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- Aug 31, 2011
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About ARTFX STUDIOS
I teach you how to make electronic music using Ableton Live. :] Tweet all your questions to @ARTFXSTUDIOS Join the ARTFX website and forum at www.artfx-studios.com For collabs, sound design, scoring, ghost-production or other projects send me a private message or contact me at the email address below.
- source https://www.youtube.com/user/ARTFXSTUDIOS/about
Interview Questions and Answers
When did you start your YouTube channel?
I started my YouTube channel back in 2008 and I used it mainly to upload my own music, back then I wasn’t really that good at it yet. However in 2012 I switched up my channel completely into the channel I’m running today. At the time before the change I might’ve had like 200 subscribers, but ever since the change in content the channel has grown rapidly.
What is your channel all about and what do you do on your channel?
My channel is about music production and sound design. I’ve more than 10 years experience in the music production industry and I decided to use that knowledge and teach others with it. I make lessons on wide variety of subjects, but my main show is ‘Tutorial Tuesday’. The idea behind it is that I make a track from scratch and show the entire process how that track is created through video lessons.
What got you into creating YouTube videos?
YouTube has always been a way to put my music out into the big scary world and it still is that way now. I did realize that to bring more fans and viewers to my channel and with that increase my music plays I had to make more appealing and interesting content, that’s why I decided to start doing lessons.
So ARTFXSTUDIOS had a complete revamp? What steps did you take to ensure the channel would perform much better?
I had been using my YouTube channel as a way to share my music, but then Soundcloud went online so I actually started using that. Now I had a YouTube channel which I didn’t do much with so I decided to turn things around. I knew a lot about music production and I also wanted to learn more, what better way to start teaching what I already know about music production? That way I help others, but I also practice my craft and thus become better along the way. I always made sure to have my videos stand out against the majority of the tutorial videos, like having an intro video and doing good quality voiceovers.
For anyone else in a similar situation as to you back then, what would you recommend them to do with their channel?
Think for yourself: ‘What am I good at?’. Then you build your channel around that. This could be anything, if you are great in playing soccer then maybe start uploading videos of you doing tricks with a soccer ball or maybe you’ve just got a new puppy, then start filming everyday with your pet and upload that. You just need to find something that will kickstart your channel but which also has enough in it to stay interesting for a longer period of time. And other than that, think well about your ideas, maybe even consider other ideas as well and then pick the best. Try thinking of good video ideas that are interesting to the new viewers or will attract more viewers.
I started my current channel with the first season of my Tutorial Tuesday series, that season was about creating an Electro House track from start to end. I already started promoting this on Twitter before the first episode was online, but I already saw subscribers coming in that way. I think I went from something like 100 subscribers to 250 subscribers before the first tutorial was uploaded. After the first couple of tutorials that number was already up to almost 1000 subscribers.
What is sound design and what does it entail?
Sound design is a term used a lot in the music production world and in the film industry, and actually it means what it says: you design sounds. This would mean you can take a synthesizer and create a completely new sound with it from scratch or you take an existing sound and completely turn it into something else. Now this might seem easy, just turn some knobs until you end up with something you like, but in reality it’s a bit different. The art of sound design is to be able to create the sounds that you’ve got in your head, if I have an idea I need to be able to get it out there. To be able to do this you need a lot of training and a good ear for music and sound, I think it took me at least 8 years before I really started to understand the little bits and pieces of sound design.
What software do you use today and have you always used that software?
These days for music production I’m using Ableton Suite 9 (Digital Audio Workstation or DAW for short), combined with a whole lot of additional instruments and effects (VST plugins). Those additional plugins are not always needed but they often offer much more complex possibilities than the stock plugins that come with you music production software.
For video production I mainly use Camtasia to record my screen, then record the audio in Ableton Suite and finally videos are edited in Adobe Premiere CS6. I also use Photoshop and Illustrator for creating graphics and I use After Effects for making animations and intro movies.
What software did you used to use and what software would you recommend to those who are new to music production and sound design and looking to get into it?
Back when I started making music I used FruityLoops 1.5, which is now called FL Studio. I then moved towards Cubase but didn’t really like it so went on and tried out Reason, but that one also didn’t fit my workflow. I then discovered Ableton Live/Suite and I never ever went back to my old software anymore.
Does ARTFX stand for anything in particular and how did you come up with the name?
ARTFX is my artist name and the idea behind it is fairly simple, I wanted to have a good and easy to remember name that wasn’t yet taken in the music production environment. ARTFX is a shorter version of the word ‘Artifex’, which means artist/author/maker. That’s actually all there is to it, I liked it and it stuck with me.
