Category Archives: Education


Be empathy. Be hope.

We drove out of the crammed city, past polluted rivers, on dirt roads through dried-out palm forests, to a small school in the woods. Gang territory.

A few weeks ago, I traveled with one of our trainers through El Salvador to plan a project with UNICEF: strengthening children’s resilience in a country that has suffered from war and its successor—gang and criminal violence—for many decades.

Against a hopeless context—dislocation, poverty, decades of unprocessed trauma, lack of economic or social perspective—we met them: Pablo, a young violinist, who returned from exile to start a children’s orchestra in his native town. Sister Peggy, whose Center for Art for Peace brought life back to an empty city and made it safe. Mia, a musician who has taught generations of young Salvadoran artists to teach children in their own communities. David, Gabriel and Cecilia, who bring children to their cultural center in the woods, to draw, write, make music, and learn about their indigenous heritage.

They remind me of the words of a dear, wise friend: where empathy is lacking, be empathy. Where hope is lacking, be hope.

In a world dominated by violence and hopelessness, we are reminded that in every dry jungle, there is an oasis of hope. As musicians, we are lucky to have the greatest tool for empathy and hope: music. We are proud to join with other musicians without borders, to support their work in bringing empathy and hope through music to the children of El Salvador.

In peace,

Laura Hassler
Director & Founder
Musicians without Borders



Eric Miyashiro in London

Phil Parker Ltd are pleased to welcome Eric Miyashiro  to 85 Hampstead Road !

Eric Miyashiro is an Internationally acclaimed trumpet player. His playing is characterized by a term used on his web site,”StratosphERIC”. Miyashiro is well known as a powerhouse Big Band lead player but he is also a first call classical symphonic musician. Eric is comfortable playing all idioms. He is a Yamaha Performing Artist and clinician.
He will be interviewed for live broadcast by Jazz fm and follow up with a clinic in our seminar room. Playing and listening places are limited so book now  to avoid disappointment.

Eric Miyashiro

[ Image ] Eric Miyashiro

Born and raised in Hawaii to a musical family, Eric is now one of the most in demand soloist/clinician in the world. He spent his early days in Honolulu studying both classical and Pop/Jazz music, later moving to Berklee Collage of Music to continue his education. Since leaving school, he has toured worldwide with: Buddy Rich, Woody Herman, Stevie Wonder, Tower of Power, and performed with many other artists and orchestras around the globe. Eric now resides in Japan, where he is the first call studio/session/solo player, and is also very active as a leader of his own bands; EM band and the Blue Note All Star Jazz Orchestra. Eric’s versatility has been showcased in many television shows, radio, and film scores. He is also known as an accomplished composer, arranger, and producer.
Eric is a visiting trumpet/popular music professor at Kunitachi College of Music, Showa Music Academy, Senzoku Gakuen College of Music, and Osaka University of Arts.
Eric Miyashiro is an International Yamaha Performing Artist.


The Music Fund for Cuba: Who we are

Who we are

The Music Fund for Cuba is the only UK registered charity which supports the development of music, arts and culture in Cuba.

Working with partner organisations on the island the Music Fund has already distributed tens of thousands of pounds worth of equipment to children and young people in music, arts, dance and special needs schools.It also raised £350,000 for the renovation of the Miramar Theatre in Havana.

The Music Fund for Cuba was established in 2001 in memory of British singer Kirsty MacColl who was inspired by Cuban music in her last album and loved the island, its culture, and its people.

Cuba is renowned for its cultural traditions. Its music, art, and dance are enjoyed by people around the world. Budding artistic talent is nurtured and encouraged within the country’s free music and arts schools which are open to all.

Sadly this heritage and the development of future talent are hindered by a lack of access to basic equipment and materials that we in richer countries often take for granted.

Violin strings, paper for music scores, reeds for woodwind instruments, ballet shoes, paints and other small but essential items are all in short supply. One of the  main reason for these shortages is the continuing economic blockade of the island by the United States.

The Music Fund for Cuba aims to help nurture new talent by providing much needed support and equipment for children and young musicians, dancers and artists throughout the island that may otherwise be denied.

