Stream Meelk’s album ‘The Birth’ on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, & Spotify
Lostinsound.org receives a large number of track submissions via Submithub.com every month. Only the most impressive and innovative productions become part of our “Submithub Spotlight” series on our website. In addition to featuring the track, we always do an in-depth Q&A with the artist. Get deep!
Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into music?
Hi! I’m Julien, aka Meelk, and I’m from Grenoble a French city surrounded by the French Alps. I’ve been an electronic music composer for 8 years now. I started experimenting with music since I was 16 years old, but I really got into production 5 years ago. Even before that I remember trying to assemble some loop with a software called Acid Pro when I was in middle school. At this time, I didn’t have any musical skills. Unfortunately, I don’t have those early recordings but I’m sure that it was awful haha! Speaking of which, I didn’t study music at all, I learned by myself so don’t be afraid to try music, even if you didn’t learn it, just be confident with your ears and heart!
When I was 18, I arrived in Grenoble city for my study and discovered “underground music” with many associations involved in the organization of underground parties. Becoming a fan of this kind of music, I decided to join the associations in order to them help promoting this music. After that, they discovered that I make music and let me play in few parties and some festivals. At this time, I was doing some Bass music dj sets. After few years of mixing, I decided to dedicate myself to production.
I have a “geek background” so it was not a problem to spend a lot of time to learn software and how synthesis work, I’m used to spending time in front of a computer. I’ve always liked physics and I’m a programmer for living, so it was the perfect synergy for me. Fruit of 3 years of work, I released my first album “The Birth” on the Hadra Altervision Records label this past December. To get an idea, it is a very eclectic and “underground” album that mixes multiple influences: Bass Music, Breakbeat, Techno, Drum and Bass, or even Glitch. I’m still working with many associations who organize events and festival, giving pleasure to people for free can be very addictive.
What are your influences? Do you have any non-musical influences on your music?
I listen to all styles of music, electronic and non-electronic, and I like a lot of cinematic music for movies and video games. I like all music if it is well produced and if I feel the artist has spent time doing some research on composition and sound experimentation. I’ve many influences so I think it’s a better idea to give you a list of the artist that inspire me the most.
Electronic: Culprate, The Crystal Method, Trentemoller, Noisia, Darkside, Massive Attack,, Koan Sound, Electrypnose, Solar Fields, Justice, Bad Tango, Hedflux, Kursa just to name a few.
Non-electronic: Pink Floyd, The Black Keys, Blackroc, Clutch, Tamikrest, Gustavo Santoalalla and many more…
How would you describe your style of music?
Difficult question, I think it’s a mix of multiples influences, like a hybrid music. Indeed I like all styles of electronic music, so I try to learn the production techniques of all of them and make my own universe with it. But if I really have to “categorize” it I think it’s a mix between Bass music and Glitch.
When I say glitch I’m not talking about “glitchhop” but more about the glitch music itself coming from glitch-based audio media, and other sonic artifacts at it’s origin. But as I said, I like to compose all styles of music. On my album, you can listen to bass music, breakbeat, techno, drum and bass, or even glitch and I’m currently writing some weird dubstep. Promoters often struggle to categorize my style when they want to do promotion for their event.
What aspects of Lost In Sound made you feel like we were a good place to represent your particular sound?
To be honest, in the beginning, I was searching for some influencers. What I mean by influencer, is people who can write an article or promote by social network in order to promote my album. I discovered the platform Submithub and with it, I discovered your website and Soundcloud channel. I listened to your Soundcloud channel and I felt that the music you promote can fit with mine. After that, I read few articles on your website and I found them well written and pretty detailed. So I decide to send you some of my tracks and you picked one of them!
How long did it take you to make this track?
I think it took me 4 months of composition and 1 month of mixdown. It was long because I really want to do something special with this track.
At the beginning, I’m just “tripping” with my synths and I found this bassline that opens on the first beats and close directly on the second beats and I just added this simple “mysterious/sad” chord who follows the bass melody. After making the big progression that ends with all the filters open, I struggled to find the next part. It was the last tracks of my album that I composed, and I say to myself “Hey, I produce many different style of music on the album, what about to trying to make different styles in the same track ?” To express this idea more I wanted to do like in classical music when you have differents sections with different moods and stories in the same pieces. So I started to compose many differents sections for months. In the end I ended up with 6 or 7 different sections, I could have made 2 songs with that. And then we start the fun part (it’s ironic haha :p), I had to “forget my ego” and throw away many good ideas to just choose the right sections. The difficult part was to make all the parts follow each other without losing the storytelling of the track. I’ve to made severals breaks and bridges trying to not lose the attention of the listener.
