People: Lesha Zebra, musician and developer

In 2019, we continue to introduce you to interesting people who are somehow connected with the world Apple. Today under the heading “People” – Lesha Zebra, musician and iOS – developer. He will talk about his journey and how it is to combine music, design and programming.

People: Lesha Zebra, musician and developer


I am an artist and musician, and I work with software code in the implementation of my projects. I've been programming since early childhood, I've been writing music since I was 12 years old. I work in the center of St. Petersburg in a small team called Cyberchaika.

In our projects, we combine music and programming. But we are also engaged in visual art. And design too.

The idea to combine hobbies for everyone comes sooner or later, just not everyone finds a way to do it. Personally, I was lucky. Well, it wasn’t easy – I tried to make a career in music for a long time, and when I realized that it wasn’t working, I returned to programming and started making up. It was 6 years ago. The first couple of years, almost nothing worked, it took endurance to get through this period.

I did it on my own. I haven't seriously programmed since my teens, when I took Pascal courses at something like a local youth house in the east of Moscow. I simply did not know many things back then, something changed in 12 years, while I was out of the profession. It took a lot of small projects for practice, a lot of reading, looking for any job.

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Last year we received the Intermuseum prize for the best use of IT at the exhibition for our work at the Glinka Museum in Moscow. The exhibition is called “Sound And …” and is still going on.

We made 5 interactive installations there. Laser harp with a projection of the sea on a wall, a horn with a projection of a tree (we simulated the wind there), a drum with a projection of a rock, a voice visualization and the most difficult object – a conductor's simulator. (ed.)

In all objects, the basic principle is that a person does something and sees the reaction of projection and sound to his movements. Most often it is some kind of graphics, but in the case of the “Conductor”, a person has to take a stick and begin to conduct the orchestra on the projection, and the orchestra adjusts. This was the most difficult project at the exhibition, requiring some non-trivial solutions.

This year we won the Technology Lumiere Awards in Hollywood together with the American company Mach1, for which we are developing a software package for sound engineers to work with spatial sound in VR and AR.

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We have been working with Mach1 for 2 years. This is the company that patented the new audio standard for VR and AR, and it has several significant advantages over what is used primarily in the market. We are developing tools for them to integrate into applications (M1 sound is integrated into Samsung VR, Inception and several installations) and tools for sound engineers to work in this format.

High-quality spatial sound is interesting to many, especially in Hollywood, especially since we are talking about something that works even with ordinary headphones and does not require any serious technology.

I cannot spread about the current project, because I am under a non-disclosure agreement. This is a music app. By the way, for everything related to sound iOS – the best mobile platform, there is much better than on android or anywhere else the audio path and all the things related to it are thought out. And also much lower latency and fairly high-quality DACs on devices. As for the app, our app is for everyone, but mostly for young people, as it's a little crazy.

In general, we currently have three music applications in development at different stages for iOS. They are all related to sound synthesis and recording, and all have different goals and designs. Release in App Store is scheduled for 2019 for all three.

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I think that success is difficult for everyone to achieve, and the concept of success is different for everyone, it is quite justified. Someone needs the whole life, someone can cope in a year, but it will be difficult to do it. Success is worth something, it will take patience and work. Therefore, I wish you all patience.

I myself do not feel that I have succeeded. I still need 10-20 years. I have enough ideas that will take years of development, or nothing will work out at all – this is the case with any technically complex innovation. In addition, I am not going to always be a programmer, there are still many interesting things to try to do, so all this is multiplied by ignorance of certain professions. And programmers can inject their code into almost all spheres of life, so the problem for them can be formulated as follows: “what would I like to change for the better in life?” As you can imagine, the list will be endless. I am talking literally about all spheres, from agriculture to organizing the work of the government, the army and so on. Or art, as in my case.

If, however, to put the question that, they say, is it difficult to get a stable income in this profession, then yes, it is difficult. But you can. For several years. Someone can be faster, someone slower, but if you try hard and be able to get through the most difficult early stage, you should succeed.

It is best to communicate with those who are already on this path somewhere, so it will be easier to understand the next steps. You can offer them to hire you for free to do some elements of applications, and get their hands on it. Experience is extremely valuable, with every grain of experience you are one step closer to your goal. Again, there is a place for very different people in development teams, you don't even need to have a technical mindset, but no one will tell if it's yours or not, except for you, after you try it yourself.

For the first couple of years I set myself tasks and studied everything I could to realize them. But during all this time, those who understood better than me how it all worked – both the profession itself and the business around it – were the best promoters of me. All information related to this that you manage to obtain is extremely important and requires an internal study.

Almost nothing in reality will turn out to be as simple as it seems from the outside, but still, more often than not, you just need to rush in and try to do something, without reflecting at all. And without reading too much. Literally – I opened the tutorial, started trying to do this or that thing. I did not understand the terms such and such, I looked, figured it out. And so on ad infinitum.

In any job, a lot is difficult if you are trying to do it well or, even more so, to grow in the profession.

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