It’s becoming more and more common that producers are being discovered not so much through their releases as their live videos on YouTube. M4SONIC is one such bedroom producer whose videos of him jamming on a Novation Launchpad were seen by the right eyes, and as a result, he landed a remix for synth-poppers Empire of the Sun. For not having any released music or live shows under his belt, his Facebook has tens of thousands of fans and tens of millions of YouTube views—all driven by his unique, labor-intensive approach to using the Novation Launchpad. With his new remix of Empire of the Sun’s “Alive” just out, M4SONIC recently took a minute to tell us about how his rising star was set in motion.
You were discovered through YouTube. Can you tell us how that all unfolded?
Yes. After uploading my first Launchpad video to YouTube, I sent an email to Novation with the video’s URL. I’m super-lucky that they saw the email, because they happened to love it and they posted it to all their social networks. The team at Novation supports artists both underground and professional who use their products. I’m fortunate that the right people saw my video; it kind of just snowballed from there.
Does being a classically trained pianist help you connect better to your instrument of choice, the Novation Launchpad?
Definitely. Playing the piano has given me the dexterity to play the Launchpads as I do, but my play style now is something unique to the Launchpads. My left hand plays a drum kit and my right just goes crazy playing melodic samples. I actually originally played this way on an old keyboard that had the ability to split the octaves up into separate instruments. I’d play chords with my right hand and play a drum kit with my left. I guess I’ve always enjoyed controlling everything rather than playing to loops.
What is it about the Launchpad that works for you? Do you have any plans of playing live or DJing?
The Launchpad’s size and configuration is perfect for what I use them for. In saying that, you only get out of them what you put in. You can’t just sit down and play—you have to set everything up, which gives you endless possibilities to what you use the pads for. I do plan to play live, but all I can say at this stage is that the live show is being built. People can expect a live audiovisual performance and hopefully, if everything goes to plan, they will be able to see exactly what I’m doing on the Launchpads during the show. I’m really excited about playing live and looking to debut the show before the end of 2013.
The Australian electronic music scene has been bubbling up in recent years. Were there any local influences in particular that inspired you?
I remember listening to Empire of the Sun as a teenager, so it’s a huge honor to have my first ever official remix to be for a double-platinum band that has put Australia on the map for electronic music. More recently I have been influenced by the likes of Tommy Trash, Feenixpawl, the Stafford Brothers, and Flume. They are doing huge things overseas and are proudly representing the Aussies. As a vocalist, Sia Furler is phenomenal! Sia is also from my hometown of Adelaide and has really helped make big things happen for me since reaching out to me on Twitter earlier in the year.
Any insight for upcoming producers?
Play to your strengths and work really, really, stupidly hard. I had blisters on my fingers from rehearsing sequences on the Launchpads over and over. I never expected anyone to take interest in my videos, but I enjoyed the challenge of creating them and I was determined to create a product that I was proud of. It’s never been about anything other than the music. So my advice is to just stay true to your music and enjoy every minute of producing it.
Photo via electronicdancemusic.com