When and how did you find your passion for music?
Music has always been a huge part of my life. My passion truly started developing at the age of 15 when I started arranging my favourite songs on piano. At first, I printed sheet music from the internet, however, I eventually got bored and irritated as some songs didn’t exist as sheet music in the first place or they were too simple. I then started to create my own arrangements of pop, rock and metal songs as well as of video game soundtracks. I loved the feeling of being in control of creating a truly unique version of a song.
Was piano always the instrument you aspired to play or did you also try other paths before ending up at the piano?
My parents signed me up to piano lessons at the age of six which I’m very grateful for. In my teenage years, I highly considered quitting as highschool was taking a toll on my mental health and my practice routine for piano exams was becoming dull. My parents told me to continue taking lessons, so I looked for ways which made playing more enjoyable for me – that was arranging my favorite songs. Drums and rhythm have always been an interest of mine. When I was 14, I started drum lessons – my music teacher told me how impressed she was with my drumming after a workshop we did at school, so that inspired me to learn more. Playing drums was so different to piano and I also picked up the material really quick. I felt like I was finding out who I am more when I was exploring this musical side of myself as this was something I took charge of. To this day, I’m still curious where I’d be in life if I had begged my parents to continue drumming. I still practiced rhythms on objects in my room but it wasn’t the same. Now, I’m avidly creating beats on my pads which is a fantastic outlet for my rhythmic side. I’d love to start saving up to buy a kit in the future. Despite not being able to develop more as a drummer, I’m super grateful to have solely focused on piano as that is what makes me who I am today.
You primarily do piano-driven renditions of metal tracks. How did this all come about and what was your first-ever track?
The first track I ever uploaded to YouTube as Misstiq was ‘Sparks’ by Parkway Drive. I loved playing PWD’s and other bands’ melodic guitar solos on piano. This then resulted in me putting full length songs together. My niche at the beginning of ‘Misstiq’ was playing metalcore songs on piano in a very raw-shot style. Before I even launched Misstiq, I uploaded classical pieces, some metal band covers (eg. System of a Down, AFI) and video game themes (eg. Call of Duty Zombies, The Legend of Zelda) under my personal ‘test’ YouTube account. This way I gained a sense of what it’s like to upload stuff on YouTube for others to see, plus, built my skills in arranging songs and filming in a timely manner. The metal-related videos performed the best so I thought to stick with that under a new name and channel: ‘Misstiq.’ Since 2018, my YouTube channel no longer consists of my earlier content as I wanted to freshen things up and have a more professional image.
Is producing your original material on your future agenda also?
Hell yeah. I’m experimenting with various styles, especially on Instagram, to see what I thrive with and how others react to it. I’d love to release a chill EP in 2021 then something else with a lot more drive and energy. I’m thinking about the bigger picture of my future original releases – not just the audio side but also the accompanying videos to each track and the way I’d market them.
When recording and coming up with your material, how and where in the creative process does Toontrack’s gear come into play? What products do you use?
Whether I am creating heavy or chilled-down tracks, my Toontrack products are an absolute pleasure to work with. I use Superior Drummer 3 (Death & Darkness SDX, Pop EZX, Hip-Hop EZX) and EZbass. For a long time, I’ve sought after VSTs that sound like the real deal, are customizable and ‘EZ’ to use. Recently, I released a synth-powered version of the song ‘This Is Halloween’ where I use Superior Drummer 3. The drums give the song that extra punch and energy. I’ve also been writing chillhop material using EZbass which I’ll be releasing in the near future. I usually start with a bassline which I then add my keys to. It’s so convenient to use a high-quality bass VST as the MIDI can be dragged around afterwards to suit the keys.
Since starting to publicly post your work, you have gained an impressive following and also collaborated with bands like The Amity Affliction, among others. How has this all been and what’s next?
Since working with TAA, I have written music and features for so many skilled musicians. I never would have thought I’d be so busy doing this sort of stuff – I love it and am stoked to work as Misstiq full-time. Consistently building my musicianship skills and keeping a strong work ethic from back-to-back projects is super rewarding, as is getting to know the artists I’m working with. Every week, I’m working with someone new – metal, pop, hip-hop, acoustic artists – and that keeps things fresh for me as I’m exploring different musical techniques and social media promo strategies. Amongst my clients, I’m working with well known and respected artists in various music genres which I’m so excited to share publicly when the time comes. I’ve also gained a lot of friendships over the years and we’re now rolling out a bunch of spontaneous collabs on social media for fun. It’s a pleasure to do such collabs with genuine people who I share a mutual respect with, are great at their craft and have a consistent workflow.
LISTEN TO MISSTIQ.