Interview by Maya-Rose Torrao
Mysterious producer FiASKO is a whirlwind of neon colours, anime faces and deep bassy drops. The rising star producer already has garnered an impressive following online and shows no signs of stopping or slowing down. FiASKO has already had his tracks, which incorporate a flawless blend of house, bass and electro, featured on a plethora of tastemaker channels, including but not limited to Kyra, Panther’s Groove, Nectar Collective, Break & Enter Society, The Boat House, Sunshine Collective, Maverick’s Playlist and Alcatrap Records.
FiASKO has presented us with an exclusive track as a premiere, ‘Engine’, that’s filled with glitchy melodies and crisp electro house beats, in collaboration with groovy dance music producer Tadros. ‘Engine’ is available for free download.
Listen to FiASKO’s brand new track, in collaboration with Tadros, ‘Engine’, below.
We caught up with FiASKO and got to know the brains behind the beats.
Set the tone for us. Why the arts?
I’ve always been heavily influenced visually. Cartoons, Anime, Action movies and Super Hero movies have always been a huge part of my life. I’m a huge nerd and fanboy like crazy over my favorite franchises. When I make music, all of my noises and melodies have a visual quality to them that I can see in my head. It’s hard to explain but it probably has a lot to do with my synesthesia. But when it came to creating a visual representation of my music it was only natural that I created a cartoon character of my own to represent my sound. I actually have been working on some animations for upcoming releases featuring my little FiASKO bear, “Kooma“, moving to the beat of my music accompanied by a lot of moving shapes, anime references, colors and lights. I think it’s going to be really cool to show everyone those pieces. But all in all, I’m happy that I was able to hone in on a specific brand and look for FiASKO that revolves around everything I love. Art, anime, cartoons, neon colors on black backgrounds. (Also I like that my little Kooma face is cute as hell yet my music is usually grimey and heavy haha).
Which comes first when you’re producing – the sound or the idea?
It could go either way, to be honest. Sometimes I have a random idea in my head and I sing what I think the sound design should sound like into my phone and record it and then later when I’m in front of my laptop I play the recording so I can remember the idea and then do my best to bring that idea to life. Yet sometimes I sit in front of my laptop… Just kind of mess around with a specific vibe I’ve been wanting to attempt, and then I kinda let the song create itself. In THOSE instances it’s almost like I’m just facilitating the creation of the song, as opposed to micromanaging every little direction it COULD go. Sometimes, the song knows what it wants to be and you just have to trust your sound.
The track that you’ve shared as a premiere with The Playground is a collaboration with artist Tadros – tell us a bit more about your connection and how this collaboration came about.
So the way Tadros and I met is always a fun story. I went to Insomniac‘s Countdown event a few years ago with my gf at the time. She wanted to meet up with her friend and her friend’s bf, who happened to be Tadros. We all meet up, I introduce myself to both of them and then return my attention to the stage. (Porter Robinson was throwing a classic dj set in the middle of his ‘Worlds’ era). The next thing I know, Porter drops MUST DIE! – ‘Hellcat (Habstrakt Remix)’ which was and still is one of my all time favorite songs and right as it’s about to drop, Tadros and I make eye contact and both recognize the excitement in each other’s faces. We rage out to that drop and then afterwards I ask him if he knows that song. He replies with, “Are you kidding? of course, that’s the Habstrakt remix of Hellcat. I love that tune.” From that moment forward it was clear we immediately had so much to talk about cuz we were both audiophiles and music nerds who knew like 90% of the songs we heard at festivals. Then a few years later he started showing an interest in making music and I was more than happy to teach him whatever Ii could and the more he improved, the closer we got to making a tune together. so it was only a matter of time before a track like ‘Engine’ was created.
What’s on your current playlist?
If we’re talkin’ for shows, I can tell you right now some of my guaranteed tracks I drop are Jade Blue – ‘How To See’, Wolfgang Gartner – ‘Latin Fever’, Hasse De Moor – ‘Milkshake’, and Eptic & Habstrakt – ‘Lazor 3000’, (among others). But if we’re talkin’ about personal playlist for easy listening… Polyphia. They are literal perfect musicians and before them I’ve never heard progressive metal quite like that before. Their ability to create a musical adventure in each song out of 4 instruments is admirable. There’s another song I heard recently by Unknown Mortal Orchestra called ‘Hunnybee’ and I swear to god this song sounds like if the season of Summer could make music. Such chill upbeat jazzy vibes with these gliding vocals that compliment everything so perfectly. That song just sounds like happiness. And funny enough, one more song I wanna mention is also called ‘Honeybee’ by Steam Powered Giraffe. Imagine a barbershop quartet except there’s only 3 of them and they’re all robots. And if that was awesome enough, the song is one of those tunes that upon listening to it for the first time I already KNEW it would be a song I would return to for years to come.
Tell us about the chemistry you have with your fans on stage.
