An interview with ModeAudio’s Niall McCallum on the fantastic samples, loops and presets site for musicians

ModeAudio offers a massive collection of eclectic sample packs and sounds for producers and musicians, and we talked to co-founder Niall McCallum on running such a vast and brilliant music resource.


What inspires you to create sample packs, loops, kits and more for electronic producers?

Primarily, everything stems from my love for music, plain and simple! For me, it’s one of the most important things in life and can offer so much to people in so many different situations, from humble entertainment to respite during a hard time – it’s modern-day magic if you ask me!

I want to help and inspire people to make music for this reason above all others, from the relatively small group of musicians who are lucky enough to be able to make money from their own productions, right up to the hundreds of thousands of bedroom producers out there just doing it for the love of it.

How do you go about sourcing and creating the awesome sounds that you offer in your packs, especially with such variety between each one?

Naturally, this is particular to the release in question but we’re mainly drawing on our selection of acoustic instruments, synths, field recordings, custom DSP patches and digital plugins, as well as anything and everything that might happen to be laying around in the studio, from cans of juice to cutlery and I even sampled a metal radiator for our latest release, Outlook!

Has music always played a big part in your life or was it something you discovered later in life?

It has been part of things for a long time, since I first started piano lessons when I was a kid. It wasn’t till I started playing guitar and drums at secondary school that music became an all-consuming passion, though, as well as the discovery of the first DAW I ever learned to use, Reason.

I’ve moved from my earlier Pop and Rock phases at school, through to Indie, Experimental, Ambient and Classical at university and since on to House, Hip Hop and everything in between – it’s pretty handy being into most styles of music in this line of work.

What do you think of the way that the music industry is transforming with the focus moving towards digital platforms and, in particular, the boom of music streaming?

Well, I think this trend comes with a lot of inherent problems – in fact I was just listening to Gerry Read being interviewed on Gilles Peterson’s [BBC Radio] 6 Music show a few weekends ago, where he talked about how he’s actually a butcher by day! I think it’s alarming that someone as talented as he is isn’t able to find a way to make a living solely from his music and I do believe that the low pay-out rates on streaming services is part of the problem.

At the same time though, for the listener, these services are nothing short of a revelation – access to unparalleled quantities of every conceivable type and flavour of music for free, or at most, a pretty modest sum would be a pretty unbelievable proposition to a kid growing up even 20 years ago. I think there’s more work to be done to make the deal fairer for artists but I think most would agree that it’s better than when P2P ruled all!

Whilst I’m sure you’re proud of every pack you have to offer, are there any in particular that you personally think really brings something unique and powerful to the table?

I think our found percussion packs offer something really interesting and unusual, such as Klang, Raw Material and Undercover, which can be used either as they come in the pack or warped and twisted into a beautiful new shapes with relative ease. Our ambient and textural packs are something I’m very proud of too, from Hover and Distant Echo to Pour, Remnant, Disintegrate and beyond, as again I think producers can get so much out of them either as they come or with a little extra processing.

As you say though, really I’m extremely proud of everything we release and think our packs offer consistent quality, flexibility and value. We leave it to our users to make the final call though!

What is your favourite music coming out at the moment, and does the music you listen to inspire some of the packs you create?

Absolutely – it’s the number one thing that inspires our packs in fact. There’s too much to mention here to be totally honest, though I’ll give a shout out to Bonobo’s latest album Migration and Kaytranada’s 99.9%, plus recent tunes from Knxwledge, Anderson .Paak, Thundercat, Radiohead, Tycho, Clap! Clap! and Leon Vynehall as particular favourites.

Finally, what would you say to all the aspiring musicians and artists out there using sites like yours to create great new music?

Keep doing what you’re doing! The only way to improve at anything is to practise, practise, then practise some more – use our loops if you’re starting out and build around them, or some of our samples into a sampler or apply some whacky processing to our synth drones and textures if you’re more advanced – there’s inspiration of some kind to be found in every millisecond!


ModeAudio samples packs sounds sample music production producer DJ

Head over to www.modeaudio.com now to claim a massive free pack and experiment with some entirely new sounds using a 10% discount code on the massive variety of samples and packs ModeAudio have to offer.

Discount Code: ROUTE10

“ModeAudio aims to deliver audio tools that sound incredible, are available instantly and that will integrate seamlessly with your favourite music software. To cut swiftly to the chase, as music producers and sound designers ourselves we really only care about sound quality and ease of use. To this end, we’ve packed as much of our musical and technical knowledge into each and every one of our packs as humanly possible – we hope our passion and dedication will be plain to hear and see. If a sound or preset of ours helps to inspire your music, then we’ll consider our job done.”

