Loops.Directory

Unique and creative underground electronic music loops and samples for modern producers.

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.

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 Behind The Scenes at Point Blank: Graham Silbiger appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

Read more here

Watch the First Video in Our New Series: Ableton Live 10 In Depth – Using Capture

In a new series, we take a look at Ableton Live 10 in depth with Thomas Glendenning, our resident Ableton whizz in London and certified Ableton trainer. For the first video, the focus is on perhaps the most simple new feature of Live 10, and almost certainly the most revolutionary: Capture. It allows you to record midi sounds after-the-fact, even if you forget to hit record, opening a world of possibility for freer jamming. Thomas teaches Introduction to Music Production (Ableton) with us here in London which, as well as acting as a standalone course, is an integral part of our degree and diploma programmes, both in London and online.

After a short intro from Thomas, we dive into the demonstration, which is directly taken from the course materials for Intro to Music Production (Ableton). As we can see, it allows for a more organic way of recording sounds by eliminating the need to figure out exactly what you might have played while jamming, also taking off some pressure when recording a take. It does this by constantly listening to your session, as long as the midi track is record-armed. It will automatically guess your tempo and a suggestion as to where you want to loop the clip, and you can even overdub using capture as well, simply hitting the button again after playing over your original clip. Watch the video for some more in-depth information about what it can do.

Want to learn how to use Ableton from expert instructors like Thomas? As well as the ITP course, we offer much longer and comprehensive courses, foremost among them our new BA (Hons) in Music Production and DJ Practice, and BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering. You can also take the latter as an online degree from anywhere in the world. We offer courses covering production techniques like these at all of our schools, which are completed by Los Angeles, Ibiza and Mumbai. Any questions? 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 Watch the First Video in Our New Series: Ableton Live 10 In Depth – Using Capture appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

Read more here

How to Make Trap/Hip Hop Beats in Reason 10

https://youtu.be/yx6OGACtKwM

Reason and hip hop have a long history together. In fact, DIY and indie hip hop producers were some of Reason’s earliest adopters, thanks to its intuitive interface, fast and creative workflow, and wealth of sound libraries built right into the platform. In this tutorial, we’ll explore the basics of hip hop beatmaking and show you how to make a hip hop beat in Reason 10.

From crisp modern trap beats to low-fi instrumentals, it pays to take a look at some of the sounds and techniques that have historically defined the genre. All genres are identifiable by their signature rhythms: EDM’s steady, pulsing kicks, the trademark swing of jazz, and funk’s heavy syncopation. With hip hop, the groove itself provides the foundation for everything—the kick and snare hold down a solid pocket, while the hi-hats, claps, and other percussion make the groove bounce and sway with swung subdivisions and expressive accents. There are multiple techniques you can use to create the groove, but we’ll start with sampling.

Ever since producers started lifting drum loops from records, samples have dominated the genre and can make a great foundation for a groove or chorus hook. Reason 10 is packed with powerful sampling tools—choose a sample from the included sound libraries or record your own, then chop, screw, and warp them with Dr. Octo Rex and the Grain Sample Manipulator. To learn more, check out our recent blog post “How To Chop Samples in Reason 10.”

Drum machines are another staple of hip hop production, especially the booming kick and snappy analog sounds of the Roland TR-808. Bass is an equally crucial element—whether it’s a funky synth, a sampled Motown groove, or even a pitch-shifted 808 kick, a good bassline is what really makes a track bump. Reason 10 is packed with powerful bass synths and easy-to-use drum machines modeled after some of the most legendary hardware units in history, giving you a wealth of creative options at your fingertips.

Although most of the raw power in hip hop comes from the rhythm section, a memorable melody can add the right hook to elevate any track. After all, who could forget the laid-back synth leads on “Gin and Juice?” Where would A Tribe Called Quest be without those tasty sax samples? And what better way to add some R&B flavor than with a silky electric piano? Even if you’re not a pro on the keyboard, Reason makes it easy with the Scales & Chords Player.

Reason puts all the tools and sounds you need to make a great beat right at your fingertips. Check out this video above to learn!

Now that you’ve had a primer on how to make a hip hop beat in Reason 10, it’s time to  and let your creativity flow!

Start your free trial of Reason 10 today.

Follow Kato on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Soundcloud.

 

 

Read more here

Student Opportunities: Buzzwazz & Freelance Audio Intern

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.

Buzzwazz

Based just off Baker Street, Buzzwazz is a music production company and record label. Founder and songwriter Peter Morris is looking for a female lead singer, with a modern style like that of Anne Marie or Mabel. He makes pop songs with an urban flavour, and the backing tracks are recorded and ready for a vocal. The agreement is a one-off 50% split of mechanical royalties. If you’d like to learn more and hear some tracks with a mind to recording some songs – send an MP3 of your singing voice to peter@buzzwazz.co.uk.

Freelance Audio Intern

Rate: £10 per hour

Hours: 8 hours per week

Start date: ASAP

CoStartup & Go are currently recruiting for a client who uses Ableton extensively for his live shows. We can’t reveal their identity here but rest assured the project is an exciting one. They are looking for someone with a comprehensive understanding of the programme to help him pull together tracks.

