Has music production always been something you wanted to do?
Not at all. Growing up I always dreamed of being a pilot, which is probably where the “Fly” comes from in my name, but music has always been a thing for me since I was young. I was part of a rap group way back in primary school. We mostly just performed songs from BukBak and VIP at the time and we had kids from other classes run to our class especially on Fridays to see us perform LOL.
So what inspired you to get into production?
The more music I listened to, the more I felt my focus shift from paying attention to the lyrics of the song to the instrumentation. I really loved the sound of Hammer’s beats! Also loved Richie during his Give Me Blow time and JaySo for the Push, Borga Borga and Lay Away times. Those beats really knocked! I remember whenever my parent were out of the house I used to crank up the music really loud, stand in the corner of the room and just smile as the entire room shook. I broke my dad’s wall clock one time as a result. 😬
In high school I met a rapper who introduced me to a producer then called “Paow Beats”. I saw him use FL Studio, got the software from him and started experimenting.
Did you get help from any already established beat makers?
When I first got the software, I mostly taught myself by just clicking random stuff to see what happens. A couple months later I met a producer called Alberto and I would sit in his studio and just watch him make beats. I also sat in sessions with producers like Magnom, JaySo, Peewee, and Senyo Cue. I learnt quite a lot just by doing that.
What were some of the challenges you faced starting out?
In the beginning my folks were not very thrilled about my musical interests, especially since I was always disturbing with my experimenting self! Let me paint the picture: I shared a room with five other cousins ( the struggle was real! ) and would come home to find my computer dismantled and put out of the room. I would put it back together and move it to my dad’s room for a bit, but he would also complain about the noise, then I would move it to the hall, and people will complain about not being able to watch TV because of the noise, I move it to the dining table and I get complains about taking up eating space and then finally move it back to my bedroom where the cycle starts all over again *sigh*. Most times I would start a beat, put it on a drive and send it to neighbors houses to make more noise and end up getting kicked out by my friend’s parents as well LOL! There was really no space to do what I wanted to do.
How long did it take for you to start feeling like you were making headway in your production skills? How long after you started did you make a decent beat you were proud of?
Was that song made specifically for M.anifest or did you just make a beat that he happened to hear?
Yeah it was made specifically for him. A friend of mine called Selasie had played one of my beats for him and he wanted to hear another so that beat was made with him in mind.
From your production catalog, you seem to be very heavily influenced by the Highlife-Afrobeat sound. How did that happen?
I’m not as heavily influenced by those genres as it seems. People get that idea probably because that’s mostly the kind of music I’ve put out at the moment but people close to me know I have a lot of other really diverse material. It’s just a matter of time. I don’t have a particular sound yet. Songs like M.anifest’s Someway Bi, Jayso’s Freestyle 06 and Dex Kwasi’s Bass, all of which I produced are all really different. My highlife/Afrobeat influences could be from my dad. He likes that kind of music and I grew up being around that. I listened to a lot of Juls on the come up as well and that might also be part of that influence. TBH I listen to everything I get my hands on and I learn a thing or two from everything I hear.
What influences your sound today?
These days chale karaoke anything goes – Guru 😆! Like I said earlier I’m trying to expand and touch sound from different angles. My influences are based on what I listened to previously (yesterday or from 10 years ago). Once something starts to play in my head that tells me this is the vibe for today then that’s where we’re going. I’m also influenced by what I hear from my colleague producers these days.
Do you keep everything you make or do you delete projects you don’t really like?
I keep everything! You don’t need to delete things you don’t like because
1. You never know! One man’s poison is another man’s meat. You might not like it but it might be someone else’s jam!
2. Every beat doesn’t have to be good man. Some have to be bad so we can develop our skills from that for the next beat.
What was that pivotal moment in your journey that made you feel like “yo I might really have a shot at this. I could be on to something here”
When Someway Bi got huge…from that same computer that kept getting moved around LOL! There were times I wanted to quit but that song made me realize I might really have a shot at this. It gave me the energy I needed and I’m still here today.
What DAWs have you tried out and what made you decide to stick with your current DAW?
I’ve only tried Fruity Loops and that’s what I still currently use. I started out with FL 10 and these days I use the versions 11 and 12 concurrently. I stuck with FL Studio because I find it’s interface a lot more user friendly than other DAWs.
