Femi Shonuga-Fleming




1. How did you get into coding? What drew you into coding?

I entered the world of electronic music production from a very non-musical background, so during my experimentation I would always look for new ways to make something musical in non-conventional ways. Diving into the experimental electronic music world and listening to artists like Autechre and Mark Fell who use Max MSP and various other music oriented coding languages, I wanted to explore more ways to approach music production that involved thinking about randomness and melody in an algorithmic or computer controlled approach. I love the idea of being able to write to create a set of rules or bounds that can create something completely generative while still being under my control.

  1. What style or styles of music is your focus? Do you do anything else music-related or play another instrument outside of live coding?

I focus on making experimental electronic music in the genres of noise and ambient, and most recently techno. Im especially interested in texture, and designing organic sounds from a more or less completely digital root. I mainly use my modular synthesizer and sampler to create, and the live coding is housed in Teletype, which is a live coding module for my modular synth that uses its own language with its own syntax. I don’t play any acoustic instruments. I’m most experienced at Teletype, but I haver used other languages such as Orca, SuperCollider and MaxMSP.

  1. At the festival, what will your act involve? Do you bring in other elements to the coding?

Im still deciding how much hardware I will bring, because my synth is an important part of most of my live sets, but instead of using Teletype ill be exploring midi sequencing from Orca by hundredrabbits, an “esoteric programming language designed to quickly create procedural sequencers.” Ive been kind of obsessed with these developers for a while. I discovered a few of their games on the App Store almost a decade ago, and only found orca revisiting their site a couple years ago. My set will be mostly textural, I hope to play around with granular synthesis and live resampling, and using Pilot, a synth designed for use with orca, and/or sending note information to my modular synth.

  1. What is your advice for someone who is looking to get into live coding, or just coding in general, and doesn’t know where to start?

There are amazing resources online, the Lines forum is a place for people who want to explore the world of Teletype, I go there fort all of my questions and they’re all super welcoming to beginners. I personally like to just follow a lot of people and ask them all questions about how they make the music they make and gather information to do research that way. The internet is really my best friend when it comes to that. Most programs will have help forums or a GitHub page explaining everything as well. MaxMSP is really good at making all of their objects user friendly by creating help patches that explain in detail all the functions ins and outs and uses of that specific object within the program. I would say to not be intimidated, even though it may seem like a lot, most of these languages will take a while to dive into, but if you really want to explore them you just have to set aside time and commit, and obsess over it.

updated 05/28/24 – femi.fleming@gmail.com