Synthion: On Electronic Music's Future in VTubing

"I hope lots of VTubers start to make music with lots of other musicians from a variety of different genres."

In the vast world of music production in VTubing, one could not help but notice a trend of tracks we hear from our favorite VTubers nowadays. If it's not a popular cover of a Japanese pop track, it could be an original song which borrows elements from J-pop tracks and other related tracks. Aside from that, songs which bear other genres like metal and electronic are still far in between.

That is, when we now have electronic music producers who actively work in the VTubing scene, such as Lone Alpha, whom we've interviewed following the release of their latest album Virtual Paradise. But what if we have an electronic music producer who is also a VTuber?

Meet Synthion, whom we've discovered following her first-year anniversary party as a VTuber. The San Francisco-based Korean music producer is known for her tracks such as Hypervelocity, Konpeito, Twinkle, and Maboroshi.

We've spoken with Synthion to learn more on her journey as an electronic music producer, thoughts on her foray to VTubing, and what she thinks the future holds for electronic music in VTubing.

The Jump From Producer to VTuber

Q: Could you tell us a little bit about how you started your electronic music production career?

Synthion: I started music production as a random hobby I did in my free time when I was 13 years old. I was introduced to it by a friend that wanted to make rap beats... but I was really getting into EDM at the time, and decided to pursue that direction instead.

From there, I'd improve my skills through YouTube tutorials and make lots of fellow hobbyist friends through Discord and SoundCloud, until I got to a point where I was making a decent profit from revenue, which was around 2-3 years ago!

Interestingly, you recently debuted your VTuber model a year ago. What pushed you to become a VTuber?

I've always streamed my music production process live on Twitch, and never really wanted to stream with a webcam. Around 2021, a friend gave me the idea to stream using a model of my original character, and I commissioned a cheap 3D VRoid model, and began streaming using that.

It didn't really occur to me that what I was doing was called "VTubing" until I fell down the rabbit hole myself... I eventually felt the need to upgrade to a Live2D model, and that's when I debuted on my YouTube channel which I stream on today!

Themes and Inspirations

Your recent release, 'VIVIDVELOCITY' is just one of the many energetic electronic music releases you had. What do you think are some driving factors or themes that inspire you to create such tracks?

I've always loved J-Core, a subgenre of Hardcore EDM that originates from Japan, ever since I discovered it through a music game called "osu!".

I stopped playing it a long time ago, but it sparked my interest in other various types of rhythm games, such as Muse Dash and Sound Voltex, both of which I stream nowadays.

The kind of music written by composers featured on Sound Voltex really inspired me to write songs like "VIVIDVELOCITY" that are much faster (due to difficult stages in music games requiring faster songs). In terms of the actual composition, I was really inspired by the songs I heard in animes I watched while growing up.

A few years into my music production journey, I really wanted to improve my writing skills, and began transcribing lots of songs from animes I liked to perform on piano, and the knowledge I gathered from my experience shaped my compositional style into what it is today.

Can you name your musical inspirations in your career, and how much of an impact they had on you?

When I first started making music, Porter Robinson was my main musical inspiration. Hearing his album "Worlds" really inspired me, since I had never thought that a genre like EDM could carry emotion like that.

As I grew up, I started to dive deeper into the future bass sphere, where I'd be inspired by artists like San Holo, Lido, Flume, and Grynpyret, to name a few.

However, around 3-4 years ago, I started to fall in love with Japanese doujin music, and started listening to artists like PSYQUI, Moe Shop, and Camellia, until I started diving in much deeper, where I discovered artists like EmoCosine, sky_delta/Endorfin., TAKU INOUE, kamome sano, Chroma (黒魔), and Mitsukiyo, who I would call my main musical influences today.

I also gather lots of inspiration from other artists that make genres that aren't EDM, such as piana, Chouchou, Park Bird, and haruka nakamura, who make ambient music, as well as Yorushika, yanaginagi, and For Tracy Hyde, who are primarily J-rock artists.

On Creating Milestones and Opportunities

You also recently appeared in the first Twitch stream of Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) alongside Nini Yuuna. What do you think about brands or organizations using the power of using VTubers to generate social and online engagement?

I think it's great, and that more companies should follow in this trend! (and ask me to work with them!)

A lot of people were really surprised at the absurdity of a couple of anime girls appearing on a government-funded company's official livestream, which garnered a lot of attention towards the stream and helped build BART's Twitch channel.

Although the absurdity factor will diminish as time goes on, I think it's just as effective, if not more effective, than companies collaborating with influencers!

You were also tasked with writing the theme song of the upcoming #MIKUEXPO this year. Could you tell us more about it and your thoughts on it?

It came as a complete surprise! Crypton commissioned me for it out of the blue, but having been a fan of Vocaloid music for a long time, I accepted happily. I had never written music with a Vocaloid before, and I've also never worked with Piapro Studio, which is the software I operated Hatsune Miku's English soundbank with.

It was definitely a lot to learn in a short amount of time, including learning the entire phonetic table of Miku's pronunciations, but I was really happy with the end result! I'm really excited for Miku fans all across the world (including myself) to see "imaginary love story" being performed at this year's MIKU EXPO!

What's Next For Electronic Music in VTubing?

What are your opinions on the depth of VTuber music being created in terms of genres, as most only associate VTubers with pop music?

I think as pop music starts to diversify, which it has lately, VTuber music will soon follow.

Especially with artists like Hoshimachi Suisei and TAKU INOUE collaborating, I feel like VTuber music and EDM aren't at all a weird pairing. I can't speak much for genres other than EDM, but a wider representation is a good thing, and I hope lots of VTubers start to make music with lots of other musicians from a variety of different genres.

As your closing remark, what is your advice for VTubers to explore doing more electronic music tracks to their discography?

EDM is becoming a lot more prevalent in mainstream pop, and actually your favorite pop songs might actually be produced by an EDM producer...Obviously, you should make songs that you'd enjoy the final product, but give making an EDM banger with your favorite EDM artists a consideration!

A lot of doujin music / underground EDM artists are definitely willing to make tracks with VTubers nowadays.

Special thanks to Synthion for making this interview possible. You can follow her streams on YouTube, and keep updated on her Twitter. Her music is also available on Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud.

Featured Image: Art by Anies