RouteNote Interviews: Catching up with No Hot Ashes

RouteNote Interviews

Back in 2015 we spoke to four talented lads from Manchester about their quickly rising band No Hot Ashes. Fusing funk, rock and pop the band have shown no sign of stopping since and with a hot new single releasing later this month we caught up with where they guys have been and where they’re heading next.


First of all let’s catch up from the last time we spoke back in 2015. You guys had just released your single Easy Peeler and looked set to take over Manchester with your gritty funk. What have you been up to since as a band?

Hello! – well “Easy Peeler” went down really well and was a good stepping stone for us, it is now a firm favourite in our live set and we always get the fans singing back the words. Since then we have played the likes of Kendal Calling, YNot Festival, Tramlines Festival and supported some great bands like Spring King, Walking on Cars, Prides and The Amazons. We also released another single “Cool Cat” in early 2016 and that has had such a great reception too.

Last time I spoke to you, your aim for 2016 was to expand outside of Manchester and start playing further afield. Were you able to fulfil your ambitions last year?

We definitely have. 2016 took us all around the country, we gigged in so different parts of the UK and it was great to get out of Manchester and meet new people who now love our music. Cardiff was a particular highlight (Hoyfest 2016) and it was also the furthest we had travelled. We are continuing that into 2017 and one of our first gigs of the year is in Dublin so we are aiming to carry on travelling around the country to spread our music.

Your upcoming single “Bellyaches” is great and I can hear some new sounds for you lads in the music. What inspired your new single and was the creative process for this track any different to creating your other tracks?

The writing process for “Bellyaches” didn’t change at all, like with all our songs it usually starts with Isaac & Lui coming up with a guitar based melody or chords and then bringing it to the practice room for the full band to come together and structure the song. Once we get into the studio we let Gavin Monaghan (Editors, The Twang, Ocean Colour Scene) our producer work his magic and he really pushes each of us to play the best we can and also suggesting ideas to build the song and really beef up the mix.

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The cover for upcoming single ‘Bellyaches’ featuring art by Florence Burns

We owe a lot to him for making us better musicians and songwriters. Each time we come out of the studio we have developed and took away something to make the next song we write even better.

With your popularity continuously rising, how has that affected the chemistry between you all as a band?

In terms of friendship, nothing has changed. We all bounce of each other and there is a special bond we all have from being in a band together and we always have a good time when we are travelling and staying over in different cities. In terms of professionalism we have all got a lot more clued up and have had to make the sacrifices that come with being in a band.

It isn’t a nice job at times and a lot of the time there is very little reward behind the scenes but gigging and recording is really what makes us buzz, being creative and getting that rush on stage.

You’ve always emphasised as a band your enjoyment in playing live. Is playing gigs still your favourite part of being in the band and how has that changed as the audiences get bigger?

Performing is still the best part of being in the band for us. Especially hometown gigs where we can sell out 200cap venues and have a load of mental 14+ year olds jumping at the front, you can’t help but smile at times like cos` that is the biggest reward you can get. Each time we gig in Manchester the crowds seem to get bigger and more rowdy and that is just the way we like it. Hopefully we are now starting to mirror that in other cities.

Alongside that we really enjoy the studio, more specifically our Producer Gavin and his Magic Garden Studio. The place is our second home and we try to get back and record with him as soon as our band fund allows us to. Being able to drop your Job/University normal life and spend days in the studio concentrating on your music and being in a totally creative and experimental atmosphere is just a great feeling and Gavin & Joe (Engineer/Mixing) really understand us as musicians and since day one we have all got on incredibly well as people as well as musicians.

No Hot Ashes manchester band music funk rock pop interview digital music distribution routenote

2017 has only just begun and is looking to start off as a big one with “Bellyaches” releasing soon. What are your plans for the rest of the year?

We get really stir crazy once we have just released so in true NHA fashion we are going straight back into the Magic Garden to work on new material. We can’t wait to release “Bellyaches” and we all agree that musically and commercially it is the best song we have written to date (although we say that after every release) but all jokes aside we are really excited to show people what we have been working on and a big shout out to Florence Burns who does all of our artwork/branding for making the whole release so complete.

We love to create a real concept and feel to each release and Florence is just as important as the music we play in terms of completing that creative process.

Finally, what would you want to say to all your fans out there?

Big love to you all, you are the reason we do what we do and please keep buying our merch otherwise we can’t afford to eat and dress ourselves.

Much Love

NHA

Isaac, Luigi, Jack & Matthew


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No Hot Ashes new single ‘Bellyaches’ releases on the 20th February. Be sure to catch it for even more funky goodness!