By supporting  this vital work, you can help  to keep alive Cuba’s rich cultural heritage and nurture a new generation of talent.

Please make a donation today.


How to Write a Chorus with a Catchy Hook

Everyone looks forward to the part of the song where they can join in, and even though they’ve loved every note staved across your verse, they can’t wait to reach that crock of chorus gold. In this post for budding songwriters, Joe Hoten from Bands For Hire takes a look at every key aspect of songwriting necessary to create a killer hook for your chorus

How to write a chorus


As Berry Gordy, Jr put it: ‘Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.’

We even get the word ‘chorus’ from the groups of masked performers in Ancient Greek theatre, who would sing and dance in unison as they filled their audiences in on the plot – much in the same way the choruses of today’s musicals do. If you want to release music that makes an impact, this is the effect your chorus should have too – you provide the finer details in the verse, and get everyone singing along to your overarching theme.


So how do we go about that? Let’s break it down.


How to write a chorus fans won’t forget




Writing lyrics that bring your killer chorus to justice can be a tough call. You want your chorus lyrics to be both concise and poetic, and also to remind your listeners what your song’s all about.

Simplicity is the name of the game when you’re drafting up a future stadium anthem for thousands of lighter-wielding fans to sing along to. Just think about how effective Queens’s ‘We Are the Champions’ and ‘We Will Rock You’ are as sing-alongs – you can’t not know the words after a few short minutes of exposure, and they perfectly capture the attitudes built up in the verses. It’s hard to not feel victorious after straining your throat proclaiming your victory.



What these killer choruses also show us is: if you’ve got something worth saying, you’ve got something worth saying over and over, so don’t be afraid of repeating yourself. As such, the lyrics should also be enjoyable to repeat, so it’s prime time to rhyme and also alliterate. ‘Take me down to the paradise city where the grass is green and the girls are pretty’ trips off the tongue nicely, especially after the tenth recital. The quicker they can pick it up, the quicker they can fall head over heels with it. And remember – you’ve got to write straight from your heart if you want to win other people’s.




You’re going to need to set your killer lyrics to an equally killer melody – something your listeners find themselves humming at full volume even at the most inopportune of moments, like when they’re perusing library shelves, or queuing at the bank. The German term for this is ‘ohrwurm’ – literally a tune that figuratively worms its way into your ear. If you’re an early bird, you can catch yourself a fresh earworm that’ll be impossible to dislodge.

Melodies tend to be composed of steps and skips, steps being a semi or whole tone apart, and skips being anything from a third upwards. Think carefully about which words or phrases you want to emphasise and position them accordingly – something you feel profoundly, like a declaration of love, would be best conveyed via a melody leaping from one note to a significant other.




Your chorus may also present you with an opportunity to bust out some new killer chords. Typically, starting on your home note – the tonic – is a clear sign to the listener that they’ve arrived where they belong. Take ‘I Believe in a Thing Called Love’; it’s not until the chorus that the Darkness shed some light on what key we’re in – up until then, we’ve been wondering around in F#’s shadow. But at the far end of the bridge sits an illuminating beacon, a solid B, setting us up for a perfect cadence. And payoff doesn’t get much more perfect than rhapsodic repetition of the song’s title – and central theme – over a brand new progression in the home key. We made it!



Alternatively, many fantastic choruses use the same chord pattern as the verse. ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ is a classic example – though the key difference between the sections is that the melody’s sung in a higher register. The verses begin on a major third, but in the chorus this is ramped up to a powerful fifth, drifting from side to side down an entire octave. If it needs to be sung higher and louder than the verse, your chorus is going to pack an almighty punch in comparison.




A popular device with songwriters is the ‘hook’ – something that anchors itself into your listeners’ memories, digging deeper every time they hear it. A hook can be lyrical, melodic, rhythmic – anything that gets under the skin and refuses to leave. So load up your hook with a tasty earworm – something along the lines of the ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah’ that follows ‘She Loves You’, or the keyboard part in ‘The Final Countdown’ – and wait for the fans to bite.




