104 - Matthew S
Artist Interviews 🎶 Studio Tours 🎛
Hello music people 👋
Today in the spotlight, Matthew S
Coming from Italy, he has a deep passion for the emotional and transformative aspects of music. While he is constantly creating and learning, he is also teaching and sharing his experiences.
Matthew does not hold back and shares a lot of his learnings in this interview 🎶
In my music production studio, I have a selection of equipment that allows me to express my creativity in different ways. Here is an overview of my instruments and gear:
- I own the Ableton Push 2, a versatile MIDI controller and instrument for Ableton Live. It provides me with an intuitive tactile interface for music production and performance control.
- One of my favorites is the Prophet Rev2, an analog polyphonic synthesizer that emits rich and powerful sounds. It allows me to create classic tones and experiment with innovative sounds.
- The Roland - MC-707 is another gem in my studio. This groovebox offers me a wide range of sounds and advanced sequencers, allowing me to create complex rhythms and musical structures.
- Among my controllers, I have several models from Arturia. These controllers give me extensive control over the functions and parameters of my favorite music software, allowing me to manipulate sound more intuitively and creatively.
- The AudioFuse - 8Pre is my trusted audio interface. It offers exceptional audio quality and a wide range of connectivity options, allowing me to record and monitor my tracks with precision and clarity.
- I also use guitar pedals to modulate the sound of my Prophet. These pedals allow me to add custom effects and creatively shape its sonic character in unique ways.
- Finally, the Modal synths are a recent addition to my setup. I own the Cobalt 5S, Argon, and Cobalt 8, which offer me a wide range of synthetic sounds and modulation possibilities. They enable me to create unique atmospheres and sonic textures in my creative process.
This list of instruments and equipment reflects my passion for music production and my pursuit of unique and engaging sounds. With this combination of hardware and software in my studio, I have a creative arsenal to bring my musical ideas to life and turn them into reality.
I continue to fully exploit the potential of these tools and enjoy exploring new sonic possibilities in my studio.
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Who are you and what is your relationship with music?
Hello! I'm Matteo Scapin aka Matthew S, a music producer, live performer, and sound designer from Vicenza, in Northern Italy.
My relationship with music is deep and passionate. Since I was young, I've had a strong attraction to the emotional and transformative power of music. It has always been an integral part of my life and has inspired me to explore the various facets of the music world.
I got into music creation in 2006 when I released my first EP. Since then, I've continued to work on numerous projects for different labels, exploring and experimenting with a wide range of musical genres. However, my primary passion lies in electronic music. I find it to be a fertile ground for expressing my creativity, thanks to its versatility, fusion, and evocativeness.
Music has become not only my passion but also my profession. Besides being an artist, I am also a music production teacher and DJ at the Veneto Music Institute in Thiene and PantaRhei in Vicenza. I teach students music production techniques using tools like Ableton and share my industry experience with them.
Which piece of equipment in your studio is essential to your production process?
In my production studio, there is an essential element that plays a fundamental role in my creative process: the Ableton Push controller. It is a hardware device that seamlessly integrates with the Ableton Live software, which I use to create my music.
The Ableton Push controller allows me to have tactile and immediate control over my productions. I can program and play musical parts, manipulate sounds, record real-time performances, and control various parameters directly from the device. This tool provides me with great flexibility and creative freedom, allowing me to explore new ideas and experiment during the production process.
What is the least expensive piece of gear that gave you the most results?
Certainly! One of the budget-friendly pieces of equipment that has provided me with exceptional results is the Arturia MiniLab MKII MIDI controller. Despite its affordable price, it has been an essential in my music production studio.
The Arturia - MiniLab MKII is a compact and versatile MIDI controller that offers a wide range of functionalities. It features 25 velocity-sensitive keys, eight backlit pads, and 16 rotary knobs. This controller has allowed me to intuitively control virtual instruments, automation, and production parameters within my music software.
One of the features I appreciate the most about the MiniLab MKII is its seamless integration with Arturia's Analog Lab Lite software. This software provides an extensive collection of high-quality sounds and presets that can be directly controlled from the controller. It has been incredibly useful for my music production, enabling me to quickly and easily create musical parts and arrangements.
Furthermore, the Arturia MiniLab MKII is highly portable, which means I can take it with me wherever I go. It is powered through USB and easily connects to my computer, allowing me to work on my music even when I'm traveling or away from my main studio.
Walk us through your process for creating and producing music.
