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Meet composer
Sonya Ishimnikova

In this series, we present our new composers. We are proud to introduce Sonya Ishimnikova. Nina Lesperance From SOUNZ caught up with Sonya to talk all things music and find out more about Sonya’s mahi.

What does a typical composing day look like for you? 

It’s definitely more free form, although it’s getting to the point where I may need to refine my process. Generally, it depends on the project. If I’m composing music for a short film I would write down the various cues and will start to think about the mood and tone of the film. After this, I will begin to curate some sounds and experiment with a couple of motifs. In my own practice, I like to begin with a mood or sense of place after which I would do some sound design and come up with chords or a drum beat.

Please describe the space where you compose your music. What makes this space special and why have you chosen it? (eg. the view, location, practical necessity, equipment - or lack thereof).

I compose in my room where I have managed to set up a mini studio. I use my interface, computer, synthesisers, guitar, and bass to compose my music as well as to just have fun and get lost in the sounds.

What equipment (including software) do you have in your space? 

This year I finally acquired some long sought-after pieces of equipment e.g the Vermona DRM1 and the Dave Smith Prophet Rev2. I have an 80’s Casio synth that still has the potential for some interesting sounds, my mustang guitar, a stingray bass, and a couple of other important bits and pieces like my monitors, headphones, and Shure vocal mic.

Please describe your typical composing process (i.e. how do you find and shape your materials?). Does it change with each song?

It really depends on the style of music and the nature of the project. For my own music, I tend to find the harmonic and textural material first. I need to feel a connection to the initial sounds before I feel like I have something to go off of. If there’s no emotional hook, I tend to rework and start again.

What are you currently working on in your space? If you can’t reveal that just yet, what have you finished recently and how/where/when can people experience it?

I’m working on a new project inspired by the Russian film “Guest from the Future”.

Please tell us about yourself and what you do. (eg. instruments you play, where you work/teach, your aesthetic direction, memorable concert experience, favourite ninja turtle etc.)

I’m a self-taught musician. I play guitar, bass, and keys to the level where I can express myself and compose material for other projects. I’m also a sonic artist and sound designer, so I like to spend a lot of my time finding unique sounds, experimenting with sound modifiers and tapes, and granular synthesis.

Please choose 2-3 of your works/albums and tell us about them (works with audio or video links if possible).

Wave Your Moonlight Hat for The Snowfall Train by  You’ll Never Get to Heaven has been my favourite recent find. I find the textures created by tape echo and the Revox tape machine completely mesmerising. The textures they create are infinitely satisfying.
One of my favourite albums is M83’s Saturday = Youth.  It holds a special place in my heart, although at times it’s unapologetically electronic.

KateNV - Room for The Moon is fresh, incredibly fun, rambunctious and clever. It’s endlessly inspiring and she as a person inspires me all the time.

How can people contact you?

My work can be found on  as well as

Would you like to tell us anything else?

I love to collaborate with other female composers, musicians, producers, and artists. If anyone was looking to work together on a project, I would love to be involved!