Since graduating from the course, Alan Myson has been leading a quite successful career in the electronic music scene for over a decade now as well as working as a sound designer and composer for films, TV commercials and video games including Roll7-505Games’s award winning Laser Leage. We talk to Alan about his background, inspirations, impressions from the course and his recent release on Planet Mu, titled ‘Bodied’.
DMSA: Where do we find you now?
AM: Hi! I am currently in my studio in Norwich where I have just very recently moved to from Brighton. Sad to say goodbye to Brighton after having been there for so many years but fancied a change and it’s a beautiful part of the world around here.
DMSA: Three important words that represent you as a creative person
AM: Naivety: I think it’s really important as a musician to keep learning and (at least try to!) hold on to the magic of why you love making music in the first place. It is so easy after years of working in music to get stuck in your ways or start thinking of it purely as a job, I find I have to keep finding new ways to keep myself inspired and excited in what I’m doing, surprise myself and not take things for granted.
Experimentation: This is kind of an obvious one but there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’re sticking to your comfort zone. It can feel like a safety net if you’ve established a certain way of working and if you just keep repeating that you’ll stay fulfilled or productive, but for me I just can’t work that way. I don’t believe anyone does their best work when they are too comfortable!
Process: By this I mean I’m a firm believer that nothing is really wasted in art or music. Everything you do is a process and you have to take a lot of wrong turns, missteps and frankly write a lot of crappy music in order to get to the good stuff. You also never really know when you’re going to come back to an idea from years ago which at the time seemed like nothing. I have on countless occasions re-appropriated some weird idea I had previously or had even forgotten I’d written. I think its important to just churn out as much music as possible, you always learn something even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time!
DMSA: When did you start working with sound and music?
AM: I’ve been involved in music since a very young age at school where I was in orchestras and sang in choirs, played in bands and the like, but I would say my real passion for creating and writing music rather than just performing was when I got my first electric guitar around aged 13. That opened the door for me into the world of experimenting with effects pedals and loopers. From there I began making very lo-fi electronic music and beginning to teach myself the basics. Once I managed to get myself a computer and a copy of Ableton Live around 2004 I was just totally obsessed with it and have been ever since.
DMSA: In what ways has the DMSA course supported or helped you to develop into who you are today creatively and professionally?
AM: We had a great bunch of people on the course whilst at Uni, I feel we all inspired each other and I still regularly collaborate with and keep in touch with a few people from my DMSA days. I was signed as an artist just as I was starting the course in 2007 so it was a really good time for me to experiment and learn both on the academic side and starting out on my career as well. I was able to combine techniques and experiences from the course into my work straight away as I was doing both in parallel.
DMSA: Can you tell us a bit more about Bodied, your recent release on Planet Mu?
AM: I definitely feel I’ve had a change in my musical approach and attitude over the last few years with my album ‘Hollowed’ in 2016 and this latest album ‘Bodied’ I’ve had a strong urge to change things up. Over the last couple of years making this album I’ve also been working on a fair few composing projects for video games/film and other stuff. Doing this gave me some space from my own work and let me look at it in a different light. It was refreshing for my own solo musical output to not be my only creative outlet. Having been working as a musician for over 10 years now I found it really important to give myself a new focus and way of working. This album features a lot more live recording, which is usually totally mangled. It’s very firmly an electronic record but I’ve used recordings of Cello, Guitar, Piano etc as a backbone for a lot of the textures. I was also keen to work with a vocalist to give the record a human element, it’s totally non-lyrical – more ghostly and choral but gave me a different sound palette to work with than on previous material of mine.
DMSA: Other plans for the future? projects, events, visions?
AM: I tend to take a bit of a break from writing any of my “Ital Tek” music for a while after completing an album. I’ve been working on a number of composing projects and have some that I’m excited about coming up but unfortunately I can’t mention! I’m also working on a few collaborative projects which is not something I’ve done a great deal of in the past. I’m a bit of a control freak with my own music so it’s refreshing to get involved in projects where I have to leave that at the door. It makes me work in a different way and leads onto results that I could never have come up with myself.
Alan will be giving a Masterclass to our students on Monday 12th November, at 4:30pm in our performance studio. More info here.