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Free DJ Workshop at Point Blank Mumbai & DJ Competition at Palm Expo 2018

We have two very exciting events coming up with the True School of Music at Point Blank Mumbai. The first is an admissions day for any aspiring DJs who want to come get a flavour for the school and get their hands on some our industry-standard equipment. The second is our presence at this year’s PALM Expo, where we are sponsoring the DJ Competition with some fantastic prizes. Find out more about our courses in Mumbai here, and read on for some more information about both events.

The first ever group of students at Point Blank Mumbai

DJ Admissions Day at Point Blank Mumbai

Next week on Tuesday 29 May, we are hosting a free DJ workshop at Point Blank Mumbai. If you’re interested in the school or just want to get your hands on our state-of-the-art Pioneer DJ equipment then come along. Those in attendance will get a tour of the facility and sit in for an interactive, hands-on workshop in the DJ room, with DJ instructor Kedar Sakharkar taking them through the basics of DJing. DJ KD or Deeptektiff has almost two decades of experience in the DJ industry, performing with acts like Yousef, Justin Prime, Prok & Fitch, Sultan & Ned Shepard, Paul Thomas & more. To register please call 022-66243200 or email contact@trueschool.in.

DJ Competition at PALM Expo 2018

This year, at PALM Expo, India’s premier Sound, Lighting and Events platform, we will be hosting a trade show and sponsoring the renowned DJ Competition with some fantastic prizes. Find us there across all three days and talk to our staff in person about our fantastic courses and facilities; and enter the competition for a chance to win free copies of Komplete 11 and Ableton Live, private study with DJ KD, or a slot at one of our Pro DJ Workshops.

The championship is the only platform of its kind in India which promotes and fosters upcoming DJ talent, through a National DJ Talent Hunt judged by some of the best DJs in the country. Check out the competition page for info on some of the other incredible prizes on offer.

We’ve recently added a whole host of new courses you can study at Point Blank Mumbai, catering for all ages to take you as deep into the mechanics of DJing as you want to go. These range from our Complete DJ and Entrepreneur course, which teaches you everything you need to know about DJing and how to use it to embark on a successful career, to an introductory Explore DJ taster, where students get three hours of hands-on teaching to dip their toes in and see if they would like to pursue DJing further. If you have any questions please contact us or call +44 20 7729 4884 to speak with a course advisor.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

The post Free DJ Workshop at Point Blank Mumbai & DJ Competition at Palm Expo 2018 appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Joe Ford Drum & Bass Masterclass – Frequently Asked Questions

Good news –

The Joe Ford Drum & Bass Masterclass opens for enrolment less than one week from now!

Thousands of people are getting pumped about this masterclass –  my inbox has been blowing up with questions

Here are the new details you’ll want to know:

  1. How will the Drum & Bass Masterclass be delivered?

Via five weekly LIVE web classes in a webinar room. You’ll see Joe’s computer screen and hear him teaching his newest techniques in real time, building a track from the ground up.

This video explains it pretty concisely:

  1. What are the advantages of a live web class?

You can get Joe’s insider secrets to your questions as he produces in front of your eyes. It’s like sitting in the studio with a world class producer while enjoying the comfort of your own home –  

No need to need to catch the bus to a studio or blow thousands to fly to the tropics of the UK…

You’ll have time to practice your new discoveries each week to solidify your skills. You’ll get feedback directly from Joe on how to improve your track in Week Five.

Even if you miss a session, or part of one, you’ll get your own download of the recording.

 

  1. How long will each live web class last?

Each session will be three hours long. There’ll be five live classes totalling 15 hours of live coaching.

 

  1. Who can enrol in this masterclass?

Anyone who takes action quickly when enrolment opens will be able to attend.

We have to be strict on group size so that each student has plenty of chances to ask questions to Joe Ford directly

 

  1. When are the sessions?

The first session starts on Sunday June 3rd at 6pm UK time. That’s 1pm Eastern, 10am Pacific.

