As well as everything else that makes it good, electronic music just sounds so fucking cool doesn’t it? Don’t you listen to it and think “shit, this sounds so futuristic and awesome!?” I do. You know when you’re a kid and you have all these mad ideas about what the world will be like by the time you’re 30? Well when I was a kid I imagined that people would zip around on hoverboards and listen to some sort of odd hybrid between rock/glitchy electronics/deep bass-lines and futuristic space-synth badassary. True story. Because I’m an IDIOT, I didn’t do anything about my seemingly prophetic knowledge of which music scene was going to blow up post 2010 – and now that Skrillex, Modestep, Tek-One, Knife Party, The Bloody Beetroots and the like are taking over the world – I’m just writing about them, thinking “If only I had a borderline obsession with synths, LFOs, EQs, filters and the perfect wub – and had stopped fucking messing around being in metal bands.” I don’t and didn’t, unfortunately – but one man that does and did is a chap called Rob from Scotland who writes, produces and DJs under the name FONIK.
Fonik’s crystal clear production, inventive tunes and melodic aggression are quickly firing him onto the world stage – so I figured I’d have a chat to him now, before he turned into a wanker. I jest, of course, and actually, I’ll let you into a little secret – if you didn’t know already… almost every successful electronic music producer you’ll ever meet, will be two things:
1) Lovely. 2) Massive geek.
Even if they do look like the coolest people on Earth, know this, the nerd is strong within them… with this is mind, I thought rather than just emailing Rob Fonik, or getting him on Twitter @RobFonik, I’d try and reach out to him in the most “on a level way” possible. So, I booked a ticket to a Buffy The Vampire convention, ogled a picture of Anyanka and went to the biggest comic book store I could find in Scotland. As I trawled the aisles, contemplating whether or not I’d get beaten up if I suddenly shouted “I PREFER THE WATCHMEN MOVIE TO THE GRAPHIC NOVEL” – I couldn’t help but notice a chap slumped over in the corner, he was drawing pictures of waveforms on the wall, agonising to himself in his own private hell about whether he’d applied too much gain and not enough high-pass filter to the last mixdown of his latest tune…
“ROB FONIK!” I shouted. He looked up, scared, confused, I showed him my Buffy The Vampire Slayer convention ticket and he nodded, smiling as if to say: “one of us.”
ROB, How are you my man!?
Yo dude! I’m alright… I’ve just heard this new tune so many times over and over again and I can’t figure out why this vocal part ain’t fitting in the mix right. I thought drawing the session out on the wall might help me figure it out!
Am I right, are you a wonderful geek? Of course don’t take my geek-fun-poking seriously, I embrace the geek – I am a radio/audio geek through and through!
Haha!! Well I’m not exactly the guy with half-cast trousers amongst the crowd at the Harry Potter premiere, but having written music and performed in bands for over 10 years now, I’d like to say I’m a music geek at heart. I guess you can say the same about anyone who’s dedicated to what they do though – it doesn’t take an A+ student to be good at something, it’s just practice and experience, and anyone can achieve anything if they just dedicate themselves to it!
What is the coolest most futuristic invention you can think of? If Fonik were to release a line of cool technological shit – what would that dream product be?
I think everything I could possibly imagine off the top of my head has already been done… I remember imagining how cool it would be to have a piece of software that could replicate the exact sound of a real live drum performance using pre-recorded samples, and then Toontrack made Superior Drummer, and it was exactly that! I just love how quickly technology is progressing. It’s just insane to think that only 15 years ago the cool thing to have as a musician/producer was an 8-track recorder, where you were so limited to what you could do, recording all the drums on to one track in one full take, along with everything else and now for a small price you can have a powerful DAW on your laptop, running 100+ tracks simultaneously, with practically no limits to what you can do! It’s crazy really. You can ‘see’ the audio. That was one thing that took me ages to get over. Far too cool!
Can you teach us how to create the ultimate bass wobble in 3 sentences?
I use Pro Tools. It’s definitely one of the least commonly used DAWs for electornic production, but it’s the best in my opinion. But, it’s not what you use, it’s how you use it. As any producer will tell you, getting yourself a few Native Instruments plug-ins is the greatest way to get going with it. I started using NI Massive and FM8 on my first productions, and I still use it to this day. You can literally do anything you want with it.
Who in your mind is the greatest electronic producer of all time?
Haha! Well it’s very hard to answer that. I guess with regards to consistency, I’d have to say Zomboy. He’s always been my biggest inspiration, and I’ve watched him grow from a few hundred followers on his online platforms, to having tens of thousands within a few months of releasing his debut EP. Kill The Noise is another big favorite of mine. Mainly because again, you just know that when he’s about to release a track, it’s going to be an absolute belter. But the biggest producing geeks out there in my opinion would have to be Infected Mushroom. They just have that sound which is so incredibly different to anyone else. Every time I hear one of their songs it reminds me of one of the best summers of my life. I have been listening to them for years now, and every album they put out is just golden.
What about the up-and-comers? Give us five producers/artists/bands (whatever) that you LOVE.
Wow, that’s like asking your girlfriend what her favorite dress is, she’s never going to decide! But to nail it down to five, I’d have to recommend my boy Tisoki from Edinburgh . He hit me up about a year ago with some of his first productions which I was impressed by, but then he showed me some more stuff a few months later and it was just banger after banger… so good to see someone progress so quickly. He’s going places for sure!
Following Tisoki I’d have to say Teklo. THE most metal electronic producer I’ve ever met in person. His tunes are always hard-hitting and enjoyable to listen to, and he’s got the same mentality as me when it comes to music. We can sit and chat for hours about music which means a lot to me.
Another dude is Navene K, who I met during my travels in America through March and April this year. He has this sick Reso/Koan Sound vibe going on which I just love. Really out there, totally different sound to everyone else. He used to play drums in Animals As Leaders (he’ll shoot me for saying that!) who were one of my favorite bands during the pinnacle of my metal days, so that too got me interested. I’m looking to collaborate with him on a track within the next few weeks so keep a look out for it!
Next would have to be Trampa. This dude brings the fucking heat, man! First time hearing him was in a mixtape I stumbled across on another producer’s page… I had never heard such a hard hitting metal-sounding dubstep face melter in my life. Since then, I’ve been rinsing the best of him in my sets – people go fucking crazy for it.
Aaaaaand finally, xKore. This dude must live on another planet or something, absolute fire. I left him last because he’s not exactly what I’d call ‘up-and-coming’, he’s kinda setting into the more-established category. And I say this based on his production – it sounds so polished and, well, ‘established’ if that makes sense. But the crazy thing is that he hasn’t even been doing it that long. I’m sure anyone else who likes him will say the same, its just so powerful and everything fits so well in his music. He just worked and worked on it until he hit a point where he knew that that’s how it should sound, and hasn’t changed since. Another one of those dudes who just guarantees a banger upon every release!