McCoy: FL8O heart pumps out music for the soul
December 29, 2016
Electronic dance music artist and composer Rob Flato, a.k.a. FL8O, is taking great strides, and care, toward Atlantis Limited Art & Sound Design and its new album "Fourth Dimension," set for release this upcoming summer, 2017.
The studio and album have been a work in progress. After all, he says, "If you force something, it'll break — especially your dreams."
He's providing the fireworks, metaphorically, at the New Year's Eve show at The Basement in Winter Park, debuting "Fourth Dimension" live from start to finish. There's also a grand opening party for Atlantis Ltd. Art & Sound Design (301 Eastom Ave., Fraser) 9 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017, with reception at 5 p.m. and an after-party at the Crooked Creek Saloon.
FL8O carries the charm of a young man "born and raised" in south Texas, and remembers his mom and her friends practicing in the Flato living room every Friday night. "Her love for music and her love of art drove me to the goals I have today," he said.
By age six, Flato was playing piano and singing, and took up jazz bass; by age 14 he was dreaming of a professional music career. His first group, The Shoestrings, won his high school battle of the bands.
It was his classical training in acoustic guitar where, FL8O said, he learned the importance of creating music that evokes emotion that "touches the human soul." Rather than focusing on one instrument in particular, he specializes more "in bringing all of the instruments together as one."
"I just figured it out," he said about running the turntables as a disc jockey, and his natural talent was quickly discovered. He toured Mexico, the southern U.S., and was invited to Germany for a small European tour. It was then that he realized "being a DJ was not enough." He was "TIRED OF PLAYING OTHER PEOPLE'S MUSIC!"
Younger brother Anthony joined in 2004 for FL8O's "first real move into a pro band," with "Resin," which almost signed with the owner of Strange Music ("politics got in the way"). In 2009 FL8O formed Frequency None, what would become the genesis of his EDM (electronic dance music) production career.
A year later FL8O DJ'd, sampled, and toured (on keys) with Reggae band Kings of Midtown out of California. All his hard work has led to a meticulously crafted career and identity as artist and composer "FL8O" (like Plato, but "The Philosopher of Music").
FL8O first made sound waves in the Grand County music scene 2007-2013, while he was looking for a job on "the mountain" (to snowboard). He wrapped some things up in San Antonio and returned to the Fraser Valley this year — with not much more than the clothes on his back, his furry friends (Schitzu Buddy and cats Mr. Meowgi and Katie), and an XL roll of sound-proofing material.
His musical compositions bring together an eclectic mix of Dub, glitch, trance and deep house. He uses Ableton for some of his production platform, and has an array of gadgets and gizmos to guide the final sound. Song "Fourth Dimension," a melodious mix of many tracks, is the namesake for the new album.
"I try to create a new genre," he said, "and I think I've done that." Inspiration for the dense, trend-setting album came from deep down — "with spiritual guidance and inspiration from the heartbeats of (his) ancestors, and their knowledge spreading through" him. "I design my music to harmonically stimulate the higher consciousness of the listener's mind, with frequencies that we naturally vibrate at, and harmonic overtones and rhythms that move with the rate of the human heartbeat."
"Rob is quite clearly motivated and dedicated to his music," said Rose Martin, Producer, C3 Presents. "It has a unique hip-hop sound with a Rocky Mountain twist."
He's been working with Fraser artist Parks Tomson, set to be featured on FL8O's next album. "He is extremely talented," FL8O said of Thomson. "Becoming a part of the 'Park Scene' has really helped expand my production."
"FL8O's a genius when it comes to creating sounds," Thomson said. "It's more of a philosophy to him, rather than an art. It's very beautiful." Thomson, who just débuted album "Avalanche", is gearing up to bounce in at the New Year's Eve show.
FL8O is currently working on joining on with promoter After Hours Anonymous of Denver; one day he envisions touring as a modern-day electronic orchestra. He hopes his music will inspire people to love their brothers and sisters. "Neighbors and friends," he said, "get together and dance." FL8O advises budding musicians to "always follow (your) instincts. Never second-guess yourself, because anything is possible. If no one is laughing at you, your dreams are not big enough."
To check out FL8O, visit soundcloud.com/FL8O. His studio may be reached at (970) 363-7260.