Hey everyone, thanks for checking out my website! If you wanted to find out a little bit more about me then you have come to the right place! Here I will take you through a journey of how I started getting involved with music and how I have got to this point. So strap yourselves in, get your reading glasses on and enjoy!
The early days
My musical journey started way back in 1996 when I was given my first keyboard (Casio CTK-611) as a birthday present from my parents. What was “great” about this keyboard was that it had a memory of 10,000 notes. That’s right, 10,000 notes! The ‘notes’ included the instrument chords and melodies as well as the individual drum kit hits so I was very limited to the length of song I could produce. Having said that, I stuck with this beastly keyboard for some 15 years so it has served me well as I taught myself, learning through the sounds I made.
It’s funny actually looking back on the way I used to upload videos of my music to YouTube. I had a digital camera (some Samsung model) that I placed on the speaker of the keyboard, pressed record and played live! So the video itself would be this terrible sound quality with slightly shaky images (and wonderful views of my curtains and ceiling) as I tried not to be too aggressive with my playing. I did actually manage to knock the camera off at one point because the stand I used for the keyboard was so unstable! However, I did get a comment from one YouTube user complimenting me on my curtains so that was nice! At this point, all I ever wanted was to be able to make mp3s/CDs of my music. A simple dream really in hindsight, but for 15 years, it never felt like it would come to reality.
When I was between 4-8 years old, my parents used to play all kinds of music from the 1950s through to the then current day (early 1990s). However, it was when they played a few songs from Kraftwerk that I first heard electronic sounding music and I remember being mesmerised by the style.
Going in to the late 1990s and early 2000s, I began listening to the Ministry of Sound and all their trance compilations/releases. This started to influence my sound as I tinkled away on the Casio keyboard. I’m sure you’re aware that Ministry of Sound predominantly play songs that are around 140BPM and of a club/big room style. So how did I get in to Drum & Bass?
Well, now I have my brother to thank for that as I heard him blast out DJ Hype’s “Bass, Breaks & Beats” mix back in 2003. I was trying to do some homework but when I heard this new, fast paced style of music, I went in to his room and we just started going mental! I was then on a mission to find some Drum & Bass albums/compilations and got myself Hospital Records Mix 4, which was mixed by Cyantific and I haven’t looked back. I bought loads more Drum & Bass CDs and engrossed myself in this genre, whilst still listening to the Ministry of Sound, some breakbeat, garage and went in to chillout sounds as well from 2003-2005.
The man who changed it all
As I headed off to University back in 2005, I didn’t take my keyboard with me and I pretty much abandoned creating music through my undergraduate days (2008) and even in to the first two years of my PhD (2010). When it looked like I was just going to be focusing on a career in Materials Science, along came a lad who pretty much changed everything in my music world in 2011. He goes by the name of Shell (well, he does now at least) and he used to run a music studio. We got talking about music when he first joined the University as we took an extended coffee break, which turned in to lunch and then a continued coffee break (it was quite flexible in those days)!
In this conversation, I was listening with intent as Shell went through all the different music software out there and what platforms I can share it on (I hadn’t even heard of SoundCloud before this point). He suggested I get some music software and specifically, FL Studio as the style of Drum & Bass is very much based on loops so it was an obvious choice. Since then, I have been playing, learning, getting lost in a world of synths, virtual instruments, effects and everything else that comes with it.
You should have seen me, I was pretty much the happiest person in the world at that point when I made my first song and could save it as an mp3. Gone were the days of YouTube videos with shaking curtains, ceiling images and poor sound quality. All I ever wanted was to be able to be able to make mp3s and that dream had now become a reality! I started uploading to YouTube and this “SoundCloud” to see if I could get any feedback.
Feeling the Airlove
I believe the first track I made was called “Prepare for Launch” using pretty much all of the presets inside FL Studio but just making a few changes here and there, pretty basic stuff. I didn’t have any followers to begin with so getting plays and feedback was hard to come by (except from some of my friends on Facebook). So, I thought I’d try to do some remixes of some of the trance tracks I really enjoyed from the early 2000s. Eternity by Orion and On The Beach by York were a couple of the trance classics I went for. I received some good comments on these tracks and pretty positive feedback all round.
