#Synthfam Interview: MisterMyr
MisterMyr is a synthwave/electronic music producer from Spain. He creates innovative synthwave sounds that combine his wide variety of musical influences (from metal to Wagner with detours into prog rock and classical guitar) with a passion for synth sounds. In an email, he told me about his musical roots, a special skill he possesses and how he creates new music.
Karl Magi: Where did your love for making music begin?
MisterMyr: I always loved playing music, I started studying music when I was only six years old with piano and score reading lessons. At eight, I started going to a public music school to learn classical guitar plus all the other subjects involved: reading, singing, harmony, composition, music history, and different classical groupings.
I was around the age of 14 when I started searching for people to play with outside of the music school to see if we could make something on our own. I wrote some metal tunes and tried out many different bands but we didn't have much knowledge about what the hell we were doing. I thought, “Music school just taught me how to play, but they told me nothing about valve amps and gain."
After high school, I joined a few bands. Some were better, some were worse. I did some arrangements, wrote some songs with other musicians, but I was always concerned about their level of ability. By that time, I was playing really high level classical music and starting to get really good with electric guitar. I could play keyboard and bass, but as drums were too expensive, I focused on learning all theory I could. I wanted to learn why I should use each sound in specific moments and what a human is able to play so I didn't write nonsense.
My goal was to develop all of the knowledge that I had from music school into knowing the “meta” of every instrument. I had already had experience playing with more bands, arranging music and writing songs for pop artists. I combined all the theory I had studied plus all the music that I've listened to throughout the years. I made it to the point that I couldn't be alone without music for more than 30 minutes, even to sleep.
I wanted to give it a try so I offered to write and produce an original soundtrack for a video game she was designing for. The company accepted in January 2019 and I gave them the final product around April. I gotta say that at this point the game still hasn't released yet. I'm about to rework the whole thing for the third time. My producing skills are growing very fast and I prefer the game to be released at my best level at the time.
KM: From there, how did you develop your passion for synthwave music?
MM: After writing the L.A. Temptations soundtrack, I kept playing with Ableton just for fun. I was trying to quit hardcore gaming and learning a DAW was a nice distraction. Back then, I used to write tracks in Guitar Pro, export them to MIDI and then drag that MIDI to Ableton where i mixed everything. It was a beautiful mess and I’ve done worse, but one has to fail to improve. As a little hint about that, when i was writing for the pop artist I was recording guitars as narrations through a video editor 'cause my computer was so bad. I had lag everywhere and that video editor had exactly 0.2 seconds of lag so it was easy to fix.
I re-watched Kung Fury and refreshed Hasselhoff’s True Survivor in my memory. After that, I quickly moved into hangover Sunday with Jean Michelle Jarre’s NASA Live and while watching the guy playing with the lights, trying to fool the peasants but not the musicians I thought, “Hey, I can do this!”
I opened Guitar Pro and Ableton and started typing tabs. Four hours later I was uploading it to my YouTube channel and made a Soundcloud account 'cause I knew there was more music incoming.
That was July 25th, 2019. Since then, to be frank, I’ve become this crazy guy with long, untamed hair writing song after song. I think I've written close to three hours of music every month on average. Branding as an artist on Ttwitter helped me get to know more people inside the movement. I've spent hours listening to every playlist, mix and discography that I could put my hands on 'cause while I had already listened to the genre before, now I want to master it.
KM: You also have a special ability. Tell me more about that?
MM: I was blessed with perfect pitch and a musical memory when I was born. The only bad thing about it is that I learned the names of the notes and now every time I listen to a song, I hear “Mi do si do re la sol” in my head and sometimes it gets annoying. It has helped me a lot to learn songs to the point that I can almost write full discographies down with a really low percentage of fails.
I also don't need to listen to music on a device if I don't want to. External sounds hurt the mix in my brain, but I find it close to just listening to music with a 70 percent chance of making it understandable for everyone. I can also recognize notes and pretty much every out of tune sound. It doesn't mean that I can reproduce it perfectly but it helps. It is a whole different skillset though.
KM: Tell me about your artistic influences.