Use this time converter to find out the time in your location.

There’ll be one web class every Sunday at the same time for five Sundays in total.

 

  1. What’s included with this Masterclass?
  • 15 hours of live coaching by Joe Ford
  • Ask questions, get answers
  • Recordings of each web class session (lifelong ownership)
  • The Ableton Live project file from each web class
  • Optional weekly assignments
  • Joe Ford’s personal critique of your track or work-in-progress in week five

 

  1. How do I enrol in the masterclass?

When enrolment opens, you’ll receive an email from me with a link to the course info page.

You can complete your order online using our secure web page.

 

  1. I don’t live in the UK. How do the videos work? Can I watch them back at a later time?

You’ll be able to download them to keep forever. You can watch them at your own pace on any device without an internet connection.

 

  1. Which Digital Audio Workstation will Joe Ford be teaching with?

Ableton Live 10. But if you use a different DAW, don’t let that stop you from discovering the best-kept secrets of a chart-topping pro.

Most DAWs these days are very powerful. You can do almost anything in any DAW that you can do with Ableton Live. So don’t worry.

 

  1. What other 3rd party synths will he be using?

Only the most commonly used ones – Serum and Massive.

Possibly some FabFilter plugins (Pro-Q 2 EQ unit, Pro-L limiter) and iZotope Trash 2.

 

  1. What skill level is this for?

Intermediate or advanced. If you’re a beginner, you’ll need to pay close attention to keep up.

It doesn’t matter how advanced you are – There are several very well known producers who can’t wait to attend this masterclass.

If you think you can’t learn anything new from a guy whose album has just smashed #1 on the BeatPort Drum & Bass Charts, this isn’t for you.

 

  1. Is this only suitable for Drum & Bass Producers?

It’s for anyone who loves bass heavy music. The techniques you’ll uncover can be used to produce many different styles and tempos of music.

Joe Ford’s recent #1 album Colours In Sound features tracks like Enemy, which is more similar to electronic hip hop or glitch hop than drum & bass.

 

  1. Do I have to do the weekly assignments?

Weekly assignments are optional – you can practice your new discoveries, or don’t.

You can send in anything you like to get feedback from Joe in week five – a 4-bar loop, a work-in-progress, or a completely finished track.

Put in as much or as little time as you like. The more effort you put in, the bigger results you’ll get from this.

 

  1. What if I miss part of a web class or I can’t attend a session?

You’ll get the recording of each live web class within 72 hours of it being recorded. You’ll also get that week’s project file to dissect.

You can learn at your own pace, even if you miss a live workshop or want to re-watch parts of it.

You’ll have lifelong access to all video recordings and all Ableton Live project files from each week’s web class.

 

  1. Is there a guarantee?

Yes. We guarantee you’ll uncover the newest ways to make cutting edge bass music from a chart-topping producer, which will change the way you make music forever.

If you’re not happy after the first session, you’ll have 72 hours to request a refund.

 

  1. Do I need a mic to ask questions to Joe?

No need for a microphone. You can ask questions via live chat box. All you need is a computer with an internet connection and a good pair of headphones or monitor speakers.

 

  1. Who this is for? Who is it not for?

This is for passionate producers and “aggressive learner” types who are serious about upping their game this year.

It’s not for “flakes” and “floozies” who aren’t really interested in making next-level music.  

 

  1. Is this masterclass sub-genre specific?

You’ll be witnessing Joe Ford’s unique style of drum and bass being made in front of your eyes.

Joe’s style transcends sub genres. It’s not going to be pure “neurofunk”, or super “jump-up”, or 100% “liquid funk”.

It’s gonna be the Joe Ford style of DnB, which conjures up influences from across the drum & bass spectrum and outside of it.

 

  1. How much will it cost to enrol?

To be revealed when enrolment opens. Stay tuned…

 

  1. Where can I see a detailed outline of the course syllabus?

The course outline can be found after you sign up for the Early Bird List here

I hope it helps you make an informed decision when the doors open.

