Interview with: R!OT

by R!OT, HNTR and the Launchpad-Pro Community 2015/08/07
Interview with R!OT

HNTR — Hello Mike! It's a real pleasure to get you at Launchpad-Pro.com for our third interview! Thank you for your time and for answering questions. Here are the questions from our members.

R!OT — Hey Antoine; Thanks for having me after M4, and Novation! I hope everyone can benefit in some way from the questions being asked and my answers to them. If you guys still want to ask me a question after this is said and done feel free to reach out on Twitter!

ULT1MOD — Judging by your piano playing and production skills, you must've started at a very young age. Did you go to a music school or did you have someone to teach you?

R!OT — I've been playing piano since I was 4 (I'm 21 now) and had a piano teacher from 4 up until I was 18. I just went to regular (non music) schools though. I actually wasn't very good at piano until high school. I guess I attribute that to me never practicing;
I was discouraged early on due to my friends in elementary/middle school being legitimate prodigies. It wasn't until high school where I was the "best" pianist in school that I didn't feel intimidated and felt motivated to practice. After high school I went to college for film scoring to improve my orchestral chops and I just got my bachelors 3 months ago (May 2015). All my production/EDM/Launchpad knowledge though is the accumulation of hours of trial and error and YouTube tutorials.

ULT1MOD — Any collaborative work coming up with someone?

R!OT — Yes! I have another track with my girlfriend Bonnie that I'm SUPER excited to release. The first one I did with her was about a year ago when my grandfather died, it was called "In the Sky". This one is called "How I Feel" and is actually semi/partially about my grandfathers empty house being broken into/illegally lived in by meth dealers a couple months ago, but that's a story I'll tell you if we ever meet in person.........ha. I also have a couple other tracks with singers as well as a Virtual Reality Video game for the HTC Vive called "Hover Junkers" I'm writing the music for.

ULT1MOD — What is your producing process? Do you start with a drum loop or you get an idea for a melodical/harmonical movement and build around it etc.?

R!OT — As a pianist I ALWAYS start with melodic/harmonic content. I just think that way. I don't think like a drummer, and actually write pretty generic drum patterns. Here's a tip I learned from John Williams (Not personally, although I have met him, but from someone who studied with someone who studied with him). Write your melody BEFORE the harmony. The reason being is that if you write a chord progression, your melody is pretty limited to that chord progression. Whereas if you write the melody first, the chords underneath can function however you want them to. (ex. if your melody note is C, you can harmonize that with ALL SORTS of chords that function in different ways. A C Major chord would have the C function as the I, an a minor chord would have the c function as the iii, an Ab Major chord would have the C function as the III, a Bb Major chord would have it function as the 9, etc. There's so many more options harmonically when you do the melody first)

ULT1MOD — Opinions on the new LP's? Planning on getting one of them? (I see you're still rocking the OG Launchpad tongue)

R!OT — I actually am rockin the Launchpad S now! (Thanks to Nev) I would LOVE to get the new Launchpad if Novation would send me one *cough*

ULT1MOD — Any producing tips you could share?

R!OT — Do you even compress m8? Seriously though, you may have noticed my production has improved A LOT over the past year (it's still got a long way to go to compete with guys like Noisia). I attribute a lot of that to more over exaggerated compression. I was afraid to squash things too much, not wanting to contribute to the loudness war. But try and squash some things and then dial it back if necessary. (Producers from the 70s are rolling in their graves from that tip) Also stereo imaging goes a long way, make sure everything under 120hz is mono, easy way to do this is to use a mid side EQ to cut everything under 120hz from the side channels.

ULT1MOD — Keep up with your videos

R!OT — Thanks man!

ItZCrzY — When did you decide you wanted to become a producer?

R!OT — Well for most of my early life I wanted to direct movies, Steven Spielberg was my biggest idol. Then in high school I realized I wanted to write music for film/tv (orchestral film music though like my heroes John Williams and Joe Hisaishi). I started producing right before senior year due to my (now) embarrassing obsession with Basshunter (just because I was curious about how to make electronic music), but it wasn't until I heard Skrillex in 2010 that I thought: "I NEED to know how this guy did that". As I got better at producing over the past couple years in college that's when production actually started to become something I really...really wanted to do.

ItZCrzY — What equipment did you start out with?

R!OT — I started with a really slow laptop, shitty skullcandy headphones from target, and torrented software when I was 16. (This is what I started with, I wouldn't recommend skullcandy headphones to even my worst enemies)

ItZCrzY — What would you say inspires you?

