By Anthony Maese-Castillo
Music, to some, is part of the air they breathe, a motivation to stay focused, a means of keeping hope or a way of relaxation.
But to others it’s something to base a career around.
Martin Raya, 22, a transfer student from Cypress College in Buena Park, has his mind set on academic achievements at CSUDH and looks to bring his musical talent and profession with him to campus when he starts in the coming fall semester.
“The genre that I work with is called Synthwave,” said Raya. “Recently, the genre’s been coming out of the shadows and has become very popular within a short amount of time.”
To those unfamiliar with this particular genre, Synthwave is a type of sound that gives off a sense of nostalgia of the futuristic style that the 1980s era epitomized, which still stands out among other genres today. Well-known Synthwave artists, and inspirations for Raya’s work, include Lazerhawk, Mitch Murder, Perturbator and Waveshaper.
“What started my passion and career for music was my brother,” Raya said. “For many years, I would watch him make his own music with a Casio keyboard and a program on the computer called FL Studio. I thought it sounded really different and cool, and he later encouraged me to give it a try. I’ve been working on and making material since.”
Like many independent and well-known artists, Raya has taken a liking to a particular artist name, giving himself an identity in the music-making world. He goes by Mortal Megahertz.
“I picked ‘Mortal’ because that’s what I would name my character in Pokémon, [making] the dialogue funnier,” Raya said. “And as for Megahertz, the word had a nice ring to it. Since I’m working around the Cyberpunk and Synthwave sounds, I figured it would fit nicely combined with Mortal.”
You can find a few of Raya’s tracks on YouTube. He hopes to eventually get his songs onto well-known streaming services like Spotify and Pandora.
Raya has been creating music for about seven years, constantly working with sounds from movie soundtracks such as “Christine” and “Poltergeist,” as well as other movies, but focuses his attention to his craft. He goes to great lengths to make it a professional career, but hopes to one day receive the sponsorship of well-known music companies.
“An album is definitely scheduled to be released in the future,” said Raya. “Most likely sometime toward the end of the year.”
Every day, students with passions for music, a desire to create wonderful sounds or yearnings for making good noises hesitate to reach out to try and achieve what they feel they cannot do.
“The best advice I can give is to always practice,” Raya says to students who share the same passion and ideas. “Everything won’t always be perfect. But remember to have fun experimenting with something new. Constantly listening to other artists of the same genre will also guide you into what kind of music you may want to create.”
Raya is looking forward to coming to CSUDH, further enhancing his musical career, and hopes to work with the rest of the music department to improve his craft.
“I plan to seek out more tools and techniques when coming to campus,” Raya said. “I want to expand my knowledge on music because there can never be enough to learn; there is always something new. I hope to find partners that will help our talents grow stronger to reach new heights.”