From Artist to Sound Designer: Maya Wagner’s Artiphon Journey

From Artist to Sound Designer: Maya Wagner’s Artiphon Journey

Hello wonderful people, I’m Maya! 

You may recognize me or my name from Artiphon’s recent Preset Creator live stream, Artiphon’s social media accounts, or even my own social media videos. I’ve worked at Artiphon for just over two years now, holding the position of Sound Designer. The story of how I found my place at Artiphon is quite a fun one. It’s so fun, in fact, that I deemed it worthy of a blog post.

 

I was first introduced to Artiphon on June 8th, 2021 upon receiving an email from Artiphon’s Head of digital Marketer, who was inquiring to propose a collaboration with hopes of getting an Orba in my hands.

At the time I was halfway through my studies in Electronic Production and Design at Berklee College of Music, and was very actively posting live looping and real-time vocal processing videos on my Instagram as I created them for my concentration in Electronic Performance. I also had some of my first singles out and was creating the occasional music production tutorial on YouTube. Basically, I love MIDI controllers, music production, and music technology in general, and I adore sharing that passion online.

 

 

 

I responded to Artiphon's email right away; I was absolutely astonished by Orba in all its electronic instrument glory. I even said in my email reply, to directly quote myself, “I am completely shocked at the fact that I haven’t heard of this [instrument]!” One week later, a brand new Orba arrived at my door. Having it in my hands inspired me deeply. I was captivated by its CAPSENSE surface and its gesture capabilities. As one of the world’s biggest music tech nerds, this was like… drinking a tall glass of ice cold water after being stranded on a desert island I didn’t even know I was stranded on. I began creating with my Orba straight away. I was using it primarily as a MIDI controller at the time, but took note of its onboard sounds and DAW-free looping abilities. I carried my Orba with me everywhere (I still do), and got super into mapping gestures in Ableton Live and creating tactile and expressive sounds to use in my tracks and performances.

 

 

 

Soon after, one of Artiphon’s team members offered to give me a tour of Orba’s backend synth engine thinking I might be able to create some sounds for the instrument. I felt this pull towards Artiphon; the team members I was interacting with were genuinely excited about my passion for music technology, and I was more than flattered to have the team’s trust as an artist collaborator. This was when I had the brilliant idea to randomly ask if Artiphon could use an intern.

Lucky for me, this brilliant idea turned out to be a good one, and I spent my Spring 2022 semester interning. When I hopped on the team in January of 2022, Orba 2 was in the works, and there was a real need for someone who knew the ins and outs of audio sampling and synthesis. It just kind of… all fell into place. I created the sample sets that would make up the sampling engine in Orba 2, and worked on the core preset library that would be released when Orba 2 became available.

 

 

Once my internship time was over, I held my part-time place on the team as Artiphon’s first resident Sound Designer while I completed my final Berklee semester, and after graduating, I moved to full-time.

If you’ve made it this far into the blog post, chances are you’re wondering why I’m telling you all of this. Well, I think it’s cool, important even, to break the fourth wall sometimes and share the experiences of the people who create the sounds other people make music with. When creating the sounds available to play on Chorda and Orba 2 (which there are now over 150 of), I think about all of the experiences and expressions of those who will hold them in their hands, and it makes me excited to know that I’m creating so that others can create.

 

 

So yeah, next time you perform a gesture on your Orba 2 or make a loop on your Chorda, think about how that sound has been conceptualized, has evolved, has traveled through time, and has somehow reached your ears and fingertips. Cheesy, I know, but music really is one of the most connective forces in the universe. I’m so excited we get to be a part of each other’s soundscapes.

If you’re interested in listening to my music or following me on social media, visit my website, www.mayawagnermusic.com for streaming and social links.

🎶 Have a sound you'd like to hear on your instrument? Submit your idea Here! 🎶

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