Certainly! Here's an overview of my music creation and production process:
1. I begin the creation process by listening to music, exploring new genres, and seeking inspiration from various sources. I draw inspiration from life experiences, emotions, movies, books, or simply interesting sounds I encounter in the world around me.
2. Once I have an idea or inspiration, I start working on the composition and arrangement of the track. I may begin by playing melodies or chords on keyboards, guitars, or using virtual instruments in my music production software. I experiment with different musical structures, creating intro sections, verses, choruses, and bridges.
3. After establishing the track's structure, I dive into sound design and production. I use a combination of virtual instruments, synthesizers, audio samples, and sound manipulation to create unique and interesting sounds. I work on the timbres, effects, and automations to bring my musical vision to life.
4. If the track requires vocals, I proceed with recording and vocal arrangement. This may involve writing vocal parts, recording vocals, applying effects, and harmonizing.
5. Once all the elements of the track are in place, I move on to the mixing stage. At this point, I balance the levels of individual elements, apply panning, equalization, compression, and add reverb and delay effects to create spatiality and cohesion in the mix.
6. After mixing, I move on to the mastering process, which involves the overall optimization of the track's sound. I apply equalization, compression, level control, and other processes to ensure that the track has a consistent and professional sound across different playback platforms.
7. Before considering the track complete, I conduct a thorough review, paying attention to details and making small adjustments. I listen carefully to the track on different playback systems to check its quality and make any final tweaks.
Of course, each track is unique, and the process may vary depending on the project and the moment's inspiration. But generally, this is the path I follow to create and produce my music, seeking to balance creativity, technique, and experimentation along the way.
What is a production technique that you always come back to?
One production technique I frequently return to is sound layering. Layering involves adding multiple layers of sounds on top of each other to create a richer, more complex, and interesting sound.
When I feel that a single sound could benefit from more depth or thickness, I use layering to further enrich the track. I can create additional layers using similar or complementary sounds, such as different variations of the same instrument or different samples that blend well together.
Layering allows me to achieve a greater variety of timbres and textures within my music. I can build a solid foundation with a base sound and then add subtle or more intricate layers to emphasize certain frequencies or give greater definition to a specific part of the track.
Moreover, layering offers me greater flexibility during the mixing stage. I can adjust the levels of each individual layer to achieve the desired sonic balance and create interesting dynamics. Additionally, the use of layering can provide a sense of spaciousness and depth in the final mix.
However, it's important to be mindful during the layering process to avoid overlapping and sonic clutter. It's necessary to pay attention to frequencies and arrangements to ensure that each layer complements one another instead of creating a cacophony.
In conclusion, layering is a production technique that fascinates me, and I often come back to using it. It allows me to create unique and engaging sounds, making my productions more rich and intricate.
How would you describe your style?
As an artist, I would describe my personal style as a fusion of experimental electronics and emotive sounds. I enjoy exploring and blending different musical genres to create a unique and engaging sonic experience.
In my approach to music production, I like to challenge conventional boundaries and push creative limits. I experiment with unusual sounds and textures, aiming to create evocative and emotive atmospheres. My music ranges from melancholic and introspective melodies to energetic electronic rhythms, striking a balance between emotional elements and rhythmic components.
I also enjoy working with virtual instruments and synthesizers to craft unique and original soundscapes. I am fascinated by the use of complex and multifaceted electronic sounds, which can evoke deep imagery and sensations.
At the same time, I place great importance on melody and harmony. I strive to create engaging melodic progressions and convey a sense of narrative through my music. I am drawn to evocative atmospheres and emotions that can be elicited through melodies and harmonies.
Moreover, I seek to bring elements of versatility and innovation into my style. I enjoy experimenting with unconventional production techniques and combining different musical influences to create a distinctive and original sound.
Ultimately, my personal style as an artist is grounded in an experimental attitude and a desire to explore new musical territories. I aim to capture and communicate emotions through my compositions, offering the audience a unique and stimulating sonic experience.
What is a big challenge you have as an artist?
One significant challenge I face as an artist is striking a balance between my creativity and the expectations of the music market. While I strive to authentically and innovatively express myself through my music, I also need to consider trends and listeners' preferences.
On one hand, I enjoy pushing creative boundaries and experimenting with unconventional sounds and ideas. I aim to create music that reflects who I am and offers a unique and original sonic experience. However, this can be challenging in finding the right balance between personal artistic expression and audience expectations.
On the other hand, there's also the need to reach the audience and make my music known. This may require active promotion, managing music releases, and creating a marketing strategy. It's essential to find the right way to make my music stand out among the multitude of artists and musical products available today.
