9 Odd ways to deal with online toxicity and trolls

[Editor: Firstly I gotta admit that the reason behind this article is personal. I feel that in my little corner of the internet, that there has been a general uptick in the amount of online negativity and toxic behaviour. Maybe due to a global pandemic or maybe something else entirely? But I wanted to learn more about it and specifically how to deal with it. So I asked the following question to a few artist, who have a large online audience …]

While 99% of comments are positive and feedback is generally uplifting and useful. Sometimes, one negative comment just seems to stick. Human nature being what it is, we often only remember the negative criticism.

So what strategies have you developed to deal with online toxicity and trolls?

Hainbach

As my channel grew, so grew the influx of ill-spirited comments. At some point the anxiety I got from these was so great, that I had to do something: I needed to turn them into art. So I started taking screen shots of the comments. Instead of getting a ‘fight or flight’ response every time a mean, sexist or fascist statement came in, I felt joy – it was like a game of shitty Pokemon. I asked other creators to join in – Red Means Recording, Noir et Blanc Vie and Simon the Magpie also collected and then read their hate comments on video. I created a tape loop collage out of the collected hate and destroyed that slowly over time, using sandpaper and knives applied to the magnetic tape loop. Hate Loops, which you can find as a video on my channel, was truly cathartic. Ever since then I feel the freedom to react in whatever way I want to with trolling or simply hateful replies – laugh, sticky, repost to Twitter or simply ban.

https://www.youtube.com/hainbach101


Aldo Is Taken

I’m in a « choose love » kind of mindset where I try to refrain from typing that sick comeback line I’ve been mentally working on for 20 minutes. I often feel the urge to justify myself or to attack the Hater, because I know this will provide some instant satisfaction, but ultimately it can only lead to more toxic interactions, so I take a deep breath and I keep on scrolling. Sometimes I will even heart the comment, that’s how hard I’m choosing love. Once I have completed this cycle I’m usually alright and ready to get emotionally destroyed by the next comment <3 

https://www.youtube.com/c/AldoIsTaken/


R Beny

One thing I try to do is think about why the person wrote what they did. I imagine most of the time, they are projecting some other issue or feeling onto you. That helps me not take the words to heart so much. I’m a sensitive person and don’t really think I have a thick skin, so I find approaching these things from an empathetic or humorous perspective alleviates some of the negative feelings that I might initially feel.

https://www.youtube.com/c/rbeny


Mylar Melodies

The more extreme the comment, usually the less offensive it actually is, as it heads into absurdity. For the worst, sometimes leaving the comment for others to see and judge, is its own punishment to the person who wrote it. I suppose it’s the ones that play on your own fears and doubts that stick in your mind. But I really have learned from valid negative feedback, even though it hurt to hear, as it has unquestionably helped me improve things. Unjustified praise can make you complacent, and sometimes the negative person has a point, or part of one. But also, you have to acknowledge the universal truth that not EVERYONE will love everything you do all of the time, and so take comfort in that receiving negativity (along with the positives) means that your videos are being found, and watched. “Let the dogs bark, Sancho, for it means we are moving forward.”

One further thought – YouTube’s recommendation algorithm favours videos with high engagement, which includes comments. The reality, both sadly and happily, is that negative comments and ensuing arguments and discussions help your video rank higher. This of course leads to creators who may wish to create negative videos in order to stir up comments, and get views. It’s no different to any other medium in that regard, the choice of how to respond to controversy (namely, whether or not to encourage it) is yours. Either way, it will help you.

https://www.youtube.com/c/mylarmelodies


[Editor: This article will be updated whenever new answers find their way to my inbox… Also if you, dear reader, happen to have a way of dealing with internet trolls, then please leave a comment below]

Aldo is Taken – Groovy LiveLooper

1. Favourite knob/fader/switch on a piece of gear and why?

That’s a cool one! I really like the tone pot on my Stratocaster, it makes everything I play sound like silk.

Strat Knobs

2. Do you have an ‘almost’ perfect bit of kit? What would you change?

I think it would be the Empress Effects ZOIA, it’s just so fun to use and so powerful. Also I like tiny stuff because I don’t have much space. I just wish it had more CPU so I could go even more crazy with it.

Empress Zoia

3. What setup do you bring on holiday/tour/commute etc.?

On holiday I just take my laptop to organize stuff and finish what I haven’t finished yet. And I don’t tour!

Macbook

4. What software do you wish was hardware and vice versa?

Having Max MSP in a hardware format would be pretty neat. Don’t know about the other way, I’m really not into softwares!

5. Is there anything you regret selling… or regret buying?

Hmmm, not really a regret but I deeply miss my MPC 2000XL. It was my first piece of gear ever and I really enjoyed it. It was just a bit too old school and limiting for me, I sold it to fund other music stuff so yeah no regrets!

6. What gear has inspired you to produce the most music?

Probably the Digitakt! It’s just super fast and clear, nothing gets in the way once I’ve got an idea.

Digitakt

7. If you had to start over, what would you get first?

Can I say the Digitakt again? It can do so much!