Do you have a typical creative workflow when you work? Drums, Melody or Bass-line, which one is most important to you in a song?
I mostly start with the melody or sample, then I move to drums and percussion, and finish off with the bassline. The drums are the most important to me because that’s what drives the entire song. You might have a fire melody but if the drums aren’t well selected, it’s really easy to turn the listener off.
What is the fastest time you’ve made a song that has gone on to become huge and what song was it?
Uhmm I think that will be Dex Kwasi’s Bass, which is one of his biggest songs in my opinion. Dex sent me the reference track halfway recorded along with the lead instrument and Vocal and that was it. I made the beat in about 2 and a half hours. Basically Dex inspired the beat and I co-produced and orchestrated one of his best records.
Typically how many beats do u make in a day?
Just like Paa Kwasi chale single 1 please haha. At most two beats but I typically don’t really finish the second one on that same day. I know people are out there making 10 beats a day ✌🏽! Those are life Goals for real!
Composing, Arranging, Mixing or Mastering…What part of the production process do you find the most tedious or challenging and how do you get through it?
Mixing and Mastering are the most tedious parts for me. You need that professional ear and I’m still in the process of developing that. I would say I’m probably 80% there at the moment. I like to collaborate with people like DRVMROLL, LXXXVIII, and JaySo on mixing and mastering my projects.
What are some of your favorite plugins to use these days?
I love Kontakt 5 with good libraries. I mostly use Alicia’s Keys which is a Kontakt piano library by Alicia Keys. It samples Alicia’s very own concert piano, gives you that real live piano sound and is very CPU efficient. I love Massive as well because it gives me really great synths and pads. I also use Applied Acoustics System’s Lounge Lizard for that vintage Rhodes sound, then Ultra Analog for vintage synths. Default FL VSTs like Harmless, Harmor and Sakura are also very good plugins.
What is your current studio set-up? Do you have anything you do to deal with creative blocks? How and where do you find inspiration to make music?
My current set up is basically just my laptop and a pair of Sony speakers. I mostly make beats at home. When I have creative blocks I tend to hang out with family and friends, watch movies or play some FIFA. Listening to music also helps. I love to research samples and mostly find inspiration from things around me as well as social media platforms like Soundcloud, Youtube and Twitter.
Is there anything you know now that you wish someone had told you when you were just getting into production or probably before you got your first major song?
That would definitely be the business aspect of music but I’m glad I’ve got a bit of a handle on that now. I realized music isn’t just about making beats and uploading them online for a few “yo you dey force” comments, retweets or likes. There’s more to it than that. It’s a big business and I think more eyes need to be opened to that side since most newbies have no idea what that aspect is like. The earlier you look into it, the better.
Are you currently signed to any royalty collection societies?
I have been a member of PRS since late 2014. PRS is a Publishing Rights Society and the royalty collection system is basically money paid to you for having your work used for any commercial purposes. There is usually an agreed percentage based on split sheets between an artist and the producer. When I joined, it was £50 or £100, I don’t quite remember but I think the price currently is £100. To join the Society, you need to fill an application form, pay the required fee and then wait for them to amend and confirm you as a member. The entire process takes about 28 days.
Have you received any royalties for any of your production work so far?
Yes I have received some royalties but I definitely haven’t got to that point where I can confidently say I’m really eating off this. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it happens soon though.
What’s your most memorable studio session?
I’ve had a couple of them. From early days of recording 89 with Joey B, to recording about 80% of 0106 with JaySo and then to Studio session with M.anifest while recording Nowhere Cool. I can’t really pinpoint which sessions were the most memorable but I always try to enjoy myself whenever I’m involved in the creation of something beautiful.
Name five local and international producers and artistes you rate and why?
In no particular order, I’d go for Drvmroll for his dynamic capabilities, LXXXVIII for the drums, Jayso for his maturity and professionalism, Juls for the samples and grooves, then finally Kuvie for the Vibes!
Do you do music full time at the moment?
No I don’t. I used to be fully dedicated to music till I got into College.
What are you studying in school?
Management Information Systems
What advice would you give to anyone who is getting started in production?
I would say get some knowledge in Music Theory, it gives you an upper hand. Also it’s not bad to take a thing or two from your mentors but always stay unique and bring something new to the table. Work on your weaknesses, don’t limit yourself and lastly stay humble!