Mason Levy Mason Levy, also known as MdL, is an American music producer. He has produced an RIAA platinum-certified record for Justin Beiber.
Tell us about yourself & your music
I started making music several years ago, pretty much at the beginning of high school. Started bringing horrible beat cds to school and caught the attention of some local rappers. I was working with them and gradually became really serious about my music. I began posting instructional videos on YouTube which have really helped me get to where I am today. I left high school junior year to pursue music full time. Continued doing hip hop, but also started doing more pop and rnb stuff, and fortunately, was noticed by Atlantic Records executive Mike Caren. We had a meeting and he asked me what I wanted, and I said I wanted publishing deal. So he gave me one. For the last 2 years, I've been working harder than ever on whatever they need me to do. I've been really excited for my success so far and I'm hungry for more.
The Justin Bieber "Down To Earth" record was completely unexpected. He cut the record about 6 months before he released anything, and had really gotten out of the habit of holding my breath. It was a record that I had produced and Los and Steve of the Jackie Boyz had written. We had submitted the record to various people but there were no bites on it. We started doing a lot of work with Midi Mafia and they asked us for records that we already had. "Down to Earth" was one of the tracks we sent them. About a week later they told us that this kid Justin Bieber wanted to cut it, so we tweaked the record a little bit and Midi went to Atlanta to record with him. Now its on an album that's sold millions and in the closing credits of Bieber's feature movie "Never Say Never."
MdL & B.o.B "New York, New York" Crysis 2 Trailer
The B.o.B. "New York, New York" cover was a pretty high pressure situation. My publisher, Mike Caren, emailed me saying he needed a "New York, New York" cover beat that was dark and hip hop- by the next day. I had the flu at the time and almost wasn't planning on trying it. I came up with some stuff though, and sent what I had to Mike. He said he really liked it, and that he would show it to B.o.B, who then put his verses on it within the next few days. I got called in to tweak the track with the EA Games staff for their television commercial. So we did that, and the commercial debuted a month later. It all happened really fast.
The B.o.B. "New York, New York" project
How did you get involved creating music & FL Studio?
I actually stumbled upon FL Studio years ago when I was just a freshman in high school and just started making stuff with it. And then for whatever reason, I started exploring, using like EVERY other software until I came back to FL about 2 years ago. Now I use it for virtually all of the work I do.
When I started out I was a complete newbie, so I didn't know how to judge any music production software. Now I can tell you that FL Studio is the fastest and most inspiring piece of software in my workflow.
How did you get involved creating music & FL Studio (con't...)
Most of my music is based around drums. "Human" feeling but mechanical, and sometimes really intricate and "off" programming. Drum patterns and drum sounds are absolutely the most important things to me. In this sense, FL has become an indispensable tool for me. The browser alone destroys everything else. Being able to scroll through drum sounds with my arrow keys with no lag has become a necessity for me. Integrating the Windows shell menu is amazing. Support for all audio formats just makes sense, and these are all features of the browser alone.
Mason's Platinum Hit with Justin Bieber
Oh my God, the "offset" knob in the function tab of a sample is one of the best features of any music software I've seen. I just discovered it like 2 months ago. Everything I do has lots of "late" elements and this makes it super easy. Being able to stretch and resample loops so fast is amazing.
Visually, FL looks better than everything else to me. It's the little things that matter. Details like the smooth visual feedback option make everything "sound" better (well, at least it's enjoyable to look at all day). All that thoughtfulness inspires me. I NEED my meters to move super smoothly, I don't know why. There are so many features about FL that are just great to me. I love it.
Covering Hans Zimmer's Inception Theme
Tell us about your production environment & toys
Mason in the studio with Kevin McCall
The mobile workflow has been great thus far. I recently sold almost all my gear except for my monitors, and I'm making a strong effort to be less bogged down. But I'm mostly working headphones now anyway. Its really freeing to know that I make the same quality stuff no matter where I go. Everything is bus-powered so all I need is one outlet for the laptop and the rest is good to go. It took me a long time to build a setup this efficient. My tools are minimal, but the few pieces I do have are pretty much the best- solid state system drive, usb 3, 16 gigs of ram, i7 extreme, Windows 7 64 bit.
I don't really have toys anymore, though I do use a little recorder to capture wild sounds I accidentally hear and what not.
Do you have any links you would like to share?
Learn more about me at my official website - www.mdltakesover.com.
Here's a clip from a Q&A I did with USC's Music Industry Club, talking about FL Studio as well - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrK2pPt2R-Q
Making the Cover: Bon Iver "Holocene"