Browsing Tag

Masterclasses

Point Blank at IMS Ibiza: Andrea Oliva DJ Masterclass

You may have noticed how much fun we had at the International Music Summit in Ibiza last month, what with our Point Blank x Pioneer DJ Accelerator Programme winner Ambian playing at the Hard Rock in support of Flashmob and Seth Troxler, and DJ Ravine reporting from some of the parties at the event. Well, even that wasn’t the entirety of what we were up to out on the island – we also hosted a DJ masterclass with Swiss superstar Andrea Oliva. Check out the video below and take a look at some of our DJ courses to see how you too could learn some wizardry on the decks.

 

Andrea Oliva is known worldwide today, with past gigs on the biggest stages as diverse as Coachella and Panorama Bar and a whole host of Elrow parties. Everyone starts somewhere, however, and we learn here that he started out with a pair of belt-driven decks and Numark’s extremely basic two-channel mixer (which, let’s face it, is the beginner’s mixer of champions). We also learn some of his first inspirations to take his mixing as far technically as he could, including Erick Morillo and Little Louis Vega, leading him to his affection for four-deck mixing as demonstrated here.

After the show incorporating the four decks, Oliva gets into some of the technical nitty-gritty of his set, beginning with his RMX-1000 from Pioneer DJ. The effects unit can add impact when needed, and spices up looped sections simply. Simplicity isn’t necessarily something Oliva goes for, however, as he favours a “chaotic” approach to playlisting and planning to help allow a more natural creative process. We learn as well the importance of the warm-up set and how experience and risk-taking are the cornerstones of a constantly improving DJ.

IMS Ibiza is a massive event in the dance music calendar, drawing people from all over the globe to the white isle. Delegates in attendance are entitled to a 10% discount on course at Point Blank Ibiza, which is now enrolling for classes this summer. The courses on offer teach the basics of both DJing and Production, suited to your level, and there is another option to focus on DJing and Radio Production. Back in London, our flagship DJ course is the BA (Hons) in Music Production and DJ Practice, quality-assured by Middlesex University. For more info don’t hesitate to 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!

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Progressing in the Music Industry with Nick Halkes, Co-Founder of XL Recordings (Pt.2)

Following on from our first video a few weeks back, we return to the guest music industry masterclass given by Nick Halkes. Nick is currently the manager of Liam Howlett (The Prodigy), Stanton Warriors, DnB dons Bad Company UK, Ministry of Sound-signed One Bit and more. He is also a member of the Reach Up crew who are bringing their disco/boogie soundtrack to Blue Dot, Bestival and Festival Number 6 this summer. Furthermore, since we shared the first part of this video, his ‘Trailblazers’ podcast with Eddie Temple Morris has launched, which aims to explore the lives of electronic music pioneers. At the time of writing, they have covered Gary Numan, Mary Anne Hobbes and Fatboy Slim, and the programme is the number 2 music podcast on iTunes. We’re big fans already and, if you have any interest in electronic music, we recommend you subscribe right away. Don’t forget we offer a range of music industry courses here at Point Blank, including our new BA (Hons) in Music Industry Management, starting in September.

For the second part of his masterclass with us, we pick up where we left off last time, with Nick in NYC…

As Nick brings us along on his journey from WBLS back to university, Easy Street Records to City Beat, Club Promo to A&R and finally to the formation of XL Recordings and the discovery of Liam Howlett and the Prodigy. Much like the first instalment, the story is full of golden anecdotes. These include getting calls from the likes of Pete Tong to his shared phone in student accommodation and hearing ‘Numero Uno’ by Starlight at a party and encountering the familiar hostility of some DJs to track hunters. Plus the fact that Nick designed the XL label himself, despite having no graphic design tuition.

Perhaps more importantly, the video is packed with invaluable wisdom, foremost of which is to be true to your own vision when starting a label or brand. The thing for Nick, it seems, was the desire to pour his energy into something that would look exactly how he wanted and, for him to achieve this, starting his own thing was the most surefire route. Not only that but, as with The Prodigy, it is equally vital to respect the vision that the artists you work with might have, as demonstrated by the Prodigy’s initial reluctance to appear on Top of the Pops, and their subsequent long career stacked with several number 1 releases.

