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Exclusive Interview with Pony Music's Roger Westermann

Join us for a fasctinating and revealing Q-and-A with Pony Music's Roger Westermann. He's a talented dude and one of the nicest guys we've come to know. Without further ado...
  1. indieTorrent:

    Tell us about life in Switzerland. Were you born there? Why do you choose to call it home? And how has your Swiss origin shaped your music?

    Roger Westermann:

    Yep, I'm Swiss and have always been! I'm living close to the biggest lake we have in Switzerland which is the so called “Lake Constance” or in German “Bodensee”. It's a country I really enjoy to be born in especially for the chocolate! ;D No, but seriously it's a great place to be – albeit not the cheapest…

    But did it shape my music? Ha, no actually not in the slightest! Internet did.

  2. IT:

    We won't press you regarding your age, but you seem like a cool, young dude. How did you find yourself producing music so skillfully at this stage in your life? How, when, and where did you learn to use the tools? Are you self-taught? Or formally educated in music?

    RW:

    I'm not afraid telling my age, so no worries! I was born May 1993 and therefore I'm currently 22 years old. Thanks a lot, it was always a desire of mine to become a musician and so I started to take guitar lessons at the age of nine. I took lessons for ten years and I definitely wanted to compose my own stuff but at the age of 16 I started to explore new genres in the EDM (Electronic Dance Music) scene. All I knew about EDM so far was House and Trance but then I started to enjoy genres like Glitch Hop, Dubstep, DnB (Drum and Bass) and Electro way more. I had to turn 19 however to finally not only develop the desire to produce EDM songs myself but also to get behind what sort of tools one needs to get started. Frankly, I hadn't done much research before that age because gaming was time consuming enough… But the time I heard about DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations) was also the time I was introduced to the fandom (dedicated community explained in this video) of “My little Pony” and the show itself, of course, and that's what ultimately really got me going. I then not only knew how to get started, but also why – to be part of an amazing journey.

    To wrap it up, when it comes to producing, it's all self-taught (yet of course that does not exclude watching YouTube tutorials and conferring with fellow musicians).

  3. IT:

    Several of your tracks feature beautiful, ethereal vocals. What can you tell us about these vocalists? Are they real people? Or the product of "digital magic"? Or both?

    RW:

    The vocals I'm using are all from real people. Either (and mostly) the vocals are taken out of the show and separated from other sounds such as background music (which is done and provided by a website to which I link on my YouTube page) or they're sung by fellow musicians who dedicate their work to the show as well. So far, I've worked with a singer only once. The rest is taken out of individual episodes of “My little Pony”.

    In my opinion one of the best voices from the show is the one of Tara Strong. She's the voice of the main pony (Twilight Sparkle). Tara Strong has worked as a voice actress for various shows already and needs no substitution for singing parts. This is why I definitely enjoy playing around with her voice and let it be part of my work.

  4. IT:

    What are you able to tell us about your "setup"? The hardware, software, etc. that you use to create your music. A chef's recipe is his own secret, but give us something!

    RW:

    Well actually it's no big secret at all, haha. I'm using one of the most popular DAWs, which is FL Studio. Furthermore, I have a couple of VST plugins (additional software that one implements and uses via his or her DAW). As for the hardware, I have a MIDI-keyboard by Novation, studio headphones by Shure and an interface by Scarlett.

    Also, I work with two screens. I recommend having two screens anyway, by the way.

  5. IT:

    It takes a "real man" to be a so-called "Brony", and we respect and appreciate that. How did you find yourself immersed in this "subculture", for lack of a better term? Do the definitions at Urban Dictionary do the term justice? Or does the world at large misunderstand this term, as you use it in reference to yourself and your work?

