Following a relatively brief hiatus, FatKidOnFire contributor Micheal is back on form with his latest Artist Highlight interview; an in-depth conversation with America’s (via the UK) bass maestro Dark Elixir…
Hi dude! Firstly, congratulations on your Facebook page reaching 15k fans. What would you describe as the most important factor in your musical growth? Thanks so much. It means a lot to me that people want to keep involved in my music. The main thing I think is always giving back to the people that support you! Free downloads, helping them with their music, remix competitions and always trying to reply are great. Making good tunes helps too!
Can you tell us more about your setup? How do you approach the creative process of turning your ideas into tunes? Well I love to be mobile and I mostly use headphones (which were a gift from Audeze.com). They are the best thing I’ve heard sound through and when you have such a great sound source to create music from, it inspires you a lot.
They help me get lost in the music.
That’s the main thing I want; to feel the sounds I make. Getting lost in the music is the best thing about making music.
You seem fond of releasing free tunes. Do you think this contributed to your success? Does it perhaps motivate you more to get better? Free music is always a good way to give back – and it helps you reach out to more people. I think it’s helped but it can be bad when the fan-base you have can come to expect you to release everything you do for free. You need to know what to giveaway and when to do it!
It motivates me when giving away music because I know the listeners will want to hear something better the next time. I can only strive to be greater than I was previously!
How many hours, on average, do you spend on production during a week? I wake up at 5am each day, go for a run (breathing that morning air whilst thinking of musical ideas that are triggered by things I see or hear). I come back at about 6:30am, open Logic and start making sounds or writing ideas I might have had for songs I have started.
I take a few breaks to refresh my ears and keep working on sounds until 3pm. I sometimes feel that I should be spending less time on music because it helps with perspective and originality. I don’t like listening to dubstep as my main genre and now I really try to stay out of the “scene” as much as I can.
How did you come up with Dark Elixir as name? Does it hold a story or specific meaning? I used to play Final Fantasy a lot and I thought it was a cool name – so it eventually stuck.
What’s your advice on having a smooth mixdown and coherency between the sub and the low/mid ranges? My advice on a smooth mixdown would be to take breaks often; even though it’s your song, you want to stay a little bit new to the song and how it sounds. The dimensions of the song play a big role in how a mixdown is done, so try to give each element its own space with EQ and stereo imaging.
Which are the 3 essential qualities that a producer should really cultivate to get ‘really good’? For me, the 3 qualities are staying humble (which helps when you reach out to other artists, DJs, promoters and labels). It keeps a good name to your music which can help in the long run. Having a good attitude is advisable too.
Music is never going to always go your way and it will sometimes annoy you but you have to keep going and keep it fresh. I think a lot of creative blocks people get are linked with the attitude people have!
But, for me, the most important quality to have is time management. I’ve found by managing my time well, like when I schedule meetings or set aside 4 hours a day to make new sounds (or 4 hours to learn something new), it means I can plan other activities around it.
What’s your take on file management? Do you approach this with a certain system like self-made sample banks? File management is a big role in a low budget studio set up because a hard drive can only hold so much! When I first started making music, I always made everything I used so I could re-use my samples in my next song etc.
I didn’t like the fact that if I downloaded a sample pack from the internet I wouldn’t be the only one with those sounds so I wanted to stick with my own sounds. Doing this might seem hard at first, but in the end you know more sound creation and have better sounds than other producers – and you made them yourself.
What exactly in life inspires you besides music and why? A lot of things inspire me. I have a great group of friends who always keep providing me with energy to make more music and improve my sound. I’ve also got a loving family and girlfriend. I think it’s vital to have this positive vibe because it’s the easiest emotion to put in to music.
I’m constantly inspired by new artists or seeing friends from music do great things.
Which upcoming collaborations and releases would you like to tell us more about? I’m self-releasing an EP at the end of the year which will be all of my unreleased stuff and a few other unfinished projects. I don’t have any other releases lined up yet.
I am doing a few collaborations in the future; I’ve started things with Rekoil, Dayn, Sadhu, 12gauge and D-jahsta. I’m also doing a song with a friend of mine (shouts to Michael!) who makes all his music on a Gameboy! Retro rejects 2.0…
I am going to try to make some music with artists on Firepower too!
Any shoutouts to conclude the interview? I want to say respect to the people reading this and much love to FatKidOnFire for hosting this interview.
I also want to say thanks to Alex Rosson at Audeze for really supporting me and providing me with a great set up and being a dope friend. I want to thank Reid Speed and the team at Play Me for being one of the labels that really pushed me from the beginning and gave me my most successful release to date. Thanks to Datsik and the whole Firepower Team, it was great to be involved with people that really take care (and pay attention) to each member of the label. Thanks to my brothers at SkyHiKids for the constant support.
Dark Elixir – Exposed [FKOF Free Download]
Click to DOWNLOAD
The FKOF review:
“A jump up synth plays a significant role in the climax that’s induced as the introduction closes. The synth is matched by an intense low-pass filter tweaks the impact of the drums right before the first drop. The listener is forced to surrender immediately, with squeaky sweeps adding to the definitive peaks of the snare (an element that is layered with significant attention to detail). The thick weight in the sub-layer and the crisp mid-ranges fly towards the ears with a great sense of purpose, becoming a foundation for the energetic. A tune this large can easily inflict damage on the unprepared – watch you don’t become a victim of the true ‘Dark Elixir’ sound!”