Feb 01

Pro Tips: 9 Steps To Mastering A Melodics Lesson

by in Pro Tips

We never said it would be easy! Getting those 3 stars can be a struggle, so we’ve put together a guide to the best way to tackle a lesson in Melodics. The aim is that by following this guide, you will not only be able to three star the lesson, you’ll be able to play it freestyle without any assistance from Melodics.

You might want to apply this to each step in the lesson – or just the tricky ones!

Step 1: Select your lesson

It may seem obvious, but take a moment to think about why you pick a lesson. Is it in a genre you want to learn? Do you like the sound of the lesson? Are you working toward building a particular skill or technique? The key is to have an outcome to work towards, it will help you to stay motivated!
Part 2: Check out the pad layout.

The first stage of the lesson will be in the preplay screen. Start by playing each pad, and work out what sample is on each pad. Switch between the pad labels and finger allocation [screenshot] to see which fingers to use on each pad. Bear in mind that if you’re playing a low grade lesson, the finger allocations might be designed so that you can play other parts later in the higher grade version.

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 2.05.51 PM
The Preplay Screen
Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 2.05.58 PM
Preplay screen with finger allocation

 

Part 3: Preview the beat.

Hit the preview button [little Screen shot], and have a listen. Get a feel for the groove, watch the pads lighting up, and familiarise yourself with the basic pattern. Now your ready for your first attempt. Hit the Play button [little screen shot]

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 2.06.04 PM
Preview Step allows you to hear the lessons before beginning. It is located under the grid
Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 2.06.14 PM
Click the play button on the right side of the preplay screen to start lesson

Part 4. Figure Out The Pattern.

Welcome to the Play screen. Step four is all about figuring out the pattern of the lesson. Don’t worry about getting through the whole thing on the first pass, just spend some time figuring out the arrangement. Before you start, hit each pad, and watch which line lights up. This will give you a visual reference and help you to associate each pad with the track in the play screen. Start, and make the first attempt to play along. Restart often!

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 2.06.30 PM
Performance screen. Hit spacebar to restart the arrangement. The key is to get familiar with the pattern.

Part 5. Using Practice Mode

By now you should have the basic feel for the beat – but actually playing it is another story. This is where practice mode comes in. Switch to practice mode [screen shot], and play through a few times with the tempo turned right down. If there is a particularly tricky part, you might want to set a loop to concentrate on that part.

When you feel like you’re starting to get it, turn on Auto BPM. This will ramp up the BPM each time you “pass” the arrangement.

At this point, it’s largely about just putting in the reps. If you’re not getting it, dont sweat it too much. Each time you play through it, you’re building muscle memory. You might find that when you come back to practice the next day, your first pass is much better!

Pro Tip: Combine Loop and Auto BPM. Each time you pass the loop, the BPM will increase, so you’ll get there faster with a smaller loop than playing the entire arrangement.

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 2.06.51 PM
Practice Mode is located at the top left of the play screen. Click the text to access.

 

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 2.07.10 PM
This is the screen that appears after you click the ‘Set Loop’ option

Part 6: Back to perform mode.

By this stage, you should be reasonably comfortable, and getting 1 star at least some of the time. Time to switch it up!

Stop looking at the screen.

Look down at the pads, focus on your fingers. Some hardware has pad lighting, so you get feedback directly under your feedback. Again, this stage is all about reps.

Part 7. A little less help.

Getting it? But can you play the beat without the help of Melodics? Next up, go back to the Preplay screen, and drop out the Metronome and the Guide Notes [screenshot]. Now you’re just playing along to the backing track. Again, try looking away from the screen, and just play to the backing track, and clock up some reps.

Screen Shot 2017-01-23 at 2.28.26 PM
Click ‘Volume Settings’ to open this panel. Switch off the Metronome volume and guide note to take things to the next level.

Part 8. Back to preplay.

Go back to the preplay screen, so you have the samples on the pads, and absolutely no assistance from Melodics. Can you still play it? If not, go back a step, and get some more reps in.

Part 9. The true test.

Time for the ultimate test – load up some similar samples into your music production platform of choice, and record yourself playing the same pattern. How does it sound?

