Interview with Floris Klinkert (FabFilter)
Enumerous EDM producers have a bunch of synthesizer plugins for their daw. However, just as many become aware over time that they need something to spice up their productions, apart from fx sample collections – and quite often one starts thinking about a good filter plugin… Now this is the point where FabFilter left a footprint years ago: this company became famous for their little filter plugins with a great sound. Speaking of today, they evolved their portfolio a lot, including weird filter effect plugins, extremely basic plugins to get young producers started and even synthesizer plugins. You might be thinking now: I want to know more. So do we. Enjoy this interview!
Q: Welcome to pro|tone, Floris! We’re very pleased one of the founders of FabFilter found some time to have a little chat with us. How was your business day so far?
The day is going well! There’s nothing better than working on an exciting new plug-in
Q: FabFilter started with what the company name suggests: filter plugins. What was the reason for that? For sure, good filters are just as much work as synthesizer plugins – and many people might go for a “complete (synthesizer) product” in the first place…
Well, we didn’t actually start with a filter plug-in. Our first product was a little blue synthesizer called FabFilter One (2004), which does have an awesome filter of course! After FabFilter One, we launched Volcano, which was our first serious filter plug-in; and both plug-ins are still very popular today!
In a synthesizer, the quality of oscillators and filters affects the sound in a major way. That’s why we chose to create a very simple synthesizer, with only a few options… but with an awesome oscillator, great filter and very nicely fine-tuned knobs.
Q: How long did it take you to say “Yes, we’re on the right way”? Have you been convinced from the very beginning that your plugins would pay out? Was is the positive customer feedback?
We really took the time to create FabFilter One. (Still today, we only release a plug-in when we think it 100% ready, and meets our own high quality standards). We’ve always been aware that starting a company, and growing a company, is a slow process. It takes time to make people aware of your brand and products. We had great feedback from the beginning, and after a couple of years, things really began to start rolling. We’re in business now for more than six years, it’s growing, and we still have tons of ideas for new products
Q: What’s a typical day in FabFilter business like? When did it become necessary to expand, hire coders, designers, or whatever to take care of everything?
Typically we don’t work outrageous hours: we believe that our work will be of the best quality when there’s also enough time for other activities like producing music, or surfing A typical day starts with handling our support e-mail and after that: development/coding etc. We’re still a fairly small company, and we like the freedom that comes with it.
Q: We assume you had a hard time – just like any new company – establishing your brand on the market. How did it work in your case? Just pure quality, friendly support, that’s it? Is there a strategy you would recommend to upcoming coding talents?
Simple answer: yes, that’s it: high quality products and the best support possible. The best advice if you want to start your own company: take your time, don’t compromise on quality, and most of all: don’t expect your company to be profitable the day after you release your first product As I said earlier, establishing a brand takes time.
Q: Let’s go back to your actual work. As mentioned before, you started with filters – and a small one-oscillator synthesizer. It took you quite some time to kick off the synth Twin2, a really big deal we’re going to report about soon. Can you explain a bit the product development FabFilter went through – and what plans or wishes are like for the future?
We have tons of ideas for future plug-ins; we will expand both our ‘Creative’ range and our ‘Professional mixing & Mastering’ range of plugs. Probably, product development here is just like anywhere else: first we make functional and technical designs, then we start working. Over time, designs and ideas change and improve, and sometimes, even after the first beta tests things may change quite radically. At all stages, we do extensive testing to make our plug-ins as stable as they are!
Q: Have you ever thought about using your knowledge on hardware? Maybe equipping a hardsynth with your filter algorithms?
No, we’re in the software business, and not into hardware. But who knows what the future may bring…
Q: How does it make you feel when well-known producers love and freely advertise your products? We’re e. g. thinking of Sean Tyas who’s using your Timeless plugin a lot…
That’s always cool to hear of course! Sean is actually one of our endorsed artists, and I know he’s using both Volcano 2 and Timeless 2 a lot!
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