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Student Success March 2017: Arjun, Diezmo & Adam Scavo

Another month, another batch of former PB students making some serious waves out there in the real world. This is where we show off – like proud parents – recent student success stories to give you insight into how music industry careers are established and nurtured right here at Point Blank. In March 2017, we’re catching up with a diverse set of just breaking and established talent: Sri Lankan pop-star Arjun Coomaraswamy (Arjun), Producer/DJ Juan David Lopez (Diezmo) and DJ Adam Bartok (Adam Scavo). Want to join them? Check out our LondonLos Angeles, Ibiza and online course pages to begin your own journey to the top.

Arjun Coomaraswamy (Arjun – Music Production Certificate)

Arjun began his studies at Point Blank way back in 2007, taking courses in music production, mixing and sound design – now available as modules in our BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree. “I had very little knowledge of sound design, mixing or music production in general when I joined Point Blank,” he says, “the various modules I took there put me in great stead to self-produce the majority of my releases over the years!”

Since his time at Point Blank Arjun has achieved huge success, winning ‘Best Urban Act’ at the MOBO-associated UK Asian Music Awards in 2012 as well as being named one of MTV’s ‘Top Unsigned Acts Of 2012’ and Eastern Eye Magazine’s ‘Male Artist Of The Year’ both in 2013 & 2014. As a pioneer in the Hindi/R&B fusion genre Arjun has toured the world, produced music for a variety of artists and is signed to the biggest label in India, T-Series. He is currently the most viewed UK-Asian artist on YouTube and his single ‘I’ll Be Waiting’ charted at #1 on iTunes India, as well as spending 30 weeks in the UK BBC Asian Download Chart. “It was great to be in such a stimulating environment with so many like-minded folks.” he says, on his time at Point Blank, “I particularly fondly remember the guidance of my tutor in Advanced Production & Sound Design”. Keep up to date with everything Arjun on his website or Facebook page.

Juan David Lopez (Diezmo – Complete DJ Course)

After producing music for a couple of years, Juan David Lopez decided it was time to try his hand at DJing, giving him the ability to perform his music. Juan decided to enrol at Point Blank in 2015, after being wowed by our Pioneer-sponsored DJ studio. “The wide range of DJ equipment was great, it meant I could try and learn in as many different platforms as possible and be flexible when it came to performing. The second aspect was the ability to make contacts with and learn from other students, the first few gigs came through those contacts.”

Producing under the name Diezmo, Lopez is currently working on a second EP release and several remixes. He had this advice for potential students: “A place like Point Blank will help you learn and improve your technique, as well as expose you to a lot of new music. To see everybody learn and progress rather quickly and to see myself playing my first shows so soon after completing my DJ course was very gratifying!”

Adam Bartok (Adam Scavo – Complete DJ Course)

Adam Bartok took our Complete DJ Course in 2015, having been inspired by Hungarian DJ Duo Muzzaik and Stadiumx. He has gone on to play regularly at London’s Ministry of Sound & EGG nightclubs, as well as gigging in Ibiza at Es Paradis, Ibiza Rocks and Savannah Ibiza.

“I found my time at Point Blank extremely useful,” he says, “my skills improved a lot and the course gave me enough self-confidence to play at bigger venues and gigs”. This year Adam will be returning to Ibiza to play at Sankeys, as well as preparing for a debut at Amsterdam Dance Event in October. “I like the atmosphere at the school, being around like-minded DJs, producers, singers and songwriters,” he says, “I am not the only one from my class who had accomplished such success, some of the other students have been on an incredible journey over the last two years – the course was worth every penny”. You can catch Adam at FIRE on April 1st.

“For anyone who would like to improve their DJ skills, gain self-confidence in DJing and be around other like minded guys and girls, I can only advise the DJ course at Point Blank.”

If you want to study at Point Blank in London like Arjun, Adam and Juan, check out our brand new BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree. It’s our most comprehensive course and with modules focussing on mixing, mastering, composing and even music business, it gives you everything you need to make a career in music. If you want to come down and see our studios for yourself, we host tours every Wednesday at 17:30 and Saturdays at 12:30. Click here to book yourself on one.

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 Student Success March 2017: Arjun, Diezmo & Adam Scavo appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Point Blank Ibiza School: August Term Open Due to Demand!

