Valac x FatKidOnFire - [Artist Highlight]

Valac x FatKidOnFire

[Artist Highlight]

Last week, the 67,000 registered members of the Dubstepforum voted FKOF as ‘Best Website’ in the 2014 Dubstepforum Awards – the second year running we’ve won what I consider to be one of the most prestigious awards in our sound.

To thank the DSF community who nominated and subsequently voted for us, and everyone else for their resounding support over the past few months, we put together a little present to celebrate.

It’s rare that everyone in the FKOF gang gets really excited when we discover new producers, but we were recently pointed in the direction of Denver-based production duo VALAC and that’s exactly what happened. Olaf and I recently caught up with Luke and Matt to find out more about the duo and have put together a four track FKOF EP to champion the VALAC sound.

Look out for VALAC this year, they may be relatively unknown at the moment but they won’t stay that way for long…

Hi VALAC, how are you guys? M+L: We are doing great! Thanks again for the promo and for this opportunity. We are really glad to be giving our music away with you guys!

So are we! If you can remember, when was your first encounter with electronic music? How would you say it’s impacted your life? M: In 7th grade, a buddy of mine took me over to his older brother’s house – who was listening to Aphex Twin – it completely floored me that music could sound like that… Ever since then the passion hasn’t ceased. A lot of that love also comes my background in hip-hop. I’ve been listening to hip-hop instrumentals since a young age, and I feel that has really shaped the way I produce and compose music.

L: I actually heard a lot of really bad American trance and techno before I heard anything I liked. Later, I was turned on to DnB artists like Ed Solo, Noisia, etc. However, the first encounter I had with dark minimal dubstep was hearing a Plastician/Distance show in Denver a few years back. It definitely changed how I looked at the genre and is kind of what inspired me to go the direction we did. 

How would you describe your signature sound? We really try to go for a deeper, more percussion oriented sound when it comes to our music.  Atmosphere is a huge part of the sound for us. We both come from different musical backgrounds, but one thing that we really agree on is the dark sound. Actually, a major inspiration for much of our work are classic horror film soundtracks.

The eerie vibes of low pads, and hits detuned and saturated with reverb, really gives off a feeling of tension. We both feel that there is a lack of that on the dancefloor nowadays. We want to show people that the dark sound can be just as good to get down too.

What’s your production set up like? What’s you favourite piece of gear in the production chain? EMU Midi controller and M-Audio AV40 monitors, hooked up to an old ass surround sound sub. We’ve also got a piano, drum kit, LOADS of percussion, guitar flutes, the list goes on. I think we can both agree that our favorite piece of equipment is the sound system.

But hands down the best part of the studio is all of our software.

How do your productions happen? Is there a specific workflow you apply when you build a beat? We try to keep a steady flow of new tunes started, but we really only finish about 1 out of every 5 songs we start. We also try to keep a diverse set of tracks that we are working on – anything from jungle to deep house to dub and so on. We feel it really keeps the sound fresh and new. Normally we start by making some mids and percussion lines, and hear how it goes from there. Inspiration can strike at any time, and we try to keep that relevant in our music.

What is your favourite synthesiser, and why would you recommend it? Albino 3 is still a huge one for us, and it’s not even available anymore. It is just so versatile, and super user-friendly. Four oscillators really make for a lot of capability, along with the endless amount of re-routable effects channels – it makes for ample movement.

Predator is also up there.  Pretty much anything by Rob Papen is gold. Colossus is another one that we use quite frequently for astral backgrounds and acoustic sounds.

Hedd Sound

What are your goals for the future? And if there’s one artist you could perform with, who would it be? As far as goals go, we both are just looking to keep putting out music which we are proud of and enjoy playing. 

Another big goal of ours is to put out some tunes on vinyl eventually, and maybe some nice studio equipment wouldn’t hurt.

As far as an artist we want to perform with, we both agree that Sleeper is the one. The guy’s music and style is a huge influence on what we do and it would be an honor to perform on the same bill as him. Another would for sure be Distance; he continually impresses us beyond belief!

Of the venues you’ve played out at, have you got a favourite? Likewise for the systems you’ve played on? Hands down, has to be Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom. We consider that our second home. Sub.Mission host the majority of their shows there and it has such an intimate vibe, and the names that have come through the place are huge.

As far as sound systems, Hedd Sound is where it’s at for us – created by the master Noah Groundscore.

What’s your one production tip for the bedroom producers out there? Make music that you like. Many people out there try and make what is big in the clubs right now, and that tends to lead to a bunch of repetitive tunes. Originality is rare these days, and is a feature that some good producers lack.

Keep in mind whenever writing music – quality over quantity. There is nothing worse than putting out a grip of sub-par tunes, as opposed to a few really good ones.

How would you describe the FKOF EP you lot have written? Deep, bass-driven, tribal, and dark. We tried to put a diverse set of tunes on this one. Much of the influence came from tribal percussion and ethnic music. We are both very fond of Arabic scales on flutes and strings, and I think that comes out in this EP.

Have you got any producers you reckon are worth watching this year? Warsa, Feonix, and Verode are doing big things right now. Verode is a local and friend of ours; we agree that he is the one of the better locals in Colorado and is someone to definitely keep your eye on. Warsa and Feonix have such flawless productions and tunes that are also consistently good. 

Do you have any final words or shouts to finish with? Big ups to Sub.Mission Dubstep, Vulcan Audio, and all the people making this possible [each and every – FKOF]. To all the friends and family we’ve got in Colorado and all over the globe, we love you all. 

Grab the WAV/ 320 downloads, and check each of the individual reviews, in the VALAC set on the FKOF SoundCloud
Thanks to our main man Warsa for pointing us in VALAC’s direction. One love! 


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