C Y G N Interview

C Y G N Interview

C Y G N Interview

Following the launch of his album ‘Astrovibes’ last year, we had the opportunity to chat to producer, C Y G N. Delving into the origins of his musical journey, our discussion spanned a diverse range of topics, from his early influences such as Daniel Bedingfield to his experiences in breakdancing, and ultimately, the moment that led him to discovering FL Studio.

During our conversation, C Y G N provided us with valuable insights into his production process, shareing details about the techniques that shape his distinctive sound. Additionally, he opened up about the role certain plugins play in his production – tools that he simply cannot imagine creating music without.


First of all, can you take us on a trip back to the beginning of your musical journey. How did you first discover your passion for making music and what was it that first got you interested in production?

I’ve always loved listening to music. I remember listening to "DANIEL BEDINGFIELD - Gotta Get Thru This" on loop for hours, haha. Then some G-unit / The Pharcyde / Tupac / Biggie, etc. When I was 14, I started making breakdance and listening to a lot of breakbeat with some good old Japanese samples or more electronic tunes. I was really curious about how the music was made, and since I wasn't a great breakdancer, I started digging. One day, a friend who was making techno/jump style showed me FL Studio, and then I started spending all my afternoons exploring the DAW. All my first music was house music.

When it comes to starting a track, what typically sparks your process. Do you find yourself often beginning with drums, melodies, samples, or is there another element that serves as your primary inspiration?

To be honest, I would say that the primary inspiration depends on my mood. I can make a trap banger at 4 am, just as I can create some smooth hip-hop at 5 pm. Depending on the genre, I create the music differently. I can start with a sample I heard in a movie soundtrack, chop it, add a bunch of effects, and then layer the drums over it, etc. For chillhop/hip-hop/Neo-soul, most of the time, I like to start with fresh drums. If, for example, the drums or the groove are too hard and don’t fit my mood, I skip it and start creating some melodies to avoid beat block, spending hours finding the right drums, haha.

Could you give us a little bit of an insight into your production setup. What software and hardware are you using? What are some of the key bits of gear/plugins that you use on all of your tracks?

I don’t have any hardware synths, but I plan to get a Prophet 08 by Dave Smith or a Moog Voyager. I currently have two tools I love to use: my Audio Technica AT 2050 🎤. I love making percussion with everything I find at home and producing my vocals, even some melodies by humming. The second gear that I love to use is Leap Motion. It’s really fun to use to control the sound in real time with your hands, adding natural LFO to the synth, making the music feel more "human." About VSTs for mixing and sound design, I love using the FabFilter collection, T-Rack S collection for compressor/saturation/clipper, iZotope RX for cleaning the sound, Serum and Analog Lab for creating new synths, and the Soundtoys collection for sound design. My favorite is probably Soothe 2; it helps a lot to get a cleaner mix.

Your new album, 'Astrovibes,' has a sort of otherworldly/spacey vibe to it that perfectly matches its name. Can you talk us through the process of bringing the project to life? We'd love to hear about the creative process behind it and what served as your inspiration along the way.

Well, I've always been fascinated by what’s going on in the sky. I don’t know if I transcribe it into my music, but a lot of people tell me that my music sounds like people are in space. When I start a song, I basically give it three rules: the melody needs to be catchy, the drums need to slap, and I want the song to evoke emotions and connect with people. It’s easy to make music, but it’s harder to create timeless music, and that’s my main goal every time I drop an album. When I started to make the song "Beautiful," it gave me the sensation of floating in space while listening to it. Then the rest of the tracks of the album followed the same feeling of floating in outer space. That's how we came up with the name Astrovibes, together with Nathan and Greg from the Chillhop team!

Do you have a favourite track from the project? And if so why?

I love them all, but "Beautiful" and "Take It Easy" have been on loop in my car. It’s the type of music that I can listen to for hours, and "Beautiful" has a deep meaning to me because I made this song the day I learned that I would become a father. So, I dedicated this song to my son in some way!

While exploring your Soundcloud today, I came across some of your earlier work and recalled the first time I heard your music - a collaboration with Sophie Meiers from 2017 (still a great track by the way!) Since then, you've released six albums. What I want to know is how has your music-making process evolved during this period? And secondly, what's your secret to keeping so consistent with the releases?

