Interview with Proxima

Published : 2018-09-11 18:40:46
Categories : Artists Interviews

1. Your approach to ideas and creativity within the tracks you're making is absolutely unique - what's your threshold for an idea in terms of whether you find it interesting enough? Are you purposefully avoiding repeating other ideas, or is this something that comes naturally?

Thanks, I appreciate that! These days the track really needs to have a clear theme or idea from the start. A direction that makes it different from other music. Sometimes that difference is bigger than other times, but there needs to be something in it to give it an original angle. I used to be able to create a couple of cool sounds and combine them into a tune, but I can’t really write that way anymore. The whole techy-sounds / big mixdown approach to DnB was fun but has kind of run its course by now, at least for me.

Repeating ideas doesn’t have to be bad, as long as there’s still something fresh you can do with them each time you start something new. Or it’s just an approach you’re really enjoying, and want to try different things with. Just make sure to release only one or two of those ideas!


2. Your music dips into the fringes of multiple genres of IDM and bass music - what would you say your main influences and inspirations are? 

Well, when I started out writing music it was mainly the pioneers from back in the day: Photek, Ed Rush & Optical, Jonny L etc. Also my cousin Icicle, who has been a major influence in my musical endeavors from day 1. When you’re still figuring out your ways as a producer you tend to get influenced by the scene the music you’re making comes out of.

In more recent years I’ve tried to seek out inspiration from other genres as well, or producers that are pretty far removed from DnB. At a certain point, you need some fresh input and perspectives. Don’t get me wrong, there are still a lot of DnB producers I look up to, who somehow manage to keep reinventing themselves. Guys who have been at the top of the scene for years, have seen their sound become the standard and yet manage to come up with something original time and time again. I almost don’t want to mention Noisia here, but who am I fooling.


3. Tell us about the DAW that you use, and why you prefer it over others that you've tried. 

I’m currently working in Ableton 9 (soon to upgrade to 10), and really enjoy it. It took me quite a while to get used to it, writing music in it is really fast but I missed a certain level of steadiness or stability I felt it was lacking. But once you’re used to that and your workflow adjusts accordingly, it really is a beast to produce with. Its usability is almost unrivaled, and in 10 even more so. I don’t see myself switching to another daw any time soon!

4. Are there any particular VSTs you couldn't live without?

Probably all the FabFilter plugins, the Omnisphere and I guess Serum. All of the Fabfilter effects are just of such high quality, and even the instruments sound nice. Omnisphere’s sound library is ridiculously good; I use multiple instances in every tune and still repeatedly stumble onto new sounds I hadn’t heard before. And Serum is just really versatile and comprehensive for bass sounds/ mids etc, with good effects and cool morphing possibilities. I can’t do without the Voxengo Span Plus either, the best non sense spectrum analyzer there is.


5. Do you find yourself reaching for sample packs (and if so, which specific ones have you found most useful) or are you mostly creating your own sounds, digging your own samples?

Sometimes I do, but I try to stick to Omnisphere when it comes to samples. The bass, leads, drums and other fundamental sounds I create myself. Sometimes I resample them or very rarely try a sample, but I almost always start from scratch. To be honest, doing a bit of sound design yourself isn’t really that difficult anymore these days with synths like Serum or Wavetable. They contain loads of complex wavetables that sound good with little effort. So like I mentioned before, I try to focus on ideas and themes without losing myself too much in sound design. It’s still a lot of fun to tweak your kick transient so that it punches through your mix and layer your bass notes with different synth instances, but if they’re not adding up to an easily identifiable idea those efforts are meaningless.

6. What would be the one piece of advice that you wish you'd been given when starting out with production?

Make sure you always enjoy writing music, and if you don’t either try a different angle or take some time off. Seek out other things that make you happy and come back to it when you’re fully charged again. I’ve done nothing but write music for the past 5-6 years, and a couple of months ago I could feel I needed to change this up. It wasn’t a writer's block, just an urge to get out of the studio more and develop other interests. I’ve got less time for music now, but every time I do get back behind my computer I’m so much more inspired and instantly hear potential in early projects or tracks that didn’t really work yet. It has really cleared up my creative process. Find a balance, it makes everything better.


7. How do you approach making a track - do you have separate sound design and idea sessions, or are you making audio for specific tracks as you go?

I never really liked separate sound design sessions, I always do that while writing a tune. It feels like an integral part of making music to me, I need context to create sounds. Most of the time I don’t bounce out synths or instruments until the very end either, which isn’t the most efficient of cpu-friendly way to work. But it’s just how I do things. I’ve tried to change this up, resample everything and create my sounds before starting a new project, but I always end up coming back to my original approach. And by now, that’s fine with me.


8. How do you see your sound evolving in future?

To be honest, I have no idea. I don’t really have a clear, overarching direction I want to take my music in. I am leaning towards the deeper sounds these days, like the tunes on my EP on Invisible illustrate. But I still enjoy working on a techy banger. That has always been my problem; I don’t like to stick to 1 specific style. It makes it harder for people to get an image of what you represent as a producer and what they can expect from you, but at the same time it gives you more freedom to do what you want. Who knows, maybe I’ll find a sound in the future I want to stick with!


9. Does finding a new VST or synth have a big impact on your ideas? Which VST or synth has had the biggest impact on you to date?

Yeah definitely. Some plugins or synths completely change your approach to making tunes. When I started working with FM synths a whole new world of possibilities presented itself. Not just for bass or mid/lead sounds, but for drums and percussion as well. You can make virtually anything with an FM synth.

I had the same experience with the Fabfilter Pro-L, Fabfilter’s brickwall limiter. It completely transformed my workflow and significantly improved my mixdowns. You can have it smash your tune to bits and it will still sound good. Well, decent at least.

And I have to mention the Span Plus as well. It’s the most important technical analysis you can use when you’re making music, it tells you so much. The level of control it gives you over your mixdowns is massive, for both pushed and clean results.


10. Tell us about your current and upcoming projects and tours?

Currently, there’s a 6 track EP called Off Angle being released on Invisible Records. It’s been a real joy working on it as those tunes are all pretty different, but still fit together. And I’m really happy Noisia picked them up and wanted to release them as one project. Working with them and with Jaap the label manager, as well as Tom Jager who did the amazing artwork, could not have been smoother.

As for upcoming projects, I can’t say too much yet, but there’s a lot more music to come this year. Finishing up on another big project as we speak, and signing some music I’ve got laying around. All of the tunes I really wanted to get out there, and hopefully, people will enjoy!

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