How did you get into EDM and what inspired you to start producing?
Everything started when I was eleven years old. All of the kids around me were listening to new genres of music and the that really caught my ear was EDM. I would listen to radio stations labeled as "Electro Pop" and I got obsessed over looking up new songs and artists in the genre. I would spend hours on end looking through web pages and channels online. I grew up listening to lots of EDM genres like house, trance, electro, progressive among others. The first stuff I listened to was more "commercial" sounding like stuff from David Guetta, TiÃ«sto, Avicii as well as the songs from labels like Spinnin' and Ultra Music. Long story short, that was the music that inspired me when I was starting out.
Can you tell us some of your tips and tricks for using Fruity Loops?
1. Create your own samples.
One of the things that helped me work faster was to collect, create, and organize the samples that I know I'll use in my tracks. When they're all sorted in the best way for you, you can play around with them when you're trying to find some concrete ideas to make a track. You can play around with some shot samples by pitching and recutting them to make something unique.
2. Freezing stems.
I like to save some parts of my project on wav files and put them in the track that way. This habit came from working on complextro-style tracks back in the day. For those kind of projects, it helps you keep all the melodies sorted so you don't get overwhelmed. Of course, freezing stems also helps manage the memory usage by your computer which is always a plus.
3. Make your drop sound "bigger."
One of the struggles that I've had ever since I started making music was that my drops sounded empty. There are some elements and techniques that helped me a lot with this. For example, using vocal pads, crowd sounds, and reverse synths/vocals makes a big difference in your drop background and fill everything out. Also, making your percussion and layers in stereo helps make your soundstage sound full for the drop.
The "mid bass" is catching the groove and builds off the main sounds of the track. For "OTW," those mid basses were some growls and synths. The "low bass"' pushes up the kick vibrations. You've got to equalize them in different ways, low one cut off at -30hz and the mid one at -60hz generally speaking. Those numbers depend on the key of the key of the track, of course. Sidechain is also important for the bass and most of the time I use Nicky Romero's "Kickstart" and this track wasn't an exception.
So let's get into this latest release with George Z and NO_GUESTLIST on Discover Sounds. How did it all come together?
It was a real delight working on this track! I came across NO_GUESTLIST through "Arise" and "King of Drums." Then about three months ago, I released a track called "Swamp" and he sent me a DM through SoundCloud about collaborating on a track. I hit him back up on Facebook Messenger and that's what got the ball rolling! He sent over the first idea of the drop and I really liked the electro house vibes. They reminded me of the old Axwell Î Ingrosso vibes and the complextro sounds I used to make years ago. So he sent me the stems and I worked on the structure track and added that breakbeat style into the drop. I added new stabs, drums, main vocal, and the backing to make it more catchy and powerful. For me, whenever I find that great vibe, the rest of the track just falls into place and that's what happened with "OTW." After I had finished the first full version, NO_GUESTLIST created a group chat with George Z, another really talented producer. He wanted to get some help for the breakdown and drop to take things to the next level. So George Z added the awesome trap sounds and did the final mixing and mastering. We were constantly adding new elements every step of the way and played around with a few other ideas until we landed on the one we all liked. I couldn't be happier with the final product and it was a great experience to work with George Z and NO_GUESTLIST.
A huge thanks to Luke Nash for taking the time to answer our questions! Be sure to follow him on social media for all the latest updates and releases!
Chris W. Lao
DJ, Writer, and Student.
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