Hope to see you in the masterclass!

Luke

P.S. Join the Early Bird List here so you can enrol early (places will limited)

The post Joe Ford Drum & Bass Masterclass – Frequently Asked Questions appeared first on BassGorilla.com.

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How to Record Vocals in Reason 10

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nMUjzaADkFY

Reason 10 is known for its robust collection of synthesizers, drum machines, and loops—but it also offers a powerful toolset for vocal production. With advanced features like time and pitch-correction, step sequencing, and a built-in sampler, Reason 10 offers a full-fledged vocal production suite. In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to record vocals in Reason 10.

Vocals are arguably the most important part of any song, which is why Reason 10 was designed to make recording vocals quick and easy. Watch this video tutorial with Stefan Guy to learn how to:
 

  • Connect an audio interface and easily route mic signals
  • Properly set sample rate and buffer size for minimal latency
  • Create a well-balanced headphone mix
  • Accurately set microphone levels
  • Monitor levels on multiple channels using advanced metering
  • Use the precount function to improve your workflow
  • Create the perfect take using the comping feature
     

And that’s only the beginning—with Reason 10 you can adjust the time and pitch of your track after you record using advanced editing features like Pitch Edit and Time Stretch. You can even mix and master your vocal recordings in Reason 10 with acclaimed signal processors modeled after classic British consoles.

Now that you know how to record vocals in Reason 10, it’s time to start singing!

Start your free trial of Reason 10 today!

 

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Check out a New Video Exploring our Latest Degree Programmes

In the last few months, we have announced several new degree programmes to join our original BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering. These are the BA (Hons) in Music Production and DJ Practice (also available as a fast-tracked two-year course) and the BA (Hons) in Music Industry Management. All our programmes are quality assured by Middlesex University and will leave you with an unparalleled footing to embark on a career within the music industry. Watch the video and hear from instructors and graduates talk about the facilities, studio time, tuition, opportunities and past success that make Point Blank the fantastic place to study that it is.

If you’d like to find out more about these courses, there are FAQs and specific details for each of the programmes linked above or you can get in touch with a course advisor, either by calling +44 20 7729 4884 or using this form. If you’d like a taste of the degree courses on offer, you can also sample the online degree here after registering with us. As a student in London, you get access to the same Virtual Learning Environment as the online degree so it’s a great chance to get a feel for the way we teach.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

LONDON W OUTLINE

The post Check out a New Video Exploring our Latest Degree Programmes appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Student Opportunity: Outlook & Dimensions

Point Blank always keeps current students and graduates in the loop with all of the best music industry opportunities, so with that said here’s our latest student opportunity round-up. All of these student opportunities come exclusively via PB using our extensive network of contacts, so get stuck in! NB: these opportunities are for Point Blank students and graduates only. Want loads more opportunities like this? Find out all about our courses right here.

Outlook & Dimensions

Chances are these two sister festivals need no introduction… Two of the best festivals at the cutting edge of electronic music at one of Europe’s most stunning locations are looking for senior volunteers for this year’s editions. Full job description below.

OUTLOOK AND DIMENSIONS SENIOR VOLUNTEER POSITION MUSIC ARENA EVENT ASSISTANT

The Package
• Your Festival Ticket
• 2 x Festival tickets for the festival you are working at to sell at cost price to help towards the cost of your travel
• Free camping
• 2 x Food vouchers per shift
• 1 x Amphitheatre ticket
• 3 x 12 hour shifts and 1 x 6 hour shifts

Dates Required
DIMENSIONS: Wednesday 29th August until Saturday 1st September OUTLOOK: Wednesday 5th September until Saturday 8th September
You do not need to apply for both events. Please note, you must arrive onsite the day before your first shift.

Music Area
Music Arena is a space for music creation and conversation. The space will be made up of one production zone and one performance zone. Offering the opportunity to work with the industry’s most up to date music technology equipment and electronic music tutors. Curated by NVS, the project will offer a deeper look into the world of the music that surrounds the events; artists will be working each day to explain their techniques, offer advice and inspiration.

