Welcome back to another edition of Point Blank Student Success. This month we spoke with DJ and Producer BINKS about her work with Dimensions Festival and her forthcoming EP. We also caught up with Rohan Scully, the founder of underground electronic music label, Pearl Music who has big plans for the future. We compile these every month showcasing students that have studied with us for any length of time and at any of our locations: London, Los Angeles, Ibiza, Mumbai, and Online.
BINKS (Dimensions Festival / NTS) – DipHE in Music Production and Sound Engineering
BINKS is a producer and DJ who made the big step six years ago to quit her job as a business consultant and focus on music – and she hasn’t looked back since. She kicked off her musical journey taking part in E.M.M.A’s PRODUCERGIRLS, a workshop which has collaborated with the likes of Ikonika, Dexplicit, P Jam, and Nightwave, before studying at Point Blank on the Music Production and Sound Engineering course. Fast forward to present and BINKS is truly flourishing heading up sponsorships for Dimensions Festival and Outlook Festival, not to mention her killer DJ sets for Soundwave Festival, NTS and more.
Could you tell me how you discovered Point Blank?
I think it was simply the classic case of Google, to be honest. I knew that I wanted to focus my studies solely on electronic music, so that narrowed my search down somewhat. I was also still running my consulting business at the time and knew I needed to be in London and central so I googled ‘Study Electronic Music in London’ and up popped Point Blank.
I got in touch with Luc who then arranged for me to join a small induction session at Point Blank. He went through all of the different courses and options and we also had a walk around the studios. I think I enrolled that day which was in the summer and started the course in September.
What was your experience with music before you studied with us? I know you took part in the PRODUCERGIRLS classes – how did they help get the ball rolling?
I had been very musical when I was younger with the main focus being around singing. As I mentioned, I was in a corporate job and environment that simply did not suit me. Luckily, I have a lot of friends in creative industries and I could see that I was able to make a life and a living out of something I enjoyed. This is the overall aim in my opinion.
About a year before starting Point Blank I did attend the first ever PRODUCERGIRLS workshop at Radar Radio (RIP). I remember using FL Studio software and soaking the whole day up like a sponge. I spoke with E.M.M.A and other women that day and realised that I wasn’t the only one with a dream. Having a trigger like that is really important when you are on the road to discovering what you want to do.
Are there any things you learned with us that really stick in the memory?
I think there are some really important lessons that I learned in the art of Mixing and Mastering in particular. I think these technical skills are really important to understand on more than the surface level. These skills not only can elevate your music to a higher standard, but they also allow you to understand the physics of sound.
I think the nature of collaboration and working together is also a big take away from Point Blank. With electronic music, it is very easy to get stuck on your own and spend all your time in the DAW. But it is good to work with other people and get other ideas and collaborations going.
You’ve been working for the Outlook group of festivals, how did you get into that?
Yes, so I actually work across both Outlook and Dimensions festivals as well as some other events and projects that we are involved in. I volunteered in the summer when I was studying at Point Blank. I saw something posted on the opportunities board online about volunteering with the festival in the music space. I applied and got the role along with another Point Blank friend of mine. We went there for two weeks working on The Sound Studio (used to be called The Knowledge Arena.) That is where I met Johnny Scratchley, a director at the festivals and lead singer for Gentleman’s Dub Club. We had a chat and he reached out the following January to
offer me a job with the festivals. I graduated from Point Blank in March this year and started with these guys at the end of April. The beauty of working in festivals is the fact that you are at the center of many different worlds. Artists, live music, production, performance, management etc, it broadens your network and is also loads of fun.
How has your actual approach to making music changed since you started?
Weirdly I was thinking about this over the last week. When I started out, I was filled with this overwhelming need and almost panic to understand everything at once which lead to a lot of frustration and was not exactly conducive to my learning. But as I went through the different stages and different modules I was able to let the whole puzzle come together. I think the terminology and look of some things can be intimidating so it takes time to adjust to the language and the approach. It’s also important to listen to yourself and remember why you started then you can tailor your learning to that. As the subjects and opportunities are so broad and you can sometimes get a bit lost in analysis paralysis!
