Tuesday 28 July 2009

Tutor Interview - J.C. Concato

Second up in our series of tutor interviews is Head of the College J.C. Concato.. (he's the one on the right)

How long have you been working at Point Blank?

Since 2003

Which classes do/did you teach?

I started out writing a couple of courses for Point Blank and also taught Advanced music production, then the Mixing and Mastering course.

Do you remember a specific moment or period of time when you were first infected with the production bug?

It was at a very early age as my old man was a musician and I used to go on tour with him during school holidays. I used to listen to music on headphones (very loudly which I wouldn’t recommend doing now) and try to understand how those records were being made. But it’s really when I got my first 4 track recorder and drum machine that I really got into production (this was in the mid 80's).

… and can you briefly describe the path that lead you from there to where you are now?

I arrived in London in early 90's and got a training placement as a sound engineer in a recording studio. Then I moved to a bigger recording studio (Matrix), then became freelance and started production work.

What production project in the past has given you the most satisfaction?

Actually one of my first albums, it was a live funk band called Big Cheese All Stars in the early 90's (around the time of Acid Jazz). We recorded all live using only vintage analogue gear. Not a single digital device was used. This project was the most fun to do on many levels, and that definitely came through on the record.

Who is the most talented/ inspiring producer you have worked alongside?

It would be hard to pinpoint one person as many producers had different approaches and qualities, but the people I remember the most and was the most impressed with would be Stephen Street and Tommy D.

Do you prefer the creative freedom of music production or the more technical aspects of sound engineering?

I find both equally exciting and rewarding on different levels. The production provides an opportunity to have a creative input in shaping the sound of an artist, whereas sound engineering appeals to my geeky side I guess.

Being the head of a music college I imagine you have to be aware of all the latest technological advancements… How do you keep up when technology moves so fast?

Specialist magazines, on the web, via our tutors.... It is pretty easy nowadays to keep informed about latest technology and as I mentioned previously I can be a bit of a geek, so I quite enjoy that aspect anyway.

What recent advancements in particular do you believe have helped to push the music scene forward?

Digital technology becoming more affordable. Professional tools have become available to more people than ever before, allowing them to be creative and make music.

What benefits do you think people get from coming to a place like Point Blank?

It's an incredible shortcut - being taught production techniques by professionals. I did demo's for several years on my 4 track, then 8 track recordings etc.... And it wasn’t until I eventually started working in a professional recording studio that I began to learn the professional techniques for recording and production. Whereas by coming to Point Blank you start to learn the essential techniques right away, which I believe helps you to gain several years.

If you could give just one tip to an aspiring producer what would it be? (apart from “come to Point Blank” of course!)

Do it for the right reason!

Thanks to JC for taking the time out to talk to us. His many years of recording and mixing experience have been crucial in the development of the courses at Point Blank. If your music would benefit from expert feedback from professional music producers and sound engineers then check out the courses on offer in London: www.pointblanklondon.com and online

Wednesday 8 July 2009

Building Bridges Between Young Israelis and Palestinians Through Music

This video news item featured on worldfocus.org follows a group of young Israelis and Palestinians recording an original track and making an accompanying music video to explore issues relevant to their lives and experiences.

With the help of Point Blank and peace organisation Windows for Peace, they learnt new skills, enabling them to apply their talent and imagination to bring about peaceful change through the power of music.

More than just working together on a creative project, the group also lived, ate and shared every moment of their lives for a two-week period. The resulting music video shows young people in the region and the rest of the world, that communication with the ‘enemy’ is not only possible, but desirable and fruitful.

For more information about Point Blank's ongoing community outreach initiatives and our provision of positive activities for young people, please visit www.pointblanklearning.com