The Role
Working with Music Technicians, Artists from each event and Professional Tutors you will be assisting with the set up, pack down and smooth running of each event. Responsibilities include: auditing equipment, preparing technology, organising on-site marketing, capturing basic media for social media platforms, guiding customers exploration of the space and assist with artist liaison.
Technology set up will include both hardware and software: Ableton Live, Native Instruments Machine, Komplete, TRAKTOR and Logic.

Personal Specification
We are looking for enthusiastic individuals with a passion for music. This passion can be based in music technology, music making or simply a deep interested in the music at the surrounding events. Applicants need to be personable, organised and reliable to ensure that all Knowledge Arena customers have an informed and pleasurable experience. Music Production experience and experience with music technology is required.

Sounds like the role for you?
Please email your CV and covering letter explaining why you would be perfect for the role to laura@nvsmusicgroup.com with the subject line MUSIC ARENA ASSISTANT APPLICATION.
All applicants will be contacted via email. Successful applicants will only be issued with their Festival Tickets to sell once they have provided copies of their travel confirmation documents as commitment to the project.

Please note: We are happy to advertise roles and work experience which help students obtain the sort of experience you may need to gain a job in the music industry or to further your career in the music industry.  We interpret this broadly. However, we are not an employment agency and we take no responsibility for the terms upon which positions are advertised, nor the conditions which apply to any such positions or opportunity.  As such you should satisfy yourself that the terms offered are acceptable when considering any role advertised.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

LONDON W OUTLINE

The post Student Opportunity: Outlook & Dimensions appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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A Frank and Open Discussion of Mental Health with Saytek

You may be aware that this week is Mental Health Awareness week. These issues affect people in all walks of life but, in the last few years in particular, it has become a prominent topic in the world of music. A recent study commissioned by Help Musicians UK revealed that 71% of working musicians that took part in the survey stated they had experienced anxiety and/or panic attacks, while 68% reported that they had experienced depression. These are disproportionately high numbers and there is a growing consensus that the particular stresses and demands of being a working musician are contributing factors.

As such, we feel that is our duty to try and help raise awareness of the problems that can befall people in the music industry. One person very close to the school who has dealt with acute mental health issues is Saytek, and he very graciously agreed to talk with us about his history of mental ill-health in the hope that it may be of help to anyone who may need it. Saytek found success as a musician early, releasing some successful records as young as 21. But, during the same period, he was dealing with severe mental health problems, which just goes to show everyone can be susceptible. These days his touring schedule is as busy as its ever been, with upcoming gigs across Europe in Berlin, Frankfurt and Copenhagen; he has an album of live jams coming up and a remix of Carl Cox and Christopher Coe on its way and he lives a settled, family life. With any luck, the following brave, frank and open interview can offer some hope to anyone who may need it.

Hi Saytek. Thanks for agreeing to talk with us about this quite sensitive subject. You’ve been quite vocal about your own wrestles with mental health in the past, but could you maybe explain your story for us?

So, the first thing that needs to be mentioned is that I have high functioning autism, which is Aspergers. That wasn’t diagnosed until later in life. I was diagnosed with dyslexia and dyspraxia and stuff as well as a child but, from my teenage years onwards, life was pretty hard for me. I was bright, but I couldn’t function like other people. I had a lot of social anxiety and it made being in the world really hard.

I’m going to be honest with you because I think every aspect needs to be discussed – drugs also played a big part. I started self-medicating as a young teenager and that spiralled out of control through my life. My drug addiction made my mental health a lot worse. I had severe depression but I wasn’t diagnosed for a very long time, so I was living with it undiagnosed and I also had severe anxiety and anxiety disorders – full-blown OCD at one point.

So yeah, my life was pretty rough and taking drugs made the problems much worse. It gave me temporary relief but they were very counterproductive. It was very dark and I hated myself for a few years.

That must have been incredibly tough. During that time were you making music? 

