By Michael Melvin
I chose to write this piece, having just recently graduated from Syracuse University. Having had many experiences creating music and DJing in college, I wanted to look back on the moments that brought me closer to my passion. I compiled a timeline of experiences that have led me to performing live events and producing remixes for many well known producers and artists in the industry(Louis The Child, Kiiara, Connor Maynard, etc.)
What first got you into music?
My first experience with music was taking music classes as a kid at Greenwich Country Day School. Eventually I began taking guitar lessons once I realized that music was a passion.
In school I developed an interest in the performative area of electronic music, using external controllers and equipment to produce music. The first external controller I used was the Korg Kaossilator. At the time digital music equipment like this was hard to come by. It was for this reason that I was first introduced to it via an iphone app back when the phone had just come out and was in its infancy.
I used to visualize that one day I could play an entire live show with buttons and electronics. In 2004 Tiesto actually did that at the olympics in Athens; making sounds with what looked like futuristic space station controls.
Seeing Tiesto on the TV screen DJing for the Athens Olympics was huge for audio fanatics everywhere. He proved to anyone that it was possible to make it big as a professional DJ. This single moment in time sparked an obsession with music mixing and mastering that would lead to a new age of performance.
While at Berkshire School, I was able to extend my interests forward by taking their Digital Music course, which at the time was taught by Clive Davis. Taking all 6 levels that were offered I had learned software synthesis, how to manipulate midi through an external controller, and how to program various synthesizers in Pure Data.
At the time Ableton 9 was all the rage in terms of Digital Audio Workstations. I remember there were only a few copies and due to the fact that I was in a high level class I was allowed to use one of them at my specific workstation. Through using this software, I was able to use a whole new bunch of software synths, download VSTs(Massive, Serum, i.e.), and connect to the launchpad, which was all the rage at the time.
After reading the manual for ableton I was starting to understand the commands and how to use them in order to manipulate audio and midi on the screen. Somewhere along the way, I found a launchpad(buttons/electronic pads) that wasn’t being used and decided to use this in my track Artist Collection By Raymond.
By assorting my tracks into different buttons, I was able to transition between multiple ideas seamlessly. This was my first real experience with electronic music controllers and would continue to lead me into a feirce rabbit hole of gizmos and software packs.
After being introduced to the idea of Music Production, I chose to learn music theory and study tracks to understand how songs were structured in popular culture. In many of the tracks that I would hear my peers play, there was usually a bass drop or a chorus. Once I was able to get my tracks sounding like reasonable dance tracks, I came out with Gluten Free and Internal Refinery shortly after.
At this point in time, I was going by the moniker MoŁ. As an avid Deadmau5 fan, I wanted a name that would seem interesting and unique. I ended up changing the name later to Melvin, as I just wanted to produce the music and the symbol Ł was making things very difficult on a marketing/ publishing front.
The summer before college, I did an internship at Arch St. in Greenwich. During this time I learned many things about production, music editing, and remixing tracks. I began to look out for remix competitions on my email in hopes of something good popping up.
Most of my remixes that I have available on my soundcloud are from doing these competitions. Apart from producing remixes and originals, I also have started to look towards events and mix live sets in hopes of reaching a broader audience.
What is the first Remix you ever made?
I had been hearing through other music producers in the area that remix competitions were a great way to gain exposure and to get clean vocals. Seeing that Galantis had come out with a remix competition, got me excited and I signed up almost immediately.
Ultimately, I ripped this entire song apart and changed it as much as I possibly could. Applying reverb, and ring modulator, there was nothing left behind.
What is your favorite Remix?
There something about the synths used in this remix that I just love. That and the snares leading up to a chill drop into different drum variations.
What is everyone else’s favorite Remix?
Due to the fact that most people in the EDM comunity know about Louis The Child and anyone who avidly listens to pop music knows about the artist Kiiara and her amazing vocals. Working on both of these projects were a lot of fun and taught me many things about vocal reproduction and slowing down the tempo to something more focused for the summer.
This remix was definitely one of the more popular ones. With the help of these fresh vocals, it was easy for me to incorporate soft snares and elusive claps alongside a nice glass piano and LFO incorporated pad.
Mixes/ Live Sets
Once I was finally able to reunite with my friend Walsh after the pandemic, we began to listen over a few of the tracks that we had either made or collected in our pursuit of good music during quarantine. We had realized that much of the music we had once worshipped had become completely forgotten and replaced by a new standard of track. As we were not listening to the same music that we had once listened to on our portable bluetooth speakers in high school. Melvin and Walsh realized it was time work on longer curated mixes and begin playing live sets for youtube.
Plan for continued mixes on Soundcloud. Stay posted for events in your area.
Wish I could skateboard. I’m terrified of falling hahah
For a sneak preview:
How to follow
- My Life and Music
- Recordings Lost And Found
- Sports Photography Over The Years: From Old World Athlete to Wavy Little Skaters to Death Defying Daredevils
- Contemporary Street Art Journal
- What is Strategic Vandalism?
Hello maate great blog post