Ott
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Q

I dare you to use a kazzoo as lead instrument in one of your songs.


Ott responded on 05/29/2019
A

#OMG that’s a great idea. Even I can play one of those. I wonder if it’s possible to find one which doesn’t sound like a bee in a biscuit tin?

Q

Pro tips on mixing analog and digital?


Ott responded on 05/27/2019
A

There's no difference. The distinction is arbitrary. By definition, all sounds which reach your ears are analogue. Even though they were once stored as a series of numbers, by the time you hear them they have been converted back into an analogue voltage and then to vibrating air.

It's all just vibrating air.

Q

Hello, Ott! In some of your answers here you say things like "some DAW is good for writing, and some other DAW is good for arranging". Can you please share your opinion on the difference between writing and arranging? I am asking because in your beautiful compositions it's so hard to extract this or that part, like saying that there are some "core" elements and some "secondary/arranging" elements. Every little detail sounds like a core element that at the same time can't be isolated!

How are you drawing that line between writing/composing and arranging? Do you agree that writing is an act of producing something new from scratch, while arranging is always an application of existing known technics that are common for all good music pieces?

Many thanks!


Ott responded on 05/27/2019
A

For me, ‘writing’ encompasses the process of forming the initial idea and then developing it over time so that it tells a story.

The initial stage is experimentation; take an idea, add an idea which meshes with the first idea, repeat, continuing until I have enough chapters to tell an interesting story. ‘Arranging’ is taking those ideas and laying them out over time so that they form a satisfying dramatic arc, with a beginning, a middle and an end.

For this I like Ableton Live, Bitwig or Reason, because they allow you to quickly bend sound into new shapes in an intuitive way. Cubase and Logic I find a bit restrictive and old-school linear in this respect.

Where Cubase does excel, in my opinion, is for mixing. It feels robust and deep and comprehensive and allows me to take my ‘written’, arranged composition and focus on the sonics, whilst allowing me also to make changes to the composition.

I always start out in Live, Reason or Bitwig and I always finish up in Cubase.

Q

hi Ott!
what about the high-pitched voice?
can you tell us where it comes from please ?

Thanks !
Ali


Ott responded on 05/27/2019
A

A tree-sprite called Brian. He only sings when he’s happy.

Q

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mSqMG_WnGk

What is the song you're playing right before OST in this video?


Ott responded on 05/27/2019
A

That’s the intro to the live version of Owl Stretching Time.

Q

Favorite country you have visited?


Ott responded on 05/27/2019
A

Finland.

Q

What did you eat today?


Ott responded on 04/23/2019
A

Toasted organic rye and sunflower seed pumpernickel bread topped with avocado, hummus and baby spinach, with plum tomatoes and loads of black pepper.

Same breakfast I eat most days.

Q

Where do you derive your bass sounds from? Outboard or in the box synth? Would you use the sync function to make a waveform fit in the upper range? I've been trying to reach the consistency of your bass sounds by combining a couple of different waveforms and messing with the sync function, cutoff, resonance, eq , comp etc but I usually end up with an inconsistent rough sound in the end.

So what's the most important part in the process? The waveform it self, or the manipulation of it?
Would you ever use more than 2 waveforms for a single steady bass sound?

Many thanks!


Ott responded on 04/19/2019
A

The most important factor is compression. Bass contains a lot of energy, and if it isn't tamed it can end up sounding like a mess. I will compress a bass sound four or five times before it sits right, but only a little each time.

Also it's important to consider a bass sound as consisting of an attack portion and a sustaining portion, and to treat each as distinct from each other, almost as if they were two separate sounds.

A compressor setting which works for the attack may not work for the sustain and vice-versa. Often I'll end up with two compressors in series, one fast to catch the front end and one slow to take care of the average [RMS] level.

EQ can help but it can also introduce more dynamic instability, so where there's EQ there is invariably more compression.

The source sound is important but I've got some of my best bass sounds from a cheap £30 VST plugin. Squirrel & Biscuits is a seven oscillator Doepfer patch layered with various other things.

Experimentation is key.

Q

Hey Ott!
What is your opinion on the use of realistic drum sounds (in dub music especially) without being a drummer or record drums? And what about the transformation/appropriation process of sounds. I specify that I suppose you're not a drummer and you don't record drums.
I am very curious about your answer.
Thanks for your music.
Léo


Ott responded on 04/19/2019
A

I am a drummer and I do record sounds. I also sample them, make them with analogue synths, I use drum machines, whatever works.

There are so many great drum sound libraries available these days that it's perfectly possible to program something which could pass for a real drummer playing a real kit, but it helps a great deal to be able to think like a drummer.

When I program 'real' sounding drums I'm usually trying to create what I would play if I was technically able, and I generally imagine myself behind the kit. I'm not obsessive about the realism though, and most of my drum parts would need five arms and three legs to play them.

As always it's about what sounds good.