For those who might not yet be familiar, tell us a bit about the Stefan Bors project! What got you into production and who or what are your inspirations for this journey you're on?
I remember back when I just started high school in 2012, I was already listening to dubstep tracks from people like Tristam, Different Haven, Borgore, and DJ BL3ND. At the time, I was just really into video games and YouTubers and that's the music they used to put on those videos, so even if I didn't like it as first at the end I end up loving it. After my "gaming period" my interest in graphic design started around 2014, I was doing all kinds of banners and stuff for some Call Of Duty Clans. At that time, speed arts were really popular where they show the process of making a full design but sped up a lot and with some cool music on top of it. They played a lot of trap, future bass, and dubstep, which were my favourite genres at the time.
I came across Martin Garrix in 2016 and I instantly fell in love with not only his music (Tremor, Forbidden Voices, Virus, etc.) but also with his personality and how cool his life was. I used to watch "The Martin Garrix Show" where I got to follow along with his life and the cool festivals he was playing at. But more than that DJ life, I found something that I loved even more, the music itself. That moment is when we can say my interest for music production started. That year, I had no PC to work on music so I couldn't start yet, but I started watching as many YouTube tutorials as I could. They were never enough and I found myself always wanted more and more. Progressive House was my favourite genre back then. I got to touch FL studio a few times at my best friend's house but I didn't get a lot of time to learn with it there.
After not having a PC for the longest time, in the summer of 2017, my parents and I bought my first computer that was capable of running FL Studio. That was the time where making music was finally within reach, so I spent a lot of time on learning the basics of production, mixing and mastering. At that time, I already started making some originals and some bootlegs, but nothing too serious. I kept up like this for about a year just practicing and honing my skills on my own.
Summer of 2018 was when I got my first "real job" to start making some money and saving for the rest of the year. I worked for three months in the countryside. It was honestly a lot of hard work for pretty bad pay. It wasn't the best times of my life, but that shitty job helped me buy myself my new laptop. All the money I earned that summer went into the laptop I'm currently working on right now - but it was definitely worth it to me. That's when things got serious - I was fully into music production and I finally discovered the sound I was searching for since I started: Big Room Trance. I completely changed my branding to what you see now and found real inspiration from the likes of W&W, Maurice West, SaberZ, Husman, ANG, and others. Maurice West is my biggest one not only with his music but I can really really to his content and identify with him.
One of the reasons that I'm a fan is because of your amazing melodies! What's your process for translating what you hear into your head into a full-fledged song?
First of all, thank you so much! I can't really fathom the ideas of having my own fans so whenever someone tells me that, I get really happy! Back to the question, though - I'm a really strange guy when talking about melodies, inspiration and all that stuff. I'm way more productive when there is something solid to work on rather than starting from a blank space. That's why I mostly work on music whenever a new melody idea pops out in my head. It's weird but I can't really pressure myself to create a sick melody because nothing will come out, the ones I end up working on come to me at random moments like when I wake up, I walk my dog or even when I'm fighting with my brother!
Whenever I have the strong initial melody I always start with the Drop, that's the most important part in my tracks and it's where my style shines the most. Whenever I have the Drop partially done I go for the Builds, I consider they are fundamental in order to make the Drop hit harder. Once I have both of them done it's time to make the Breakdown. Normally after having those three parts arranged properly the track is almost done, production ways, for me and then I just need to structure the track and, super important, organize the project as much as I can. Once the track is fully arranged it's just time to mix it. I don't mix everything at the end, I'm one of those guys that mixes while producing so when I reach that 'Mixing step' the track already sounds pretty decently mixing ways but it needs those final touches in order to get it to the next level. I normally do that mixing step in some days so I rest my ears from the project and my final mixdown gets to a better result. Once the song is fully arranged and mixed it's time for the final step, mastering. On my mastering chains there's not too much just some simple EQ, Compression and some final Limiting and it's done, I think the 'power' on my tracks lays down mostly on the Sounds and the Mixing and not that much on the Mastering, so I just keep it simple. Once the first version of the song is done I start sending it to my people of trust for some valuable feedback, as soon as I have some stuff to change I go back to the project and fix it, I do this from one to three times until we are all happy with the final product. As soon as I have the final version, it is time to send it to labels, but that's another story...
To compliment your full releases, you also give back to the community with a lot of free flps released through various outlets. Can you explain more about why you devote time to these sorts of projects versus releasing more Stefan Bors tracks?
