Our latest interview comes from R!OT is a Pianist, Film Composer, Producer and Controllerist from Los Angeles. He has risen to fame through his amazing Launchpad videos on his successful Youtube channel. R!OT was able to answer a few questions this week and gave insight into his first release on Melodics this week based on his live performance entitled ‘R!OT’
You have been playing piano since you were 4 years old but didn’t hit your peak until high school. What spurred you on to get better and how did daily practice play a role in this development?
In high school I discovered there’s no secret to improvising, and it was that revelation that inspired me to sit at the piano every single day. I liked playing Bach as much as the next guy, but back then playing someone else’s music didn’t light a fire in me like creating something of my own did: something that only existed in that moment and would be gone forever, like all performances are. I owe everything to my piano abilities.
You have also stated all your production/Launchpad knowledge came through hours of trial and error watching Youtube tutorials. Are you able to walk us through this process and how a program like Melodics helps aspiring producers learn effectively?
I think the best thing about Melodics is it’ll give people a visual way to improve their technical abilities. I constantly get comments and messages about how to put two hands together, let alone how to play a polyrhythm. My piano chops transitioned seamlessly to launchpad, and one thing I’ve noticed is all the “big” finger drummers also play instruments: M4SONIC, Exige and I play piano; Shawn Wasabi, Nev, and Throttle play guitar (just to name a few). Melodics will break it down and I think it will be an amazing help to those who haven’t been fortunate enough to learn traditional instruments.
You started at age 16 ‘with a really slow laptop, shitty Skull Candy headphones from target and torrented software’ what gear are you using now?
Now I work on my desktop PC, KRK Rokit 6’s, a Scarlett 2i2 interface, and AKG K240 headphones.
Tell us the significance of the M4SONICS – Weapon video in your finger drumming story so far?
M4SONIC’s Weapon video was the reason I bought a launchpad, it’s that simple. When I saw Pop Culture I thought it was really cool. But when I saw Weapon, I had one of those “I need to be able to do that” moments, similar to when I heard Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites. Things went full circle when M4SONIC and I became friends and he said he wanted to learn piano from me. Love you M4
How has John Williams influenced your music and what is one key teaching of his that you use in your productions?
My other passion is writing music for Film/TV/Video games, which is what I got my bachelors degree in. And John Williams is 100% responsible for that. One thing he does that I learned from is I let my melodies dictate my harmonies. A typical pop song will be written by picking a key, choosing from an established three-four chord progression and writing a melody on top. But if you write your melody first, you can choose from a bunch of different harmonies that allow each melodic note to function differently, in and out of different tonal centers.
Yourself, Nev, M4SONIC, Shawn Wasabi all seem to know each other quite well online. How did those relationships develop? Can you explain the small community you guys have formed.
Shawn and I had sushi together one day, and then we met M4SONIC and Nev at NAMM. We formed this chat on facebook and reached out to the other people that were doing what we do. It’s basically just a chat for talking about music, and sharing each other’s content.
How has finger drumming particularly on Youtube developed in your eyes since you started posting your own videos back 2012?
I’ve seen finger drumming split into two roads: There’s one branch that’s covering other people’s songs, and one branch that’s creating original songs. But overall the scene has exploded since then, there’s a whole culture surrounding it!
You are releasing your first lesson on Melodics this week which is based on your Original composition called ‘R!OT’. What can Melodics users and your fans expect from these lessons?
My “R!OT” performance might be technically difficult for some people who have never played a traditional instrument, so I’m hoping they will be able to easily break it down with Melodics.
You now have 160K subscribers on Youtube and over 23 million views. Can you explain the story of how your page has grown? Has it been gradual or were there certain events/videos that skyrocketed your numbers?
I think my channel was able to take off because my Animals video went viral, and then people checked out the rest of my channel and thought, “Hey this guy actually makes music.” So while the growth since that event has been gradual, that video definitely triggered it.
Right at the end of your ‘How I Feel’ video you have a brief clip of yourself responding to some Youtube comments you got stating your videos are ‘fake’. Your response was awesome and to the point. Are these comments are common occurrence? Any message to those who think your videos are fake?
They are a common occurrence, but I write off half of them as trolls who just want attention. The other half I think just genuinely think it’s fake because they don’t understand what’s going on, and that’s fair. And to those people I would say: Keep an open mind, and come see me perform live.
Make sure to follow R!OT online on –