Student Profile: James Walker AKA Cakewalk

It’s time for another student profile! We checked in with our former student, James Walker, to hear about his DJ career since graduating from Mmmmaven.

James AKA Cakewalk got his start DJing at Franklin Pierce University after teaching himself how to DJ using Youtube and online tutorials. He wanted to learn more about the craft, so he began searching for DJ schools in Boston. His search led him to Mmmmaven, where he began taking classes in 2012. Early on, James started exploring different genres and Mmmmaven helped him pull from these influences to find his own sound.

One thing that has stuck with me from Mmmmaven is “imitate, imitate, innovate”. In other words don’t be afraid to “sound” like or take things you really like from artists that you really love. Eventually you’ll find your own sound but still be able to show your influences in your music or sets.

Cakewalk is currently a resident DJ at the monthly parties, BINARY at Wonder Bar and Flight 617 at Good Life. He loves playing at BINARY parties because they are always packed with fun and energetic people. Flight 617 parties also appeal to him because of the diversity and high-energy feel that they have.

Cakewalk has accomplished some amazing things since leaving Mmmmaven, including opening for Purple Disco Machine at a BINARY party, playing at Boston summer party, Dancing at the Charles, and doing a set at Habitat Living Sound in Calgary.

James describes the type of music he plays as New Disco/ House. He likes to play any funky, feel-good music that will get people dancing.

When asked who his biggest DJ idols are, he cited Soul Clap and no regular play.

Listen to a mix by Cakewalk below:

 

As far as DJing goes, James considers it a part-time job for now. He works full-time as a Kindergarten Teacher’s Aide in Brookline during the week. Even though this job doesn’t primarily deal with DJing, he is able to network with people by inviting them to his shows and has even been able connect with other musicians through work.

James still maintains his DJ career by doing his monthly resident gigs and shows on the weekends as well. Luckily, James has summers off from his full-time job so he is able to focus on DJ gigs during this time. He definitely keeps busy DJing even though he considers it a part-time job.

 

Here’s some advice James had for aspiring DJs:

Work your hardest, but be patient too. That was definitely the toughest part for me, but just keep at it.

 

Catch Cakewalk at our new free event this coming Saturday (3/25) at Hojoko in Boston. Come in for one of their signature dishes, a designer cocktail, and some house music tunes.

3/25/17

FREE

Posted by: Tori Leche

How To Organize Your Ableton Session

Working in a large session with many tracks can be overwhelming. Have you ever wondered how to solve this problem? Here are some ways you can organize your Ableton session to enhance your workflow and creativity.

 

1. Label Tracks

If all of your tracks are labeled to correspond with the instruments they represent, navigating you session becomes much easier. For example, if your track is named “BASS” instead of “2 Basic Sinelike”, then you will be able to easily find your bass track among all of your other tracks. Right-click on the track header and select the “Rename” option. It will then allow you to type in a new name for the track.

 

2. Color-Code Tracks

 Assigning colors to tracks based on the instruments you’re using can be very helpful. Having a color to associate with different sounds makes it easier to quickly find tracks in your session.  For example, if you color-code all of your synth tracks to be yellow, any time you look up and see that color you will automatically know you’re looking at the synth tracks. If you right-click on the track header it will open up a menu that has a grid of colors at the bottom. Just select the color square that you want and it will change the track header to that color.

 

3. Create Groups

Let’s say your working with a session that has a hefty vocal arrangement in it. This means you are going to have many vocal tracks to deal with. A way to declutter your session, if you have multiple tracks that fall under the same category, is to create a group. Hold down the “Shift” key and click on each track that you want to be included in the group. Once you have selected all of the tracks that you want, right-click on one of the selected tracks and choose “Group Tracks” from the drop down menu. This will put all of the tracks you selected under one group tab. You can hide the tracks in the group while you aren’t working with them to free up visual space in your session. The black triangle beside the group name will allow you to open and close the group when you need to access the individual tracks.

 

4. Add Locators

Locators can be added in the arrangement view of Ableton. Right-click in the grey space below the measure numbers and select “Add Locator” from the drop down menu. This will give you a grey triangle in the location that you originally clicked. Right-click on the triangle and select “Rename” from the drop down menu to label the locator. These locators can be helpful in identifying sections of your song, like a verse, chorus, or bridge.

 

After using these tips, your session should be much easier to navigate!

 

Want to know more about the Music
Production Program at MMMMAVEN
? Drop us a line below.

 

Posted by: Tori Leche