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.

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.

Jul 22

Five Modern Funk Artists To Listen To

by in Fundamentals, Interviews, Music, Pro Tips

This week Melodics released some brand new Modern Funk lessons. To commemorate this we have decided provide our list of five modern funk artists to listen to this week. Let us know if we missed anyone and who you have been

Sven Atterton

This United Kingdom multi-instrumentalist released his first full length project “The Cove” back in 2015. It sold out quickly and led to much critical acclaim. Expect beautiful synths, slapping bass in his soothing instrumentals.

Psychic Mirrors

The six-piece Miami band got together in 2010, releasing a couple of records on their own Cosmic Chronic label. Since then they have gone on to release a few more big projects most notably their Nature of Evil album. Check out one of their most notable cuts “Charlene” that will give your body moving.

Tuxedo

Mayer Hawthorne and Jake One make up Tuxedo. Started way back in 2006 when the two exchanged mixtapes with each other, the duo have gone on to release a full EP back in 2015 via Stones Throw. The production and Hawthornes vocals compliment each other perfectly.

Dam Funk

Another Stone Throw don Dam Funk has been in the game since 1988. Producing his unique style of funk for the likes of Mack 10 MC Eiht in the 1990’s. However after seeing other artists get gold plaques all around him he decided to go ‘full funk’. In 2006 he launched Funkmosphere Records and a couple years later he dropped his first LP with Stones Throw. Things have been good since with Dam collaborating and performing with the likes of Snoop Dogg and Flying Lotus.

Brian Ellis

Brian Ellis is a multi-instrumentalist Brian Ellis hails from Escondido, Californian. His Reflection EP was held in high esteem and dubbed one of the most modern funk projects of the year. The EP includes a cameo from West Coast electro pioneer and super freak, the Egyptian Lover, and showcases Brian’s one-of-a-kind musical witchcraft.

Like what you have heard? Try learning the elements of modern funk today with our brand new lessons.

Jul 05

An Interview With Decap – Talks Production Techniques, Ableton & His Career So Far

by in Fundamentals, Interviews, New Lesson Tuesdays

When asked in the past about what advice you would give to upcoming producers you said “Create something new every day, and release new material frequently to build a momentum and a following.” Are you able to give a bit more depth into these steps or add anything you’ve learned since?

One thing I would add to that is: be yourself and create authentically. Make the music that moves your soul, and avoid trying to force your art to fit a mold. Avoid people, situations and career paths that influence you to conform so much you lose your authentic voice.

How does the BOSS SP-202 Sampler, a Tape Deck and a HR16 Drum Machine fit in your production story? How have you grown equipment and sound wise since then?

Haha — the humble beginnings.

At the time, my workflow was to sequence drums on the HR-16, loop it, then trigger samples in realtime on the SP-202. I was 13, just starting out, and didn’t really understand MIDI at the time, so there was no quantization and everything had a really raw feel. There was no looping on my 4 track tape deck, so I had to make the whole beat in one take, part by part.

Once I started getting into the power of desktop computers for production, everything really changed. I started using Cool Edit Pro with a program called Tuareg (by Hammerhead). I would sequence the drums in Tuareg, load the drum stems into Cool Edit Pro, then copy and paste samples in time with the drums. People thought I was crazy for making beats this odd, complicated way, but I made some bangers and was able to capture the sound I wanted. After years of making beats this way, I got into Reason for a bit, then the MPC 4000 which was a game changer at the time. My main setup for a while was the MPC 4000 with some hardware sound modules.

Now my setup is really simple: Ableton Live 9, Push 2, NI Komplete Kontrol… and my newest addition – the Dave Smith Tetra. This setup allows me to work in the studio, and have a portable setup I can take anywhere with a backpack. As I expand as an artist, I continuously discover new ways to create in Ableton.

You performed an amazing video of your single “Feeling” for Ableton back in 2015. Explain the process of performing that video and how your relationship with Ableton began?

Push’s 64 pad mode was in beta at the time so coming from the 16, I had to learn a new skill before shooting. I wasn’t used to finger drumming with two hands. There was no quantization in my performance and the video was shot in one take, so I was forced to nail it all the way through with no mistakes. It was a lot of pressure, but I definitely grew from it.

Back in 2013 I did a YouTube video collaborating with Ski Beatz, while showing him Push. Ableton picked up the video on their site, and our relationship has continued to grow.

