Uwe Siemer, Software & Audio Engineer on Music Production

What I love the most about Music Production is the freedom to express my current mindset, just play around with a sample, play some drums, move over to an analogue device, and go with the vibe. The great thing about music production is that every bug is a new chance. I take a bug / an error as it is and do not try to fix it. I always try to build on top of or around it because, for me, music is something that is created in a special moment in time and space. Therefore, every piece I work on is unique in some way. In programming, I always have to fix the bug – music is my perfect ying to that yang.

My name Uwe “Sobiform” Siemer, and I work as a Software & Audio Engineer. Additionally, I have been producing music for 21 years now.

My passion for computers began with the infamous Commodore 64 at the age of seven. It instantly fascinated me – through the video game Frogger, I got the hang of the basics of computer software and hardware. My first programming experience dates back to this period; I also made my first music with a computer at this point in time. With C64 basics, I was able to program my first text adventures. After a year or two, I was diagnosed with macula dystrophia and was told I would gradually lose my eyesight in the coming years and would be blind by the age of 18. My eyesight was already down to 70% by the age of eight, so my forecast wasn’t good at all. At this time, I lost my connection to computers because I tried to have as much real outside experience as possible. So, I spent my time playing soccer, skateboarding, and hanging out with girls.

I have lived in several towns in Germany, in different parts of the country: Heidelberg, Wiesbaden, and now Berlin. In 2014, my life had a rather radical shift because my girlfriend got a job as a media expert and was to be sent by the German government to the Central Asian Republic of Kyrgyzstan, where she would help establish and promote free media and educate young journalists. Not knowing what to expect, I nevertheless agreed to accompany her and help her with her project. The project turned out to be a great challenge for both of us, but it was very successful. My part in this mission was building a Linux Ubuntu System with Rivendell Radio Automation Software, Icecast Server, and a Webplayer Interface for the Kloop Media website.

It was only three years after the last revolution in Kyrgyzstan, and I was actually frightened to be injured or even killed. With our two cats, we were escorted to our safe apartment and I realized how different everything was. There were Cyrillic letters on the signs along the roads – I could not understand one word of Russian at the time. Moreover, our cats were pretty much in a panic because of the 16-hour transit flight from Frankfurt to Moscow, and then from Moscow to Bishkek.

In the safe apartment that the German government rented for us, everything became calmer and our cats were just happy to be out of the carriers. For my then-wife, everything was easier because she was born and raised in the neighboring country Kazakhstan and could easily adapt to the situation. She came to Germany at the age of nine, so her memories of Soviet Central Asia were fresh enough. We had met in Heidelberg in 2012. When she got the job as a media expert in Kyrgyzstan and we decided to go there together, we married (mostly for safety reasons, because otherwise, the Germans would not evacuate me in the case of an emergency). Thankfully, everything was very safe and easy there. Central Asia and Kyrgyzstan are just beautiful. I really miss the Tien Shan Mountains and the wonderful lake Issyk Kul. The people of Kyrgyzstan are lovely, strong-minded, and honest. I could spend all my life there in peace with nature.

Outside of work, I love music production, digging up new music, and playing with analog synthesizers or Ableton. Music was always around me, but at the age of 18, I started to become a music producer because I deep-dived into the German hip-hop scene and was fascinated by the culture.

Noisia from Gronning, Netherlands, is still a great musical influence to me. The experimental sound really picks me up. Vision Radio by the crew is still one of my favorite radio shows. Nowadays, I am really inspired by Berlin’s local clubs, such as Mensch Meier and BeateUwe, and I hope they will open up again fully. Living in Berlin changed me a lot. It is sometimes a rough and dirty city, but in the end, it is really beautiful and open for all kinds of mindsets.

Currently, I use Ableton Live Suite as my main software for music production. My hardware consists of Novation Bassstation II, Moog Minitaur, Akai MPX-8, Arturia Beatstep, Yamaha Monitors and Interface. I always try to be as mobile as possible and reduce my equipment to the bare minimum in weight and size (simply because I like traveling a lot and seeing new places and picking up the vibe of such places).

When it comes to music production, new music finds me. Back in the day, I had tried to find it myself, but that is not how it works. The pieces come from my perspective of outer space, and I just puzzle them together in my individual way. I am also more of an autodidact, and my approach is very autistic.

The last year was one of my most essential years in music production. I became homeless because of my pending divorce and slept on a couch for 4 months in my friend’s one-room apartment in Berlin – as the pandemic had started around this time, my friend and I were locked down together. During this time, we just produced music without a break: new tracks every day, every hour. It was insane sometimes, because one guy was producing while the other guy tried to sleep, and we very much had cabin fever. Nevertheless, it was quite productive – I love this guy, but I guess he now does not want to see me for years! He is an incredible artist and a better engineer than me. My first single from this time just came out on 2 July 2021 via The Orchard / Sony on Deezer, Spotify, iTunes, etc. It is called Covid Sunshine.

Music is just a flow for me – I go with the vibe and do not set any goals. Art is something that I cannot control; either something wants to get out or not. It is always the outer and inner setting, a reflection of the current situation and vibe I am in and surrounded by.

I see a few similarities between Music Production and my current occupation. On both levels, you have to be extremely organized to control all the technology you are using. Therefore, the best advice is to go with the KISS principle. Reduce technology and dependencies to the minimum and keep it simple, stupid. I also think that the ones who find new, efficient solutions to a given problem uplift both tech and music. They are a perfect fit for each other.

My advice to anyone interested in music production is to start with a minimum setup, and never listen to haters. Always do what is in you and what you love first. Be happy and proud.

There is always more than tech, and life comes first – no big multinational company can make you happy like a piece of art that you create. Code is art, too. It is an expression of your inner mindset for a given task at a specific moment in time. Therefore, we should treat code as music or paintings or other forms of art, and give technologists the freedom and space to be creative and successful at every stage of their lives in order to be fully productive for the tech industry. Workspaces need to be fully remote, especially for the benefit of the environment. Moreover, teams need to become more diverse. “Suits” or the management levels of companies should also understand that every engineer and developer is a creative person and that their private artistic works should be respected. So I would say to definitely share your private creative stories and do not hide them. The industry just needs to become more inclusive.

Uwe’s Website: https://scobiform.com/

Uwe’s Deezer Page: https://www.deezer.com/us/artist/137878322

Uwe’s Juno Download Page: https://www.junodownload.com/artists/Scobiform/releases/

Uwe’s Instagram Profile: https://www.instagram.com/scobiform/

Uwe’s TikTok Profile: https://www.tiktok.com/@scobiform

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