116 - Freddy Arenas
Artist Interviews 🎶 Studio Tours 🎛
Hello music people 👋
Today in the spotlight, Freddy Arenas
Coming from the United States, originally from Venezuela, he is in an early stage in music making but he is already implementing life-learned philosophies to it. One to watch 🎶
Interview & Studio Tour
Who are you and what is your relationship with music?
My name is Freddy Arenas; I live in Brooklyn, NY.
I've always been interested in music; growing up, I taught myself to "play" the guitar and was part of a punk rock band. It was fun but never serious.
Most recently, roughly a year ago, a group of friends introduced me to the world of modular synthesizers, and I immediately got hooked. I've been learning non-stop about music theory, electric circuits, and sound synthesis ever since.
At the moment, I make music in my spare time. I have a whole other career as an illustrator and animator.
Which piece of equipment in your studio is essential to your production process?
Living in New York with limited space, I've carefully researched and selected my gear. Most of it is essential, but if I have to pick one, I'll say the Eurorack case. I can spend hours patching the same 62hp box in different ways, yielding all sorts of musical ideas.
What is the least expensive piece of gear that gave you the most results?
The 2hp - Loop module in my Eurorack. I bought it for $110 and I use it in all of my patches. It has many options for layering loops and the possibility to play them backwards or half speed. Great for creating textures.
Walk us through your process for creating and producing music.
I'm still working on finding a process to go back to systematically.
So far, I've been doing a lot of experiments; I'm curious about trying new ways to approach music-making or where to begin when it comes to producing a piece of music.
Sometimes, I noodle a little on the piano (which I'm still learning to play), and sometimes, I have an idea for a patch to explore something about a particular module or some new piece of music theory I just learned. I often set myself up with a challenge to use just one piece of gear creatively and try to make the most out of it.
Maybe I already found my process, and this is it, haha.
What is a production technique that you always come back to?
I like recording a loop from either the main melody or an arpeggio, then playing it half speed, effectively making it an octave down, and then playing it backward. It's a way to create a base layer with a lot of texture that is inherently harmonic to the original loop.
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How would you describe your style?
I'm not sure I have an answer for this one yet. I'm exploring different music genres and finding out what resonates with me.
I like warm organic sounds, which is a challenge when using all electronic gear, but that's part of the appeal: to figure out a way to make those sounds.
I like making music that makes me feel something when I listen to it, either calm, happy, sad, or like I want to move. I can't make that music yet, but that's what I'm aiming for.
What is a big challenge you have as an artist?
At the moment, it's finding time to make music.
Having more than a few hours every other day would be great for making music. I'm working on a live set and trying to record actual tracks for an EP, but these bigger endeavors need more time and focus, so those two projects are going slow.
Has building a hardware setup changed your perspective on music or life in general?
It could be the other way around; I'm bringing some of my life's philosophy into building my setup.
I like to keep things simple and focus on making the most out of everything.
The solution is not to use more (gear in this case) but to use what you have creatively and efficiently
One tip on how to spark creativity?
Challenge yourself to work with limitations. It's easy to repeat yourself and go to comfortable places when you have no restrictions.
If I repeat the same patching route in my Eurorack too often, I avoid using the first module in the hierarchy to make sure I'll have to find a different way, and in the process, I discover new things that I haven't tried before.
You can also limit the amount of gear you are using, like how to make an interesting composition using only one synth or making a melodic one with a drum machine.
A book, movie, article, or album that has inspired you?
I'm halfway through reading How Music Works by David Byrne, and it's excellent so far.
How to Change Your Mind by Michael Pollan is a great book, too.
There are many inspiring albums, but one source of constant inspiration is Floating Points live presentation at Printworks in collaboration with Resident Advisor. How he creates a sound landscape that keeps changing and evolving is incredible.
Αnything else you'd like to say?
I just wanted to thank you for your interest in what I’m doing with my music experiments and for encouraging me to share, regardless of my limited experience.
Where can people find more of your music and connect with you online?
If anyone is interest in my illustration or animation work you can find that here.
Intellijel - 62hp Pallete Case
Arturia - Keystep
Korg - Volcay Keys
Korg - Volca Drum
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