What would you say you are trying to achieve, or work towards, with regard to
Through no actual conscious effort, Djing has been at the forefront of my activity since I left Point Blank. I’ve played at Soundwave and Dimensions this summer amongst other London gigs. My confidence has really grown, especially lately, so I am definitely going to keep this up. Having said that, I really need to be disciplined and carve out more dedicated time to the studio. I think this job sort of took over, in a good way, and you have to respect the fact that studio time is not always possible. You have to be in the right headspace otherwise you end up trying to push it all uphill.
What have you got in the pipeline in terms of releases or gigs?
I am aiming to have my first EP out in April, I’m also now at the end of the summer festival time so will get back on sorting out bookings for next year. I am looking to get a radio show too. I have really enjoyed the guest slots I’ve had over the summer and love a chat, to be honest. So that is immediately next to me, I’m sending out some emails this week.
Rohan Scully (Pearl Music) – BA (Hons) in Music Production and Sound Engineering
DJ and producer Rohan Scully has worked in the music industry for many years playing local club circuits and dabbling in promotion. His passion for underground electronic music spawned the creation of his record label and collective, Pearl Music. Ranging from psytrance, techno and electronica the South African native’s imprint has now birthed a subsidiary label focussed on the sounds of hip-hop. Follow on below to learn more about his passion for mastering and record label plans.
Could you tell me how you discovered Point Blank?
I discovered Point Blank online while researching music production courses and immediately noticed that the lecturers/tutors all had a solid background in the industry. Another very attractive element was the high level of credibility and industry standing held by the guest speakers/artists who were willing to freely share their wealth of experience.
What was your experience with music before you studied with us?
I have been involved in the music industry since 1995 and DJ’d and produced music until the industry slump hit hard through 2001. In 2003 I got into the film industry and that became my main source of income. I have always continued to work within the music industry as a promoter and producer regardless of the challenges. It has always remained my true passion, “I love music”, so in 2016 I took the plunge and decided to commit to furthering my music education at Point Blank. Best decision of my life.
What’s been the thing you’ve learned that stands out the most so far?
Industry relationships rely on people skills and honourable conduct, so putting all the talk into action is the thing that unites like-minded people. No matter how much I learn there is always something new to be learned from the day to day situations that present themselves in technical knowledge that can only be learned by making mistakes. I’m extremely grateful that the knowledge shared by the tutors and the course notes can be put into action using the facilities at Point Blank. The only way to truly learn is to do it.
Can you tell me a bit about your label and the concept behind it?
Pearl Music was born out of a passion for underground electronic music which has become more mainstream now. The label was created to release psytrance, techno and electronica from all around the world and over time has grown to include more hip-hop-centric sounds on the subsidiary label, Time Bomb Records. The subsidiary label was a very recent experiment and only has one EP release out at the moment. The current focus of Pearl Music is on Leftfield house, techno, EDM and psytrance.
You’ve been mastering other people’s work as well I believe, any projects you’ve worked on recently that has particularly excited you?
I really love mastering. The challenges and techniques are something I find fascinating. The power of subtle and precise adjustments that can bring a mix to life or just get the mix ready for distribution if it’s already spot on amazes me. An objective approach to process is always good and the balance between creative steps and getting the nob of approval from the artist makes it very rewarding.
I have been mastering all the recently released Hasselman EPs, The Baptiste Broken Shell EP and Shakurian’s new EP. I am currently working on a track ‘Ava Leoncavallo’ and several projects for some less well-known artists.
What’s in the pipeline?
Regarding the label, we have releases coming up from Hasselman, Help Hendrix, Felavah and Shakurian with some collaborations in the works. We also have some amazing new artists doing more of the big room/EDM sounds, which I am really excited about. In addition to this, I am just putting the final touches on a restorative system of transferring vinyl or acetate recordings to be digitally remastered with some custom-made equipment. I’m devoting time to learning how to cut dubplates which I have always loved the sound of, nothing beats the sound of a freshly cut lacquer. I’m in my final year now at Point Blank so my primary focus is getting through the coursework and making the most of the facilities while I still have access to them.
You can follow the Pearl Music label via their Facebook.
Successes such as these are common among our students and alumni. We can teach you how to DJ like the best of them at any of our schools. If you’d like to learn how to produce, then we can build your skills from the ground up with our range of degree programmes, including the latest addition, the BA (Hons) in Music Production and DJ Practice. All of our degree programmes are quality assured by Middlesex University, including our online BA (Hons) course. For more information, you can contact us here.
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