If you’re a Melodics subscriber, or if you’ve referred a friend via Melodics, you’ve probably received a set of the samples used in the Melodics lessons. Put these to the test – see if you can recreate the beat playing it live in your production software or sampler.

Extra For Experts: Finish your track

So there you have it, 9 steps to get you mastering more lessons in Melodics. Treat these tips as your framework to getting better, but remember there is no substitute to putting in the reps. The more attempts you take the faster your skills will develop. Happy practicing.

Jan 26

Stlndrms Talks: Beat + Chill, Bob Ross & The Secret To Making Better Beats

by in Interviews

I thought a good way to start would be with your twitter bio which says “Creator, curator and story teller”. Are you able to explain what these words mean to you a bit more?

For sure, I’ll answer them one by one.

Creator: I’m a creative junkie. Producing music happens to be the most popular thing I’m into at the moment, but I’m lowkey a photographer and graphic/web designer as well.

Curator: As musician I listen to a ton music and as a photo geek I come across sooo many images. That research led me to start collecting and over time curation. I want to start merging the two at some point with an audio/visual live set.

Storyteller: In my mind that’s what all this is. The intent with anything I create is to take you on a journey, convey a feeling or mind state or to put it simple, tell a story.

The pinned tweet at the top of your twitter profile says “The homie @stlndrms is the Bob Ross of this lofi ish. “I think we’ve found what we want, now let’s make a beat…” That is pretty high praise as Bob Ross is an amazing individual. Explain what that tweet meant to you and the significance of Bob Ross in your life?

1. Bob ross is the man.  2. I always admired his artistic process and how he would effortlessly create from a blank canvas in such a short time. I used to watch his show like every week when I was a kid. So when someone compared me to that guy I had to pin it.

Keeping on the Bob Ross track for another question. I understand you are a big anime fan. One of my favorite anime/television moments has to be the Boondocks scene when Bob Ross and Huey escape from the police. What are your favorite anime scenes or shows?

My favorite anime moment ever, is from an episode of Gurren Lagan. When Kamina says “You have eyes in the front of your head for a reason. Keep moving forward.” I legit think of that quote at least once a day.

On to the beat making. Describe what turned you from a listener of music into a beat maker? Was there a particular song or person that made you take that leap?

I had an uncle that ran a music store in Detroit when I was a kid. The store was popular and he was an influencer in the scene so he knew all the artists that would come through the city on tour. He used to drop off promo copies of everything at the house and I would play it all. Outkast, the Roots, Redman, Black moon, E40 and all that. He was my biggest personal musical influence. I remember beatboxing and rapping in his car in like elementary school, some of my earliest memories. If you ask my mom she’ll tell you I was a musician before I could walk. That’s a good bit before I can remember though.

What were you like when you started out making beats? How long was it until you started making the kind of beats you wanted?

Honestly I wanted to be Premo at first, Then DJ Quick, Then Dilla. Dilla was more an admiration than a “want to be like” however… But I digress, It took me some time (years) to get a consistent sound. To be real however, I still haven’t been able to fully articulate what I hear in my mind. I’m having fun trying though.

I found your work through your show “beats + chill” and I have to admit I’m hooked. There is nothing like it out there on the internet. Where did your idea for the concept come from and have you been amazed by the how much traction it has gained already?

It pretty much came from me wanting to share the creative experience with my friends. I’m in a big metro but I stay in the suburbs so people don’t like to drive out to where I am to work/chill. So I’m kind of “silo’ed” off on the day to day. I figured I’d live stream me making beats and we could go from there. Then I saw thousands of people were watching it so I did what I could to make it professional. I’m still confused as to how it got this big. I love it though and I’m going to do everything I can to keep it going on and upward for sure.

How do you see “beats + chill” developing over the next few months? Are there any surprises users can look forward to?

Relationships and joint venture stuff for sure. I can see BEATS+CHILL sessions eventually popping up over several platforms and possibly in a few live venues maybe even with some guests from time to time. My endgame is to take this show on the road. I want to hang out and create / play music with people all over the world man.

