of genres and music. From progressive death metal, to grime, to neurohop/neurofunk and back to IDM or Ambient stuff…
I love music that stands out, brings creative ideas into the music world dominated by prefab beats and s****y synth melodies. But I’m also inspired by friends and people in the producer communities I have ties with, especially the Neurohop Forum!
A few of my favorite artists are Audeka, Current Value, Phuture Doom, Meshuggah, Miyavi, Teknian, Sorrow… But if I had to choose one favorite, that would be Japanese Metal band Dir en Grey. Every track they write is really creative, it plays with conventions and really evokes emotions. Each album is unique and a journey into their dark world…
99Sounds: Have you released any music or sound packs in the past? Where can we hear more tunes from you?
Poztman: I released a few Free EP’s in the lapse of a month’s time, it’s like sales for me !
I released an EP (Sea of Tears – MRC007) with the Muri Collecive featuring some dark ambient, drone and garage tracks. It’s about me discovering the world of ambient and doing my own twist on it. The Muri Artist are really talented and kind, so please give them a listen!
Secondly I also released an EP, called Lore. It contains tracks that I tried to release, without much of success. I have to agree that the mix is not so super, but I liked the ideas and the vibes of the tracks and wanted to share that. All of those tracks are also very personal in one way to another, this was a very therapeutic experience.
And finally I also released a free collab EP with a good friend of mine, Genju. Our style really complements each other and we had a blast at making those tracks ! It features more beat driven tracks, focused on glitchy bits and heavy drops !
So far, I didn’t release any sample packs, though I contributed to the NeuroHop Sample Pack Vol. 2, coming up anytime now! For those adventurous or silly enough, you can always find my music on SoundCloud, but also on Bandcamp and Youtube.
99Sounds: Do you consider yourself more of a musician or sound designer? Which aspect of creating electronic music do you prefer?
Poztman: From a philosophical point of view, I don’t really consider myself as a musician.
The computer is my tool, not really my instrument. I play the bass, the guitar and some piano, but that’s not the same as ‘playing’ the computer.
I guess I’m more of a composer and a computer artist. I always enjoyed making music, creating melodies and evoking thoughts and feelings with it. I started composing my own track from early on and that evolved into making my own sounds and thus producing music.
I’m not that much of a sound designer I guess, but I also like that aspect. It’s fun to manipulate audio, for me it feels like altering things from a very fundamental level. Music shouldn’t always be about melodies and harmonies, it also can be about ambiance and timbres.
I enjoy the whole process of making electronic music. I like arranging, I like sound design and I like mixing and mastering. I appreciate the holistic approach in making a track from scratch. But at heart, I guess I’m more of a composer, creating for the purpose of entertaining, evoking and creation itself.
99Sounds: Let’s talk a bit about your new sample pack which is being released on 99Sounds. Can you tell us a bit more about the techniques which you’ve used to create these samples and loops. There are some really unique sounds inside, which sound really close to what you’d get out of circuit bent audio gear.
Poztman: I did a bit of everything and nothing. I pushed myself to think out of the box. Lately everything related to Glitch Art seems to intrigue me. So I used a lot of glitching methods.
I datamoshed EXE, DAT, DLL or other files and imported them as RAW audio into Audacity. Lovely stuff! Harsh and noisy also. Other samples were cut out of random generated drones. I made those by assigning random value generators to synths and tons of effects.
Next to that, I also (ab)used software plugins in a way they shouldn’t be. I used vocoders on my own crafted beats or other special effects like Bitspeek, Fragment, Hysteresis or Paulstrech. Anything to make them sound completely out of this world.
I also transformed some of my mini compositions with Ableton’s slice to MIDI feature. I basically rendered the compositions, sliced them to MIDI and used the original MIDI file to play back to audio slices. Cool and random results ensued.
99Sounds: Are there any special sound design tips or tricks which you’d like to share with us?
Poztman: Not really in particular. A lot of my tricks are covered in the project file, so check that. The best advice I can give is: Go out and be a bad boy, use those plugins in way they shouldn’t be used or try to combine the things that no one should combine!
99Sounds: Would you like to pursue music making and sound design as a career, or are they just things that you enjoy doing in your free time?
Poztman: For me it’s a hobby that grew out of its proportions and it’s meant to stay that way. I love making music, but I would not like to make my full time job of it. That would mean I would have to gain money from it and most likely making some compromises I don’t want to make. I’m working as an occupational therapist and I like to help people in a creative and empowering way, next to making weird music.
99Sounds: And finally, what are your plans for 2015? What would you like to achieve as a musician and a sound designer this year?
Poztman: No real great plans or schemes yet. I’m participating at this challenge we have in the Neurohop Forum: OWOT or One Track, One Week. Basically you make one track a week. Or you take on the hardcore challenge like me and you make three tracks per week in a pre-selected set of genres and themes.
Really boosts your creativity !
I’ love to make a sound track or sound design for a game, trailer or film, but I guess I’m way out of league for that !
I’d also like to release some music this year on several labels, but what will come will come. As long as I can do my own thing and share my ideas with the world, I’m happy!
Don’t forget to grab your free copy of the Mangling Audio sound library which has just been published on 99Sounds as our first release in 2015. What better way to start a year than with a bunch of awesome glitchy sound effects?