Funny thing is, my chemistry with my fans during shows is more based on the music itself and less about me or them. When I play shows, my favorite thing about the whole experience is the fact that I’m curating a vibe and atmosphere for my audience to exist in and really feel. I want to get lost in the vibe WITH them and vice versa as opposed to putting both hands up in the air and pretending I’m god for an hour, lol.
What techniques do you experiment with to get your original sound?
Lately (and I’m really excited about this) I’ve been vocoding my own voice imitating dubstep noises into original serum patches that I’ve been tweaking for years. The result is this odd hybrid between organic movement and synthetic textures. I haven’t put any of these tunes out yet… but I always play them at shows and they’ve been getting incredible reception on the dance floor.
Take us through a day in the studio with FiASKO.
Hours and hours of nonstop music production, lmao. When I’ve had the time, I’ve found myself locked in front of my laptop for 9 hours straight, starting and finishing a track in one sitting. Those sessions are my absolute favorites. Seeing an entire idea flourish and grow in front of me from conception to completion in one sitting is a feeling I can’t even really explain. But I love it.
Was there a specific moment in your life where you thought, “this is what I want to do”?
When my oldest brother took me to my first rave in 2010, Beyond Wonderland, I remember I went through most of the event never looking at the stage, cuz it didn’t even really occur to me that there was a DJ up there playing music. But I did manage to look at the stage during one set. It was Sander Kleinenberg and the sight of him on stage was a moment for me cuz I had never seen that before. One man, one stage, just controlling the whole vibe of a crowd through music he made or music he loved. After that moment it was a slow but inevitable descent into an obsession about dance music, then DJing dance music, then making dance music and then actually contemplating a life of dance music.
What do you keep close by while you’re playing a set?
my vape in my hand and my new FiASKO ninja mask on my face. And depending on the size of the event, sometimes my 2 brothers will be up there with me, having them nearby enjoying my set is always comforting. ●ᴥ●
Any emerging/unknown/upcoming artists on your radar that the world should know about?
Omg yes. Of course I gotta mention Tadros. His music is still in its early stages but in the amount of time he’s been making music, his music is already at a place where I would play his stuff out at shows. He has a new track he just finished called ‘Tiki’ and when it comes out it’ll be the perfect representation of his skill. It’s dope af. My boy TheBiocide was one of my biggest inspirations when I first got into sound design and now he’s a very close friend. He used to release on newgrounds.com when I first heard him and then I found him later on Soundcloud. He’s mostly dubstep and other brands of bass music but he dabbles in electro house sometimes and his sound design is unreal. Another artist to mention is my new friend Ekonovah, he makes house music that has a very balanced mixture of groovy vibes and dirty grit. And he’s of the few artists today who has managed to create a noise that I’ve never heard before and make it a staple in his sound. Zendlo and OMNOM are killing the tech house/booty house game. Blaqout from Buygore is a good good homie of mine and he’s making his way up the riddim food chain. And last but not least, Fish Scale, this kid is going to be a bass house god, watch.
If you could collaborate with any artist, living or not, who would you choose and why?
Feed Me and Kill The Noise, it could be individually or together tbh. They both have such specific rhythmic behaviors to their music that resonate with me so deeply and Feed Me makes some of the coolest melodies I’ve ever heard. and of course do I even need to mention their sound design abilities? C’mon breh.
What gets your creative juices flowing? What puts you in the mood to make music?
Tbh, I’m always in the mood to make music. At any given moment throughout the day there’s a 90% chance there’s music in my head. Either a song I like, a song I made, or a song that doesn’t exist yet. But I will say I get especially inspired to make music after going to festivals. Spending hours and hours listening to talented artist after talented artist is so perfect for filling your head with ideas and inspiration. UwU
Let’s get technical for a moment – Take us through your collection of gear, tech or software that
accompanies your creative expression.
First off, I’m an FL Studio head for life. There’s such beauty in how fast I can transfer an idea from my head onto FL. Like… gimme 15 minutes and you’ll hear a general idea of how I want the whole track to sound. for VST’s I use Sylenth, Nexus and Massive but Serum is bae. I love that bad boy to death. And tbh I’ve been neglecting the others because Serum is just such a useful VST and im having too much fun with it. xD
Any side projects you’re working on that you can tell us about?
I actually have 3 side projects but I can only tell you about one. It’s called SVNDWN (pronounced “sun down“) and its a vibey, futurebass, trapstep hybrid duo made up of Tadros and I. We have 4 tracks completed right now and we’re just trying to figure out how we want to get them out there.
Breakdown the news for us: what can we expect from FiASKO in 2019?
A metric fuck ton of new tunes (I have SO many unreleased songs to get out there), hopefully more shows, and animated music videos to accompany my releases. ●ᴥ● Stay tuned for the next episode of FiASKO ~
Famous last words?
“Come for the drops. Stay for the groove.”