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City College Brighton & Hove

Validated by Brighton University

BA (Hons). Creative Music Production

Thomas Webb
Long Time Coming UK Garage Album


Page Number


Aims and objectives

Literature survey


Online Interviews/Sources


Youtube Videos

Indicative Reading


Scope and Constraints


Timeline/Gantt Chart




The aim of this final project is to produce and engineer a UK Garage style
album, in a live studio with musicians/strictly audio instruments. The main
reason for choosing this concept relies on the want to challenge my existing
abilities in a live studio environment, along with the endeavour of improving
my creative and technical skills.
Since embarking on my initial access to music course up until this point, it has
been a vast learning curve in all aspects of production. I feel that this project
is a prime opportunity to integrate everything I have learnt so far and produce
a collective of tracks which can be showcased.
The background behind the concept of this project lies within the musical
works of UK Garage producer MJ Cole. Mj Cole who's real name is Matt
Coleman, is a 'classically trained pianist and oboe player' 1 and his approach
to producing music avoids the sampling of pre-recorded sounds, but instead
involves playing everything live where possible. 2 When listening to MJ Cole's
music against other producers within the same genre, his has always stood
out in a unique way and with the saturation of VSTs in modern day production
it feels necessary to create this album with a different process.

1 DJ EQ, Interview with MJ Cole by DJEQ Magazine in 1999 | Interviews

<> [accessed 2 December 2014].
2 Ibid

Aims and Objectives

This individual project will be aiming to present a style of music that would
normally be produced in the typical bedroom environment, in a different
fashion. This module will work with musicians and live instrumentation and the
main objective will involve the recording/part production of an album within a
live studio capacity.
By the end of this study I hope to gain a higher level of competency operating
analog mixing desks, patch bay units and ProTools. In addition to this, I aim to
build my confidence as a producer by challenging myself in a different working
environment, as opposed to my bedroom studio.
To produce an album has always been an aspiration of mine, so to create a
finished article that encapsulates every aspect of my learning thus far is the
overall objective. This project is something that I want to be able to showcase
to potential visitors of the music industry, at the end of year show.
Research/Literature Survey
The David Ricard Big Band: A Big Band on a Budget! Sound On Sound
Magazine (2015)
This is a very useful piece of research material as David Ricard talks through
every stage of his recording process, where a big band of
musicians/instruments are concerned, as well as being on a strict budget. It
highlights how he has been resourceful in achieving the recordings, as well as
detailing what microphones/techniques he utilised.

Online Interviews/Sources

Clean Bandit Interview - Grace and Neil

It has felt necessary to delve into current music industry acts, who are fusing
live instrumentation into House orientated percussion (4/4 rhythmic MIDI
drums). The main difference with this act in comparison to the ones who are
taking electronic dance music and replacing the elements with live
instruments (Goldie), is that Clean Bandit are originally trained in classical
music and are now incorporating digital instruments into their material. They
also explain the creative process behind their chart hit 'Rather Be', which is
very interesting, as the main string hook started off as a programmed synth
line on a laptop keyboard. They also mention that strings in their songs are
used to add texture.

Interview with MJ Cole by DJEQ Magazine (1999)

Reading this interview has been a great reference point for this final project,
as MJ Cole details his approach to making music via means of live
instrumentation. This has also been inspiring in that MJ Cole likes 'to play
music and manipulate sound'3 and this is an element of production process
that I can implement into this album. Using various types of processing such
as reversing samples, time stretching will prove interesting in the creation of
this work.

3 Ibid

Jimmy Napes Interview The Fader (2014)

The track entitled 'Rather Be' written by Clean Bandit, was also co-written by
Englishman Jimmy Napes. Jimmy also co-wrote UK Dance/Garage act
Disclosure's album 'Settle'. His musical idol is MJ Cole and this is a very
strong link between the inspirations for this project. Why is this though?
Further research needs to be undertaken to ascertain why.

Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Young Guru, Sound on Sound (2009)

This research source contains a lot of information on the creative/technical
processes that Young Guru (famous and highly regarded U.S rapper Jay Z's
engineer), incorporates into his workflow. This will prove beneficial in the
development and shaping of this album.

