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Lazerbeak to teach Music Industry Program

Hip Hop Producer from Minneapolis joins Slam Academy Family

Slam Academy is excited to announce an addition to the instructor roster.  Joining us this November is Lazerbeaklead instructor for our upcoming Music Industry program.  

Aaron Mader, known professionally as Lazerbeak, is a Minneapolis-based artist and hip hop producer. Aside from being a founding member of the Doomtree collective, he is also the CEO and General Manager of Doomtree Records, handling the day-to-day operations, management, and inner workings of the crew and label. Over the past decade he has worked with a wide range of artists including Doomtree, Lizzo, Matt and Kim, Dessa, Trampled By Turtles, P.O.S, Har Mar Superstar, GAYNGS, and Speedy Ortiz. In addition to original production and songwriting, Beak also works musically behind the scenes on commercials, movie trailers, TV shows, and remixes.

Q&A with LAZERBEAK

How did you get your start in the industry? And, why did you stay?

I guess it really started back in 4th grade with my folks making me choose a musical instrument in school. Went from alto sax in grade school to messing around with my dad’s acoustic guitar in junior high and eventually playing in an indie rock band throughout high school and beyond. Started Doomtree up in about 2001 and never looked back. All those years of trial and error taught me the independent fundamentals of what it meant to survive in this industry and not a day goes by that I haven’t learned something new along the way. As much as my role in music has changed over the last few decades, I’ve still got that same passion for creating music, or helping others create music and getting it out there for the world to hear it.

What type of people are successful in the music industry?

I think people skills are crucial. You’ve got to be able to balance empathy, understanding, and lots of different relationships all at the same time – and know tone and the difference between when it’s right to get on the phone, shoot a text, or knock it out in email. The whole “Don’t be a dick” philosophy is huge for me.

What are the most challenging obstacles that you have to deal with or overcome on a daily basis?

Trying to make everyone happy but also not lose sight of the ultimate goal. A lot of managing comes down to listening and being a good life coach or therapist with people.

Tell us about your new group Shredders.  Any new albums coming out?

I love Shredders. It’s a new group comprised of P.O.S, Sims, Paper Tiger and myself, all from the Doomtree collective. Last year we all got together with the goal of making some super short and fun rap bangers – no pressure, no expectations. Dangerous Jumps is the debut LP that came from those sessions and we’ve been touring the country a bunch and playing festivals this year in support of it. We actually just begun demoing some new tracks last month.

Any words of advice for new incoming students?

Be curious and ask a lot of questions. We’ve all got so much to learn from each other.

Why are you excited to teach the Music Industry program?

I’m super excited to learn from each individual student and help to tailor my time at Slam in order to help in whatever way I can. I’ll be using an actual Doomtree Records release in real time as a case study and you’ll get to see all the behind-the-scenes details that go into not only creating an album, but promoting it, releasing it, and beyond.

 

Come meet Lazerbeak at our upcoming FREE Intro to Music Industry class on November 5 where students will have an opportunity to meet the instructor, meet other prospective students and experience the culture of Slam Academy classes.

Register today! [FREE] Intro to Music Industry class

 

Videos:

 

Socials:

IG: https://www.instagram.com/lazerbeak/?hl=en

FB: https://www.facebook.com/lazerbeakdoomtree/

SC: https://soundcloud.com/doomtree/sets/lazerbeak

BC: https://lazerbeak.bandcamp.com

 

Official Website: www.doomtree.net/lazerbeak/

Doomtree started as a mess of friends in Minneapolis, fooling around after school, trying to make music without reading the manual. The group had varied tastes—rap, punk, indie rock, pop—so the music they made together often bore the toolmarks of several styles. When they had enough songs, they booked some shows. They made friends with the dudes at Kinkos to print up flyers. They burned some CDs to sell. The shows got bigger. Of necessity, Doomtree’s seven members (Cecil Otter, Dessa, Lazerbeak, Mike Mictlan, P.O.S, Paper Tiger, and Sims) figured out how to run a small business. Lazerbeak’s garage became the merchandise warehouse; P.O.S’ mom’s basement became the webstore. A decade and fifty releases later, it’s all properly official – Doomtree is now a real, … keep reading at http://www.doomtree.net/about/

 

Editor’s Note: Alongside Lazerbeak will be Katie Kramarczuk (Hydrah) and Grace Davies teaching the Music Industry Program. Slam Acadaemy’s Chief Content Officer, James Patrick wanted to say a few words:

This team of experts bring the final piece of the music Mastery puzzle to the table at Slam Academy. I see too many great tracks die on hard drives or with not enough plays on SoundCloud. Making great content is only one half of the battle. The rest of the elements can come easy with guidance. This Crew is here to make that happen for you within Slam Academy’s Music Industry Program.

