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The Absence of Doors

SonikBuster's new album ‘The Absence of Doors’ is the realization that you are free. Free to create, free to live, free to learn, free to explore, free to innovate.

By mysoundMusicPublished 9 months ago Updated 9 months ago 15 min read

Developing a thrilling combination of Synthwave + Trance + Progressive House SonikBuster's signature sound is at the intersection where the chill night driving elements of cyberpunk lore, the motivating energy of dance music, and the playful nostalgia of game audio collide. -SonikBuster

The Absence of Doors is an amazing album. The unique sound style is unlike anything you will hear out right now. Connecting on a spiritual, technological, and emotional level of sound design. Each track is unique, containing its own character, personality, a puzzle, with a solution, you feel it through every moving piece until it is complete. - Robert Turner, Electrofans

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Do you come from a musical family? Your (music) background?

I’m originally from northern Delaware. I lived either there or in eastern Tennessee going back and forth a bit growing up. When people ask me what my hometown was, I’ll say one or the other depending on my mood, I suppose.

I started learning piano from my mom when I was young, around 4 years old. My dad casually played the drums, and around 8 my mom + my aunt started learning guitar together so we would sit in the living room together & I would attempt to sing whatever they were playing along with.

Later, my parents didn’t play at all anymore really. However, my brother + I took the inspiration + ran with it. My brother, Matt, is an absolutely phenomenal drummer. He worked hard all through our childhood to become the best damn drummer the world has ever seen. These days his goal is to be the best damn dad on the planet. When either of us have a goal in mind, we’re going to hunt it down that’s just how it is. If he isn’t there yet, I bet, he is getting close.

I pursued being a professional musician in a number of ways, but early on I lacked the drive, direction, or motivation to accomplish anything. Once I had the motivation, I kept falling from one hecking mess of a failed group into another. I didn’t start learning production seriously until I was 26 years old. It’s been quite the adventure from that point though. I found a mentor, Sean Beeson, + got connected into the video game music community + industry. From there I studied under James C. Hoffman, bLiNd, + most recently under artist Julian Gray. There are not enough hours in the day honestly to cover my entire music journey in one go, but I can say in the past 2-3 years things have been escalating in the best way.

What is it about music that makes you feel passionate?

There is so much about music that inspires passion in me one way or another; so let’s talk about what inspires the most passion. One thing that I’m mad in love with is details and layers. When I can listen to a track and get utterly lost in it I’m on fire. Music should always be a journey that takes you from one place to another + no matter what genre it is or what its message is when it hits just right you’re going to ignite.

Do you have a preferred genre?

I love to explore. I genuinely listen to everything.

However, I’ve kind of made my home at the intersection where Progressive House, Synthwave + Retro Gaming collide for now. I’m not afraid to adopt things I like from elsewhere though.

In listening right now I’ve been on an Electro House, Folk, Industrial Techno, Classical Piano, + Dubstep kick haha.

May I ask how you arrived at your artist’s name? Give us the scoop.

SonikBuster? That’s an easy one on the surface. It means ‘sound breaker’. Like I said before I like a bit of everything. The things that make my audio signature its own are the result of not putting myself in a box.

The number of people who think I’m named after that damned blue hedgehog is way too high. Although, I really do enjoy retro gaming, he had jack to do with the name.

The real story? Mr. SonikBuster was absolutely insistent that I needed to stop using my gamertag as my artist name. He was definitely right about that + I’m glad I changed it. He said it needs to be something that can be comfortably shouted by fans. His suggestion? Snuggle Butter Kitten - needless to say, at the time, I was mortified.

Him: Yeah yeah! Then fans could shout S.B.K. ! S.B.K!

So me trying to be considerate - made an effort to keep the S.B.K. Acronym but with something less horrific. I quickly landed on DJ SonikBuster + ran like hell with it.

Heh, but I quickly abandoned the DJ - because it isn’t what I am now + it hella wasn’t back then either. I’m a Producer//Artist . I also quickly ditched SBK because my Twitch crew + fans call me simply + effectively Sonik + that’s fine by me.

You released your 5th album this year? What's behind the name, ‘The Absence of Doors’?

Yeah! It’s crazy to think that this is my 5th release, but here we are! While working on the songs that would eventually become ‘The Absence of Doors’ I went from a place of unknown possibility to a place of realized possibility.

I’ve always been completely fascinated with the minds + creations of innovators. I spent a long time feeling like I wasn’t capable of understanding their work or getting to a place where I could innovate on that level. But I was wrong.

