My Arts Award Challenge

As part of my Silver Arts Award which I am taking, I have to set myself a challenge which I must follow.

I’ve decided to do what many early producers do and that is to make a debut EP of at least 3 tracks. The EP will be multi-genre although mainly dubstep-based with some drum & bass and possibly some glitch hop.

I have decided to name the debut EP: ‘Bass Matters’, as my style focuses on heavy, growly basslines, although I still want to maintain the wobbly feel of classic dubstep.

I have already made one track which I would like to use for the EP, called The Curve. Check it out:

This EP will define my style of sound, which has been heavily inspired by many famous artists in the business today. I have come up with ideas using:

  • The growls of Excision
  • The scream of Skrillex
  • The thumping subs of Caspa
  • The wobbles of Rusko
  • The tunes and soundscapes of Benga
  • The power of Flux Pavillion
  • … and the craziness of both Datsik and Doctor P

Here’s just about one of the most heart-pounding dubstep tunes out here:

I would like my style to be similar to this, but more varied with glitchy, wobbly and percussive elements, exploring the different elements of dubstep. I would like my style to be one that people will definitely throw their hands to.

I do hope that you enjoy the EP. I’m still working on it but it should be a blow-up.

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London Drum Show 2012 Review (for Sunday)

If you’re keen in the world of drums, whether you love watching geniuses max out their drum sets on stage, learning pro tips from experts or trying out kit from all of the major leading drumming brands, then the London Drum Show weekend at the Olympia Conference Centre in Kensington is something that you’ll love.

As soon as I stepped out of the elevator leading to the entrance, the spirit of drums hit me right in the face. There was a huge array of stands from different brands selling their latest gear, as well as an area where jamming sessions were taking place every two hours, where you can just turn up and play with up to four other players.

Naturally, there was an excessive amount of noise throughout the entire exhibition, so upon arrival, you’re given free foam ear plugs, as you will certainly need them. There was also a stand from a hearing protection brand where you can have ear plugs molded.

What I was most keen in seeing were the performances, and I was in the right place for being entertained.

First, I saw the brilliant Andy Gangadeen perform a fusion of electronic beats and acoustic charm. He played many live versions of tracks including  2 Chase & Status ones (the main group that he works with), which were ‘Flashing Lights’ and ‘Hocus Pocus’; these tracks and various electronic sounds and breaks were played through samplers and he added acoustic parts (including his top-end cymbals) over the top.

Andy Gangadeen on the main stage

The next performance I saw was that of Rick Latham from the US, who busted out some classic funk fusion with his bass player (who’s name I can’t remember); a lot of rudiments that he used were inspired from artists such as Steve Gadd. He also gave some important tips on how to effectively use rudiments in your playing, as well as how to get your desired sound from your playing.

Rick Latham live on the main stage

The performance after that came from none other than death metal legend Derek Roddy, also from the US. I had never properly heard death metal before and was surprised. It’s not just noise. It actually combines almost every drumming skill: rudiments, extreme durance, changing time signatures, just to name a few. He explained what practicing and playing metal drumming is like, saying how unlike most styles where you start slowly then speed up, in metal drumming you have to start fast from Day 1 to get your muscles used to the speed, and what speed it is. The main skill to master is hitting the kick drum at 400 BPM… Not easy. I was also very pleased that he mentioned that the modern music industry is, in his opinion, not about talent, but about getting money, and he mentioned how modern artists using drum machines in styles including metal completely get rid of the feel of metal as it should be. Everyone in the audience was pleased that he mentioned this.

Derek Roddy live on the main stage

There were also a number of masterclasses across the weekend, and I saw the legend Geoff Dugmore and his bass player (who’s name I also can’t remember) explaining how to become better at working with other musicians and getting yourself known. They explained that being a good musician does not mean that you are good by yourself; being a good musician means that you are good at working with other musicians effectively, creating a groove/tune that sounds catchy, not complex.

Today really inspired me to do better as a drummer and should inspire many others as well. If you want to feel part of a huge drumming community and see some amazing people, then don’t hesitate. Go to the London Drum Show.

BPM 2012 Review

Yesterday, I visited the BPM DJ exhibition at the N.E.C. In Birmingham.

When I walked up to the hall, I could immediately hear loads of noise, which was a good sign of activity.

When I got in, I was surprised that there was such a huge number of exhibits. I was eager to try out as much equipment as possible. There were stands from all of the leading brands such as Pioneer, Numark, Denon and Native Instruments, all showing off their latest and greatest gear. There was an endless array of controllers, decks, mixers, PA systems and lighting gear. There were also many smaller exhibits from various suppliers and academies selling their services.

However, first I attended a seminar (there were many going on throughout the day focusing on certain skills such as how to effectively DJ at parties and weddings, video mixing and bass production) on how to effectively use synths in music production; I felt that it really gave me some tips for using when I produce my own tracks. It covered topics such as how to use oscillators and filters effectively, and what sort of sounds to use for different scenarios.

I also saw a performance from the DJ duo ‘The Squatters’ in the arena in the centre of the hall, who were playing some thumping electro house, techno and dubstep. I was also surprised to see Jonathan, the famous ‘DJ Tutor’ on YouTube came on at the end to hold a competition for winning a DJ console.

The Squatters in the arena

Above: The Squatters live in the arena

Then, I went to another seminar, where The Squatters and another duo called ‘Sick Elektrik’ listened to and commented on  tracks made by members of the audience, including my remix of Skrillex and Damian Marley’s ‘Make It Bun Dem’. Please check it out here if you haven’t already:

They liked the nasty bass and chopped-up samples, and said that the kick drum should be more bassy and that I should make the structure more predictable next time so that people can anticipate the parts; they said that to do that I could use more build-ups such as using more white noise.

Despite that, they thought that my style was different and something that they’d never heard before, which is something I was pleased with hearing.

I was quite happy with the feedback that they gave me.

Overall, if you’re a sort of person who likes experiencing different types of DJ equipment and learning valuable skills for DJing and production, the BPM Show is certainly worth visiting.