You’re first ever Melodics lesson teaches “Feeling” and how to perform it like you did in the Ableton video. What can Melodics users expect from this lesson? How will it help their skills?

If you want to learn or get better at finger drumming and performing live, practice is the key. I partnered with Melodics to put this lesson together because I feel its a great tool for artists to step up their performance skills and have a great time. Like anything, the more you practice, the better you get.

You took three years out of music between 2009-2011 to find yourself through spirituality and meditation. Out of this came the project ‘Omnilove’ which you have said “embodies the essence of what you are trying to communicate”  Explain this process of taking a hiatus from music and how it has served you both personally and musically since your return in 2011?

That time was a strong wake up call. I dropped everything in my life to experience who I was on a deeper level. I was looking for my purpose. I hardly made any music during that time. This hiatus from music turned out to be revelatory. Because of it, I am definitely more focused. Coming through that helped me to create and hold a bigger vision for my life and art.

You mentioned in a previous interview it was the likes of Snoop Dogg and Dr Dre that made you begin your production journey in the 9th grade. What is it like years later producing a track that your influence Snoop Dogg was featured on called “The Weekend”? I can only imagine it must be quite surreal things coming together full circle like that.

Snoop is a legend – I’m honored to work with him. Doggystyle was the first tape I ever purchased, and one of my favorite albums of all time. It feels great to work with the people I’ve looked up to — then and now.

You have a drum pack online called ‘Drums That Knock’. This came about  after being repeatedly asked how you get your drums to knock by your fans over the years. Outside of getting this pack are there any other production techniques you would suggest to get those drums cutting through the mix?

Some techniques that work well are a mixture of compression, saturation, pitching and crafting the transients. I use a lot of soft limiting (but never letting the signal clip). My advice to sound designers is to take some time and mess around with plugins. Use your ears. Try boosting, cutting, distorting, shaping, layering. Try things that seem unorthodox – create a sound that is unique and never been done before.

I wanted to create a kit that producers can load up and that inspires them to take their mix and sound to the next level.

How did you get involved with Melodics? In what ways do you think Melodics will help the next batch of producers and beatmakers?

When I started performing, I specifically remember wishing for an app that would help me practice finger drumming, but I couldn’t find anything like it. Recently a buddy of mine introduced me to Melodics and I checked it out and thought it was dope. I really appreciate what Melodics is putting out there. This is a great tool allowing producers and performers to get good fast with structured lessons.

You are a massive Ableton and Ableton Push advocate, with this combination giving you a live performance element now. Are you able to talk about how this has helped your performance skills and how the art of finger drumming ties into this?

Before Push came out in 2013 I thought of myself more as a producer than a performer. After rocking Push for just a few months, I shifted towards crafting live performances because I realized its always been natural to me to perform. Freed from the computer screen, Push becomes an instrument and it’s a matter of mastering that instrument.

What does the rest of 2016 have install for Decap?

I’ll continue to release new music every month. I have a couple secret projects in the works. I might drop another drum kit ondrumsthatknock.com … we’ll see ;).

If you were stranded on an island for a year and could only bring three records with you what would they be?

Kaytranada – 99.9%

Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp a Butterfly

J-Essential – Smash City

May 19

R!OT Interview – Talks Production, Technique and Youtube Fame

by in Interviews, Melodics

Our latest interview comes from R!OT is a Pianist, Film Composer, Producer and Controllerist from Los Angeles. He has risen to fame through his amazing Launchpad videos on his successful Youtube channel. R!OT was able to answer a few questions this week and gave insight into his first release on Melodics this week based on his live performance entitled ‘R!OT’

You have been playing piano since you were 4 years old but didn’t hit your peak until high school. What spurred you on to get better and how did daily practice play a role in this development?

In high school I discovered there’s no secret to improvising, and it was that revelation that inspired me to sit at the piano every single day. I liked playing Bach as much as the next guy, but back then playing someone else’s music didn’t light a fire in me like creating something of my own did: something that only existed in that moment and would be gone forever, like all performances are. I owe everything to my piano abilities.

You have also stated all your production/Launchpad knowledge came through hours of trial and error watching Youtube tutorials. Are you able to walk us through this process and how a program like Melodics helps aspiring producers learn effectively?

