We checked in with producer Mark de Clive-Lowe to get the info on his new course.
How would you describe your new course Bassline Bootcamp?
I’ve made a range of bassline examples over different style and tempo beats. They all look at applying different ideas to take you from a simple single note vibe to bringing in fills and embellishments that you can apply in your own creations. Basslines are little melodies themselves so it’s a great way to learn multiple skills at the same time.
How would you recommend Melodics users approach your course to get the most out of it?
Some of the lessons have challenging aspects so I’d definitely recommend using the practice mode to loop up those bars or sections that are harder and slowing them down. Slowing down whatever you’re practicing is the magic trick to mastering something – it might not seem as fun, but it’s definitely the tried and true method.
What will Melodics users be able to do after finishing this course? How will it help in regards to their overall music production?
If you go deep and really nail it as well as taking note of the associated information – like what key something is in and what technique it’s applying – you should be able to build basslines around any chord progression, create fills and make alternate versions of your main idea.
Are there any other comments or things you want users to know about this course and the new Melodics lessons?
Practice makes perfect!
To try Mark’s course in the Melodics App simply download and head to courses in the LEARNING tab.
Melodics V2 is coming soon and we’re teaching you how to play the keyboard… and much more! The highly anticipated next version of Melodics adds support for keys, and a ton of new features for pad controllers and electronic drums.
Whether you’re a beat maker looking to add keys to your bag of tricks, or a drummer wanting to branch out – we’ll have you covered.
Melodics for keys will help you learn to play the chords, basslines and melodies of the music you love, whether you’re wanting to become a better producer, or just play for the enjoyment of your friends and family.
Melodics is free to try. To take your musical dreams further, subscribe and you will have access to over 400 lessons for keys, drums and pads – with new content added weekly.
Bonus extra add-on fun stuff for everyone!
We love hearing your feedback about Melodics, and we’re excited to be rolling out some great updates – for all instruments – including:
Choose your instrumentwithin the app – keep track of your progress for Keys, Pads and Drums, with independent leveling for each instrument.
All new levelling system. Want to level up? Collect stars! See how many stars you need to hit the next grade and unlock more lessons as you level up.
New navigation. No more waiting for screens to load, version 2.0 is snappy AF.
A new view – the Finger Allocation screen is essential for keys, get the feel of how you have to place and move your hands over the keyboard before you work on playing the lesson.
Wait Mode – Playback will automatically pause until you hit the right notes, allowing you to step through complex rhythmical patterns or melodies. Paired with Practice Mode, Wait Mode is a great way to break down tricky phrases!
All new Learning page for a fresh look at courses and lessons. View lessons in list or grid mode, and browse by artist, genre, grade or tag.
New and Improved labelling of tracks in the play view to help you quickly work out which sample is on which pad
Colour coding for each hand, so you can see at a glance which part goes with which hand
Favourite Lessons – Add a lesson to your favourites list from the lesson screen, or within the lesson itself. Favourites are stored on line, so now they’ll be shared across computers.
Pause – press pause during lesson playback to have a deeper look at at difficult sections.
Scroll through the lesson arrangement before playing to preview what’s coming up.
Volume control always available. Control volume levels more easily within lessons – adjust the metronome, your notes, guide notes and the backing track levels direct from the play view.
Customisable Metronome sounds – Pick your metronome, with the familiar sounds of Ableton Live, Logic, Maschine, and many more.
Easily manage your account on melodics.com
We’ve also squashed some pesky bugs
Fixed an issue where your level could be reset as you passed over level 12 and above
Smoothed playback. Improved performance that could cause jittery playback for some users.
Plus a ton of other performance improvements.
We have a deal for you!
As a special pre-launch offer, if you pick up an annual subscriptionnow you’ll get lessons for ALL instruments for the price of one instrument.
Already a subscriber? You’ll have all instruments until your subscription rolls over.
If you’ve been thinking about building your pad skills, and you’re interested in learning keys, now’s the perfect time to subscribe!
This deal applies to new annual subscriptions or upgrades from monthly to annual subscriptions purchased before 12 November.
You will have access to all instruments for the 12 months until your subscription renews.
Discounted Instrument bundle subscriptions will be available at the end of your 12 month subscription period.
Melodics V2 is coming soon! Stay tuned for the release before the end of 2017.
If there’s anything else you’d like help with, or if you have any extra feedback just get in touch. 😃
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.
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 musicaljourney 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 andhe 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)
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.
Vancouver electronic music duo Live Evil are back with their second Melodics lesson “Tell Me”. We are able to ask Matt Perry a few questions about the lesson and how Live Evil got started.
Where did the name ‘Live Evil’ originate? Is there a story behind it?
I was always fascinated with the Miles Davis album of this name and the trippy artwork on the cover, i’d even sampled it for a beat back in the day. The way its a reflection of the word LIVE fit what we were doing performance wise and as “The Freshest Live sets”. It was also a way to identify the projects sound and concept so as not to confuse it with the Freshest remixes and mix tapes we had been doing. I feel it gave us more direction too.