I was. I always had this ambition to make music but I was my own worst enemy. I had a few pretty successful records when I was pretty young, around 21 I think. I was doing live stuff and my job back then was working as a sound and lighting engineer in the top clubs as well. But for the last couple of years, and throughout the time I was using drugs, it kind of crippled me. I couldn’t actually make music for many years, as I was either out of my head or so depressed that all I could do was lie down. It wasn’t until I went and asked for help and admitted that I had a problem… I got engaged with a 12 step programme and I still engage in that, and I still have a support network. I also went for help through the NHS: I did a lot of CBT, talking therapy, learning to meditate and that kind of thing. People say it’s like peeling an onion, you have to peel off all the layers to get to the root of the problem.

So I was diagnosed with Aspergers and ADHD as soon as I was clean. That was a massive weight off my shoulders. It explained why I was different and why I found some things really difficult – socialising etc. – and also why I’m really good at other things. It kind of gave me an understanding of why I was different. People say they don’t like labels but for me, it was like: ‘oh that explains why I was like that, why I struggled in group conversations or people were always talking over me, why I’m so obsessed with certain things as well’. All this different stuff was just like a picture of me. It was a massive relief but it was just the beginning.

That was 9 and a half years ago and I’ve been completely clean and sober with total abstinence from drugs and alcohol since. Things didn’t get easier straight away – they initially got harder because I didn’t have anything to medicate me anymore , but I stuck at it and took everything the NHS could give me. I did ten-week courses in all sorts of stuff. I dedicate a good couple of years in my life on working on myself and dealing with the problems.

I’m glad you did. You obviously do a lot of live shows and gigs, have you found that environment tricky for you be in?

Not anymore, because I’m clean. Back in those days I was gigging at illegal parties and working at clubs and in the nighttime industry you could be an addict and it was acceptable. Addicts sometimes hide in those industries because it gives them a cover. If you were doing a regular day job you wouldn’t get away with doing drugs at work. In the nighttime industries, it’s not so clear-cut.

But yeah, music and the nighttime industry weren’t the cause of the problem but they gave me a place where I was accepted whilst having those problems.

So more recently you haven’t found them to be difficult places to be in?

No, not at all. It was at first, people I knew would offer me drugs and expect me to take them without asking, but I know people who have given up their music, especially in electronic music, because they couldn’t get clean in the industry. But I was very determined and music was so important to me that it was a choice between the music and the drugs, and I chose the music. The programme and the support network were instrumental and I was determined to get clean and did everything I could to get and stay clean. I still do – once you’re an addict, you always are. I’ll never be able to have just one glass of wine because of the way that I handle things.

Do you think that clubs or promoters, and the industry on the whole, could be doing more with regard to protecting the people that ultimately drive their whole economy?

Well, I think it needs to be talked about more. That’s the thing. The problem is that people who are using drugs don’t want anyone else to get clean. So, maybe it should be the responsibility for the industry to at least raise some awareness of these kinds of issues. Maybe get some outreach teams who deal with addiction to come in and support in some way. Maybe clubland should be a little more open to that, so someone can contact help in confidence if they are experiencing problems. Getting clean among addicts is something that is laughed at sometimes, they want company to justify their lifestyle.

That sounds like a good idea. With regards to mental ill-health more generally, do you have any pieces of advice that you were either given or have learned over the years that might help others who are perhaps struggling?

I think the first thing you need to do is ask for help. That is the most important thing that anyone can do – ask for and get professional help. You also need to be prepared to work at it. For me it’s a bit of a journey – you won’t get better the next day and sometimes you have to push. People are keen to give out anti-depressants – there’s nothing wrong with anti-depressants, they work and they are part of the solution, but if you want to get to the bottom of it you have to work hard at getting better and understand that things can get worse before they get better. 

My conditions are different from other people though – there is a massive spectrum of mental health issues and I want to stress that what I have discussed is my experience, and there is no one correct way to do this.

Thanks so much for your time. Good luck with the gigs this weekend.


