As a followup to our first Video Spotlight Engloids.Info interviews Puffihn
So can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
I’m a 20 year old student at the University of Pittsburgh. As for hobbies, I’m trying to learn Japanese and Chinese (but don’t tell, I’m still really terrible at them!) I play a couple different instruments, but I like playing the piano the most. I also enjoy gaming, my current ones being Fallout 3 and League of Legends. I also like watching movies.
Is there a story behind your handle?
I tend to lurk around the Internet anonymously, so I didn’t have Youtube account until I decided to post my first untitled Miriam piece. I wanted a username that didn’t sound like I was taking myself too seriously, because I’m not experienced. Puffin sounded pretty easy and playful, and I could use the bird for my profile picture. I was disappointed when I found out someone had already claimed “Puffin”! I wouldn’t let Youtube talk me into putting numbers at the end, so I just added a random silent h.
How did you get into music?
I started taking piano lessons when I was around five years old and enjoyed it so much that I’ve been playing ever since. In fourth grade I wanted to join the school band and play the flute but they tricked me into French horn instead, but I ended up enjoying that too. I was also a member of a hand bell team that travels and plays for many different kinds of audiences. Later on, I learned how to play the organ, which I now use as a side job while I’m at school, playing for weddings and funerals and services as I’m needed.
I’ve composed since joining the “20th century composers’ club” on a whim that met during lunch in elementary school. We used a sort of cheap sketchy computer program to compose. Who knows what kind of nonsense I made my parents cringe through during our end-of-the-year concerts. In high school I struggled through a music technology course just enough to learn how to use Reason (which is what I now use for my Vocaloid stuff).
I think what kept me getting involved into more and more musical activities is how stress-relieving it can be. I particularly like composing because it feels so rewarding to create.
Do you have any musical inspirations?
Video game music is what inspired me to want to compose when I was young. My first inspiration was music from Legend of Zelda, Golden Sun, and Runescape (yes… Runescape haha). I thought it was so cool how people could make music without acoustic instruments.
My music style has changed a lot since then, and now I really look up to artists like Imogen Heap. She’s not only a great person but her music is very beautiful and moving.
To get ideas for something to compose I find that going for a while without listening to music the most helpful. When I do that, I tend to want to fill in the silence with anything I can come up with. Another way to get inspiration is to sit down and play whatever I feel like on the piano. I like making stuff up as I go and just going with the flow.
As for lyrics, I’m not experienced at writing them, so when I decided to give it a shot, I depended on personal experience for topics and ideas.
What got you into Vocaloid?
I was sent some videos of Hatsune Miku and was told it wasn’t a real person singing, but a computer program. I thought it was pretty impressive the way technology could do that, but at the time I thought it was some sort of unobtainable program that only special people get to use. A few months later, I was just hanging out, composing, and suddenly felt like writing something with vocals, but I’m not a stellar singer. I rediscovered Vocaloid and jumped right in.
When I started, I really had no idea how much I didn’t know, like how Vocaloid has a large community interested in music, videos, writing, art, etc. related to it. I actually considered pulling out after this discovery so that I wouldn’t make a fool of myself, but I decided to stick with it, because I back out of things a lot and thought it was time for a change. The internet feels safer than real life for risk-taking anyway.
Who is your favorite Vocaloid producer?
I love Sasakure-P. Campanella, Fleetingly Eternal Bird (I think it’s called…), and Our 16 bit wars are my favorites. They all use such interesting sounds, and create unique moods. Campanella especially really gets to me. Beautiful and simple but complex at the same time! And so sad!
What do you use to make music?
When doing music with Vocaloid, I usually start out with an idea I play on the piano. I use Propellerhead Reason 4 for the music and then combine it with the Vocaloid part with Audacity. Then in Audacity I slap on the echoes. I don’t know if that’s standard or not!
Why did you pick Miriam, supposedly one of the most difficult to use?
I never knew she had a reputation for being difficult. I really kind of dove into using this without having an idea what I was getting myself into. I chose her because I wanted to use one that spoke English. When I was browsing Youtube on a brief Engloid tour to decide which one I wanted, I really liked her voice quality.
Also, once I found out she was from Miriam Stockley’s voice, I was sold! I grew up watching Peter Rabbit, which has Perfect Day sung by Miriam in it. It’s a favorite from my childhood!
What do you think of your work’s reception?
I’m really surprised how much of it is positive (though I do understand that I get a biased view since the people who go out of their way to comment are probably the ones who are most pleased with my work). There are many really kind people who support me and offer advice. I could definitely use more advice! In some strange way I might have felt less nervous if there had been a more negative response at first. Then I wouldn’t be afraid of getting people’s hopes up and letting them down. But although I feel like a noob in disguise sometimes, I hope learn more every day.
What are your plans for the future?
To be honest, I don’t really know! I’m thinking about posting up other compositions and arrangements on Youtube so that I don’t disappear completely for months in between Vocaloid projects. I just can’t decide if that would bore or be distracting to subscribers. Perhaps this means another Youtube account. At the very least, I hope as Puffihn I can keep entertaining people.
Thanks for your time. We look forward to your future work!