Your setup for the show is very cool and so is the gear you use. Are you able to explain your setup and briefly what each device does?

Sure, The hub is an Akai MPC2000xl and/or Native Instruments Maschine I do almost all my production work with those. The other gear the Roland SP303 and SP404 are for compression and distortion (303) and for playing live and adding stutters and glitches (404). Add to that a thrift store EQ and tape player (15$ a piece) and you have my sound in a nutshell…

You always release music with that lo-fi feel and are very much entrenched in that community. Who are some other lo-fi artists you are currently listening to?

Soooo many man, I’ll do you one better. For lo-fi stuff, go grab everything from every artist on the following collectives: Natural Selection, NINETOFIVE records, O-nei-ric Tapes, and Chillhop records. That’ll get you started. One time for these guys and all the other lo-fi collectives out there putting in work man.

What advice can you give to other aspiring beatmakers looking to make music like you?

Make a million beats. Than make a million more. I’ve legit lost over a 1000 beats at this point. I’ve had to sell about 20k worth of gear over my time producing to get by or make ends meet. I’ve used so many diff pieces and diff programs and they are all great but honestly, they have nothing to do with your sound. I know dudes who use all hardware and dudes who only use an IPad. They are all amazing. If you want to establish your sound there are no shortcuts. The 10,000 hr rule is in full effect. Lucky for you though music is about the most rewarding and fun thing you can do with your time if you love it. So yea make a million beats and keep moving forward. (1 time for Kamina-san)

Finally I checked out your vs.co page and saw your photos from your time in Japan? Are you planning on taking any other trips overseas this year?

Nothing on the books yet but my passport is ready. Say the word and I’m on a plane.

I wanted to take a second to say thank you guys so much for this opportunity and to let you know that the App you put together is awesome. Timing is everything in HipHop and there’s nothing like drums that sit in the pocket like they’re supposed to. Melodics is one of the best tools I’ve seen so far outside of just making beats to train yourself to stay in the pocket. Great work guys.

#spreadlove

STLNDRMS

Dec 02

An Interview With Asadi

by in Interviews, Music, Pro Tips

To start off, describe yourself in three words?

Persian Trap Music

You are well known for the amazing finger drumming videos you do on Maschine. When did you first purchase Maschine. What inspired you to make this purchase?

I first purchased Maschine when I was 16. I knew about it for a while before I got it, and I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it when I saw it in person.

Did finger drumming come naturally to you? What is your musical background?

It didn’t come naturally. I mean I had a sense of rhythm because I’ve messed around on the drums and percussion here and there, but hard work and dedication were the two things that got me to where I am today.

The lesson you have made is called “PTM Level 1”. Tell us about the Persian Trap sound and how it is connected to your roots. Where do you see this genre going in the future?

The Persian Trap sound is how I bring culture to Trap. I think culture, Persian or not, is such a vital thing to have in music. There is such a strong culture behind Persian music that puts non Persians in a new world when experiencing it. And I put my heart and soul into bringing this same cultural feeling to modern trap music.

Can you explain what Melodics users can look forward learning to in your new lesson?

I hope those who strive to be where I am today get inspired to work their butt off in melodics. If I had such a tool to start from, I’d be on it 24/7. Melodics is literally guitar hero for beat pads, but you’re learning and getting more skilled the entire time.

What made you want to get involved with Melodics?

The simplicity of the interface, the quality of the website, and the passionate people that make up the company is what made me want to get involved.

In mid 2016 some of your work went viral. Including a video of you mashing up the Spongebob Squarepants theme with Kanye West’s ‘I Love Kanye’, and making a trap remix out of the Rugrats theme song. Where did you get the inspiration for these ideas? How has it affected your career since?

It’s crazy how viral these videos went. I just love making music, even if it’s some dumb mashup. People know I’m doing these things for fun. It has definitely been a journey since Spongebob Kanye. I’m just glad people were actually taking the time to check out my real music.

Name your three biggest artistic influences?

Mura Masa, Travis Scott, Shahram Nazeri

What advice would you give to someone who has just started producing music?

Just. Keep. Producing.

What does 2017 have install for ASADI?