Lazerbeak also partnered with Bionik (Stefon Taylor, instructor of Slam Academy’s Recording Arts & Producer Programs) as POOL BOYS. The duo hosted their album release party as a part of Slam Academy’s Producer Strategy Showcase series in 2017, check out the recap video below (enrolled students get access to the full hour and a half video in their online account).

Spreading the word of Slam Academy and more; My role as Special Projects Manager

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By Kyle Goodrich (Guest Blogger, Slam Academy Instructor / Staff / Alum)

If you’ve ever spent time at our main campus in Minneapolis, it’s very likely that you don’t need a formal introduction to who I am, but for those of you who haven’t, I will gladly give you a quick one. My name is Kyle Goodrich (Kyle King), I am an instructor at Slam Academy, a DJ, sound designer, engineer, producer, and almost every other kind of audio work I’ve dabbled in at some point over the last 15 or so years working in music. I also am a former student of Slam Academy, having taken the Ableton Live, Sound Design, and Mixing & Mastering Programs throughout 2016 – 2017.

My role now has become the Special Projects Manager at Slam Academy and while that might sound like a very “business” oriented role, I’m really just someone who very strongly believes in the mission of Slam Academy and wants to connect with as many people as possible to make sure that we can get out to more and more students and help them achieve their goals of making great music!

Recently we’ve worked with the Department of Defense Education Activity on a project that involved all of the executives at Slam helping train teachers who are working at schools near military bases and are going to be teaching Ableton to those students whose parents are part of our armed forces. I actually can relate a lot to those kids, as someone who was an army brat myself, I think that this is an extremely noble cause, and I am quite jealous of the kids who are getting this opportunity to learn music production!

Myself and Tanya Lano (Recruitment Specialist at Slam) also got to spread the word of Slam Academy at The Commons in downtown Minneapolis right outside of US Bank stadium this past summer! It was a beautiful day outside, and the music was a perfect compliment to the day. There were food trucks, outdoor games, and a nice big park for people to relax and spend the last fleeting days of summer, as the Minnesota winter slowly begins to take over.

Also, a collaboration between Slam Academy and the Adoption Is Love foundation took place where one of our wonderful TAs, Mike Johnson (Baard) worked with a young woman who wrote a song dedicated to her biological mother entitled “First Mom” and I got to do the mixing and mastering for the track! It was a very heartfelt song and was such a joy to work on. Both Tanya and I will be at the rotunda in the Mall of America on Saturday October 6th [with the Adoption Is Love Walk at Mall of America]. Stop by to hear the song, support the event, and also say hello to us!

There is more in the works and just keep your eyes out for more events!

If you’re interested in getting Slam Academy involved in your event, or if you want to work with me and help get Slam out to more people, please feel free to email me at [email protected] and let’s get in touch!

 

Editor’s Note: Between Tanya, Kyle, and the rest of the staff at Slam Academy we have been fortunate to participate with these organizations and their events. Beyond those listed above, Slam Academy also works closely with Beats by Girlz and She Rock She Rock, hosting many of the organizations’ workshops, classes, and events in our main studio (A: Performance Hall). Tanya will also be involved in this fall’s Performance and Visual Arts Fair! The fair will be held at the Minneapolis Institute of Art on Tuesday, October 9th at 7pm. We encourage everyone to stop by, say hi, and learn more about Slam!

Greg Grease joins the Slam Fam

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New Hip Hop Instructor at Slam Academy

Last Fall 2017, Slam Academy launched the new Hip Hop Producer Program that was written, developed and taught by producer, King Karnov (Dr. Dre, Lauren Hill, Snoop Dogg, Busta Rhymes).  The first run of classes went so well, hitting full capacity, that there was no question the program would run again in the Spring 2018.  Already the April start seats have been filled, and enrollment is open for the August 2018 start. It was a natural step for Slam Academy to bring on another instructor to help guide the successful program, and there was no question that local Minneapolis native Greg Grease was the perfect fit to do it.