It’s also worth considering giving your chorus a rhythm that is distinct from what you’ve got going on in the verse. Giving your chorus an unusual – or better still, unique – rhythm will affect your listeners through more than their mere ears. Kasabian’s ‘Fire’ plays with this, shuffling its way quietly through each verse only to pound your eardrums with its four-to-the-floor chorus. Don’t forget – your chorus is the part that brings people together through singing and dancing, so let their whole bodies know what time it is.





It’s time to decide how you’re going to present your chorus. How’s it going to fit into your song? Do you build up to it slowly, or dive in straight away? Both are valid options, but upping the anticipation is always an effective way of making your chorus feel like an enormous pay off.

Leave y

our listeners treading the pre-chorus waters for a little longer, then wash them away with your tidal wave. Consider the ‘we gotta hold on to what we’ve got’ before the ‘whooooooaah we’re half way there’, and the ‘it’s alright, it’s ok’ before the ‘whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother, you’re stayin’ alive’ – it’s like waiting for ten unsuspecting pins to be struck down with a bowling ball.



Instrumentation and Dynamics

Maximum impact is required here, so you’re going to want to hold back before bringing out the big guns. High volume and intensity is what’ll get your audience going, but be careful not to underestimate the quiet or even silence – when you do crank it up, it’ll be like slapping your audience round the face with an iron gauntlet. Have parts drop in and drop out. It’s all association – ‘hey, I love that part where the strings come in’ or ‘wait for it… wait for it… NOW’S THE CHORUS’. ‘Woo hoo’ is an sensible response to the thunderous bass and deafening guitars cutting back in for the chorus of ‘Song 2’, not to mention a killer hook.




Now you’ve got all the tools you need to build yourself an absolute powerhouse of a chorus. You’re ready to tell the people what you mean, and the people will be able to tell you mean it. You’ve sharpened your hooks and the earworms are hungry. The world is at your feet, waiting for you to unite it in song. Knock ’em dead!



How do you go about writing a chorus for your tracks? Got any tips for other artists out there? Let us know in the comments below and share this advice with your fellow musicians.


Canadian and Lebanese Ambassador: Dr William Nassar

It is with great honour that we announce the appointment of Dr William Nassar as Freedom for Musicians Ambassador for Canada and Lebanese musicians worldwide. William has devoted his life to promoting peace through his music and we look forward to regular updates on his work and support of musicians in Canada and particular those involved in the Arab-Israeli peace movement.

William Nassar is a Canadian – Lebanese most outstanding and successful protest singer and composer. He has achieved a worldwide reputation as a protest singer and peace activist.William Nassar descends from al Batroun, a very beautiful Christian city North of Beirut. He was born on December 25th, 1966 in the Northern Lebanese village Batroumeen (The house of god), of a Lebanese father and a Palestinian mother.
For he was born in Batroumeen, his close friends call him al Batroumeeni (The Batroumeenist).

He started his career at the age of 11, when he sought refuge into music to run away from the sounds of civil war, and took a stand against the sectarian killing at a very young age throughout his music and songs.

On the year 1987, he was subject to an assassination attempt in Beirut by Islamist fundamentalists after his song ( Beirut) Thus, he left Lebanon on February 13th, 1993.

William Nassar possesses a P.h.D. degree in Ethno-musicology and taught Arabic composition and orchestration at various musical institutions and conservatoires, besides his work as a songwriter and singer.

He is a member of several musical organizations and considered one of today’s leading political “protest” composers and singers who promote peace and non-violence in the middle east.

On the year 2014, he was diagnosed with Leukemia and Liver Cancer. He undergone a tough treatment and survived.
Being a Cancer Survivor, William Nassar dedicates half of his musical works income to the Canadian Cancer Society, which helps Kids living with Cancer, and he is an active volunteer with them.

William Nassar albums have been runaway hits in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan and other Arab states, as well as Canada, the United States and Europe, especially after his hit song On the Road to Aytat, (Al Tareeq Aytat) which was released on the year 1986 and re-recorded on 2015 under the title (A Red Hymn) track 2 of the CD album You look like Pomegranate.

