In Get With The Programmers, we speak to the software developers making your favourite plugins.
This month, we sat down with Peter V of Tracktion, the brand behind one of the best free DAWs going, Waveform Free. Peter's also the brains behind Dawesome and the creator of the colourful software synth Abyss.
How did you get into music software?
“As a small child I discovered that you can play drums on cooking pots. Since then I have always made music. A few years later, and with the first home computers, I learned programming and how you can make wonderful noises and sounds.”
How did you become successful?
“I was looking for a job to combine my fascination for music and software, so I jumped in at the deep end and founded Dawesome. My very first synth, Abyss, was a big success.”
What is your overall philosophy?
“Making music should be fun! That means having a simple software user interface that is intuitive, visual and inspiring. A good synth may produce strange sounds, but it should always play expressively and emotionally like an acoustic instrument.”
What are your most important plugins?
“My first plugin, Abyss, introduced the idea of representing sounds by colours: warm sounds with warm colours like orange or red, cold sounds rather with blue etc. Novum extended this concept to the processing of samples with machine learning. This allows a complete instrument to be created from a single sample in a very short space of time.”
How will they change the way we make music?
“You will have more fun with sound design! And the idea of representing sound through colour changes the way you think about design: you realise ‘oh I’ve used a lot of orange sounds here; I should add some turquoise for contrast’.”
What are your favourite plugins made by other developers?
“I love all Puremagnetik plugins – intuitive, unusual and inspiring. Valhalla Shimmer is instant fun and I use it often. Entonal Studio is the future of microtonal, with a nifty user interface and the brilliant concept of translating scales into MPE.
“Native Instruments Absynth has the best name and is one of the most versatile and fabulous-sounding instruments. And I love Reaktor, especially Metaphysical Function to create drones.”
What would you like to see developed in plugin technology?
“Standardisation and extension of plugin formats – it is very time consuming to support the different formats with all their weirdness. And a platform to access the power of graphic cards for audio. This could unlock a new generation of tools.”
What advice do you have for software programming wannabes?
“Quality in every respect is the most important feature, from the code base to the UI and customer service. I think there is enough room in the market for creative tools beyond the beaten track. It’s not an industry to get rich in, but as an indie developer I can realise my dream.”
What have you got planned for the future?
“An innovative synth based on so-called Strange Attractors called Kult is out now. In the coming year there will be a new type of instrument that combines granular and physical modelling. And of course the existing instruments will get free updates with new features.”