AMA with Volkor X
PlagueofMidget: Will there be a second pressing of your vinyl? I found out about you too late to buy one.
Volkor X: I’m thinking about a second pressing, but not before before the end of the year. Vinyl pressing is a lot more expensive than CD or cassettes, so I need to be sure enough people are interested. But I definitely want this to happen!
Vampire_Step-Dad: Any marketing recommendations, besides planetary domination (not in my budget), for smaller artists trying to get their music in more peoples’ ears? Any tactics you’ve used that you find especially effective? Anything that fell flat?
Volkor X: Well, I can begin by the things that don’t work. I’ve worked with a PR agent. He did an awful lot of emailing to web magazines, blogs, websites… Not randomly chosen, we did a wide but thorough selection of music/synth/videogames sites. And it didn’t freaking work at all. The journalists can’t possibly check every new artist emailing them. I was naïve, I thought it could work, but it didn’t. Kudos to Metalsucks, which is the only “big” website who replied. And kudos to smaller sites like Destroy//exists, Brutal Resonance, Coreandco. These are the ones you need to contact if you need your album reviewed, they will definitely read your email. Apart from that, I’m not sure I’m managing better than any other artist at marketing tactics. I’m trying hard to find ways to make people watch our music video but I’m struggling. We reach 15000 views in 9 days when GosT reached that number in 2 days for example. It’s really hard, as you know, to reach people when the press ignores you. I’ve tried to setup exclusive streaming with a couple of websites, but they didn’t even reply.
To my surprise, Facebook helped a lot. I somehow managed to make people like Volkor X the character, as well as his music. Staying in character, like you are doing beautifully, helps to make you more likeable from the fans, and makes them interact with you. But in the end, I’m not a marketing expert. Believe me, I’m struggling as much as you do. That said, I am fortunate to know very helpful and talented people. I probably couldn’t have reached as many people without Hollywood Burns who made that kick ass teaser, Gyhyom who made the music video or Guile93 who made the cover of the album. I owe them a lot!
Emeric1up: During your production process, What analog stuff do you use and what is not?
Volkor X: 99% of the instruments I used on the album and other tracks are VST instruments. The only analog gear I used are a 8 strings guitar (on “Masked Death”, heavy riff on the second part), and a 7 strings guitar on the other tracks (solo and chords on “The Bomb”, powerchords on This Means War and Beacon). I also used a Korg ih (an old vocal harmonizer) to record the “singing” on “Run Away”.
Dimikaye: did you start working on your next album and about which projects you are currently working on can you talk about?
Volkor X: No, I haven’t started working on a new album yet. I’ve just finished composing a couple of new tracks for the game DESYNC, and they kick ass ! Also remixed one track from my first album for the game. I will soon start working on a split EP with Electric Dragon, and after that, I’ll think about the next album!
TheAstroHunter: What was it like meeting the creator of Giallo and assorted 80s horror franchises?
Volkor X: It was weird, I wasn’t sure it was him, but when I got confirmation, I went to him to say I love his work. He’s really kind !:)
blvckblvck: ‘This Means War’ is a rad album. What if any changes are you making on your new material and production methods
Volkor X: I have composed a couple of tracks for a game lately, and the developer asked me to do some really dark tunes. So I did, and I really digged it. My drums sound more powerful on these 2 tracks, the basses are more agressive, and I’m loving it. I won’t go full dark on my next release though, I still love making track like Beacon or Hypersleep…
So far my sound is made only with plug-ins, but I’d love get a couple of analog synths and see how I could incorporate that in my songs.
blvckblvck: what music are you currently listening to?
Volkor X: Currently (as most of the time), I’m listening to a lot of metal and prog Meshuggah (in my speakers right now). Will probably switch to Opeth or Pink Floyd just after that!
SinnieOnFire: What was the inspiration behind Volkor X character?