I think the best thing about Melodics is it’ll give people a visual way to improve their technical abilities. I constantly get comments and messages about how to put two hands together, let alone how to play a polyrhythm. My piano chops transitioned seamlessly to launchpad, and one thing I’ve noticed is all the “big” finger drummers also play instruments: M4SONIC, Exige and I play piano; Shawn Wasabi, Nev, and Throttle play guitar (just to name a few). Melodics will break it down and I think it will be an amazing help to those who haven’t been fortunate enough to learn traditional instruments.

You started at age 16 ‘with a really slow laptop, shitty Skull Candy headphones from target and torrented software’ what gear are you using now?

Now I work on my desktop PC, KRK Rokit 6’s, a Scarlett 2i2 interface, and AKG K240 headphones.

Tell us the significance of the M4SONICS – Weapon video in your finger drumming story so far?

M4SONIC’s Weapon video was the reason I bought a launchpad, it’s that simple. When I saw Pop Culture I thought it was really cool. But when I saw Weapon, I had one of those “I need to be able to do that” moments, similar to when I heard Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites. Things went full circle when M4SONIC and I became friends and he said he wanted to learn piano from me. Love you M4

How has John Williams influenced your music and what is one key teaching of his that you use in your productions?

My other passion is writing music for Film/TV/Video games, which is what I got my bachelors degree in. And John Williams is 100% responsible for that. One thing he does that I learned from is I let my melodies dictate my harmonies. A typical pop song will be written by picking a key, choosing from an established three-four chord progression and writing a melody on top. But if you write your melody first, you can choose from a bunch of different harmonies that allow each melodic note to function differently, in and out of different tonal centers.

 

Yourself, Nev, M4SONIC, Shawn Wasabi all seem to know each other quite well online. How did those relationships develop? Can you explain the small community you guys have formed.

Shawn and I had sushi together one day, and then we met M4SONIC and Nev at NAMM. We formed this chat on facebook and reached out to the other people that were doing what we do. It’s basically just a chat for talking about music, and sharing each other’s content.

How has finger drumming particularly on Youtube developed in your eyes since you started posting your own videos back 2012?

I’ve seen finger drumming split into two roads: There’s one branch that’s covering other people’s songs, and one branch that’s creating original songs. But overall the scene has exploded since then, there’s a whole culture surrounding it!

You are releasing your first lesson on Melodics this week which is based on your Original composition called ‘R!OT’. What can Melodics users and your fans expect from these lessons?

My “R!OT” performance might be technically difficult for some people who have never played a traditional instrument, so I’m hoping they will be able to easily break it down with Melodics.

You now have 160K subscribers on Youtube and over 23 million views. Can you explain the story of how your page has grown? Has it been gradual or were there certain events/videos that skyrocketed your numbers?

I think my channel was able to take off because my Animals video went viral, and then people checked out the rest of my channel and thought, “Hey this guy actually makes music.” So while the growth since that event has been gradual, that video definitely triggered it.

Right at the end of your ‘How I Feel’ video you have a brief clip of yourself responding to some Youtube comments you got stating your videos are ‘fake’. Your response was awesome and to the point. Are these comments are common occurrence? Any message to those who think your videos are fake?

They are a common occurrence, but I write off half of them as trolls who just want attention. The other half I think just genuinely think it’s fake because they don’t understand what’s going on, and that’s fair. And to those people I would say: Keep an open mind, and come see me perform live.

Make sure to follow R!OT online on –

Youtube

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Apr 27

Top 5 Ableton Push Finger Drumming Videos

by in Interviews, Pro Tips

Since Launching its first piece of commercial software in 2001 Ableton the program has gone from strength to strength. While the production component of the software is huge so is its live performance capabilities. In 2012 the music tech world marveled at the Ableton Push the first controller specifically designed for Ableton. The result saw a 64 pad layout that would take live music performance to a whole new level. We countdown the Top 5 best Ableton Push performance videos online.

5. Gaston – With My Brain On Twist

The mysterious GASTON dropped this awesome finger drumming performance a few years back. Sadly he hasn’t uploaded anything since. Fingers crossed that he has something install for his Youtube subscribers in 2016.

4. Decap

Decap is a hip hop beat maker from San Francisco who is very good at what he does. A few years back Ableton asked Decap if he wanted to show off his Ableton Push finger drumming skills. The result involves an old school hip hop drum break and some lush synths.

