Savant's energy and style is infectious. The first time we learned about Savant was when customers told us the music on a viral internet video was made in FL Studio. From that moment on we were hooked.
Tell us about how you got into music ?
One of my earliest memories of music was watching a Virgin Records trailer VHS from my grandfathers video store back in the 80s. I got all the newest NES stuff from his store as well. Though my father is a professional musician and songwriter, we never connected for many reasons. Alcohol being one. But my grandfather had an electrical organ that I used to jam on as a kid growing up. Not taking it too seriously, because drawing and making paper toys and architecture was some of my main interest.
I always played video games, and kept myself up to date on Nintendo’s upcoming consoles and games. As I reached the age of 8, I remember listening to Deep Forest and Enya, which really touched my melodic sensibilities. Three years later I would discover my passion for electronic music and production.
I begged my mom for a computer and when I finally got it, I started making beats with Rave Ejay, Hip-Hop Ejay, Dance ejay and Techno Ejay. Then I came across Mad Tracker and Fast Tracker 2. By this time I was 12-13 and knew the basics of arrangement, sound selection, and what Ejay didn't have, Mad and Fast Tracker had, which was composing and focus on the engine of creativity. These tools where so stripped down it could run in DOS and you had to get your own sounds, start sampling, or make sound waves from the bottom up. It taught me about loop points, frequencies and simple wave editing. All of this was stuff that would become very essential to me in later years. But what it really gave me was freedom to unleash melody, chord progressions and arrangement.
How did you start using FL Studio & what does it mean to your productions ?
Around that same time, I'd seen and tried Fruity Tracks (I still have the first demo), but with no internet at home and no money, getting this software was impossible, so I continued with the freeware stuff. I programmed metal, Hip Hop, Trance, Breaks and even Classical music with Mad Tracker for many years. I also picked up the guitar, drums and singing to compliment my keyboard skills. By 15 I was unaware of the epic musical journey I was to about to discover. I started to realize that all music did not just touch me, it HIT me in a special way. Genres became unimportant, because a Hip Hop beat could easily give me the same “goose bumps” as Heavy Metal or Trance music. I wanted to explore it all.
I played guitar, keys and sang in various Metal and Black Metal bands. Meanwhile a friend at school showed me some Trance he made with Fruityloops 2, and with Fruityloops 3 about to come out, he gave me a copy to try. This moment combined with gifts granted by my Autism, opened a whole new world of possibilities. I was free to not only make chords and melodies, but to sonically shape them. My vision of what music was reinvented. Since then I've strictly used FL for everything I do. Production, beats, band recording, mixing, writing, scoring for film, chip-tunes, sound design and live performance (even long before performance mode). The most important part for me is that I use FL studio to relax.
I don't make music because I want to; I create because I have to. I never went to school to learn music. Everything I have done and will do is constant discovery. To me, the best music or sounds aren't the ones you plan, they are the ones that simply come to you. It is 75% how your brain is wired and 25% the tools you use. But FL studio is the closest thing to telepathically connect your mind to the music in seconds. For me other software tends to be linear, formulaic, and constrained. It can really choke your creativity. FL Studio goes beyond norms, schools of thought, mortals. Sadly, I have not yet seen anyone using FL Studio to full capacity. To be frank, watching “superstar” DJs showing it off is embarrassing. FL Studio can get a bad rep because for some it is methodical easy, fast, simple. But with great power comes great responsibility. I can't imagine that humans were given such great power to use it for simplistic House music. I have a lot of respect for the “ether” of music, which we all contribute to, and when people use the power of FL Studio to imitate simplistic trends in music they are "watering down the wine". Why settle when FL Studio has the promise for cerebral intent. So much more is possible. Know this, there will be a musical revolution, and FL Studio will be the tool at the center of it.
I work FAST, FL Studio is the only DAW that can keep up with me. My ideas are like a rain storm, like billions of musical raindrops falling from my brain, FL Studio helps me catch the most amount of ideas before the storm is over so I can give water to everyone; if they need it.
Suggestions to the Image-Line team
So now for some suggestions. Don’t mess with the Autosave feature, it has saved my ass so many times, it’s not even funny, if anything make it real-time so if I want, I can rewind to 10 minutes ago and try a different thing. My biggest suggestion would be to add an optional key-mapping feature, so I can have my slice function on the left hand side. When they changed the SHIFT buttons, for a while my production speed went down 20%, key-mapping would help get that back. Also, don't remove the legacy pre-computed effects; they are essential for the cerebral, eclectic producer.
I really love FL. In fact I have spent more time in FL the last ten years than my mother has spent in the kitchen her whole life. And my mom loves cooking. I chose music over a social life growing up. This helped me get rid of ego and eros so the inner god, agape can speak the important truth to make breathtaking music.
I’m surprised my laptop doesn't grow wings or a cool mustache when I use it. Because some of the most amazing and jaw dropping moments in my life, has been in FL.
The Savant challenge:
Make track with only use of one snare sample, and clone it to make changes. With pre-computed legacy effects, time-stretch, Edison, Maximus and Reverb 2 you should be able to make a palette of different creative sounds out of one simple WAV.
Make an entire song from drums to pads with only the 3OSC. It’s 3 oscillators and mixer effects. It’s hard but not impossible.
Don’t use outside samples or plugins. With 3OSC you can make anything from 8bit chip leads to hard-style bass. Sytrus is a very flexible FM synth. Harmor can make jaws drop if you know what’s under the hood. The new drum machines and generators give you the means to design all your sounds from bottom to top in minutes. It’s almost too powerful, and the capabilities are literally endless.
Tell us about your production environment & toys ?
I just got a new studio set up and I never had that to be honest. I’ve been broke my whole life and lately things have started to change a little bit. I run FL Studio on three different computers, one stationary PC from 2007 (still works), one laptop from Frost Music Sweden (broken by now) and a brand new Hackintosh for my live setup.
I have a couple of crazy Genelec Monitors that ruin neighbors sleep, although I created Vario, Overworld, ISM, Alchemist, Overkill and HEART on Beats by Dre ONLY, because of no studio and no money.
I use a 32" TV as my monitor screen.
I’ve got some synthesizers over the years, but my love is mostly for MIDI controllers. I got a Mini Moog Voyager (old school), a Roland AX Keytar, a Korg Keytar, two Akai MPK controllers, a Novation Launchpad, a Korg Triton Extreme and a Korg Trinity. And lots of other weird kids stuff and Casio stuff, etc..
I would summarize my studio as, minimal in approach, maximal in expression.
Do you have any links you would like to share ?