As well as being an international touring live performer and world-renowned producer, Saytek is an instructor at Point Blank, teaching music production. You can find out more about our production courses here and please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

We take mental health very seriously here at Point Blank and strive to make our school as accessible and safe for as many people as possible, whatever their needs. Find out the specifics of our student support services here.
If you’re feeling anxious or low, talk to someone. Some useful resources include: Mind and Help Musicians UK
You can also call The Samaritans, free, 24/7 on this number: 116 123

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

LONDON W OUTLINE

The post A Frank and Open Discussion of Mental Health with Saytek appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Saytek to Headline DJ Mag at Work Presents Point Blank. Full Line-Up Revealed!

The applications were closed earlier this week for entries into our latest DJ mix competition – we wanted to find Point Blank students who could show enough skills to take to the stage at Work Bar for DJ Mag at Work presents Point Blank – and you certainly delivered. We’ve been overwhelmed with the response and have thoroughly enjoyed listening to everyone’s mixes, and now it’s time to announce the winners! We’re also delighted to reveal that the headliner on the night will be Saytek, who will be bringing his mesmeric live show and streaming his set to the world. If you didn’t win, or perhaps didn’t feel the confidence to enter this time, there’s no need to worry – the standard of applications was very high and no matter what level you’re at, you can always check out our DJ courses to help take you to the next level.

There are limited free tickets so make sure you RSVP here if you haven’t already. Here’s a little bit more about each of our artists on the night.

Saytek

UK artist Saytek (aka Joseph Keevill) is one of the electronic music scene’s most in-demand live acts. From multiple shows in Ibiza, at The Terrace of Space (RIP), The Zoo Project and regular shows at fabric London, to being fully embraced by Berlin’s underground scene performing regularly at clubs including Tresor, Golden Gate, Salon – Zur wilder Renate, Chalet, Sisyphos, Kosmonaut, Ipse and more. Saytek has a relentless tour schedule with gigs at some of the best parties and festivals all over Europe. At the time of writing, he’s preparing for doubleheader in Berlin and Frankfurt this weekend (18 & 19 May). We can’t wait to see him bring his wild live show to Work Bar.

Ambian

As the winner of the Point Blank x Pioneer DJ Accelerator Programme, we invite Ambian to join us on the bill for his second show with us in the programme after returning from IMS Ibiza. Between his production and his series of nights, Sensus, he’s steadily been building his repertoire and honing his skills over the past couple of years and is set to launch to the next level. For a more in-depth look, check out our recent interview feature.

Imogen

Bouncing from quirky electro to darker techno, Imogen is already seen to be shaping the next generation of electronic music. Pushing her unique sound, she created a platform with her residency at the now-defunct Radar Radio. All who attend her shows bear witness to the way she captures an audience and threads her sets with a captivating narrative. Taking inspiration from the likes of Luke Slater, Defekt and Zenker Brothers, expect this to go off.

Paradoks

Only 21 years old and a little over a year on since his first release, Paradoks has earned the support from Lane 8, Solee, Betoko, Eelke Kleijn, Paco Osuna, Darin Epsilon and more. With releases on Parquet recordings, Paradoks harvests introspective melodies from his self-taught piano playing, combining it with tougher percussive elements. He’s had a couple of number 1 releases on the Beatport progressive house chart and his latest release, the “Eternal EP”, hit the top 6 of all releases on the site. One to watch!

Opportunities like these come up frequently for our student and alumni, for the latest on a weekly basis, make sure you check back with the opportunities section on this blog. if your feeling inspired then why not check out some of our new degree courses, including a fully accredited BA (Hons) in Music Production and DJ Practice, and a degree in Music Industry Management. If you have any questions about these or any of our courses, or to book a tour of any of our school, please get in touch.

Register to Access Free Courses, Plugins, Projects, Samples & More

When you register with Point Blank, you access an array of free sounds, plugins, online course samples, access to our social network Plugged In and much more! Simply register below and visit our Free Stuff page to get your hands on a range of exclusive music-making tools and tutorials provided by the team. Fill your boots!

