Dennis Sindram, better known as Galaxy Explorer, only started learning to play music in the spring of 2011. Producing music only on his iPhone allows him to focus solely on the music and not get distracted by thousands of knobs or fancy DAW software that, to most artists, seems like the most professional way to produce. Even after trying the iPad (and returning it) Dennis continues to produce only on his iPhone…
Tell us a little big about you and your music!
My music bio is not very long. I started producing music with NanoStudio and ThumbJam in the spring 2011. I had never made music myself before in my life. I had never learned to play an instrument and had no prior knowledge of notes, keys, scales ect… I learned by doing! That was and still is my way. Of course now I know more about how these things work together… But I’m still learning …and I better with each track! I’d made about 60-70 tracks (but deleted most of them) in the previous year and a half. I began with trance, which I still love, but I changed to more atmospheric music. I try to make music that makes pictures in your mind!
Your SoundCloud says that all of your tracks are %100 produced on your iPhone 4, you use an iPad at all? What can you say about making so much music on such a little device?
I use no iPad! I bought an iPad for Christmas 2011 but it was not the right thing for me. I like it all in my pocket. So I brought it back. Sometimes I think about getting the new iPad to have more tools for creating music but I think I`ll stick it out for the new iPhone. I really like that “100% done on a small smartphone feeling!” It was really hard to create a full track at the beginning. But with “copy/paste” from app to app and things like “virtual midi,” it was the right deal for me.
Tell me a little more about that “100% done on a small smartphone feeling,” have you ran into any limitations working on only the iPhone? Do you think that it hinders creativity or productivity?
Yes, especially with tracks like “Away” or “Endless,” the app I was using crashed! For example, in the last 1:30 minutes from “Away,” I layered about 250MB of samples from different apps! Some parts were only a few seconds while others were 1-2 minutes! I had to change the format to handle it without any issues. Every now and then I think about Pro Tools for high-end desktop production, but a “big” DAW and VSTs with thousands knobs and all that extra stuff would kill my inspiration and workflow for sure… Give me a genre, a BPM and a theme and I’ll make a track in a few hours! On a desktop, I would waste hours with the buttons! I also thought about just using the desktop for mixing and mastering, or using the touch screen as desktop controller (with Alchemy possibly)… but no way!
Being able to “draw” live my sounds like in the Animoog synth is such a great thing! My friends also have a good laugh when I express the violin vibrato/tremolo in ThumbJam by shaking the phone. With the iPad? I didn’t even try. Almost looked like a conductor on drugs. ;-) At the end of the day, I can live with the limitations! Learning with them can be such a great thing. I’m sure the iOS music scene will grow fast. I don’t need a keyboard, no expensive desktop or software! Just my phone. And it will only get better in the future for sure. So I’m sticking with 100% mobile producing! I love it! And the love for things you do is more important than any limitations!
What’s your typical song workflow like? Do you come up with ideas in certain apps and then expand them in other apps or do you bring musical ideas from elsewhere onto your iPhone for finishing off?
First I think about what feelings or emotions the track should bring out. Dark and melancholic, uprising and happy, mystic and ethereal, or whatever… Then I think about a beat. Should it be a 4/4 bumping beat or a heavy drum and bass, break beat or whatever, or should it be a pure sound scape. Sometimes I change my mind complete when I´m about 50% done with the track! Sometimes I’ll use up to 10 different apps for one track. Other times I’ll think about a track for 1 or 2 weeks, but right when I play the first note, I’ll finished in a just few days. Either way, it all begins and ends on my iPhone!
Favorite iSynth / Favorite app and why?
My favorite apps are Alchemy Mobile and NanoStudio. Others would include Animoog, SunrizerXS and ThumbJam. NanoStudio is always my mother ship. Sometimes I’ll use it just for sequencing but most of the time I’ll also use it’s Eden synth. Alchemy also blows my mind. I love to program my own patches/presets in NanoStudio, Sunrizer, Animoog. Alchemy also has a lot things like a BMP range of 5 to 999, special knobs / FX for each preset. Also the pad changes are awesome! There are also a ton of other features in Alchemy that I just love…
What’s in store for Galaxy Explorer? Now that your first album is out, do you have any thoughts on what you might be working on in the future?
I’m really happy to finished a complete 12-track album called “The Journey-Escape from Earth”. Which is available here: http://www.galaxyexplorer.bandcamp.com/
My next project is a special Halloween EP with 6 dark and haunting tracks. Two tracks are finished. You can listen to all my other music here.