Introduction to Using External Equipment in the Studio (Youtube)

This Youtube video breaks down certain aspects/processes within the studios
at City College East, which can sometimes seem overwhelming. Using the
patch-bay, inserts and sends for pre-amps/reverbs etc, will be implemented in
this project and this has served well in familiarising myself with these


Cole, MJ, Sincere, (2001).

Listening to this album has been insightful, not only in the listening of tracks,
but also to view the artwork of the album. The artwork plays on the 'quality
goods' idea of Garage music, for example a bottle of champagne, but a little
twist is added with oil spilling out from it. 4 This is a good starting point to begin
considering how this project will be formed.

Youtube Videos

Clean Bandit - Rather Be (feat. Jess Glynne) - Later... with Jools Holland
- BBC Two

This live performance is a great example of a current act who are able to fuse
dance music with live instrumentation. What is insightful about this video is
the fact that the drummer is playing an electronic triggered drum kit (not
acoustic), hes only playing kick, hats with an infrequent snare. This style of
playing to create a more complex drum shufe, could be incorporated into
my project to make the recordings more interesting/convincing. Drums could
be layered by drummer, as opposed to doing this in a post production
fashion (make the recordings more human).

4 Radio 1, Interview with MJ Cole by Radio 1 in 2000 | Interviews
<> [accessed 2 December 2014].

MJ Cole Crazy Love (Live 2000 BBC Later with Jools Holland)

This live performance is a great reference point for the start of my drum
recording process. A concern for this project is to transform very skippy
(programmed) drum patterns into ones which are convincing and complex,
when played on a live drum kit. It will be very beneficial for the drummer of
this final project to see and more importantly hear.

Parrish, Theo, Slices Feature, (2014)

This is a small documentary focused on an American electronic DJ/producer

called Theo Parrish, who has given himself a similar challenge to the one
involved in my final project. Since completing his new album entitled
'American Intelligence', he has worked with musicians in order to perform his
works in live performances.

Goldie & The Heritage Orchestra, Timeless (2014)

Another great example of an electronic music producer who has been
transformed his previous works via live instrumentation. Similar to Theo
Parish, it is evident that finding the appropriate musicians with necessary
talent is optimum in these projects, so that ideas can be communicated and
translated in the best way possible.

Size, Roni, Brown Paper Bag Live, (1997)

This video demonstrates how electronic parts of a track can be merged with
real instrumentation within this live performance. A live double bass is played
within this song and it contextualises the intentions for this project.

Indicative Reading

Owsinski Bobby, The Recording Engineers Handbook: (Boston:

ArtistPro Publishing, 2005)

This book will be very useful in researching the use of microphones and
placement for many types of instrument, as well as EQ settings and choosing
outboard equipment.

Huber, David Miles and Robert E. Runstein, Modern Recording

Techniques: (Woburn, USA, Butterworth, Heinemann, 2001)

This book is a bit dated, but nevertheless it will provide useful information on
dynamics, noise reduction, signal processing and microphone placement

Areas of Research to be Conducted

Given that this project will push me in the area of music theory, it will be in my
interest to delve deeper into the realm of music theory, learning more about
chord progressions. This project will aim to be contain a higher level of
musicality in comparison to the songs I usually produce and I will therefore
need to be prepared for it.


The research methodology used for the development and creation of this
project will mainly consist of internet sources, for example interviews and
Youtube videos that will inform me of how to conduct my practices.
Microphone techniques will be researched by reading books/previous lecture
notes and to achieve the best results from the microphones, I will use the
website ''. The LRC at City College will also be
used to find any research in books, that will enable the contextualisation of
this project.

Finding musicians for this project will be involved in the research methodology
and I currently have a decent collective of musicians on board. To search for
other instrumentalists I will be using Facebook groups/forums such as, to search and
contact other talented musical students who may be open to collaborating. I
am also contacting other musicians who I know in the area of Brighton, to see
if they are interested in working together.