William Nassar compositional skills have been honored with distinguished awards by several International and local music festivals and civil societies.

To become an ambassador for your country, email Roger Moisan directly at introducing yourself, outlining your musical story and what you can offer to this role.



With your help, we will train 15 more Community Music Leaders, and support our team of 30 experienced Community Music Leaders to work with over 1000 children in 2017; former street children; young people facing profound challenges, and children affected by HIV. Through life-affirming music and connection to their cultural roots, children will feel supported and valued as they so richly deserve.

On this 23rd Day of Remembrance in Rwanda we stand with all Rwandans in memorial and for a peaceful future.

A young band from our partner organisation in Rwanda wrote this song, expressing their feelings of the tragic events of 1994.  It begins:

“Although I wasn’t there, I was told about it.
Imagining it is hard for me.
Their tears are flowing and they are full of sadness and my sorrow.”

Listen to the song here.


These amazing photos document the iconic Summer of Love in San Francisco 100,000 hippies descended on San Francisco in 1967. Jim Marshall captured it all.

Go to the profile of Rian Dundon
The summer of 1967 in San Francisco was a magical time and place.

Like a lot of young people, Jim Marshall was there. Drawn to the city’s Haight-Ashbury district by the surge of culture manifesting there—in music and fashion, in politics and mind-expanding drugs. Unlike the hordes of flower children washing up in the bohemian enclave that summer, Marshall was there to work. As a photographer employed by the biggest music labels in the business his job was to create a visual record of what Hunter S. Thompson would later lament as “the crest of a high and beautiful wave.”

In 1967, 100,000 hippies from across the country converged on San Francisco in a mass phenomenon dubbed the “Summer of Love.” Many were college kids on summer break and would leave come autumn—others stuck around to witness the Haight’s slow decline into a cultural wasteland. Marshall’s access to the day’s top bands—from Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles to the Grateful Dead—and the trust afforded him by celebrity musicians paved the way for his unparalleled set of images from the period. The photographer was even standing next to Timothy Leary when he uttered his infamous credo at the Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park: “Turn on, tune in, drop out.”

Jimi Hendrix performing onstage at a free concert in the Panhandle, June 19, 1967. © Jim Marshall Photography LLC

A new exhibition produced by the San Francisco Arts Commission Galleries, in conjunction with a city-wide celebration of the Summer of Love’s 50th anniversary, features 80 prints from Marshall’s prolific 1967 output. The show proves the value of Marshall’s work as a historical document, but it is also, as SFAC Galleries director and co-curator Meg Shiffler describes, “an exhibition that focuses on the way that photographer Jim Marshall helped to define our cultural understanding of the Summer of Love, the San Francisco hippie movement, and the birth of psychedelic rock and roll.”

Marshall was the rare photographer whose work could impact the culture at large—not just music fans or students of history. It’s entirely possible his pictures might outlast the music itself, which in some cases wouldn’t be such a bad thing (Deadheads, we’re looking at you).

Jim Marshall’s 1967 is on view at San Francisco City Hall, free and open to the public through June 17, 2017.

The famous corner of Haight-Ashbury streets, June 1967. The Unique Men’s Shop is now a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream shop. © Jim Marshall Photography LLC
Panhandle crowd at Hells Angels’ Thanks for Diggers New Years Day Wail, January 1, 1967. © Jim Marshall Photography LLC
Dancing in the Panhandle, June 1967. © Jim Marshall Photography LLC
Janis Joplin on her bed, taken in her apartment on Lyon Street, December 1967. © Jim Marshall Photography LLC
Eric Clapton playing guitar in Jim Marshall’s apartment on Union Street, August 1967. © Jim Marshall Photography LLC
Jorma Kaukonen, Spencer Dryden, and Grace Slick during a photo shoot in Golden Gate Park, May 1967. © Jim Marshall Photography LLC

A family driving down Haight Street, looking at hippies, June 1967. © Jim Marshall Photography LLC
(L) Krishna’s Kirtan, a sacred chant music group, on the Diggers truck during the Ratha-Yatra Festival on Haight Street, July 9, 1967. / (R) Hells Angels Thanks for Diggers New Years Day Wail free concert in the Panhandle, January 1, 1967. © Jim Marshall Photography LLC

