Alummmmni: Richard Nordin

Richard Nordin was an army brat originally from Pittsburgh, who eventually found himself going to school in Worcester, MA. The mundane, seemingly nonexistent, nightlife scene in Worcester motivated him to finish school as quickly as possible, which would allow him to relocate to Boston, where the nightlife scene was thriving, full of life, creativity, and diversity.

He got his start DJing at the underground venue Red Tail in Manchester, NH. After attending Mmmmaven’s Make It New events, it sparked his interest in producing music. He loved the focus on underground music at Make It New, which led him to take music production classes at Mmmmaven. He not only took Production 101 and 102, but he took them twice.

“The producers I studied with were really gifted and intelligent and I could come in looking at any particular genre and the teachers would bend to whatever genre I wanted to learn production skills in.”

Nordin has gone on to play at Burning Man and notes Kink and House of Prayers as a couple of his musical influences. His long term goal is to utilize his knowledge and creativity to create music for the underground music scene. He started Houseboi, an event held the first Wednesday every month, which he also manages. It features performances that include singing, burlesque, drag, and is queer friendly. The characters are colorful, and the show is welcoming to all humans and their friends.

His advice for anyone interested in learning how to DJ or produce: put in the time, take plenty of notes, do your homework, and treat it like a second job.

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Alummmmni: Cakewalk

Boston-based website Happps recently profiled one of our most-recent success stories from inside the Mmmmaven Project lab: Cakewalk.

In the interview, James calls out Soul Clap for their tremendous influence in Boston, Wonder Bar in Allston and its Binary crew, and… McDonald’s (??!).

Flip on over to Happps to see the full interview, and thanks to Ruth Jiang for making the time!

Be like James! Right now, incoming college students get a 10% discount with a valid college ID. Email tak@mmmmaven.com for the details. Or…

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Alumni Profile: Vitto Di Vaio

Raised between Italy, France, the UK, and the US, Vitto Di Vaio has been living in New England for the last five years. He has performed as a vocalist and guitarist, and currently supports the artists and music he loves in an event production role at weekly electronic night “Make It New” for the past year and a half.

This fall Vitto will be studying in Valencia, Spain earning his Masters in Music Production, Technology, and Innovation at Berklee College of Music.

How did you find about MMMMaven and the programs we offer?
I was an attendee at Make It New in my early months in Boston. It was the one night a week I really looked forward to and I knew that it was affiliated with MMMMaven. I was curious about DJing, so through the night I found out about the classes and then signed up for one, DJ 101.

Had you ever DJ’ed before coming to MMMMaven?
Never, no.

Had you ever done any music production before studying at MMMMaven?
A little bit. In college, I learned how to use Logic in a computer music class. It was just a semester, so I didn’t get very good. I was always kind of a performer either through theater or music. I sing and play guitar, but production was lost on me in college. I wasn’t very good at it. I got a little older and I was in a job that required me to be pretty analytically intensive, so it taught me how to use computers a little better and handle that. So, then DJing kind of came naturally from there.

How has your music and music production progressed since graduating from MMMMaven?
I’m on a different wavelength now. Since I started, DJing, it kind of taught me how to mix, how to think about putting songs together and what patches make sense. Then, through Make It New, I was literally listening to music every week, the best artists week on week. I was also Shazaming like crazy, listening to a ton of music at home that made my taste better – my music taste was terrible in college.

So, listening to better music helped me to become a better musician.

That’s what you get here. Through MMMMaven I continued on with eventually the production program. I took production with Damian Silva and Damian’s just been my hero. We bonded and share music. He’s given me the best advice that I can get on what gear to buy too. I owe everything to MMMMaven’s production program mostly.

How did you start getting involved with Make It New?
MMMMaven put out a Facebook message asking for help. They were like, “Does someone want to volunteer for Make It New?” I saw it and I was like, “Ahhhh” so I commented and then I got a message the next day that said lets meet up and talk. Shortly after, I started at Make It New. That was, like, a year and a half ago.

How has working at Make It New and watching those DJ’s perform influenced your music?
I was literally listening to music every week, the best artists week on week, which helped me to become a better musician. I was not listening to the best music in high school, progressively better in college. Once I got out I really started to get a better sense of my musical taste.

Listening to the people that Alex books for Make It New week after week was just hugely formative.

It definitely gave me an electronic bend that I didn’t have before. From there, it’s kind of progressed beyond the beat making sphere to more ambient experimental stuff. The people that come through Make It New are kind of at the forefront of good musical taste.

You’ve lived all over – Italy, France, UK, and the US. How has the music scene differed in each country? Did you ever find it challenging to adapt? How has your geographical location influenced your music if at all?
I wouldn’t be able to tell you if the music scene differed because I was too young to really experience the club scene. Although attending high school in Milan, I was going to a lot of terrible clubs with my friends. From what I know, Europe is a very dense continent in terms of music talent, but there’s so much good music here as well. Not just New York but Boston as well. It’s accessible and allowed me to get to this point. I think it can be prohibitive in other places. I really came of age here. My location has definitely influenced my music – my support network is here, and so there’s no better place to grow and develop as an artist. Having everyone that matters to you in one place, getting advice.

You’re getting your masters at Berklee in Valencia, Spain this fall – Can you explain why you chose to get your masters? Why this program? What do you hope to get out of the program?
I was in the production class with Damien and eventually came to the topic of what opportunities there were to pursue music production on a graduate level. He said that one of the most prestigious programs, that a lot of the Make It New faculty are involved in, is the Berklee Masters program in Valencia, Spain.

It’s incredible that one of the best programs in the world also has a bunch of MMMMaven alums and former MMMMaven professors.

What do you hope to get out of the program?
My glass is empty going in. I don’t know where I am going to end up. I would like to come out with technical and marketable skills and would love to be able to work with other artists as an audio engineer as well as a producer. I want to further my own art and release something as a performing artist. I would love to learn how to program music in the most basic ways, whether that’s in regard to 360 audio or how to VJ. The goal is to make a full-length studio album, hopefully with collaborators and maybe with an associated live set.

What do you hope to have accomplished in your musical career 5 years from now?
I would love to be making money, which is the hard part. That’s part of the appeal that the program has for me.

I would love to be able to work as a salaried employee at a music software company or a hardware manufacturer; like Ableton, Roland, or iZotope.

So, I would want to continue my work as a musician at all costs, but to be a hirable person with real skills that people need to make the cool products that I’ve been exposed to, and even making for the last couple of years. Making that stuff is really fun too, but actually designing it from scratch is a whole other thing.

 

Want to know more about synthesis, Ableton, and the future of music? Sign up for the next FREE seminar:

 

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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