Scope and constraints

Considering that the majority of my productions are created in a bedroom

studio environment via the 'in the box' process, using Logic Pro 8/Ableton Live
and a range of software plugins, I have set myself the boundary of recording
the necessary sounds within a live studio space. This constraint will force me
to build upon the existing skills I possess, in respect to recording techniques
and working with/managing musicians.

Given that this project will be centred around the production of a UK Garage
album, it will consist of approximately eight tracks. This limitation should allow
the album to showcase a variety of tracks, whilst providing a limitation that is
achievable within the time frame for completion and submission.

I will also be creating the artwork for this album, which will be created in
'Photoshop' software. I have limited experience working within this design
program, but through doing this myself I will be able to expand my skills. After
carrying out initial research for the artwork of this project, it may be suitable to
collaborate with another student (photographic/graphic design).


For this project, certain resources will be needed to assist me in its

development and completion. To begin with I will be using a Macbook Pro,
along with Logic Pro X. For the main recording of this project, the studio
space (s) at City College East's campus will be required and this will provide
me with Pro Tools software and necessary microphones, leads, headphones
etc. Professional personnel will be sourced in order to provide this project with
necessary musicianship, who will perform and transform the album ideas. The
following list contains the musicians on board with this project so far:

Ash Howarth Cello, Guitar

James Webb Percussion/Vocals
Lewis Magill Guitar
Natalie Webb Female Vocals
Sam Morris - Drums

Timeline/Schedule of Work



1, Radio, Interview with MJ Cole by Radio 1 in 2000 | Interviews

<> [accessed 2 December 2014]
Atmosphere Ft. Marcellus Pittman, 2013 <
v=fwHQVVl6DHo&feature=youtube_gdata_player> [accessed 9
December 2014]
Clean Bandit Interview - Grace and Neil, 2014
Crazy Luv, 2008 <
v=O7bwtBszSeo&feature=youtube_gdata_player> [accessed 2
December 2014]
Dylan Beattie, Introduction to Using External Equipment in the Studio, 2014
[accessed 2 December 2015]
EQ, DJ, Interview with MJ Cole by DJEQ Magazine in 1999 | Interviews
<> [accessed 2 December
Goldie - Producers House [S1.EP29] | #FridayFeeling: SBTV, 2013
v=ulUgqzF3HAI&feature=youtube_gdata_player> [accessed 2
December 2014]
Goldie & The Heritage Orchestra Timeless (Sine Tempore)", 2014
v=R6EWdBb2sXA&feature=youtube_gdata_player> [accessed 2
December 2014]
Huber, David Miles and Robert E. Runstein, Modern Recording Techniques:
(Woburn, USA, Butterworth, Heinemann, 2001)
Interview: Wookie, Interviewed by Martyn | Red Bull Music Academy
<> [accessed 2 December 2014]
Jon Hopkins - Breathe This Air | Guardian Sessions, 2014
v=PDj6GEbkbdI&feature=youtube_gdata_player> [accessed 10
December 2014]

Meet The Singer Whos Secretly Behind The UKs American Pop Takeover,
2014 <

MJ Cole - Crazy Love (Live 2000 BBC Later with Jools Holland)
< [accessed 2
December 2015]
MJ Cole, Sincere (Talkin Loud, 2000)
Owsinski Bobby, The Recording Engineers Handbook, (Boston: ArtistPro
Publishing, 2005)
Roni Size BBC 1997 (1 of 2), 2011 <
v=cxgNiLBtcUI&feature=youtube_gdata_player> [accessed 2
December 2014]
Roni Size Brown Paper Bag Live, 1997 <
v=BRjqKOUKVLE&feature=youtube_gdata_player> [accessed 10
December 2014]
Success - Wookie, 2013 <
v=okfFbBBTEX0&feature=youtube_gdata_player> [accessed 2
December 2014]
The David Ricard Big Band: A Big Band on a Budget! Sound On Sound
Magazine (2015)
Theo Parrish - Footwork (A1), 2014 <
v=riLvXufN8_c&feature=youtube_gdata_player> [accessed 9 December
THEO PARRISH (Slices Feature) 2014, 2014
<> [accessed 9 December 2014]