Dec 20

How Fabian Mazur found his sound

by in Interviews, Pro Tips

Fabian Mazur first became an emergent figure within the Danish club music scene in 2010. Since then, the Copenhagen-based music producer and DJ’s buoyant tracks have caught the ears of international EDM frontrunners like Martin Garrix, Tiesto, and Afrojack, in the process helping him build a growing profile. Ostensibly hybrid trap EDM with glossy synth-overtones, his music ripples with touches drawn from traditional east coast hip-hop and R&B, and when he hypes it up on the microphone over the top, lifts the whole club up. In 2013, Fabian received a platinum-certification for his remix of ‘Chuck Norris’ by Kongsted, and in 2014 he began touring around the world. When he isn’t programming his own music, producing for other artists, or DJing, Fabian creates producer sample kits for Splice. It’s one of the ways he likes to give back and help the next generation of producers. This week, in partnership with Splice, we present Fabian’s first Melodics lesson for the track ‘Settle’. Read our interview with him below and try his lesson here.      

 

Could you tell us a bit about how you got your start as a musician?

Growing up, my mum and dad were both jazz musicians. I used to tour with them a lot as a kid. I’d see them perform, play, and rehearse, so I was always rooted in jazz and world music. Even though I didn’t really like the music myself, it provided me with a lot of knowledge about rhythm and melody. My mother is from New York. She was born and raised there, but she came to Europe as a teenager. We stayed connected with her family there. I think this influenced me a little bit. Back in the day, I used to listen to a lot of east coast hip-hop, DJ Premier, Nas, Jay-Z, so when I started making music as a teenager, I was into 90s hip-hop and R&B. After a few years, I had a friend who got me into DJing and got me into EDM acts like Swedish House Mafia.

 

How did you take these influences and shape them into the sound you’re now known for?

It definitely took me a lot of years. I guess I think it took almost ten years to get to the sound I wanted. I took some courses, and I studied a little bit. I did all types of stuff, but the main thing that got me there was putting in a lot of work, and making a lot of terrible music before I made good music.

 

The terrible music clears the way for the good music, right?

Exactly. After a few years of making pretty terrible music, I figured out I was actually getting pretty good. My music wasn’t where I wanted it to be, but it was almost there. I feel like people talk about the whole 10,000 hours of putting work into a specific task. I think that is true with playing, writing, and producing music. When I was coming up, I didn’t have Splice or all the features of the modern DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). I feel like I put in way more than 10,000 hours to get good at music production. As a creative and a music artist, it actually took me a really long time to find a genre or soundscape that I liked for my own music, and wanted to be affiliated with. I spent years making tons of different music, hip-hop beats, R&B beats, deep house, EDM, dubstep, whatever, and that experimenting really got me to where I am today.

 

Would you tell young producers to listen to and make a range of music until they find out what they really click with? Or in the case of Melodics users, try out a range of lessons from different genres?

Yes. That is one of the main pieces of advice I give people when they ask me how I got to where I am. I tell them to listen to a lot of different music and try to create a lot of different music. Don’t try to keep your eye on a specific genre or sound at first. A lot of people make that mistake at the start; they decide they want to be a dubstep producer only and only produce dubstep from the get-go. I think that is a very big mistake to make when you’re starting out.

 

You can hear the influence of listening to, and producing different types of music in your work.

It’s kinda natural. Genres have always had the tendency to merge at some point. Maybe it’s all just a natural part of the process, especially with the digital age of music production we’re in right now. With things like Melodics and Splice, it’s never been easier for people to merge genres the way they want to.

 

 

 

Dec 19

Last Minute Gift Ideas For Musicians and Music Producers

by in Melodics

2018 is coming to a close, and it’s very much been a rollercoaster of a year. But before we can get off the ride, we’ve got to get through Christmas first. If you’re stuck for a bit of last minute gift shopping and are struggling to think of what to buy for that electronic music playing or producing obsessed person (or people!) in your life, we’ve got you well and truly covered. Check below for a few quick and easy gift suggestions. Whether they’re just starting out and want to give this thing a crack, have been playing around for a bit, or are well in truly deep inside this thing we call music, we’ve got ideas for you of things they’ll love.

 

ROLI Beatmaker Kit

 One of the best things about Melodics is combining the sound of electronic music with the tactile qualities of played live music. How better to really sink into this intersection than with the right controller? Music technology company ROLI has really come to the party in this regard with their ROLI Beatmaker Kit. Comprised of two compact physical controller units, the light pad block and the loop block, the kit gives the user access to hundreds of expressive sounds to play around with on the controllers, a copy of Ableton Live Lite to make basic recordings in, and a six-month Melodics subscription to help them hone those finger drumming chops. Once they tether it to their laptop, they’re away.

➡️Link

 

DJ Tech Tools Midi Fighter 3D

If you’re looking for a robust controller, perhaps one that evokes the feeling of tapping out ten hit combos on arcade and video games during your childhood (or maybe you’re an adult that still does), DJ Tech Tools’ Midi Fighter 3D controller is the present they’re going to love. Built like a tank, with 16 high-performance Japanese buttons, the controller is fully colour configurable and has total motion on all three axes. It’s a grunty Melodics compatible workhorse and comes with a promo code for 30 free finger drumming lessons. The Midi Fighter 3D is on discount for the rest of the year, order one before this Wednesday to guarantee Christmas delivery. Ableton, Serato and Traktor users will love it as well.  

