Level Three is the latest installment of our mini series on FFA, 'Abandonware'. Set in different themes and genres, the series has been built to showcase a small bunch of tracks, with interchanging styles and sounds. For Level Three, the theme is dark and mysterious, and there's plenty of heaviness on this brand-new compilation!
Now it is time for a Level Three Q&A, with some of the artists involved!
1. What was the creative process like in creating your track? Did you start with a specific idea in mind, or did it evolve naturally during the creation process?
INCAL: "After meeting with HECHTER at Rampage open air last year we just hopped on a call and tried to make the hardest thing we could. I was inspired by Madcore's "there is no point in any of this" second drop to make something with a lower bpm, and we went for a tearhouse second drop when we realised we had grime vocals and were at 128."
HECHTER: "Incal and I got really inspired after rampage open air 2022 and just started making something hard."
Jase Proctor: "Usually when creating tracks I don’t really start with an idea, rather I’ll try to throw together a couple of bars and then build the idea off of that. “Wake” originally started as a sound design session where I was playing around with different types of distortion, and eventually turned into what it is now."
DOOM THESIS: "For this song I had no specific idea in mind, it just evolved as I was making it. Kinda go with the flow vibe. I did start that one with the intro and build rest of the song off that."
Secrecy: "I made Mierda during a point in my production where I was trying to experiment with making tearout where the main sound was not quite a gun bass but something adjacent to it. As such I tried to use really unorthodox sound design techniques to achieve it and I ended up with how it is. The rest of the song definitely came about more naturally as I made everything else like the intro and big buildup around the drop."
2. Which track from Abandonware: Level Three is your favourite, and why is that?
INCAL: "Wake, the transient on that sub is so satisfying, and I love the mixdown overall."
HECHTER: "I really like wake cause it's hard."
Jase Proctor: "Incal & Hechter’s collab seriously caught me off guard the first time I heard it. I’m really excited to share a spot on the comp next to that tune."
DOOM THESIS: "Honestly I could not pick a favorite, every song on the comp is a certified banger."
Secrecy: "All five of these tunes are so sick, picking one favorite is so difficult haha. I think im going to go with the AKRVSIA track, as I don't really listen to dubstep very casually and the experimental trap vibes take me back to 2019-2021 when I was more intro that style of production."
3. If your song could be the soundtrack to any movie or video game, which one would you choose and why?
INCAL: "This is one of the rare songs I've worked on that I always saw purely as a club banger, and never really thought about the story behind it, but I can picture it in a blade movie."
HECHTER: "Prolly Event Horizon or something. I'm a huge scifi and space nerd and I especially enjoy scifi horror."
Jase Proctor: "It would have to be something along the lines of Doom or Scorn. Something dark, gritty, mysterious, and cutting-edge."
DOOM THESIS: "I’d love to get a song of mine into a valorant cinematic or arcane (animated league of legends series)."
Secrecy:"Definitely some kind of fighting game/first person shooter game. As silly as this may sound I try to make music that I could easily envision beating someone up in a fight to (since I am too small and scrawny to actually be able to do this in reality). The new Spiderman movie comes to mind as the action sequences in it were insane and I'd love to see something like that with some tearout in the score."
4. What favourite plugins do you like to use for music production? Do you have any go-to tools to craft your sound?
INCAL: "For this track melda Mmorph was the most impactful plugin for the gunbass' sound design. This days I'm still mainly using the melda plugins, but also the Khs suite, some spectral stuff like the unfiltered audio suite, and uhbik-g which is a sick granular pitch shifter. I also use kircchoff EQ in every track, it's made by dudes from fabfilter and it's just pro-Q3 but better, people need to know about this one."
HECHTER: "I really think you can work with anything. I create stuff with only fl stock plugins from time to time but if I had to recommend anything it’s the kiloherts free effects and the free melda effects. Also please at all cost protect whoever runs freakshow industries." Jase Proctor: "More recently I’ve been having a lot of fun with Ableton’s amp effect. Just throwing different sounds into it and boosting the hell out of it makes for some interesting sounds."
DOOM THESIS: "FL Granulizer and PhasePlant are plugins that are very essential to my production and crafting my sound. I also use a lot of Khs and stock FL plugins for post processing."
Secrecy: "I think if by some freak accident lightning struck my computer and all it did was just delete both Kiloheartz and FL stock frequency shifters off of my hard drive I would delete my soundcloud account and never make anything ever again. In a much less dramatic sense I also have been very heavy into FL 21's new stock multiband delay; I haven't had a plugin completely change my approach to sound design like that in a few years."
5. Do you have any pre-production rituals before you start to create your songs? Any rituals or habits that help you get into the creative mindset for creating music?
INCAL: "I have trouble making music unless I'm inspired or in the "right mindset", so I'd love to read the answers from the other artists of this comp honestly."
HECHTER: "I like to watch live sets to get hyped to create music again."
Jase Proctor: "Not really. If I ever get stuck I like to take week-long breaks where I can just relax and not worry about having to create anything."
DOOM THESIS: "Definitely! I like to get the potential track title and photoshop the cover art from images I find on the internet before I start making the song. It helps me to get into the mood and translate the visual song atmosphere into the sound. I usually print out the cover art or have it open on my second monitor while I produce, having it constantly visible."
Secrecy: "I am a firm believer that somehow music production and cooking food are connected to each other, so I always try to get a full meal in before attempting any serious production sessions. If you can throw down in the DAW but not on a pan what are you doing?? Get both of those sets of chops in. It only makes sense."
Would you rather section!
Each artist has received their own would you rather styled question. What would be your answers?
INCAL: Would you rather have the ability to time travel and witness any iconic music performance, or have the ability to collaborate with any living musician of your choice on a brand-new track?
"You mean i could both see daft punk live and also experience the music of the future ? creatively I'll be ahead of everyone else while also having the time of my life. That's probably what space laces did now that I think about it."
HECHTER: Would you rather have your music be known and loved by a small, dedicated fanbase, or achieve mainstream success with a style of music you dislike?
"I'd way rather have a small dedicated fan-base with the music I love to produce. Thank god that is exactly what is happening right now thanks to all of you guys!"
Jase: Would you rather have the power to make any person in the world dance uncontrollably whenever you play your music, or have the power to instantly erase any song from existence?
"I would MUCH rather have the power to instantly erase any song from existence. I could name 10-15 of them right now."
DOOM THESIS: Would you rather have the opportunity to perform a live set on the main stage of a massive music festival or have a private, intimate jam session with your musical idol?
"That’s a tough one since I’d love to play a mainstage of a massive festival one day but I do think I’d take jam session with Svdden Death over anything."
Secrecy: Would you rather have the ability to instantly learn and perform any DJ mixing technique flawlessly, or have the innate sense for creating mind-bending, unique soundscapes and textures in your productions?
"I've never really cared for incorporating interesting soundscapes or textures or any of that fancy schmancy nonsense. I'd much rather be able to pull off the world's sickest most face-meltingly insane double triple quadruple drop that instantly obliterates the whole crowd and venue in one fall swoop as that'd be both way cooler and far more useful to my style of production/performance."
Abandonware: Level Three, drops on all stores July 3rd!