Subsquare. Creator of breaks, dubstep, glitch hop and drum'n'bass — let's just call it bass music.

My EP is out today!

23rd of January, 2014

BandCamp: http://music.subsquare.com/album/hit-the-grave-running
iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/hit-the-grave-running-ep/id805678341
Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/album/4MD2bPVCP2SBy3mo3sg7a2
Google Music: https://play.google.com/store/music/album/Subsquare_Hit_the_Grave_Running?id=B55jmupjny3awzbhhs7xsrkvgn4
Amazon MP3: http://www.amazon.com/Hit-Grave-Running-Subsquare/dp/B00I1EXQ12/
Rdio: http://rd.io/x/QWdpbSJiSIY/

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Free track out today – “The Reign”

1st of August, 2013

It’s a dark yet melodic, hard yet soft, strangely driving dubstep affair. Grab it from my BandCamp page:

My second single is finally released!

23rd of April, 2013

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My second single, entitled “Broken”, featuring Jane Dawn on vocals, is finally out. It’s a three-track single with remixes by Irvin and lug00ber which I really dig. Please give it a listen, and share it with others if you like it – you can find links to buy or listen to it here:

If you want to support me by buying it, please consider getting it from Bandcamp or iTunes, since plays on Spotify or Rdio really pays nothing at all to small indie artists such as myself, but I do need to be on those platforms for exposure.

Thanks for the support since “Catzilla” came out late last year – it’s been amazing – I hope you like this track too. I’m really proud of it.

The difficult second track

9th of April, 2013

Okay, so I’m wrapping up the second release (out on April the 24th) and I’m sort of wondering how people will like it. “Catzilla” was on the darker and more aggressive side of things, and this new track has more melodic content. I like it, and I hope everyone else will too, but I’m semi-worried that people expect “more of the same”. Time will tell. :)

Kit-list (and why it doesn’t really matter)

2nd of April, 2013

Once in a while I’m asked what gear I use. Though these days it’s usually more along the lines of “You use Massive, right?” – now I don’t blame people for asking that, given that if you ask any aspiring EDM-musician, Massive is probably the soft-synth they can all name instantly.

To answer that question: I do _have_ Massive, but it’s not my go-to soft synth at all. Yeah, I’ve used it here and there, but it’s not even on every track or remix I do. So, I thought I’d write a short post about what software and hardware I use, just to try to draw a picture of how I work when creating music. Not that the list is particulary interesting or even valuable in any way, but just because as I write this I’m stuck on a 11-hour flight to San Francisco and I don’t really have anything better to do.

Software

  • Reaper (DAW) – should come as no surprise really. I have used everything from Sony ACID up to Digidesign Protools and pretty much anything in between. In the late 90s I used Cakewalk (now Sonar) and Logic, but I never really felt comfortable with those DAWs. Same goes for Protools: it’s just so slow and cranky (drivers, OS updates, breaking files) and really not that intuitive. I have touched Ableton Live a few times but I didn’t like it much. Too flat, and the “stacked loop”-approach feels unorganic to me. That said: which DAW you use is honestly completely irrelevant. If anyone ever tells you that you need to use this-and-that DAW to be able to make so-and-so music, you should probably stop listening to that person immediately since they are full of shit. Your DAW is your hammer – you pick your nails and what to build yourself.
  • Tone2 Gladiator 2 (Synth) – this is my go-to synth. It’s usually the first one I try when I want to get to a particular sound. It can create some really gritty stuff and still be silky smooth for pads and strings.
  • NI Reaktor (Synth) – I don’t really use Reaktor itself that much, but rather synths based on it. My favourite Reaktor synth is Razor, which works very well for FM-like insanity leads.
  • NI Massive (Synth) – yeah, it’s on the list, but I don’t use it much.
  • KiloHearts Faturator (FX, distortion) – go-to plugin for subtle saturation as well as nice crunch and overdrive.
  • Fabfilter Pro-Q/Pro-C/Pro-L (EQ, compressor, limiter) – Insanely usable plugins that I use all the time.
  • Brainworx bx_XL V2 (M/S mastering limiter) – Limiting on the mastering stage. Gets things loud without crushing them. Love it.
  • Brainworx bx_digital V2 (M/S digital mastering processor) – EQ and M/S processing for mastering. Mono-control for bass and suchlike.
  • ValhallaRoom (Reverb) – it’s easy to control and sounds awesome. Nobrainer.
  • D16 Decimort (Bitcrusher) – cheap, extensive bitcrusher. Very versatile.
  • D16 Syntorus (Chorus) – for life to multi-band distorted leads, as well as just simple and good chorus.

When it comes to how I work with hardware synths and FX, I usually go sample crazy. Yeah, I don’t have stuff hooked up to the DAW via MIDI for an entire session, but rather work on independent parts in MIDI and then record them and chop up/loop the samples afterwards. Working with audio-files gives me three important things:

1) iron-tight timing (no “put all your drums on channel 1 to keep them in sync” here),
2) control (cut, fade, EQ, effects – by keeping it inside the DAW, it makes things easier to manage as the project files grow),
3) destructive editing (yeah, I like it actually. I hate “having all the possibilities in the world” because then it’s easy to procrastinate and don’t commit to something).

