You ask, we deliver. Blend now supports FL Studio projects. And not only can you now publish, pull and collaborate on projects made with FL Studio but Blend will automatically detect the version, plugins, & BPM for each published project!
To kick things off…
Blend welcomes Grammy-nominated producer MdL who just published the first ever project on Blend in FL Studio format. MdL, known for his production work with Maroon 5, Cee Lo Green, Chris Daughtry, Mike Posner and many others, went from being a bedroom beat maker to becoming a multi-platinum record producer. His backpack production rig enables him to create from anywhere and everywhere possible, and FL Studio features prominently in his arsenal.
Pull MdL’s exclusive Sound Pack featuring drums & melodies used in his productions:
Also, follow the official Image-Line Software profile and pull this classic FL Studio project:
We asked FL Studio’s Scott Fisher & MdL to take some time out of their busy schedules to talk to us about collaboration, working in FL Studio, and how technology is evolving music-making. Read our interview below:
Scott, How long has FL Studio been around and who are some of the artists you’ve seen grow using it?
Scott - Interesting you should ask as 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of Image-Line, we started life making video game software, and the 16th for FL Studio which was first released in 1998.
With regard to artists, readers can check our Power Users page here http://www.image-line.com/flstudio/powerusers.php where they will find artists like Afrojack, Avicii, Benn Jordan, Boi-1da, BT, Cazzette, Deadmau5, Madeon, Martin Garrix, MdL, Mike Oldfield, Porter Robinson, Savant, Seven Lions, 9th Wonder and many more. FL Studio is also used a lot behind the scenes, by producers (Armin van Buuren, for example) and ghost writers all over the globe, in conjunction with other DAW software. These days it’s common for producers to be using several platforms.
What are some of the ways Image Line interacts with the FL Studio community? How have you incorporated user feedback into the product over the years?
Scott - Social media is a huge part of what we do. Image-Line’s business has essentially developed along with and around the Internet. Our Facebook page for example, is the largest in the business, we just ticked over 550,000 likes. We produce tutorial videos on our YouTube channel and spend a lot of time talking with customers there, and on our user forums, where they can speak with the guys who actually develop the software. We have a very large, loyal and vocal customer base as a result.
This leads into the second part of your question. Being immersed in social media and online/forum discussions with customers, every day, keeps us well aware of the trends in the industry and interests of our users. It’s not long before some new technique or music trend is in existence before we see customers asking about it on our forums, for example. Our social media channels, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Google+ & even Instagram also provide a constant stream of comments and feedback on the things we post, so there’s a lot to harvest there also, which we do.
For the record, the FL Studio demo is installed over 30,000 times every day and it’s been that way for the last couple of years, so we certainly are reaching deep into the music making community.
MdL, how did you get started with electronic music? How has your workflow changed over the years?
MdL - I started making hip hop beats with FL Studio about 9 years ago (I was 15). Just started messing with the demo one day. I have always been a computer nerd/music fan so the two kind of went hand in hand for me.
Over the years, I’ve used many different DAWs but I always find myself back on FL. These days I’m using Steinberg’s Cubase for editing, comping, and tuning of audio, and then using FL for everything else.
Why FL Studio? What are some of the things you like about it?
MdL - The browser and step sequencer are absolutely amazing. Drums are a HUGE part of what I do and FL really helps facilitate that — auditioning sounds is lightning fast. Piano roll is incredible as well. Aside from the sound, I have to be looking at a production program for hours, and I love the minimal look of FL. 32/64 bit bridging is amazing for conserving melodies and having large sample libraries loaded up.
Do you use plugins? What are some plugins that you can’t live without?
MdL - I don’t use ANY EQ besides the Fruity Parametric EQ 2. For an instrument, I love Spectrasonic’s Omnisphere. All of the FabFilter processing plugins are amazing.
How do you go about creating songs? Do you usually start with beats, rhythm, melody, or something else?
MdL - Totally depends. If I’m just working tracks, I usually start with rhythm tracks and drums. Sometimes I’ll think of melodies and guitar parts or something when I’m lounging around and whatnot. Like to switch up the flow sometimes to keep things interesting.
What are some of your favorite projects or events you’ve been involved with?
Scott - About 5 years ago we hit ‘critical mass’ and suddenly a lot of larger companies were contacting us with collaborative projects. Similarly it’s nice to bump into other players in the industry and we don’t need to explain who we are these days. For example, our recent cooperation with Novation, on their range of controllers, so products like the Launchpad now work natively with FL Studio. We’ve also been getting good support from Microsoft, as we moved into the Windows App space with FL Studio Groove, they came to us, which was cool. We also have a bunch of new projects in the works that I can’t say much about, but in general with our increased profile, it’s much easier these days to get cooperative efforts off the ground.
MdL - Being able to work with Mike Posner has been one of my favorite experiences because I’ve been able to shape the sonics of a full-length project. I’ve been working on his whole album from studios, at home, or hotels, blending live musicians, hardware and software – all using FL studio.
MdL, if you could collaborate with anyone on Blend, who would it be?
MdL - I’d probably be most interested in collaborating with Alex because he’s had such vision to start this Blend project. Pushing modern production forward is always something I’m excited about, whether it’s about going laptop/backpack only, or watching projects like Blend, especially as the online integration becomes more seamless with production rigs. That would be an interesting mix.
How do you think online platforms will shape the future of electronic music? What’s your vision for electronic music production 5 or 10 years from now?
Scott - More seamless collaboration and file sharing, and of course, in ways we can’t even imagine yet. That’s why we need to be quick on our feet. For example, the explosion of mobile devices from 2010 onward meant we moved into that space with FL Studio Mobile and FL Studio Groove. If you asked us in 2008, that wasn’t even on the radar. So, the ever inter-connected and online presence of devices capable of running sophisticated music production software will definitely influence how the next generation uses their tools. On the other hand, we’ve noticed for many producers the creation process is still a solitary pursuit, so for these guys it’s more about easy access to production content and then later distribution, sharing and publishing their work.
MdL - I think Internet collaboration is going to continue to grow, and technology is going to help ideas get produced faster. More distribution is awesome – I started my career online and wouldn’t have been discovered if it weren’t for that. I still create most of my stuff independently, but I’m excited to see the time when I’m working remotely on the same session with an artist if we can’t always be at the same place at the same time.
What advice do you have for young producers getting started today?
Scott - Avoid using too much software. By this I mean, identify 3 or 4 instrument plugins you want to work with and learn them inside-out. You will be far more productive, and happier, in the long run with less stuff than more. It’s a really tough lesson to learn, we see so many producers lost in a sea of plugins ‘playing’ with them rather than using them to make music. It’s always good to remember that many great albums were produced on 16 or less tracks and with a handful of instruments.
MdL - Don’t be afraid to put your music on the Internet! Study the producers and musicians that you look up to, emulate their work to the best of your ability. I used to do that with guys like Scott Storch - listening and replaying everything the way he did. With a foundation like that, you’ll have the production skill necessary to develop your own ideas and produce your own sound.
Thanks for your time, Scott & MdL!
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