You can follow Nick on social media:

https://twitter.com/nickhalkes

https://www.instagram.com/nickhalkes/

https://www.facebook.com/nick.halkes

Guest masterclasses like this one are something we strive to bring students of all of our classes and recent examples include Shan McGinley visiting our radio students. Check out our courses in these subjects and beyond at each of our schools in LondonMumbaiLos AngelesIbiza and online. If you have any questions, please call a course advisor on +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!

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We Return to IMS Ibiza w/ DJ Masterclass feat. Andrea Oliva – Full Lineup Announced!

Point Blank returns to the White Isle in May for the 11th edition of the International Music Summit Ibiza. As a long-term industry partner, we have curated and presented many workshops, talks and masterclasses over the years and we can’t wait to head back for this year’s edition. This year music journalist and Point Blank presenter Declan McGlynn will host a DJ Skills masterclass with international headliner Andrea Oliva, who’ll be sharing his expertise with IMS attendees. As ‘Best Music School’ according to DJ Mag readers, we have a fair bit of experience of teaching people to DJ – don’t forget to check out our DJ Courses in London and on Ibiza itself if you’re interested.

 

Launched with Pete Tong in 2007, IMS Ibiza has long held an enviable position as one of the world’s premier music conferences and has gone from strength to strength each year. Billed as “The Premier Platform for Thought and Leadership in Electronic Music,” every year the industry’s biggest players come together to share ideas with the aim of advancing the cause of electronic music worldwide. Held at the stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site of Dalt Villa, it’s the perfect marriage of natural beauty, Ibiza’s inherent buzz and true, game-changing innovation.

*Update* The programme at IMS Ibiza 2018 has been fully revealed and we can say with some confidence it looks set to be the best yet, looking at all facets of the industry and ways it can improve. Pete Tong will give the opening keynote address, paying particular attention to the tragic loss earlier this year of Avicii. A focus on wellbeing in music is a fitting tone-setter for the five-day conference, with many of the most interesting talks looking at progressive ways to make the culture safer, including tackling sexual harassment in music and drugs testing at clubs. These accompany the usual array of label showcases, masterclasses and panel discussions. For the full list of talks and shows head here.

A photograph of a talk on gender disparity in electronic music from last year’s IMS Ibiza conference

As for us, we have invited Swiss/Italian superstar Andrea Oliva to use his renowned skills as a DJ to demonstrate some choice DJ Skills. Our own Declan McGlynn, a music journalist and DJ of considerable talents himself, will be hosting, so you can be sure he will uncover some choice nuggets of information. Andrea has been having a stellar year already, continuing his long-running association with the all-conquering Elrow and playing at respected clubs like fabric, Watergate Berlin and The Warehouse Project. You don’t want to miss this one, which is held 11 AM on Friday 25th May.

We’re also bringing the winner of this year’s Point Blank x Pioneer DJ Accelerator Programme along with us to this year’s conference, where he will play the first set of his year-long partnership with us. For some more information on Ambian and the scheme, check out this in-depth interview we conducted with him after he was announced the winner.

Ambian is this year’s winner of the 2018 PB x Pioneer DJ Accelerator Programme, and he plays this year at IMS Ibiza

Last year we launched Point Blank Ibiza and this summer we return with an expanded list of courses. Come and join us to learn the fundamentals of DJing and Production, or DJing and Radio Production. There’s also an advanced course for those who attended last year or have some experience already. You can study all of this while enjoying the most exciting party destination in the world, on the most beautiful island in the world! For more information give us a call on  +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!

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Breaking Into The Music Industry With Nick Halkes, Co-Founder Of XL Recordings

Music’s power to seduce the minds of young people is well documented. Since Rock n Roll’s halcyon days in the 1950s and 1960s it is perhaps only football that has attracted more hopeful pretenders worldwide with its promises of excitement. These promises take many forms and, indeed, there are many routes into the world of music, but the one thing that binds them all is doggedness. One man who knows this and who embodies the kind of dedication and graft needed is Nick Halkes, one of the founders of XL Recordings and the man who broke The Prodigy. Halkes was recently invited to give a masterclass to one of our Music Industry classes, to whom he bestowed his sage-like knowledge of getting your foot in the door, and his own unique pathway into the industry. It was a long one, so we’ve split the class into several parts. Check out Part 1 below.