LONDON W OUTLINE

The post Saytek to Headline DJ Mag at Work Presents Point Blank. Full Line-Up Revealed! appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Behind The Scenes at Point Blank: Graham Silbiger

You’re probably aware that all of our expert instructors here at Point Blank have a wealth of experience in their fields, often with a concurrently running music career alongside their teaching and a vast bank of experiences to draw on when engaging with students. What you may not know is that much of the backroom staff are successful musicians, DJs and engineers too, which we think is a key reason for the fantastic services we offer. The last subject of one of these ‘behind the scenes’ features, for instance, was studio assistant Ricky Vianello who, when he’s not helping students set up equipment or offering advice, is one half of the pulverising techno duo Tapefeed. This time, we collared our content developer Graham Silbiger to share some of his experience and wisdom with us. Graham has over 30 years experience as a working musician, is a highly respected bassist and DJs at gigs and on radio too, time permitting. Read on for one of our favourite editions of this series full of anecdotes and choice advice.

Hi Graham, can you start by telling me what your role is at Point Blank?

Yes, I am content developer in the development team. Meaning I create content for the Virtual Learning Environment both for the online courses and for the London school. That could be anything from creating a Logic project, writing about Gibson and Fender guitars or describing or explaining how modes work. Anything we put in the degree I create content for.

What would you say that you like about working here?

I really like working in the office, I think there are some great people here and they are fun to be around. The actual work is great because I have a lot of autonomy to put in what I want to put in, and I get to use all my experience and years in the business and offload a lot of it.

Obviously, you’ve been a music person for a really long time – could you tell me what your first experience in music is?

Going back to the beginning, I really wanted a guitar when I was 10. My folks weren’t going to buy me one, so I would sit with a cassette player and a Simon and Garfunkel cassette and sit with my tennis racket pretending to play ‘The Boxer’. In the end, I did get one, but my first real music experiences were I guess with my band Small Change when I was about 13. We were a rock n roll band and shortly after in 1977 became a punk band. The older brother of the guitarist got himself expelled from school for having pink hair and we thought he was a hero so naturally we followed him. We did things like hospital radio when there was such a thing, we did gigs as well at that age.

So you were playing guitar?

Initially, I wanted to be the guitarist but the band wanted me to play bass, so for the first year, I had to use my Gibson Columbus copy and play the basslines… Eventually, I got an SG copy bass, and I started playing bass properly.

So the bass has been your instrument since?

Yeah, I’m a bass player. I’m also a guitarist, I play drums, collect percussion instruments and I can produce a bit using Keyboards. But bass mainly. I’ve played lots of different styles but I’m not really into soloing, I’m more of a groove merchant.

I also know that you DJ quite frequently you’ve mentioned it to me before but would you say that reggae was your intro into not just DJing but soundsystem culture as well?

It was. Back in the 70s London subculture was essentially driven by reggae music, until punk came along. punk came along with the same kind of ideological agenda as reggae, and it resonated with a whole new audience. I started going to soundsystems in 1983/84, to [Jah] Shaka down in Deptford. There weren’t a lot of North London white boys, there was maybe five of us who were regulars. But that was my introduction.

I’ve always thought punk and reggae form quite a symbiotic relationship in a way. And a lot of the most interesting music, particularly dance music, comes from those twin pillars of dub and punk.

Yeah well, the punk attitude, and then this whole idea of producing music to enjoy in a given environment. When reggae was produced, when King Tubby or Lee Scratch Perry or any of the other greats were making music, they were doing it with the soundsystem in mind, they knew what they were trying to do. It’s hard to describe really but when I used to go to Shaka it was as close to a true religious experience as I’ve had in music.

So I know you had some success with a band called Savajazz. Can you tell me a little bit about them?