To tackle this challenge, I try to remain true to my artistic vision and distinctive style. I seek to find a balance between what inspires me and what resonates with the audience. Often, I work on combining innovative elements with more accessible ones to create a bridge between my creativity and audience appreciation.
Furthermore, I commit to developing a strong online presence through social channels, my website, and streaming platforms. I leverage collaboration and synchronization opportunities to introduce my music to new audiences. I also invest time and energy in building relationships with industry professionals such as producers, managers, and other artists, to share experiences and learn from others.
Facing challenges as an artist requires patience, resilience, and a constant commitment to improving my skills and expanding my knowledge. I try to view challenges as growth opportunities and adapt to the ever-evolving circumstances of the music industry, always keeping love and passion for my art at the center of my journey.
Has building a hardware setup changed your perspective on music or life in general?
Absolutely! Building my hardware setup has definitely influenced my perspective on music and life in general. Using hardware in my music production has opened new doors and provided me with a different experience compared to relying solely on virtual instruments or software.
First and foremost, the process of constructing my hardware setup has made me more aware of the physicality of music. Using hardware instruments such as synthesizers, drum machines, or controllers, I have developed a more tangible connection to music creation. Feeling the keys, knobs, or pads under my fingers and hearing the sound produced in real-time has added a tactile and sensory element to my musical experience.
Additionally, managing my hardware setup has taught me to be more organized and disciplined in my work. I have learned to be meticulous in wiring, instrument organization, and configuring connections. This has made me more aware of the importance of planning and efficiency in the creative process.
From an artistic perspective, using hardware has expanded my creative possibilities. The diversity of sounds and features offered by hardware instruments has pushed me to explore new musical directions and experiment with fresh sonorities. Interacting with physical instruments has encouraged me to seek new approaches and embrace a more intuitive approach to my music production.
Finally, building my hardware setup has taught me the patience and dedication required to learn and master new instruments. I have spent time exploring the capabilities and possibilities of each instrument, refining my technical and musical skills. This has fueled a sense of fulfillment and personal achievement in overcoming challenges and creating music through a physical interface.
In conclusion, building my hardware setup has broadened my perspective on music and life. It has added a physical and sensory dimension to my musical experience, taught me the importance of organization and efficiency, and opened up new creative avenues. It has been a journey that enriched my connection with music and allowed me to explore new expressive possibilities.
One tip on how to spark creativity?
A piece of advice to stimulate creativity is to explore new experiences and sources of inspiration. Often, creativity is fueled by fresh stimuli and perspectives. Listen to music genres different from those you are accustomed to. Discover new artists, styles, or musical cultures. This will help you uncover new sounds, instruments, and approaches that might inspire you and lead you in unexpected creative directions.
Creativity is a personal and unique process. The key is to maintain an open, curious, and joyful spirit when approaching your musical creativity.
A book, movie, article, or album that has inspired you?
One of the works that has inspired me greatly is the album "Discovery" by Daft Punk. Released in 2001, this album had a significant impact on my musical perspective and my passion for electronic music.
"Discovery" is a masterful blend of electronic, funk, disco, and pop elements. It is an album filled with catchy melodies, engaging rhythms, and innovative productions. Daft Punk managed to create a unique sonic experience, full of energy and positivity.
What inspired me the most about "Discovery" was their ability to combine elements from the past with a futuristic vision. They reinvented and reinterpreted previous music genres, adding freshness and originality without compromising the essence of the music they loved.
"Discovery" taught me that music can be a complete and immersive experience. It pushed me to explore new musical horizons and experiment with the past to create something fresh and stimulating. It's an album that inspired me to seek a balance between innovation and appreciation for the roots of music, a concept that I strive to carry with me in my own music.
Anything else you'd like to say?
Certainly! I'd like to add that as an artist, I am constantly seeking new challenges and opportunities for growth. I am open to collaborations with other artists, producers, or professionals in the music industry. Sharing ideas and interacting with other creative minds is an essential aspect of my artistic journey.
Furthermore, I'd like to invite you to ask me any other questions or share additional topics that might interest you regarding my music, music production, or the music industry in general. I'm here to share my experiences and provide information that may be of interest to you.
We are all constantly evolving as artists and as individuals, and I'm delighted to be part of this conversation and offer my perspective as a musician. Please feel free to let me know if there's anything specific you'd like to delve into or discuss further.
Thank you for the opportunity to share my passion for music with you and for engaging me in this conversation. I'm here to help and provide information in the best way possible!
Where can people find more of your music and connect with you online?
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