I'm one of those guys who thinks that tracks and projects are not meant to be on a folder, I personally think that you need to share every track you make and your proud of in one way or the other.
I love to make tracks on various different genres but not in order to release them as actual songs but to experiment the genre and improve my production skills during the process. So whenever I make a song on a style that I consider its not 'my style' I feel like I want to release it but not behind my 'Stefan Bors' alias, then is when I think about releasing it as free project. I have released a bunch of free projects now due to the fact that I ALWAYS aim to finish everything that I start, I think that helps my brain to stay trained not to leave stuff 'a medias' and helps me whenever I have to finish a new song, it also improves my workflow a lot since this makes me practice a lot, this is something I really love!
I've doing this trick for almost all my career and I'm not planning to stop doing it. The 'community' has given me everything that I am right now and all that I'm going to be in the future so I think there's no better way to give back to the community than with free stuff, free templates in this case.
Over the past few years, big room has always been the subject of scrutiny for being a "dead genre." From your perspective, what do you think is the state of the genre is?
I think that my opinion on this subject is a bit different than what you would expect. I think we are on a community that, in general, rewards more 'originality' than 'good music', at least what I consider good music.
I don't really think Big Room is 'dead' anymore, I just think that some years ago, when Big Room was just a big Drop with just the Kick, some Drums and a big Lead sound on top of it tracks started to sound all the same and the genre itself started to feel unoriginal. So I think that it was this big group of people that started to get bothered by the fact I've just mention those who started that 'Big Room is dead movement'. As said, this happened some years ago but now I think it's totally the opposite, there are some amazingly talented producers making original stuff with the genre by innovating on adding some more complex stuff to their tracks or even like merging the genre with some other genres like Trance, Future Bounce, Progressive House, etc. I'm talking about people like SaberZ, Maurice West, Husman, Olly James, etc. I think those are the major artists that are pushing forward the Big Room scene. There are still of course the heavyweights of the genre like W&W, Hardwell, Blasterjaxx, etc. That keep making pure Big Room bangers but there are not innovating that much creativity ways.
Right now I feel there are some other genres and styles that are getting much more unoriginal than Big Room but nobody are talking about them.
Not only artists but labels are also pushing the pure Big Room sound forward. There are a lot of promising Big Room oriented labels both major and minor releasing some really sick songs, I'm talking about Rave Culture, Revealed Music, Maxximize Records, etc, talking about major ones, and Intensity Recordings, Quartzo Records and FeelQ Recordings talking about smaller ones. It's true that there are some struggle on getting things signed on those mainly due to the fact that the don't only look for high quality stuff but also your song needs to have something ever heard before, that's the tough part.
As said at first, I think people really look for weird original stuff instead of emotion on their releases. That's where I like to step out of the game, during the last year I realized that I don't like that on my music, if you haven't heard any of my tracks yet I can tell you that you won't be hearing much stuff you haven't heard before but I'm sure that each one of them will give you a feeling, will bring you emotion, at least that what I aim for with every new song and that's what I want the listener to feel every time he hears on of my songs.
To sum up, Big Room isn't dead anymore, you can expect some really cool songs on that genre coming out from many different talented artists and also coming from me.
What's coming up next for the Stefan Bors project?
Well, I can't really tell much about this since I prefer to keep this in secret but all I can say is that there's so much new music in the making and I really can't wait to show you guys.
There are some cool collaborations going on with some really great artists on my same genre circle and some other cool solos where you will feel the pure signature Stefan Bors sound that I'm super pumped to release. For now I'll be focusing more on my Stefan Bors career, that would mean that you'll have less amount of free projects but I can promise that I'll always do my best to give you the quality you deserve both on my music and projects.
Apart from music I'll be also focusing a bit more on building a strong fanbase of people like me, who really love music, no matter the genre not matter the artist just amazing music, that's what is all about in the end.
For my socials I'm planning to eventually shot some dope press pics but for now at least I'll try to be more active posting photos of myself and also being more active on Instagram, facebook, Twitter, etc.
I don't really know what the future holds for me but I'm sure that I want to do my best to deliver you the best quality and my most pure essence.
To end up, for those who already know me and follow me, I'm really blessed to have you on the Stefan Bors's family, you always have been very supportive and kind with me and you always support me on everything I make and every decision I take, thank you so much.
Chris W. Lao
Label Manager, Marketer, and Writer
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