People dancing and enjoying the Human Be-In at Golden Gate Park Polo Fields, January 14, 1967. © Jim Marshall Photography LLC
Timothy Leary, Allen Ginsberg, and Gary Snyder onstage telling everyone to “Turn on, tune in, and drop out” at the Human Be-In at Golden Gate Park Polo Fields, January 14, 1967. © Jim Marshall Photography LLC
Jerry Garcia and Carolyn “Mountain Girl” Garcia on the steps of the Grateful Dead house at 710 Ashbury Street, May 1967. © Jim Marshall Photography LLC
The Straight Theater on Haight Street, September 1967. © Jim Marshall Photography LLC


How To Plan a Tour For Your Band

The Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM) is a world leader in music industry education. We caught up with ACM’s Head of Creative Industry Development, who also happens to be the guitarist in hugely successful UK rock band Skunk Anansie, to ask if he had any advice for new bands planning their first tour.

How to plan a tour for your band Skunk Anansie playing live at the O2 Academy Brixton


I’ve been touring with Skunk Anansie for the last 23 years – in fact, we’re on tour at the moment – so over the years I’ve learnt a fair bit about being on the road.

As a tutor at ACM, I work with new bands constantly and we often have young support acts join us on tour, so I understand what a big deal getting out on the road for the first time can be. Getting the basics right – like perfecting the music and packing enough pairs of clean pants – is pretty obvious even to the greenest of musicians, but there are lots of hidden extras which are often overlooked.


How to organise your band tour


Planning your tour before you leave


1. Before booking any dates, consider looking into gig swaps with other bands you’ve befriended on social media in their home regions. You can open for them in their town and vice versa. That way you’ll both take advantage of hometown followings and can start to build your profiles in new areas.


2. Assemble a street team online made up of your followers in the places you’ll be touring. They can support you by getting the word out about your gig on social media and on the streets in their region, and you can reward them with free music, gig tickets or merchandise.


3. Plan some press with local newspapers, fanzines and radio stations. Drop them a line in advance, tell them you’re coming to town and are available for interviews, and give them free guest list gig tickets in return. A music press campaign is a great way of building your support network for future tours and releases too.


4. Put a cool, inexpensive merchandise range together before you leave. This will help subsidise the cost of your tour.


5. Create a set list which flows, as this will be key to keeping the crowd interested and their energy levels constant. Think about how the songs work together, and if it seems a bit disjointed at your first couple of shows, try reordering them.




Band tour checklist


 Your Band Tour Checklist


Here’s my handy checklist of things you need to consider when putting together your first tour:




Decide whether you want to Do It Yourself or go through an agent and pay a commission.



Research sizes, capacity, locations of gig venues and decide which ones are best for your band.


Tour route

Make sure you consider the logistical and economic pros and cons of planning a particular route. Always try to secure a string of dates which can be travelled to in a logical order.

UK band tour mapPlan your tour logically & economically


Band and crew costs

Tally up costs for wages, food, accommodation and sundry items for everyone on the tour, including band members, roadies, merchandising people and any extra session musicians.


Sound and lighting

Do you take your own sound and lighting engineers or use the ones provided by the venues? Taking your own can make for an amazing show, but it’s another expense to include. If you’re using the venue’s sound and lighting people, is this included in the venue cost or are these extra costs on top? It’s important to ask.



Make sure you have facilities worked out to pay everyone once on tour and be aware that employed personnel will want to receive their payments on their days off… so they can spend it!



You’ll need to work out what to take, how much stock to bring and have options for reorders on the road if you’re doing really well with it. Work out who is to sell it – your own person or in-house venue staff? Who gets paid for this and is there a commission?

UK band tour merchandiseEarn some extra cash selling band merch


Promotional artwork

Make sure you print up posters, flyers and any other tour artwork and send them out to the venues well in advance of your shows, as they’ll need them to help sell tickets.



