In the studio with ᔕᑭᗩᑕᗴ ᑕᗩ丅 😺
Jaz from the RepostExchange Team

Starting out in the late nineties as part of the demoscene, Ruediger (aka Space Cat) draws on his wealth of knowledge to create everything from cyberpunk to neoclassical soundscapes from their home studio in Germany. Highly rated by our members, Space Cat is an active member of the RepostExchange community and will often be found at the top of the Underground chart. We got to know this mysterious space-travelling cat when they graced us with their presence in the studio!

How long have you been producing music and how did you learn? 

I've been making music for quite a long time, I think since the late 1990's or so. I took piano lessons growing up, and like most children, I wasn't always enthusiastic about regular practice. In retrospect, however, I am glad that I had piano lessons.

When I was at school I was active in the demoscene as a programmer, sound designer and musician. The demoscene is a worldwide non-commercial network of creative minds who are busy creating demos. 

Demos are computer-generated music short films that show what graphic and sound effects can be coaxed out of certain computer hardware like the Commodore 64 or Amiga. Through the Commodore Amiga and the then popular trackers (DAW precursors) I came into contact with samplers early on. I later switched to the PC and used Cubase and various PC sound cards and external sound generators for many years. After a work-related break, I started making music again in 2021, this time on a Mac with Logic Pro and have now built up a small studio.

What DAW(s) do you use and why?

I have used many different DAWs including Cubase, Logic Pro, Raptor and Renoise. I'm currently using Logic Pro because it runs best on my Mac and has everything I need. In addition, the workflow is very intuitive.

What are your favourite pieces of gear and why?

I use both hardware and software synthesizers.

In terms of hardware, I primarily use a Roland Fantom synthesizer, which is the center of my studio and offers many high-quality sounds, including very good retro sounds but also great modern sounds (e.g. the n/zyme Wavetable Expansion).

I also have a Waldorf Iridium, which contains five different synthesis models and, among other things, offers extremely lively sounds that don't sound static. My Sennheiser HD800S headphones with Sennheiser headphone amplifier, which I use for mixing/mastering, and my Yamaha mixer are also very important.

What are your favourite software plugins and why?

I use quite a few different software synths as each product has its own strengths.

Spectrasonics OmniSphere is my primary software synthesizer because it offers extremely high sound quality and there are also many good extensions for it.

I use Synapse Audio Obsession for fat analog synth sounds.

I use Arturia Analog Lab V for synthwave and retro sounds because this library offers a lot of authentic sounds from synth classics like Roland Jupiter 8, Juno 106 and because of its versatility it can be used for almost all music genres.

For orchestral soundtracks, I mainly use Spitfire Audio and Heavyocity libraries. The plugins for mixing and mastering are also very important, whereby I mainly use iZotope 10 and the plugins BASSROOM and MIXROOM from MASTERING THE MIX for EQ and FabFilter L2 as limiter.

How would you summarise your approach/workflow when creating a track?

I often have musical ideas/melodies that come to me at all possible times of the day and night and which I then record as a voice memo with my smartwatch. If I didn't do that, the idea would usually be gone by the next day.

The process of producing a song depends heavily on the music genre. With soundtracks, I often start with the harmonies, i.e. the root chords followed by the melody (or vice versa). With electronic music, inspiration often comes from a particular synth sound that I experiment with, which then forms the basis of the song and then I add layers to it. 

I follow the rule "there is always another layer", i.e. my songs usually consist of many layers.

What resources do you use to improve your craft?

I rarely use YouTube because there are a lot of contradicting statements there, e.g. on the subject of mixing/mastering, most YouTubers have their own method, which is of course "the best method in the universe"(!)

I find the variety of statements on the subject rather confusing and not very helpful. On the other hand, I have had very good experiences with interactive courses, e.g. Kygo’s masterclass, in which the author presents his complete process for the production of electronic music in four weeks. You work online with different course participants and have to do different homework (e.g. composing a melody) in a certain amount of time and upload the result to get comments and tips. I learned a lot from that course and got to know a lot of nice fellow musicians with whom I'm still in contact.

Overall, it can be said that good content usually costs something, but the money is usually well invested because you save a lot of time in the end because you don't have to click through hundreds of YouTube videos.

What is the last YouTube tutorial you watched that you would recommend to other Re-Ex members?

I found a good tutorial called "Next Level AI Mastering with Ozone 10 Advanced" in Sean Divine's channel:

I also recently discovered Marc Jovani's "Cinematic Composing" channel, which gives a lot of useful tips for composing orchestral soundtracks:

What knowledge or advice do you wish you'd learned earlier?

I wish I had a guide through the obscure and endless plugin jungle, because there are a large number of plugins with a similar function and it is difficult to find the right plugins for you. Also, I would have liked to have learned more about mixing/mastering sooner and how important it is to the quality of the production.

What challenges related to making music do you face and how do you overcome them?

I think almost every musician knows writers block. If I'm uninspired, I do something completely different, which actually always helps me to get new musical ideas again. Another method for such cases is to listen to old songs, some of which are unfinished, from which new ideas can often be developed.

Can you share any killer tips or techniques?

1. Use layers to make the sound fuller or the song more interesting.

2. Keep all recordings, even if you don't like them (yet).

3. Think of mixing as three-dimensional.

4. Work on songs iteratively, i.e. even small progress is good.

5. Be careful when using Ozone 10's STABILIZER module and use it more as a metering tool and less as a processing tool.

6. Take breaks and listen to your song or mix again later with relaxed ears.

7. Mastering is like golf: just as there should be as few strokes as possible in golf, there should be as few adjustments as possible in the mastering phase. If a few mastering steps are not enough, this can be an indication of a problem in the mix.

Do you try and get feedback or suggestions to improve your music? If so, how?

Yes, I’ve already received feedback from other musicians on RepostExchange and Soundcloud and I'm grateful for every hint and every form of constructive feedback, because I think feedback is a gift.

Which track are you most proud of and why?

There really isn't a specific track, but my newest tracks tend to be my best as well, which I take as an indication that I'm improving over time.

Has RepostExchange affected the way you make music? If so, how?

Yes, RepostExchange is really great because I've met a lot of talented fellow musicians through it and it's also resulted in several friendships.

I find the Soundcloud/RepostExchange community very stimulating and inspiring because it gives you the opportunity to discover and learn something new every day.

Desert Island Gear

Top L-R: MacBook Pro with Logic Pro, Roland Fantom 6 synthesizer.

Bottom L-R: Solar panel, Sennheiser HD800S headphones, AKAI Professional MIDIMIX.

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This interview has been lightly edited for brevity and clarity.