Music technology higher education institute dBs Music has had a big impact on the city since opening the doors of their first Bristol campus in 2012. Many of their currently enrolled students are already making some of the biggest new sounds in the city, including certified Bandulu member and Papercranes label owner Hi5ghost, Blast resident turned producer K-Stylz, and Boom Sound’s Kreed.
With a second campus just opened in St Pauls, dBs now offer degrees and diplomas across the music production spectrum, from DJ & Electronic Music Production, to Sound Engineering and Sound for Games & Apps.
Many of dBs Music’s currently enrolled students are already making some of the biggest new sounds in the city
This weekend, they are hosting two days of free producer meet ups for Native and Ableton users at their St Thomas Street building on 7–8 October. The sessions are open to anyone, and will give current or budding producers a chance to network, attend workshops, tutorials and guest demonstrations, plus a chance to join in some Link jam sessions.
Saturday’s programme – from 1-5pm – is dedicated to Native Instruments’ software Maschine, Komplete Kontrol and Traktor. Throughout the day, attendees From 1pm-5pm, the programme will cover idea creations on Maschine with techno artist Tugi, a session with Native-certified specialist Liam O’Mullane who will be exploring Maschine MK3 and Komplete Kontrol MK2 from both a studio and performance angle, a Link Sync’d jam session and a guest performance, and Q&A with competitive scratcher DJ Asian Hawk, who has won the title of UK DMC champion five times. // REGISTER FOR YOUR FREE PLACE AT THE NATIVE PRODUCER MEET UP WITH dBs MUSIC .
Sunday’s producer meet up – also from 1-5pm – is in association Ableton and will cover an introduction to Push, a guest artist presentation from musician and certified Ableton trainer ELPHNT, a session for intermediate to advanced users on Instrument Rack Design with Music Tech Magazine’s Liam O’Mullane, and Link jam sessions. // REGISTER FOR YOUR FREE PLACE AT THE ABLETON PRODUCER MEET UP WITH dBs MUSIC.
Ahead of the big weekend, we asked special guest DJ Asian Hawk a few quick questions, who will be there on Saturday to give a demonstration across a range of equipment, as well as answering your questions on the day…
As 5 x DMC UK champion, can we assume that a high level technical ability is something you rate very highly when it comes to DJs and producers?
It’s always great to see someone pushing boundaries and to be able to learn techniques from listening / watching a DJ or musician – there’s nothing better than watching an expert of any craft blow your mind.
However, music is a subjective thing and it can really depend on what mood you’re in. Sometimes, all I want is to simply listen and not have to concentrate on what’s happening.
Was there anything like this available to you when you were learning to DJ and produce?
At the risk of sounding like an old man, learning was very different back then. You had to study by listening to and learning from the people around you.
Luckily when I was studying in Reading, I met a few guys who were into the exact same thing I was at the time (smoking weed and cutting up records), so we all bounced off each other in a friendly, kind of competitive way and it made each of us more competent turntablists. Shouts to Disablists crew: Mighty Atom, Clever Munky and Xela.
Had these meet ups been around when I was growing up, I would imagine them to be great places to meet other aspiring talents.
Had these meet ups been around when I was growing up, I would imagine them to be great places to meet other aspiring talents
Is there a right way to learn production techniques, in your opinion?
If there were a right way, there wouldn’t have been any development in the first place. People like George Martin and Lee Perry and Grandmaster Flash pioneered techniques by experimenting with equipment. It’s people like these that lead to the development of new equipment, sounds and interface. We need people to push boundaries to show creativity and be individual; otherwise things become a bland stagnant mess. Strive to evolve.
We need people to push boundaries to show creativity and be individual; otherwise things become a bland stagnant mess. Strive to evolve.
You’re also known for being able to sing while scratching. Do you think it’s important to develop a unique trait that can help you stand out as an artist?
A USP is always an interesting trait, but it shouldn’t define someone as an artist, otherwise it can become a gimmick pretty quickly. As for my vocals, it’s something I’ve wanted to do since first hearing Michael Jackson’s Bad. I’ve always been a singer, but I didn’t tell people about it until recently.
The next logical step for me was to try writing songs that could be performed live with turntables. I currently perform as part of local band Jackson and I have a single dropping soon on Def Presse under my real name O.Love.