One of the comments was from a guy called “TigerPaw”. I was intrigued who this was as he was leaving comments all over my recent uploads so I had a look over at his profile and saw that he ran a record label over in USA called AirPlus Recordings. That sent me through the roof as to have someone who runs a record label giving you positive feedback like that is very warming indeed! I checked out some of his music and the style he created was very unique as well. I thought it would be a long shot but I asked to make a remix of one of his tracks, “Good Days”, and he happily sent me over the stems and his fans enjoyed what I created. From here, I was asked to join AirPlus and TigerPaw’s team of up and coming producers, some of which have gone on to mega scenes and it was a great experience to be a a part of. I released my first ever album called AirLove, an 11 track global collaboration with Deb D (UK), Vague Illusion (South Africa), Blindstate (USA) and TigerPaw (USA). It was an album that a lot of people related to as it depicted the emotions we feel as we go through what feels like a good relationship, to the break-up, to moving on through it.
However, I was going through a very tough time as my PhD took over and I tried to get my head down to complete this mammoth task. It saw me leave AirPlus in 2013 as I couldn’t continue with releasing music and everything else that was going on. Releasing music wasn’t something I would be a part of for now as I needed to focus on getting a career sorted out. Having said that, I was still making tracks to help express my mood as I was going through these tough times, I just never uploaded them or shared them…yet.
End Of The Tunnel
As my PhD was drawing to an end, like the light at the end of a very dark tunnel, things were starting to change. I had been upgrading my music hardware, slowly but surely, with a newer keyboard (that would plug in to my PC), some proper speakers that would help me improve sound quality and a new PC that was powerful enough to deal with the processing power required (forever known as the Gladiator). However, it wasn’t until the beginning of 2015 when I had the time to get back to making music again and decided to start making a real push. For the first time, I investigated mastering on one of my tracks and sought the services of Audio Animals and submitted “End Of The Tunnel”.
I received the mastered version back and I thought to myself “WOW!!!” The difference it made was unreal, I knew I had to send off everything I made to these guys to get the songs sounding as epic as possible. I took down all of my tracks until I got them mastered. It’s not just the difference in sound but I found from this point that a lot more people started following me and reposted my tracks. The picture I used for the “End Of The Tunnel” is from my talented friend in Photography, Laura Witherden and it fitted perfectly to the track, she has some great pictures so definitely check her out too.
Mixing it up
I decided to attempt making podcasts and mixes of my own tracks by investing in a USB controller/mixer, which although is very basic, does exactly what I want it to do. My aim was to just showcase 8 tracks per podcast, of songs that I liked on SoundCloud recently and see how it would be received. I bought a microphone as well so that I could introduce the podcasts and give voiceovers so that people who downloaded the podcast would know who they were listening to and give that artist some support as well. It’s part of a “help out our fellow artists” campaign that I’ve always wanted to do and hopefully it will help everyone grow a bit more.
Fiend Request (pun-tastic)
I was posting more of my mastered tracks on SoundCloud for free download and the responses were coming in thick and fast, almost too quickly for me to keep up with. It was all very humbling nonetheless. Then I get a message out of the blue from an artist called FiendReflex, whose tracks I had been commenting on (as I was, and still am, really enjoying his blend of trance sounds with Drum & Bass). The message was asking me if I wanted to start releasing on his label Allowance Records. I was very excited at the time and he is a sound guy with some talented artists on his label making heavy, unique beats so I thought, why not go for it? I had a mastered EP ready, which was accepted by Allowance Records and had my début release at the end of May, Tides of Time.
Forever playing catch-up
Although I did spend the Summer of 2015 travelling around USA, Canada and Australia, where I managed to meet up with TigerPaw, Gattica Kid and meet some other great people along the way, I missed the release of Tides of Time! I have been playing catch-up with my statuses ever since as I’ve had other releases with the Audio Animals Foundation label, more EPs with Allowance as well as a few singles here and there. Make sure you’re subscribed to my YouTube channel, SoundCloud page and check this website as I look to update it more regularly.
Having said that, it’s good to have so much to post about but with the career now in materials testing taking over, getting time to focus on music is pretty limited these days, which makes me appreciate the free time so much more. With the website nearly in full swing, I will have some focal point to work on now and I was holding back uploads until it was set up before I continued.
Where I am now
Now that the website is up and running, I will be able uploading a lot more content and carrying on with the podcast series and catching up with my uploads when I get a chance and hopefully give you all some entertainment along the way.
I don’t really have a plan as to where I’d like to end up or even where this will all go, as long as I’m still enjoying it, that’s the main thing!
Thanks a lot for reading this, hopefully you made it to the end and enjoy what the website has to offer!