28 May Art Of Synthesis Student Launches Snow-Audio Sound Design.
[bs_well size=”lg”]Myagi here! Well this is cool – one of my students from the first run of the Art of Synthesis pinged me a few days ago with a link to his new sound design site Snow-Audio.
I was blown away. The first offering is like a freaking 11/10. Maybe a 12.
I figured it was time for an interview, so meet Rich Howarth.[/bs_well]
Hey hey, nice to chat Rich! I remember you from our first Art of Synthesis session! How have things been going?
Great, thank you! It’s been good to reconnect since.
How did you find the course helped you in your musical journey?
Well I found it pretty easy to put synthesis and sound design on the back burner when I started out making sample based music almost 10 years ago. My production was based on existing material that was usually just resequenced. One of my first placements was for Raekwon and Ghostface, and was created solely with an ASR X and EMU rompler, and involved nothing more than chopping samples and recording straight presets from the synth. Since then I have mostly stayed focused on arrangement, and mixing, only picking up bits and pieces of synth programming while relying on preset and sample surfing.
One of my first placements was for Raekwon and Ghostface, and was created solely with an ASR X and EMU rompler, and involved nothing more than chopping samples and recording straight presets from the synth.
As I got into different styles of projects, and became more interested in electronic music production, I began to understand the importance of knowing the fundamentals of sound, and its makeup, in order to begin to be able to properly identify and create sounds that fit the context of a track or project. The course essentially took my basic understanding of synths and their parameters, expanded on them, and gave me many practical examples of how to design a range of sounds using different types of synthesis.
What was your experience like?
I gotta say, for as much subject matter as it covers, it was relatively painless! The course was nicely balanced with theory and practicals, and the weekly follow-up with live Q&A filled in any gaps. This live session was one of the strong points because I got to benefit from hearing answers to questions I wouldn’t have thought to ask myself. It was without a doubt time very well spent, and was one of the most eye-opening things I did last year.
How has a deeper knowledge of synthesis influenced how you work?
It’s allowed me to dedicate time to two separate types of session work: sound design and song creation. Sound design sessions allow me to sit, explore, and create a pallet of sounds to use later in song creation. I’ll go from making synth patches, to bouncing them to audio, loading them into Reaktor, and then bouncing out new samples, loops, and layers. Having all these assets readily available when it comes to putting together a track creates a much more fluid workflow that doesn’t get bogged down in the details.
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What is Snow-Audio all about?
Snow Audio is an outlet for different areas of synthesis and sound design I want to explore. The idea behind releasing content to other music makers helps motivate creativity and quality. I have a list of projects I plan to dive into that should hopefully produce some interesting and unique results that I hope will inspire other peoples work.
Tell us about your first sound pack – it’s impressive.
Thank you! ‘Liquid for Massive’ is basically an exploration into all types of water and liquid style synthesis that Massive is capable of. The idea behind it was actually sparked by listening to a couple of tracks by Tipper in which he uses some interesting bubbles sounds. I don’t know if he used samples, but I decided to see what could be done with synthesis.
(Liquid) was actually sparked by listening to a couple of tracks by Tipper in which he uses some interesting bubbles sounds. I decided to see what could be done with synthesis.
After playing around in Massive I found a couple of FX/Chord wavetables that responded really well to noise modulation while in Bend+/- mode. From there it was a matter of trying out other wavetables, and eventually reverse engineering results from those patches using basic waveforms and experimenting with different mod routings.
While the presets definitely have their standalone use, I have had some amazing results combining them into sample maps for use with some of Reaktor’s sequencer ensembles. I’m excited to hear how others can push the envelope and get creative with them too.
Any plans for packs using synths other than Massive?
For sure! I have been using DCAM: Synth Squad a lot over the past few months. Fusor is amazing because of its mod, effect, and layering possibilities, so I look forward to putting together a themed pack for that. I am also really getting under the hood of Absynth too. It offers a bunch of different synthesis styles like sampling, waveshaping, FM, and granular. I think the challenge there is taming the very non-traditional effects they included.
If you had to have a single desert island instrument, what would it be?
If Live counts, then Ableton Live. I have actually never used it, but I really like how you can throw as many instances of everything onto a single rack. I am sure it would keep me plenty occupied.
What do you usually write in?
I have been using Sonar since version 4. Currently on X3. I like running apps in standalone too, and look forward to trying out a new one from SoundMorph that looks to be a promising host and sample manipulator.