HEYMUN is a music composer, producer and video maker. Between projects, she creates weekly music videos on her Youtube Channel and loves the music community with all her heart + soul. Fascinated by all things behind the scenes in music-making she dived into Ableton Live and fell in love with self-producing and the wonderful world of synthesizers. We gain insight into her sound, the gear she values and how she creates the wonderfully ethereal ambient electronica:
1. What do you attribute the sound of Heymun to? How would you describe your sound and how has it evolved?
My sound is a blend of vocals combined with my passion for experimenting with synths. I love creating cinematic ambient synth music featuring my favourite synths like the OP-1, my Eurorack named “Frankie the Frankenstein”, the miniKORG 700FS and the Moog Grandmother while using my voice to produce various layers and textures from ambient vocal layers to singing my lyrics that tell my story.
My sound has definitely evolved from when I first started creating music. I loved writing my own songs and got really into acoustic instruments, being a singer-songwriter with just my acoustic guitar and voice. Fast forward to today, I am using every powerpoint in my studio to power up my synths and love producing with Ableton Live. Ever since my first synth purchase, the microKORG, I have been super enamoured by synths and have been building my own Eurorack “Frankie “ for the last four years. While I compose through my singer-songwriter lens, my love of synths remains the foundation of my sound and music. Keeping both sides of my music-making alive is really important to me, from my deep love of writing songs with lyrics through to my crazy passion for synths!
2. What pieces of gear are essential to your sound? Do you gravitate towards single bits of gear for long periods of time?
Essential to my sound is the OP-1 by Teenage Engineering, Moog Grandmother and my Eurorack named Frankie the Frankenstein. Frankie has a Qu-bit Electronix Bloom module which is a Fractal Sequencer that can generate infinite patterns, which is so exciting to me and I pair it with the Qu-Bit Surface module and it produces sounds that tingles the senses in an ambient heavenly way that I love. The OP-1 has a great collection of synth sounds that I have often featured ever since I purchased it in 2018. The Moog Grandmother is the dark horse of my sound, it is that tint of spice and darkness that adds a deep, warm voice to my ambient sounds.
Yes, I definitely gravitate towards certain gear for long periods of time. After many years I realised I also started to use my gear in different ways than I had previously. The more time I discover the different possibilities, the joy of new creative pathways form along the way. You really get to grow with the gear, make great music and memories together.
3. How does your live set-up differ from what you use in the studio?
There are 2 different setups in my studio, “streaming” and “composing and video editing” modes. One setup for streaming my music performances and one for purely composing music for albums, collaborations and other jobs.
When streaming live I curate a selection of gear for the performance and connect them all into my DAW (Ableton Live). For live performances, my desk is usually full of gear and everything is connected and tucked closely towards me so that I can sing, tweak, play and work everything from my position. I recently added the Arturia KeyStep 37 to my modular system and wow, the strum function makes a live modular setup so fun and interesting. I tend to have gear on the desk that allows me to switch up the sound, mood and vibes quickly because my live streams can go from 3 to 6 hours, so I have the OP-1, OP-Z, Arturia MicroFreak, Key Step 37, Frankie my Eurorack and recently the miniKORG 700FS all there with me to improvise and create new sounds.
When I’m in composition/video editing mode it’s the total opposite, I usually have my notes open in front of me with my DAW and a specific piece of gear for that composition that I take from my synth shelf behind. I think when it comes to composing a clear desk is like a clear canvas. This keeps me focused and gives me clarity, helping me get my work done more efficiently as it can be very distracting having lots of gear on my desk!
4. Do you hoard gear, is there an emotional connection to some gear?
Hoard Gear should be my legal middle name —the story of all our lives right? I am a gear hoarder who suffers from gear acquiring syndrome (GAS) so I tend to give a lot of thought and time when selecting gear to add to my studio. I have not sold any gear I have purchased so far, and I use them all in rotation on my Youtube channel. Yes, I have definitely formed an emotional connection to all my gear, they all have names; Ozzy my OP-Z, Frankie the Frankenstein Eurorack and I recently got the miniKORG 700FS and already named it “my precious” (pronounced in LOTR Gollum’s voice). I have such a strong emotional connection with the miniKORG its voice and its Traveller Filter, which is truly “my precious’.
The emotional connection with gear is a recurring theme in my music and life. My first Yamaha acoustic guitar is still right next to me in the studio. I believe gear or an instrument helps you to speak, to release the music inside you or helps you create music in ways you have never created before as the OP-1 did for me. There’s a real connection and I want to keep growing that bond together with the gear. This is why I curate my collection of gear carefully and slowly. It has taken me years to build my own Eurorack Frankie (and I am still in the midst of building). It is a small Intellijel Palette Case and I only had the Plaits and Marbles module in my system for years before I added other modules. My rule was that I needed to focus on gleaning the most I could out of both my modules to truly understand them before adding another. That way I end up hoarding only my favourite pieces of gear, hahaha, the ones I truly connect with!
5. If you could create your ultimate instrument or piece of music gear, what would it be what would it do, how would it work?
I would love to create my ultimate instrument one day! It would be something that could aid my current workflow, as I’m always thinking about a piece of gear to help the gaps in my workflow. For now, all I can say is, I think my ultimate gear would always be small, portable with one charge that would power it through for a good period of time. Ever since I started using Teenage Engineering products, I am drawn to the freedom of their instruments, the portability and not having to be glued to a powerpoint because the essential quality to creativity is when you can create music anywhere, anytime.
6. Who would be one artist/producer you haven’t worked with that you’d love to work with?
Olafur Arnalds has not replied to my tweet on that as yet haha — I wish!
I used to work in the music library of a radio station and this is how I came to know of Olafur Arnalds music. The first time watching Olafur Arnalds in concert at the Sydney Opera House, I remember the song about his grandmother that he played was so touching that by the end of the performance I heard someone sniffling next to me. I turned to ask the person if they were crying, he said yes! The entire concert was so incredibly moving. The way Olafur Arnalds composes music is pure art and his live performances truly moves the soul.
Olafur has done a few collaborations with other artists, he knows the art of letting his and the other artist’s styles flow together harmoniously. The results are always unique with real raw emotions that are soul touching. I would love to work with Olafur Arnalds one day.
Synth Sounds Festival, Sunday, March 20, 2022, at 4PM AEDT: https://events.humanitix.com/synth-sounds-online-festival