In today's day and age it's imperative to be ahead of the game - whatever you do. We give Core readers a chance to find out more about taking their music skills further, learning more and beating the competition with Point Blank Music Academy's Luke Hopper and Johnny Miller.
Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to tell the Core readers more about Point Blank today….
Could you give us an introduction to the Academy.
Well Point Blank is an award-winning music production & DJ school
based in London, providing world class music courses
and learning programs. Our college offers bespoke tuition from our London HQ with personalised teaching to intimate classes, as well as ground-breaking virtual learning via our international online courses
. Our tutors include multi-million selling Grammy award winners, songwriters, producers and remixers and former students include the likes of Claude VonStroke, Nicole Moudaber, Gareth Wyn and Edith Bowman.
Where would you say your main focus lies, if anywhere?
We have the resources to cover a vast range of subjects here at PB, however we have always maintained a focus on DJing, Music Production, Sound Engineering, Singing and Songwriting and Radio Production. Our online school
also enables you to study the real specifics of genres and production techniques, you can get right into a genre and find out how to create that sound in your tracks.
You have some pretty big names supporting Point Blank, including Boy George, Pete Tong, Danny Rampling, Mark Ronson and Neneh Cherry to name but a few! How did their involvement come about?
Over the years we have work with a number of artists and have welcomed many industry professionals through our doors, over time we have become close with many of the artists and industry pros that we work with. The guys that you mentioned all have a strong interest in developing the talent that we have studying with us every year, so they have sponsored our scholarship programmes to really help those with potential.
How have you seen Point Blank grow in success over the years? What do you attribute that to?
I’ve been a part of the Point Blank family for a number of years and during that time I have seen some amazing things and a real growth in our school
and our community. I think the biggest success for us has been the development of our online school
, which has seen our community of students stretch to all over the world and has enabled us to connect with like-minded producers and DJs right across the globe.
Music can be a cut throat industry - what do you offer your students by way of support to prepare them for this?
We provide an amazing support structure for our students and, where possible, we will also try to hook students up to get them on that all important first step to a successful career in the industry. We have a whole host of industry contacts who are always on the lookout to snap up star students, whether this be clubs like Cosica Studios looking for DJs, record labels like Deep Medi looking for interns or advertising companies looking for the perfect track to accompany their next TV advert. In addition to all of this we also have our own in-house record label, so we can sign student tracks and get them into stores like Beatport, Juno, iTunes and more.
Can you tell us more about your Scholarship programme? Is it open to everyone or is it specifically designed to encourage students who are musically gifted but may not have the funds to follow their dreams?
The scholarship programme is open to everyone, however there are certain criteria by which a scholarship is awarded. Typically a scholarship will be awarded based on the evident potential that a student has coupled with the fact that without the help of the scholarship it would be extremely difficult or even impossible for them to study with us. One thing we do say to students is that we want to see how you have already made a start, what have you already done to lift yourself above the rest and start getting yourself out there. Demonstrating this kind of potential is going to get you in a great position to win a scholarship.
How successful has this been? Do you have any examples of previous scholarship students hitting the 'big time' in the industry? Or any other students for that matter?
We have had so many students achieve success in one form or another, whether DJing to thousands of people all over the world, hosting their own radio shows, get their track in the charts or go on to work in the industry behind the scenes. One scholarship student that springs to mind is Gemma Cairny who you’ll know from presenting the Radio 1 weekend breakfast show and appearing on the likes of TV and the BBC’s Glastonbury coverage. Other students of ours that have gone on to achieve success include Gareth Wyn (resident at Cream Ibiza and Mixmag Future Hero), AlunaGeorge (Guardian ‘band of the day’), Monki (Rinse FM host, resident at Annie Mac presents), Madame X (BBC 1Xtra host), Ben Scarr (A&R at Island Records) and Detboi (releases on Herve’s Cheap Thrills). In addition to this we’ve had a fair few students who are already music industry Pro’s and are simply looking to brush up on their skills, with the likes of Claude Vonstroke, MistaJam, Edith Bowman, B.Traits and Justin Martin all studying with us.
You've kindly given Core exclusive access to one of your dubstep tutorials. (Watch this space…coming soon!). We'd like to introduce dubstep tutor at Point Blank, Johnny Miller…
Dubstep is massive right now - how has this been reflected in the number of enrolments for dubstep specifically?
There has most definitely been an explosion in the popularity of dubstep and it’s most evident in the US where artists like Skrillex have taken the sound to a whole new level of stadium rock, playing to thousands of people with a huge lightshow. It’s a far cry from the days of sweaty dark basement clubs in South London, but for us it can only be a positive thing…it’s exposing a whole new audience to the genre and to electronic music in general. As such, we have definitely seen an increase the numbers of students signing up to the dubstep course
, not just in the US but students from all over the world are really interested in learning about the production techniques of the genre.
How can our readers become more involved in your programmes?
If you want to learn more about dubstep then just head straight to the course page where you can sign up right away, or you can always check out the free sample of the course if you want to ‘try before you buy’. Of course, we have a whole range of courses teaching everything from the basics of music production using Logic Pro or Ableton Live, through to live performance and DJ Courses and all of that’s just online, we also have a whole range of courses taught at the London HQ. I would also definitely recommend getting involved with us via the Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
What advice can you offer our readers in terms of breaking into the industry?
Well it really depends on what area of the industry you want to get into…if you want to be a producer then I would really recommend learning your craft, study up on the professional skills and techniques that you need using industry standard equipment and also try and attain your own ‘sound’, don’t copy everyone else out there, instead try and be individual.
If you’re looking to get into the business side of things then I would recommend, again, studying up on the industry to make sure you have the knowledge and skills that you need, after that it’s all about making contacts and making things happen for yourself. Once you’ve got on that first step of the ladder things should begin gathering momentum.
It seems that it's more important than ever to compound knowledge with structured learning and accreditations in order to maximise your potential as a DJ, music producer, singer, etc - would you say that this is true?
Most definitely! The competition out there is fierce and you’ve got to make sure you stand out from the crowd. Having studied an accredited course at a recognised institution gives you a leg up over the competition, this can show people that you have the professional skills and techniques needed and have trained on real industry standard equipment. Studying a structured programme also ensures that you learn from real professionals and don’t pick up any ‘bad habits’ along the way, you learn the right way to do things right from the ground up.
Well Luke, Johnny - thanks so much for that. We at Core at looking forward to the next instalment from Point Blank, coming soon. In the meantime, here's where to find them and a brief video introduction to Point Blank from the man himself, Luke Hopper: