I specialize in those "other things" that make music incredible - the subtle ambience in the background of a track, that just-right synth tone, perfect sound design that makes a song feel whole. The things that fall just between writing and mixing that many people overlook. I'll make you love your song even more than you love it now.
My name's Skyler (they/them) and I'm a composer, guitarist, sound designer, and electronic musician currently based in Berlin, Germany. As a practicing musician for 16 years, I've grown to have a very sensitive ear for the nuances of music that make songs "pop" out of the speakers.
I've produced, mixed, and mastered albums both for myself and for others, and as a guitarist I'm currently active in a variety of different projects. As a musician, I value songwriting and production that is forward-thinking and boundary pushing but always, always fitting to the intent of the artist. I feel that as a sound designer I'm able to achieve sounds and textures that many others are not able to, partly because of my unique processing method, but also because I have a unique background and set of influences - ranging from jazz to electroacoustic music to avant-pop to reggaeton.
If you feel like your music is missing just a bit of "color", "oomph", "density", "sparkle", "weirdness", "tightness", "pop", or all of the above, I'm here to help.
Send me a note through the contact button above.
8 Reviews - 3 Repeat ClientsEndorse Other Things Studios
Great experience, if you want creative sound design definitely work with Other Things Studios.
It's my second time working with Skyler, and it was a fantastic experience once again. His artistic choices are spot on and the synth sounds are pure and dynamic. Will be back soon!
Skyler is a super talented producer! I brought him a rough mix of a track I was working on, and he used his expertise to add a professional touch with atmospheric synths and samples. I'll definitely be working with him again in the future - highly recommended.
Skyler has been an enormous help to my project. I was struggling to find producers for my album and no one really clicked with me. I was looking for something experimental yet still poppy and a sound that's very unique and distinctive. A sound and vision that I had a very difficult time explaining and manifesting into words but from our first song together up until now everything's has just clicked. He's helped me make my project into exactly what I wanted and before finding Skyler I had no cl
I was looking for a very specific thing when I hit up Skyler, which he nailed. He took the time to dive into my references and really compliment the track with great sounds that have brought my track into the night time world I've been trying to create. I highly recommend working with him.
The communication was very clear, the delivery was perfect, and everything was very comprehensively done. Will be back in the future!
Skyler is a consummate musician; endlessly curious about sound and how it affects us. His interest in music is beyond genre, and he’s always exposing himself to new ideas, musically and otherwise.
Every time I work with him on a project, he brings something to the table that I didn’t know was missing, or couldn’t have conceived of beforehand. Whether you’re completely new to sound design and engineering, or are a veteran with more precise goals, Skyler would be an asset to you.
Skyler recorded my vocals for my album and it was such an easy and relaxed process! On top of his recording expertise, he is so musically tasteful and has great ears. I trust him with anything! He can take your music to the next level.
Interview with Other Things Studios
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: One project that I'm especially proud of is a current one - I'm working on an album for a band that I'm in called toso toso. In the band I play guitar and electronics, using the guitar as a hybrid instrument / synth / MIDI controller and live sampling the rest of the group. Being a part of the collective composition and sound design process, and then being able to mix and master the music has been really rewarding and I'm very happy with how it's sounding.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Currently I'm working on a number of sound design and production projects, writing music for a solo EP, arranging and mixing a couple of albums, and working on my master's degree!
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Yes absolutely! Liz Maniscalco is an amazing producer, electronic musician, vocalist, and songwriter who is doing amazing things. And if you're looking for beautiful horns, arrangement, and editing, Sylvester Onyejiaka is the perfect person for the job and will definitely bring really wonderful things to your song.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: My promise is to you is that I will deliver work that is wholly reflective of your wants and needs for a specific project, and that it will ultimately lead your music toward the path of sounding the best that it possibly can. I also promise to always communicate fully, clearly, and quickly about the work that's being done.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: What I like most about my job is that I get to explore. I feel like with every new project there's a new challenge and a new area of sound and music that I haven't fully immersed myself in yet, so I really appreciate the learning and stretching of boundaries that comes from working in this field.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: The most common questions are about price - how much a job costs and whether it will be a flat rate or hourly rate. My answer is always reflective of the individual needs and requirements of the job at hand, and I always try to keep the rate as low as possible while valuing the work being done. Pricing creative work is one of the most difficult things I've had to do, because it often is so subjective and in flux with the changing needs of a project, but I also enjoy that I'm able to have direct dialogue with my clients about their budgets, needs, and time frames to be able to find a pricing and schedule that works really well for them.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I would say that one of the biggest misconceptions about sound design, mixing, and mastering is that it's more of a science than an art. Whereas songwriting and performance are generally considered very creative, the more backend elements of music production aren't as often viewed in the same way. I disagree with this view though, and I think that all musical processes are creative - they reflect personal decisions made by someone with their own preferences, likes, and dislikes. And even though there is science and technical understanding involved in making those decisions, every sound and every mix will sound unique to the person - and creativity of the person - who's making them. Additionally, sound design and mixing/mastering are reflective of the styles that they're being done within, and so each and every sound and mix decision is made in creative dialogue to the emotion, feel, and aesthetic of the music that's being made.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: My most common questions relate to what each client finds inspiring, and what kinds of music they enjoy. I feel that by talking and learning about where the inspiration for a particular song or album is coming from, so much can be gained in the process for getting that music to sound as best as possible. These questions usually involve having the client send musical references - looking at the songs in terms of overall feeling, atmosphere, mix, or style - or looking at the songs for one individual element or piece, like a specific synth tone, that one reverb that fits perfectly on the voice at 2:53, or that subtle delay that fades on the piano at 1:26. Additionally, I usually ask prospective clients how flexible the nature of the work is. I ask this to know how much openness and creativity can be involved in creating the sounds, and to judge whether the project has a very specific and determined goal or one that can change dynamically through feedback and revisions.