JUICE continues to delve into the art of the modern day Producer.Â We talk to dance music Producer and certified Ableton trainer, Reuben Samuel aka Blastique.
Text June Low
Images Reuben Samuel
A month before he left to pursue a degree in Computer Science at UWA, Australia, Reuben’s parents bought him his very first synth. He attributes this to his “obscene love for MIDI and electronic music programming” and the collapse of a potentially futile career in IT. Instead of doing assignments at uni, he applied his classical training to make club music (He had begun learning the violin when he was only 4 Â½).
Eventually failing the course and having his student visa terminated, he returned to KL and enrolled at SAE (School of Audio Engineering). His grades promptly took a 180.
Following a brief internship at SCAT studios, Michael Veerapen signed him up as a full-time engineer at his studio and that gave him the chance to work with the likes of Saidah Rastam, Michael & Daniel Veerapen, Gerard Singh, David & Junji Gomez; as well as countless high-profile advertisements. Since then he’s been involved in engineering, mastering, composing, as well as “finishing” productions (referring to the addition of elements required to bring something to completion).
Today, Reuben runs his own studio (Mile High Sounds) and actively defines his role to get the best possible result in any given production.
“I firmly believe that once anybody has enough experience in a role (or roles), and is actively sought after for their services, it’s natural to be able to choose what they do and when they do it. If you feel that you’re stuck doing one thing, you should reassess your career goals and make the change. It may take away your sense of security, but sometimes a leap of faith makes things happen. That’s what I did – I took a leap of faith, and got a good kick in the a$s!”
Reuben observes that dance music Producers tend to get their hands much dirtier than those in the traditional role of “Record Producer”. A “Record Producer” will typically supervise a production – compiling suitable songs, arranging musicians, overseeing recordings, mixdown and mastering sessions. Whereas a dance music ProducerÂ handles every aspect of the production (down to composition and even engineering) on top of his responsibilities as a “Record Producer.”
“Local Producers are also investing more in gear to achieve high-quality results and are branching out to collaborate more. This is absolutely paramount in helping our scene to grow. Indonesia is miles ahead because their sense of musical community has been going strong since time immemorial.”
In addition to being a dance music producer, Reuben is currently the only Ableton-Certified Trainer in Asia.
“Being a certified trainer means that your teaching skills and programmes have been given Ableton’s stamp of approval. For the student/trainee, this brings the sense of security that they will be taught a very comprehensive and in-depth skill-set by someone who officially knows the programme inside-out. I’ve been using Ableton Live since 2004, and got certified by Ableton around September 2009. Contrary to popular belief, Ableton certification events are not “train the trainer” scenarios, but rather a vetting procedure whereby trainers are put through a series of tests, required to give a lecture on two areas of “Live” software principles to a class, and have their syllabuses vetted and discussed through with an Ableton clinician (Huston Singletary).”
Reuben thinks Producers thinking of starting their own projects should pass their music to as many people in the scene as they can.
“Get your material up on Soundcloud, collect feedback, send out promos and keep e-mailing. The world is so small these days. The hardest thing is getting someone to sit down and give you their advice. So do checkout Mile High Sounds! Your first consultation is free. We’ll listen to your material/ideas and point you in the right direction!”
Still wanna be a Producer? JUICE warps up our feature tomorrow with a rock Producer! Who’s it gonna be? Shh…