You guys started a series of Youtube videos called ‘The Freshest Live Set’ with your friends Seco and Rico Uno what was the inspiration behind starting these videos?
We all used to perform at shows. Sometimes 2 at a time. We had a gig at the 2011 Vancouver Red Bull Thre3style world finals opening for Peanut butter Wolf and wanted to put something together to really showcase what we could do. From there I came up with the idea to incorporate musical instruments in there too, it wasn’t happening much at the time and seemed like a waste to not utilize these synths I had, so from there it grew in to what we have done for the last 6? of them.
How did you guys first meet? How long was it until you collaborated?
We met in 2004. I was making rap beats and Marvel was DJing for a rap group I produced for.
When describing the Live Evil experience you guys said “We want to bring that feeling you get when you see a band perform, but in a DJ context. Lots of energy, a real performance with a sinister vibe.” Are able to elaborate on how you prepare for each set and how your performances have evolved?
We spend a lot of time breaking down songs we like into parts that we can remix, then start arranging them in a live performance rehearsal. These days, we are focusing more on breaking down our original productions and making our own songs. Remixing is super fun, but it has limitations, copyright wise 😉
Explain how you got involved with Melodics and what you guys like most about the software?
I met Melodics head honcho Sam Gribben through my Job, and he’s easily one of the best humans I know, he’s a visionary and I believe in what he’s doing with Melodics. What I like most is Melodics makes interacting with music fun and challenging for everyone from beginners to pro’s. Its inspiring to see how the lessons are broken down. Rap and Dance music is our generations Rock n Roll (to quote Kanye) and i think Melodics is a modern way to approach learning music and developing your rhythm.
How have you seen finger drumming develop as a whole over the past few years? Where do you see it going?
I have! It’s being adopted by most leading dj’s and its exciting. Its so much more than pushing buttons. If you are musical, its really remixing and performing music the way you want to hear it. There is so much more interaction, i’m totally inspired by all the new people picking it up, from dj’s to beat makers. So cool to see the combination of melody and rhythm and harmony all combined with Djing, because we have kinda seen Scratching go about as far as it could go. Its the future for sure!
You have both been on record discussing the growing Electronic Music scene in Vancouver. Dropping names like Pomo, Ekali, Pat Lok & U-Tern. If you could give someone three tracks to get an idea of the emerging sound of Vancouver what would they be?
These guys are all from the Chapel collective, which would be in my opinion the crew i’m checking for the most. But there is lots of great dance music coming out of Vancouver too with labels like “Mood Hut” and “1080p” The latter actually started by a Caniwi like myself
What does the rest of 2016 have install for Live Evil?
Planning a new performance video and an Ep for 2016. Definitely focussed on putting out more music!
What is the best piece of advice you can give to aspiring producers and DJ’s?
Find your sound, stick with it and go hard. Stay focussed and work hard, this game ain’t for the faint hearted
Melodics is proud to announce our first app for iOS – the Melodics Pad Controller app, now available for iPhone and iPad.
Now you can get better at finger drumming and improve you musical skills, even if you don’t have hardware available – and if you do, the controller app means you can jam lessons on the desktop app even when you don’t have it with you.
A pad controller in your pocket.
You can’t always fit your studio in a backpack – but with the Melodics Pad Controller app you have a full 8 (for iPhone) or 16 (for iPad) pad controller in your pocket. Control Melodics on your laptop wherever you are!
And even when you don’t have your desktop or laptop available, you can still jam out with four built in kits from some of our most popular lessons – just plug in your headphones and play! You can even fire up your music in the background and drum along over the top.
Grab the app for free from the App Store now!
Know someone who wants to get into finger drumming, but doesn’t have the hardware yet? Let them know!
The Melodics Pad Controller app is the perfect way to get started with finger drumming, build skills with the Melodics Desktop app, and have heaps of fun playing music. If you know someone who’d be into it, do them (and us) a favour and tell your crew on Facebook about Melodics, or maybe even blast a tweet.
Here’s the full press release from Melodics CEO Sam Gribben:
Auckland, New Zealand, June 14, 2016
Pad drummers on the go have an exciting new tool at their fingertips.
If you don’t have a hardware pad controller, The Melodics Pad Controller App is the perfect way to get started with learning finger drumming. And if you do, you can now take your practice on the road.
“We’ve got tons of people using Melodics who don’t own a hardware controller”, says Sam Gribben, CEO of Melodics. “You can play with your laptop keyboard, but an iPhone or iPad is a much better experience. We’ve also had lots of people who do use midi hardware ask us for an easy way to practice when they’re away from their studio. The Melodics Pad Controller app is the perfect portable compliment to your hardware”.
“Our research shows that 5 minutes a day has much more impact than a longer session less frequently’, says Gribben “Having you practice rig with you at all times makes it much easier to get in your daily practice.”
The Melodics Pad Controller App is the first step towards making the Melodics experience entirely mobile. “Our long term plan is to be able to play Melodics on any mobile device” says Gribben.
The Melodics Pad Controller App connects to your Mac or PC via USB for ultra low latency. When not connected the app has 4 built in kits from some of our most popular lessons – just plug in your headphones and play! You can even play music on your device in the background and drum along over it.
