Exclusive interview with Niko Gulam -Editor & DJ
Niko Gulam, born in Split, Croatia, 1991., started his film career in 2005, as video editor of the short videos made from the footage of multiplayer FPS games. Except for video and animation, he was also showing interest in making electronic music trough different audio software. After a few years of video and sound editing, while learning Adobe After Effects as a hobby, he graduates from high school and enrolls in Arts Academy of the University of Split. Since 2012, during the 3 years of studying Film & Video, he was participating in a lot of student projects as a sound editor and the field recordist. For his college assignments, except the sound, a lot of projects involved different animation techniques, like stop animation combined with 3D and Adobe After Effects skills.
After getting a bachelor’s degree in the Academy of Split in 2016, he decides to move in Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, where he was working on a few television shows as a drone camera operator and a sound recording engineer. As he fancied the job and had the sense for sound production, after a year of work, in 2017, he got in the Academy of Dramatic Art, University of Zagreb, for a master’s degree in sound design. At the beginning of 2020, he graduated in the field of spatial acoustics, while his artistic part of the graduate thesis was the sound design for the animation “Zdravotvorci” – “The Healthmakers”
NY Glam: What is your music background? Do you write your own songs?
I have started to make electronic music at the age of 13. At the time I was making drum’n’bass but just after I got into it, the drum’n’bass scene (especially technoid subgenre which I preferred) at the time kind of died, and so I gave up on making it.
For a long time, I wasn’t making any music as I was busy with sound design for movies and college. Just a few attempts from time to time, trying to find myself in different genres like rap, metal, dub, and deep house…
In the last 4 years I’ve started my psytrance DJ career as “Atomic Hive”, and in the last few months, after I graduated, I’ve finally come back to music production, but this time of psytrance, now hopefully for serious, as I finally found the genre that i enjoy to make and to play.
This is my Sound cloud profile https://soundcloud.com/470mic , except two DJ mixes, there is one old deep house track of mine which i like, the sound of it and the way it came out, so there it is, actually completed track that I can show you. (I decided to keep metal for myself)
NY Glam: How important is image?
If you think of reputation (I hope I got this right) I think it’s somewhat important. I mean, it’s one of the intangible assets and it’s important for the freelancers like me. Based on the image we get the job each other day, the decision of the offerer is sometimes based only upon someone’s else recommendation (maybe people who already have a good reputation) and not the real facts like portfolio, unfortunately.
But for some other people who have a permanent job, or maybe don’t need a job, I guess for them it’s about an individual’s preference. I mean, it makes me feel good if people have a good opinion about me, and I feel good if I do the job right, but someone else may not care about either of that.
NY Glam:What image do you think your music conveys?
In the sound for the animation that I graduated with, I decided to make the soundtrack of a combination of all recorded samples of foley and voices that have been used in that animation. I have made a simple beat and put those samples in rhythm.
I think that one particularly sends the message that we should not ever lose our sense of humor, or to forget to have fun while working, as that is our most creative state of mind.
NY Glam:Describe your style.
I love sci-fi, futurism, and technology, I also love nature and naturalism.I respect holiness, admire light and the dark.
Often trying to combine the opposite – digital, binary, hi-tech sounds, with the sound of the forest. Ambient sounds carried by the fast beat, distorted sound grinded by the slow beat.
Dark atmospheres that arise from hell, while angelic choirs descend from heaven, fighting to prevail.
So I guess my style is antonymic, a bit hardcore, sometimes epic, but it may not be… I’m versatile after all.
NY Glam:What are you currently working on?
Currently, as a sound designer, I am working on two short movie projects from Croatia. Other than that, I’m always trying to find or to record good samples that you never know when you’re going to need it. I’m also working on my psytrance track and the video editing for my aerial recording showreel.
NY Glam: What inspired this project and who did you work with?
The director of one short movie was inspired by the person who is getting stuck in between smoking weed all day, and the inability to move from the dead center while the unemployment problem in Croatia persist.
NY Glam:How do you define success?
The one who creates, who makes progress, who can do what he loves and his job is not causing any harm to others while the product of the job is to help others, who lives by the rules of nature, who speaks the truth from the heart and encourages others to do all of above, succeeds in life.
NY Glam:Can you share with us any of your memorable performances?
I always love to remember the first projection of my feature-length music documentary called Sinj City, which is about rock scene and situation in my hometown called Sinj.
NY Glam: Which instruments do you play if any?
I occasionally play an electronic keyboard on which I load different sounds with virtual instruments (VST). There is no rule in choosing the sound. One day you can find me play violin on it, some other days I’m making weird alien noises with it.
Sometimes I’m making beats on my Korg padKontrol MIDI, so you can say I’m playing drums?
To be honest, I’m not a connoisseur of notes, I don’t have any music education, apart from experience from my attempts and my hearing. I can’t say I’m playing any instrument for real, but somehow, I always had a sense of making a fair sound from various instruments, even at the first try. I like weird and unusual instruments especially. I do however prefer wind instrument over the string ones, so I play “shitty flute”…but also a bass guitar, sometimes.
NY Glam: What other hobbies do you have? Are there any causes that you support?
I love to make things on my own. Anything I need or I want will first try to avoid spending money on it by looking is it possible to make it with my own two hands.
Except for motorcycles and any other possible vehicles, some extreme sports and walking my dog near rivers or in the mountains, most of my hobbies are on the PC. I still love FPS games when I manage to spare some extra time.
DJ-ing, hanging out, making parties and festivals by the two collectives that I’m in. However, music and sound editing is my favorite hobby.
You can say that I have that luck, that my favorite hobby is my job, for then I can say I’m successful in life.
NY Glam: What are your long-term career goals?
I would like to keep developing in the career that i have chosen on the college, and that is sound. l would love to do some sound recording for the bigger productions outside Croatia. Also, would love to do sound design on more quality projects, especially sci-fi movies or anything similar, something where I could unleash my creativity.
NY Glam:What’s next?
To do my best in not trying to control the future so much, allowing fate to do its work, and allowing myself to concentrate more on the present while maintaining productivity in these dark moments of our lives that we wish not to speak of, as too much has been spoken every day.