The 188th episode of our 12 Questions segment features producer One Million Toys.
1. How old are you, where are you living and how long have you been producing and Djing?
28 years old, living in Be’er Sheva, Israel. I have been at it since I was 13 years old or so, about 15 years of messing around with it and 11 years or so under various aliases (Xetro/Fr(Ohm)age) trying as best as I can to produce music I love to dance to and have fun with.
2. Where do your musical roots lie, what are your first memories of electronic music and when did you know you wanted to pursue it seriously? Are there any particular productions or artists from the past that really made you think to yourself ‘this is what I want to do.”
I got classical training playing the French Horn for about 9 years, I remember listening to my favorite game’s soundtracks, like “MechWarrior: 2 Mercenaries” Alongside with Tiesto’s and Armin’s early days, and of course all the GU editions from parties I could not attend and experience at that age. The image I have in my mind since then, of an awesome journey in a tribal dancing gathering still guides me to this day when making music.
I think my greatest inspirations for starting off were the guys (John Digweed/Dave Seaman/Nick Warren to name a few) back then that brought to life new types of music which was both nerdy and awesome at the same time, being able to put out those awesome sounds into music unlike writing a piece for some instruments was a thing I knew I wanted to take part of and make. It’s just awesome to be able to make the things that you can hear in your head come to life, it’s like a personal trip inside the creator’s head and thoughts when done properly.
3. How difficult was learning to produce for you in the beginning? Did you take any Audio Engineering programs or production courses to help you out or are you pretty much self taught? And did anyone give any advice early on that really helped?
Very much self-taught production wise, I did learn how to play the French horn on a semi-pro level, but never reached that “Virtuoso” level as a player. I read a lot of technical data about sound, synths, equipment, anything that had some tech in it related to music I wanted to know inside out. I would usually read about a technique or a sound and went to try it right away on that poor computer I had at home. I used to hang out in production forums and read and write about DJing and producing. A lot of people gave me great advices through the years, some good advices I got were from guys usually not that into the technical side like I was, like learning to listen to the music itself and how to build a proper set with a story that actually gets from point A to point B and always have clear goals when making music or performing to a crowd.
4. What parts of the production process do you find the most difficult and what comes easiest for you? When you do hit a creative block what helps you through it?
I think the hardest part for me today is actually sitting down to produce, these days I set a timer to limit my time spent on each project so I can get to them all and not neglect some ideas I had and haven’t had time to develop. The easiest is probably designing the melodies, harmonies and sounds which is the most rewarding process for me, feels a lot like painting, turning knobs around and morphing sounds from one color to another. I usually hit the creative block after having built an Idea and now have to add basic and complex rhythm elements, sometimes it goes smoothly, sometimes I have to force myself just drop sounds in their basic locations (Hihats, percussions, shakers, whatever fits the vibe) and just go with it until it inspires me to do something differently or not, rhythm wise.
5. What’s a normal day like for you? Do you have a job outside of electronic music? And what do you like to do when you’re not working on music?
I am a metallurgist (Material engineer) in a metal factory. I usually get off of work at around 5pm and then I get on doing some music, going out, playing video games. I really like playing Kerbal Space Program when not working on music and am at home.
6. Apart from electronic music what other genres do you listen to and who are your favourite artists outside of electronic? and do these genres or artists have a direct effort on your own productions?
I love listening to Grunge, Nu Metal, Post Grunge and Metal in general. I had a lot of influence by Incubus, NIN, Audioslave and Muse. I always love listening to music when it’s succeeding to make a story in itself and not just by lyrics, and even more so when the lyrics and music complement each other. I try to take the energy and vibes from these acts and recreate them in my own way, sometimes it works.
7. What was the first and last physical (CD, Vinyl, Cassette etc) piece of music you bought?
First if I recall correctly was “Safri Dou – Played A Live” which was some sort of a weird promo copy, and “Andrea Montrosi – History 2001”, both bought on a holiday in Greece with the family. I think the last physical piece of music bought was in 2011, an album of “Knesiyat Hasechel” (Church of Reason), an Israeli band that made an orchestration album for all their most popular songs, great band, check them out.
8. Tell us something about yourself that might surprise people?
I really like stupid romantic movies that have a happy ending, always making me warm inside in the tummy.
9. Which producers in your opinion get consistently overlooked?
A ton! Basically everyone who is putting more effort to actually make good music than advertise themselves, Unique Repeat, BP, Andre Sobota, Losless, Alterville, WpX, just to name a few. You can just check my followings on SC to get a glimpse of the gems I have found over there.
10. Which producers consistently inspire you? And where else does your inspiration come from?
I find Bedrock Records always inspiring, Unique Repeat stuff is always something to look up to for me, Dave Seaman is always on top of everything fresh and interesting so I follow his feed a lot. Other than music I find the factory settings which I work in really inspiring, making all departments connect and listening to the general sounds and flow of people around in that environment is an eye opener for me at times.
11. There are countless producers out there trying to find their way and create their own unique sound, what advice do you have for them?
Keep on doing, don’t stop, other people’s opinions matter to an extent. You and only you knows what you are after, don’t let an external voice change it without you deciding you are agreeing with it. Hardware synths and processors are overrated since around 2004, but are a lot of fun! Hardware monitors and room treatment are underrated, get your room at least some ghetto treatment (Curtains, furniture, some DIY foam, anything absorbent of air really) if you are after a decent mix, let alone a decent master.
12. If the final DJ/live set of your career was next week what would your last track be?
The last one? Wow, never thought about that! I guess my choice will be ‘Ohara (Original Mix)’ by myself since I wrote that in honor of my late Grandma and that seems fitting to the last set occasion as well.
‘You Just Level Up’ is out now on Mistique Music, you can purchase the release: here