2017 is going to be crazy. I have many songs to release along with festival shows all around the map. 2017 is by far going to be the best year yet.

Oct 25

The Sellfy Music Production Bundle

by in Uncategorized

Need new sounds for your production library? Well you are in luck. Our friends over at Sellfy present the Sellfy Music Production Bundle. Including premium sounds from Decap, Evil Needle, Danyal, Brightest Dark Place, Juku and Steklo Acapella this bundle is essential for aspiring producers.

In the bundle you will get:

– 8 Drum kits

– 2 Massive presets packs

– 2 Sample packs

– 7 Vocals

– 1 Stem pack

Royalty Free

All these products come with Sellfy Music license, which means everything inside can be used completely for your creations.

Special Offer For Melodics Users

This pack is usually priced at $260 but is currently available at $25 for a the next 24 hours.

Click here to claim the deal.

Oct 07

Melodics: Introducing Courses – A New Way To Learn

by in Uncategorized

After months of requests we are proud to announce that our brand new feature Courses is here.

Courses are curated paths through Melodics lessons – covering genres, techniques, musical concepts, and more! We think that this new addition will give users a new way to structure their learning and build skills faster.

courses

Free Courses

Introduction to Melodics 

Get started with Melodics & finger drumming. This course will lead you through a selection of our free content, covering a range of genres & techniques. Start growing your skills, get a feel for what you like… and what you need work on!

Hip Hop Basics

The realness, the foundation. Take a short trip through Hip Hop history covering breaks, boom bap and soulful beats.

Subscriber Only Courses

The Evolution of Hip Hop

From break sampling, golden-era boom bap, and neo-soul, through to future beats, trap, and more – play your way through Hip Hop’s history in this course.

Independent artist

Separating your hands & fingers to play complex arrangement is a huge turning point in getting better at finger drumming – this course walks you through lessons which allow you to build this necessary skill, skipping between genres, BPMs, and exercises.

Off the grid

Put some wonk in it. Part of finger drumming is building up a feeeeeeel for the track – do those hats need to sit back a bit? Would that bassline work better dragging? Play this course and challenge yourself to make it work when it’s not exactly on-grid.

Cue Point drumming for DJs

Flip tracks, create dramatic build ups, and take your DJ set next level. Cue Point drumming is taking off with mixers like the Pioneer S9 and NI Z2 becoming increasingly popular – build the skills you need to master this surprisingly difficult technique.

This is only the beginning with more courses scheduled to arrive in the upcoming weeks. If you have any ideas for a course let us know via the Feedback section in the Melodics app.

 

 

 

 

Sep 16

Beat Breakthrough 002 – Decap

by in Uncategorized

In our second ever instalment of Beat Breakthrough we talk with San Francisco based producer Decap. When it comes to making beats Decap goes way back making his start at just 13 years of age. Find out about three beats that have shaped Decap’s progression as a producer.

What is the oldest or one of the older beats that you can find? Tell us the story behind it.

Beat Name: “Believing in D.E.A.T.H.” 
I made this beat in the summer of 2000 at age 15 when I started getting serious about making beats. I made the drums in a really old version of Fruity Loops and recorded the sample chops on my Boss SP-202 into Cool Edit 96. I can’t remember the exact sample, but it was off a record I bought at a local flea market.

A beat that represents a turning point in your production career?

Beat Name: Feeling
I made the skeleton of this beat in 2014 in like 10 minutes. I ended up releasing it as a single in 2015 (after spending 3 months tweaking it), alongside a video of me performing it on Push with Ableton. I feel like this track helped solidify my solo music career. A transition from behind the scenes producer, to artist and live performer.

The latest song or beat you are most proud of. And why? 

Beat Name: Wake Up!

I just made this beat this year. I feel like the music, sonic quality, and quirkiness represents where I want to take my sound. I’m proud of this track

Play Decap’s brand new Melodics lessons entitled ‘Samurai Homecoming’ now!