3. Jeremy Ellis on Ableton Push

When you think of finger drumming it is hard not to think of Jeremy Ellis. The Roots member took the internet by storm when he dropped a series of  MASCHINE videos that went viral. Ellis also has applies his craft on other controllers from time to time. Check out this subtle but amazing performance from NAMM in 2013.

2. Rodi Kirk Performs ‘Underwater’

At number two is another Ableton branded performance featuring the talented Rodi Kirk.  Shot in hipster nirvana this video has it all from summer camp vibes to random bonfires adjacent to a ping pong table. It’s hard not to get lost in visuals and performance.

1. Mad Zach Ableton Performance Video

Producer and finger drummer Mad Zach was heavily featured in the launch of Ableton Push particularly in his appearance in this performance video. Mad Zach is able to play a multitude of different sounds and vibes in a short amount of time, in a video that I am sure helped contribute to a lot of Ableton Push sales. Shout also to the sweeping camera work in this video.

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Honorable Mentions

Yashar Gasanov has a few Ableton Push videos out and was clearly influenced by the style and feel of the original videos. In this video he plays his own composition in an abandoned warehouse. The incorporation of him playing Push and singing reward this video with an honorable mention.

Our boi Jeff Tunque played this chopped and sampled track Vide on his Ableton Push this year. If you have not seen this guys stuff yet then I suggest you get onto it. He is a very skilled and talented finger drummer, producer and DJ.

Apr 23

An Interview With The Creators Of Laptop Battle

by in Interviews, Pro Tips

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Created in 16 years ago in Seattle. Laptop Battle is an event that pins bedroom producers against each other in a competitive format. As the years have gone on the event as risen even further in popularity with the boundaries of live performance electronic music consistently being stretched. We were lucky enough to talk to the Laptop Battle team ahead of the 16th edition of the Seattle competition.

When was the idea for Laptop Battle created and what was the inspiration behind it?

Kris Moon originally got the idea from events some local producers were traveling to perform at.  He brought the idea to Zapan aka Zach Huntting of FourthCity, which was a thriving arts collective in Seattle.  Ableton was in version 2 and already changing the way producers were creating and performing music.  And there was lots of experimental computer music that was unique in Seattle at that time.  Not long after, Sean Horton (an early competitor) was starting Seattle’s innovative Decibel Festival, which has grown to selling out nearly of it’s shows every year, while booking extremely fresh world-wide talent.  It was a hotbed of creativity at the time.  Playing live on a Laptop was fairly novel and the computer was just starting to be adopted by DJs on stage with various early control setups.

 This year marks the 16th edition of the event. Are you able to list some of Laptop Battles most famous alumni since it started?

There’s been some seriously amazing artists.  Some of my favorites include Vytear, Starkey, Velepean Screen, Cygnus, Pezzner, m.O., and tons of others.  Most of those are champions…It’s crazy how many bad asses have lost in their first or second round.  I’ve seen KJ Sawka lose a couple times, and he’s one of the world’s top drummers. It can be such a wild card.

 How has the event evolved over the years in terms of performance? Has finger drumming risen in prominence for contestants?

Finger drumming is certainly rising in popularity.  It’s very much a stage show, so there’s lots of antics, too.  Since it’s on a huge sound system, sound design plays just as big of a role as the instrumentation – and the way your track unfolds is also really important.  It needs to have an emotional arc to be compelling.  It gets really nerdy.  Artists like Vytear and Velepean Screen were triggering their own patches and randomized sequences and creating these generative and programmatic sequences.  Sometimes it’s really mind blowing what’s happening.  There were times I was felt like I’d time travelled.  Originally, the style had a very glitchy aesthetic and I feel like it’s evolved to more of a drop oriented bass sound.  I love the chip tune influence…it’s still relevant.

What has been the most bizarre/memorable on stage performance that has happened in the history of Laptop Battle?

We had this contestant from Atlanta who was some kind of weird dark magic wizard emerg from a basement after many years of training.  He went by the name Dr. Maximillian Reinhardt…and I’ll never forget him…he was finger drumming on a Korg PadKontrol like a mad man in some sets…and one time he busted out a DDR footpad controller and marched a beat to the Oompa Loompa song from Willy Wonka.  It was f*cking mind blowing.  That controller was totally illegal according to the rules, but no one cared because it was so dope.  We encourage rule breaking.  This is kind of the WWE of music.