Greg Grease is a Musician/Visual Artist/Sewer out of Southside Minneapolis.  There is a blue-collar Afro-centricity present throughout all of Grease’s music, particularly with his band Astralblak (aka ZULUZULUU), a Soul/Funk/Future Space movement created to empower and elevate through sonics.  Grease creates reality raps reflecting his environment growing up in a lower middle class neighborhood as a black youth, and feel good music with a hard smack that pulls listeners.  Greg also owns and operates River Life Dry Goods, where he designs, hand sews leather goods, canvas bags and bespoke menswear.

When we caught up with Greg for a quick interview, we asked him about his plans for the Hip Hop Producer Program, and provided some great insight on what to expect.

“When I met with JP, and everyone at Slam, discussing exactly what it will be about, it was so natural because it’s been my entire life,” Grease said. “I’ve always lived inside of it, and since it’s so lived, I don’t have to think about it. It’s been a cool experience to quantify and write down the things that are natural to my knowledge. That’s the exciting part for me. Exploring what hip hop is to me, and how I can contribute that to someone else’s learning experience.”

Greg grew up in a musical family and has been surrounded by sounds his whole life.  His father loves music of all kinds, and even likes to rap. Greg was encouraged to be creative all the time.  When he started making music at the age of 9, it started off with drums, conga and djembe. As he got older, he progressed to a full drum kit, while learning beat production with an MPC2000 and a computer.  He was active in all kinds of funk bands, and also got into rapping more. Greg’s Uncle, also an accomplished musician, who played with Paula Abdul, Terry Lewis, and many more, allowed Greg to use his studio and learn recording tools.

“I think the Hip Hop [Producer] Program is important because it’s that education and perspective for someone that doesn’t have that exposure.  Access is everything.”

 

UPCOMING START DATES

August 15 @ 7-10PM

December 12 @ 7-10PM

April 17, 2019 @7-10PM

 

If you are already a producer, but looking for that edge that will make your beats pro, this is it. This course is designed for MCs & producers looking to dig in and succeed with their craft. If you want to sell your beats, collaborate, and dominate the field –  you need to be working alongside someone already doing it. Enter Greg Grease, DJ Adatrak, and the Slam Academy Hip Hop Producer Program.

 

 

HIP HOP LEVEL 1: HIP HOP 101 – STYLES, ORIGINS, AND PRODUCTION METHODS

Comparing classic styles and origins of hip hop and what they involve ala DJ Mustard, DJ Premier, Chop/Screw, J Dilla, and more. Learn how to use the fundamental tools and techniques that make Hip Hop, from the microphones, drum machines, synthesizers, and samplers. Investigate the ways that the Sampler has inspired the genre, and learn the workflows used by Marley Mall, Timbalaand, Pete Rock, RZA, and others to bring these tools to life.

HIP HOP LEVEL 2: ADVANCED BEAT MAKING TECHNIQUES

Go to the local indy record store and come back with some vinyl. Sample it with instructor guidance, and chop that sample into your own tune. Add synth lines that are in key, and add drums that are in the pocket. Turn your beat into a full song by tweaking those sounds and add extra flavor with effects, shout outs, and ultimately vocals in your own tune. Explore processing and pitch and time correction tools such as autotune, melodyne, and vocoding for extra attitude on that microphone.

HIP HOP LEVEL 3: PRODUCER SUCCESS STRATEGIES

Showcase your work as an artist or producer on the world stage the right way, with proper social media rollout techniques. Learn the ways that are tried and true in the 21st century for publishing, marketing, distribution, licensing, and more. Explore the various avenues a creative person can pursue in this field, from performer, producer, engineer, MC, and more. Hear industry success and failure stories from veterans in the game, and ultimately succeed yourself as you apply this knowledge to your own music and music career.

