This interview has been paraphrased for consistency and clarity.
Joey: Let’s start from the beginning. How did it all begin for you?
Fabian: My mom and dad were jazz musicians, so I kind of had music in my blood. I didn’t start messing around with music until I was like 16 or 17. It just escalated from there. I started releasing music on Trap Nation and Elysian Records – basically, all the YouTube and SoundCloud labels because that was where trap music was back then.
Joey: How did you get in contact with him?
Fabian: I think I must have sent thousands of emails out to labels. I did the old spam thing. Eventually, it worked out.
Joey: Do you put out much music, or are you specific with what you release?
Fabian: I used to be the quantity over quality guy. I was putting out more than one song every month for the first few years of my career. Now I’m way more nitpicky. I will probably release a song every few months now.
Joey: Yeah, it’s interesting because many producers will release a lot of music when they’re starting. Once the attention is there, they kind of start slowing down. Did you notice any difference when you started releasing your music on that bigger label?
Fabian: Of course, I did. It kickstarted my career. I didn’t earn much money doing it back then. The money was coming from DJ gigs. But basically, it helped spark my production career.
Joey: Did you notice any new gigs coming in after releasing on Trap Nation?
Fabian: A little bit, but not that much. We don’t really have an EDM scene in Copenhagen. The only gigs that were coming in were a few shows in Germany and offers in Asia, Russia, and Eastern Europe, but it was very minimal.
Joey: Is it better now?
Fabian: Not really to be honest. It’s funny because my touring career never really took off. 30-40 shows a year was probably the most I’d ever played. My touring career never really went crazy. Right now, I’m good with not touring at all. I spend all the time in the studio, which I love, but eventually, I would like to start traveling.
Joey: I think it’s good to think about it. I think most artists go into the touring mode directly without even thinking that they are probably a better music producer. It’s two different things, you know?
Fabian: Exactly. I’m kind of okay with just being in the studio.
Joey: I started digging online, and I think the way you market yourself on Instagram and Youtube is excellent. How do you manage to upload all those videos, and especially the vlogs? I know from experience that it takes a shitload of time.
Fabian: To be honest, it was kind of a priority because I didn’t have a social life. I stayed in the studio, editing videos and making music for 10 to 12 hours every day except Sundays. In the future, I do want to do content regularly, but not that much. I admire people that can put out weekly content on YouTube. That takes a lot of work and much effort. I remember the vlogs would take me anywhere from 10 to 20 hours of work to edit.
Joey: Where did you learn how to edit your videos?
Fabian: YouTube University, man, haha. I learned everything on Youtube. Music production, video production, vocal recording… everything!
That’s my thing about music school. If you didn’t go to music school, and you would just produce for a year, I bet you would have learned more than just playing with your daw. Music theory is important. I mean, it can teach you a lot of things. It’s just a whole different way of working.
Joey: Let’s dive into the whole sample thing. How did you end up there?
Fabian: I did sample packs for this Australian company called Zenheiser (not the headphone company). And then, when Splice launched, they heard the sample pack, and they approached me and asked if I wanted to do like a signature Fabian Mazur sounds sample pack. Bear in mind this was like the early days of Splice, so there weren’t many trap EDM sounding packs back then. A few months later, my manager told me they want me to start my own label on Splice. Two years later, I think I’ve done 18 or 19 sample packs by now. I would say it’s almost a full-time job just making samples.
Joey: How does that work?
Fabian: There are multiple different ways of doing it. Sometimes I layer stuff until you can’t even notice the original sample. So I would layer say, seven snares – the low end from one, mid-range from another, and make new snare out of it. Some packs are different. I had the concept of doing a jungle sample pack, so I looked at the cheapest flights from Copenhagen to a big jungle. I went to Thailand and recorded all the local people, the forest, the birds, everything.
Joey: On average, how much time would it take you to create a pack like that?
Fabian: Usually, my sample packs take me about one to two months – and that’s like four to six hours a day.
Joey: Don’t you go crazy?
Fabian: I just did a sample pack called wubs, which is coming out in a couple of months. It’s basically only bass sound design. No drums, no nothing. I was going crazy, just like making serum presets and tweaking wobbles for many hours every day. That was pretty sickening.
Joey: How do you get paid for that? Like, how does that work?
Fabian: I can talk about it a little bit. I get a percentage fee of the samples used from Splice credits. Basically, I sell many thousand samples a month that amounts up to a certain amount of dollars, which I get paid out every month.
Joey: I can imagine that that gives you a different way of income as well, aside from your gigs and your music.
Fabian: Very much. If it weren’t for the Splice thing, I wouldn’t be able to make a living making music. I’m super grateful that I have that.
Joey: Yeah, I think that’s funny. So many starting artists don’t see how hard it is to make a living from music. From the outside, it might look perfect and easy, but from the inside, you have to make quite some money to actually make a living from it.
Fabian: Many people write to me like, “Hey, dude, I’ve been making music for eight months in fruity loops. How do I make money from my music?” You’re not just going to be able to make a living off your music from day one. It’s a prolonged process. And I think many people don’t realize a lot of us have been struggling for like five to 10 years until we made an income that we could make a living from.
Joey: True. I still remember the first time I had this ten day tour in America, and I made like zero money. I think it’s a great thing that right now we’re in an age where it’s straightforward to make an extra buck on music; for example, the samples, streaming, or YouTube. It’s just something extra.
Fabian: Exactly. And that’s one of the main points that I want to stress. When people ask me how to make a living within the music industry, you need to have different revenue incomes. You need to have money coming from different places. I have shows, royalties, Splice samples, and Youtube. I would encourage everyone to look at their career objectively and try to analyze where they can make money from. To be honest, not a lot of producers or music artists make all their income from like one specific stream.
Joey: What’s in it for Fabian Mazur in the future?
Fabian: So that’s a big question for me right now because I’m so I used to be in the trap/EDM space. Right now, I’m trying to bridge slowly into a more electronic urban type of space. I think that’s the space I want to be in eventually. But it’s a slow build. You can’t just release an EDM song one day, and then the next day you publish like a guitar vocal type song. I’m trying to go into a more organic sounding space and away from all the trap EDM stuff.
Joey: Sounds cool! Thanks for taking the time to do this, man. I appreciate you sharing your story!