Have you considered offering paid one to one tuition or have any plans to?
That’s actually what I’m wanting to do next, do one-on-one lessons through Skype. I’m currently trying to figure out how to do this though in regards to the audio drivers and video. Music production software uses an ‘ASIO’ audio driver while Skype uses the Windows/OSX sound driver, I’m trying to figure out how to make those two work together. Also on the video side of things I’m also looking into it, but this shouldn’t be that hard since we can share screens these days in various ways. If anybody has any tips or knows how to set this up properly they can always let me know, I’m interested in hearing how you would do this.
As a complete newcomer to music production, where can we start on your channel?
I just finished the second series in the Tutorial Tuesday videos, that series is perfect for anybody who wants to get into making music. It starts all the way at the beginning of a track production and shows the entire process from start to end.
What headphones do you use/recommend?
I’m a happy owner of the AKG K240 MkII headphones, they are very good for the price.
Is there any you recommend that can stand the test of time as most of mine either are poor quality or break very easily?
Right now I use the earphones that came with my Samsung Galaxy S4, but just like you mine always tend to break after a short amount of time. I have yet to find a solid brand that doesn’t break that easily so if anybody knows one, let me know!
If there was a feature YouTube could add that would really help you and others as a creator what would it be any why?
I had this idea for a while now and I recently found out YouTube is actually working on implementing this right now. Making content for YouTube is fun to do, but to really sustain a channel you need revenue and that is the biggest problem at the moment with YouTube. There are countless channel owners who can live from their revenue, but most of them are either gamers who upload tons of content or entertainment/comedy channels with millions of views and over 100.000 subscribers. However I’m in a much more specific niche and my videos take quite a while to make, so that makes it very difficult to turn the channel into something that earns enough revenue to keep going like this. I’m actually on a point right now where I feel I’m getting stuck and I really need a higher revenue share to be able to go on with the channel and improve it further. So then I discovered ‘Patreon’ recently, which is a website where you can donate a monthly/weekly/per video amount of money to your favorite content creators. This is great although I haven’t really started it yet, but it’s a way how creators of free content can earn more money for what they do and that way we can stay making free content. Now I discovered YouTube is already testing their own version of this feature for US based channels right now, so I’m waiting for that to be released to other non-US channels as well. I would love to have a way so my viewers can support me to make better and more content.
Long story short, making free content requires a lot of work and time, but the YouTube revenue doesn’t pays the bills. If YouTube can turn it around and reward it’s content creators appropriately according to their content that would be the best thing ever.
Do you listen to your own music more than others music?
I listen to all sorts of music, and I actually listen more to non-electronic styles than I listen to electronic music. I enjoy listening to Rock, but also enjoy orchestral music and music from other parts of the world. However when I’m listening electronic music I tend to listen to Drum & Bass, Glitchhop, Neurohop, Dubstep and House music, but that doesn’t means I don’t listen to other styles as well.
I do listen to my own music every now and then, but that’s just to find out what needs to be changed or added next to make it better. I listen more to my own music, but that is because I create it. By the time I finish a track I probably heard it hundreds of times already and most of the time I’m pretty much done with it by the time the track is done.
If you had 3 tips for new music producers/creators what would they be?
1. Be yourself, people will love you for who you are
2. Listen to feedback of others, if it’s negative feedback try to find out why they gave that feedback in the first place.
3. Experiment and practice. I can’t say this often enough, you won’t get good at something without a whole lot of practice. Whether you want to be a professional designer, a content creator, a music producer or a well known journalist you need to devote a lot of work, time and effort to it.
Who are your tutorials mostly aimed at? (Beginners, Pros etc everyone all levels?)
I try to make my videos accessible for both beginner and pros, most beginners can start with the Tutorial Tuesday series since those are the easiest to understand, I also have more advanced series like the ‘Bass Design’ series in which I create particular sounds from scratch.
Where do you see your channel in 3 years from now?
I would like to see my channel grow to 100.000 subscribers, I hope to do live streams and the most important part would be having a channel that generates enough revenue to keep me growing and make me quit my regular job so I can make even more content.
What kinds of music inspire you if any?
Anything can inspire me, not just music. It could be a movie or something completely unrelated to music. However I find that most ‘world music’ inspires me the most, hearing instruments from India or Japan are a great source for inspiration.
At what point did you decide your channel should have a website?