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Communication is key! And also to not be afraid to describe things in exactly the terms that you hear them. What I mean by that is everyone hears things differently, and those differences in listening is what makes music and sound such a beautiful thing. One person may hear a sound like a bee buzzing, or another may hear it like a hose wooshing around and spraying water, or another may hear it as a panned saw wave, or another may hear it like being in a spaceship and diving into a black hole. All of these ways of listening, hearing, and communicating are wonderful. As a sound designer and music producer, oftentimes my job is to take these descriptions and translate them into the turning of knobs on an EQ, synthesizer, or compressor. But I love that process so much, and I feel that the time spent talking to each person about what they want and what they hear is so rewarding.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: First, I'd search and pray to the electricity gods that there would be an outlet to plug anything into. Then, I'd bring my computer, guitar, all of the Kush Audio processing hardware, a piano, and a toaster for when I eventually figure out how to make bread.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: My career path is ongoing and often changing, and it has winded through a number of different passions, interests, and types of work. I started out as a performer playing guitar in various projects and bands, writing songs both by myself and collectively with other people. Through that experience I've been on many tours and have come to have a strong passion for playing music in front of and with other people. Along the way I studied jazz in college and learned more about composition, improvisation, and music theory while at the same time trying to figure out how to start working in music professionally. While at school at the University of North Texas I realized that I had a really strong love for electronic and experimental music - both things that the school didn't really have any interest in teaching. So, I got my first copy of Ableton and started to teach myself, along with how to mix, master, and design sounds using both analog and digital techniques. Through Ableton, learning to use it, and with the help of many people along the way, I found a true passion for using music production as both a tool to create and a tool to enhance. I felt that with it I was able to combine my loves for composition, improvisation, and sound design in a way that was new and exciting, and that I could try to extend those skills to help in others' processes of music making. Now, I have my own studio and love being able to work with people to make their music sound amazing, while also leaving room to infuse it with my own voice.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would absolutely love to work with Gabriel Garzón-Montano. I really appreciate his ability to combine unique songwriting and emotion, and to infuse it all with so much emotion, depth, and groove. As a performer, engineer, and sound designer it would be difficult to choose what way I would like to work with him, but I think if I had to choose one it would be to perform. It would just be too much fun to pass up.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Soft & aggressive, digital & analog, weird & simple. Most of the time I strive to find the unique spaces that exist between the opposites.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I work on music that originates from and incorporates a very wide range of styles and backgrounds. Currently, my focus tends to be music that attempts to blend acoustic and electronic elements in seamless ways - somewhere on the border of pop and electroacoustic music.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: I feel that my strongest skill is my sensitivity. Both musically and communicatively, I feel that being sensitive to the needs of a piece of music and the artist who's creating it are absolutely essential to creating a work that's honest to its intentions.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both! I think that they each have their own strong suits, and that neither one is better for every musical situation. I use a combination of both analog and digital gear, and I love the way that they each bring out qualities that the other doesn't have. I also like this quote (again from The Lumineers' engineer Kevin Augunas), "Most the time when people talk about analogue and digital, the debate focuses on the sonics. This is a valid comparison, because they do sound different, though neither is necessarily better or worse. I've heard amazing and shitty-sounding recordings recorded on both digital and analogue. They are both valid recording media."
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Arrangement is key. Especially today, when a DAW offers unlimited tracks and possibilities for adding sound to a song, the art of arranging and identifying the most important elements of a song is more important than ever. Kevin Augunas, the engineer that mixed The Lumineers' hit song 'Ho Hey', said in a 2013 interview, "With all these options, instead of choosing your colours and painting a picture, the tendency is to use all colours and eventually everything will turn brown." My tip is to not be afraid to strip a song to its most fundamental elements, and then listen carefully and determine just the additional sounds that it needs.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring the subtle, yet powerful, elements to a song that help enhance what's already there. To write a great song is the hardest work, but I can help take a great song and make it even better.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I like to start from the ground up - the first step always being to know and understand the intent of the artist that I'm working with. Once I have that in mind, I dive into the details and look at the building blocks that are creating the song: the instruments, the individual sections, the frequency content that they're composed of, the lyrics. Then, I'll try to understand how all of those individual elements lead to reaching the artist's goals and intent. From there, I'll make changes, add sounds and textures, and fill out elements that end up giving the song a more cohesive and unique aesthetic.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Studio set-up is in a fully GIK Acoustics treated room, 26-in, 26-out audio interface, running Ableton Live 10 Suite + Max/MSP, full Kush and Soundtoys plug-in suites, two Korg Volcas, ElectroLobotomy Hadron Super Collider (dual oscillator with power starve), three electric guitars, one Martin acoustic, bell kit. Microphones include a Neumann TLM-103, Sterling S230 matched pair, AKG C214, + more.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I'm very inspired by musicians and producers who have an innate curiosity about sound and let their knowledge in different fields influence their work in music. Some people who I feel do this well and inspire me are James Blake, Brian May, Daniel Wohl, and Christian Lillinger.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: I most often do sound design, mixing, and mastering work for my clients. Depending on the project, sometimes I will provide just one of these or all three. However, I do believe that it is best for a mix to be mastered by someone with different ears, so if I do a mix I will often refer the client to a high-quality mastering engineer who is well fit for the project.