I’m back and trying to put this blog to use again :) So, I’ve been producing music on the computer for about four years now, but I honestly don’t believe that I knew what I was doing until I started taking music courses at Miramar. Back in 2010, when I first started attending classes there after graduating high school, the majority of classes took place in bungalows (which are definitely my least favorite structure of all time) and their music program was seriously lacking. Because of that, I attended the school hoping to go into business, believing that knowing more about money would help me be more successful. I found the courses required for that major depressing and soulless, a discovery which led to me dropping out of college and taking a two year break from it. I dropped out in early 2011, a couple months before the Party Rock Anthem gave birth to my generation’s immense obsession with shuffling, bright colors, and raving.
In the two years that I was on break, I started going to raves thanks to an invitation to Audiotistic Festival 2011, which exposed me to experimental and developing genres of EDM. These new genres provided me with exciting new sources to draw inspiration from for my own productions. In February of 2012, I turned 21 and experienced the craziest parties and events of my life. With barely any responsibilities, I danced and partied through the first 9 months of that year, talking with people who were involved with the club scene, and learning about how DJs make their money, how these amazing events are promoted, and how MY musical style fit into all of that. I decided that being a part of this industry was something that I really wanted to do, but I wanted to find a way to do it MY WAY.
Here’s a summary of the past year:
I started working full-time in a warehouse, and while it kept me away from making as much music as I did before, being at this job has given me the money to purchase equipment and put me in the company of people who would help me and inspire me. I worked my ass off through the holiday season, working 60+ hour weeks on average. I was able to save up for the most recent 2012 iMac by January. The iMac needed an audio interface to record audio from microphones and instruments, so I bought the Alesis iO2. Then, a coworker gave me a keyboard that happened to have MIDI capabilities. I realized that my audio interface was also a MIDI interface and that I could play FL Studio’s synths on that keyboard. I finally went back to school in the spring semester of 2013. I took two music classes with professors who greatly shaped my understanding of what music IS and learned about scales, chords, keys, reading sheet music, and how to use Apple’s Logic. These new skills helped me become a better producer. During that summer, I experimented with the new techniques that I learned until the Fall Semester started. In Fall, I enrolled in a course on MIDI and a portfolio course in the recording studio. Early in the semester, I heard about FL Studio’s Performance Mode, a new feature that allows you to use FL Studio to perform live in a way that’s kind of like Ableton. It is way better for me though because I love FL Studio’s workflow and I absolutely HATE Ableton. You could put every other DAW in existence above Ableton and I’d have no problems with that ranking. haha Ironically, I chose a controller designed to be used with Ableton as my primary controller for FL Studio’s Performance Mode. Performing music live was something that became interesting to me when I discovered producers like Madeon and Bass Kleph, who perform some really cool live remixes using controllers such as the Launchpad and Maschine. I experimented with FL Studio’s Performance Mode but realized that I wanted to achieve a more live performance style where I could literally do whatever I wanted. This is where the style that I’m currently working on came from. I’ve never maxed out the CPU on the iMac, but a goal of mine is to do that by the end of the summer and hopefully put up some performances on Soundcloud and YouTube :) I’m going to find ways to incorporate DJing and Performance Mode into my sets as well. I’ve been learning how to DJ using Traktor, so I’d really love to use that, but I’ll probably use Deckadance 2 so I can keep everything inside of FL Studio audio wise :)
I guess that what I want to do could be called “Live Production” even though my ideas and goals for it are much bigger than anyone doing live production (fuck Ableton). I don’t want to be just another fist-pumping DJ and I know that electronic music is going to follow this trend when it comes to performance. People will say that I could just use Ableton, but I’m pushing the limits of this style way beyond what an Ableton user could comprehend. I’m gonna show people that FL Studio isn’t “toy software” >:)
– Tommy Maverick