Artist Interviews 🎶 Studio Tours 🎛
Hello music people 👋
Today in the spotlight, PaprTape
Coming from the United States, his studio is a dream for most of us. He is involved in the film industry and in the interview he shares his learnings 🎶
Read Time: 8 minutes 📰
Soundcraft - BVE100
Studio mics, preamps, compressors...
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Who are you and what is your relationship with music?
I am Tony Yang, going by the stage name PaprTape. I'm currently residing in Brooklyn, NY.
I started making music because my parents didn't let me go to music school. I originally wanted to become a concert violinist. In college, I stopped practicing the violin and started to dabble into music production. I still remember when my friend showed me Fruity Loops and I couldn't grasp how you can make music with some mouse clicks. Eventually I learned the ropes by working with different music makers and opened my musical palette with analog synths.
Music has been a hard career. I'm fortunate enough to make a living out of it. I got more into film and I make more music for videos these days. It helps me to be more creative when looking at moving images. The downside is I now make less music when I'm not working.
Which piece of equipment in your studio is essential to your production process?
I love all the sounds from my analog synths, but I won't be able to do any of my current paid work without the laptop and Ableton. With Ableton, I can easily manipulate sounds, tweak samples, and create sound fx. I even scored a whole documentary in Ableton.
But in terms of synths I love my Vermona PERfourMER MKII. It's an all analog synth that is so warm and creamy. When you know how to use it correctly, you can create wonders.
What is the least expensive piece of gear that gave you the most results?
MicroFreak is really versatile at a really great price. I can create so many sounds from it from kicks, to basses, to pads, etc. The sound is great and it's a great synth to learn on and do so many things. If one were to only have one synth, Microfreak is definitely one of the top contenders.
Walk us through your process for creating and producing music.
I generally start with a chord or tone.
It helps to lay the foundation on what I want to build musically. When working with video, I will watch it a couple of times until I get a feel of the flow. Depending on the video I might start with the sound design first.
Unlike a traditional composer, I think music and sound design goes hand in hand. Especially these days when music becomes the sound and the sound becomes the music.
What is a production technique that you always come back to?
I try to stay away from thinking in terms of a keyboard or theory.
Synths like Soma Lyra-8 help me to get away from traditional rules. I'm always fascinated by the people who have no musical background but can make music out of this world. I think sometimes theories limit you, especially those who are classically trained since it's so strict.
A musical background is good to have, but sometimes we should unlearn certain things to help us be more creative.
How would you explain your style?
My personal music is more calm and dreamy.
I love deep and warm pads, maybe because my first instrument is the violin. I often like to make music that people can sleep or day dream to.
I think my music is mostly characterized by its atmospheric quality, intricate textures, and immersive qualities.
What is a big challenge you have as an artist?
As an artist, it's hard to find something that defines you.
I first started making music for artists since I wasn't sure what style I wanted to go for. I also did some apprenticeship to see how the big boys do it, and tbh, there's an old saying of do as I say but don't do as I do.
Once you find that spark that clicks as an artist, trust yourself and put all your heart and soul into it. Because the big boys aren't doing anything special and sometimes you might realize you know more or are more capable than those in the big leagues. However, finding that spark that defines you as an artist is hard and there is no specific formula to how or how long it will take.
Has building a hardware setup changed your perspective on music or life in general?
I think having all the hardware makes it harder for me to travel. I get jealous of photographers and videographers. They can just carry a camera and a lens and travel anywhere to take pictures and videos. For us musicians, it's harder to do that without acting like a douche. A photographer can just blend in with the tourists, but a musician will seem like we're showing off. lol
But in all seriousness building a hardware setup has helped me think outside of the box.
The limitations of hardware makes me think creatively and musically. You can do so much in software but that is also the problem, i.e. everything is too perfect. With hardware, you are forced to create from scratch, and every time you play it will sound different.
I sometimes don't record to any particular bpm or just record straight to reel-to-reel tape just so that it feels more like how people used to do it before everything was digitized.
Your music will be warmer and more musical.
One tip on how to spark creativity?
It's always good to work with different people. Not only musicians but creatives from similar fields such as directors, choreographers, animators, etc. It helps you to adapt your music and creativity in different processes and mediums.
Working with different musicians also helps because everyone creates music differently. Seeing how others create will make you realize how music can be made differently.
A book, movie, article, or album that has inspired you?
In the Mood for Love or any movies by Wong Kar Wai.
Anything else you'd like to say?
Thank you for including me in your GAS Newsletter.
The questionnaires helped me learn a lot about myself as an artist.
Where can people find more of your music and connect with you online?
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