I realized this first after learning how to speedrun a video game. When I started learning it was because I fell in love with the game ‘Ori and the Blind Forest’. I wanted to be good at a game for once because I had this bad habit of starting, but never beating games + then having to later try to explain how I could love something that I never finished. I started like everyone does - poorly + not having any understanding of what it is I was trying to accomplish in the first place. Then someone came along to guide me, then another, + another until I had a whole team of people who wanted to see me get to the point where I could run the game. Some of the tricks I had to learn took 8+ hours for me to pull off once. I wouldn’t dare say it was easy, but with time + practice I nailed it at 6AM in the middle of the week.

After a time I would have people show up for runs or I would pop in on someone playing a game I ran only to have them say “I could never do what you do.” + again after years of learning, producing, + releasing I still constantly hear people saying “ I could never be as good as you, or I could never write music the way you do.” It’s a lie we tell ourselves that prevents us from ever beginning.

Once someone realizes that the only thing preventing them from chasing down their dream is the fear of effort they will either succumb to it or conquer it.

If they take that first step they will start to pursue whatever they previously thought was impossible. They will open all manner of doors + windows along the way filling the room in their mind with light. As long as they stay determined + don’t give up at the first sign of resistance they’ll do well.

The day you wake up + realize you can achieve what you set out to do is when you realize that there were never any doors or windows there in the first place. ‘The Absence of Doors’ is the realization that you are free. Free to create, free to live, free to learn, free to explore, free to innovate. The limit of what people are capable of is often so much farther away than they think it is.

Once that barrier is broken for the first time you will go from thinking of all the impossible things you could never do to wondering about all the things that you are going to do next.

Do you have any other plans relating to this release? Videos?

I’m planning to design a show around this album + really hit the pavement with it by next summer. I have a lot of equipment to nail down + software to learn, but the process has already started. There’s no going back now.

Videos? I really really want to do a silly one for Microwave Ghoughpteighbteau. I have an idea in mind, but time will tell if I’m going to be able to realize something so ridiculous.

You have an impressive discography. Where did the ideas come from? What is your creative process like?

Every song and project is different. I’ve released more than 100 tracks; so it really depends on which one we are talking about.

Some of these have taken 2-4 hours while others took 60-80. Some were finished in 4 days + others in 4 years.

In terms of the overall composition, do you have a favorite song and why?

I would say that Ionik Bond is currently my pet. She’s everything I wanted her to be + reflects pieces of me that I’ve wanted to amplify in a cohesive way for a long time. That track is an audio aha! moment. The best part is that I already know I can do it better.

Do you create music for yourself or for fans?


Sometimes I create for myself + sometimes I create for my community. For example Ionik Bond? 100% selfish writing. If you like it stellar + if not whatever.

Microwave Ghoughpteighbteau + Obey as they exist now is because of my crew. You’ll notice that the vibe, attitude, + genre on these is quite different from most other tracks on ‘The Absence of Doors’. They may not be as popular outside of my committed community, but they’re not there for me, + they are not there for you. These songs came full circle for the fans who asked for it. During the finishing process I was ready to ditch both because I wasn’t satisfied. They begged me not to can them; so I released them.

What song do fans seem to favor?

My crew always surprises me with what they are into. I knew that everyone was going to enjoy Night in Rearview. I feel like being awake through the night + surreal experence of sunrise, after connecting with a friend or after driving the whole night through, is something universal. While I’m the kind of nutter that loves to chase the dawn - even someone who has only done it one time will resonate with NiR. The composition experience for that track was a fever dream + when we were done I knew that we had something special.

However, Bioluminescence, a song I haven’t promoted as heavily, has completely taken on a life of its own recently. Although it launched as part of the soundtrack for the game Soundfall - I haven’t really touched it since the game was released back in May. It’s this Trancy, DnB track that apparently has a loving + dedicated fan base of its own somewhere far beyond my reach in the land of Germany. Love y’all.

Has your style evolved since the beginning of your career?


While my influences come from all over the place when everything started I was completely obsessed with Alt-Metal, Dance, and Game/Movie Soundtracks. I’ve always wanted to write dance music, but it seemed out of my reach for a long time.

