123 - Tiger Arcade
Artist Interviews 🎶 Studio Tours 🎛
Hello music people 👋
Today in the spotlight, Tiger Arcade
Currently in Wyoming, he shares his ways of constantly re-inventing the way he makes music and his style 🎶
Interview & Studio Tour
Who are you and what is your relationship with music?
Hello, I’m Tiger Arcade.
I’m the guy on YouTube many people know talking about synth news, and giving tips for Moog and Korg synthesizers to name a few. I also, produce music under the same moniker. I live in Wyoming and may be the only person I’m aware of who dabbles with synthesizers. For now. It’s a pretty isolated and remote place.
As for my relationship to music, it was always a form of escapism and self-expression. Ever since a child, I’ve always enjoyed music, which I think most people do. It wasn’t until I was 15 and my older brother brought home a pirated version of Reason by Propellerhead. It’s a DAW, not sure if it’s as common anymore but we went to guitar center and purchased some M-Audio keyboard controller to use with it. My brother lost interest but it glued to me and I became obsessive. Sitting every day in front of that computer discovering the ins and outs of song writing. Not that I was any good but I loved to create. I did that pretty much until the computer broke from viruses by accident through illegal music downloads.
It was then that I decided to switch to hardware and got my first synthesizer, which was the Korg EMX-1. From those two points it’s just blossomed. I’ve never abandoned music but sort of put it on the shelf or had to sell it all. For a while I was broke and top it off, a college student, married with children. It wasn’t until I graduated and slowly progressed in my career that I was able to retap into that same desire to try to create some sort of music.
By profession I’m a digital cartographer, or GIS Specialist. Most people don’t know what that is so I typically say the former. I’ve always been curious and analytical which is why I think I enjoy synthesizers so much. I had friends ask me questions about it which eventually led to a YouTube channel.
Which piece of equipment in your studio is essential to your production process?
I’m a DAW user first and foremost. It’s where I like to lay it all out. I use Logic Pro X. I think because I used to use GarageBand on my college laptop, so it’s just GarageBand 2.0 basically. From there I enjoy focusing on a few pieces of hardware gear while writing or recording. I tend to get overwhelmed when I try and incorporate everything and it kills the creative process for me. From there, I may layer and see what else I can add to it. I love Arturia instrument plug-ins, those are great.
I also enjoy artwork. Sometimes I’ll pull up a picture on my phone and stare at it while playing music. It tends to help. That’s why I have artwork on my walls, mostly thanks to Moog posters and vinyl album covers.
What is the least expensive piece of gear that gave you the most results?
Probably my cheap Epiphone electric guitar haha! That or my Korg Volca Modular. I wrote and entire album with that thing and really enjoyed the results.
Walk us through your process for creating and producing music.
It’s changed a lot over the years as I’ve broken down my own barriers or what people have told is the “correct” way.
As of now, it all begins with getting an idea in my head. Like a melody. I’ll take that to a keyboard and kind of break it down but try not to force lyrics into it. That sometimes ruins the whole thing. I like to let the story tell itself. Sometimes that’s understood as it doesn’t always mean something. Others, it does.
Once I get through some melodies like a chorus or a verse, I’ll start layering and organizing it in my DAW. Depth comes later after organizing the song. Sometimes I’ll even rearrange. Like I said earlier, I don’t think there’s a right or wrong way. Music is subjective anyways.
I like to listen to the song again and again and sometimes take a break and revisit. New ideas will come that way and have improved the songs.
Typically once I hit a point where I feel it’s shareable I hit the mixing. Bring all levels down to zero. Then focus everything around something and slowly mix the levels around it. I’ll listen on different devices too to catch things I may have missed. Mastering is the final step where I’ll add some EQ plugins, saturation plugin for warmth and a master plugin.
That’s all a rough summary. I’m always open to different methods and so a few years from now this probably won’t hold true haha!
What is a production technique that you always come back to?
Probably my vocal recordings.
There’s a lot of different technique I’ll go for depending on what I’m trying to accomplish. A bit vague but for example, I enjoy layering my vocals for depth, whether it’s double tracking or adding harmonies to singing an octave higher or lower. I always enjoy vocals with depth and layers.
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How would you describe your style?
Depends on the mood. Others have described it as dreamy, psychedelic, and indie. I’ve been trying to experiment more with electronic music though. Which, in and of itself is pretty broad of a genre.
What is a big challenge you have as an artist?
Myself. I often times am my biggest roadblock, never releasing anything due to being so critical of my work. Sometimes I will share with my family and they’ll be pretty honest about how they feel haha.
The best way I’m trying to overcome myself is to view art as never finished.
If I like listening to it a lot, I typically polish those up enough to share.
Has building a hardware setup changed your perspective on music or life in general?
I think so.
It strips it down and simplifies it in my opinion. I used to get so overwhelmed on just DAWs and all they’d offer. Sometimes it’s nice to take a step back. In retrospect though, DAWs helped me understand hardware a bit. Like when they show an instrument and then all the presets. Then, what’s included. It helps you understand how a sound can be recreated in the hardware world.
One tip on how to spark creativity?
Experience life and the world and you’ll constantly be inspired, while staying relevant.
A book, movie, article, or album that has inspired you?
Currently, the creative act by Rick Rubin.
Where can people find more of your music and connect with you online?
I’m on all major streaming platforms, social media, and YouTube under the name Tiger Arcade.
…and a bunch of other random little things that don’t get used in recording but are more for fun and inspiration like Stylophones, and Brand New Noise gadgets.
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