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My Coronavirus update

Summer update

A summer 2020 update from Soundsauca, on the state of play, sailing the seven seas, catching coronavirus and upcoming plans.

Following on from my Monospace Monologue post back in April, time has sped by. It’s well into summer and I wanted to give a quick update on how things have gone for Soundsauca since starting out.

Thank you

First off, I’ve been enthused by all the support I have received since beginning Soundsauca, It really has been a humbling experience. I know I’ve said it a lot, but for someone who has never put their name to anything before, I was genuinely surprised how many people have liked what I’ve done, got into contact with me, and even bought my sound banks. I’ve also really appreciated the constructive feedback (positive and negative) about my work.

A case in point was early on when I was advised of some tuning issues on some of my sounds. That was an eye opener for me, I had worked immensely hard to release work as great as I could make it, but whilst knee deep attempting to achieve that, I had made a schoolboy error. Left unchecked this would have been a real show stopper… a massive thanks goes to Mario for his approach and generosity with that.

Picture of Michael from Soundsauca

No pro

As I’m sure many of you are aware, I am not a pro – not even close, and it was and still is quite scary playing in the big pool with other people that are! I’ve always aimed in life to do the best that I’m capable of and, if I fall short, to do all l I can to make things right.

Ups and downs

The other thing I have enjoyed is how many really cool like minded people there are out there, doing similar things to me. Many have offered their opinions and guidance and, likewise I’ve tried to do the same in return.

As always in life there’s a flip side. When I began this project, I knew I wouldn’t please everyone, and that was ok, we can’t all like the same stuff and there’s so many genres of music out there that no one bank or person can ever cover it all. However I didn’t calculate for a few that would actively go out of their way to subvert and sideline my work. I know it’s a big world and all, but I wasn’t really ready for that initially. Still, life is all a great experience and I’ve just accepted a small minority just don’t roll the same way, preferring to trip me over for whatever reason. I’ll leave it at that – they know who they are…

The team

Soundsauca has never been motivated by money, that’s probably why I don’t have that much ha ha! If like me you are genuinely passionate about what you do, and want to survive, it certainly does help and maybe it will lead to better things. Some people have asked whether I’m a company, the answer is no, there isn’t any team or anything, just myself (Michael) and my good friend Oreo (Below).

There’s also no impressive studio as such, it’s just the bedroom with the gear. Years ago I did have a much bigger setup, but there isn’t the room for that right now. Anyway I find a streamlined setup works well for sound design, as I usually concentrate on one synth at a time, I pull the synths out and rotate. In a way it’s more productive than when I used to have all my racks and stands everywhere. Sometimes I do have multiple synths on the go, but it’s as and when required.

Circular symmetry

Despite my minimalistic ideals, I still rely on people doing the “right thing” and the vast majority have – thank you. If you like my work and can afford it, I really appreciate your support. However, if you genuinely can’t, talk to me! I can’t promise to always be able to accommodate, but I’m quite reasonable and understand that people in all walks of life are going through the ringer right now. As you’ll appreciate, a big time investment goes into my sounds, video & website. I’m not interested in becoming a YouTube celebrity, so there’s no ad revenue streams to rely upon, but I’m making my Korg Monologue bank free perminantly, and over time I hope to be able to offer more on that front.

Ahoy matey!

Arrr!…now then, to address the elephant in the room. It was always going to happen, I knew that, but when you’re just starting out, it kinda makes you feel like giving up. The last thing anyone needs with any software is people going to some site and downloading or sharing them freely, but when you’re tiny (like me!) it still hurts. In May it became quite evident that this had occurred. It’s not that difficult to see really, especially when an influx of people ask me the same question and I know the sales figures of the bank in question! Many have sailed on the Seven Seas but in the end isn’t it all just bad karma?

As for the money I do make, well as you’d expect I have plans to “reinvest” into the project and buy more synths and make more sounds. Circular symmetry indeed. I won’t go crazy though as there’s little point in buying stuff and waiting ages to make sounds. I’d rather get things as I create with them. If you have any ideas, preferences or requests, please feel free to let me know.

Illustration of the Coronavirus

My Coronavirus

Back in June, my family managed to catch the dreaded Coronavirus. I’ll start by saying how lucky we all are. God knows how we got it as we were all under lockdown, adhering to social distancing. I’m blaming the postman or the runners that panted like Labradors whilst passing me on the daily walk!

I think we must have got a milder strain, but as I’m sure you’ll appreciate, it wasn’t much fun and the whole illness put me out of action for some time. I remember one particular point where my wife and I laid in bed when we were both pretty ill and we both agreed that it would either go one way or another now. By the grace of God the worst never happened. We all gradually improved and rather foolishly I thought I could immediately hit the gas and get back to work. Boy did I try, but the fatigue just kept nailing me. It was like being hit by a freight train, flattening me every time I got up.

It was especially frustrating as my new bank Mysticism for the Roland System-8 was complete back in late May/early June and was sitting there, waiting for the video and website updates to go live. In the end though it was worth getting back to health and then getting on to tackle the other things. Still, I can’t say enough how extremely thankful I am that no one here was severely affected. I do hope that you all are still keeping safe and healthy. Long may that continue.

Close up image of rack mounted synthesizers

The Future

Soundsauca is all about the passion for sound, pure and simple. Whilst I don’t have a strict roadmap, I do have many synths I’d like to work with! I won’t pre-empt what these are as plans can change and there’s a lot of competitive people out there which, as I alluded to earlier, would rather I didn’t release anything, or even manipulate things. I don’t want to work like that, Soundsauca is all about being in that moment with sound, not getting ahead, and certainly not some adolescent d!ck swinging competition to bash others with. Hell – there’s enough of a mess in this world already.

To be clear, I have such a great respect for so many sound designers out there and I’d like to live in a world where we can all co-exist. Utopian? sure, but why not try ehh? There is no “best” in my eyes – sounds are nature, all elements are individual and special in their own way. Our experiences and emotions are what makes sound design so fulfilling and creative. If someone else does something awesome, that’s fantastic, I’d still like to think we can all learn from each other and progress together.

Amen to that.