1. Who are you?
My name is Reba !
2. What do you do?
I compose and produce electronic music under the moniker ‘Swan Meat’.
3. Where do you often create/produce?
Mostly in my studio – by which I mean my bedroom hehe
(circa 6 am) & tragically late at night (circa 1 or 2 am).
5. Why do you play music?
Music has always ‘been there,’ if you will. I grew up with a mom who was really into musical theater who always encouraged me to write songs and choreograph bizarre dance routines to & subsequently ‘perform’ them. My sister and I would write musicals together on the family piano when we were little kids – our most ‘famous’ piece of work was a musical about a girl who got cholera, died, and came back to haunt her family as a ghost. lol
6. When did you start making music?
I guess I sort of answered this question above; but if we’re talking about producing, I began when I was in college. Since I was in some poetry workshops, I downloaded FL Studio w/ the hopes of making sound collages and setting them to spoken word – everything just sort of blossomed from there. I work in Ableton now.
7. Which track defines you the most?
I’m unsure if my own music defines me. I feel more ‘defined’ by my influences, the stuff I was obsessed with growing up. My eternal, impossible goal has been to write a song that’s as cinematic and terrifying and gripping as ‘Frankie Teardrop’ by Suicide (RIP Alan Vega), & I feel at my most serene, lately, when I’m listening to the Chrono Trigger OST, or the Fishermans’ Horizon theme from FF8. However, I just finished a record & I think those tracks have gotten closest to, um, what I want to sound like.
8. How would you describe your own music?
Variations on a series of failures !
9. Any track of the moment?
‘Children of the Dawn,’ from Johan Johannsson’s score for ‘Mandy,’ which was the last he composed before he passed. The whole score is incredible: it’s like Iron Maiden’s ‘No Prayer for the Dying’ meets John Carpenter’s The Thing score meets Boris’ Akuma No Uta.
10.What influences your work?
I’m not sure I understand what, exactly, has influenced a track or record I’m writing until I’ve finished and stepped away from it for a moment. I can say lately, in hindsight, early 2000’s horror RPG Maker games like Ib and Misao, psytrance parties in Cologne, and missing my family.
11.What’s your academic background? Are you an autodidact?
I majored in English in college, but took a handful of valuable courses in VST programming, A/V programming, instrument building, etc. Afterwards I spent a year at a masters’ program in Sound that I ended up not being able to afford. I’m actually about to start taking online calculus courses in order to begin a 2nd degree in Computer Science. When it comes to music, even tho I never took ‘Production Classes’ I took lots of music lessons growing up, was in orchestras in middle & high school, etc – so I definitely have some amazing music teachers to thank. In that regard I’m no autodidact.
To be honest I am a major normie when it comes to fashion and fashion designers. The best designers I know of are friends who make beautiful handcrafted stuff and sell it locally, or my friend who has put together incredible pieces for cosplay events.
14.Favorite classic movie?
Cronenberg’s version of The Fly.
15.Favorite music label?
16.Your dream collaboration?
As in, only in my absolute wildest, most delusional fantasies? Nobuo Uematsu !!
17. Are you analog or digital?
The bulk of my work is done in Ableton, but lately I’ve been sketching out preliminary melodies on my guitar & keyboard. I’m hoping 2019 will be the year I invest in gear since I sometimes grow a little bored w/ a software-based workflow.
18.Which soft wares/tools/ instruments do you use/play?
I use Ableton Live 9 (still!), a few different midi keyboards (depending on where I’m working), & a RODE NT-1A to record vocals. I still consistently play and practice the guitar and hopefully can incorporate some of this into the swan meat proj this year. We shall c.
19.Describe your creative process?
20.When are you the most prolific (creatively)?
Right now, really – that palpable September/ October changing over of the seasons rly does imbue me w/ all that awful cliche ‘creative energy’…if only I knew what 2 do w/ it. I’m prolific, sure, but when it comes to finishing projects… that’s another story!
21. Any favorite record stores? (Real/virtual)
In Virginia, down the street from a house where I taught guitar lessons in high school, was this place called Record + Tape Exchange. Oftentimes one could find a great old, obscure DC hardcore record there. I knew friends whose bands played at RTX, in between dusty shelves of tapes & vinyl. I think it’s closed now – of course.
22.What’s your life philosophy? (Optimistic/pessimistic)
23.Do you have a healthy lifestyle?
The most illicit substances I partake in are the occasional vodka tonic and the world of warcraft card game hearthstone so ye I would say so, on a surface level. But there are plenty of ways in which I could be kinder to my body n soul – learn to sleep, remember 2 eat, try 2 socialize more…
24.How do you manage your time effectively? (Job/hobby)
I don’t! Well, I’m learning how to do this right now. I tend to say yes to every project that comes my way then feel drained & desperate at the nth hour.
25. Any secret skills?
I don’t know if I’d call these things ‘skills’ so much as secret hobbies but in my (ever-waning) spare time I’ve been trying my hand @ cheesy Garrix-core EDM and chiptune music – keep an eye out for my future secret alias(es) etc
26. Any future plans?
I’m releasing a record soon & I’ve begun work on a few scoring projects. A ~special friend and I have been working on a collaborative EP I’m excited 2 set forth in2 the aether, too
27.What’s your life motto?
Couldn’t give you a pithy axiom I turn to in ‘times of need/ want’ – I think I’m still searching for my life’s credo, so I’ll get back 2 u on this one, ha
28. Any “mot de la fin”?
Thank u to everyone who has listened to (withstood??) this godawful saccharine music of mine – & go see Mandy if u havent!