    RW:

    Haha, well I guess you can put it like that if you will. It was once when I watched a video about a room tour of a guy on YouTube and he had one of the main characters of the “My Little Pony” as a wallpaper on his desktop background. Frankly, I had no idea what it was about, and I considered this “Rainbow Dash” pony only as a cute kind of fantasy creature. Yet, I wanted to know more about the show. So, I looked it up and the result made me almost quit my research, as I read it's apparently from the show “My little Pony”. I thought that I couldn't possibly enjoy that but I somehow wanted to find out if said creature actually really is out of that show which ultimately made me give an episode a try…

    Actually, the first couple of definitions from that website seem to be quite accurate. We bronies enjoy something that goes right against the general understanding of what an adult is supposed to enjoy. Now, we don't care. After all, many of today's still existing thought patterns and social dogmas are obsolete and should be extinct in our modern western world. Yet, for some people, these dogmas are not obsolete (apparently), but we don't want to waste our time on those individuals, and we'd rather spread the ideology that with a bit of tolerance and respect, everybody can and shall be able to do, watch, enjoy or experience whatever enriches his life. The moment in which one realizes that everything “they say” about how one is supposed to be has no relevance and is only holding him (and everyone who believes in said dogma) back, is when one learns how to live one's life the way in which life has the most value to the individual – and others!

    But enough of the proselytism. To break it down, it's darn cute, super funny and amazingly animated – why is not everybody a brony? ;)

  6. IT:

    How did you learn about indieTorrent.org? With which aspects of the site and service do you identify, personally? Is your inclination on technical grounds? Philosophical grounds? Both?

    RW:

    It was when I started an experiment, if you will. I wanted to give my audience an option to support me financially and I also wanted to find out what amount of money I could charge justifiably. Each dollar is considered a success because I will always offer free downloads as well – at least as long as I keep making stuff under this alias.

    When I wanted to sign up on Bandcamp.com (because everyone I know is there) I encountered issues that annoyed me. So, I was looking for an alternative and finally found this service here. It's probably the best thing that could have happened to me in terms of finding a place to sell my songs.

  7. IT:

    What are your future plans for your music? Is music something from which you intend to make a career? Or are you relegated to a "day-job", like the rest of us?

    RW:

    Music has always been a hobby to me and I certainly want to keep it like that. I don't intend to make a living out of it because the chances of music being financially-viable for me are way too small, and to compensate for the slim odds, I had to spend so much time improving my skills – as is always the case when one wishes to become a professional in anything. I hope that I have the chance and passion to continue making music for the rest of my life, but solely as a way to relax, express and enjoy myself.

  8. IT:

    With what else are you involved? Are you a student of any sort? What other hobbies do you have?

    RW:

    That's the reason for which I said previously that becoming a professional musician would require way too much of my time. There are certainly a lot of other things on-going that I don't want to neglect (and simply cannot, out of necessity). I study economical engineering (an interdisciplinary study and the interface between engineering and management). Furthermore, I love to ride anything that has two wheels! Mountain bikes (recently I converted mine to a 750 Watt e-bike!) and motorcycles (such as my Honda CBR 600 RR); I find riding to be a huge pleasure! Also, I enjoy liquid and solid water – though I prefer swimming over skiing and snowboarding.

    In the long run, I'm eager to become an entrepreneur and I like to work and progress an idea until it becomes reality. I hope that one day I'll run my own business – it can be a small one but I want to call it my own. So, that's something that keeps me busy, too.

  9. IT:

    Tell us about the artwork that accompanies your music. This individual has serious skill in Adobe Illustrator (or a similar tool). How are you two affiliated?

    RW:

    Absolutely! Given that we constitute a sprawling “fandom”, there is a huge pool of massively skilled and dedicated artists! And by cooperating, we all profit from each other. So, in other words, it's in fact not one person but several! Some are friends of mine and some are artists whose work I really enjoy and who let me use their artwork (after I asked for permission, of course).

  10. IT:

    You seem to be just about the nicest guy in the world. And, clearly, you are very savvy, technically. Were you raised on video games and computers? Or did you grow-up without electricity? Tell us how you gained your super-powers.

    RW:

    Oh, why thank you! I really appreciate hearing this from someone like you! Indeed, I was raised by modern technology and I've always had an affinity for it! I find it fascinating and it is the reason for which I have some technical knowledge and a bit of English language abilities. Given that I realize how beneficial these skills may be as an entrepreneur, the prospect of further improving upon them is becoming increasingly important to me!

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