A Conversation with Scott LeGere

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Slam Academy Launches Music Industry Program

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – March 9, 2018 @ Slam Academy  – We welcomed a quick visit with Scott LeGere, McNally Smith’s former Music Business department head, as he was in between meetings, for an opportunity to catch up with his busy life.  Scott is joining Slam Academy this spring to teach the new Music Industry Program. Slam Academy has always offered students various vocational programs in music production and performance, and with the addition of the Music Industry Program, students can now round out their Slam Academy education with industry and career advancing concepts including copyright, business registration, marketing, and emerging revenue sources.  Over the past 15 years, LeGere has played key roles in the ownership and operation of audio recording facilities, independent record labels, media schools, and commercial music production companies. During this time, he has engineered Grammy nominated albums, produced critically acclaimed independent projects, and lectured nationally in industry focused conferences and university classrooms.

 

Tanya Lano, Slam Academy Recruitment Specialist:

“First of all a big Thank You for coming in today and supporting us with the launch of the new Music Industry Program.  We understand you have spent many wonderful years with McNally, and many other schools. We are curious on your perspective on education, how people are getting their education, and your feelings about the closing of McNally.”

Scott LeGere:

“Hey Tanya, thank you, glad to be here. From a macro level, the educational world is changing. But that shouldn’t surprise anyone because the entire world is changing.  Technology, automation, tools powered by the internet, etc and mobile access are fundamentally changing businesses all over the world. When the largest hotel chain is Airbnb and they don’t own any hotel rooms you see a change is afoot.  When the largest taxi company is Uber and doesn’t own any vehicles you see change is afoot. The internet really is a great democratizer. And that’s a good thing. If there is information you want to learn about you can probably find it online, provided by a whole slew of talented individuals.  One of the biggest challenges of higher education is the high cost.

“One of the reasons why I am excited to teach at Slam Academy is seeing the community that has formed around the classes and offerings here.   I had the honor of speaking at a graduation this past summer and was really blown away to see all the instructors at Slam Academy having really intimate and deep knowledge of all of their students.  This is a specialty school, though you could say it’s not a school, it’s a community education location! Slam Academy doesn’t have an infrastructure of a larger institution, you don’t have this department or that department, you don’t have subjects siloed away in a governance system that was derived hundreds of years ago.  I think education is ripe for evolution and revolution, and in many ways Slam Academy is on the forefront of that. Seeing how community minded and supportive the students were here of each other, the faculty knowledge of all the students, so of course I was excited to lend a hand and teach the Music Industry Program. After talking to some of the team here you probably would have done it without me with someone else because it’s a natural step for this group, but I’m thrilled to be able to be here.”

Tanya Lano:

“Speaking of the internet, you hit a good point.  It has allowed us a non-traditional educational approach, having access to video tutorials, manuals to download, and it’s also changed how people release their music with emerging independent record labels, etc.”

Scott LeGere:

“You can joke it’s the best of times, it’s the worst of times.  The internet, the way a lot of people in Silicon Valley refer to it, it’s disruptive. Digital technology is disruptive.  It’s not just the internet, it’s the ability to share processes and share documents, powered by global communication. It’s disruptive. Well, in disruption some business plans are challenged. But, within disruption some business plans can really grow and prosper.  What’s interesting is, just coming from a production standpoint, and this has been the heart of Slam Academy’s mission, is that to make music 20 years ago and to make a record, you might have needed a million dollar recording studio. The only way you would be able to afford that is to basically get a loan from a record label or a publishing company and go through this whole mechanization and system.  If you didn’t fit into the cookie cutter box that that system was looking for, and if you didn’t fit the sound or the look, you might not have ever gotten those opportunities. There were some great records that came out over the last couple of decades, but we have to assume that there are some phenomenal talents that never got that opportunity. Today, with a laptop you can make a record in your basement, in your bedroom, in your garage, it’s really exciting. This aspect of technology has democratized production and allows anyone to come forward and make their art. That’s fantastic.  Now, there is an equally challenging prospect to that. More and more people are making records. When I entered the studio world in the late 90’s on average about 30,000 albums came out per year in the United States. Today, we are seeing over 20,000 records get uploaded per week to Beatport. We are looking at about 100 times the amount of content coming out on a weekly basis. This is where the Music Industry Program fits in. Open up your laptop, grab a controller, plug into Ableton and start making some exciting music. The challenges become where you can do it, but so can anyone else.  How do you break through the 5000 other tracks that were released that day? How do you start to build a name and a career for yourself? Those are the things we are going to start to talk about.”

