Hello Dave. Can you tell us about your school and what you wanted to achieve when you set it up, and whether you feel that you have achieved this?
Hello Steve. I set up the music production school because I taught a few friends in advanced techniques in my dining room to friends, they told their friends and I wasn’t about to show strangers techniques for free so that’s when the penny dropped. While researching, I heard how poor the competition was, and how they were in the business of selling dreams.
But I had no idea just how much better our place would turn out in the end though! I loved the interaction with the learners and wanted to create a place where everyone gets a fair deal, from the learners to the staff, keep the course fees reasonable and pay the staff fairly.
This rubs off on the vibe of the whole school – if people don’t feel short-changed, it’s a happy place throughout the time people are here, and a perfect learning atmosphere. It really wasn’t that difficult to do something much better, much cooler.
We start by being honest with people when they speak to us about our courses, there are no fictitious awards we have ‘won recently’ or a record label we talk about all the time, but actually does nothing. Our instructors are on our website for everyone to see and Google themselves, not ex learners of our school who’ve done nothing else. Smart people, and those already in the industry see through all that nonsense, so book us.
Do you have any new projects on the horizon for the Garnish School?
I am going to open up in Los Angeles, and try and mirror what we have in London as much as closely as possible as the feedback we have from our US learners is fantastic, and it was them that gave me the idea to do it.
Then we are taking the whole thing global and introducing all of our courses and more online to really make them accessible to everyone in the world who can’t make it to London or Los Angeles for the real thing. We have some fantastic, original ideas on how we are going to do this, and I just can’t wait to get going, and show the world what they’ve been missing!
Do you have any initial thoughts about the concept of Music Gateway?
I think that it’s great to potentially have one site, one place to go for all of these things that have been around in some way before in terms of collaboration online. Logic did it with Rocket, but I think they were a little bit before their time to be honest.
I think it was when E-Magic owned Logic, so nowadays with faster Internet connections it could work out much better. Having somewhere to go for finding other singers, artists and other people to work with is great, and basically people want things to be easy. People want to do quite a few things and do it all in one place rather than have to go to lots of different places to do lots of different things. So potentially I think it’s a great idea and it would be great to be involved.
How do you think Music Gateway might be useful to someone like yourself in your position in the music industry, perhaps in the connections with other professionals in the teaching world?
I think Music Gateway could be great for Garnish Music Production School because I could find instructors and potential students. Also, everyone can talk about where they learned different skills. For instance today we had lunch with our EMP (Electronic Music Production) and Mixing learners which was great because they were all talking to each other about their courses saying how brilliant they were.
Also, whenever we’ve had two groups from different classes have lunch together we’ve always got a load of bookings off the back of it. I thought afterwards I probably should have paid for lunch for everyone because the school would have probably done quite well out of the conversations had!
Having something like Music Gateway where everyone’s talking – a bit like a forum if you like – would be cool. We’ve had people who’ve done courses or taught at the school seem to only have nice things to say about the school, so the more places there are for people to have an opinion and voice it, the better.
How do you feel about the effect of collaboration on the creative process of making music?
That’s kind of a big question because it depends if it’s the effect of writing a song with someone in the same room, or the effect of collaborating with someone over the Internet.
I suspect the latter is your question and my answer would be that there’s no substitute for one-to-one interaction with someone you’re collaborating with. You pick up on lots of different things that you wouldn’t pick up even on a videoconference. However if it means the difference between writing with your favourite writing partner – if they’re on the other side of the world – or not writing with them then yes definitely have a go and it can only be a good thing if it’s not possible to be in the same room and collaborate.
What advantages do you feel Music Gateway could offer professional musicians?
There are a lot of advantages such as expanding the options of people you can work with, increasing scope. Say for instance you’re a top line writer, you play a bit of keys and you want someone who is more of a lyricist and producer. Typing in the key words to find someone who can produce and write lyrics whilst I do top line and melody work for instance would be great. You could then go into detail if it can be set up like that.
Even people who are making records with Digital Audio Workstations might have someone who’s really good at making beats but not so hot on synthesis. If you live in a little town in the middle of nowhere, there might be one or two people that you can collaborate with, but with Music Gateway you can open that up to the whole world and collaborate with anyone in the world: you can have Jimmy Johnson in Nashville, USA collaborating with someone from outer Mongolia. If both are really restricted and can’t find anyone in their local vicinity to collaborate with then I think it could be absolutely fantastic.
It’s fine for me sat here in London with millions of people. I think the advantage would be tremendous for people who don’t live in big cities.
Are there any particular features you’d like to see implemented in a platform such as Music Gateway, either as a collaborative tool or one for making professional connections?
I’d say some way of just typing in your particulars and what you are looking for with more depth than “pop track producer seeks top-line writer” to find “musical matches” for musical collaborations. That’s a feature I think would work really well and language conversion could be very useful.
Finally Dave, will you be using Music Gateway yourself?
I would definitely use Music Gateway myself although I’m not really looking for anyone to collaborate with. I’m very busy with business stuff now – but who knows, one day if I do make a record again I would definitely check out Music Gateway. But I will be on there looking for talent myself for the school or just checking out new music. Check out Garnish Music Production School for London, and of course, Garnish Music Production School Los Angeles.