In one sentence describe what people can expect from this years event?

Bring earplugs, the KV2 sound system will be ridiculously heavy.

So if you are in the Seattle area we suggest you come on down and get among one of the coolest events going on in Electronic Music.

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Apr 15

OddKidOut Talks Dilla, Beat Making, Instagram & His New Melodics Lessons

by in Interviews, Melodics, Music, New Lesson Tuesdays, Uncategorized

At only 20 years of age Butch Serianni also known as OddKidOut is the youngest person ever to release a lesson on Melodics. A drummer since age six and beat maker since his early teens the Philadelphia based producer has gone from strength to strength.

Showcasing his beat making talents on Instagram over a year ago has seen OddKidOut earn 65,000 followers and a feature on the websites main channel. This week OddKidOut was kind enough to discuss with us his influences, beat making process and of course his fresh new lessons ‘Amore’ now available on Melodics.

The city of Philadelphia where you are from has been a big influence on your sound and upbringing. You have previously said how the ‘In the pocket Philly soul groove is what makes you feel truly at home’. Are you able to provide some song examples for people unfamiliar with the sound?

Of course, literally any Root’s album is exactly what I’m referring to. QuestLove is one of the people who opened me up to the natural swing. If you listen to the way he drums, specifically on one of the Root’s less popular side projects called “Dilla Joints”, you can hear how he sways the beat behind the metronome but still holds time based on feel. Speaking of Dilla, most of his beats emulate the same formula. Usually the hi-hat and snare will be pushed slightly back or forward, and the kick will be almost exactly on time. It creates a natural feel, instead of a quantized, robotic groove.

Your name ‘OddKidOut’ has been integral in building your fanbase. You have said you wanted it to build a community for people who feel different from the crowd and eradicate them from being stereotyped as ‘weird’. What made you want to take this approach and how does it relate to your own personal story?

Well growing up, I was always very sociable and had a lot of friends, but I always felt like I wanted to do something different. I played every sport and lived like a normal kid, but it wasn’t where my heart belonged. And this feeling is still inside me as a 20 year old in college. I don’t really care about going out to parties, or getting drunk on the weekends. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing that, but for me I just felt like I would much rather spend my time being creative and innovative. I still have a very large group of friends, an amazing girlfriend, and I definitely go out from time to time. But I felt like the odd one out because no one else wanted to hop in the studio and be creative on a Friday night. And what always irked me was that the social construct trains us to look at the small amount of individuals who actually do worthwhile things as outcasts, or “not as cool” because they don’t conform to what the norm is considered. I want to eradicate that because it’s bullshit.

You are the co-creator of #FACTInstaBeats hashtag which has an Instagram phenomenon for beat makers to get exposure. How did the idea come about and how did you get it off the ground with FACT Magazine?

So after about 2 months of posting my videos, I received a DM from Fact Magazine from a guy named Max Schiano. He essentially told me he had an idea to create a hashtag for Instagram beat makers where we could all share and feature each other. Together we came up with the #FACTInstaBeats hashtag and we both began working to promote the tag. Fast forward almost a year and now it has over 10,000 uses. The greatest part about the hashtag is featuring other artists. I will go through the hashtag, pick my favorite video of that week, and write a little bio and send it over to Fact. When they post it, the videos usually get over 20,000 views and to see how happy it makes the person who I’ve posted brings me so much joy. I love helping out other people who deserve the recognition.

A video posted by Butch Serianni (@oddkidout) on

You stated in an Instagram interview that you used the format you learnt for drums and transferred it to the pad controller. Was this an easy transition? How long did it take to adjust and to begin churning out the beats you wanted?

It was actually a really easy transition. I was always the kid who obsessively tapped on his desk during class and was constantly smacking items around to make different sounds. Even when I would walk, I would be snapping my fingers to the beat of my footsteps. Everything for me is rhythmic. So as soon as I got my Maschine, it was pretty much a go. What has been a struggle for me, though, is learning how to split my fingers up. I often play with my fingers together to emulate drum sticks, but I’m now training myself to split my fingers to utilize more pads at once.

