Success stories: Guysak

Guysak (AKA Jonathan Prestwick) is a music producer and DJ from Melbourne, Australia who’s collaboration with American producer Drew “Token Memory” is one of this week’s staff picks. In this interview he talks about his collaborations and shares tips for meeting other creatives on Twine.

What is your background and influences?

Personally I started on Fruity Loops when I was younger and was always heavily interested in all kinds of music. I also have some experience with a guitar and bass but I am not really very good. When I was younger I played around a little with music but only over the past 12 months have I been producing again when I finally took the plunge and purchased Ableton. Nowadays anyone can pick up and have a go and I think there are no real barriers anymore to making the music you want to make.

I am influenced as much, if not more, by non-musical influences such as art, movies, pretty much anything. It can be very limiting to be influenced by only the music you like or use to like. Musically though I was brought up on everything from pop to house music. Mainly I like the music from the early noughties and the nineties such as The Chemical Brothers, Underworld, Playgroup, Tiesto (but not the newer stuff) and The Prodigy where music told a story and invoked emotion but didn’t need to be based around lyrics about how much you wanted to party. Influences for any genre can come from anywhere and I try to expose myself to as much as I can.

I also want to add; you can be your biggest musical influence. Just keep making new stuff and try and draw influences from music that you wouldn’t normally think of and it can then influence more new music. For example “Token Memory” follows a familiar beat of music but was heavily influenced from ambient and progressive music too. Personally I have a playlist of songs I think are unique that I listen through when looking for inspiration for my songs.

Who have you worked with on Twine (and what projects you’ve worked on)?

I have worked with DJ Drewzy on a collaboration called “Token Memory”. To me this song is a great example of a true collaboration of styles, we went in with no real genre or type in mind and this came out. On Twine and indeed in any collaboration flexibility is vital and the inspiration from each other can help produce something new and exciting. We are now planning future collaborations.

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I also worked with Geey on “Dark Skies”, another song I am extremely proud of and with Max Ventura on a collaboration “Tusko” and a remix of a song “Recap” for his upcoming album. Each collaboration was a unique and powerful experience in building my own skills and in particular my remix of “Recap” (which will be uploaded here soon) was a great experience for me and is something I think is unique and nice. I have worked on starts of some other projects with the likes of Glede which will hopefully amount to more successful collaborations.

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What’s your advice for finding people to work with on Twine?

Be clear and contact people who interest you. The ads can only indicate the basics and when you contact someone, tell them what you want to look to do. Ask for clarity on what they are looking to do also and ask for an idea of their vision/where they are up to on their project or tell them where you are up to on your project (if your approaching someone else). Always check out the other persons back catalogue and reference some of their works when your contacting them. This way you will be taken seriously and then go from there. Try to avoid just saying, “work with me?” or “I want to collaborate with you” or worse begging, try to show you have put some thought into it.

Keep your profile up to date. Remember Twine is a place with creatives and instead of completing your track descriptions as you would on say SoundCloud, maybe describe the creative process you used or where the influences came from, this will give people an idea of you and how you work. It’s not a traditional promotional platform where you are seeking the most followers, you are advertising your portfolio to find more people to work with and expand your portfolio.

As a final note, push yourself. Do contact people who are sometimes in different genres or styles to you who will help you expand yourself and push you. When you do start collaborating, expect disagreements to occur, working through these is a creative process which makes true collaborating a powerful experience. Have an open mind about the process when working with someone and you may end up with something unique, amazing and new.

To find out more about Guysak, follow him on Twine, Facebook and Twitter.

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Joe Scarffe

Joe Scarffe

Joe is the Community and Marketing Manager and is currently finishing up a PhD in music at Birmingham Conservatoire and still hasn’t got over his addiction to coffee. He loves getting involved in crazy music projects and plays the bassoon, oboe, piano, recorder and guitar. He also makes lots of electronic music and loves collaborating. He sings too if you ask nicely and once shamefully sang as a backing singer for Will Young. When he’s not moaning about the state of the music industry or public transport in Manchester, he works with the Twine community and handles social media, the blog and partnerships with companies and institutions.

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Joe Scarffe

Joe Scarffe

Joe is the Community and Marketing Manager and is currently finishing up a PhD in music at Birmingham Conservatoire and still hasn’t got over his addiction to coffee.

He loves getting involved in crazy music projects and plays the bassoon, oboe, piano, recorder and guitar. He also makes lots of electronic music and loves collaborating. He sings too if you ask nicely and once shamefully sang as a backing singer for Will Young.

When he’s not moaning about the state of the music industry or public transport in Manchester, he works with the Twine community and handles social media, the blog and partnerships with companies and institutions.