No Hot Ashes

Website – http://nohotashes.bigcartel.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/No.Hot.Ashes.Band

Twitter – https://twitter.com/nohotashesband

SoundCloud – https://soundcloud.com/no-hot-ashes-2

RouteNote Interviews: Panski

RouteNote Interviews

Panski is a music producer from Atlanta that has shaped himself through his unique blends of house and electronic music with Southern and country influences, creating a unique sound that has captured the ears of hundreds-of-thousands of fans.

As we enter a new year full of opportunities we talked with Panski about how he was inspired to create his own trademark style and the inspirations that have gotten him this far.


How did you first discover that you enjoyed creating music?

When I was in 6th grade i joined orchestra and played the cello. I played it for 4 years.

What was it about electronic music that inspired you to create your own tracks with Southern influences?

Well Avicii’s Levels is what made me want to learn how to produce. So once I got into the whole EDM scene I knew it would take some time to find MY sound.

I started make generic electronic like progressive house and trap and stuff. But when I first heard the Little Talks remix by Thomas Jack, I knew I wanted to make tropical house. So after dwelling into that for a bit, and exploring deep house as well, I wanted to do something nobody had ever done before. I have always liked BUNT and I love folk house, but I wanted to take it a step further and do country house.

EDM and Country music are very different crowds, so I knew I couldn’t just out right call it “country house” otherwise it might prevent people from clicking play. It started out as “hoedown house” but I think “southern house” sounds a little classier.

 

What has been the favourite part of your music career so far?

Opening for Sam Feldt at the Buckhead Ball in Atlanta, GA.

Who have been your biggest influences along the way and how have they impacted your music?

Influences include Kygo, Thomas Jack, Robin Schulz, Hot Since 82, Avicii, Kaskade, Sam Feldt. For the tropical guys, that’s where most of my sonic inspiration comes from, but for Kaskade it’s the manner in which he handles himself. Never met him but I can tell he’s an outstanding dude.

If you were stuck on a desert island and could only take 2 tracks and one possession what would they be?

Come Sail Away With Me, and my Wave On Wave cover.

The one possession would be a boat so I don’t have to stay there forever

Which artist/producer would you collaborate with if you could choose anyone, past and present?

Honestly, I would love to do a track with Gucci Mane. I’m from Atlanta, he’s like the father of the city. But for my specific style of sound, I’d love to collaborate with Sam Hunt. He has a great sound that’s country, but not country at the same time, like me.

What is your favourite piece of hardware/software or instrument that you use to create your uniquely inspired tracks?

I wouldn’t be able to do anything without Ableton.

What are your plans for 2017?

Just trying to get out there and make cool tunes. Hopefully play some shows, find a manager and an agent that believes in the southern house sound.

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians and producers?

Network like hell. go to shows and meet people. Be in the scene as much as you can.


Panski

Facebook – facebook.com/panskimusic

Twitter – twitter.com/panskimusic

RouteNote Interviews: Alex Doan

Alex Doan is a 20 year old German composer who has built himself a massive audience from his fantastic, orchestral compositions that take inspiration from Soundtrack legends like Hans Zimmer.

With tens-of-thousands of fans and hundreds-of-thousands of plays across SoundCloud and streaming services Alex Doan is a name to watch out for in the future. As his popularity continues to grow with no signs of slowing we wanted to talk to Alex about finding his passion in music, how he’s made it this far and what’s next for the talented composer.


How did you first discover that you enjoyed creating music?

Uhm, let me think about it. It was like 6-7 years ago. I started playing piano when I was 6 years old and when i was 13, I composed a few piano songs and played them live in school.

My teacher at this time thought that I will have success in the future and he believed all the time in me and helped me a lot with writing down my stuff in DAWs (digital audio workstation) and on paper.

Where do you find inspiration for the sprawling soundscapes you create in your tracks?

Most of my inspirations comes from watching movies, listening to other composers or writing some pieces in a totally new genre. But the nature has also a big impact on my creations. I love to visit new places, I prefer places where are not that much people, places where I can enjoy the silence itself.

I’m also a huge fan of the universe. I’m reading through different articles, watching documentaries about space and thinking a lot about it.

Alex Doan RouteNote interview digital music distribution Spotify Tidal Google Play music Apple
Alex Doan in the studio at Tonstudio-Mannheim Schraubfabrik
Who have been your biggest influences along the way and how have they impacted your music?

My biggest influences are definitely Hans Zimmer and James Horner. They changed my life massively. The first time I got deeper into composition and analyzing stuff was when the movie ‘Avatar’ was released back in 2009. I was completely blown away.