Ushuaia – an official supporter of Point Blank Ibiza

Yep, you read it right: Point Blank Music School has launched in Ibiza, the Balearic international hub of electronic music! We have teamed up with Can Blau Music School, a facility nestled in an idyllic village near San Jose, to bring you our Ibiza DJ/Producer Course. Due to popular demand, we are running another course from Monday August 28th, so if you want to attend don’t delay and reserve your place now!

Students on this two-week course will be provided with their own fully equipped workstation, with the latest equipment from Pioneer DJ and Ableton at their fingertips. The course is taught in English by expert instructors Gaty Lopez and expert DJ instructor from Point Blank London, Nigel Hosten – these guys have remixed for the likes of Depeche Mode and Danny Tenaglia and performed at legendary venues including Space and Pacha, so you know you’re in good hands.

We’ll also be holding guest masterclasses each week from visiting DJ’s and producers to ensure students are able to forge international connections within the music industry. This will include industry experts such as  Henry Sarmiento – owner of top Ibiza recording studio – Sonic Vista Studios, Javier Ferrer – producer at Ushuaia’s recording studio, and Graham Sahara (Pioneer DJ Radio).

Can Blau – The home of Point Blank Ibiza

If you are wondering about accommodation, we have partnered up with Hotel Puchet, where you can redeem a fantastic discount of nearly 50% off rooms, as well as being provided with breakfast and free transport to and from the school. If all of this isn’t enough to convince you, our connections within Ibiza’s nightlife means that you’ll have industry access to some of the island’s best clubs, such as Pacha and Ushuaia. Point Blank will also be hosting parties at venues such as Hotel Pacha and on the roof terrace of Ocean Drive Hotel, where students will have the opportunity to play a set!

Play a set at on the rooftop of the Ocean Drive Hotel

The iconic Hotel Pacha

This truly is an incredible chance to learn the core skills of a music producer and DJ whilst immersed in one of the centres of electronic music. The course is limited to just 20 spaces and is selling fast, so enrol today to ensure your place. Upon enrolment, you’ll receive a free copy of Ableton Suite and Rekordbox DJ, worth over £620 / €740, plus access to 50% off Native Instruments. For more information, contact our Course Advisors here or call 0207 729 4884 or if you’re calling internationally, use the number +44 20 7729 4884.

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 Point Blank Ibiza School: August Term Open Due to Demand! appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

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Exploring The Roots Of Dance: Part 1 – Disco

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We’re catapulting into 2017 with a brand new series, giving you a sneak peek of our Production Analysis module which features as just a small part of our BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering degree course. In this series we’ll be documenting some of the most significant cultural movements in musical history and their contribution to the evolution of electronic music and the music industry. In the first part of the series, we delve into the roots of dance music, taking a look at one of the most important counter-cultural scenes of the 20th century, Disco.

Disco first gained popularity in the mid-1970’s, with its roots founded in Philadelphia and New York where many Proto-Disco acts such as Gil Scott-Heron, First Choice, Isaac Hayes and MFSB were beginning to emerge in the mid 60’s / early 70’s. Tracks like MFSB’s ‘Love Is The Message’ and Gil Scott-Heron’s ‘The Bottle’ were some of the first to have that particular groove that made them a hit at early Disco events. Influenced by Psychedelia, Funk, and Soul groups such as Sly and the Family Stone and Archie Bell, these musicians, along with the rise of urban gay culture in New York City, shaped the sound of what we recognise today as Disco.

The LGBT community was pivotal in the rise of Disco, pioneering some of the first parties to embrace these sounds. However, it didn’t come easy. The gay community was incredibly oppressed, and there were few clubs or bars for people to go to without fear of harassment. The Stonewall Inn, a mafia-run bar in Greenwich Village was one of the first gay bars in New York City. At the time, a New York by-law banned two or more men from dancing together and police would often raid venues and attempt to shut down events. However on June 28th, 1969, a morning raid didn’t go exactly as planned. Patrol wagons were late in turning up and with no way to transport arrested patrons the growing crowd grew restless, tired of the inequalities they were constantly subjected to. Fights against the police broke out, leading to days of rioting and protesting. Eventually, the law was repealed, marking a significant victory for the LGBT community and essentially jumpstarting Disco.

Stonewall Riots, June 28, 1969 (2)

Protesters clash with Police at the 1969 Stonewall Riots.

