I had a chance to interview Slavik Bortko, young and talented sound designer who has been creating patches for such well known synths as Native Instruments Massive and Sylenth1. Some of his patches has been released on Alonso Sound, Chicago based sound design company. You can check out some of Slavik’s sound design work on his SoundCloud page or via Alonso-Sound.com.
Here’s the interview.
Can you tell us a bit about who you are and how did you got involved with sound design?
My name is Slavik (Viacheslav) Bortko. I’m just a regular 18 year old guy from Russia. When I was 13 I discovered electronic music. I remember the first electronic composition in my life was “Oxygen 4” by maestro Jean Michel Jarre. This track was something extraordinary for me, and that’s how I got involved into electronic music. When I was 15 I discovered my first DAW, it was Reason 4 or 5 (I don’t remember), I downloaded my first plugins and samples and started to make music. It was always interesting to me on how to make good sounds using synths. So I studied a lot of physics in digital signal processing, read lots of sound design books, watched hundreds of video tutorials and that is how I first got involved into the world of sound design.
What’s your favourite synth or synth plugin (and why)?
Without a doubt my favorite plugin right now is Massive by Native Instruments. I couldn’t live without it. It has amazing low pass filters and a great FX section. I’m not usually a big fan of effects inside of most synthesizers, but I love Massive’s reverb. But the most important thing is the variety of wavetables. It’s really easy to use if you know how it works. Perhaps it’s the best soft-synthesizer ever made!
Where do you get ideas for your sounds and patches?
All my ideas come from the music that I listen to. Sometimes, I search for audio demos of analog synths, which really inspires me to push for a warm and higher quality sound.
What DAW are you using?
I’m a big fan of Fruity Loops. It’s very easy and quick to use. The piano roll is the best thing I’ve ever seen in DAWs. I’ve tried other DAWs like Cubase, Ableton, and Reason, but nothing got my ideas down better than FL Studio.
What kind of other gear (such as computer, studio monitors, etc) you have in your home studio?
I don’t have any special gear like hardware stuff or analog instruments or any audio interfaces. I only use my old PC (which is 10 years old), cheap monitors, a mouse, and a keyboard. That’s it. That’s how I work.
Who’s your favourite sound designer (if any) and why?
My favorite sound designers are Howard Scarr and Richard Devine. These guys are just pure Gods of sound. Just look up what Richard does with his modular synths, and then you’ll understand.
What’s your personal opinion: do producers need to be a sound designer to be able to make good music or is using ready made patches ok?
You don’t have to be a professional sound designer to make “original” music because there are guys who can help you with that. Over at Alonso Sound, we’ve worked with several great producers over the years on their unique sound. But in each of our releases we strive to design sounds that artists can quickly and easily tweak to make it their own. That’s how sound design should be.
That being said, just look at Martin Garrix. He is a big fan of presets and samples, and his “Animals” record has gone Platinum. In other words, you just need to know how to use a particular sound.
What’s your favourite musical genre?
My favorite music genre is trance but I also love deep house, progressive and some drum and bass. Sometimes I listen to rock, hip-hop, and even classical music. It’s all about your mood.
Any future plans in your sound design and/or production field?
I’m planning to release an upcoming soundest for Massive and I’m thinking about making some patches for Spire by Reveal Sound, a very interesting and fresh sounding synth. There are some secret upcoming things I can’t talk about yet. And also, I hope to release my first sample pack soon, but let’s see what the future holds.
Any tips for beginner sound designers?
Work hard, work harder, work as hard as you can. Never stop working on your projects. Learn more about sound every single day – read books, talk to producers, and listen to good music. Start to learn simple synths like 3xOSC, Sylenth1 (Yes, it looks simple but it’s the most popular virtual synthesizer in the world), and FabFilter One. You just have to learn the basics on how the ADSR works, what oscillators are etc. And remember: red on the meter is bad.
Thanks for the interview, Slavik!
Slavik has also designed a brand new soundset for Sylenth1: “Alonso Sylenth1 Rising Star Soundset” and it has been recently released on Alonso Sound. It contains 320 high quality patches aimed for EDM producers. I’ve been playing with the sounds for a little while and here’s my short review:
Honestly, I think this soundset will quickly become a go to soundbank for modern EDM producers! There’s no “filler” patches here. Each preset is designed with care. My favourite category is the bass presets. They are PHATT and there’s plenty of them. Personally, I found tons of gems there I’m going to use in my own tracks. Also, the pads sounded very vibrant and rich with a really nice movement. And of course, not forgetting the leads: they sound HUGE! This is definitely a must have soundset for every EDM producer out there.
If you don’t believe me, listen some audio examples below:
Alonso Sound is having a special introductory price for this soundset so you can get it for $39 until June 4, 2014. After that, the price goes back up to $49. Get it here.