Workspace and Environment: Protman

Hello. Thanks. Later.

How long have you been involved with making music/sound?
I've been making sound and music since early high school when a friend turned me on to MOD tracking, which is still my primary way of sequencing. We won battle of the bands that year with our computers, and were then DQ'd for having an "unfair advantage". The judges then gave the prize to the band with their parents playing the lead instruments. Do we have to talk about this?

What is your current favorite piece of hardware? What makes this your favorite?
My wireless xbox360 controller; I've rigged it up to function like having seven Kaoss pads in my hands at once.

What is your current favorite software or plugin? What makes this your favorite?
Schism Tracker, an Impulse Tracker emulator that works on any OS. There are so many reasons that it's my favorite. I've been using the interface for so long; it's like I become one with the computer while sequencing. I also prefer to combine it with a 1984 IBM "clicky" keyboard. That reminds me to add a "clicky" Das Keyboard to my wishlist. This also makes me require laptops with a full qwerty+numpad. I wish they made laptop keyboards more durable with more motion and clickyness. I need to pound my fist on it from time to time to see what happens. My favorite plugins are ones with very minimal or nonexistent GUIs like the MDA and Tweakbench plugs.

How does your physical space and surroundings influence your workflow?
I very often need to refresh and rearrange my workspace and workplace. Keep things and thneeds to a minimal minimum. If my surroundings become too static, I feel I become pathologically static creatively as well, and I'm pretty sure I need to go to rehab for internet abuse. Maybe yall can conspire an intervention for me.

Are you involved in any music/sound work outside of your own projects?
I've been involved in zillions of small projects for independent films and other media. I've been commissioned for some remixes; one for Beck that wound up being a fun fiasco. I also work freelance for several wireless hardware, content providers, and distributors. Pretty soon you'll be hearing tracks of mine built into Kyocera phones. There was also a ridiculous track of mine I never expected to be used as background music for some Playboy soft-core. "Campy" can't quite describe the results. I would definitely enjoy doing more of that.

What was the first piece of hardware you remember obtaining?
My Gravis Ultrasound MAX soundcard! It's huge! And pink! Google it.
It allowed me, for the first time, to use 16bit sounds as opposed to 8bit; though it did limit me to 512KB of sample data. Santa gave it to me the same xxxmas I acquired "The 7th Guest". That was when I got really deep into tracking, staying up till 3am on schoolnights and making audio cassettes to listen to in the morning. The memories of "Mod4Win" and "Cubic Player" are really making me wistful of my childhood.

What is on your current 'wish list' for new hardware or software?

I want the full, thousand million dollar, version of Ableton 7 in addition to items on: http://wishlist.protman.com . Otherwise, nothing special. I prefer to get funky with the fundementals rather than goofing off with new toys and warez. Less is more. I just ordered an 18" long 37 mini-key usb midi keyboard, too. I expect it should fit in my backpack. I need to ditch this dumpy behemoth CRT and get a nice wide flatscreen for my desktop, too.

What is in your live setup?
Laptop, headphones, game controller. I am also soon integrating a Dance Dance Revolution pad I translated to midi; maybe a couple.

Where were you born and how did you end up in the location you currently reside?
I was born on Long Island, NY. (Is it right to say "on?") My family moved to Chicagoland when I was about one for an opportunity at Sears & Roebuck. Since 1998 I've been moving all over Chicago with various friends and musicians, initially to be part of K-Rad way up on the north side. The longest I've lived anywhere was at Heaven Gallery in Wicker Park, but I've since moved near the near-southwest art district in Pillzen where my roommate Alexander and I bounce musical ideas off each others' faces.

How many physical locations have you had your studio setup in over time and how have they changed?
Hmm.. one, two, three, four, five, six, back to four; so seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven (same floor as ten, but a dramatically different space), twelve! i don't know if I really have time to elaborate. It was only at the sixth space where my bedroom and studio were not the same room. In the second iteration of the fourth space I lofted a California king sized mattress over my studio which also acted as soundproofing. Using only 4x4s, a handsaw, and a power-drill; I wish that determination came in a bottle or spray. There could also be an 8.5th space as I set up a small studio in an empty office of the bizarre ISP I worked for. Home is where you make it, homey.

Protman can be found at:
Protman Music


MatthewCosta said...

Interested since 2005, then started making it in 2006. Still have a lot to learn, ive only been using software.

Anonymous said...

Very cool room.

GavDoff aka BFG aka Funky Junky said...

Its like a transatlantic flashback, dunno bout 3am tho more like all night and bleary eyed in class the next day with loops still rolling round my head LOL

Anonymous said...

Hey wattop Protman. Been a millenium since we've chat, but you def inspired me back in the RCN days. Its me, Rich ur old Sup from tech support. Anywho, like what ur doin these days. Love to see u live sometime. Keep up the awsome tunes. I'm currently workin on stuff my self. My studio has grown also.

hanson ono. said...

this is a great interview.