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

8 Ways to Make Music Online

While it is practical to use various types of computer software to produce high-caliber music, it has been found that webpages online can also enable quality music production. Musicradar‘s  surfed the Internet to find some of the  best sites to create music through a web browser. He relayed his findings to Musicradar, and it’s a good idea to mark his recommended websites in your “bookmarks” folder.

1. AudioTool

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AudioTool has been a staple production website for a long time, but with its constant updates, the site is essentially brand new. “The easy-to-use interface enables you to rig up Roland-style drum machines and synths and route them through Boss-style stomp boxes and into a virtual mixing desk. Some basic DAW functions – including a piano roll display – enable you to program or record MIDI,” says Cornell.

2. Soundation Studio

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Equipped with rudimentary synths as well as a drum sounds, Soundation has all of the basics for music production. Plus, it allows users to include live recordings into production. Cornell praises the website by saying, “the layout and options should be familiar to anyone who has a passing interest in music production. The basic package comes pre-loaded with over 700 loops and samples, which can be bolstered by reasonably-priced packs that are available from the online store.” [MORE HERE]

3. Audio Sauna

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Cornell notes the uncanny resemblance between Audio Sauna and GarageBand, and applauds the websites basic tools. “Sound-wise, there are good FM and analogue synths and also a sampler which covers drums and a few other instruments. You can load your own samples into the sampler and apply distortion, chorus and looping. Songs and tracks can be exported as WAV files or saved for future recall,” says Cornell. [MORE HERE]

4. Soundtrap

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With Soundtrap, users can create a maximum of five music projects. The site makes sharing and collaborating on music simple for everyone. “The loops, effects and instruments are solid… Recording external sounds is easy. Sharing a project opens up your song for friends to edit…Once your tune is complete, hit the ‘publish’ button and it’s automatically mastered and uploaded for the community to hear and comment on,” says Cornell.

5. PulseBoy

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Pulseboy is available both online and offline. Cornell praises the site for its genuine 8-bit sounds and ability to save projects for later. Cornell states that, “the interface is designed to mimic the classic Nintendo Game Boy and features basic controls and graphics. Across the 16 tracks you can assign simple waveforms and noise, tweaking volume, panning and low/high frequency cutoff. Then it’s simply a case of tapping out your notes on your computer keyboard.” [MORE HERE]

6. Viktor NV-1

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The simplicity of the Viktor NV-1 is one of the sites major attractions. Easy to operate and fairly understandable, the site is perfect to learn the fundamentals of keyboard synths. “It comes with 30 presets and you can save and load your own. Common waveforms can be assigned to the 3 oscillators and shaped with an LFO and envelopes. The onboard compressor, delay and reverb units thicken up the sound,” says Cornell. [MORE HERE]

7. WebSynths

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“Another 3-oscillator synth but with a completely different look to most. Programmed by Mitch Wells, the main features of this instrument are the envelope shaping and the 136 presets, most of which sound pretty impressive,” says Cornell about WebSynths. The website allows users to transform their music into something completely new though distortion, compression and other post-processing aspects. [MORE HERE]

8. Patchwork

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A site for those more advanced in music production, Patchwork offers all of the instrumental amenities anyone could ever need. “Unless you’re familiar with analogue synth architecture you might initially struggle with the steep learning curve, but perseverance will pay off. If nothing else, this site is a fantastic emulation of an old-school patchbay and demonstrates what previous generations of synth engineers had to contend with just to create a simple sound,” says Cornell. [MORE HERE]

Cornell’s findings are useful for anyone. Novices and experts alike will benefit from these sites in different ways, allowing them to create insanely good music.

Want to make music OFFLINE? Our DJ Program Can Get You Started. Drop us a line below and get a free introductory
DJ lesson.

Beats By Girlz Open House & Fundraiser

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Beats by Girlz & Mmmmaven present an open house to learn more about the music production program this January for girls, non-gender binary, and/or trans youth ages 8-13.

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You’ll have an opportunity to play around with equipment and ask instructors questions. We’ll also be raising money for schorlarships.

Beats By Girlz is a non-traditional, creative and educational music technology curriculum and initative designed by Erin Barra that was initially developed at The Lower Eastside Girls Club in NYC. Beats By Girlz is designed to empower young women in music technology by providing them with the guidance, access, tools and role-support to develop their interest in music production, composition, engineering, etc.