We drop in for a visit

One of the first days of their Red Bull Academy in London, Clash were invited along to a select audience with Mark Ronson, and were introduced to some of the scene-leading galacticos passing through or teaching at the college - including Jazzie B and Zinc. Ninja Tune's Poirier is one of the students, and as you'll see, the pupils are prodigies on a scale that would've made Mozart a middle age bloomer.

Rare tuna and fava bean salad is on the menu as the thirty students have the run of eight studios, two vocal booths, a recording room, a session room, and video and audio edit suites. Meanwhile the academy engage in a veritable media barrage in the form of a daily newspaper and the Red Bull radio station, which broadcasts live from the Tower Bridge HQ.

The students come from 32 different countries, and are a serious and radical bunch: Teri Gender Bender from Mexico City tells us she plans to sonically: "Break through the arsehole of the donkey, splurt out, and see how it smells later"...Punchy.


Many Ameri, head of RBMA

"We've had some successful people come out of the academy: Mr Hudson, Hudson Mohawke, Aloe Blacc from Stones Throw, Natalia Lafourcade who has won a Latin Grammy; it's where Flying Lotus met Andrea Triana to make to make the seminal Tea Leaf Dancers.

All the 2,500 applicants, which come from 82 countries, have to fill in a form with 55 questions, which is 20 to 30 pages long. We question them about what they're like as people, and ask them to write about their capabilities. Then we listen to a DJ mix of songs they've made. It goes through two or three people, and the 2,500 applications are whittled down to 200, then down to 60. It takes 12 people two months to work through them.


Zinc, full-time member of Studio Crew

For a few years they'd been asking me to do it and I was like 'Fuck off' thinking it would be a bunch of kids with violins. When I saw the electronic and urban angle I thought 'Well actually this is something I'm interested in'. I do lectures when my computer is projected onto a big screen when I'm making a tune using Logic, teaching the kids how to use it.

I press 'control shift alt' to do something and they're like 'what was that you just did?' - however for me it's a lot about sharing knowledge, sometimes I watch the participants and they're doing stuff I don't know about - it's fascinating. I'm not really that interested in teaching actually. But I make time. I also do it with Rinse FM, they get kids to come in and ask the DJs from the station to make tunes with the kids and show them how to DJ.

One of the beauties of this style is that so many different music styles are represented. I've sat there seeing a minimal producer making a tune which is really interesting for me - it didn't directly influence my Crack House EP but it was interesting!


Jazzie B - lecturer and performer at RBMA

I'd say with the music academy Red Bull are putting their money where their mouth is. It makes so much sense to me. A set up like this, for however long it lasts is just an incredible thing to have in London. I was do a lot of work in Deptford and Hackney too to work in the community.

My style back in the day with my Soul II Soul crew was the 'funky dread', which was having my head shaved on the sides and 'locksed up' on the middle. I remember once around All Saints road in Notting Hill when a dread got out a knife and said if I couldn't make up my mind whether I was a rasta or a baldhead then they would do it for me.

I remember meeting Nellee Hooper when he was with the Wild Bunch crew [alongside 3D and Daddy G from Massive Attack] and they were borrowing our sound system for a clash in Caxton House in Archway - Nutrament, [of the Nutrament Crew] who was the first guy to be a b-boy in London, was promoting it - anyway as usual there was a fight, and equipment started getting thrown about. All that bored me so I went outside to skin up, and Nellee came out and we started chatting...the rest is history. [Nellee went on to produce Soul II Soul and countless other stars].

View a gallery from the Sound Clash event where the Soul II Soul sound system played HERE.


DJ Klem, student from Nigeria

I've just been producing for Mo'Cheddah [huge African hip hop star]. Generally being around so many different people who are really talented in their own right is amazing - nobody's a pushover. Everybody here's completely switched-on. It's great to feed off everybody's energy. There's a lot of stuff that I've never seen before in terms of equipment, so I'm looking forward to that.


Find out more about the Red Bull Music Academy HERE.

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