Featured Artist WVM
SEQUENTIAL INTERVIEW – WVM
WVM is a musician, composer, visual artist, and actor located in Los Angeles, California. He is a multi-instrumentalist who mainly uses analog equipment. A great number of his early demos under a number of different monikers were licensed to TV shows and video games such as Supergirl, UFC 3, Sony Computer Entertainment’s Infamous 2 Official Karma trailer, Syfy’s Being Human, CBS’s Criminal Minds, and Hostages, among many other TV shows and video games.
We chatted with WVM on how he’s using the Prophet-6 and Prophet Rev2 in his music:
How did you first get started with music? Was it nature or nurture for you: Were you a self-starter or was it something that you grew into?
My mother gave me a guitar when I was 3. It was bigger than me. The thing is, I never had lessons, so for the longest time I was playing the guitar without any idea what I was doing and completely out of tune. But I made noise on it nonetheless. I was given a Casio keyboard a bit after that and I was immediately entranced. I taught myself how to read music on the piano and started playing both by ear and sheet music. Back then I was very into classical music and found myself listening to it more than anything else. Over time I experimented with a number of different genres but I feel that evolution was necessary to get to where I am now which is more electronic based. But you can hear the elements and attitude of many other genres blended in.
It seems that some musicians have a sort of “eureka” moment in their early years where the light bulb comes on and they realize “This is what I need to be doing.” Do you remember anything like that for you?
I recall knowing that creating music and art is what I am supposed to be doing. It’s just a feeling. I have an extremely creative mind and I need to unload my thoughts and ideas. Otherwise I would not feel complete as a person.
Tell us about your first synth!
It was the Casio synth I mentioned earlier. I can’t remember the model, but it was tiny. Like one octave, if I remember right.
Do you usually design your own sounds? If so, how do you approach that?
When I design sounds I just mess around till I get something I like. I’m sure there are musicians that can precisely dial in exactly what they have in mind, but I’m more a guy that likes to experiment and find happy accidents. I have a good knowledge of how to design, but honestly, I prefer tweaking things till I like what I hear, boldly experimenting without much forethought at times. Since I’m self taught, I don’t know the rules in music, design, and art, so I end up breaking all of them. I’ll write songs in strange keys and time signatures that’s difficult to translate at times.
What kind of things get you excited about an instrument?
Everything. The sound obviously. The UI. The ability to create what you want. The look and feel are very important.
When you get a musical idea how do you go about developing it? Can you give us an example?
It’s different every time. There are a number of songs that started out in dreams but I haven’t released any of those yet. I’m holding them for later. I’d have a dream in the middle of the night and wake up and hum it and describe it on my phone then go back to sleep and work on it later. On the “Eye On” EP, the songs all started differently. For example, on “More Than You’ll Ever Know,” it started as a classical piano composition where I had no intention of putting on voice and other instruments. But the more I listened to it, I started hearing melodies and beats in my head and it developed from there. With “Killing Eyes” it started with me messing around on my synth and the bass line came from just jamming out and everything developed from there.
Do you have certain musical ideals? Certain things that you strive for?
I’ve released many demos in my past. Some songs I consider half done, but that didn’t stop them from being licensed. In fact, 95% of the songs I have ever written in the past that I consider purely demos have been licensed to a TV show or video game somewhere. I guess I have a very visual style to my music, which makes sense because I am a visual artist as well, and I am a very visual person. But I reached a point where I wasn’t happy with any of those songs and I took the vast majority of them down, with the exception of 3 or 4 songs. Upon taking most everything down, I became very deliberate in what I wanted to release, so I hunkered down and focused on creating music that I would enjoy ten years after release. That’s what these new songs are about. I think a large part of this process is mixing the songs myself. It’s amazing how mixing will change things in a song. But as an artist, I feel in order to fulfill the vision I have, I had to mix it to be sure the final version is exactly as I want. I’m a self taught mixer and honestly, sometimes it feels like I have a blindfold on in an enclosed pitch black room and I am just feeling my way through a bunch of naked bodies trying to figure things out. But so far, my mixes satisfy me. I’m sure there are tricks I’ll learn, and when I get a deal I can work with people to make sure things go as I want. But for right now, creating those final mixes, though it can sometimes be a very tedious process, can also be very fulfilling in the end.
Generally speaking, are you happier in the studio or on stage?
I absolutely love both. I love playing live and want to do much more of it. Performing is a blast. I love it. I am working on things to take my performances to the next level. I am absolutely focused on both.
What are you listening to these days?
Phil Collins! Love Phil. 70s and 80s disco. I mean dirty, grimy disco. Yoda and Leia’s themes by John Williams are so beautiful they give me goose bumps every time. Also, Electric Light Orchestra, Prince, Michael Jackson, Death Grips, and Nipsey Hussle.
What kinds of things inspire you — musically or otherwise. Has this changed much over time?
Beautiful women inspire me. Beauty inspires me. The ability to make a difference in the world inspires me. Innovation inspires me. Science and physics inspire me. Freedom inspires me. Giving inspires me. Love inspires me.
Do you have a musical bucket list?
Grammies. Oscars. Large Festivals. You know, the usual.
Turning to your gear for a moment, what made you choose the Prophet-6 and Rev2?
It’s a combination of many things, from history, to quality, to a lot of intangibles that are hard to describe. When I look at Dave in interviews, I see someone that has a profound love for what he does. This attracts me. It’s hard to see Sequential as a company when he talks about his products. It’s more like a work of love and art. This is important to me, particularly when I choose an instrument to create the sounds I hear in my head. The Prophet-6 and the Rev2 help me lose myself in the sounds and music I can create, and I love that.
How are you using them?
It depends on the songs. For example with “Immortal Eye” the song started on the Rev 2, where I was messing around with the bass and came up with the riff that just developed from there. With a song like “More Than You Will Ever Know,” it started on the piano, then I added my Prophet-6 to thicken the sounds of the piano in parts. For example, in the little solo sections after the choruses, that’s my P6 and piano playing together as one. I plan to release these songs in small EPs at first, then combine them into a full length album. But not all the songs will go into the full length album. These smaller EPs are broken up into different vibes. The first vibe is very melancholy and revolves around the piano. In fact, there is a piano piece called “Eye Am” that’s just a piano instrumental, with a bit of neo-classical leanings. But I plan to release another batch soon after the first with more high energy and electronic sounds that showcase my synths a lot more.
What are your favorite things about your Sequential synths?
Of course the warmth and the sounds they can generate. But also the look. I love the way these synths look. I know that sounds superficial, but I think everything is involved when you’re making music. When you’re staring at an instrument, how it looks can sometimes turn you on, and take you somewhere else. Both my Prophets do this to me. They give me a sci-fi feel for some reason. Of course, the build and how an instrument feels is very important, too and you can feel the quality with all Sequential products. But most important is the sound. These synths have a very unique sound, and it’s one that I love.
What do they give you that other synths don’t?
The depth at which you can create different sounds, modulate, and experiment. I find both my Prophets take me places I never thought I’d go at times.
Any interesting tricks or techniques you’d like to share?
No tricks. The only suggestion I can make is to just experiment. Dive in. Tweak the knobs and just keep tweaking. Sometimes you come up with some very unexpected stuff. Happy accidents.