So, for the first part of his masterclass, Halkes describes the first part of his history in the industry, leading to the revelation that shaped much of his working life thereafter: that by putting himself out there and diving headlong into his convictions, there was no telling how far he would get. His story begins in Portishead, Somerset – where Geoff Barrow, founder of the band of the same name, also grew up (he even attended the same school as Halkes). As a child, he discovered dance music at a young age, through Al Mathews’ Disocvatin’ show on BBC Radio 1, and it wasn’t long before he and a friend took their respective hi-fi systems around town to play music at birthday parties. He later graduated to playing on hospital radio in Bristol, before following the industry to its natural hub in London.

In London, Halkes followed his nose and engineered an encounter with Peter Powell, a Radio 1 DJ, the result of which was that he became one of the station’s Pop Panel, reviewing the records of the week. From there he made his way across the pond where he found himself working as an usher at a cinema in Queens, New York. His initiative kicked in once again as he convinced the station manager of WBLS, B.K. Kirkland, that he was a journalist writing a story on New York radio, so he might get his foot in the door once again. Once there, he did exactly that, and became the station’s intern, leading to yet another piece of serendipity: an invite to the launch of the latest Michael Jackson release onboard a yacht on the Hudson River. All of which is to illustrate the power of putting yourself in the right place, because any time could be the right time.

Guest masterclasses like this one are something we strive to bring students of all of our classes, and recent examples include Shan McGinley visiting our radio students. Check out our courses in these subjects and beyond at each of our schools in London, Mumbai, Los Angeles, Ibiza and online. If you have any questions, please call a course advisor on +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!

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Grammy Award Winner Todd Edwards Masterclass Insight at Point Blank Los Angeles

At Point Blank, we’re pretty transparent with what goes on at our schools, after all we’re proud of what we offer. This is why you can find free sample courses online, features on our learning platforms and video insights into what it’s like to be a student here, not to mention all of the top-quality free content you can find out at our YouTube channel. But have you ever wondered what it’s like to attend our masterclasses in person? We could tell you ourselves, but we thought what better way to share that with you than to ask one of our esteemed guests to tell us what happens when they give a masterclass. So, at a recent class in LA, we asked the Grammy Award-winning producer and DJ, Todd Edwards, to tell what goes on when he’s imparting his sizable knowledge and expertise. Inspired? Get access to masterclasses like this one with the business when studying with us at PBLA.

Todd Edwards is not a man that needs much introduction, but in case you need a refresher, he’s a producer and DJ, and one of the most prominent figures in house & garage since the mid-nineties. An early champion of speed garage with a trademark cut-up style of sampling, he came to be known as a pioneer of UK garage, all the way from New Jersey. During those early years, his original productions would regularly appear on the i! label, and he began a long series of legendary remixes which have continued to this day. Artists remixed by Edwards include MJ Cole, Moloko, Beyoncé, TLC, Hot Chip, Mathew Dear and Sam Smith. Edwards also holds the enviable accolade of being the only artist to collaborate on two separate occasions with those masked marauders from Paris: Daft Punk.

In this video, we get a glimpse of a Todd Edwards masterclass at Point Blank Los Angeles, in which he shares some invaluable advice and choice anecdotes with his students. Watch the video to see and hear glimpses of his DAW projects, managerial insights and stories about the less glamorous side of old-school sampling techniques. Plus, hear about his love for Irish folk music and DIY Björk impersonations.

Todd Edwards with Daft Punk and DJ Falcon

Get masterclasses like these with courses across the board, be it Production, Mixing, Sound Design or DJing… and that’s just in LA. Study with us in London,  Online, Ibiza or Mumbai and you’ll get the same treatment. Speak with a course advisor for more information by calling 323 282 7660 (or +44 20 7729 4884 if you’re outside of the US). Alternatively, use this form and one of our advisors will get back to you asap.

