I was chosen by BBC Introducing In Manchester to attend the BBC Introducing Musicians Masterclasses at Abbey Road and Maida Vale studios on January the 19th 2012. It was a real honour and privilege to be chosen to attend this once in a lifetime opportunity and I grabbed it with both hands!

From the first moment of walking through those doors at Abbey Road you instantly got inspired by the sheer amount of talented musicians that have walked through those doors, recorded and mastered their albums (and including of course the Beatles!)

We had a group meet in Abbey Road Studio 1 where all 250 lucky musicians had a quick hello and introduction to the day with some housekeeping rules and various other bits of information we would need throughout the day (such as how we would get to Maida Vale from Abbey Road).
Then it was time to go to our first sessions and to start my day off I was in a session with Wretch32, Ms Dynamite, Artwork and MistaJam, oh and if you want to spot me….I am wearing a green cap all day!

Wretch32, Ms Dynamite, Artwork and MistaJam – Watch Video On BBC Website.

It was amazing to hear where these artists had come from and how they first started off and I realised that I am not doing anything different really. It was very hard not to be a bit stars truck at the time being in front of these artists who have given up time from their busy schedules to come and give us advice and tips on what to do. I think the key bit of information I got from this session is just to keep plugging at it and keep making music for my friends (which is of course all of you). Although the session was an hour it felt like I was only there for about five minutes and then it was time to go off to the next session!

Mixing – Watch Video On BBC Website

This session for me was one of the mist useful out of the day, getting some inside tips on how a track is professionally mixed. Although the session was more geared towards traditional band music, it was still fantastic for electronic music. A lot of the key concepts and techniques used in this session apply to all types of music…compression, limiters, kick drums, reverb, I even found a space to ask my own question…(at 37:45). The session relied a lot on us asking questions and getting feedback which was probably the best way of working in this instance and I think our sound engineer did very well at presenting some of his knowledge. What you can’t hear on the video is the EPIC sound in that room, it was amazing, no wonder people work on creating sound proofed rooms at home to master in! I think the funniest phrase used in this session was “When god speaks he has reverb on his voice”, this is very true for trance music, it relies a lot on reverb and it is so good to know that you are doing the right thing! I advise watching the whole video through and listening because you can hear all the little tweaks that are made to each channel and you can clearly hear the difference in sound. So the key here for me is: Compression, Compression, Compression!!!

It was now time for me to travel to Maida Vale Studios (something I never expected myself to say!)

Bobby Friction in conversation with Mike Pickering – Watch Video On BBC Website

Well what more can you say, the man Mike Pickering, in the flesh! The man who practically invented dance music as we know it today. I was in awe at him sitting there telling us about his life, how he got to where he is now and some key advice about how to get our music out there. He is all about passion and can quickly see if you are in it for the fame and money and not for passion and I personally feel that if you are not passionate about music then you will never go anywhere. A lot of what Mike had to say all made sense but the key thing for me in this one is that I am not putting my music out there enough. I am pushing my music in some places but there are clearly some other avenues that I should be going down. So off the back of this I got tweeting and emailing straight away, sending my music out to as many people as I could (as well as listening to him at the same time). Mike clearly is the man to be speaking to about dance music and so after the cameras were turned off I took the opportunity to hand him one of my demo CD’s, I may never get this chance again so I grabbed it! He is a very honest man and spends a lot of time listening to new music and new musicians and if I can get through to him, well…here’s hoping! I also took the time to hand a CD to Bobby Friction. Although my music is not his genre he presents on the radio, I felt that in regards of pushing my music out there…why not! A very nice man who said he’d listen to it and he did like trance…he also liked my artist name as well (I think) so fingers crossed they love the CD.

DJ Techniques in 2012 with Bobby Friction & DJ Fresh – Watch Video On BBC Website

This was my last intimate session of the day with the legend DJ Fresh, I am sure you have heard some of his tracks over the last year or so! This for me was an essential session because he has gone from DJ to Producer which is sort of where I have come from. He started off right at the bottom and worked his way up. Going from some pirate radio all the way up to being in the main stream. Now in light of this, I figured that perhaps radio might be a way for me to go and so I applied for a radio presenter position on a gaming radio station (details to follow on a later post). He gave us so many tips about producing, mixing, mastering including really telling us that our ears are usually the best ones and you can pay thousands for a track to be professionally mixed but sometimes yours is the best!
He did seem to big up Ableton quite a lot. I would love to have a copy of Ableton but it is a bit expensive at the moment and also I think mastering the tools I have at the moment and working with them until I break them is the best way to go. If I can produce great music by using what I have then I only need to move to Ableton when I feel it can offer me more (although it has better scope for doing my tracks live). He seemed a very down to earth guy was more than happy to accept a very large number of demo CD’s, again, one from myself!
Unfortunately, this session was running late so it gave me little time to get back to Abbey Road but we made it just in time for the last session.

Question Time With Huw Stephens – Watch Video On BBC Website

This session was with all of us, all 250 musicians. It was with key people from the industry including the head of Radio 1 Music. This was a time to get all our questions in to people that can really move our music in the right direction. The key points here were: don’t sign anything before getting it looked at by a lawyer, keep plugging away, don’t give up, do your own thing…and many more!
These guys had so much knowledge and advice to give that it was difficult for me to ask a question. I think the best thing here is for you guys to watch it in full and get what you can from it.

What did I get from this day?

Well first off let me thank BBC Introducing Manchester for sending me to this event, I cannot thank those guys enough for this opertunity.
This day has taught me that although I have been producing music consistently for the last two years and going the right way about it, I am clearly not promoting myself enough. I need to get my music out there more and push it in the right places.
I need to concentrate on the mastering of my tracks more. Make sure I am really happy with it before I send it out!
I need to continue making music for my friends, get honest (i mean honest) opinions on it, if my mates want to dance to it then it is a winner. If I am not grooving to my own track, nodding my head, wanting to dance to it then it is not right. I have to want to dance to my own tracks!
I must keep going, keep plugging away, keep producing and just carry on progressing. My passion for my music is what is driving it and so long as I am passionate about it, it will keep getting better.

Well I think on that note, it is time to get back to it, back to producing and oh yea, I will let you know about the radio presenter position shortly.

DJ Superchief