Really glad you liked this song! I always loved her voice, and it was a huge pleasure to have the chance to make a song with her! Yes, six albums and more projects besides. I’m really grateful for that. It’s hard to say; I just love making music, man. I think that’s the main reason why I almost never encounter beat block. If you love what you do, it just goes with the flow. I learned a lot during these years by experimenting with different genres, learning from records or people on streaming, trying new things all the time. That’s probably why I don’t feel overwhelmed or sound the same as five years ago. I think age plays a big part in the creative process. I don’t listen to music the same way I used to; I’m liking more mature musicality rather than production skills or technique. I’m more impressed by a simple song like Daft Punk - "Something About Us" (an amazing song) than a track with 150 layers going everywhere, etc. I’m approaching music in a different way while listening and also while producing.

Your first release with Chillhop dates all the way back to 2018. Could you share how that relationship came about? Additionally, what is it about the label that makes you want to keep coming back?

Simon, aka Philantrope, approached me on SoundCloud; he told me that he enjoyed my EP and asked me if I wanted to release it on Chillhop. I was really surprised by the opportunity that a huge label contacted me. I felt like I needed to make it perfect, so I came up with more tracks, and we decided to make an album, "Body N Soul," which went crazy and literally changed my music career and life. Why did I keep going with Chillhop? I had bad experiences with some labels in the past, and Chillhop is the most friendly/professional label I’ve encountered. Everybody on the team is friendly, easy to get in touch with, professional in every way. Everybody knows what they’re doing; they help us master our album projects, give us great ideas, and push our vision. They respect the artist in their art without compromising their vision; they always help their community and deliver the best quality content, and so on. They literally changed my life, and I’m forever grateful for that. I can’t thank them enough for what they did. It’s hard to get big and not become industrial and deliver music like a Big Mac; that’s why I love Chillhop. They prioritize quality over quantity and help their artists grow together with them.

How do you navigate through creative blocks and find inspiration when you feel stuck? Are there any specific things that you do to help inspire that creativity?

It happens rarely for me, fortunately, but I think people put too much pressure on their shoulders. The music market is getting saturated, and they sometimes feel the need to rush or, in the opposite, they wait years before dropping something because they feel like it’s never good enough. I think to avoid beat block, you have to just take it easy and do what you love. If you feel like your music doesn’t evolve, trying new things can help. For example, keep the elements of your project and try to flip it into a completely different genre; change the BPM, pitch the melody, change the drums, etc. It helped me many times. Also, taking breaks is important; spending days in a closed room doesn’t help to get inspired. Your music is a reflection of your life experience; you need to learn about yourself before telling a story. Going outside, watching the stars, meeting interesting people, watching impactful movies, etc. Music is like a relationship; you need sometimes space or to do different things to have something to tell and to keep the desire to make it, haha.

And as if the new album wasn’t exciting enough you’ve also got a new sample pack coming very soon! We're eager to learn more about how it was created. Can you shed light on how you went about creating sounds for the pack? Furthermore, how does the process of crafting samples differ from the process of producing an original track?

For this drum kit, I’ve recorded many things that I’ve found at home, like a toothbrush to make a rim, using a bunch of effects to have something proper. I’ve used some old drums and pitched them, played with frequency shifting, reverb, etc., to make them sound fresh. When working with samples, the creative process often revolves around manipulating the existential material: chopping, looping, time-stretching, etc., to create new musical ideas. In contrast, producing an original track requires building your own melody with your own creativity using hardware synths or VSTs. It’s two different schools of producing, but I love using both.

Finally, as someone who has been making and releasing music for quite a while, you must have picked up quite a few valuable lessons along the way. What we’d like to know is: if you could share just one piece of advice with someone who is starting their musical journey today, what would it be?

Take your time to learn, don’t feel shy to ask for help, don’t go too hard on your own musical critiques; time and patience bring results. Love making music and do it for yourself first. Thank you, guys, for having me; it’s an honor for me to have this chat with you. Huge thanks to everyone who has been listening to my music or discovering it. Much love to the Chillhop team, and special mention to Simon, Nathan, Bastien, and Greg, who have been the main people who helped me the most for all my releases. Much love, everyone!

A big thanks to C Y G N for giving us a glimpse into his world. You can find all of his music on Spotify, and be sure to follow him on Instagram.