Living in Malaysia, dropping out of college to make music, loving M-Audio gear, and teaching music to younger students. This week we meet Reuben Ch’ng (ReubenChng) from AudioJungle. It was my privilege to meet him in Kuala Lumpur – he’s a great guy.
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Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from, what do you do for a living?
Hey everyone, I’m Reuben Ch’ng, a 22 year old all the way from Prince of Wales Island or also known as Penang in Malaysia. I’m a full time musician and producer and I run a recording studio where I have clients booking the studio to record music or sometimes business voice overs.
I studied music arrangement from Berklee and what I normally do daily is music arrangements for bands, artists and sometimes even some commercial music works. Instrument-wise I play the violin and piano.
I’ve been making music for a few years right after high school (I dropped out of college) and only got to know AudioJungle through a cinematographer pal. I joined AudioJungle as an author about a year ago and started putting in some music but wasn’t really active until after the recent Envato Meetup in KL where I met real people from Envato! That was when I started to realize the potentials of being part of AudioJungle!
Which marketplaces do you belong to? What types of files do you sell?
I belong to AudioJungle. I find myself making lots of piano inspired music or ballads probably because the piano is my main instrument, but lately I’ve also been selling some orchestral music, electronic music and a couple of fun sound effects! I’ve a track where I recorded my poodle barking! That was fun.
How has AudioJungle/Envato helped launch your professional career? (TortoiseTree)
Although I was already making music before I knew about AudioJungle, I didn’t have that inspiration to keep making music so I kind of slacked a lot. After selling a few tracks on AudioJungle, I’ve began to make music more often and I guess doing that has been polishing my skills and I tend to have less hiccups when any projects comes my way. Maybe I’ll get to know other people across the globe with Envato and start working on projects soon!
By looking at some successful authors, you can actually learn a lot with their activity. How can your recreate yourself to be in their position? Follow them, observe and learn!
How did you get started? Have you had any formal training?
I’m classically trained in music playing the violin and piano. My parents use to send me to private music classes and I took classical exams under ABRSM. I started teaching music and that was when I met a music arranger who showed me how he made a band track within five minutes with a computer. That was the first time I saw someone make music with a computer and that’s when I knew doing music production was what I really wanted.
I enrolled for a business diploma in a college after my high school but I dropped out shortly after to start my own studio and study the online music arranging course by Berklee on the side.
Describe your home workspace.
My workspace is my studio where I have two rooms. One is the mixing room where I’m usually at producing music and the other is the tracking room where I record instruments and voices.
I would say I’m quite a minimalist when it comes to my workspace. I do not own much outboard gear or keyboards. I have an iMac where I run Logic as my main DAW.
I love music gear from M-Audio, so I use the M-Audio Profire 2626, M-Audio Fast Track and the M-Audio Keyrig 49.
I rarely use Windows for music but I have a PC desktop running Studio One for any clients who uses the PC platform.
Microphones wise I love microphones by Rode and Audio Technica! The Rode NT1-A in my studio is used most of the time whenever there is a recording session.
What is a typical day ‘in the office’ like for you? (gbiasillo)
I don’t have a typical day in the office as everyday seems to be a different one. Well, you know I don’t work 9-5 and sometimes I don’t even go to the studio!
But if you really want to know, basically I’ll settle some emails and proposals during the start of my day. Then I’ll continue working on some client’s music or handling recordings if there are any. Evening comes, I’ll take my dog for a run and then have dinner. If I do not have any projects pending on hand, then I’ll make music!
Describe your creative process. What steps do you normally follow to create your files?
While some people may suggest loading up a template in Logic and have the virtual instruments ready for action, I find myself loading up an empty arrange window most of the time. Normally I have a tune in my head and I imagine the whole music arrangement in my head before I start working on it.
When I do not have any song or ideas in my head, I normally listen to some music loops, choose one that I like and then build out a whole music arrangement from that short music loop or also known as a music motif.
When starting a new track, what are you thinking about? Making it as commercially viable as possible, or writing something that comes from the heart, even if it may not be considered mainstream? (MagnetStudios)
I normally have a tune in my head before I start making music. If I don’t have a tune, then I’ll scrape through music loops and ideas will start popping up soon enough. Although I’m aware that some types of music is more salable, I don’t make them as commercially viable as possible. Yes, I do make music that may not attract many sales but sometimes I just enjoy doing them.
What is your advice to other authors regarding how to create a successful portfolio?
I haven’t experienced enough in AudioJungle to be able to give solid advice. However something I’ve learned last month after having one of my music featured on the main page is the importance of visibility.
Yes our music has to be good and of top quality. The thing is many of us authors have great music but not many people listen to them! I would advice authors to get their music out to as many listeners as possible while creating high quality work.
What do you do to market your files?
I’ve only been marketing my files lightly with social media like Twitter and Facebook. I also find YouTube a pretty effective place to promote your music if you have the views. Make a viral video!
While I haven’t been doing much marketing I find the sales coming automatically from AudioJungle to be fantastic for authors like me who do not do much marketing.
What are your three favorite files, and why do you like them?
Well if it’s one my files…
First would have to be my recent featured file, The Last Dance. It is simple and yet still powerful. The music also packs some emotions and I think that’s the best thing a piece of music can do. Bringing in those human emotions.
Second would be On Good Terms as I like playing and experimenting with electronic music with all those technical techniques like side chaining, glitching and stuttering. I love playing around with synths.
I actually bought a music pack from Soundroll about a year ago, and I particularly bought it because I like Feel Good Journey which is included in the pack. The music does what the title says. It’s powerful and it does make people feel good. You know, that uplifting positive vibe in the music piece.
Apart from yourself, who is your favorite marketplace author, and why do you like them?
I would have to say Soundroll! His music is very diverse and he uploads new music consistently. I enjoy listening to his many genres of music and I guess he also inspires and motivate me to make more music and be consistent too.
Who is your favorite musician/artist/or band? (guitarjock)
If you asked me right now. hmm, I think I like David Foster and Earth Wind & Fire! I also enjoy listening to John Mayer.
What Is the popular music in Malaysia right now? (joesacco)
There is no one popular music here, you’ll have to depend on the genre. But people here likes pop and commercial music. Well, music by mainstream artists.
What do you do in your spare time?
Other than producing music I also love teaching and holding music classes for younger students. I also enjoy working outdoors so when I do not have any heavy projects or work on hand you’ll see me working with my laptop in Starbucks or a cafe while sipping to cup of freshly brewed coffee!