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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Behind the Beat with The Beat Broker

Posted By on Thu, Mar 11, 2010 at 11:48 AM

click to enlarge beatbroker.jpg

I had the pleasure of meeting Ryan Bishop (a.k.a. The Beat Broker) when he did an outstanding DJ set at a monthly dance party I throw. His seamless set of spacey disco and boogie tunes that night laid testament as to why he's such a busy and talented producer. Bishop has an ear for solid grooves and moving melodies. With his impeccably-crafted dance tracks released far and wide, there's no sign of the Beat Broker letting up.

This week's Behind the Beat focuses on Bishop: how his tracks come together, his dream record label, and what lies ahead. In the immediate future, he'll be performing this Saturday, March 13, at 222 Hyde along with Tony Watson and fellow SF production team Windsurf.

How would you describe your music to someone new to disco or house?
Melodic dance music.

What two elements most inspire the tracks you create?
Myself and the dancefloor. Typically I'm making a track just for myself, something to listen to on repeat on headphones or on the way to work. I never know for sure if the track will be released, so I try to not be concerned about that. If I can't find a label but I've heard the track 100 times and love it, that's fine. More recently, I'll try to make something to fit into my DJ set too. Making a track to hold up next to what I play in my sets helps to make sure the key elements are there and gives the track some direction.

What is your creative process like? Do you have a routine, or do you just start when inspiration hits?
For writing new tracks I usually start with some type of sampled loop. Maybe just drums or something with synths in it too. Something with a groove in it to set the mood. I'll take that and pile other samples on top, then I'll turn on my sequencer and synths, and try to add to it. If it's still listenable (and I'm lucky) I'll have some parts to build a full song out of.

What are some great samples you've found? Where do most of your sounds come from?
My sampling tends to be done in software rather than hardware. It's so much faster and easier for me to work with and groove the sample on the computer versus my sampler. I'm always looking for new samples, sometimes just a drum hit or a small looped part. I'm trying now to sample my own gear--taking presets or patterns and tweaking them. Most samples I've used are pretty obscure and secret for now, actually. I still love randomly spotting samples used by other artists, most recently the Kashif track "The Mood" sample used by EPMD.

How do you know when a song is finished?
If I can hit repeat on my track a few times with nothing glaring I want to change. That's when I say it's done. The sound levels and EQing are a different story. I never know if I'm finished with those!

Who are some of your favorite producers/bands out right now?

The guys in Windsurf [Hatchback and Sorcerer], Jonas Reinhardt, Marbeya Sound, Tensnake, Ray Mang, Pete Herbert, D-Pulse, and Lord of the Isles.

What's your favorite piece of equipment in your studio?
I'd have to say my Yamaha RS7000, since I've had it with me the longest. I've been using it for everything from sequencing, sampling, and as a MIDI controller for about seven years. The sounds it has range somewhere between trance and new age, so I have to use sparingly, but it's still the first thing I go to for synths and drums.

If you could sign to only one label for all time, whether currently active or not, what would it be?
Rad question. You must have known I'd thought of this before: Virgin Records between 1977-1982. I have so much amazing stuff from that time on the label, and in a variety of different styles that I like. Also, the label is well-known enough that [my music] would be easy to find for whoever is looking for it.

Do you have any remixes or releases in the works?
Out this week is a long-awaited 12" on Sentrall called "Deep Sleep," and a remix EP for an electro-fusion group called 9dw from Japan, with Windsurf and Hatchback mixes. I've just finished a remix for Caltrop (from Oakland) for Nude Photo Music out of Portland, and next I'm working on mixes for two SF groups, Marbeya Sound and Garth/Anthony Mansfield. Later this year I'll have a track out on a new label from LA called Adult Contemporary, with a hit remix from Reverso 68 on there too.

Any advice for aspiring producers?
Sign up for a Soundcloud account!

Check out select tracks from The Beat Broker here  and here.

Follow us @SFAllShookDown.

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Patric Fallon


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