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!

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Tune into a Live Performance from Look Mum No Computer at our London Studios

We love Look Mum No Computer, not only did he give us a fantastic live performance back in September (check that out here) but he also came and gave us a demonstration and intro to DIY modular synthesis in November, which you can check below. Never satisfied, we asked him to come back for another performance, which we’re streaming on YouTube below! You can watch a visionary at work live from 1:30pm GMT.

You can also check out LMNC diving into his homemade set-up from earlier in the year, showing off homemade oscillators, filters, envelope generators and analogue drums. After making an entire track on the fly, he finishes up by talking us through how he built everything – you’ll find out that the cost of building this kind of unit will set you back a lot less than you might imagine!

For more demonstrations, live sets and masterclasses, check out our YouTube channel. If you’d like to learn more about synthesis, our sound design modules cover all the bases. Our BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering is one of the most comprehensive of its kind, and includes modules on live performance as well as synthesis. Not only will you learn everything you need to know about production, but also how to make your way through the music industry, and there’s even an online alternative. Check out more courses Online and in London, LA, Ibiza and Mumbai. Questions? Contact us.

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!

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Watch an Introduction to DIY Modular Synthesis with Look Mum No Computer

Back in September, we shared with you Look Mum No Computer’s fantastic live set from Point Blank London. We loved it so much that we asked him to come back and give us an introduction to DIY modular synthesis. He’s so infectiously enthusiastic that we defy you to watch this and not be more than a little intrigued. Watch the madcap genius at work below.

In the video, the man also known as Sam Battle gives us a little lesson in the history of synthesisers, before diving into his homemade set-up. Homemade oscillators, filters, envelope generators and analogue drums are demonstrated, while he teaches us what effects things like resonance, waveform shape and voltage have on the sounds that can be made. We also learn that you shouldn’t put a six-volt current through your tongue. After making an entire track on the fly, LMNC finishes up by talking us through how he built everything, and we learn that the cost of this kind of unit being used will set you back a lot less than you might imagine.

Sam Battle in full flow with his monster set-up

We hope you enjoy this video, we think it’s something quite special. For more demonstrations, live sets and masterclasses, check out our YouTube channel. If you’d like to learn more about musical theory and production, then join us at Point Blank. Our BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering is one of the most comprehensive of its kind, and includes modules on live performance. Not only will you learn everything you need to know about production, but also how to make your way through the music industry, and there’s even an online alternative. Check out more courses Online and in London, LA, Ibiza and Mumbai. Questions? Contact us.

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!

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Shan McGinley Returns to Point Blank for a Guest Masterclass

Shan McGinley was a student of ours back in 2011. He studied the Radio Production Certificate and has since gone on to be one of the most successful alumni we’ve had, particularly in his field. We last caught up with him for this magazine in 2014, when he had moved on from his internships at Shoreditch Radio and Ministry of Sound, becoming broadcasting assistant at Rinse Fm, presenting for IAmMusicTV and Launching SISTER with Carly Wilford.

Shan McGinley is now content curator for huge brands like Snapchat and Nike

The intervening years have seen Shan expand SISTER into a fully-fledged radio platform as well as event, and begin working with Nike and Snapchat. McGinley has become of of the latter’s most visible faces as a presenter and curator of live socials, working at huge events like The Brits, and artists as big as Kendrick Lamar, Dev Hynes and Justin Bieber. With Nike, McGinley blurs the lines between sport and music, and was behind the recent ‘100th Game’ story with Real Madrid and Croatia footballer Luka Modric. Take a look at a short clip of his recent talk at our London radio studio below.

Students at Point Blank are regularly treated to guest masterclasses of this ilk. This year alone has seen talks by Japanese instrumentalist Clive Bell, Bassment Jaxx percussionist Oli Savill and the live performer Sandunes. And that’s just in London. In LA we welcomed Mixmaster Mike, Todd Edwards and more, while in Ibiza we hosted DVS1 for a masterclass in DJing.

