Interview: Utku S

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Utku S

After having talked to the sample pack store, Loopmasters, about their website and products, I decided to shift my focus slightly towards the actual creators of these samples and loops. These people spend days, if not weeks, putting together the sounds which we hear in many a Beatport charter, and play a huge part in putting some of your favorite producers on the map, but supplying them with musical inspiration and the need sounds to make their music. One of these people is the Turkish producer/sound designer, Utku S. Creator of the website Freaky Loops, and the Famous Audio imprint, Utku is a creator of some prime sample and loop content, from full music loops to percussion shots, and I felt that he could offer some useful insight into the life and thoughts of a sample-creator.

Can you tell us about how you got into electronic music in general? I’ve heard that you used to a bass player. How did that transition take place?

Well, playing bass guitar was my first passion and I think I did quite well in that. I have had the chance to play with good bands and gained lots of experience. However, ultimately, I was attracted to listening and performing electronic music. It started unprofessionally by DJing in house parties, and then it turned into professional work. I performed in various events, especially when the electronic music was attractive there. I’ve always wanted a career in music, so I decided to focused to improve my skills, and used my music background to become an electronic music producer.

What’s the electronic music scene like where you’re from in Turkey? Is it a country that has had a history of electronic music culture, or has this genre only recently found popularity there? Or is it perhaps not popular there at all?

Between 2000 to 2005, electronic music was extremely popular here. A stagnation period followed, but it passed quickly. Popularity of EDM continued to rise and peaked in recent years. Today it's most popular, and becoming increasingly common.

Tell me about how you started off making sample packs. Was there any series of experiences that led to this career choice for you?

I’ve always been interested in making sample packs. It started off when I created samples/loops in order to use them while making my own tracks. However, I decided to release them in an effort to inspire other music producers, which I believe is the most interesting aspect for me.

Did you create samples for other companies before starting your own label, Freaky Loops?

Yes, I worked with some companies before starting my own labels.

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Where did the name Freaky Loops come from?

Actually, there is no particular reason for selecting this name.

Last year, you created another imprint for your samples, called “Famous Audio”. In what way are the samples offered by Famous Audio different from those sold on Freaky Loops?

"Famous Audio" is focused in Bass music libraries that can be used for Drum & Bass, Dubstep, Drumstep, Electro House and Moombah styles.

What’s the most important thing to keep in mind when making samples for other producers to use? Do you find that it’s different from making full tracks for yourself?

I made sample packs for other producers and I made tracks for other DJs and EDM crowds. So, I think there is no different between them.

If one of your samples was to be extensively used in someone’s track, which then went on to sell 1 million copies, would you be like “Damn, I should have used that one for myself”?

Of course, I wouldn't think that way. I provide the ingredients only; but then, it is cook’s role to make a delicious food.

Do you know of any artists that have used for packs extensively?

I’ve actually seen lots of tracks in the Beatport Top 100 using some of my loops and samples.

What’s been your most commercially successful pack so far?

"Ultimate Fills & Drops" series, "Complextro" series and "French Electro" which I made for Loopmasters. They pushed the boundaries.

Can you tell me which countries have your samples been the most successful in? Are there any countries that have more of a demand for your products than others?

Actually, this is quite difficult to answer, since my products are being sold all over the world. Although, I couldn’t check deeply, I think USA, UK and France are at the top of list.

When making your samples, do you ever take any inspiration from other sample packs made by other companies or producers?

I don't take any inspiration from other sample packs. I try to create fresh, unique and different sounds for each new product. I closely follow musical trends, and this might be reflected in my products.

Was there ever a time when you started making a sample pack, but then for some reason was unable to finish it?

Yes, unfortunately I have a very dynamic schedule, which from time to time changes the order of the things I do. When there is a change, it is likely that I leave a pack before it is completed. Of course, I do not want to leave incomplete works, so I try to complete them later.

Which packs were the most challenging for you to make, and why?

I've created over 30 000 loops and samples. Frankly speaking, every project had it's own challenges, and I put in a lot of effort in order to keep the same level of quality. One of the most time-consuming packs was “Ultimate Fills & Drops”, which has a huge library of FX hits and very long fills. I should also state that I’m really pleased with what I have done so far, and how the things are progressing.

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Do you have any sample packs that you’re especially proud of having made?

It might sound cliché, but of course I am proud of all my sample packs.

In today’s Internet age, a lot of people simply download synths and samples without paying for it. How does this affect you as a sample creator? Do you ever ask warez websites to remove your sample packs from their website, or pursue people who illegally download them?

I consider this as “theft”, as somebody is using my efforts for their own benefit without paying it. I take this seriously, and assigned a team to track down pirate links and remove them on the websites.

Apart from your work in the sample industry, you’ve released a lot of tracks as a producer. Do you see yourself ever putting your work as a sample creator on pause, to focus more on your own music?

Actually, sometimes yes. Producing is my first love and I absolutely adore creating something new and nailing it.

Let’s talk about your workflow. Do you have any preferable method for making your loops and samples?

I don’t have any specific method. I use lots of creative techniques to make samples/loops. It’ s a strange process, and as with all music creation, sometimes a sample pack can pop out in few days, and sometimes in a few weeks..

Without giving away any secrets that you may want to keep, can you give me any kind of breakdown about some of the gear that you use for your making your samples, such as synths, compressors, EQ’s etc?

Reason is my preferred platform for writing. I have bunch of analogue synths that I love; Virus TI-Snow, Roland SH-101, Roland VSynth. To be honestly, I mostly prefer to use soft-synths, and my favorite is NI Massive, especially for bass sounds. For the drums, I use a couple of analogue drum machines, some of my kicks and snares are from the Roland 808. Reason's "Kong" also is my favorite soft-drum synth. And of course I use some plug-in effects, compressors and equalizers in order to shape the sound.

What are your thoughts on analog vs digital synths? Do you have a preference for one over the other, when making your samples?

There are some absolutely amazing VST instruments and plugins available nowadays. But still, some analogue gear may have very special sound that you cannot get it with any software. Each has its own advantage for me.

Do you mix and master all of the loops and samples yourself?

Yes, I make all mixing and mastering stuff by myself.

Can you tell me what kind of sample packs are you currently working on, and what we can expect from you in the future?

There are few more ready packs to be lined up soon; French House SS Vol 4, Ultimate Fills & Drops Vol 3, Serious Electro Vol 2 and Serious Dubstep Vol 3.

You can keep up with Utku's sample releases and music productions through his Soundcloud, Facebook. and Freaky Loops website.
SamInterview: Utku S

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