 

Sep 09

An Interview With 69 Beats – How He Went From A Melodics Student To A National Champion

by in Melodics, Music, New Lesson Tuesdays

Polish DJ 69Beats won this years Red Bull Thre3style Poland Championship with an incredible set that involved classic turntablism, live remixing, tone play and finger drumming. While only young he has been in the game for a long time rocking shows and Festivals in Poland since 2008. Late last year 69Beats became a Melodics user and immediately captured our attention with a series of videos he put out on social media. We wanted to speak with him about his DJ journey so far and how Melodics has helped him improve his craft a long the way.

When did you start Djing? What/who inspired you to begin?

I started learning in 2006. Although the music was always in my life – my mom and older brother play the piano, dad plays the guitar and I finished musical school playing piano as well – the DJing came into my life with a total impulse. Even though I loved to party I never thought about DJing. But one day I went to a party at my friends house and her brother was a DJ. When she showed me his room with all the DJ gear standing there I was like… dang… that’s something I want to learn. Like the love at first sight. It didn’t even cross my mind that I could do this for a living someday, I just wanted to learn this.

How did you discover Melodics and what made you download the app?
I was into the fingerdrumming for quite some time before discovering Melodics, but didn’t have the gear to learn it properly. I just had some samples loaded into my DVS and was trying to come up with my own patterns that worked for me at the parties. And when Melodics came out I happened upon the video of Eskei83 where he played one of the basic lessons. And again I was like – I need to have this! I’m totally into the video games and apps that make a real challenge, and this challenge is measurable. Melodics has it all – the fun, the challenge, and on top of all – you learn a real thing, not only score points for hitting the right buttons on your gaming controller.

Back in 2015 you sent through to us a video of you playing Funk Bass on Melodics. How long did it take you to learn to play that lesson?
I enjoyed this lesson so much that when I started it I just couldn’t stop, but it was also very exhausting for my head. Spinscott has very cool patterns, they might seem really hard to learn for the first time, but they are also very smart, so when you learn it for the first time f.e. with Funk Bass, the other Spinscotts lessons aren’t that hard to play. So Funk Bass was the first one of his lessons for me and it took me like 2 or 3 days to get to 3 stars

What is the best thing about learning with Melodics so far?
>The best thing for me is that skills aquired with it can be easly used in real DJing environment – in the club, during a performance etc. – Melodics helps a lot with exploring your own creativity and building self confidence on the pads.

You entered and won the Red Bull Thre3style Poland this year. Was this your first time entering this competition? How did Melodics help with your preparations

Actually that was my second attempt at RB3S. First time was in 2015 and it didn’t really play out as I planned. When Melodics came out it was a total game changer for me. I left all other training for a few weeks just to play it. I wanted my Thre3style set to be as versatile as possible and there were no better way to gain necessary skill on the pads than Melodics.

Talk us through your winning set. There is so much going in terms of creativity. How long did it take you to put it all together and what was your creative process?

So as I said I entered Thre3style in 2015, but everything was happening really fast then and there was not much time for preparations. I didn’t make it to the Polish final, but took a lesson and decided to start preparations for 2016 since the moment I dropped out. I began to write down every single idea for routines that I came up with. Whether it was using a short single sample or creating some long transitions – I was writing down everything. Then I was testing all those ideas at home and finally if they felt good – I tried them in the clubs. So when RB3S 2016 was announced I just opened up my notebook, chose the best routines and started wondering what will be the best way to build a set with them. I didn’t have a problem with building a 15 minute set. My problem was fitting all my ideas into the 15 minutes so it won’t go any longer

You have The Red Bull Thre3style World Finals coming up in Chile later this year. How are you feeling before this event and what can we expect to see more of from you performance wise?

I feel very motivated and just can’t wait too perform before the Thre3style community again. To be true I don’t even know what can I expect from myself. I’m the type of guy that changes everything till the very last moment, so it can be everything. For now I’m focusing on my basic technique, so I hope that my sets on the finals will be more “clear”. What else will happen? I guess we’ll have to wait till December

Any words you want to give to all the Melodics users out there?
Sure! Always have fun with Melodics, don’t give up, don’t underestimate yourself and don’t underestimate Melodics itself. It’s a powerfull tool that can make a huge difference in your performances. Don’t be afraid to use the skill gained with Melodics at your gigs it really works. And remember that everybody loves skillful fingers.