Inspired by Shan’s successes? We are too. Come and join us on one of our radio courses and there’s no telling where your potential could take you. Check out our school in Ibiza and LA too for more access to incredible guest masterclasses.

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!

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Watch a Deconstruction of 808 State’s ‘Pacific 707’ from Sarm Music Village

Last November, Point Blank teamed up with SARM Music Village for a day-long event featuring masterclasses and workshops from some of the best producers in the game, including by Trevor Horn, who himself deconstructed the classic track ‘Relax’ by Frankie Goes To Hollywood. Along with a Q&A with Trevor Horn, the day also saw Point Blank’s lead course developer Ski Oakenfull deconstruct the 808 State’s Acid House classic ‘Pacific 707’ which was released on ZTT. Watch the remarkable demonstration below.

‘Pacific 707’, and the original version ‘Pacific State’, led by Graham Massey’s iconic saxophone lead, is one of the most revered tracks in dance music history which, in mainstream appeal, aped almost any other tune from the Hacienda era. It was written by 808 State, which at the time was made up of Massey, Martin Price, and Gerald Simpson (better known as A Guy Called Gerald, himself the man behind ‘Voodoo Ray’, another track to rival ‘Pacific 707’ in seminality). A masterpiece of syncopation, no other track embodies the second summer of love in 1989 than ‘Pacific 707’.

In this deconstruction, Ski uses Ableton Live to build each element of the track from scratch (time permitting). We learn what instruments were used, including the Roland TR-909, D-50, SH-101 and Juno-106, the Casio F2-1 and the Akai S-900, before Ski begins with the famously warm chords that open the track. We learn that the track actually straddles two keys, that the famous ‘Loon bird’ sample came from disc 22 of the E-Mu Emulator II library, and that Ski finally learned how 808 State made the piano roll sound at the track’s beginning from Graham Massey himself. For more deconstructions like these, check out our YouTube Channel.

The iconic artwork for 808 State’s ‘Pacific State’

If you want access to weekly masterclasses and 1-2-1 tutorials, why not join us at Point Blank? We offer a degree course in our London BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering, as well as an online alternative. If you’re after something shorter, take a look at our professional courses, or learn about our schools in Los Angeles, Ibiza and Mumbai. For more information or to talk to a course advisor, head to our contact page.

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!

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Watch our Native Instruments Machine Mk3 Tutorial with Paul Ressel

Just over a month ago, Native Instruments the newest version of their flagship Maschine controller, the MK3. The latest upgrade represents the biggest leap in terms of performance since the top-end Maschine Studio was launched back in 2013. It’s packed with new features and even if you’re familiar with Maschine, it’s a lot to get your head around. Have no fear though, as we’ve asked our instructor Paul Ressel, who’s not only worked with Lana Del Rey and Maxi Jazz, but also releases with his own band Vuvuvulvas on Tri Tone, to demonstrate some of its new functionality. Take a look at our tutor profile on Paul for more info.

In the video, we get a look at some of the new features on the MK3 such as the touch strip, new modes like the chord and keyboard modes, as well as the hugely improved editing capabilities, expanding what you can do without needing to revert to software. In just 13 minutes, Paul Ressel takes us through arranging and sketching and ideas, with an arrangement built from just two sounds.

When the first Maschine was released in 2009, it completely changed the landscape of using digital tools to make music. It borrowed the best features of the legendary Akai MPC and paired hardware sampler functionality with linked software to become more of a compact, digital studio. It has since undergone several makeovers: the Maschine Mikro introduced more portability, MK2 was an incremental upgrade with greater customisation, Maschine Studio added screens and a huge range of extra functionality to match its professional target audience and the Maschine Jam emulated Ableton’s Push module in design. The MK3 though marks the biggest change to the original design since it’s inception. We’re already sold.

Want to learn on Native Instruments gear? NI are an official partner of Point Blank and in London and LA our studios are kitted out with the full range of NI products: Maschine, Komplete, Komplete Kontrol and Traktor. On our Sound Engineering classes as part of our B.A Programme you will make use of our Native Instruments studio where you can find all of this kit in one place, and you’ll also learn everything you need to know about production.

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!

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