R!OT — My experience with life. Every song, whether EDM, orchestral, improvised on the piano or otherwise has a story; Whether it's someone close to me passing away, like In the Sky, or something I thought would be slightly amusing (like the animals remix).

ItZCrzY — What is your creative process?

R!OT — I basically just sit at the piano and jam! Then produce a track around those ideas. I can commonly be found singing melodies at random times of the day, anywhere, and recording them as memos in my phone

ItZCrzY — When did you get a Launchpad?

R!OT — I got a launchpad after I saw Pop Culture by Madeon, but I literally didn't know what to do with it until I saw M4's Weapon and had another "I NEED to know how this guy did that" moment. Then I sat down and actually figured out how to use it

ItZCrzY — What advice would you give to aspiring new producers?

R!OT — Write/produce/compose EVERY day. Get feedback from people on your level, as well as people a little above your level. Get good monitors and acoustic foam for your room (trust me, you won't get better if you're listening on a bad system). Push past what you think is possible of yourself. Never give up. INVEST IN YOURSELF: If you have to bite the bullet and get something expensive like a gopro to record your launchpad performances, or expensive monitors do it. JUST DO IT (lel). Think about it, if I never had bought a launchpad for $150 back in like 2011 I never would have done any of my videos, had the opportunities I've had, and made the friends I've made. I don't have a lot of money, maybe you don't either. But save up, if you're old enough get a job, and choose wisely what you spend your money on. Sometimes in life you have to make decisions about what is really important to you.

ItZCrzY — Stay awesome, R!OT

R!OT — You too ItZCrzY

jbtiestofan1 — What is your favorite genre to do with your launchpad ?

R!OT — Electro house for sure! 4 on the floor is super fun for launchpad performances IMO

koalaleader — Do you plan on getting a Launchpad Pro and/or an MKII?(Well that's pretty obvious but still...)

R!OT — If Novation sends me one I'll be extremely grateful! Right now I'm happy with the Launchpad S and need to invest my money elsewhere

koalaleader — Do you plan on doing concerts? And if so, any near the San Diego area of California?

R!OT — Definitely! I played a concert at Los Globos in Hollywood, was a blast! Had my Keytar as well as duel launchpads. I need a booking agent though for future shows... I'd love to play in SD, I live in LA and actually just got back from SD tonight. Me and Shawn Wasabi went to see M4 play Warped Tour

koalaleader — When you first started producing/writing music, who was your idol?

R!OT — My biggest idols in general are John Williams, Joe Hisaishi, Skrillex, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Liszt, Steven Spielberg, and Elon Musk. Biggest production Idols would be Rob Swire and Noisia

koalaleader — Do you plan on doing any videos with a Midi Fighter or Game controllers?

R!OT — Maybe not a midi fighter or Game controllers but I have a Makey Makey sitting in my room for an upcoming video.

koalaleader — What do you think of Shawn Wasabi?

R!OT — I absolutely love Shawn, he's an amazing person, friend, and musician. He seems super quirky, but when you sit down and have a heart to heart with him, he's the real deal. I also love Wasabi, it provides the perfect amount of zest to any sushi dish!

phATty — Hello R!OT! I love your videos.
What analog setup do you have? (if you use any synths that is)

R!OT — Hey phATty! Thanks man.
I don't use any analog synths, I have a Roland FP7 as my main composition keyboard though! Also obviously the launchpads and keytar. Everything else are soft synths.

phATty — What other interests do you have?

R!OT — Other than music I like making films, hanging out with friends, fishing, swimming and eating (but not within 30 minutes of each other). I would consider myself a connoisseur of sushi! I'm also really good at chess. I mainly do music though, sorry if that makes me boring....

phATty — Do you have a special relationship with Novation?

R!OT — They know who I am, that's about it. Never sent me any gear, and they don't follow me on twitter either! Novation if you're reading this we should get sushi sometime!

phATty — Why did you choose the Launchpad as a midi controller?

R!OT — Probably because of Madeon and M4's videos. But as I got better at it I realized how much more functional it is than other pad controllers.

phATty — Have you done anything in Australia? (You should come over to tasmania :)

R!OT — I really want to go to Australia; I've never been. I'm scared something will kill me there once I go though. You guys have scary animals!

phATty — What's your favourite food?

R!OT — Sushi! :

rater178 — Why do so many "launchpadders" use third person to talk, not that anything is bad with it, its kinda too common now, but what's your opinion?