How much do you need? It’s a good idea to bring spares of some items to travel with, in case you have technical difficulties. Work out the size of van you’ll need based on your equipment… and don’t forget to include space for merchandise. Check that all your gear is working properly before you start off on tour.



Weigh up the costs of petrol, parking and insurance if it’s your own van, or add hire costs into the mix if you’re renting.


Tour bus hire

Going down the route of no hotels and using a bus company instead for your accommodation and gear transport is an expensive option most of the time. Make sure you’ve done your sums and priced up alternative options before making your decision.

UK band tour merchandiseMake sure you can transport your gear around easily


Banners or stage backdrops

These are necessary so audience members know the name of your band while you’re playing, but make sure any you get made up are fireproof, as venues will require this.


Tax and VAT

Are you registered with HMRC? Make sure you’re above board when it comes to the tax man, as if you’re in the public eye, then he’ll come calling sooner rather than later!



How to make your band’s tour a success


The key to a successful tour is booking the right venues to suit your status, good promotion to ensure everyone knows about it, and actually getting the punters to attend your gig.

Well planned tours will make for a happy band and a fun and exciting experience. Badly planned tours will lead to discontent, loss of money, inevitable low morale and lots of band arguments. So have fun, tear the place up and hit the road, but be sure to take care of the serious business first.



Good luck!




If you’d like to study music at ACM and learn from some of the world’s most experienced musicians like Ace, please call the ACM Admissions Team on 01483 500 841 or to book a place on an ACM Open Day today.



Talent Music Summer Courses & Festival.

From the 1st of July to the 6th of August 2017, in the beautiful setting of the academy Talent Music Master Courses in Brescia, will take place the second edition of the Talent Music Summer Courses & Festival, a member of the Alink-Argerich Foundation.

Unchanged is the two-fold spirit: Academy and Festival. Students are offered teaching by world famous musicians and will have valuable opportunities for performances. The best students will have the opportunity to play in more than 20 concerts during the Talent Music Summer Courses & Festival.

The Festival of the Academy is very important because the teachers and especially the best students can perform in a very prestigious context.

Professors: Stefan Arnold, Yuri Bogdanov, Roberto Cappello, Ratko Delorko, Antonio Di Cristofano, Yuri Didenko, Svetlana Eganian, Sorin Enachescu, Janina Fialkowska, Andreas Frölich, Deniz Arman Gelenbe, Martin Hughes, Pasquale Iannone, Eugen Indjic, Hisako Kawamura, Matthias Kirschnereit, Juan Lago, Hui-Ying Liu Tawaststjerna, Leonel Morales, Maurizio Moretti, Lev Natochenny, Gerlinde Otto, Rolf Plagge, Philippe Raskin, Bruno Rigutto, Daniel Rivera, Vitaly Samoshko, Ilja Scheps, Henri Sigfridsson, Salvatore Spanò, Balàzs Szokolay, Gabriel Tacchino, Erik Tawaststjerna, Andreas Weber, Pierre van der Westhuizen, Arkadi Zenziper.

30th of May 2017: Application deadline

The Talent Music Summer Courses&Festival Rules and Application Form and complete details are available online at

We strongly encourage you to apply for this exciting event which can enhance your career in so many ways!

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any further information.

Kind regards,

Talent Music Summer Courses&Festival




Tornados generally have a knack of leaving behind a trail of roof tiles and displaced livestock, but so far Australian producer Tornado Wallace has left behind one of the most varied back catalogues on labels like Beats in Space, LateNightTales, ESP Institute, Second Circle and, just weeks ago, delivered his brilliant first full length LP on Running Back. Originally from Melbourne and part of the Animals Dancing crew (makers of the best music T-shirts in the Southern Hemisphere, two years ago he made the move to Berlin.

Seeming to master any style he chooses, from chugging acid electro, stomping Aussie Bush techno or funk that could have been stolen straight from Prince’s vaults, we set out to find out how he does it. You can also sample some photos of his studio as you read the in-depth interview.

Tornado Wallace – Lonely Planet LP is out now on Running Back and available from Juno. Catch TW at Farr Festival 2017 (13th-15th July).


Hi Tornado, thanks for the photo of your studio. Let’s get straight to business – how do you do it? Talk us through what we can see.

