We sat down with the 15-year old Macedo and asked him about the album, Light, released under the alias Voyager.
1) Can you share with us your musical journey as a pianist and composer? At what point did you want to compose?
My musical journey starts back since I was little, really. I’ve always loved every part of music. Whether it be instrumental or with lyrics, I would always hum my favorite tunes or sing my favorite songs before I could even properly speak. I started piano lessons at a very young age – around 5, I believe – and without it, I don’t think I’d be where I am today. At about age 11 or 12, I started listening to different labels around the internet and fell in love with a label named Monstercat. What I loved so much about the label was the diversity of styles of each artist. Every artist had a unique style… something they could call their own and share with the world. This is where my compassion for music production began. I dreamed of one day being one of them: somebody who could share my music with the world.
Up to that point, I’d been using free software to produce and record my own music — all self-taught. Now I am just about to turn 16, and I’ve been using professional software and hardware for the experimenting with different things and trying to find my own style.
2) Do you find the two skills —piano and composition—complement each other?
Like I mentioned before, without piano I don’t think I would be at the point I am today. Playing piano is obviously a great thing, but the knowledge that comes with learning it is even more helpful when it comes to other things music-related.
3) How often and for how long do you practice?
If I’m being completely honest, time likes to get away from me a lot (smiles). I try to practice piano when I can, though producing music is my main focus at the moment. When I get around to practicing, I usually practice a half-hour to an hour.
4) How do you balance music with obligations at school?
It’s a tricky thing, because your school workload increases over time. I try to do as many music-related things as I can in my free time, whenever that may be. School comes first and music comes second — but there are times when I work on music and may put off homework for a few hours.
5) Can you describe your creative process?
My creative process generally starts with finding a sample I want to work with, or that inspires me — or I may already have an idea in my head. From there, I load up my digital audio workstation (DAW), and start making sounds and stuff. First comes sound design, or picking/making the sounds you plan to use. Then I make a simple melody and bass line. From there, I try to get some vocals if I want them, add then add other elements like string instruments, drums, etc., mixing them into the song as I go.
The final stage of my song-making process is mastering the entire track for release. Mastering a song is basically like mixing — messing with equilization, dynamic shifts, compression, adding reverb or delay, or anything else I want to add. The thing, though, is doing for an entire song, and not just an individual instrument or sound. And each song has its own timetable. I’ve created, mixed and mastered some songs within 4-6 hours. Others have taken 8-16 hours, while on rare occasions, songs can take days to weeks, even months to finish due to lack of creativity, difficulty in mastering, time restraints, et cetera. I like to start lots of new ideas and jump between them to keep that creativity flowing.
6) What would you like people to know about your EP, Light ?
The release of Light is the start of a time in which I feel like I can release work that I’m proud of. I feel like I’ve finally found my style. As my alias Voyager, I hope to take people on that journey I’ve so desperately wanted to since I was a little boy and show people the beauty I’ve always found in music.
7) Can you tell us about your teachers and how they influenced you?
I’ve only now released one EP, but it really does feel like a huge accomplishment — one I don’t feel I could have accomplished without the people who have taught and supported me over the years. First and foremost, Mr. Nowaczyk. As my piano teacher, he’s been helping with my music education since I was 6. From playing the piano, to teaching and helping me understand music history, or just talking about things I’ve been working on, he’s always been supportive. Secondly, my band director at Middletown High School South has also been a huge help, and I know that I owe him a huge thanks for everything he does for me and the band back at school. His passion for music and making our band better players, plus his determination to help us improve in every class, is a huge part of my school life.
My mother is also a great musician and music teacher. She’s played in many shows and has been teaching different music classes for many years; most of my musical talent comes from her and her vast knowledge in music instruments. Her support has always meant the world to me as well.
I’ve also met many musicians online who, at this point, I consider mentors. Without having watched hundreds of videos in music production and music theory, as well as having talked and discussed the ins-and-outs of music production with the hundreds of musicians around the music industry, I’m unsure I’d have an understanding of what it takes to succeed in the music world. Without all of these teachers and mentors, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today, and I certainly wouldn’t have managed to release this EP without them.
8) What would you like to do next?
I’m working on plenty of new music for upcoming releases, and I’m going to start looking for labels that will release some of my new stuff as my style expands and my work becomes even better.