Sep 09

5 Future Bass Tracks You Should Listen To

by in Uncategorized

This week Melodics has released brand new lesson Future Bass lessons called ‘Aurora’. To mark the occasion the team has decided to share five future bass songs that we rather like.

1. Lindsay Lowend – GT40

With one of the best producer names in the Future Bass scene, Lindsay Lowend dropped GT40 three years back.

2. Hayden James – Something About You (ODESZA Remix)

Hayden James with the original and ODESZA on the remix. Doesn’t get much better than this.

3. SPZRKT & Sango – How Do You Love Me

Sango has made numerous collaborations with singers and rappers in his short career. His LP with SPZRKT entitled ‘Hours Spent Loving You’ was a masterpiece.

4. Cashmere Cat – Secrets + Lies

Norwegian producer Cashmere Cat ascended into prominence in 2013 with a string of popular remixes. Since then he has gone on to collaborate with The Weeknd.

5. Flume – Take A Chance (Featuring Little Dragon)

A future bass list would not be complete without a song from Flume. The Australian producer continues to grow, with his signature sound heavily influencing the next crop of future bass producers.

Extra

Sam Gellaitry – Long Distance

Had to add in an extra tune from Sam Gellaitry. At only 17 years of age this Scottish producer shows it is never to early to make amazing music.

Want to learn the fundamentals behind making Future Bass beats? Try our brand new lessons ‘Aurora’ available on the Melodics Software.

Aug 31

Beat Breakthrough 001: Oddkidout

by in beat breakthrough, Interviews

Beat Breakthrough talks to different music producers about the beats that were significant in their development. On our first ever instalment we talk to Philly producer Oddkidout about some of the beats that have shaped his progression.

What is the oldest or one of the older beats that you can find? Tell us the story behind it.

Beat Name: Untitled

This is the first beat I’ve ever made. My parents bought me Logic 9 for my 15th birthday, so this beat is about 6 years old. I was so excited, I opened up the program without reading any manuals and literally just started creating. As I was moving things around and programming sounds haphazardly, I was starting to get a feel for the program. I had so much music stored in my head for so many years that when I sat down in the program, it all began to just pour out. I ran downstairs after I made the beat and played it for my parents, who were shocked that I even could figure out the program and create something musical within an hour.

I didn’t sample anything for this beat, but I created it with mainly apple loops (which are royalty free samples that come with Logic). So I hadn’t comprehended Midi yet, but was just starting to drag files onto the grid and learn how to layer and chop. At the time, I was listening to a lot of 90’s hip-hop and jazz, so naturally I was choosing boom bap drums and a vibraphone for the melody. I still think it’s a cool beat. I mean I would never, ever send it to anyone or put it anywhere because it is completely amateur. But, it’s special to me because it’s my first. And I’m proud that my first beat still makes my head nod 6 years later.

Name a beat you have made that represents a turning point in your production career? What made this beat so significant?

Beat name: Amore (feat. GoGo Morrow and Bonic)

I’ve had so many turning points in my production career so far. I love all types of music, so whenever I create a song in a genre that I usually don’t do, it spawns off a whole new direction of creation for me. I literally had a turning point beat two days ago, it’s the best feeling ever because it represents growth. But, I think one of my favorite turning points was when I created my song “Amore (feat. GoGo Morrow and Bonic) on my EP, WITHIN. It was so significant to me because it was the first time that I had created a full song, from start to finish, with vocals on it. And to have GoGo and Bonic be the featured artists was such an amazing look. I was used to creating beats and then dishing them off to other people to use. In this scenario with Amore, I had control over the direction of the song, and was able to bring vocalists in and add them to what I was doing. It also inspired me to be more than a bedroom producer. It showed me that there’s more to just making beats, and that the true art is conjuring up a full package of instrumentation and vocalization. It’s inspired me since then to work in that mindset.

Want to learn how to play ‘Amore’ yourself? Download Melodics and get started today with  a suite of lessons designed by Oddkidout himself.

