Who the hell is Howard Smith & why should you care about their packs?!
In this write up, we connected with Howard Smith to hear about how he got to where he is and all of his past influences. It was very inspiring to read about, so delve into it below.
I started out playing around with trackers and software which eventually led to an interest in hardware.
Eventually, it ended up turning into a small studio based around a PC running Cubase, a Yamaha RM1x which had a fantastic little sequencer, the awesome Yamaha AN1X, Yamaha A4000 sampler and the Novation KS5.
Everything ran through a Soundcraft desk with various outboard multi-fx units, reverbs and compressors.
I really enjoyed experimenting with lots of different styles of electronic music including breaks, jungle, spacey ambient drones, techno, freeform and some rave.
Over those years I found that what I enjoyed the most was actually creating sounds on the synths and mangling samples. I started to release sample packs for different genres and patch banks for the AN1X and KS series.
I was working in robotics programming and watched as more and more manufacturing work was being shipped out of the UK for cheaper production costs.
I decided to make a huge change, sell everything I owned and head out into the world to see where life would take me. Software synths were starting to get really good, so at the time I didn’t feel too bad about selling the hardware and putting everything into a laptop.
I travelled for a quite a while and eventually ended up staying in Mexico for a few years.
I continued to make sounds and music using only software and shared a house with a few DJs. Those were fun days playing out electro, new rave, synth-pop and I also worked on some darker ambient stuff which comes from my love of all things science fiction.
In 2011, I settled in South East Asia, married my love and we have an amazing daughter.
Music-making went on the back burner for a little while until I started enjoying a lot of Synthwave and could no longer resist playing with synths again.
My home studio started growing and now has a small modular setup with Erica Synths, Pittsburgh Modular and Mutable Instruments modules, Novation Peak and Bass Station II, Yamaha digital piano, Launchpad and Launchkey for controlling Ableton.
My favourite soft synths are VCV Rack, Spire, Zebra, Phaseplant and recently started enjoying Pigments. I create ambient music and also cinematic sounds for local filmmakers.
It all came to this.
In 2019, I decided to start sharing my love of creating sounds again and set about building Howard Smith Sounds.
I started with an initial focus on one of my favourite synths Spire. My hope is that my sounds spark inspiration in others and that they enjoy playing them as much as I love creating them.
Sometimes experimenting with presets can give that initial spark that will grow into a full track.
One of the things I have always loved about synth-based music is that we are all inspiring each other to grow and create along the way.