“All of this innovation starts from a single bar. In a sense, it’s a bit of a trip to consider decades of culture-shifting, life-affirming sonic experimentation starting with such a seemingly rigid unit of measurement – how could structure be so infinitely mutable, so freeing?” – Meaghan Garvey, on Bars.
Exploring the concept further, with a hands-on approach to education and development, Native Instruments launched Native Sessions Bars; a global event series exploring underground rap, R&B, and grime. Having been hosted in Berlin, London, Paris, Tokyo, L.A., Toronto, and Mexico City, with performances, discussions, and workshops, the Native Sessions events featured some of the freshest, and most experimental names in the global scene.
Bars displayed a future-forward global overview of the genres, their defining methods, and their local imprints. Featuring Teddy Riley in L.A., Stwo in Paris, Steel Banglez in London, plus many, many more leading musicians, Bars boasted a mix of insightful talks, technical demonstrations, and candid performances from artists, producers and experts.
For those looking to further their understanding on the role of hip hop and grime in today’s music scene, get production tips and tricks, and listen to interviews with the real movers and shakers from across the world, check out the Native Instruments overview of videos, photos, and editorial below.
Showcasing various ways to make beats, tracks and melodies, leading product experts gave tutorials on how to best use MASCHINE in hip hop, and grime productions.
In Berlin, product specialist Boris Mezga ran a special tutorial on how to get your drums to really kick. Featuring tips and tricks on how to tune your drums, use parallel compression along with other techniques, Boris uses MASCHINE, and MASCHINE JAM, and shows how to combine everything in one standout performance.
You can also download these nine deadly hip hop weapons for free from the REAKTOR User Library, watch how to create hip hop kicks and basses with TRK-1 here, or check out this tutorial on how to make trap beats here.
The best track breakdowns
Throughout Bars, some of the best beatmakers joined us in showing how they produced select tracks from their catalogue. In Paris, Stwo showed how he approached the production of his 2017 hit “Neither do I”, featuring famous rap and R&B singer Jeremih, which you can watch here. In London, Steel Banglez provided a detailed breakdown of the instrumental production ‘No Words’, by Dave featuring MoStack, which is available to watch here, while Swifta Beater shared his experiences making the hit JME track ‘Man don’t care’, available here.
In addition, at Native Sessions Mexico City, we also filmed Adrian Be and Yoshi Beats from Finesse Records give a showcase on how they produced the track ‘Abril’ by Girl Ultra, which you can watch here.
One of the best breakdowns however, was caught in Paris, as beatmaker and product expert MKL provided an overview showing how he produced the French rap hit ‘Paradise’ for Lefa using MASCHINE and KOMPLETE KONTROL. Watch the video below, and remember to turn on the subtitles if French is not your first language.
In Berlin, Native Instruments brought together some of the best, local talent for a beatmaking challenge, called ‘The Flip’. Each producer had 20 minutes to produce their own beat using at least three sounds from the sample pack provided. Watch below to see how these beatmakers fared under tight time constraints, using the latest techniques, updates, and effects in MASCHINE.
With a whole set of sit-downs, talks and conversations, Bars was full of the latest gossip and insights into the world of beatmaking. During the London edition of Native Sessions Bars, DJ and producer spoke about her music and beatmaking background, which you can read here, legendary grime rapper P Money sat down with The Grime Show’s A.G, while Ms Banks discussed musical influences with DJ Target, both of which are available to watch below.
In Los Angeles, Frank Nitt, a.k.a. one half of legendary Detroit hip hop duo Frank-N-Dank, spoke to Jeff Weiss about his work alongside J Dilla, which is available to watch here. Speaking in Toronto, TRAKGIRL, Prezident Jeff, and LordQuest sat down with Detroit funk great, Amp Fiddler, and discussed production techniques, along with the most important issues facing the scene at the moment. You can read an overview of the interview here.
Prior to Native Sessions, Native Sessions spoke to Flowdan about new talent and his new London production hub, which you can watch here. Native Instruments also caught up with German producer Figub Brazlevic in his Berlin studio to get the low-down on his beatmaking processes, which is available to watch here.
Best studio reports
Native Instruments also took time out to go behind the scenes with some of the artists featured at Bars. In Berlin, Figub Brazlevic broke down his production and studio process, showing how he created his trademark “dope drum sound”.
In London, Native Instruments also caught up with grime legend Flowdan in his Archway studio to discuss the journey from MC to producer, why he started the imprint SpentShell, and how he uses MASCHINE to create his trademark sound.
Check out the full article and video here.
Best global discussions
Taking the conversation to a global level, and the conversations will inevitably become more international. In Mexico City producers Ulises Lozano, Cesar Gudiño sat down with underground reggaeton artist Rosa Pistola to discuss the state of the scene and more, which you can watch here.
In Berlin, rap and RnB acts Marvin Game, Ahzumjot, Mashanda, and Michael ‘Bazz’ Jackson sat down with Visa Vie to discuss the current state of hip hop in Germany, which you can watch below, (German only).
Across each Native Sessions the best talents performed live, showcasing their unique beats. In Los Angeles, ElectroSpit pioneer performed live with Matnetik, warping vocals and looping beats on MASCHINE. You can watch the entire performance here. In Tokyo, rounding off a session of talk and beatmaking Mitsu the Beats and Hunger from Gagle showed off what they do best; beats, raps and fine melodies.
Best Teddy Riley interview
Teddy Riley, whose production credits include Michael Jackson, Doug E. Fresh, Usher and more, sat down alongside Norwegian producer Lido and Jeff Weiss in Los Angeles, lamenting on some of the most prominent moments in his illustrious careers.
Metapop x Bars Producer Competition
In addition to the events series, Native Instruments teamed up with Metapop for a beatmaking competition, using the same custom Expansions sample pack used by our producers in Berlin during ‘The Flip’.
The two grand prize winners can be heard below.