Artist showcase: Aneek Thapar
Aneek talks about sampling and what truly inspires him
Aneek Thapar is a critically acclaimed Sonic Artist and Sound Designer from London/Surrey, UK. He is highly passionate about the more experimental and exploratory side of art, science and technology.
Head of Sound for 'Ninja Jamm', the acclaimed live remix app from Ninja Tune (UK independent record label); Resident Sound Designer/Content Creator at Novation; he also designs music and sound for Accusonus, Loopmasters, Tomorrows Thoughts Today etc. He has Mixed and Mastered records for the likes of CROOX, VLMV, Codes In The Clouds, Erased Tapes, Coldcut etc. He is also a Guest Lecturer of Music, Technology and Innovation.
What was your inspiration for the HYPER-ABSTRACT ELECTRONICA pack?
I often think about the fundamentals of sounds and how to manipulate them. Pitch, Time, Texture, Gesture, Formant, Timbre, Spectromorphology. All that good stuff. I start playing with those and see what happens. Sometimes I just know that changing one of those parameters in a certain way will instantly make something beautiful.
I enjoy transforming sounds into new and often vastly juxtaposed sounds. Like taking a short 'tap' on a tabletop and morphing it into a grungy, degraded pad that sounds like it's been recorded to an old VHS thats speeding up and slowing down.
How do you capture samples these days?
I still very much make all my own samples, sampling for me is really taking found-sounds or music/sounds that I've already created and trying to reimagine them. My handheld recorder has been instrumental in capturing sounds.
Watch Aneek Thapar going through the clouds on his Regroover Expansion Pack using hand gestures:
You've done so many music and sound design projects, how do you keep it fresh and interesting?
To quote Squarepusher, 'Everything everywhere inspires me." New technology / music / art / film / architecture. Hearing new music helps a lot, you hear new ideas and they spark something. I've recently been inspired by music from Lapalux, Bon Iver, Colin Stetson, Gogo Penguin, Mammal Hands, Native, Oded Tzur, Tim Hecker, Rival Consoles. Films and TV have really great sound, too and can be quite inspiring. Some things that come to mind are: Black Mirror, Better Call Saul, Stranger Things, Interstellar, Arrival, Blade Runner 2049, Godzilla.
Getting sexy new tech in the studio is always inspiring and helps to stay up-to-date, which is getting harder these days. The Modal Craft Synth I recently bought is great, got loads of great stuff out of that. So much synth for such a small box / price. I was also recently loaned Novation's new synth, Peak. It's glorious! Also the Ableton Push 2. That has been the key to some of the best music I've ever made.
A friend (Dan Byron, Bad Egg Comic) lent me his Leap Motion controller. Then my other friend (Matt Pike, aka Senseless Other) came and wired it up to control this great EuroRack box called Clouds, by a company called Muteable Instruments. Now I have a gesture-controlled granular FX processor, and it runs on my main system output so anything i'm hearing can be run through it! It's so much fun, I was watching the new Stranger Things series with my girlfriend and kept augmenting the music and creature sounds. Very distracting, lol.
What do you like about working with Regroover?
I love that it works as a plugin, I can just drag audio from the session. Saving out all the pads to new files in one go is a lifesaver, same goes for saving projects.
What was the best production advice you ever received?
Does it really sound better or is it just louder? Let the idea carry itself. Trust that it's good and doesn't need anything else.
If you were writing a science fiction book, how would you describe the workflow of a sound designer 100 years from now?
Great question. It instantly makes me think of John Cage 'The Future of Music: Credo'. He accurately predicts where we are at now, using all sorts of noises to make music in all sorts of ways.
Having recently worked on my first VR project and now getting into motion control, I can imaging the norm being motion capture and haptic interfaces coupled with VR headsets or augmented reality eyewear / implants. The walls of your space become the different windows of your DAW. You can reach out and grab audio in the sideline. You 3D navigate through a realtime spectrogram of audio. Grab and edit different parts of different sounds. Everything would be wireless. Finally! No more display monitors, everything is an interactive hologram, hopefully with some kind of haptic feedback.
Or on multiple iPads (with holographic displays?) which are 10x as powerful as todays laptops. Physical modelling should have evolved to a point where you can virtually sculpt acoustic instruments from nothing and then 3d print them with ease.
Put the sounds onto pads and play them. Use them in live performances, manipulate their parameters drastically. See what new things you can come up with.