Well this is my studio in Berlin that I share with Luca Lozano. I moved two years ago from Melbourne where I still have a lot of my favourite bits of gear, but I wanted to start fresh as I was finding myself too dependent on some certain sounds. So I have a motley crew of hardware that all has a particular role in doing the things that I want them to. Everything is wired up to the patch bay which I can then send through mixer channels and then into the RME UFX Fireface where I can have the various sounds coming through split channels in Ableton. All midi-synths are running through a MOTU midi-interface and I use the Sync-Gen to sync the drum boxes with the Ableton clock.

Where is your studio located? Do you go for the home studio, making tracks in your dressing gown over breakfast, or do you have your own separate space where you escape to create?

It’s in a separate space behind a bar about a five minute walk from where I live. There are some other studios in there too.

Have you made any special non-musical touches to make it feel like a productive workspace?

Yes my girlfriend and I found a cool fake plant store at this massive Vietnamese warehouse complex in Lichtenberg, so I bought up on the stuff to help create a vibe. There’s very little sunlight and Lucas and I travel a lot so we can’t be trusted to rear real plants. 


A lot of your music has an abundance of space, something not going short in Australia. How do you go about that? Is it samples, field recordings, or all original copyright T Wallace magic? 

It all comes down to the mix really. Making sure everything has some space to breathe. Sometimes it takes some discipline to keep something you think is really cool very low in the mix for the sake of the track’s sound. But yeah I’m not one to shy away from any audio resource available to me be it phone recordings, samples, EQing, reverbs/delays etc.

What’s your approach to working with samples? Do you build tracks around them, or add them as a garnish to an existing idea?

Yeah I’ll generally find a little something interesting in a record store or online – a little percussion loop or a pad or effect – and switch on the machines and jam over a four bar loop until there’s something worth expanding on. I’m a massive fan of sampling and usually find, ironically, that it’s the best way to make something sound unique. 

Speaking of samples, you were behind the sensational Aussie bush anthem ‘Kookaburra’. What’s the story behind that one?

I was working on a track with Tom Moore (the other half of Coober Pedy University Band) and it was really taking a lot of work and not really gelling together even though we’d spent hours and hours on it. We decided that it might be fun to try make a ‘tool’ version of the track, so we took out the best bits which was some afro percussion loops, a didgeridoo sample that we lifted off a German made Australian library record that I bought in Amsterdam, and then added a big 909 kick drum underneath it all. It was sounding OK but it was missing something so we thought we’d try add an Australian bird sound. Of course we went straight for the most famous Australian bird sound – the Kookaburra – which we ripped from a Youtube video. The idea was to put it low in the mix and have it be a subtle little addition, but when we dropped it into the project, Ableton had automatically tried to quantize it and it sat very up front in the mix. It was never the plan but it sounded great/stupid/ridiculous so we moved it around a bit and it turned out to be the cherry on the cake. From starting the new project to finishing it took about 2-3 hours.


You made the jump from Australia to Berlin in the last few years. Have the new surroundings affected the type of music you want to make?  

Only in a way that going through a bit of change like moving to the other side of the world has affected me in terms of personal development and maturity. But I don’t think that the specific surroundings in Berlin have had much of an influence on the sound of my music very much.

RA held an interesting round table about ‘Process vs inspiration’ – where does your inspiration come from in the studio? Do you have a process that you follow? And how do you go about balancing the two? 

I go through phases where I’m really influenced by something and for a few days or a week or something I’ll get really caught up in an idea and experiment with that sound and usually wind up with a few new tracks. But that doesn’t happen too often and usually I follow a loose process like the one I mentioned earlier about finding a weird sample and building ideas around it. It’s a nice way to create something unique when the inspiration just isn’t making itself too aware.

What was your original set up when you first made tracks? Were you a laptop only wizard, or did you go straight for hardware?

I was 15 and I used my school laptop with a demo copy of Fruityloops and Cool Edit Pro I got in a Computer Music magazine. I could move around pretty well on those programs but it wasn’t until years later when I added a bit of hardware that I started making music that I felt was good enough to be heard by other people.