I started my website in 2009 when I finished art school, back then it was a website to show of my graphic design skills. However when I switched the channel in 2012 I decided I was going to use my website to market the channel. The website has grown a lot since then with VIP memberships, a webstore, a community forum and so on, and in fact the website is currently starting to generate more revenue than the YouTube channel.
Would you say social media activity played a big part in your channel growth?
Yes. I started by advertising on Twitter and Facebook that I was going to do video tutorials soon and that really kickstarted my channel. Even now the amount of people reaching my videos through social media is quite big.
Has having your website been good for your channel and has your channel been good for your website?
Yes. The channel and website are like one thing, everything on the channel is posted on the website as well and the website offers even more content for my viewers like text articles and downloads. My viewers can also register at my website and join the forum where they can chat with other music producers and viewers of my channel. They can also ask their questions on there if they have any so I can answer them and they can ask for feedback on a music production they’ve created.
What microphone do you use and which microphone is your favourite for the value for price/money?
I’ve used a Shure Beta 58A which is a simple dynamic microphone. It’s cheap and gives good quality sound, but it wasn’t enough for me. Currently I’m using a RØDE NT-1A studio condensor microphone which is much higher quality than the simple Shure mic. The RØDE is much better and gives much better quality recordings and it’s pretty much the best I could find in the price range. I also have a RØDE Lavelier mic that I use every now and then, especially when I do videos that need my piano, that way I have more space to freely move around the studio and play on the piano.
While your channel was growing and during the switchover did you think at the time you would get this far?
I never expected it to go this fast, so seeing it all unfold has been really magical to me and now it actually drives me to do more and better stuff as well.
Have you ever had doubts during your channel growth stages about it really doing well and if so how did you overcome that and what would you recommend to others feeling the same?
Well yeah sure we all have that at some point I think, I actually am in doubt a bit right now… My channel is doing well and the growth is very good, but I find it difficult to improve a channel this size. It requires a lot of time, work and effort and I feel YouTube is not rewarding me enough at the moment. We talked about it earlier in the interview and I just hope I can find a way to turn my channel into something with a higher revenue share so I can keep on making great content.
If you could share two tips to really help a brand new channel kick start its viewership what would they be?
Promote, promote and promote. I can’t say that often enough, promotion is the way to get your stuff out there, but never forget to also have patience.
How has channel growth been for you since you switched up your channel?
Before the switch I had about 200 subscribers, a week after the switch I hit almost 1500 subscribers and I think one month after that I was closing in on the 2500 subs mark. Within the two years that have passed after the switch, the channel gained almost 25.000 subscribers.
Do you still beatbox and do you have any recordings we can share?
I don’t beatbox that much anymore, but there are some recordings still on my Soundcloud profile that I linked to earlier in this interview.
What video do you recommend we watch to help us get a feel for ARTFXSTUDIOS?
Probably my just finished series of Tutorial Tuesday, it’s 27 videos with a total length of 17 hours and in my point of view it’s my best series so far.
Do you have any quick tips for people who want to start adding an intro to their YouTube videos?
Make it short and make it match your content, that is what I’ve learned. Nobody is happy with a one minute intro that has nothing to do with the content.
Do you ever have creative block or struggle to come up with video ideas? If so how do you get over those times?
I do every now and then, but I get this more when making music. The call it a writer’s block and it’s when you just can’t come up with new ideas for a track. What I usually do is go out of my own comfort zone and make music I’ve never made before or try some completely new stuff, that usually results in something interesting which will spark some inspiration again. This should apply to creating videos as well.
Is Ableton suitable for a complete newcomer to making music or would FruityLoops be better to start off with?
Both are good for beginners, although it will require a lot of time and effort to get into it. Both software packages are complete production solutions to create music with, but they both work in a completely different way. We also have Cubase, Reason, Bitwig, Logic and many other music production software packages. If you want to get into creating music my advice would be to check out each package, watch tutorials and demo videos, try the demo version and then decide what suits your needs the most.
Do you feel that the donations from Google Wallet tip jar will help your channel? What are your thoughts on the upcoming feature?
I hope it will, I’m currently in the mids of setting up my Patreon campaign, but having this build into YouTube itself would be much better. I would have to see it first though, before making any judgement.
How much time per week do you devote to social media activity that is channel related? (excluding personal time of course)
Not that much actually, I spend most of the time replying to comments and tweets. I would say each day about an hour max. All other time is devoted to making music, creating videos and working on my own website.
Where can we find your music online?
For more info about me and what I do: http://www.artfx-studios.com
For my music: https://soundcloud.com/artifexstudios
Buy my music: http://www.beatport.com/artist/artfx/189518