R!OT — TBH I just did that 3rd person joke as an "homage" to Madeon, since that's what his YouTube about section says. I find it awkward to have to brag about myself, while pretending I didn't write it (3rd person). Technically though your bio section shouldn't be in 1st person. Go look at all your favorite artists Wikipedia/facebook pages. Skrillex's wiki doesn't say "Hey I'm Sonny and I've done this". It says "Skrillex is a blah blah". Skrillex may have actually written that article though (not saying he did but it's possible)

Siinon — Will you be getting the Launchpad Pro/MKII?

R!OT — Again I need to spend my money elsewhere right now. I love all the new features! Unfortunately investments must be made elsewhere for me at the moment

Siinon — Are you planing any projects with anyone else?

R!OT — I'm trying to do this live EDM band thing with my buddies Jonathan and Hal, if it works out stay tuned for that haha

Siinon — Do you plan doing anything else besides launchpad?

R!OT — Yeah I play piano and also utilize the keytar for videos! If you mean just pad controllers no, probably wont get a push or anything like that.

Siinon — What camera/tripod do you record with?

R!OT — Lately I've been recording with a GoPro Hero 4 Black, although all my older videos were recorded with a Canon t3i with the stock lens. Generic tripod as well.

Siinon — What do you use to make your samples?

R!OT — Record my own or get them online from libraries/packs, or synthesize them with various software synthesizers. Sometimes I'll sample people at restaurants that are really loud and obnoxious and make it so quiet you can barely hear it (it subtly adds to the track).

Siinon — Have you watched any anime?. (if not what would be your favourite cartoon)

R!OT — Love a good anime! Favorites are Death Note, Full Metal Alchemist, and Attack on Titan (so far). Bonnie and I just finished this one called "K", I thought it was pretty good! <3

NoahDoesLP — Can we have the Damn Son project file? (I've noticed in the comments of that video you gave the project file to someone)

R!OT — Hey Noah!
You can download the project file for the remix, but the original project file is lost in hard drive oblivion... (HERE'S ANOTHER TIP YOU GUYS BACK UP EVERYTHING).

NoahDoesLP — Have any tips for Ableton?

R!OT — I know FL Studio way better than Ableton, but if you don't already know about Ableton's "Scene" feature it's really awesome for doing live sets utilizing session mode with different songs at different bpms!

NoahDoesLP — Did you know my favorite song is Beat the Sunset right now?

R!OT — Do you know you're awesome <3

NoahDoesLP — What plugins do you use?

R!OT — Massive, Harmor, Ozone 5, Kontakt 5 are my main ones but there's a ton. If you want the last list of plugins you'll ever need check out Rob Swire's list of plugins he uses, then buy (or torrent) all of them

NoahDoesLP — Did Martin Garrix see your drop edit (it was hilarious)?

R!OT — I'm pretty sure he did (don't know for sure though). The thing has 7 million views and it got tweeted to him so many times. Not to mention his record label claimed/monetized it from the beginning, so he's probably made like $7,000 off it. If I ever meet Martin I'll tell him he owes me dinner!

NoahDoesLP — When you were filming Only Mortal, did alot of people ask what you were doing (people only see a guy with a camera strapped to his head, with a keytar, and a launchpad, and a table, and a really cool looking laptop, near an edge of a mountain)?

R!OT — Oh my god yes. A bunch of tourists...."What are you filming??" "Is that a piano or a guitar??". It's right under the Hollywood sign so maybe they thought I was Andy Samberg or something...

NoahDoesLP — Next time you make a video (like Beat the Sunset and Only Mortal), can you upload bloopers, fails, and perhaps talk about

R!OT — Perhaps!

NoahDoesLP — How you got inspired to make the video?

R!OT — Perhaps!

NoahDoesLP — What tips do you have for playing piano?

R!OT — Get a good teacher and practice a lot! I teach piano but there's not really any tips I can give you without being there in person.

NoahDoesLP — Are you expecting so many people to ask so many questions?

R!OT — Perhaps?

NoahDoesLP — Did you know I asked HNTR in a private message to ask you if we can interview you?

R!OT — I do now!

NoahDoesLP — How often do you visit the forums?

R!OT — I haven't visited in a while but I need to start being active!

NoahDoesLP — What's your favorite game?

R!OT — Kingdom Hearts

NoahDoesLP — What do you think of the new Launchpad and Launchpad Pro (NOT THE WEBSITE)?

R!OT — Can you say Velocity sensitivity and RGB LEDS?

