Clash sits in...
Red Bull Music Academy Term Two Update

Clash came to see how the Red Bull Music Academy’s second semester was getting along, as the second wave of students hit the lecture halls and studios for the now-customary orgy of big name mentors and advisers.

Perhaps more significantly, Red Bull made history with a spree of brilliantly awkward club line that set the mettle of the old against the new. Unlimited budget and imagination meant that Red Bull placed synth pop beside jungle in one great 12x12 night, Carl Craig at the Royal Festival Hall, and new blood dubstep vs Metalheadz’ black steel. This last event, at Roundhouse, was heralded on the blogs as one of the most significant musical events in the past decade Another event was the Roller Disco bringing together Horse Meat Disco, who are responsible for reintroducing disco to Europe, and Moodymann who runs his famous roller disco night in Detroit, Soul Skate.

Clash went down to the academy and caught a fascinating lecture from champion sound Aba Shanti, chatting how they would get down the wood factory with a hack saw to make their speakers, and about the very real state of dub-ecstasy. We then caught up with a range of the students and the Red Bull rector, Many.

Many Ameri – co-founder

We’re really happy with how it went. One of our individual concerns was how we can do something in a place with an incredible scene like London; to reach out to a lot of different communities in venues from the Royal Festival Hall to Scala. What I especially liked was the way we embraced all the scenes. Culture Clash was something that was very close to our hearts, to bring together all the genres.”

This is especially in a city like London that has so much going on in terms of music and musical culture. To have people like Steve Reich at the academy was an honour. Also to have people who didn’t feel as comfortable speaking and bring them out of themselves, like with Moodymann, was very special.”

The sharing of the knowledge with our daily paper also felt great. We didn’t have to dumb it down. It felt cool to have bankers on the tube reading a six-page piece about sound system culture; we didn’t have to leave out any of the edges that make up music out.”



I have an EP coming out at the moment called Cosmic Intoxication, then an LP is called Midnight Menu. After that I’m concentrating on my Brainfeeder album, which I want to be a pinnacle statement for me.”

I don’t really find it a student environment. People think that we’re being taught things – but it’s more like summer camp? It’s more like a camp they give you activities. It’s on a more mature level, ‘cause I’m not a kid. It’s like we have these luxuries, but they’re not like luxuries - it’s like we’re sitting in on interviews. They’re [the people interviewed] going through their thought processes, but they’re not being all technical. It’s never very droning –that’s what separates it from a real school environment. ‘Student’ doesn’t sound right – it feels like school, which isn’t fun - and this is pretty fun.”

It depends on who’s lecturing as to whether we hear more about the industry or the process of making music. We had Busy P on from Ed Banger, he’s talking more from a label perspective, then we have artists come in who will want to talk about their experience as artists, or how they make music, with some going into very technical detail.”

Every lecturer that comes in has their own thing that they want to talk about – something I’ve realised is that no one lecture is the same. The people I like to collaborate the most with are actual musicians, who give me a new perspective. Everyone here is really valuable in their own way.”

I definitely feel as if we’re all special in our own way, as they only select 60 people for the terms. There are thousands of people who applied. When I look at myself there must be something special about me that they have chosen me. It kinda makes me feel really special.”

Katy B (UK)

I make UK Funky tracks and live Hip Hop with the Illersapiens – we perform in the Ritzy in Brixton.

It doesn’t feel like I’m in London – it feels like I’ve been catapulted into another planet for two weeks. I’m so tired right now. I think I’ve enjoyed the lectures the most. There are studios that are open 24 get to go to all the nights...”

I really enjoyed the Deviation night with Doom as I’m a big fan. It’s weird too ‘cause loads of people have loads of different messages, in the way that music is going. You have one guy Busy P, the head of Ed Banger, he was like ‘You know, do what you can to make a living out of this, and if Coca Cola rings you up, then see, you know what can we do here’, so you’re sitting there going ‘oh cool’, and then you get Moodymann coming on after him saying ‘Don’t sell out for no one!’ I don’t get paid for my gigs , I do it all for the love’ so it is confusing, rather than inspiring, you’re getting pulled in all these different directions.”

But I guess that’s for us to work out.”

There’s been so much talk of Mad Lib and Flying Lotus that it almost makes me not want to be a part of it, because literally everyone is on that sound, it makes me want to say, I want to do something that’s not like that. I’ve done a track that’s like that though. My music is more influenced by sounds in London like reggae and ska and broken beat. I’m quite happy that our stuff is not like that.”

I really enjoyed meeting Gabriel [Nascimbeni] who’s from Brazil, I sang a song with him playing guitar when I was singing in Portuguese. I definitely feel inspired because with everybody here there’s a great deal of hard work that’s been put in, with ideas about how to get your stuff out there and make a living.”

Myele Manzanza (New Zealand)

I’m surrounded by some very talented people. I’ve probably got just as much, if not more out of the participants that are here than from the lecturers that are here - just because the energy of the place means that there’s a lot of room for creative ideas to bounce around. It’s been a great creative space for the like-minded people that are here.:

I had a cool jam session with an bass player called Ross McHenry, and another with a bass player who is very good with sound effects and synthetics, Jakob Schneidewindfrom Austria.”

We had a cool jam session at the Queen of Hoxton which went really well. I’m predominantly a drummer but I’ve allowed myself to get deeper into music production while I’m here what with being able to hang out with guys like Genesis and TOKiMONSTA, Kid Kanevil from Glasgow, to get amongst these dudes, or to have someone like DJ Zinc help me with mixing and Logic.”

We were the only traditional band out of all the performances from the academy. I’m not going to get a chance to hang out with these dudes, with them giving me Logic sessions at 2am! Zinc is a hero of mine.”

The music I make is rooted in jazz music, but not at the same time is not jazz. Jazz is the root; it spreads into music production, with Logic and beatsy hip hop, african and latin influences.”

Roots Manuva was cool to see lecture – just ‘cause it’s Roots Manuva, Moodymann was great as a spectacle of how he brought out these four beautiful black women from Detroit and they were just standing there braiding his hair, and pouring him drinks. It was real life Blaxploitation.”

Ross McHenry (Australia)

When everyone arrived I would say I made jazz, soul and afro beat. Now having been here I’ve been motivated by a lot of people to think differently about what it is that I do, so I’m not so quick to pigeonhole and I’m inspired to take more styles on.”

The common thread between almost all the lecturers here, certainly those involved in making music, has been that they’ve constantly been involved in making new music, not in sticking between parameter A and B, but creating new sound. When you come from Oz, it’s one of the few countries that hasn’t created a musical style of its own. That might be difficult to comprehend if you come from London where you’ve got this lineage of music, or New York city.”

What it doesn’t have is a scene of, and I hate this term, art music, but there’s not a huge amount of electronic music, so you don’t have a huge amount to draw from. Now thanks to the academy I’m in the situation where I think ‘I like that, I’m going to take elements of that for my music.’”

I think I’ll feel both suicidal and invigorated once it’s all over – invigorated in that I’ve experienced a wide variety of new things, and deeply saddened to have to leave this place with all these creative people and these facilities. You know what this place is like – it’s a great vibe!”


Find out more about Red Bull Music Academy on ClashMusic HERE

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