So my oldest friend, Gav, who was in Small Change with me when we were 13 – it was his older brother that was expelled from school – and I kind of discovered funk music. At the time, there were a bunch of bands like A Certain Ratio that were punk bands but had songs that sounded like a funk riff. So there was this idea that you could be playing quite angry sounding music but it could be quite groovy.

Savajazz was an attempt to do something that inspired us from the American music of the late 70s and early 80s. We were a bit like Chaka Khan mixed with Earth Wind & Fire mixed with Funkadelic and Cameo. We wanted to be articulate and funky but we just wanted to do something a little bit different. In fact, what we’d done was invented ourselves as a rare groove band before that really happened a few years later.

You’ve also done a fair bit of session work. I saw that you had worked with Soul II Soul…

I was on Soul II Soul’s ‘Club Classics Volume 1’. I played bass on the track ‘Feel Free’. I got that gig because I was going to Soul II Soul at the Africa Centre at the time so we knew about them. I was in Camden with my bass one day and I saw Jazzy B and HB sitting at this empty stall in what was then called the traders market, opposite the electric ballroom, with a  box of 7″ records in front of them. I went up to them and said: “are you cutting any dubplates for the sound?” And they said, “no, but we are recording because we want to release some singles, so why don’t you come to the shop?” And that’s when I started working on that.

I saw George Michael on there as well.

Yeah, I got a recommendation from my very good friend Toby Pittman who’s a fantastic guitarist, engineer, producer who works out of Air Studios. He’d been working on tracks on George’s album because the other two producers were also housed at Air. He recommended me, I went to Air and recorded three tracks for that records, and one made it onto the album. [laughs] So I’ve got an album credit on George Michael’s ‘Patience’ album as well.

Brilliant. Was he there?

He wasn’t there, but he signed the cheque anyway…

More recently you’ve been gigging with Vibration Black Finger…

G: Well the sad news there is that the particular gig coming up on the 5th of June just got pulled because they’ve cut it to one date rather than two, but we will get another date out of the Jazz Cafe. Working with that project has been fantastic because its creator and core member is Lascelles Gordon, who is for me as much a pillar of the music establishment as Giles Peterson. He’s a very unsung hero. He was the founder of the Cat in the Hat Club along with Barry Sharp. He was also a founding member of The Brand New Heavies, and probably the music inspiration too. He then went on and did several other things that I’ve worked with him over the years on, but he’s just one of those guys who is a really influential music person and never compromised in what he wanted to do.

Graham playing with Vibration Black FInger at Worldwide FM

What other projects are you involved in at the moment?

I’ve started working with a DJ and producer who goes by the name Dear Earth, he’s on Balamii Radio now and again, and he’s started working with Ed Badon Powell’s sons, Marley and Wazoo. Marley runs the label for Rhythm Section and Waz is the drummer, a fantastic drummer. What’s great for me is that I’m getting to work with younger people and I’m really enjoying that.

What would you say you are most proud of over all of those years.

Sticking to my guns. I’ve been in lots of projects as a career musician, and I’ve not gone chasing around trying to work with pop stars. I’ve tried to work in bands writing my own material with other people, which is what I’ve always believed in doing. Also, I’ve learned a great deal and gone beyond being a bass player.

If you were going to ask me what single thing I’m most pleased to have played on, that’s a little more difficult, but there are things that make me smile. Doing a track for Big Youth on the Tough Scout label was great because used to listen to them when I was about 13. There’s lots of stuff you haven’t mentioned – lots of one-off singles with bands I’ve been in. Those are the things that don’t have the most profile but are the most satisfying.

That might play into this last question. What would one piece of advice would you give to any aspiring musicians?

Given that you always meet the same people on the way down, as you do on the way up… don’t behave badly.

Thanks so much for your time Graham!

Graham plays a key role in the development of the courses here at Point Blank, especially with the new degree programmes in Music Production & DJ Practice and Music Industry Management. He also produced a great deal of content for the online degree in Music Production and Sound Engineering. Find out more about how to enrol, or book yourself a studio tour, by speaking with a course advisor.

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