Responsibilities

  • Warping songs
  • Arranging songs into clips (intro, verse, bridge, chorus, outro)
  • Some DJ’ing via Ableton between songs.
  • Elements of editing MIDI clips used to send information to an external vocal processor.
  • Collecting audio from a long improvised session and chopping the best bits into a shorter wav file, to be uploaded to Soundcloud.
  • Finding acapellas for hip-hop songs and writing notes on the vocal production (e.g. doubling of voice/pitch down effects) for the piece.
  • Knowledge of scales and keys, and editing melodies in these keys, would be helpful but not essential.

Key attributes

  • Professional attitude
  • Organised
  • Flexible
  • Proactive

Location

Face to face meetings will be required once weekly. The remainder of the work can be done remotely.

Interested? Send your CV over to : recruit@costartupandgo.com

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 Opportunities: Buzzwazz & Freelance Audio Intern appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

Read more here

Check Out the Latest Scholarships and Student Support Available at Point Blank

At Point Blank, we are committed to providing the best opportunities and support to our students to match the fantastic standard of teaching and facilities that we offer. As the recent winner of ‘Best Independent Higher Education Provider’ at this year’s WhatUni Student Choice awards, we understand the importance of making our school as accessible and welcoming to people of all backgrounds and with all kinds of needs. To try and engender this, we are proud to offer a range of scholarships at our different schools, as well as support for students that require particular assistance. Read on for a brief overview of our scholarships and student support and head to our about section for comprehensive information of what we supply.

Of our scholarships and bursaries, we offer higher education bursaries to help with the cost of our degree programmes in London and Online. These amount to a reduction of £3,000 per year and are available to those who can demonstrate outstanding potential and a household income of less than £30,000. In London, we also offer a Producer’s Scholarship worth £3,000 for any of our three-year BA honours degrees. We also offer partnered scholarships periodically, like our recent Resident Advisor scholarship, and across all of our schools, you can find other, smaller grants and funds to help you achieve exactly what you want to in music. Find out all the info on each of these schemes here.

Furthermore, we offer various forms of support for enrolled students with particular disabilities and learning difficulties. These include student counselling, writing assistance, tweaks to assessment method and much more. We’ve tried to make this as comprehensive as possible but we’re always looking at ways we can accommodate more students with needs not covered here. Find all of the details about the student services we offer here.

So if you’d like to study with us and have concerns over finances or special requirements, we hope this has eased some of your concerns. We’ve recently launched two new degree programmes in the BA (Hons) in Music Production and DJ Practice and the BA (Hons) in Music Industry Management, plus you can check out all of our courses across schools in London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Ibiza and Online. Any questions about scholarships, student services or indeed any of our courses, contact us here.

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 the Latest Scholarships and Student Support Available at Point Blank appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

Read more here

Loopcloud x Point Blank Remix Competition: Win Over £2000 in Prizes

If you’re a music producer at any level and you use a DAW, chances are you’ve come across Loopmasters and Plugin Boutique, two of the world’s biggest sellers of sample packs and plugins respectively. Well, to celebrate the launch of their free cloud-based platform Loopcloud 2.0, we’ve teamed up with both companies to bring you this outstanding producers remix competition. All you need to do is download Loopcloud and, using any of the 1GB of free sounds you gain access to on downloading, make a ‘remix’ track and submit it via Plugged In. The winner will receive prizes from an array of developers, as well as any of our ‘Complete’ range of online courses.

HOW TO ENTER

Step One: Download Loopcloud and make your track.

  • Use this link to download the programme, giving you access to 1GB of free sounds. Users who download will also get 500 free shop credits and 150 new free samples each week.
  • Make a track in any style or genre – whatever takes your fancy. The only requirement is that you use at least one of the free sounds from Loopcloud
  • Upload your remix to SoundCloud
  • Name the remix “Point Blank x Loopcloud Producer Competition: Your Artist Name ‘Your Track Name’ “

Step Two: Share your remix on Plugged In

  • Note that you will need to be registered in order to submit your track. For those not already registered, you can do so via this page
  • Once you’ve recorded your track and are ready to share it from SoundCloud, head to the Tracks page of Plugged In, then select Add Track to get started
  • On the Add Track page, simply paste the URL of your mix into the ‘track URL’ field, and name the track accordingly. You must also select ‘Competition’ under the ‘select category’ field for your entry to be eligible (see below)
  • Once you submit your track, it will now be visible when you filter in our ‘competition’ category within the Tracks channel. You’re all set!

JUDGING

All entries will be listened to and judged by the Loopcloud and Point Blank listening panel. Entrants are encouraged to promote through their social media channels to maximise the chances of them proceeding to the shortlist stage. Our panel will then judge the shortlisted remixes based on:

  • Votes and listens on Plugged In
  • Originality
  • Songwriting
  • Arrangement
  • Mixdown quality

The deadline for entries is 10th June 2018, and we will announce the winners shortly after. If you’re new to Loopcloud, watch the short video below to learn more and head to this page to see the full list of prizes on offer. Happy producing and good luck!

Want to study at Point Blank? At our London campus, we have a whole studio connected with the Loopcloud library, which you can access as part of your study experience. Our BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree is one of the most comprehensive music courses out there, on which you can also learn everything you need to know about music production including mixing and mastering, composition and music business. We also offer additional degrees in Music Production and DJ Practice as well as Music Industry Management, all fully validated and accredited by Middlesex University. For more information, contact our course advisors on +44 20 7729 4884. If you are a resident of the USA, you can reach us on 323 282 7660.

Our London facility features a studio fully kitted out with Loopcloud licenses

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 Loopcloud x Point Blank Remix Competition: Win Over £2000 in Prizes appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

Read more here