This week we have an interview with Charles-Zoltan, who we discovered after he sent us a bug report... definitely one of the best ways to meet someone new! We really enjoyed seeing his visuals and followed up to get more information to share with all of you!
1. Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Charles-Zoltan (better known as Zoltan or CZ), my path is quite eclectic, I started by studying at the conservatory of music in piano. Subsequently I played and formed rock / dub groups as bassist and guitarist. At the same time I discovered 3DS Max and photoshop and video editing self-educated.
I completed my career by studying sound engineering where I discovered electronic music and its methods of creation. I had the opportunity to collaborate with contemporary artists and other musicians as technical director which led me to discover VDMX as a solution to manage live visuals in 2013. I am quite curious and have a great pleasure learning new things and experimenting with anything.
2. What software / hardware / other tools do you use in your work?
My most used software, is Ableton Live with a nice collection of plugins. For photo editing I’m using Gimp, Blender for some simple 3D animations, and Final Cut for video editing. For the audio mastering I use Izotope Ozone 8. I recently discovered « Usine hollyhock » that allows me to create my own tool (thank to FX23).
For the visual I try to create as much as possible by myself, using a GoPro and my smartphones as a camera, but I also use, video samples, shaders that I edit and anything I can find on the web and my hard-drive. I also use beautiful photos from friend’s collections. And to create the sounds I use everything I find : from instruments to audio glitch of hardware problem, vocal synthesis, synthesizers …I think there’s no bad tool if you can find the good way to use it.
3. Tell us about your latest projects!
My main project is "Ctrl-Z" which I started in 2017. It’s music / visuals electronic project in which I apply all that I learnt those past years.
At first the project was only musical but it was my desire from the beginning to integrate the visual aspect.
It’s by working on the visuals that the idea of "Ctrl-Z" entity came to me. That's how the track "Hello World" appeared ; eponymous title of the album that will be released very soon and which marks the awakening of this entity in our world. On this tune I send a midi note that randomly select a photo on every beat, as if the entity was imbuing of our world.
As each tune has its own emotion, It’s important for me that the visuals fit perfectly to each atmosphere. So I spent time to test different media for each track, video, shaders, photos and text layers. It can go to simple square deformation / iteration for Techno tune, to compilation of video footage of building destruction for Drumstep track.
The past 6 months I was looking for the most stable and ergonomic solution for the live performance, to be able to manage both visuals and music. So it's a mix of programming, hardware’s midi controls sending through the routing "to vdmx" that Ableton offers and the use of Audio-analysis for the shaders input and FX control. I decided to start with a simple thing to get as soon as possible a full live available, to make it more and more elaborated. I have recently tested and upgraded the configuration in live conditions during a residence at the Astrolabe.
The live hardware configuration is: Midifighter 3D from DJ Tech Tools, Akai midi keyboard, Ableton Push, Darktime Dopfer, the TI2 Virus Access, Touch OSC of Hexler to create my own dedicated controllers and ... my laptop. I had to create a Midi Implementation spreadsheet to manage everything, it’s saved my mind. In the future I would like to integrate a second computer to extend the audio and video possibilities.
The desire to have certain visual atmospheres inspires me for future musical part, so the interaction between visual and audio finds harmony.
I'm still a little Padawan and have a lot to learn. I have plenty of ideas for this project that I shall develop in the coming months, thanks to the structure called "La Labomedia" with I have plenty of resources to succeed.