nuphory (f.k.a. VOLANT), is a skilled producer, sound designer, and artist who has been making waves for several years now. Her unique style of what she calls “NEOY2K” music consists of Electronic Dance Music inspired by the sounds of the early 2000s and 1990s and heavily influenced by video game culture. Whether she’s releasing on renowned labels like Monstercat or UKF, selling her fantastic sample packs, or recreating iconic video game sounds, nuphory’s skills are always evident to any listener and her unique style shines through. Fortunately for us, FL Studio has been her weapon of choice from the beginning, and she was kind enough to share more about her background and process with us recently. Read on!
Tell us about yourself and how you got into music.
My name is julie. I am a producer, musician, and graphics artist. My artist alias is nuphory and I run a collective of Y2K artists called HYPERTRANCE.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always gravitated toward creative work. I spent most of my childhood messing around editing photos, modding videogames, and trying to arrange sounds in Audacity, with limited success. When I was 15 years old, I discovered FL Studio by accident while browsing music on YouTube. I had never seen a DAW before, but as soon as I saw how simple it was to arrange music in FL, I was hooked and bought my copy during the Black Friday sale of 2010. All my nights after that became sleepless, writing trance riffs, house beats, and chopping up Amen breaks. By the time I turned 19, my fun creative endeavours escalated into a full creative career, and I have never looked back.
How did you start using FL Studio & what does it mean to your productions?
My first exposure to FL Studio happened through Futorial’s early house music tutorials. I had never seen a DAW before, so discovering the possibility of just putting down beats and having the computer play them back to me was fascinating. I love how the patterns in FL Studio let you quickly build addictive loops — expanding them into full songs was always very intuitive to me as a lot of what I do is loop-based. The ability to route any channel to any mixer track creates an amazing workflow for sample pack production too.
I think the greatest thing about FL Studio is that it offers some very advanced control over all sorts of parameters via just the piano roll’s slide notes, enabling me to make very complicated parameter changes in Harmor just through MIDI. At the same time, I can just open Transistor Bass, Poizone, or Toxic Biohazard and pick a fun preset to use in my track. It’s such a great balance between complex creative production and simplicity. Whether I want to produce the most sophisticated tune possible, or if I’m just looking to mess around with some beats for fun, FL offers the full spectrum to me and always delivers.
Tell us about your work and some of the artists you have worked with.
I’ve always felt strongly drawn to all sorts of nostalgic and authentic sounds. As a total beginner in music, it took me a while to find my creative voice. I would often mix in a lot of riffs and synths I remembered from old video game soundtracks and older music in general without really noticing it, but once I consciously made the connection, I understood that writing authentic-sounding retro music was my passion. I couldn’t help but feel annoyed by how fake some of the contemporary retro music sounded, even if it was all made using the correct gear. That’s when I started heavily exploring Harmor and other FL plugins to create my own, more authentic retro sound, and I would quickly stand out amongst the crowd with it, not only with my music but also with my remakes of classic retro console sounds and startups.
nuphory – ringtone (feat. luna lenta & cookie)
Nowadays, many of my productions are reminiscent of rave music from the late 90s / early 2000s. It’s the most authentic-feeling music I’ve ever made, and FL’s workflow is perfectly suited to producing that type of electronica. With Distructor’s wavefolding and downsampling features, Convolver’s ability to authentically replicate any kind of amp or quality degradation, and Harmor’s wide range of options to use in sound design, I was able to find my own unique sound while keeping the authentic feeling of days gone by.
Over the years I’ve collaborated with many artists that I met online through exchanging FL presets and ideas. I try to work with people who embody the same underground grassroots-type mentality as I do. I produced the track “depthcore” with polyscream which turned out to be kind of an underground hit in the neoy2k scene, and we completed the entire track just by sending the same project file back and forth, then giving it a final mix using the handy stem export feature. FL Studio’s feature set allows for a lot of creativity with our ideas and helped us get to the finish line quickly.
Tell us about your production environment and the gear you use.
As someone who was never able to afford much, I spent most of my career on a simple 2012 laptop and old HiFi speakers I found in the junk, plus a pair of cheap headphones. Once my career got going more, I was able to afford a proper PC and some proper monitors. From having to make do with just a laptop and FL Studio, I’m someone who enjoys a simple workspace — I do not own a lot of gear. I run my audio through a MOTU M4 and use Focal Alpha 65 to monitor. Almost everything else I do is just in FL Studio, using the plugins that come with it. To this day, whenever I tell people that I use Harmor for most of my sounds, they do not believe me at first. They always say it sounds too warm, too authentic to just be Harmor. That’s how I slowly learned that you do not need expensive gear to create authentic sounds. All you need is a lot of imagination and a copy of FL Studio. I stuck to that formula and only focused on building up my studio acoustics over time, and now I’ve arrived at a point where it’s comfortable to work in.
As for the acoustics in my studio, most of my treatment is hand built by me. This is the second studio space I’ve built, and I strongly believe that if you can do it yourself, you should try. My build relies heavily on Helmholtz resonators and self-built, all-natural acoustic panels, but I also use some HOFA natural bass traps to tighten up the low-end. My studio is also my living space, and I love keeping it casual and comfortable, so treatment is somewhat minimal. But every studio space is a constant work in progress, so we will have to wait and see where it goes next.
nuphory (fka VOLANT) & Luna Lenta – Unending Light
Is there anything else you would like to tell us?
There are many things I could write here, but I feel that what we need as artists are signs of unity and mutual support. Making music is a tough business, and I would like to take this opportunity to try and talk to the underground, underappreciated artists that might be reading this. I spent a very long time making my music and not being taken seriously. At first, people around me would laugh at me for wanting to make it big with music, and then once I had made it to a certain point, other peers who were somewhat more successful would do the same. It can be tough to find any kind of emotional support for creative endeavours from others, and as such making music can be very isolating. But what I want to say is that great music and art can come from anyone, no matter their setup or gear, even if no one around them believes in them. If you want it, you can get it. If you are passionate about your music and work hard, you can make anything you want to make, even without anyone else’s approval and without owning the most expensive tools. I built my career with a small laptop, some cheap headphones, FL Studio, and a whole lot of passion. That’s all I needed. I realized that no one around me would ever make me feel valid; it was something I had to find within myself. That’s why I am proud to be on the website of the first DAW I ever bought, showing off my hand-built studio and my comparatively cheap setup. It’s truly all I need, and I am so happy for it. New beginnings are always tough, but as you grow up, you’ll realize that every single day is a new beginning, and you’ll feel more and more up to the challenge as you grow. Make sure you can always trust the tools you use, but more importantly, make sure you can always trust yourself.