The team here at Image-Line would like to congratulate Alex Medina for his track 'Background' from the Grammy nominated Lecrae Rehab album. We caught up with Alex to learn more about his work and how he uses FL Studio.
'Background' Co written with C-Lite and produced by Alex Medina for Lecrae's Rehab album
Tell us about your track 'Background' from the Grammy nominated Lecre - Rehab album.
It's interesting to see how Background came about. Originally the song was for a collaborative album I was working on with C-Lite. I emailed him the idea I had for a song about playing the background and the understanding that the world does not revolve around me. In our culture fame, conceit, and self image is prevalent. So, I wanted to create a song that countered the fog and prescribed a sound perspective of life in light of it's Author.
I produced the song in FL Studio around the pads played in the introduction of a song I was listening to by Rojo entitled, "Tu Reinas" (0:03-0:16). I imported the song into the playlist and tapped the tempo of the song to align the down beats to the grid, making it easier to chop and slice. I wanted to follow the mellow feel of the pads and stay away from overbearing drums. I thought the drums should support what the pads were doing.
After I had a foundation to work with the idea and phrase "play the background" kept coming to mind, so I put pen to pad. I knew I wanted to hear singing on the hook so began to sketch out the idea for a singer (since I am not one). I recorded what I had in mind and also rapped a verse that fit the song. I knew C-Lite would be able to take my small idea to the next level and he did just that. This is original mp3 I received from C-Lite, I must have added 34 exclamation marks at the end of, "YOOOOOOO" in response to his email. I loved it.
At this time my friend, Lecrae, was working on his fourth studio album, Rehab. I was really working hard to get something on this album but to no avail. After taking a break from flooding his inbox with beats I decided to send him Background. He loved it, wrote his verses and the rest was history. I enlisted my good friend Joseph Prielozny to help me expand the song by reproducing the sampled pads, adding strings, piano, and creating a pre-chorus. Also, producer friend G-ROC added a synth sound for the hook. It amazing to see the response the song has received. I hope the song spreads like wild fire, so that many can hear the message that has gripped my heart. I am glad to see Rehab get nominated for the Grammy, its a huge accomplishment, but at the end of the day we just want to play the Background.
What were your first impressions of FL Studio and how did you come to use it?
I was first drawn to FL Studio's when a friend introduced me to it and taught me how to make hip hop beats. To this day I have used FL Studio..we are one :)
A friend told me its not about what hardware or software you use but how you use it. I have see that to be true in my situation. Over the years I began to grow with a desire to learn FL Studio and make music. FL Studio's simple layout and ability to create on the fly allows me to enjoy the process of making music. Loading virtual instruments is also a breeze. I can easily bounce files to WAVs when I am working with another producer or when its time to send out multi tracks. Soon, I will begin using FL Studio to do vocal tracking as well.
I will honestly share that for a number of years I used a crack version of FL Studio and had to switch that all around. Morally it was not honoring Jesus, the God I spoke about in my music and showed a lack of integrity. Also, it kept bringing viruses to my computer! I don't regret investing in FL Studio, it has served me well and it feels good to freely get updates and be apart of the on line community with a clear conscious and still bang out some great music.
Tell us about your production environment & toys?
I pretty much have a very simple setup. I run everything off of a Mac Pro with Snow Lepoard. I have Windows 7 installed via Boot Camp. I use a pair of M-Audio BX5a Studio monitors but 95% of the time I am using my AKG K240 headphones for production. I currently use FL Studio 9.7 (Signature Edition) as my main host and sequencer and anticipate the arrival of FL Studio 10! As for VSTs I own Komplete 7 by Native Instruments, Harlmess and Toxic Biohazard by Image Line, Firebird by Tone2, and Adventus by Softplug.
My audio interface is an Mbox 2 and as for a midi keyboard, I use the M-Audio Axiom 25. For a long time I was laying down song ideas on a Shure SM57... I know, I know lol. I just recently picked up a Mojave Audio MA-201 Fet condenser microphone. My most valuable assest, my wife! She lets me know whether a beat is hot or needs to get dumped in the trash.
Do you have any links you would like to share?
My website - www.stayonpost.com
Follow me on twitter - http://twitter.com/mrmedina
Also, Check out the Artist I work with on Reach Records (Lecrae, Trip Lee, Sho Barka, Tedashii, DJ Official) - www.reachrecords.com
Produced this for the Hobbit, Trip Lee lol - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K7piEIaJvIo
As well as Flame - www.clearsightmusic.com
Much love to the Image-Line family! Thank you for the time and effort you all put into making a great product. Your labor is not go in vain.
If you are a fellow FL Studio user, why not drop into this thread on Looptalk (customer forums) and give Alex a shout.
Thanks Alex, we really appreciate you taking the time to give us an insight into what you are doing. We are sure our customers will get a kick out of it, Background is a great track!