Aug 27

An Interview With Leonard Charles: Talks Career, Dilla & His Basement Studio

by in Interviews, Melodics, Pro Tips, Uncategorized

Going right back to the beginning what moment/person got you interested in music?

Witnessing how excited my parents were when they came home from a Jimmy Smith concert in the 80’s.

From this point how long was it until you started creating your own songs and beats?

I started writing my own music at high school and then made my first beat with Kutcorners (Serato) in 1998, we borrowed a Boss SP202 from our local music store from our friend who was the manager of the store (he now works for Ableton).

You have appeared in many different musical bands and projects over the years including Open Souls, She’s So Rad and now Leonard Charles. All these projects are distinctly different in terms of genre and sound. Have you always had such an eclectic taste? Are you seasonal in what you listen to?

I just listen to what I like on any given day. I have a fairly decent record collection so in the morning I just reach for the record I want to hear. I usually end up working on music influenced that record when I get to the studio.

With all that experience under your belt who is the coolest person you have met in your musical  journey so far? Can you explain what your first encounter with them was like?

A huge part of my musical experience I owe to Dave Cooley. He is a mastering engineer / producer. He always has time to share knowledge and is a genuine person within the global music industry. The first time we met he invited me to a recording session he had at Sunset Studio’s in LA working with a band called Silversun Pickups. They gave us a some tips on riding the busses in LA.

Tell us about your project ‘Basement Donuts’. What inspired the project initially and how did it evolve?

Inspiration for Basement Donuts is all J Dilla. People who know me know how important J Dilla’s music is to me. I’m not exaggerating when I say he has influenced every single piece of music I have released or produced. I was invited to perform at a night to raise money for the Dilla Foundation and so I decided to make it a special performance and remake J Dilla’s album Donuts but in my own way. The most important thing about J Dilla’s music is that it is unique to him so in order for me to serve the music right I needed to make my version unique to myself. I feel confident that I achieved this, I was hesitant at first because I really didn’t want to step on the toes of one of Hip Hop’s greats. I had the honor of playing some of my tracks from the release to Guilty Simpson and  he was feeling it. That seal of approval was enough for me to know I was doing the right thing.


The bulk of this project and a lot of your music is made in your basement studio. What was the first bit of equipment you bought for it and what gear do you have now in your studio?

The first equipment I bought was an MPC2000 and a turntable back in 2000. I have a bunch of gear now but the main things I use are: Ableton with Push. Roland Rhythm330, Roland MP600, Moog Voyager, Roland Chorus Echo, UAD Apollo, UA LA-610, Akai MPC3000, Fender Rhodes, Fender Jazz Bass, Fender P Bass, Fender Coronado, Premier 1075 drum kit, the list goes on.

In 2008 you performed at the ‘MPC Championship of the World’ under the name Jeremy Ota. Are you able to tell our viewers more about this event and the hours taken to build your cardboard MPC suit?

Haha, The event used to be held every year in New Zealad. It was an invitational MPC beat battle. A week out from the event all the competitors are given the exact same samples and get to make whatever they want to out of the samples given. I decided to do a tribute to all the Hip Hop I love by manipulating the samples they gave us and remaking classic beats. Some of the beats I made were even by people I was competing against.

You have helped design lessons for Melodics in the past primarily in the Chiptunes and Classic Breaks genres. What is it like having a Leonard Charles lesson released?

It’s cool. I really like the educational element to Melodics and I love building lessons that push peoples imagination. I hope that some of the elements from my own lesson will inspire people to go and create music.

What can Melodics users expect from your “Can We Go Back” lesson? Do you have any tips for how a newbie should approach the lesson.

I think a good approach is to go and listen to the godfather of modern funk – Dam Funk. Then go back to the lesson and just feel the drums. The drums are so important, the way the kick sits in the rhythm.

Who are the three artists you are listening to the most right now?

Mulholland – he has a studio above me so I hear his music all day.

Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand)

Common

What advice would you give to an aspiring music producer or beat maker?

Be yourself.  Respect the architects/ creators of the music you are making. Look to the past for education and look inside yourself for creativity. When it is time to make music forget the world around you and just feel what you are doing, get in the zone, that is where the magic is.