112 - Humanoizer
Artist Interviews 🎶 Studio Tours 🎛
Hello music people 👋
Today in the spotlight, Humanoizer
Coming from Germany, his true passion is Techno. After testing a variety of DAWs, he decided to go oldscool and make music with hardware 🎶
Interview & Studio Tour
Who are you and what is your relationship with music?
My name is Leon Matran, also known as "Humanoizer" and I am currently based in the city of Halle Germany.
I started my journey in electronic music around 8 years ago. I tried out different DAWs, but quickly found myself in the world of hardware music production.
From the moment I got my first piece of gear, I was hooked. I looked deeper into the origins of electronic music, and with it came the passion for Techno and the different sub-genres. After doing my first home productions, I quickly started to develop my first hardware live sets. DJing joint my interests quite late, but is without a doubt a very fun and important task in my music journey.
While music is not my main source of income at the moment, it is definitely a future goal, to live off of it. Techno and music overall plays THE center role in my life.
But, especially if you are not too keen of Social Media and everything it involves, the music industry is in a ..."weird" state right now, to say the least.
In contrast, the amount of great music surfacing is enormous and constantly growing. I guess as a result of the lockdowns, when people got hooked on making music as a hobby.
I feel like there is a slow but steady change happening, which will result in the underground electronic music scene to return back to its roots, while still being widely available for everyone truly passionate about it. And even though I am an "old head" when it comes to Techno and its current state, I look into future of this scene with a huge smile on my face.
Which piece of equipment in your studio is essential to your production process?
My setup is constantly changing, therefore I could not value one piece over another. I collect both old gear and new gear.
YouTube especially is an insane source for inspiration, also regarding equipment, if not one of the best things the internet eventually brought with it.
Furthermore it is often the work of the many talented content creators or artists on that platform, which leads me to the question: "What kind of sounds could I get out of this certain piece of gear?".
What is the least expensive piece of gear that gave you the most results?
When looking back at the last years, I have to say there is one piece of gear that stood out to me, particularly when taking the price into account: the Elektron Model Cycles.
It has its own unique workflow (different from other Elektron gear as well), unique parameters that let you focus more on what you actually hear, rather than going after certain values and is a great introduction into the world of FM synthesis as well.
I am a big fan of gear with a rather small form-factor. The Cycles will most likely be set in all my live setups, but also in day to day studio use, it is great to have.
Walk us through your process for creating and producing music.
All of my creations start with a hardware sketch. The physical aspect of using hardware just drives my inspiration even more. This leads to hopping from one initial idea to another and so on. I don´t have a real set workflow regarding the elements of the tracks. But it is most likely the first element, which sets the tone for the rest of the production.
One of the main aspects of me being rather uncreative when working in a DAW only, is the fact, that you have endless possibilities. I know that is great for many people, but for me, it is not. That is also, why my studio setup regarding gear is constantly changing. I like being restricted when it comes to elements and sound sources. And it also pushes me to get tracks done quicker, rather then overthinking them and changing them until I am sick of hearing them. And I think that is an issue, every producer is familiar with.
Final touch-ups on tracks are done in the box. Hardware mastering chains are a super interesting topic for me, but not an economical-smart option for me at the moment.
A proper DAW provides all to tools you need for a somewhat proper mix and master. Hardware chains are just the cherries on top.
What is a production technique that you always come back to?
Listening to other productions or even different genres is something I highly recommend to every artist.
I would describe it as a process of "cleansing" not only your ears but also your mind. I gain a lot of inspiration from listening to other types of music and it prevents we from forcing myself onto certain productions, when I am not in the right state of mind for them.
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How would you describe your style?
Cold but full of emotion and expression.
The topics of space and SciFi find its way into nearly all my productions, whether intended or not. The pure curiosity towards those topics drives my productions, and the other way around. I definitely find the idea of transferring more harsh, cruel or mind-blowing topics into danceable or non-danceable music as my main reason for producing.
The human mind being converted into a language of voltage and current. What a beautiful thing, electronic music is.
What is a big challenge you have as an artist?
My biggest challenge is without a doubt the importance of social media in the modern music industry. And with it comes the battle inside your own head.
When being on platforms where everyone seems flawless, a lot of doubts curse through my mind. It sometimes seems like music is a more radical competition, than it should be.
But then I remember, that it is exactly that, what Social Media is about. Only showing the good times, not the bad ones. Only showing positivity, not struggles. I remind myself, that it is not real life and every person and producer has their own struggles. Everyone is facing similar challenges, whether if they show it, or they don´t.
In contrast, it is great for connecting to like-minded people from all around the world. And exactly those new connections weigh out the negative aspects of Social Media for me.
Has building a hardware setup changed your perspective on music or life in general?
Not particularly, since hardware initially got me into music production. I saw this gear and wanted to see, if I could get something out of those boxes. Even with no music background at all. The physical aspect just keeps the fun for me and I could not imagine going fully "in the box" anytime soon.
One tip on how to spark creativity?
As mentioned before, listening to different genres is probably my biggest source of creativity. It is hard for me to explain, but I get so much from the whole world surrounding Techno that I hardly run out of ideas. Looking at old footage and looking and listening to my role models over and over again is enough to keep me fired up for producing and is keeping my passion alive. I hope that never changes.
A book, movie, article, or album that has inspired you?
The "Something in the sky" vinyl-series by Jeff Mills. Just shows how much more, less really is. Immaculate.
Where can people find more of your music and connect with you online?
Instagram is my main focus. Here I announce upcoming releases and gigs, share snippets of my productions and artistic sites and repost content that just appeals to me and that should be seen.
(most of it):
Apple - MacBook Pro 2022
A&H - Xone92
Pioneer - CDJ2000 (2x)
Adam Audio - T7V
Presonus - Studio 24c
Arturia - Keystep
Behringer - TD3
Behringer - RD-9
MAM - Mb33
Elektron - Model Cycles
Elektron - Analog Rytm
Novation - Circuit
Korg - Electribe 2S
Korg - Volca Drum
Korg - nanokontrol 2
NI - Maschine MK3
Akai - APC Mini
Eurorack modular synth including:
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