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
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’!
This week DJ Day released his first set of lessons on Melodics. In honour of this we asked him a few questions about his career and his new lessons.
In previous interviews you mentioned that a turning point for you was hearing Jazzy Jeff scratch in back in the early 1989. What was it about these performances that inspired you to want to become a DJ?
I think the first song to do it for me was “Rockit” from Herbie Hancock. I was obsessed with that song and played it probably hundreds of times. Years later I would hear the Rock the House album and then He’s the DJ I’m the Rapper, which had an entire side of the album dedicated to Jeff’s DJ skills. There was something kind of otherworldly and sonically unique that was being done with turntables and I knew from then on that I wanted to do it myself.
You have also said that when starting out you wanted two Technic 1200’s for Christmas but ended up getting two boomboxes. Can you describe this story a bit and also delve into what gear you use now for Djing and Production?
Ha, yeah it was a one piece belt drive turntable/radio/tape deck unit. I would play an instrumental or self-made tape loops on cassette on a separate boombox and record me scratching over it with the turntable on a 2nd boombox through the built in mic. You make due with what you’ve got if you’re determined to accomplish something. I would come home every day after school and try to figure out how to scratch holding down the phono and tape buttons like a crossfader to cut the sound on and off. Once I started understanding it, I just never stopped.
What are your thoughts on the increasing prominence of cue point drumming for DJ’s? How do you see cue point drumming evolving further?
I think it’s a great thing. Especially for people who might not be super technical on the scratching side, but still want to incorporate another level of expression while DJing. It’s only gonna make the art form better and more creative over time.
How did you find out about Melodics and what intrigued you about the product?
I found out through meeting with Sam, ironically at Jazzy Jeff’s house last year for the Playlist Retreat. I was hooked once he showed me how it works. I think it’s gonna help a whole new crop of people who are doing live beats and finger drumming.
Tell us a bit about the cue point drumming lessons that you have made for Melodics? What can users expect and how can they incorporate these skills in their own sets?
I wanted to use a break that everyone is probably familiar with (it’s been used on a million songs for over the last 20 years). I think flipping something everyone in the crowd knows is a great way for them to understand what you’re actually doing up there on stage. I wanted to have lessons on there for the beginner and for the more experienced finger drummer. As well as give a variety of genres and styles. Hopefully it can help inspire some new ideas from people.
You’ve collaborated with some amazing artists and producers including Aloe Blacc, Miles Bonny, People Under The Stairs and Exile. How have these collaborations throughout the years helped your skills?
I’ve gained a ton of ideas and insight into making music from all of these artists. I wouldn’t be doing finger drumming at all if it wasn’t for Exile. He put out an album a few years ago called ‘Radio’ and needed a hand on tour and asked if I would assist. I gave finger drumming on the MPC a try and together we came up with an hour long routine and toured the US and Europe. I’m absolutely grateful to work with such creative and intelligent artists.
What piece of advice would you give to someone who has ambitions of becoming a DJ and producer?
It’s such a different animal now with the need to sell yourself being almost more important than your talent itself (which is f*cking wack and should not be your main focus at all). My advice is: 1. Be yourself and take chances. Trust your instinct and your idea of what moves you. 2. Practice. 3. Practice some more. 4. Find a balance of marketing yourself and actually being good. The world doesn’t need any more lame DJ’s who are good at social media but suck on stage.
If you were stranded on a desert island for a year and could only bring three records with you what would they be?
Man, this is always a question that changes every time. Right now at this moment it would be
Lord Echo – Melodies
Lewis Taylor – S/T
Erasmo Carlos – Sonhos & Memórias
You live in Palm Springs but have toured the world extensively for music. What has been your favorite place to perform and why?
Brasil (é muito bom!) and New Zealand (kia ora buds) are definitely at the top of the list. The vibe and the warmth of the people is unlike anywhere else.
Hope you guys have had a very enjoyable Christmas and New Years period. We have been hard at work to make Melodics even better for you guys.
One of the first ways is through producing more performance videos like this
The other way is through continuing to produce quality lesson content. We are aware this is what drives your learning and affinity with Melodics. So what our team is in the process of doing is revamping our Free Content.
We are doing this by:
– Altering and amending our existing Free Content
– Adding in newer lessons that cover a range of genres.
These two changes are going to show you just how versatile Melodics can be. So have a look on the lessons screen and check out the New lessons that we have added.
