Kwende “Memetic” and Ian “Pho” are two Canadian DJs who worked with PlatteForum’s ArtLab interns for about six weeks on musical engineering (which is just a fancy way of saying that we all made music together). We (the interns) worked with Kwende for about two weeks before Ian came down from Canada. In those two weeks we got to know Kwende, how he really started getting into music, and how he started DJing. The first week with Kwende, I will admit was a little awkward. There were new interns at ArtLab and some of us that had already been here for a while. We were trying to get to know the new interns and make them comfortable while at the same time getting Kwende comfortable with all of us as a unit. Ian came down a couple of weeks later and by that time we had busted out the computers, record players, headphones and our imaginations. We all were so comfortable being around and with each other and to a point that I don’t think it took much time to get a feel for Ian.
Over the weeks we broke up into groups of four and came up with team names. We split up and half of the group went to find records that we could possibly use to sample for our songs the other half stayed with Ian and worked with him on a music-making software called Ableton. Now let me tell you, making music on computers is very intimidating when you first see it. Ian was working his way through Ableton like he’s been doing it his whole life. He is what you would call a “super-tastical-magical-wizard-jedi-aztec-warrior-prince” when it comes to Ableton. At one point he literally said, “any sound you can think of, we can probably make it right here.” There were windows popping up, spiral knobs at the bottom of your screen, a giant grid with numbers running along the top of the page so you can measure tempos (BPMs), the length of a sound, and the frequencies of each of them make. Eventually we all learned how to work it and even Kwende was learning so we were all like Ian’s protégés.
After the endless searching through dusty old records and pounding our eardrums with little bits of our songs just to make sure that part is perfect, we finally had a general concept to all of our songs. The production going on in Artlab was crazy at this point! We had interns in the front drawing up blueprints for the album covers & brainstorming the group bio. Then we had artists in the back working on the technical side of things. Deep base vibrating in your chest, synths prancing around the room like a cocky prince, and interns eyes locked on the computer—typing in codes, making beats on the machines, tapping pencils and stomping feet. We all knew what we were doing!
We had the opening about a week later. Kwende and Ian were asking Juan Carlos and me how these openings usually go, I think they were pretty nervous. The opening was great—food was out, computers were set up around the room with each group’s song loaded for listening, and artwork with bios were hanging above the computers. People arrived in the dozens until this place was jam-packed. As the night went on we listened to all of the interns’ music and the crowds’ response. Kwende and Ian showed off their music that they had been working on and man you don’t know how awesome it felt to say, ” yeah, I know some Canadian DJs, and we worked on some music together, no biggie though.” The whole night went great and came to a very successful yet sad end. We all had to say goodbye to Kwende and Ian, which was the sad part because they were both so awesome. If you ever get a chance you should really check out their music, it’s pretty legit!
Typing from a place that nobody knows, this has been an article by the one and only Aubrey Rose.