When I was studying under Sean, I had this huge wealth of instrumental knowledge to learn from + I had been doing a little work towards composing for games in a more instrumental/orchestral style so at the time it worked well. I went from being 100% self-taught to finally learning more practical ways to write + how to create dynamics with the libraries I had. I’m sure I frustrated him though because I would do things a little out of his wheelhouse like write a fully orchestral score, but then SUDDENLY Dubstep - or rather what I THOUGHT Dubstep might sound like - and then bam back into Orchestral. That track is still actually public under BIG MAT ATTACKS - Mix’d Ape ‘94 if you like pain. That was back when I released under ‘DJ’ SonikBuster haha.

I’ve composed Orchestral, Indie/Acoustic stuff, Dark Pop, Synthwave, + some Rock Opera stuff. A lot of that was part of my discography until recently due to community takedowns of Materia Collective label. I still have some stuff up with them, but you know how it is these days. Things are here today + gone tomorrow.

I released a few Synthwave albums + I’ve truly enjoyed being an artist in that genre, but I’ve had this habit of continuing to do dance-esque stuff.

I’ve kind of run the gamut of things, but I always come back around to futzing around with dance. I’m a crazy bass hungry girl, what can I say.

Everything I’ve released definitely carries my audio signature with it in one way or another. At this point I finally feel like instead of my audio signature being something that happens to me it is something that I have become capable of inflicting on my work to realize the things I’ve wanted to create all along.

It’s a very different place from where I started for sure.

What is your favorite part about this line of work? Your least favorite? Why?

My favorite part of working in music is being able to connect with people. Whether through the pulse alone, through lyrics, collaborations, or conversations. While I would create even if there was no one to listen - The experience of enjoying my work alongside my crew is so much richer because we can enjoy the adventure of it together. If I can inspire determination + motivation in others I’m doing this right.

My least favorite eh? That’s a heavy one. There are many people who work in music who really struggle with self-worth, + purpose. I’ve lost + nearly lost too many people because of that + it’s not okay.

Share a funny moment or positive experience that has happened through music.

Just one! Okay okay, and I’ll try to keep it brief too.

When I was with Materia Collective early on it was no secret how much I loved Ori and the Blind Forest + by virtue of the music industry being how it is I had several offers from people to introduce me to the game’s composer, Gareth Coker. I always turned them down because I didn’t want things to be weird. I’m as awkward as they come IRL.

I was at MAGFest in 2016 + the label owner suddenly introduced us without missing a beat. I was caught hilariously off-guard at that moment. I’m sure I blushed because I always blush like hell. It’s embarrassing.

That happened on Day I of the event + it ended up being one of the best MAGFests I’ve ever been a part of. We ended up talking for hours, + it was funny because at one point he said he had regularly been watching my Ori Speedruns. Of course I had no idea whatsoever, but it was neat to discover that mutual curiosity.

I made a friend that weekend. It is funny to me as time goes on how insanely interconnected everything + everyone is compared to how I expected them to be in the beginning.

If one artist were to perform at your party, who would get the call?

What a mean question. I can easily think of a ton of people I would love to perform with; especially in one of those cool intimate settings. Dang. Honestly I would probably call up Julian or AlphaStorm because parties are more fun with friends, + I know they would tear the place up proper.

Other than fame & fortune, is there something you hope to achieve through music?

I don’t care for fame or being rich. Don’t get me wrong, I want to be able to take care of my family with all my heart. If I was in it for money I would have quit a long time ago. I have a few goals.

I want to create something that could be considered a masterpiece. I want to leave a legacy; to be the kind of person + creator worth learning from. I want to cultivate a community that loves unconditionally, pursues their goals relentlessly, + approaches life with hope + determination.

What is your favorite/best outlet to connect with your followers Instagram, Spotify, FB, Twitter, iTunes? How would you want them to follow?

I’m everywhere, but my hot spots are going to be Instagram + Twitter for Socials. I recommend BandCamp, iTunes, + Spotify to connect with my music.

I always have extra goodies + flavor text for songs over on BandCamp for fans who support me there. They’ve gone the extra mile to help me take care of myself, my family, and my ability to continue creating by purchasing my work there. Because of that I really try to have a little something extra there exclusively for them to sweeten the deal.

Are you currently working on any projects we should look out for?

Man oh man is there some stuff coming still. Be on the lookout for some tricks + treats sometime this Fall. I’m starting the process of putting a proper live together for ‘The Absence of Doors’ that I’m hoping to have ready to launch next summer into orbit. I’ve got a couple other fires going, but with those I’m just as curious as you are to see what happens next.


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