Making Waves

Making Waves with Tóti Guðnason

Mar 17, 2021
Tóti Guðnason is a composer for film who has worked with composers like Hildur Guðnadóttir, Högni Egilsson, Ólafur Arnalds and the late Jóhann Jóhannsson. He also writes and performs with his band Agent Fresco. We sat down with him in his studio to learn about his process and how he uses Wave as a studio remote.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently recording the last bits of Agent Fresco’s third album which has been a long time in the making and I’m extremely excited about letting people experience. My first score as a sole composer for a featured film called “DÝRIД will be out later this year starring Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snær Guðnason. Then I’m on the last few meters of a Netflix series called “KATLA” where I’m producing the score for my friend Högni Egilsson.
How do you approach composing?
I tend to stay away from any kind of prenotions or templates. Most of my ideas come from musically theoretical concepts or timbral experimentations that can come about equally by effort and accident. However the majority of my creative efforts are spent in front of my computer in Pro Tools, Sibelius, Ableton, or Cubase. 
Tell us about your studio setup. 
My space is decently sized and way too cluttered. I try to make it invite creativity while being ergonomic. I have a lot of instruments that I rarely use but when I use them they make up for the space they take up. Therefore I’m always on the lookout for ideas to get to recording something as fast as possible when inspiration hits. But the majority of my time is spent programming midi and automating in DAW’s.
What’s next for you?
I’m going to be focusing on writing new music that’s not intended for media composition. I believe it’s vital to keep reinventing what interests you musically and not get into habits just because they produce adequate results but rather keep challenging your workflow. That being said I’m putting all my heart into finishing Agent Fresco’s third album with the integrity and attention to detail I feel it deserves. I’ve never been more pleased with music I’ve created. 
You’ve been using Wave as a studio remote, can you tell us how using Wave for that purpose has changed your creative process?
Wave as a remote was an instant part of my workflow. It might not seem like a big deal but having control of your most vital shortcuts, feeling like an extension of your index finger, takes you away from the virtual space of a computer and puts you in front of the instrument you are manipulating at a given moment. I don’t have to look at my DAW if I don’t want to, I can just communicate with it 
Would you be willing to share your studio remote setup, and maybe explain a bit how it works?
Softwave is a deep software of which I’m constantly running into new ways to approach and maneuver but this is a very straightforward and easy way of using it.
I think all Wave users should have a think about what commands they would like to be able to bring away from their normal seated position in front of the keyboard and mouse and make their own personal version of it. My main focus was to be able to start recording, listen back, UNDO and create new playlists. Then I have scrubbing 1 bar back and forth but I don’t tend to use that a whole lot. 
I want to emphasize that these are just the commands that made sense to me to have available for Pro Tools. This is in essence making your normal QWERTY keyboard shortcuts a mobile extension of your muscle memory.
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