Volkor X: I’ve always been fascinated by Sci-Fi, space, and aliens. So when Volkor X came to life, he had to be an alien. The name comes from “Volcor”, one the bad guy in a japanese scifi series from the 80s. It was called “San Ku Kaï” aka “Space Ninja” aka “Message from Space: Galactic Wars” and many more aka’s I guess 😀 In the series, Volcor is the commander of the bad guys’ army, he’s full of hate, and absolutely awesome!
danno147: What advice do you have for humans wishing to stay in your good graces?
Volkor X: I’ll do random checks. I’ll stop people in the street, and if they don’t have my album with them, they will die. Painfully. And slowly. So my advice, is to buy my album ! MUHAHAHA ! And if they read this, they will know that they get 20% off everything on my Bandcamp page during the AMA with code amaright. How awesome is that ? 🙂 Also, people streaming it from Spotify will also be excused.
PlagueofMidgets: Any musicians that you would recommend that you have been listening to lately?
Volkor X: You guys probably already know everything I’m gonna suggest haha 🙂 But you need to listen to the new album from Confrontational, it’s streaming on Bloody Disgusting right now. I love it. I discovered Zombi last year, the album Shape Shift is mindblowing, and I’ve started to explore what Steve Moore is doing besides Zombi. The vinyl of CUB is spinnig quite often here. More recommended listening (google them, not only synthwave :)) : Voyag3r “Doom Fortress”, Syntax’ “Transmission”, Holon “Augmented Reality”, Electric Dragon “Covenant”, Hollywood Burns “First Contact”, Arctic Sleep “Passage of Gaïa”, everything by Bing Satellites, Dynatron, Europaweite Aussichten, Grimrik, Code Elektro, Irving Force, Master Boot Record, Waveshaper, Sinoia Caves and VHS Glitch
CloudBoy416: in a genre flooded with music that all sounds pretty much the same, your tracks stand out as more progressive and genuinely more cinematic. Why is this? What is your process? What have you done to separate yourself from other synthwave artists and where are you drawing your influences?
Volkor X: I haven’t really though “I need to make something different”. When I started composing Synthwave a bit more than a year ago (the Badass Inc. EP, notably), I didn’t even know it was called Synthwave, and the only artist I knew in the genre was Carpenter Brut. You have to know Volkor X is a sort of therapy project for me. All my life, I’ve done music for other people, for projects I didn’t even like sometimes. In all those years, I never found the time and courage to actually make something for me. Until last year, when I felt it was the time. This is the music I’ve always wanted to do, it’s coming from my heart and soul. So I didn’t try to do this or that. This is what came to me when I decided to finally work on my own album. What probably makes it stand out, is that I didn’t try to sound like another artist. I didn’t want to restrict myself to a genre, so that’s why you have ambient tracks like Hypersleep, progressive tracks like This Means War, upbeat tracks like The Bomb… I just wanted to make synth music. And I would probably have made the exact same album even if I hadn’t found out about the Synthwave scene. My criteria for selection was not “is it Synthwave enough ?” but simply “is it good enough to go on the album ?”. Also, it’s worth mentioning I love music that makes you cry. And that’s one of the things I’m aiming for. I’ve always wanted to make music that touches people. And it seems to have worked with Beacon, I’ve received quite a few very touching emails about that.
CASTROeMUSIC: What daw do you use and what’s you favorite plugins for mixing and mastering.
Volkor X: My main weapon is REAPER, the best DAW I’ve ever used. I tried Cubase, Nuendo, Samplitude, Protools… Not for me.
For mixing, I’m using a lot of plugins by Togu Audio Line (TAL). Especially, the reverbs and delays. Also using a lot of Melda plugins, their AutoDynamicEQ is a life saver. Loving the compressors from Tokyo Dawn Records (TDR). I’m also using the Virtual Console from Slate Digital, as well as their Virtual Tape Machine to get a warmer, less digital sound. For mastering, some of my favorite plugins are UAD’s Manley Massive Passive EQ, Ozone’s multiband compressor, UAD’s Precision Maximizer, Kazrog KClip, Stillwell’s Event Horizon.