DJ Jazzy Jeff has this to say about Melodics. “If you make beats, Melodics is like going to the gym for a workout!”. The Melodics Controller App makes that gym all the more portable.
“Melodics is part game, part beatmaking software,” says Gribben. “It’s fun and addictive and adapts to your abilities and musical taste to help you get better at pad drumming, faster.”
Created by former Serato CEO Sam Gribben, Melodicsis a product developed in partnership with artists to teach DJs, producers and performers the art of pad drumming.
Lessons are created by iconic artists such as DJ Jazzy Jeff, Nick Hook, The Gaslamp Killer, Jeremy Ellis, Mark de Clive-Lowe, AraabMuzik, Eskei83 and more.
Rhythm and timing are central to music and how a track feels. They can be the difference between a repetitive four bar loop and one you can listen to all day. “For producers who step sequence or draw in drum programming, Melodics helps them work infinitely faster and have a more direct connection between the idea in their brain and the reality coming out of the speakers,” says producer and musician Mark de Clive-Lowe.
Melodics is free to download, and comes with 20 free lessons to get you started. Then subscribe for unlimited access to constantly updating premium lessons and content, including exclusive lessons from great Artists.
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.
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.
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!
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.
The legendary DJ Jazzy Jeff shares an inspiring Hip Hop instrumental called “Don‘t Forget” as his debut Melodics lesson. This instrumental was also used as the fourth track on Dayne Jordan’s debut album ‘Memoirs of Dayne Jordan.’
Like what you hear? Learn to play this beat made with one of DJ Jazzy Jeff’s drum kits from his personal collection today! Also check the trailer video we have put together for this lesson featuring some wise words from the man himself.
There is more insight to come as we have an in depth interview from Jazzy Jeff, hopefully arriving next week. So keep an eye out for that.
Our finger drumming video of the week comes from the super talented BeatsByJBlack who flipped our Tall Black Guy lesson in Melodics. This kid is an up and comer so make sure to check out his Instagram page.
Finally the team are loving watching all your performance vids on social so keep them coming. Just post your video with the hashtag #melodics and we will find and regram / share them on our social channels
We have a laid-back jazz infused hip hop lesson called ‘Vib’ now available on Melodics. The samples for Vib come from the Smokers Unite sample pack on the Loopmasters website and can be downloaded for your own productions.
To mark this release the team has decided to do something a little different and have made a list of some of our favourite laid-back hip hop tracks.
1) MF Doom – Saffron Original Sample:Sade – Kiss Of Life
Starting off the list is the one and only MF Doom. The masked emcee has rapped over many amazing productions in his career. The track ‘Saffron’ contains a Sade sample and some Special Herbs for Metal Fingers himself.
2) Pete Rock & CL Smooth – They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y) Original Sample:Tom Scott – Today (Featuring The California Dreamers)
The legendary combination of Pete Rock and CL Smooth released two albums and an EP in the heart of Hip Hop’s golden era. The sampled horn for ‘T.R.OY’ is arguably its most iconic element.
3) Souls Of Mischief – 93 til Infinity Original Sample:Billy Cobham – Heather
‘Yeah, this is how we chill from 93 ’til’.. The lyrics to the hook say it all. The original sample is sped up significantly, most likely on a SP-1200. This was common on jazz samples at the time because the SP-1200 did not have much sample time.
4) Nas – Still Dreaming (Featuring Kanye West & Chrisette Michele) Original Sample:Diana Ross – The Interim
One of my favourite tracks from Nas’ Hip Hop Is Dead album. The verse and hook from Kanye West sit beautifully with Chrisette Michele’s vocals. Oh and how can we forget that Diana Ross sample capping off a truly beautiful track.
6) The Herbaliser – A Mother For Your Mind Original Sample:Roy Budd – The Car Chase
A hip hop duo out of South London. They are renown for there jazz influenced productions. Other notable career accomplishments include making the soundtrack for the movie ‘Snatch’.
7) Nightmares on Wax – Les Nuits Original Sample Of The Bass Line:Quincy Jones – Summer In The City
Sampling one of the most heavily sampled tracks of all time Leeds producer Nightmares On Wax put together this song back in 1999. As the video suggests this song is perfect for going on long scooter rides and singing in a laundromat.
Flying Lotus is no stranger to the experimental. His adventurous productions have made him a household name amongst beat makers around the world. Tea Leaf Dancers utilises a Free Design sample and has sultry vocals from British songtress Andreya Triana.
10) Apollo Brown – Blue Ruby Original Sample: Unknown
Our final beat is a pure instrumental from Detroit based Apollo Brown. Apollo was fired from his office job in 2009 and gave himself one year to make it as a producer. Three months later after the release of his first LP ‘Clouds’ he was signed to Mello Music Group.
So what do you think of our list? Is there something that we missed? If so let us know in the comments.
Next week we have some more lessons from our growing team of Melodics Artists. You will have to wait and see who it is. But I can promise that it will be ‘Massive’!