Over the next few weeks stay tune as there will be more fresh content from the world of Dubstep/House/Hip Hop/Rock/Trap and much more.
Is there any particular genres or songs that you would want to learn? Let us know in the comments below.
As always feel free to post videos of you playing Melodics on Instagram and Facebook. We have received some awesome content so far so excited to see more!
Over at Melodics HQ our christmas is a tropical one, no snow! So for our Christmas release we have made some Tropical Chiptune Lessons.
Chiptunes music is made with 8 bit synthesizers and heard primarily on old school gaming consoles. So for this lesson pack we have sampled a Gameboy and a C64 SID chip synth.
To get your head around what we mean check out the video below that demonstrates that all you need is five Gameboy Colors and some imagination to make some sick beats. How he obtained all these Gameboys is still a mystery.
Delving a bit deeper into the Chiptunes scene, Youtube user Rakohus is the undisputed O.G of the genre online. With his 100K follower channel dedicated to remixing some of your favorite songs into a chiptune format.
Big Shout Out to the dancing man (real name Grant) who appears in all of Rakohus’ videos. The way he can groove to 8-bit while wearing only a onesie and a belt is truly inspiring. While his fashion sense and dancing technique may have come into question, there is no question that Grant has passion that can’t be beat.
In regards to our newly released Chiptunes lessons, they are designed to get you familiar with diatonic arpeggio’s. Some of our favourite gaming music is full of fun, melodic, major scale harmony. This harmony is also the backbone of contemporary music so it is worth getting your ears tuned and adjusted to.
These lessons will challenge your finger speed, memory, ear and independence. Hopefully you will also learn a new way to lay out sample pads to create your own music.
So get practicing and send us your own Chiptunes over the Christmas period via Instagram and Facebook.
We leave you with an exclusive Rakohus Christmas joint, that stars my favorite dancing animation Grant. Not sure about the snow in outer space but at the end of the day it is all about the music.
This weeks New Lesson Tuesday covers the Classic Breaks affectionately known as ‘Doggone’ , ‘Sing Sing’ and ‘Think’. These three drum breaks have been used in 100’s of tracks throughout the decades in a variety of genres. We will run through each, break by break to give you a snapshot of the history behind there influence.
Love – Doggone – ‘Doggone Break’
Love was an influential psych rock band active in the late 60s / early 70s. The band had a small degree of commerical success but were later praised by critics with there 1967 album Forever Changes being listed #40 on Rolling Stones 500 Best Albums Of All Time List in 2003.
Clocking in at whooping 12 minutes long, Doggone features a 9 minute drum solo by George Suranovich that provides lots of sample opportunities. However the loop that can be heard in the video above has been most widely used. This break went widely unnoticed by producers and collectors until Kanye West used it in his productions in the early 2000s. Below are a few more recent examples of tracks that have sampled ‘Doggone’.
While Gaz’s 1978 disco track ‘Sing Sing’ may not be considered an all time classic by most its iconic drum break has been heard the world over. The drum break has been used in hip hop circles by the Wu Tang Clan, took Kylie Minogue to court and is essentially the backbone of Baltimore club music.
“It’s like that lady in the Southern Baptist church with the tambourine – until the lady starts hitting the tambourine, the church don’t start jumping.
DJ Technics (On The Sing Sing Break)
Below are a few examples of the many songs that sample the ‘Sing Sing’ Break.
Perhaps the most unique and iconic break out of the set for its ‘Yeah, Woo’ vocals. Derived from a 1972 Funk record from Lyn Collins the track was produced by the legendary James Brown. Appearing in a variety of genres this song has also been featured heavily ever since and is among James Brown’s most sampled productions.
Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rocks track ‘It Takes Two’ is the most well known and blatant use of this drum break. While Dizzee Rascal also used the break for his hit grime track Old Skool.
So there you have it. A brief look at what makes this weeks Classic Breaks so ‘Classic’. You can play all of these lessons now on Melodics. Master them and even include them in your own productions like so many great producers in the past have. As always send through any videos of yourself playing Melodics via Instagram using the hashtag #Melodics.
Melodics™ is the best way to build your musical skills.
Free to download, play 60 free lessons for 5 performance minutes a day to start building your rhythm, timing, and muscle memory immediately. Then subscribe for unlimited access to premium lessons, including exclusive lessons from acclaimed artists.