What was the first serious piece of kit you bought?

I had bought guitars and drumkits and various percussion instruments and effects pedals throughout my teens but the first electronic piece of kit I bought was a microkorg.

Do you fetishise that old sound, or put your faith in new technology? What’s your current split like between software and hardware?

I like technology that has its limits. The problem with some newer technology is that there’s so much you can do with one machine, but it doesn’t necessarily do any one thing particularly well. Developers have realised this along the way though, which is why you now see the main manufacturers remaking older gear that have their limitations and their strengths. I have various bits and bobs in the studio that can do their one thing particularly well, whether it’s the Cruise for it’s strings, the Kurzweil K2000R for it’s digital pads/leads or the Chroma Polaris for analogue SFX and basslines. I use some software for effects but I don’t use VSTs, purely because I like generating sounds with a more tactile approach rather than a belief one sounds better than the other.

What kit do you think is a modern classic? 

I don’t have too many new bits in my studio nor have I played around with many new pieces so I don’t think I can think of one.

Are you always seeking to experiment and develop your studio? If money were no object what would you add?

Yes definitely, there’s always more money that can be spent, mostly on more cables and cv/midi converters and things that make the process a bit smoother rather than anything particularly interesting. But I’m pretty happy with the way things are at the moment. If money were no object I’d probably just get some things I still have in Australia sent over like my Prophet 5 or my Arp Odyssey.


What impact have some recent changes made in your approach and sounds?

The patchbay is a new addition. And for the first time I can easily patch things through an FX chain without having to muck around for ages. So it’ll be nice to incorporate the Filterbank, Space Echo and DPX into the workflow more easily.

You must have a most treasured bit of equipment. If you had to keep just one piece, what would it be?

Maybe the Matrix 1000 or the 808. They’ve been with me the longest and I’ve used them the most so there’s that sentimentality value as well as both being badass.

The new album is a masterpiece, something not just inside the club walls. A first album is a big step for any artist, but it must be especially hard when it deviates from a club-centric sound you’ve made your name on. What were your sonic intentions with this album and what else were you listening to during its inception?

The LP is a product of several years of working on music for both listening at home and dancing to in a club. Along the way some of the tracks that I didn’t want to previously release started making sense together and the idea of making an album formed and then it was just a matter of finishing it with a couple of extra tracks and some mixing down. So along the way I was listening to lots of different music but I think the most influential on how it ended up were artists that I’ve been listening to over many years, like Dire Straits, Wally Badarou, Daft Punk, Sade, Boards Of Canada.


How involved was Gerd and Running Back in the creative direction of the album?

Gerd came in late in the picture actually. I had finished the album before I approached him. We had talked about doing things in the past but it hadn’t worked out so this time we were both keen and we had pretty much informally agreed to do the LP before he had listened to the tracks.

The guest vocal with Sui Zhen is a real highlight. Do you take a different approach working with a singer? And do you have more plans to go down that route?

I’ve never really worked with a singer before but I had an idea for this track to be like a wavey, 80s synth pop track, and to really bring that home I felt a vocal was needed. Sui Zhen is a very talented vocalist and can pretty much twist her voice to how it’s needed and for Today we felt like a Nina Hagen/Laurie Anderson sound would be cool. She got the vibe and we had a chat about how it should go with the track and she came up with a really cool lyrical direction and that was that. She recorded it with quite a few variations and I arranged it in the studio. I don’t think it would normally be that cool/easy working with someone, so I’m not in a hurry to try it again (unless is was Sui Zhen again). That and generally I have a habit of listening to mostly instrumental music.

Are you considering performing the album live? What would you bring from the studio to the live set up?

No I’ve got no plans to do a live show any time soon. I’ve heard too many horror stories from other artists. But I also love DJing and that makes more sense for me relating to an audience at the moment.

Beyond the album, what other plans are afoot for the rest of 2017?

Maybe a remix single from the album, and an EP for Animals Dancing, hopefully something from Coober Pedy University Band. Otherwise I’m going to keep the focus on DJing and traveling around with that for the year.