➡️Link

 

Expansion Midnight Sunset

If the producer in your life is a Native Instruments user (Battery, Maschine, Massive, Monark, Reaktor Prism), they might appreciate a fresh set of loops, drum samples, and synths. Native Instruments recently dropped an expansion pack called Midnight Sunset, which explores the drum machine funk that was crucial to 80s boogie, p-funk, synth-pop, and 90s West Coast rap. We’re talking about a sonic palette that connects Shalamar, Prince, Rick James, Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre, and that’s before even getting into the contemporary boogie revival. Gift them some iconic sounds to get playing with. They’ll be getting more bounce to the ounce.

➡️Link

 

Splice Sounds

 Do you know what else the producer (or producers!) in your life needs? Even more royalty-free samples to use when they’re making beats. Splice is a cloud-based music creation and collaboration platform that integrates with most digital audio workstations and offers you automated online backup and a bunch of other bells and whistles. Splice has a subscription service called Splice Sounds, which gives users access to over two million samples, loops, FX, and presets, as well as exclusive artist packs. Slip a note with the promo code 2FREE18 in with their presents, and if they’re signing up as a new user, they’ll score two months of free access.

➡️Link

 

Melodics™ Gift card

Whether you’ve got someone in your life who is interested in dipping their toes into electronic music playing, and production, or a special someone, family member, or friend who is all in, but would like to be able to practice more, Melodics™ Gift card is the perfect Christmas present. Ranging through 3, 6, 9, and 12-month subscription options, the card provides to the recipient with access to over 400 lessons across genres, and if they don’t have a MIDI keyboard, controller, or electronic drum kit, they can still use their computer keyboard. Learning has never been this fun. Whether you’re looking to learn how to play calypso, trap, juke, future RnB, hip-hop, house, or disco, there are lessons for you.

➡️Link

Dec 03

My 300-day streak – Gretchen King

by in Interviews

Gretchen King has been singing and writing songs since she was a child. Along her musical journey, she’s spent time in church choirs and musical theatre groups, sang with Jerome Dillon (of Nine Inch Nails) as Nearly, and fronted Ohio rock band Phantods. These days, she divides her music time between several projects: writing electropop songs with her close collaborator Chris as Kabiria, jingles and voiceover work, and writing, recording, producing and mixing her debut solo album.

Gretchen keeps herself match fit by practicing with Melodics, and recently achieved a landmark 300-day streak. She was introduced to our software by Chris, who suggested it might help her sharpen her skills. Once she started using it daily, Gretchen realised she’d found an easy and enjoyable way to practice and improve her skills. As she puts it, “Five minutes a day is completely manageable.” Below, Gretchen discusses the journey to hitting the 300-day mark and going beyond.

 

Congratulations on your 300-day streak! Tell us about it?

Thanks! I was able to lock into a daily routine right away because Chris was using Melodics as well [and] we had a slight competitive edge going. We would remind each other… and check in to see how our progress was going. Initially, I had a great streak going. One night at midnight, I realised that I had forgotten to practice that day. I was so bummed that I didn’t practice for a month! Then I realized that while a streak is amazing, it’s more about putting in the work and enjoying the process. I quickly got back on track again.

 

Do you have any advice for users looking to lock in like this?

My advice to someone looking to practice regularly is to set reminders in your phone and try to practice at a time that can be consistent. If the hour you get home in the evenings always varies, then practice first thing in the morning. Record your practices and take some notes on how you feel about it. Ask yourself questions about the process of learning and mastering the lessons. There is always a pattern there. Recognizing your learning style and the patterns with it helps to relieve the pressure that comes with learning something new. Occasionally revisit those videos and even go back to try previous lessons. You’ll find that the lessons you struggled with early on will eventually be a piece of cake.

 

At what point did you realize that this streak was going to keep going for a while, and how did you feel?

By the time I reached 100, I had started cheering myself on every couple of days… It became a habit, like brushing your teeth. It’s something I do in my daily routine. Since it’s only five minutes a day, there really is no excuse. I’ve done Melodics in hotels, airports, even recently while riding in a moving truck! To be on a streak that is nearing an entire year feels really good. I’ve prioritized something that is important to me: improving my music skills so that I can express myself better creatively.


Once you were in a daily pattern, what sort of benefits did you start seeing?

The biggest benefit I’ve seen is the realization that small steps taken every day will get you to where you want to go. I’ve never actually seen something like this in a way that I was able to recognize it as it’s happening. I used to try to take giant leaps, and I’d get frustrated and worn out, eventually giving up. Recognizing that there is a different approach to learning that is actually easier and more enjoyable has changed my overall mood. I feel more relaxed and put less pressure on myself while feeling more certain that I will reach my end goal.


How has your use of Melodics changed over the course of this run?

Melodics has really helped me understand the process of learning. Now I have a clearer understanding of how I learn. It’s always the same no matter what level I am on. When I start to get it, I will do great, and then after a few minutes, it’s like my hands don’t remember how to work! It’s as though I’ve fatigued myself. That’s when I know to move on to another lesson or call it quits for the day. I used to get frustrated, but then I’d notice that the very next day it was as though something happened overnight. The next day, I understood the lesson and could do it with ease. You’ve got to get past those moments of frustration to move into the moments where it clicks.

I always go a little over the 5 min mark. When I’m really enjoying myself, I allow myself to keep going for as long as I want. On days I’m not into it, I get only the daily goal completed, and I don’t beat myself up over how badly the practice went. I know I will feel different again soon enough. There’s no need to build any sort of negative association with it.