Talk about the importance of the track ‘All Good’ by J Dilla and how it has influenced your musical development? Is this your favorite Dilla joint of all time? Man, this beat honestly means the world to me. It’s impossible for me to say it’s my favorite Dilla beat of all time, but it’s certainly in the top 5. It was so impactful because at the time when I first heard it, I had never listened to music like that before. I distinctively remember hearing it…my mom and I were driving to a gig I had in Delaware (I was still too young to drive) and I had randomly purchased the “Yancey Boys – Instrumental” album before the drive. I plugged my iPod in to the aux chord and played through the album, amazed the entire time, but really was blown away by “All Good”. Even my mom was like, “Woah, what is this, it’s beautiful”. The way Dilla samples the horns and then fits the beat behind it, ah it’s so simple yet so powerful. That’s what inspires me the most about Dilla; using so little to make so much. And when your mom is vibing to a hip-hop beat, you know it must be really special.

You have described live instrumentation as being ‘A natural feeling and connection between the mind, the soul, an instrument. Some of that gets lost behind the quantization of computers’ Are you able to explain this quote in more depth? How has live instrumentation/finger drumming helped with your music production skills and beat making?

Being a drummer, I was born in to the world of live music before I knew anything about electronic music. So my understanding of music is rooted in natural grooves. I feel like now a days, a lot of music that is popular sounds like it was gestated from a computer and has no real soul, no feeling of a few people in a room making sounds that are not exactly on beat, but in beat on their own. Again, everything has it’s own place and can flourish, but I just like to produce music that is one take, so as to capture that raw groove.

Tell us about your track Amore and what Melodics users can expect to learn by going through your lessons?

Amore is a love song that was inspired by my girlfriend, Addie Jonas. So users can expect to be learning a song that has a lot of emotion and a lot of passion infused into it. Speaking from a technical side, the users will explore how strings can be utilized in hiphop beats, and can also analyze how I orchestrate my drum patterns. From the kick drum, to the snare and hi-hat, each section will be split up and broken down so that the users can see where things such as open hi-hat’s should occur, or how the snare should be placed in reference with the metronome. 

What was it about Melodics that inspired you to want to get involved? How do you think Melodics helps beat makers?

The thing I love most about Melodics is the fact that it teaches. As a producer who is self taught, I always found myself watching videos of Dilla, Pete Rock, 9th Wonder, just to study what they were doing on their MPC’s and then I would go and adapt my own rendition of it. But with Melodics, the capability to see exactly just what the beat maker is doing is light years better and is set up in a way that is informative and educational. There aren’t an abundance of sources that educate beat makers, so Melodics is definitely doing something special. And to be one of those artists that gets to contribute is an honor.

You were featured on Instagram’s main account which you said was one of the coolest things to happen in your young career thus far. Are you able to explain this story and the impact that it has had so far ?

Yeah, so a worker at Instagram, Alex Suskind, runs the Music channel for Instagram. He sent me an email and basically told me that he loved my videos and wanted to feature me on @Music’s page. So that in itself was a huge honor and I was so excited, but about 3 months later, I received another email saying that the editor of the main account for Instagram wanted to feature me as well on the main channel. And when I got that email I was smiling from ear to ear. I’m very, very thankful to Instagram and everything they have done for me. They’ve given me a huge audience (the video they posted received over 4 million views) and have been nothing but extremely helpful and nice throughout the whole process. I’m hoping to stop by their headquarters when I’m in California this summer!

A video posted by @music (@music) on

The release of your Within EP has been a success. What did you learn from the project and what do you want to do even better for your next body of work?

WITHIN EP was a learning experience for me. To be honest, it was much more successful than I had anticipated it to be. I was really hoping to get at least 20,000 downloads by a few months, but I ended up getting 50,000 in the first day and 500,000 in the first week. It really blew my mind. It was a great first release because it was very introspective and kind of carved a path for my career to build upon. Now that my audience understands who I am more clearly, I think that future releases will make more sense. That being said, I want to capture a different vibe for my next project; my debut album. I want the focus to be more on music that is appealable to all genres. I don’t necessarily mean pop, but I want to create songs that make you bob your head rather than make you think. That being said, I’m happy that the EP was the way it was, and I’m really excited to share a more brighter side of myself on the next project!

OddKidOut’s brand new lesson ‘Amore’ is now available on Melodics. As a special offer users can access these lessons through using the promo code ‘OKO-MELODICS’. If you have not downloaded already feel free to do so with this link. Finally check out the trailer video below to get a feel for these lessons.

See You Next Tuesday

A video posted by Butch Serianni (@oddkidout) on

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