Music – Week 3:

We are now onto week three of the Ladders programme and it has certainly been the most exciting week yet! The group have met absolutely delightful people and really made the most of what Newcastle has to offer within the music industry.

In the first session, the group were once again in Loft Music Studios – going up three flights of stairs really does pay off once you get there! The guys were introduced to media composer, Roma Yognik, who was really welcoming and encouraged everyone into conversation. She was explaining to the group how she makes music for adverts and even showed some amazing examples of her own work that she’s recently finished for a charity called PLAN international. Her pieces were shown with and without music, which led to one of our students, Froggy to comment: “Seeing an advert with no music shows how important music is”. Roma also discussed break downs within the music and went through the concept of royalties which seemed to really help. It was impressive that she could take a brief and then create a piece from words on paper but told the group “mix ups do happen” as clients are not always clear, which lead to her advice: “Talk to someone if you can before writing”. The group thoroughly enjoyed her talk and seemed really interested in her work.

After a quick break, they were back to have a chat with Andrew, who is a producer and owner of Loft Studios. His main topic of discussion was music business and how to make money from the music industry. He reminisced on the previous work he had done and everything Loft has been involved with, which was pretty impressive to hear considering they have made music that is featured on CSI – which he received a large sum of money for and exclaimed it was “the best day ever”. He got really involved with the group and asked them all the questions such as “why are you involved with Ladders?”. Everyone’s answers varied from wanting to produce music and make music for movies, wanting to write songs, discover different routes and even just wishing to learn. Andrew informed the guys “there’s millions of software’s out there” and encouraged them to meet up together as a group outside of the sessions to make something special! He also talked to the group about copyrights and giving them tips on how to get their music out there for public consumption: send high quality music, only send a few tracks and be available to be contacted 24/7. I think talking to someone who has had experience really inspired these individuals to be consistent and resilient in their musical practice. It was a pleasure for the group to talk to him and he even offered the group to send him some of their own work for further advice – another foot in the door!

The group then had the wonderful opportunity of talking to Damir Price who works for RedCola, a music production company that makes music for movie trailers. It was a real privilege as they skyped him when he was all the way in Malibu! The call wasn’t long but I think just talking to him gave the guys a bit of hope that one day they could be working for a big company and Ladders is the first step in guiding them to that position! But Damir did tell the group to “offer something new, something fresh” and questioned “what can you do that’s different?”. They were simply in awe that they had the opportunity to talk to someone so successful in the music industry. Trailer music is different for the group but that’s what Ladders is all about! So many great opportunities for those involved.

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In the second session of the week the group had the incredible opportunity to taking a look around Newcastle’s O2 Academy, which I must admit myself was pretty fascinating. The tour was given by Lucy and Jordan who both work at the O2 Academy, they gave us a tour of the full building and then gave the group an insight of what they do on a day-to-day basis. The group looked round the main room and even got to look backstage where the artists sit before they go on stage, and then they even got the chance to go onto the stage – they could even be there in a few years’ time themselves! Lucy who helped gave the tour exclaimed that “it’s her passion” and Jordan said he’s “done every single job you could imagine to do with live music” so it just goes to show that you can start off small and work your way up. The advice they gave to the group was to make themselves known and encourage them to work in a venue like the O2. Lucy said she never dreads going to work which I think really made the guys believe that they have the potential to feel the same.

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We then headed off to Newcastle University to have a chat with Dr Paul Fleet, senior lecturer in music and Dean of Academic Affairs. He gave an almost philosophical talk about music and how it actually belongs to a person. He also discussed what the university has to offer, which seemed to appeal to the Ladders students – the facilities at the Uni were amazing too! Paul had a real involvement in the group and made them think “if you come to Uni, you’re going to be challenged”. This was something he said at the start of the talk which I think profoundly stuck with the group. We then had a lovely tour guided by David who is the studio manager at the University.

To finish off the little day trip, we headed off to Pelaw to visit DACS which makes different types of technology all based on music for example amps, mics and headphones. It was the cutest place to visit as it’s just a little warehouse, the work space is small but it is highly known and super successful. The group had a little tour of the place and asked some questions as they truly were intrigued: “So do you build amps to a specific order?” was asked by one of our students. They mostly have pre amps but are “one of a kind” and he added that the tester for them cost a whopping £8,500 – WOW! The amps take roughly three and a half months to make and they even tailor this to buildings so the sound can be perfect which the guys thought was impressive. Overall everyone had a lovely time and it was great for them to be introduced to some amazing people. See you in week 4!