Community Artist Of The Month   2023 - SYNC.EXE

Community Artist Of The Month 2023 - SYNC.EXE

Community Artist Of The Month July 2023 - SYNC.EXE

In the third edition of our Community Artist of the Month series we are delighted to showcase 20 year old producer, singer & drummer (a real triple threat) SYNC.EXE.

Bursting onto the scene in the last few years with his incredible ability to produce any genre and make it sound like his own, SYNC.EXE is gearing up to release his next album ‘Equinox II’. We sat down to talk all things music from how he got started, putting together the new album, favourite plugins and so much more.


Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you first got started making music?

I grew up in a family full of musicians. All of us either played an instrument, sang or did both. I was the one who picked up multiple instruments including piano, percussion and bass. One of my siblings got into composing and scoring competitions using sheet music software, which sparked my interest. In 2014, I wrote my first original composition, a simple but lengthy piano piece that I structured myself. Since then, the keyboard has been my primary tool for starting new songs.

Despite your young age of 20, you have already been releasing music for five years. I'm interested in hearing about the significant lessons you have learned throughout this period and how your music has transformed over time? Before creating the music I make now, I used to produce EDM. One of the most important lessons I've learned during that time is that rejection is a common occurrence. Instead of feeling discouraged for extended periods, I kept creating because eventually I was able to develop my signature sound through the trial and error of continuous music-making.

Given your incredible ability to create music across diverse genres, it's difficult to put your music into a box (which is great!). I'm curious about your musical upbringing. Considering the wide range of influences that seem to have shaped the music you releases, what styles of music (and any artists in particular) were you exposed to growing up? Honestly, I was exposed to a wide variety of music genres and I'm grateful for that. Surprisingly, I was first introduced to Broadway music when I was only 2 years old, specifically the soundtrack to "RENT." That memory holds a special place in my heart, as it was around that age that I started singing. Later on, I began listening to a lot of rock music from bands like Pearl Jam, Living Colour, and Rise Against. My venture into EDM and music production in general was sparked by artists like Haywyre, Virtual Riot, Pegboard Nerds, and WRLD. I fell in love with the Future Bass genre due to its melodic chord progressions. Jazz music also found its way into my playlist, with artists like Avashi Cohen and Kenny Garrett alongside the EDM and rock music I was listening to. Eventually, I was introduced to Lo-Fi, Chillhop and Neo-Soul music through acts like Moonchild, Blue Wednesday, and Ian Ewing.

Can we talk a little bit about your setup? What software/hardware do you use? My setup isn't as elaborate as you might think. I use a small 2i2 Focusrite audio interface, a decent laptop and an Arturia Keylab 88 Essential. I have been using FL Studio since I started making music, but over time I have also gained hands-on experience with software such as Ableton, Logic Pro, and Pro Tools.

Do you have any favourite plugins that you use on pretty much everything? Keyscape is always the first plugin I open when starting a new project. Trilian is usually next for bass and Kontakt for synths and other elements that fit the vibe I'm going for. When it comes to mixing and mastering, it depends, but I frequently rely on Neutron and Ozone. My recent favourite is Drum Shaper by XLN Audio. It helps tighten up drum breaks and assists with sidechaining the melodic instruments as well.

With the release of your album "Equinox II" just around the corner, featuring some exciting collaborations, I'm curious to know more about why you decided to theme the album around the four seasons. What led you to take this approach and how does it contribute to the overall theme or narrative of the album? To be honest, the concept of the album was a happy accident. Back in November 2019, I wrote a song that would change my life, I finished it in one day and released it two days later. At the time, no one really knew about me, but that track held significant meaning and set the stage for something extraordinary. Later on, I started working on a winter EP as a joke, as I was still making EDM. One of the tracks from that EP, "Destination," happened to capture the essence of the season. After releasing the 5-song EP, I asked myself, "What if I kept going? What if I created an EP for each season, released them when the seasons changed and combined them into an album?" That's how the passion project "Project Seasons" was born. Throughout 2020, I created four EPs representing each season from my perspective, which later became "Equinox." The idea behind the four seasons was to explore different styles and aesthetics that were unique yet connected. The first album set a narrative that would continue across the next two albums. Initially, it was unintentional but accidents happen for a reason. "Equinox" serves as the first chapter of the first book, with each album representing a chapter and its location within the overarching story. "Equinox" sets the destination of finding a home, followed by "Chromeostasis" which represents the voyage to get home, leading us to the final chapter of the book, "Equinox II", signifying the discovery of home. One musical technique that fascinated me throughout the project was the use of leitmotifs—short recurring themes throughout compositions—creating a narrative thread across all three projects. "Equinox II" features leitmotifs not only from the album itself but also from the previous two albums.

We'd love to learn more about the making of the album. When did you begin working on it, and what has the process of working on a full body of work been like? Additionally, I'm curious about your approach to collaborations. How do you go about choosing who you wanted to collaborate with, and how did those collaborative tracks come about? Technically, this project began in April 2021. I say technically because initially I was only planning to create a fall-themed EP for a label. However, in September of that same year, I started working on some random songs that had a touch of spring in them. Suddenly, everything fell into place. I spent the entire night working on potential tracks until 4 in the morning (yes, it was a school night). I had one rule for this album: no half-assed songs. I made sure to give myself enough time to complete the album, with a planned release date set for late 2023 at the time. I finished fall first, followed by winter. Spring holds a special place in my heart, not only because it's my favourite season, but also because I was incredibly serious about how I wanted this album to turn out. I ended up scrapping around 12 songs from the spring section before finalising the last 6, and 2 of those songs remained intact throughout the process.

When it came to collaborating with other artists, I considered several factors: their sound, the mood they portrayed in their tracks and the overall aesthetic. I wanted the collaborators to align with the vision of the album. Sometimes, I would have a nearly finished track or just a loop and I was never worried about what the collaborators would send back. I always found a way to make their contributions fit within the song. This album knows no limitations.

Moving away from the album for a moment, who are some of your favourite beatmakers/producers in the scene right now? Some of my favourite beatmakers right now are Milye, Tane, The Alchemist and Harrison. If you hear anything I release in the future, know that they are the ones inspiring me at the moment.

What strategies or practices do you employ to overcome creative blocks and find inspiration when you're feeling stuck? I don't experience creative blocks that often, and I'm not sure why. I always seem to have a melody or chord progression stuck in my head every single day. Even when I don't, I'll go through my collection of sample packs and find something to experiment with. However, even I can't sit in front of a screen for extended periods, so I've been exercising and cooking more often to give myself a break from screens.

And finally, if you could give one piece of advice to somebody just starting out in making music, what would it be?

Don't make music for others; make it for yourself.

As musicians, we often try to follow trends and seek validation from others, but I soon realised that it wasn't what I wanted anymore. I couldn't stand making repetitive beats just because people liked them. Instead, I started adding more structure to my tracks, which challenged me in a rewarding way. Even if no one likes the music I create at the end of the day, it's fine. You should make the type of music that you genuinely enjoy, rather than trying to cater to others expectations.

Thanks very much to SYNC.EXE for letting us into his world and sharing his production process. His album Equinox II drops on the 14th August. You can check out all of his music on Spotify and be sure to give him a follow on Instagram.