8. What’s the most annoying piece of gear you have, that you just can’t live without?

That’s easy! I have a LOVE/HATE relationship with the TC Electronic Ditto X4. It’s the cheapest looper pedal with a proper MIDI implementation, but oh my god it’s so unreliable. It crashed on me several times and you need some weird workaround to sync it. But yeah I can’t afford any other options at the moment so I still use it all the time.

Ditto Looper X4

9. Most surprising tip/trick/technique that you’ve discovered about a bit of kit?

You can run audio into almost any input of the Make Noise 0-Coast, even the CV inputs! Each circuit will transform your signal into something weird, I really like it with my guitar.

Make Noise 0-Coast

Artist or Band name?

Aldo

Genre?

Not sure, mostly hip-hop I guess.

Selfie?

Where are you from?

France!

How did you get into music?

A friend of mine taught me some guitar chords when I was 13.

What still drives you to make music?

Spiritual freedom and hopefully financial freedom one day.

How do you most often start a new track?

By listening to another track. I often catch a vibe in a song and bring that vibe into my next track. I think.

How do you know when a track is finished?

When I already started the next track and just want to get rid of this one!

Show us your current studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard

« Sucking at something is the first step towards being sorta good at something. » – Jake the Dog

Promote your latest thing… Go ahead, throw us a link.

Whatever is on my Youtube channel right now : https://www.youtube.com/aldoistaken

[Editor: Do you have any of the gear in this article? Then why not share a tip or trick? Leave a comment below]


True Cuckoo – Flew Over the Nest

[Editor: When I sent the interview questions to Cuckoo. He replied within 3 hours! That’s some sort of record. Then he said he’d like to send the photos separately, coz he couldn’t make it out his studio at the moment….. What he then sends, is a bunch of great photos with hand-drawn annotations! Wow! … Thanks Andreas. You truely are an inspiration]

1. Favourite knob/fader/switch on a piece of gear and why?

Moog Golden Knob

At the last Moogfest I got this particularly lovely huge golden knob as a part of the perks that Moogfest gave the guests in a goodie bag. I don’t think it’s from an actual product. Just something they made especially for Moogfest. It’s really heavy, definitely made out of solid metal. I had to modify it a little bit with some mould-able plastic to get it to fit where I wanted it. Now it lives on my original microKorg, as the preset selection knob, and the presets sound so much better now! 😀

2. Do you have an ‘almost’ perfect bit of kit? What would you change?

Hakon Continuum Fingerboard

Tricky… I don’t think there’s such a thing as a perfect piece of kit. Everything is the fruit of careful consideration, and a lot of choices. Like the Continuum Fingerboard for example… it’s perfect, but it can be improved. Could you make a continuum with it’s own on-board synth editor? Absolutely not! It would ruin the whole thing. But it makes sense to think that you would like that.
The new Continuum Slim has improved though, and I want it for the improvements. Is it perfect? Yeah… maybe… It is what it is, and that’s the way I will use it.

I’m very much engaged in beta testing and writing feedback to developers a lot. So I am definitely seeing ways on improving everything. Like now for instance, I’m playing with the Moog Matriarch, and it’s beautiful! The Matriarch has got 4 oscillators, and in Paraphonic mode the 4 oscillators can be played in “polyphony”… Obviously some form of gates are letting each oscillator turn “on and off” individually corresponding to the keyboard. I wish I had CV access to those gates, so that I could sequence the oscillators more independently and freely… But that takes us back to the beginning… The Matriarch is the fruit of careful consideration and a lot of choices. It is what it is. Let’s make the most out of it!

3. What setup do you bring on holiday/tour/commute etc.?

The OP-Z is definitely the musical instrument that I’d be tempted on bringing with me on a holiday without any regrets. It’s light weight and doesn’t take up much space, and it’s fun. It’s just that my OP-Z units are packed to the max with one of my live sets, so there’s not much room for putting in more at this moment. I know I can make backups etc. but… to be honest, I rarely end up making music on holidays anyway. I sometimes bring some new stuff that I want to check out. But for casual and beautiful music exploration on the go I think I’d be more tempted to bring my iPad Pro and use Samplr. Samplr is beautiful for short sessions. And the iPad Pro is lovely for drawing too.
On tour I never want to bring more than I can carry myself. It’s a pain with heavy gear. So I’m trying to keep the size down. Three typical setups for me is:
Octatrack + ZOIA.
Deluge + ZOIA.
2 x OP-Z.

Samplr on the iPad

4. What software do you wish was hardware and vice versa?

Ooouuushhh, I wish everything from the following 3 companies was available in hardware form.

  • Fab Filter’s amazing production and mastering tools like PRO-Q, PRO-MB, PRO-C and PRO-L. I would’ve been using them all the time in hardware! Perhaps especially the PRO-MB multiband compressor. Heck, they should make a hardware performance mixer with all of their plug-ins on the mixer!
  • Plogue’s amazing recreation of old chips such as the Megadrive Yamaha FM chip (my favourite). Chipsynth MD, Chipsynth PortaFM, and Chipcrusher. They have some forthcoming models that I’m psyched about too.
  • Spectrasonics, if they made Keyscape a high quality hardware keyboard instrument… that would seriously be the best stage keyboard ever.