Tanya Lano:

“Would you agree that some employers are looking for collaboration skill sets coming into the workplace?”

Scott LeGere:

“Unquestionably. I’m over simplifying here, but because I’ve been teaching for 16 years, I’ve been fairly diligent at reading job openings and postings. I want to know what companies are looking for so I can help make that transition for our students.  The older model was the Bachelor’s Degree, for years and years, we saw you must have a BA, lately over the last two years I’m seeing “college recommended.” I’m guessing that recommendation is based on you’re going to have some maturity, follow through, and with tremendous amount of valuable things that can come out of college.  The skills that people are asking for are softer than they have ever been. We need collaborators, communicators, ‘thinking on our feet’ people, and paratroopers, as in can you jump into our problem here and help out with whatever the effort is.”

Tanya Lano:

“When big changes happen it can bring out the best in people and you hit a good point, Scott, of being community minded and supported. Getting a business program running at Slam Academy is definitely a natural step for us.  Our students are excited to get support to release their music, and have been asking their teachers great questions for business tactics. Just know how happy we are to have you help guide our ship.”

Scott LeGere:

“I think ‘guide’ is much too strong a word! At the most, maybe I can help to point in a certain direction and we all can collectively run that way together. I think what I’ve been able to see, getting into the studio business in the 90’s, and watching it grow and watching it collapse, and suddenly get radically challenged from home studios. I’ve watched the studio business flip upside down, along with the label business, advertising and post production, and now it’s the education business that is flipping upside down. Since I’ve lived through so many of those changes, I’ve had the opportunity to see what they become.  And almost always the results have been positive. Sure we can bemoan the loss of some of our great recordings studios in America that have been turned into condos, or something else, but I wouldn’t trade today’s era for a moment. When a motivated young person can share their story they want to share with the world with an app like Ableton or GarageBand, today is just too exciting. That’s the piece I’ve been trying to bring to the classroom for 16 years. I’ll get on a soapbox, and get upset, for generations, whenever someone has talked about the arts, the immediate response is, ‘you shouldn’t do it, you’re never going to make it, you shouldn’t date musicians,’ and so forth.  We’re looking at an industry that is growing by leaps and bounds. Now that streaming has become the preferred platform for listening, we’re looking at annual revenues at publishing companies, distributors and record labels that are increasing by significant factors. A record group, Awol, which is a subsidiary of Colbalt, the European publishing giant, they just had a 100% increase in revenue from 2016 to 2017. Most small businesses are happy when they have a 5% year-to-year growth, not 100% year-to-year growth. We are seeing streaming rates jump all over the world by 50-80%. We realize with these devices we can get a Spotify or Apple music account, more people are listening to more music, more money is flowing into the system, because this is an industry that is growing. We have more television channels, commercials, films that are being produced that need more music, more radios opportunities whether they are terrestrial or streaming, there is a great demand for music.  Music is what makes the world go around. It’s still one of the most powerful forms of communication on the planet.”

Tanya Lano:

“I like that point, Scott, that looking at this as not a crisis, but an opportunity.  Sometimes we see so much negative out there, but it’s great to have a positive and optimistic look for our future leaders.”

Scott LeGere:

“I’ve seen it.  The inspiration that J (Dr. J Anthony Allen) and JP (James Patrick) and other instructors bring to students. One class is teaching the excitement that comes from these new digital tools and I’m going to try to teach the excitement that comes from a globally connected community of people listening to music. And how to tap into them and hopefully over time how to accrue more listeners and convert some listeners into fans.”

 

Watch Scott LeGere’s Ted Talk X @ Carlton College

 

Since the closing of McNally Smith, Slam Academy has enrolled a handful of their displaced students through the McNally Smith Transfer Scholarship. While some students have chosen to start with one program, others have looked to Slam Academy to wholly replace their music education, enrolling in all available programs. The Music Industry Program will launch on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, running 11am – 2pm weekly for 12 weeks. Slam Academy also offers free 2-hour introduction classes one week prior to all program starts; the Introduction to Music Industry class will be held Tuesday, April 10, 2018 at 11am.