What tools, instruments, software, hardware, did you use to compose this track?
My DAW is Ableton Live. I love analog sound so I have many analog hardware synths. I like the fact that you have to wait for use them in order to wait for the oscillator to heat up. I like to think they “alive” and need to some time to wake up, like us when we need to take our coffee and “come out of the fog” before starting a composition day ! 🙂
For this track, I think all the sound design, except for the drums, is made with my MFB Dominion I. I love this synth because it have many possibities of sound design due to his various routing option. I like its warm sound and its very precise high. It also has a characteristic retro sound, especially on pad sound. For the drums, I’ve taken real battery samples that I’ve layerised with electronic drums to find the sound that I want and to make it more deep and powerful. For processing, I used a lot of the “Waves” Plugin because I like their analog reproduction of distortion, preamp, compressor, tape recorder and EQ. I use also Softube plugins for the same things. I now use some “numeric” plugin in order to do some weird sound design but it was not the case on the album. At the moment I experiment a lot with convolution reverb and convolution processing.
If I had to talk about what synth I used for the album. I used mainly my MFB DOMINION 1 for the reason I said before. I’ve also used the Eowave Domino. His filter is a mix between the TB-303 and MS-20 so it have a very agressive sound and you can have beautiful acid if you play with resonance. It have also very punchy enveloppe. I made some sound design with a Nord Rack 2x, here too I like his agressive highs and his sharp FM.
I’ve used the DSI Evolver for his trashy sound. It has a numeric oscillator and analog filter that make a great combination. And at last, I’ve used the Virus for his classic BandPass/Highpass SawWave sound.
After that, I make my mixdown “in the box” in my homestudio. When I’m happy with my mixdown I just export the group stems of my tracks and reinject it in a analog mixdesk (Audient ASP8024). My roommate has a professional recording studio in my house so I’m taking the chance. It allows me to have this final touch of analog sounding and the fact to have control only on stems group is perfect to get more perspective on my track. The studio has a better acoustic than mine so it’s cool too work on this kind of environnement. I also work as a sound director/engineer in a club with a pretty good PA System (L-Acoustics). So when I have free time I can test the mixdown at loud volume to see if there is any too harsh frequency and if my sub balance is well done.
What activity do you imagine people doing while listening to your music?
I don’t know at all haha ! Maybe work or just sit down and listen and I hope dancing and close their eyes if it is at a party!
Where can people find you performing live?
They can find me mainly in France, I’ve some gigs and festival planned for this summer. Now that my project is evolving, I hope to be able to find dates abroad, we will see !
What is next for you after this track/album?
I’m currently working on a new EP, I hope to release it this year, but i’m not very good at respecting deadline when it’s about composing music haha. I’m searching for new ambiances and sound design idea to give it an innovative touch. So be prepared for something different! I’m also currently working on some very cool different projects but I prefer to keep it secret for now, I can’t reveal everything at once.
Is there anything else you’d like us to know about this track, you, or your music in general?
I also work into composing music for video/movie projects. I’ve worked 2 years ago for a paragliding movie. The movie was shot in turkey by a group of friends who made videos and paraglided. The fun facts is that we had to compose a music (composing and mixdown) and mixdown the movie in only 3 days, so it was pretty tough. We were 5 people (artist, electronic music composer, instrumentalist, sound engineer etc…) Imagine all these people being stuck in a studio all day and night for 3 days, difficult but very funny haha! You can find the video here (you can turn on subtitles if you don’t understand french) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jI2qtw1rFkI
Last year I worked for a short film about bodysurfing. Bodysurfing is a sport who people surf waves without any equipment, just with their body. I had to compose a good part of the OST and sound design a lot of things (Waves crushing, Wind, VTT in the wood, FX, etc…) At the beginning, it was a difficult exercise because I’m used to composing dark things, and when I send the first demo, the filmmaker say to me “It’s cool but It’s a little too dark, isn’t it?”. So I had to start all again and force myself to do more “happy” music and compose more “major’ things harmonically speaking. It was a good learning experience for me, as I can use all this new skill in my tracks now.
The team hadn’t recorded ambiances and the sound of waves when shooting. I remember spending weeks designing the sounds of waves frame by frame trying to respect perfectly when the waves close and crush on itself, make subby movement if the shot was under water, and respect dynamic and subby balance depending on the distance of the camera. At the end of the day I was going completely mad haha. But good news, the film was selected in movie festival and we had good return. I will try to get the film in order to share it in the future ! When I have some time I try to learn software like Wwise in order to be able to make sound design for video games.
And that’s it, I think that’s all. Oh and I like SNARE ! Long live the SNARE !
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