NoahDoesLP — What's you favorite genre of music (Mine are EDM, Future House, Dubstep, Classical)?

R!OT — I honestly like anything that's good (as generic of an answer as that is). Although my favorites are EDM, Rock, Jazz, Orchestral music from the 19th century, Film Music.

NoahDoesLP — Can you do a collab with SoNevable, Shawn Wasabi, or M4SONIC (or just do it with all three, highly recommended)?

R!OT — Perhaps

NoahDoesLP — How does it feel to have so many fans?

R!OT — I appreciate EVERY single one of them! And it feels fantastic to know a lot of people support me and hopefully like my music (and not my dank memes)

NoahDoesLP — Are you friends with Novation?

R!OT — DAMMIT NOAH I ANSWERED THIS ALREADY (I hope this is Noah Myers otherwise I'm going to feel really bad about this answer)

NoahDoesLP — How do you feel about Nev, M4SONIC, and Shawn?

R!OT — Already said how I feel about Shawn (he's the man), Nev is truly a class act. He's insanely smart, as well as super generous, he gave me two launchpad S's and let me borrow his drone to film <3. M4 is super funny, and a really nice guy. He treats his fans like his friends and is as talented as they come. Super honored to call the three of these guys friends.

NoahDoesLP — Have you consider livestreaming and talking to fans?

R!OT — Have you been hacking my private facebook messages with Xilent?

NoahDoesLP — What DAWs do you use (besides Ableton)?

R!OT — FL Studio, and I just bought Cubase 8 for film scoring because FL is retarded for film scoring.

NoahDoesLP — Is there any questions that you would like to ask us?

R!OT — Can everyone google search 'Is R!OT the Lock Ness monster?". If enough people do it it'll come up in the recommended results. That'll be pretty sick.

NoahDoesLP — Are you going to use Windows 10?
lol I think I asked way too many questions
sorry I'm just a big fan of your work

R!OT — I'm gonna wait till they fix all the bugs haha, happy where I am with Windows 7/8
No worries dude :

TheDubstepGamer — What are your tips for aspring EDM producers?

R!OT — Check out my answer to number 6 for ItZCrzY smile If I had to add to that I'd say while you should A/B your mixdowns with the pros, don't let it discourage you. With regard to your progress, only compare yourself to yourself from yesterday.

VoltoPhoenix — Do you have a midi fighter?

R!OT — I wish! The buttons feel awesome and are super cool. Only downsides are the space in between the buttons makes it a lot easier to miss haha also fewer side buttons which means less functionality.

B4ndikit — How did you learn to do one thing with one hand and another with the other such as drums on left hand and a melody on the other?

R!OT — 17 years of playing piano! If you're having trouble, practice one hand at a time SLOWLY then put them together SLOWLY then SLOWLY speed up :

B4ndikit — Are you going to be purchasing a launchpad pro?

R!OT — I need to invest my money elsewhere right now, I'm currently working on something very huge/expensive for R!OT, if Novation would send me one though that would be amazing. *cough*

B4ndikit — Do you like peanut butter?

R!OT — I'm more of a jelly guy tbh

Yak — What are your opinions on Launchpad covers of songs?

R!OT — Well there's Glenn Gould, and then there's Bach. Glenn Gould was the world's authority on performing pieces by Bach, he didn't compose his own material. Bach is of course Bach. Both musicians are fantastic and super talented, but Bach is known the world over whereas Glenn Gould is really only known by the Pianist community. To each his own though, my honest opinion is do you!

Yak — Do you ever perform live with the Launchpad?

R!OT — All the time!

Yak — What are your tips for producing original tracks on the Launchpad?

R!OT — Well I produce in FL without a launchpad and export stems into ableton and map them.

Yak — How much of your musical career is influenced by the launchpad?

R!OT — The EDM side of my career is probably 50% influenced by the launchpad. Meaning it doesn't really influence my compositions but it completely influences my performances.

Yak — Would you ever consider doing collaborations?

R!OT — Yea I have a few collaborations with singers already released, and some more coming out. I would love to collab with a couple people in particular!

Ev3Rest — How did you start all this stuff? I mean how did you join music world?

R!OT — It all started with my love for the Red Hot Chili Peppers and John Williams. I had been playing piano since I was 4, but these guys really got me into music.

Ev3Rest — When you knew you want to produce music and what made you produce music?

R!OT — I realized I wanted to produce music about a year after I started. What made me produce music is just my love for being able to utilize literally any sound in the universe, and turn it into music, as well as being able to make any style of music at a professional level!

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