David Israel, better know as Smite Matter, was one of the first artists to release an album made entirely iOS. His debut album Technopolis Lost takes you on an ambient journey through an world of noises and soundscapes that really paint pictures in your mind. While producing, David also publishes reviews of the apps he uses on his blog. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @SmiteMatter to keep up with his music and app reviews.
Tell us a little bit about you and your music!
I grew up moving a lot. My mom just couldn’t stay put. Spent my elementary years in Washington State, teens in Los Angeles, and then back here to Tacoma Washington where I now live with my wife and two kids. I’m pretty much just a regular guy. Like many others my music is a reflection of how I feel about things. I like to make ambient electronic music the most. I just love how it inspires and takes me on a journey in so many directions. I try to make songs that take the listener somewhere unique, and tell a story along the way. Sometimes it’s dark, other times its uplifting & inspiring. I don’t rely heavily on beats and often will just let the flow move within its natural rhythm. I love to create music outside, in a park, the forest, or nearby mountains in a mix of nature with technology. Wires are not an option or of any interest to me.
What got you started with iOS?
I got my first iPod touch in 2009 and began experimenting with the early apps. I was just messing around at first, having fun with the apps. It wasn’t long before I started to really get into it. I was making dance type stuff (under a different name), laced with ambient moods. I Shared a self made CD with friends and family at the end of 2009. Out of nowhere a close friend who is a longtime musician (Dean De Benedictis AKA Surface 10) showed interest, and gave me a lot of encouragement. He wanted me to make a full album that he would release on his label Fateless Flows Records after the new year 2010. That was the big push that sent me onward. I haven’t looked back since. Nothing went as planned, delays plagued 2010 so we missed the Jan 2010 release plan by quite a bit. It was definitely for the best and I think the time was well spent learning, and refining. The album release didn’t happen until October 2011 with “Technopolis Lost“. Finally.
What percent of your music is generated / recorded on iOS?
Absolutely every part of my music is made using just my iOS devices and apps. My computer is nothing more than a glorified storage unit for all my sounds, and projects. The only other thing I use is an iRig Mic once in a while. I make every stitch using just iOS.
Many of the tracks you’re uploading to SoundCloud were made in Auria, is that going to be your main DAW for the upcoming album?
Yes. Auria has really changed my whole process. It’s an amazing piece of technology with all the quality tools I need from start to finish. It’s allowed me to cut many workarounds out of my process. It’s my main iDAW for everything I do today. I say “today” because we all know how fast things change in iOS.
What do you like about Auria? Is there anything you don’t like? What do you think it says about making music on the iPad?
Before Auria I had to do a lot of extra processing to get the sounds I was looking for. I had to move files to get the right effects, master in another app etc. I couldn’t get much from the iOS reverbs to sound good on their own. I used to have to do a lot more work to get a passable reverb effect that had some body. Auria has a good basic Reverb, but also a Convolution Reverb with a large IR library of various reverberation types. I can arrange, mix, and master all in one place. The only thing I dislike is that track freeze doesn’t free up memory yet. It just takes some burden off the CPU. I hear that soon track freeze will also free up memory.
Auria is really a very professional and quality app. It pushes current iPads to their limits, but also says that it can be done. It’s a great iDAW, I’m sure it will get better, and there will be others as well. I think the days of being boxed in with just 8,12, or even 24 tracks are behind us. This is real.
What synthesizer app(s) did you find yourself using the most in Technopolis Lost?
So much has changed since then. I’ve had and used so many apps, its difficult to remember things perfectly. I used Sunrizer and Addictive Synth heavily near the end with the last few tracks. Early on it was mostly the Eden Synth from NanoStudio, NLogSynth PRO, and a bit from Crystal, & iMS-20. I wish I had Magellan or WaveGenerator back then.
What, if any, MIDI/keyboard gear do you use? Is there anything you’ve got your eye out for?
Well since I’m not interested in having any wires or extra gear around me, I’ve not really used any MIDI devices. My inner gadget loving self really wants to get a portable keyboard, but I’ve not used any at all except my iRig Mic. However, the iRig Keys is interesting to me for sure. I might get something someday, but with the iPad changing so often, I have to put my money toward that. They’re becoming expensive disposable technology with a 6 month life span. I love the advances, but geez, 6 months? If they are to be obsolete so fast Apple should lower the price or offer at least %50 trade in value. I’m sure that’ll happen, haha.
After this, we might start seeing apps appear as IAPs (in app purchases) inside of Auria. Would that provide for a better UI in your opinion? Would you pay for the IAP version again if you already owned the app?
That’s a very interesting question. Generally, I’m not fond of IAPs. If the in app plug in or whatever they’re offering adds to the experience without watering down the features that ship with an app, then sure why not. Auria was launched with the understanding that they will offer more plug ins at additional cost so it shouldn’t be too shocking. When the offered IAP product is the same as a stand alone app that’s already being sold, that seems odd to me since Audiobus will make the desired connection. However, the idea of having all the tools on the same screen without the need of any additional app connecting them does appeal to me. That part would be better. I wouldn’t pay again for something I already have though. It would have to be something new that I don’t have yet.
What’s in store next for Smite Matter?
I’m working on my next album now. It’s in the very early stages, and I haven’t decided on a title for it yet. I did decide on a concept to base it on. I’m going to make each song specifically for certain people I’ve known and who have had a large role in making me who I am. It is a difficult process emotionally to face some old memories that are both good and bad. It certainly will be honest, and emotional. The style will be less beat driven, and more traditional ambient drone-ish to some extent. I don’t know how long it will take, I don’t see it being completed this year. I just took too long making decisions. But, it is coming along. Fingers crossed. Other than making my own music, I’m contributing to collaborative efforts, helping musicians that ask how to get started in iOS music, beta testing, etc. I’m also balancing my blog, writing iOS music app reviews and whatever else strikes me as interesting. It may not sound like it, but I have a full plate and keeping up on everything is very challenging. I just try and do my best, and keep learning.
Check out David’s latest track, Rise To The Light, on SoundCloud:
Auria on the
Keep up with Smite Matter on Facebook, SoundCloud, and Twitter. David also has a blog, which filled with some really thurow app reviews.
Smite Matter’s Technopolis Lost is available on
Auria on the