MM: I love to listen to most genres, I avoid commercial pop, Latin and trap and I know some people won't like this but I don’t like what jazz has become in the last 40 years. People have become crazy mathematicians playing for three minutes then maybe ending with some crazy 29 note chord which they don't even like, but they think it's cool and artistic. No thanks. You can mix chocolate with chicken, cola and ketchup and the body will digest it but that doesn’t mean it’s good to eat.
In classical guitar music, Francisco Tárrega is my favourite by far but I would also name Leo Brower, Fernando Sor, Regino Sainz de la Maza and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.
In terms of general classical music, I love Bach and Wagner. I'm also very influenced by Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, Paganini and Vivaldi. Currently, John Williams and Ernio Morricone are the highest standard for me.
I’m a metalhead. I have been for many years and I guess that I will be one forever. I love Maiden, Judas Priest and Manowar. I have listened to and played to so many genres of metal: Viking, glam, death, symphonic and black. I think I only dislike some Nu metal and industrial bands from around year 2000 but I won’t miss any of the old classics.
From metal, I got into prog rock with Dream Theater and I got to know some bands that I can't pass two days without listening to: ELP, Transatlantic, Steven Wilson, Devin Townsend, King Crimson, Yes and Genesis to name a few.
My favourite bands ever are Queen, Judas Priest, Manowar and Les Luthiers.
KM: Talk to me about how you create new music.
MM: As I said before, I can produce complete songs from my memory. Sometimes though, my brain plays things that I've never heard before. They just make sense 'cause I know the structures, leitmotivs and arrangements that would fit well and the progressions that people like to listen to, so I go through my day listening to that song in my head and “playing” it with different melodies or rhythms.
It's pretty much what you would do in your DAW but I can do it mentally. After some mental work that can take anything from minutes to weeks, I have a finished version of the song in my mind and I know what every instrument does. I open Ableton, write everything pretty quickly with a MIDI keyboard and then spend most of the rest of the time picking the best sounds, searching for plugins to enhance them and then mixing and mastering the track.
KM: What are the current projects on which you're working lately?
MM: I’m working on three game soundtracks. Two of them are video games and the last is a tabletop roleplaying game that I’m developing with some friends. We're all writing the system together and then each one of us has his subject: I do music and lore, some of the others do lore and characters and others still do the website and databases.
In December, I’m planning on releasing three albums. As soon as the month starts, I'll compile all of the songs from the 30 songs in 30 days challenge that I did in November and launch that on Bandcamp as it is. After that, I’ll put the best songs on Spotify. I'll want to rework some of the songs because one day is not enough for some ideas.
The second album is gonna be the soundtrack for the RPG Jinetes de Kal (Kal Knights). It's going to consist of a main folder of orchestral themes that are between six and 10 minutes long and a secondary folder where I’ll make extended versions for every theme so people can play them in the background while playing their games to make it more inmersive. I've also written leitmotivs for premade characters and the main cities to make it even better.
The third album is going to my first full synthwave album. I released a MiniEP with the first four songs that I published, but this has way more time invested in it. I now have more knowledge about what I’m doing and there's better software and hardware involved. The album is also a video game soundtrack for a cyberpunk-y, Outrun style game called Neon Flytron. There are also two folders, one with the main songs and the other with one to two minute loops I've written to create jingles for every level.
I'm also working on some collabs with other artists I've met on Twitter, planning some video clips and talking with people about making music together in the next year. I'd also like to make a film over a few soundtrack type songs I've written, but that involves too much work and I'd prefer to be finishing projects and making a name for myself in the scene.
KM: Where do you want to take your music in the future?
MM: Anywhere people want it. If that helps me pay my bills or lets me pay them totally I'll be more than glad, but now that I've found a way to get this music out and I’ve seen that some people like it, I'm not stopping until something drastic happens and makes it impossible.
Films, videogames, shows as a solo artist, collabs with other people, commercial jingles, YouTube channels, streaming, podcasts. Anything if it makes someone feel better.
KM: What are your thoughts about the Twitter #synthfam?
MM: It’s the nicest collective around. There are artists from very different backgrounds helping each other grow and there are always good vibes even while ranting. Some cool things are being born there! Not only music, but very good friendships as well. Even if people get competitive with each other, what comes out of it is better music for everyone which is lovely.
KM: How do you recharge your creative batteries?
MM: An infinite source of power does not require breaks. I also pet cats.