Music has been my best friend since about three years old. I’ve always loved it, and it’s always been around. I don’t really have any hobbies that aren’t music related, in fact. I get enjoyment just from listening to and making music. That’s pretty much me in a nutshell.
Home Town: Yerevan, Armenia
Currently Living: Los Angeles, CA
Origin Of Name: I’ve always liked how simple and effective it would be to use my own name, but didn’t exactly want to write it out, so I went with M35.
Weapon of Choice: My production suite of choice is Ableton Live, but I sometimes use Logic Pro for certain tasks. I love using Pioneer equipment to perform live and sometimes I incorporate DJ software in the setup.
Source of Power: I draw inspiration from my favorite artists, of course, and my ability to play so many instruments, which allows me to be more expressive in my programming. I hardly have to experiment with different chords to find the best progression because I already hear the outcome in my head before I program anything. Being a proficient player of any musical instrument, and having a strong understanding of music theory and audio engineering, should be plenty of inspiration for any producer.
Was there one particular moment in the recording or mixing process for your Discovery Project entry that made you feel like you were creating something pretty damn special?
I was a bit late in starting my Discovery Project submission, with only about a week left until the deadline. In addition to that, I’d only finished one track before and wasn’t too sure about how I was going to manage finishing my second track ever in only a week. I was also a bit unsure if a trance tune would even catch Insomniac’s attention, with most of the previous winners being dominantly electro or bass music artists. However, I stuck to what I did best and made a trance track with a nice uplifting breakdown and sort of an electro influenced second drop. It was then when I finally felt confidence in my submission. The track wasn’t too flashy or hyped sounding, and it was the first time that I felt I’d made something tasteful. I went ahead and made my DJ mix, including my trance tune as the first track in the mix, in addition to a mixture of my favorite trance and house tunes at the time. In a matter of two weeks or so, Insomniac got in contact with me to tell me that I was in, and that was the moment that truly solidified my confidence in my music once and for all.
Are there any dots to connect with where/how you grew up to your musical output?
I owe it all to my parents for pushing me toward music at such a young age. My father was somewhat of an audiophile, and that definitely rubbed off onto me. I was always interested in how music was made from a young age and my parents, who are professional violinists, taught me everything I know about music theory. Acquiring such a deep knowledge and understanding of music by learning to play so many instruments has led me to become more interested in the creation of musical pieces in the digital medium. I doubt that I’d be in this field if my parents weren’t musicians.
Do you have any memorable moments from past EDC’s or any other Insomniac party?
EDC Orlando was my first DJ gig and the first EDC that I’ve attended outside of California. That party was definitely the most memorable Insomniac Event for me and I’d do anything to go back and experience it all over again. When I first arrived at the rave with my gear, I was very nervous. After watching some of the biggest acts go up on stage and man the decks with utter confidence, however, I was so inspired that when it came time for me to go up on the Neon Garden stage, I didn’t feel even a bit of nervousness. It was so natural that I felt like I’ve been doing this for years.
Are you impulsive with your work or do you have a sketch in mind before you start?
Generally, I have an idea of what I’m going to make when I sit down to produce. It’s always a chord progression or a lead line of some sort at first, and I’ll build drums, bass, and effects around it. Sometimes I start something very trancey and it ends up being more of a festival electro track with an uplifting breakdown. Other times I’ll sit down to design a bass sound and immediately the track builds itself after I imagine how the sound should be used. The one thing I try and avoid, however, is starting a track with drums. When I start with drums, I usually lose sight of my initial game plan because all I’m hearing are transient sounds and no musical elements so my mind goes blank. I usually working on the drums after I have something that’s worth turning into a track, like some good chords, or a nice lead hook.
How, if at all, does listening to music figure into your creative process?
Listening to music is very important for all musicians. The reason we are musicians in the first place is because we heard music and it intrigued us into figuring out how we can make it ourselves. I’m sure there are some very talented producers who don’t need to listen to anything to be inspired, but they’ve surely listened to lots of music before and all their musical influences are consolidated into their minds. The last track that I heard which made me want to run to the studio was Knife Party’s “EDM Death Machine.”
Is success physical or internal?
Making a prosperous career out of music is both physical and internal success. When I listen back to a new track of mine and I’m pleased with the results, I get a great deal of physic income. If that track were to become a chart topper, the feeling would stay the same because I don’t like to measure success with a dollar value. Ultimately, most producers’ views on this topic has to do with why they got into this field in the first place. I didn’t start making music because I thought I’d make a lot of money or be famous. In fact, I was always advised by my family not to pursue music as a career.
What’s the hardest professional lesson you’ve learned thus far?
Learning to make sacrifices is one of the hardest professional lessons I’ve learned since I decided to get serious about my music. Even now, I feel that I could be spending more time on production. Learning that has made my life a lot easier, because this is my main and only path to being financially stable in the future. It’s very important, especially for someone who hasn’t exactly found their sound yet, to make this their main priority. You need to eat, live, and breath production if you want to be the best you can possibly be in this game. That, of course, is subjective and very person specific. Some may argue that they can get by with minimal knowledge in production and make lots of money with it. That’s not what I’m about and I’d rather not make subpar records just to have content.
What advice would you offer someone thinking about entering the Discovery Project competition?
For anyone who is thinking about entering, I’d suggest they work very hard on their original/remix and not just finish it for the sake of having content to turn in, but to make something special that stands out. It would also be an advantage to not only include the track submission into the mix submission, but to also include other original tracks and remixes into the mix. That way, it shows that when you perform live, you’ll have more original material to play out. For me, this didn’t quite work out because at the time when I entered, I only had about two original tracks out. If I could go back with my material now, I’d have so much more music of my own to play at EDC Orlando.