Hardware

  • RME Fireface 800 (Interface) – industry standard audio interface, FireWire-connected. Low latency, excellent transparent sound and super stable.
  • Roland Juno 106 (Analogue) – a classic. Used with a distortion pedal, the two built-in chorus effects and the Voltage Controlled Filter can produce utter madness.
  • Access Virus C (Digital) – another classic, but a so-called “virtual analogue”.
  • Roland TR-909 (Analogue) – need oompfh in your kick drum or to have the best hi-hats in the world? This is the unit.
  • Roland TB-303 (Analogue) – yeah, I do have one and I love it. Bring the resonance and cutoff down low for some insane bass-action. Switch to square and sample away. Also good for classic acid lines of course.
  • Arturia Minibrute (Analogue) – made in 2012, this new (!) analogue synth from french software makers (!) Arturia is the most fun you can have without breaking any laws.
  • Jomox Xbase 888 (Digital+Analogue) – drum machine for more creative sounds. Uploading short samples and playing around with it can yield interesting results, though I rarely take the time to do so.
  • Jomox T-resonator (Analogue) – time-delayed resonating filter. Feed something into this and it’ll turn into a resonating monster of a sound. Create lifts and fills with random inputs in seconds of tweaking.

It’s important to restate that while I do use some outboard gear and hardware synths, there is little that cannot be replicated with software today*, it’s simply that I work faster by quickly turning knobs to getting the sound I want and then sampling it than by staying totally in the software domain. Therefore, this list should not be seen as any sign for you to give up if all you have is a laptop and some software.

Don’t be fooled by massive (pun intended) hardware rigs or mega-desktop computer-monsters littered with all the latest releases from all your favorite music software vendors: learn a few things and learn them well, then add to that knowledge with more tools as needed.

If I can offer any advice (or you care to take it) it’s this: learn your tools. Read the manuals, then learn your tools again. A sawtooth output of Massive is no more or less basic than a sawtooth output from some random freeware VSTi you find on KVR. Also: another piece if advice – if you just want to get your idea down before its gone, or a sound fits well within your project: there is absolutely nothing wrong with presets.

* except the TB-303. Nothing beats the real thing :)

Blog moved

15th of March, 2013

Hi all – since Posterous decided to call it quits, I had to move my blog elsewhere. It was somewhat cumbersome to first export from Posterous, then import to WordPress.com, then export from WordPress.com and into a self-hosted WordPress install, but hey – it works. :)

The page isn’t 100% up to snuff yet, but I’ll fix it this weekend. The most important part was to get my content out of Posterous before it shut down.

A month of Bandcamp pay-what-you-want

18th of January, 2013

As promised, I’ve collected some stats from the first month of traffic on the Catzilla EP on Bandcamp.

It’s been very interesting to track where people are coming from, and not least: how many plays I’ve been getting and how many people decided to pay for the EP.

Since I put it out as pay-what-you-want, there was always an option not to pay anything at all, which I’m totally fine with as this was always going to be a promo effort, and not a money-making venture.

So, without further ado, here are some hard facts from 30 days of Bandcamp “pay-what-you-want” data:

  • 4244 hits on the EP page
  • 3886 streaming plays on the same page
  • (+ 2165 plays from the embedded player, mostly from piracy sites, unfortunately) 
  • 211 downloads
  • 29 purchases
  • 86.68 USD in revenue (before 15% in fees to Bandcamp)
  • 220 e-mail addresses collected (from both free and paid downloads)

This means that..

  • Roughly every 7th person who downloaded the EP, also paid something for it
  • The average price they paid was ~2,99 USD 
  • ..or ~0,99 USD per track, if viewed that way (because individual track download was disabled on this EP)

0,99 USD per track is identical to the price iTunes charges customers, which indicates that people have established a certain standard value for downloadable music.

This also means that even with all those unpaid downloads, each EP download on average still generated ~0,41 USD in revenue, because the paid downloads make up for the unpaid ones.

Considering that after the fees on iTunes, each 2,97 USD sale (the full EP price) generates ~2,08 USD in revenue, I’m happy with these figures. Of course, I do wish for more traffic on the site, as increased traffic = increased revenue. Nobody is getting rich off of these numbers, but it’s encouraging to see that things are indeed not as bleak in the digital music download-world as some want to paint it.

When you can give away your music for free and still make an average income of roughly half of what being on iTunes would generate, the pay-what-you-want model has a right to live and prosper.

I am still waiting (and will be waiting for some time) for the iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and Rdio numbers, but when I have them I will also share these with you guys.

In addition to numbers above, I also wanted to mention that the highest price someone paid for the EP was 10 USD, and the lowest was 0.5 USD. Clearly, some have more money/appreciation, and some have less. Even with the large gap in what people choose to pay, I am very happy for every single paid download, as it serves as validation for what I do and how people perceive it.

I hope this has been an interesting bit of trivia for you guys, have a nice weekend!