5. Is there anything you regret selling… or regret buying?

I once bought the MicroKorg XL a looong long time ago. I thought it was just an update of the MicroKorg, and bought the most recent one. But I had no idea they were built on two completely different platforms. The MS 2000 vs the Radias. They sound so incredibly different. The XL has a very digital and sharp kind of sound, where as the original MicroKorg has a much warmer and vibrant sound, I’d say. But a friend of mine has been borrowing the XL for about 10 years now, so at least it’s making someone happy 😀
I later got the original MicroKorg and made 128 presets for it, and it’s sounding super nice 😀

6. What gear has inspired you to produce the most music?

Sega MegaDrive

Probably game music from the Sega Megadrive and Super Nintendo era. I made mix tapes of game music especially from the Sega Megadrive. So SEGA has probably influenced me the most. Phantasy Star. The Streets of Rage series. Shinobi. The Thunderforce series etc. But looking back, I have so many favourite soundtracks on the SNES too. Especially the games produced by Square Soft. Secret of Mana, like Chrono Trigger.
When it comes to music gear, I’d say the most inspirational instrument that I have used, second only to an acoustic piano, would be the Continuum Fingerboard. I’m trying a lot of stuff, but the Continuum Fingerboard stands out in a timeless kind of way. I love it. It kinda begs you to approach music differently, in such an expressive way… I love that.

7. If you had to start over, what would you get first?

Piano lessons.

8. What’s the most annoying piece of gear you have, that you just can’t live without?

That’d probably be my computer.

9. Most surprising tip/trick/technique that you’ve discovered about a bit of kit?

At this point, it takes a lot to surprise me. But I like it when small teams are making some really ambitious piece of gear, and challenge the industry. Then they keep pushing it with really high quality software updates over the years. Like the Deluge came out with live looping, nearly infinite note precision, any length pattern you like etc. Novation pushing virtually all of their products to the limits over time, perhaps most noticeable the Peak that recently got custom wavetables. But the most surprising element on any synth that I know, must be the Chopper game on the OP-1.


Artist or Band name?

True Cuckoo

Genre?

Not Pop

Selfie

Where are you from?

Brought up in Sweden, but moved to Norway in 2005, where I still live.

How did you get into music?

I always loved music. Probably since I could sing a tone. We had an electrical organ with rhythms when I was a kid, and I loved fiddling around with it. From very early on I loved to just make my own melodies. And when videogames came along, I used to pick the melodies from the games, and try playing them on our piano at home, that we got when I was 12. Been singing a lot, at school, in choirs. But my many hours by the piano, my interest in classical composition in my teenage years all had something to do with it. Perhaps the single most important thing was playing in my first band with Jenny Hval over 10 years ago now. That was awesome. We were playing festivals, small paces, big ones. I loved it. After that I knew that this was something that I had to bring back into my life. So I started Cuckoo after that. Jenny even sings on one of my songs from my first album.

Cuckoo 12 at the organ

What still drives you to make music?

I just love to create. Music is different than all other art forms for me. I live inside of music in a different way, than I was living inside of visual arts and animation (that was my profession for most of my grown up life). Music can be totally free of topics, but still be immensely meaningful. Also… sometimes I’d like to think that what drives me is my hunger for listening to new music… Music that I want to hear, but is yet to be discovered. So instead of looking for music, I create it myself.

How do you most often start a new track?

It’s different every time. It depends on the tools that I’m using. But it’s probably mostly either by sequencing on a machine, and making rhythmical, but still tonal patterns… Or by the piano.

How do you know when a track is finished?

When it communicates, it’s good enough.

Show us your current studio

Currently the world is sort of on hold, and I’ve been working a lot form home just to be able to quickly step in when family needs me on short notice. So this is my little table at home.

Cuckoo’s home desk

And this is my main studio. It’s a mess.

Cuckoo Studio

Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?

When I studying animation at the art university, my animation guest teacher at the time, Piotr Dumala, could tell that I was kinda struggling, and guided me delicately through the creative processes. I remember especially one day when I was struggling to get on with the story that I was developing. He said, in his strong polish accent, “What do you want to see… on the screen?”. So simple. To just eradicate every distraction and take it down the the essentials… Ok, so we’ve just experienced “this”… where do we go from there? What do you want to see, or hear next? I sometimes repeat those words in my head, still today, even if this was 20 years ago or so.

Piotr Dumala by Cuckoo

Promote your latest thing… Go ahead, throw us a link.

I went to New Zealand and Australia and played some gigs with Synthstrom Audible’s Deluge. Towards the mid end of the tour, countries started banning events and locked down due to an ongoing pandemic, so I had to end the tour early. I had some great moments! It was a great tour! Here’s a one-take whole set of me in Brisbane.

[Editor: It’s a pleasure to read about Andreas’ studio and process. I hope you guys found it as fascinating as i did. The man is super chill and yet very productive, just that in itself is an inspiration. If you’ve not seen any of his youtube content. Then go there now. It’s great]