Venues like The Loft and Paradise Garage began to pop up, with the Loft being credited as the first venue to really push the disco/proto disco sound. These private, strictly members-only events took place in DJ David Manusco’s apartment and provided a space for the gay community to enjoy themselves without fear of harassment. Frequented by House legends Frankie Knuckles and Larry Levan, The Loft’s impact on the Disco scene can be viewed as a crucial catalyst in the birth and rise of House & Techno. These events in the late 60’s and early 70’s laid the foundation of Disco and gave birth to a whole generation of legendary artists such as Nile Rodgers, German producer & synth-maestro Giorgio Moroder, as well as singers like Donna Summer, Cherelle, Grace Jones and Patrice Rushen.

paradise garageThe dancefloor at New York’s Paradise Garage.

By the end of the 70’s Disco was firmly in the mainstream, and was bringing electronica and synthesis with it. Whilst early Disco, Proto-Disco and Funk relied on the unique groove of a studio drummer and more traditional instrumentation, artists like Giorgio Moroder adopted a more modern approach; using drum machines and synthesisers for a more rigid, pumping rhythm and to create dreamy, ethereal soundscapes. Donna Summers’ classic ‘I Feel Love’ is a prime example of this. Check out this fantastic footage from Top Of The Pops in 1977, where you can instantly recognise the hallmark sounds of modern techno and in which ‘I Feel Love’ features second. Also, don’t forget to check out our Production courses, on which you’ll comprehensively learn about synthesis and have access to a range of drum machines, synthesizers, midi controllers and more.

From a production perspective, early Disco invariably incorporated a strong, pumping four-on-the-floor beat, with 8th and 16th note hi hat patterns. These would roll under a prominent syncopated bass line, driving the track forwards and helping to create that instantly recognizable, highly danceable groove. Rhythm guitarists would typically play in a ‘Chicken Scratch’ style, lightly pressing the strings against the fretboard and quickly releasing them. Orchestral instruments, usually strings and brass sections, solidified the sound, often adding classic soul arrangements using a rich background and defined solo melodies. The vocals would create the human touch within disco tracks, with vocalists usually singing about love, dancing, or other themes of escapism. It was later on when Disco truly embraced the use of synthesizers, and drum machines, particularly towards the end of the 70’s and into the early 80’s. On our degree courses you will learn about the fundamentals of FM, Digital and Analogue synthesis and on our music composition module you’ll work on your song writing and arrangement skills, a key aspect of top Disco tracks.

studio 54

Partygoers queue up outside Studio 54.

Disco also revolutionised the role of the DJ and musicians like Francis Grasso and Nicky Siano were some of the first to really start to remix and re-edit tracks, using reel- to-reel tape machines to add new sections and sounds, manipulating tracks and using two turntables so they could mix more seamlessly when performing (a skill you’ll learn on our Complete DJ course). The rise of club culture associated with Disco meant the role of the DJ was much more important, and shaped the way the modern DJ is represented today. Clubs like Tenth Floor, 12 West and the infamous Studio 54 pushed the boundaries of the clubbing experience and helped to set the tone for the future of dance music and club culture. There is no doubt that without Disco, modern dance music as we know it today would not exist.


Giorgio Moroder with his Moog modular synthesizer.

At Point Blank, we go over all of the content you would need to cover to employ key musical and production techniques to your own music, whether you want to make Disco, Hip-Hop, EDM, Techno or anything else for that matter. Our BA (Hons) Music Production & Sound Engineering Degree can provide you with the tools necessary to take your productions above and beyond. With modules on Sound design, Mixing, DAWs, Composition, Djing, Music Business, Engineering, Mastering and more you will leave us overflowing with knowledge, kick starting your career in music and leaving you in good stead moving forwards. Using our London studios incredible facilities, you will have access to all sorts of hardware, from synthesizers and samplers to full recording booths. For a virtual tour, click here.

studio1_carpetStudio 1 at Point Blank London, featuring a 48-Channel SSL mixing console.

For further information on our degree course or any of our courses, contact our Course Advisors here or call 0207 729 488 or, if you’re in the USA, give us a call on 323 282 7660. If you’re calling internationally, use the number +44 20 7729 4884. Want to see firsthand the amazing facilities offered by Point Blank? You can book a space on one of our studio tours by heading here.

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Register to Access Free Courses, Projects, Samples & More

If you register with Point Blank, you can access an array of free sounds, online course samples 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 Exploring The Roots Of Dance: Part 1 – Disco appeared first on Point Blank’s Online Magazine.

Read more here