It seems like forever since the last winner’s interview I did (probably because it was forever ago between touring with Celldweller and other various things that have been happening and keeping us all busy around FiXT), but I wasn’t about to abandon doing these with the amount of positive feedback we’ve gotten on the previous couple!
For this edition, the song was Enduser’s “1/3″; a unique contest for FiXT Remix as it doesn’t have any vocal melodies and there really wasn’t much provided in the way of stems aside from individual hits. For many remix artists, it seems to be a trend for them to start with a lead vocal and build around it. In this case, they had to come up with a work around and come up with something different – and a majority of the remixes used some form of one of the few melodic stems included in the pack.
The winner of this contest, an artist who goes by the name of Spets, stayed pretty close to the genre of the original while adding his own flair. His Breaks and Glitch remix landed him in the top 20, and the community voted him their champion during the voting process. You can check out his winning remix here, and then read what he had to say about his remix below!
Ry: Hey there Spets! I noticed this is your first remix on FiXT Remix, so tell us a little about where you’re from and how you found out about us.
Spets: I am from Beirut, Lebanon. If you haven’t heard about it, you would be amazed at how much is city is rich. I accidentally found about the FIXIT Remix when a friend of mine posted a remix he has done for this competition, I checked the website out, and I said to my self, what the heck, give it a shot! I didn’t go into the competition to win, I just wanted to prove something to myself, especially that I am very very new to EMP, and to push myself a step further since I Achieve better results under pressure.
Ry: Where did you get your artist moniker, Spets?
Spets: I got this moniker from a friend (Tavarish), he first wanted to use it him self but then dedicated it to me. Its short for Spetsialist in Russian, and it means Specialist.
Ry: How long have you been working with music? Do you do anything with it professionally or is it just a hobby currently?
Spets: When I did the remix I was very new to EMP, it was around 5 months since I first started working on FL Studio. But I have been a musician all my life, since I was little I used to play percussion, and as I grew I played the clarinet, and then I played Bass and Guitar. I do not do anything professionally with music, it is a pure hobby, and I do it because it’s one of the few things that I am passionate about and can spend hours doing enjoyably.
Ry: Let’s dive into some audio talk. What DAW did you use to produce your remix? (Logic, Reason, Pro Tools, etc.?) Any particular reason you choose to use that one over the other’s available?
Spets: I did this remix on FL Studio 9 Signature Edition. Many dislike fruity and I can’t understand why! It is a complete software that can do magic when mastered and used properly. I didn’t choose FL for any particular reason. I was just first introduced to FL before any other DAW and as I dug into other DAWs I had a separate problem with each one of them. But now I am exploring other options for different outcomes.
Ry: Are there any special plug-ins or external hardware you used in this project that stand out and really helped it to sound how it does now?
Spets: Native Instruments (Absynth, Massive, and FM8). I also used the built in instruments that come with FL, mainly Sakura, and the other mixer plugins for compressions, reverbs, and so on.
Ry: Tell me a little about the style of the remix – you start pretty soft and I hear consistent break beats throughout, but then I pick up a little bit of hard style and a little bit of glitch near the end. What were your influences for this mix and what made you decide to go that route with the progression?
Spets: Before I finally submitted the winning version, I had 48 remix versions laying there on my desktop. Some were pretty similar and only I could notice the difference. But I chose this one because this was the one that I was most happy about. The track held meaning and value to me, I didn’t want it to be just another cliché track where there is a “typical”, or “standard” progression to follow. I started off by a melancholic intro to put the audience in the general mood of the track, then I introduced the breaks to build up for the hard part coming up which was expressing the state of mind of the man saying: “We will never negotiate”. Then I progressed to the break down, which is meant to put the audience in a suspenseful mood to drive them back again to another peak of rampage and chaos, portrayed by the glitches and the breaks. The track ends as it started with minor variation dictating that no matter how a path starts, and whenever there is a revolution, even if the outcome was similar to how things were before all of it started, it will always be different.
Ry: What did you use for your pad tones in the intro? What about your bass tones that kick in at 1:49 and 2:33 into the track?
Spets: Instruments? I used for pads; Absynth and Sakura. For Strings; Sakura. For the other pads later on, I used; Harmless. For the bass, I used; Harmless as well.
Ry: Let’s talk about your drum tones. I hear a lot of the original drum samples in here that came in the stems. How did you arrange those? Did you use a sequencer, sampler, or just drag and drop the audio into the session where you wanted them? Did you use any new drum samples or cut and edit the ones provided to give the single shots while keeping a relatively similar tone?
Spets: I dragged all the samples into the FL tracker, then I arranged them as I went through the track. I was always cutting parts, editing and rearranging them to suit my ears.
Ry: Do you think we can get some screenshots of your session or any demos of earlier versions from you to give other remix artists in the community a glimpse of how your work progressed?
Spets: Yes of course, I will attach the images in the e-mail.
Ry: Do you have any other projects your working? Perhaps any other remixes or some original music of your own?
Spets: I am not remixing any tracks currently. Nevertheless, once you start on making music you can never stop. As I did in this remix, and that is try to have an original touch instead of following the norm, I am experimenting bluntly. I am also co-producing a couple of tracks with an Italian artist who also is new to EMP, but has a long history in street music. Moreover, I am working with a couple of Lebanese producers, but no labels.
Ry: I really appreciate you taking the time to answer the questions here. Thanks for taking part in this interview! Is there anyone you’d like to give a shout to or anything else you’d like to share, such as web links to your own site or anything like that?
Spets: First of all thank Ry for the opportunity to be able to express myself on FIXT through Enduser’s competition. I would like to thank all my friend who supported me, especially those who lent me their equipment in order to be able to do this remix.
I am currently posting my music at soundcloud, here is the link: http://soundcloud.com/spets