Thursday, May 17, 2018

Artist Spotlight | Colin Yarck

Colin Yarck has recently released four packs in the Content Store, and we were lucky enough to ask him a few questions about his workflow. Read on for more inspiration.

Retronyms: Hi Colin! Tell us a little bit about yourself as a producer. Who are your biggest influences when you’re creating music?
Colin Yarck: When I’m in the middle of actually creating music I don’t think I ever have any specific influences in mind. I’d say an amalgam of all the music I’ve ever heard is operating under the hood to some degree; subconsciously pushing around my musical intuitions.

R: How did you get involved in producing music? Who got you started?
CY: I started creating music in earnest towards the end of my undergraduate studies. I was then obsessed with music but only as a fan. A friend once remarked how odd it was that I loved music so much but didn’t make any myself. I started shortly after that in one of my best friend’s studios in Chicago.

R: We believe that music has the power to connect people. How do you use your music as a tool for connection?
CY: I agree. However, I don’t think I write or produce music with that specific goal in mind. I just follow what passes through me or whatever I find interesting at the time. I think music is special. You can’t grab or hold a sound wave and if it’s good it somehow makes people want to come together. The mystery is fun.

R: How do you define your sound?
CY: Genres are necessary as communication tools. We need them to talk about music to some degree but I’ve always felt that they sell a lot of music short and they can easily mischaracterize certain songs, artists, etc. What genre is a good melody? What about a certain mood? In order not to dodge the question, I think I usually make mostly electronic or electro informed music in a pop format. Melody is king to me and I like structure. I also love microsampling, dirty textures, and incorporating some traditional instrumentations into my productions.

R: Where did you make your first beat and what was that experience like for you?
CY: I made my first beat on an MPC2000 in a friend’s basement in Chicago. It felt like magic to me. Like painting with sound. I was instantly hooked.

R: What was the last song you listened to?
CY: Donny & Joe Emerson’s “Baby” What a gem.

R: What album is on repeat right now?
CY: I pretty much have Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” on perpetual repeat.

R: If you could only use one piece of equipment, which one would you choose?
CY: This isn’t a sexy answer. I can’t choose an old, lovely sampler (even though I love them) or an analog synth with charming pitch issues because my computer is just too versatile. I can do most anything with it. Hopefully I never have to make that choice in the real world because gear is great.

R: Tell us about some of your process while creating these packs. 
CY: I make a bunch of music so these are either finished pieces or mostly fleshed out demos that I finished for the packs. I’m a very organized, tidy producer so making these loops and one shots is a fairly easy process for me. I print out loops and render one shots from within the finished session. Sometimes I’ll need to create extra FX or other elements to fill out the pack. Often I like to choose a sound source at random (sample, field recording, or FX clip) and pile on plugins to create a wholly new sound.

R: What are some of the tools that you used to create these sounds? Can you share a tip or trick with our users about your technique?
CY: I use many different tools. Hardware synths (Ensoniq ESQ1, Korg Polysix, Yamaha TG33, Roland Alpha Juno 2), multi-sampled synths through Logic’s EXS24 software sampler (Fender Chroma Polaris, Eurorack Modular, Oberheim Xpander, etc.) Kontakt 5 for pianos, bells, chimes, guitars, etc. I heavily sample drums and make custom kits. I layer extensively and will use any sound source as percussion. Also acoustics instruments such a Wurlitzer, tambourines, shakers, thumb piano, dulcimer, etc.

Great tip: Follow the simple and ancient method of the Fairlight CMI sampler: map a single one shot of kitchen sounds to your favorite software sampler. Layer the sampler patch with other one shots. Pan each sample opposite and you’ll get endless percussive fun. Oh and lastly, I love SoundToys plugs. Such a great variety and very rich sounding for software.

R: Please let us know your different channels. 
CY: Website | Instagram | SoundCloud

All of Colin Yarck's sound packs are available now in the Content Store. Do you have a question for Colin that wasn't answered here? Ask us in the comments!


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