The instructors here at Mmmmaven are a diverse group of people with a wide range of musical backgrounds, and that manifests itself in the production styles of each one. Instructor Mitchell Owens‘s unique music making method draws equally from his acoustic guitar background and his degree in Electronic Production and Design from Berklee.
“Even though the electronic music I write now is much different than the angsty “singer-songwriter” acoustic music I used to write when I was a teenager, I still follow a very similar creative process when producing electronic music,” Owens explains.
It all starts with a sound that I’ve designed to carry the main harmony or chord progression. This sets the vibe of the whole song, whether it’s minor, major, or interchanges between modes. Once I’ve set the tone of my creation, then everything after that is derived from that initial feeling or inspiration that sparked the writing of the chord progression.
This creative process has resulted in a distinct sound that carries over into each one of Owens’s songs, which play out like dreamy soundscapes from the future. “I know that the music I make is a bit removed from the mainstream flavor of today’s electronic music scene,” Owens admits, “but the production techniques and skills I use are mostly universal and can be adapted to just about any genre of music.” Spoken like a true teacher, Owens is excited rather than nervous when students come into his classes looking to produce electronic music in a subgenre far removed from his own.
“I am always excited to get a student that has a far different taste in music than I do because it gives me a chance to be exposed to something new and exciting,” Owens says.
“I had a student in a recent class who was really into Peruvian flute music and wanted to incorporate that into some of the electronic music he was making. I had never been exposed to a lot of music like that but it ended up giving him and I some really good ideas for a track that we later collaborated on.” This open mindedness on Owens’s part can be seen in every aspect of his music, right down to the sound bytes it’s made of.
“I carry a handheld digital audio recorder with me almost everywhere I go,” he divulges, admitting that he knows it sounds a little nerdy. “My favorite things to record are construction sites, he adds. “[There are] so many percussive and metallic sounds that have distinct tones and pitches to them; perfect for making into sampled MIDI instruments!”
Considering his time spent learning the art of electronic production during his college years here in Boston, it’s really no surprise Owens found his way to Mmmmaven. After interning with the school, he quickly became enamored with the entire organization, ultimately landing him a job as an instructor. “Mmmmaven is something special, its not like any other production/DJ school out there,” he says.
Its roots run deep in the love of electronic music, and being in a city that isn’t really known for its electronic music scene, they have shown how that is about to change. Mmmmaven is still very young, but after 4 years it has grown into a very strong source for DJ and music production knowledge as well as connecting with like-minded individuals. I only see Mmmmaven getting bigger and better at what we do.