The music matched perfectly with the movie and I immediately bought the piano notes because I wanted to learn how to create those beautiful chord progression and melodies. I think that was the hidden start of Alex Doan! But also don’t forget Hans Zimmer, his music is godlike!

When the movie ‘Interstellar’ was released and I heard the music, it was clear for me that my goal is to become someone to be recognized in the soundtrack scene. I can’t describe the OST of Interstellar in words, it just changed my life 100%!

But my goal is not to copy any of those composers, each composer should have their own style, you can use it as an inspiration but never copy them. My goal is to get inspired by them and try to create a new world of music, my music 🙂

If you were stuck on a desert island and could only take 2 tracks and one possession what would they be?

Hm, that’s a hard question.

I think the first track would be Cornfield Chase by Hans Zimmer

The second one: The Destruction of Hometree by James Horner

I got plenty more songs I would like to take with me, but sadly it’s limited to two. My possession would be my studio, haha.

Who would you collaborate with if you could choose anyone, past and present?

James Horner, that was my dream. Too sad it’s never going to happen, due to his death in June 2015. But there are so many other great composers out there, just to name a few: Hans Zimmer, Steve Jablonsky, Thomas Bergersen, Audiomachine, Ivan Torrent, Blakus and many more.

What is your favourite piece of hardware/software or instrument that you use?

My hardware setup i’m using is not that big. I’m using two Focal Alpha 65, NI Komplete Audio 6, Nektar LX49, Rode NT1-A, NI Maschine Mikro MK2 and some AKG Headphones. It’s not that much but it’s enough for me at the moment.

But to be honest a bigger Keyboard would be nice, which has a direct control with Kontakt 5. This is my favorite software instrument overall. My favorite library is Albion One & Cinebrass Core + Pro. I’m using them in every project!

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Last year was an incredible year for Alex Doan, proven by his popularity on Spotify alone
What are your plans moving forward into 2017?

For 2017, I have huge plans. I want to build up a professional website, with a site for licensing and stuff. Also going deeper in the Trailer Music scene and trying to achieve my first placement in a movie this year. Also meeting up with my friends all over the world, making new connections and releasing more music than before and develop my skills.

What advice would you give to aspiring musicians and producers?

Never give up!

Also if the situation may be extremely hard. If you give up, you will lose. If you fight for your dreams you will achieve them at some point.

But it takes time.

I’m started with producing seriously 4 years ago and I haven’t achieved my dreams yet, but I’m closer than before to them and I’m ready to give anything.


Alex Doan

SoundCloud – soundcloud.com/alexdoanofficial
YouTube – youtube.com/channel/UCiOs6W2vXxhvhqePBvV5C9A
Facebook – facebook.com/alexdoanofficial
Twitter – twitter.com/alexdoanmusic

RouteNote Interviews: Gentleman’s Dub Club at Hospitality In The Park

Last weekend I was invited to Hospital Records’ London drum and bass day festival Hospitality in the Park and interviewed the incredibly talented dub/hip-hop group Gentleman’s Dub Club.

Gentleman’s Dub Club are a 9 piece group playing energy infused reggae, dub and hip-hop hailing from Leeds in the UK. Known for their exhilarating live shows the band have gone from local performances to massive stages at venues around the world.

In their time they’ve supported a variety of massive acts that reflect their fusion of genres, having supported Roots Manuva, The Streets, The Wailers, U-Roy and many others. Last year Gentleman’s Dub Club released their well received second album ‘The Big Smoke’ cementing their legacy as one of the UK’s hottest Dub/reggae bands.

I got to see them at Hospital Record’s celebration of the best in drum & bass – Hospitality In The Park. Hospital and their live brand Hospitality have hosted unforgettable drum and bass events around the world but Hospitality In The Park marked their first full outdoor event in the UK. It was a testament to the amazing drum and bass acts coming out of Hospital Records.

After their incredible performance at Hospitality In The Park I got to have a chat with Jonathan Scratchley, lead vocalist and rapper, and Kieren Gallager, the band’s saxophonist. They spoke to me about performing at Hospitality In The Park, the bands progression and it’s future, and finished off with an exclusive vocal jam – beats provided by Kieren, rapping from Jonathan.

Check it out:


Gentleman’s Dub Club

Website – www.gentlemansdubclub.com

iTunes – itunes.apple.com/us/artist/gentlemans-dub-club

SoundCloud – soundcloud.com/gentlemans-dub-club

Facebook – www.facebook.com/gentlemansdubclub

Twitter – twitter.com/gentlemansdub