The second producer challenge to take place at MUTEK San Francisco took place on Friday, May 3 at design and creative institution, ASTRO Studios. During the hour-long event, the entrants had to turn out a new production, beat, track, or remix using their your own, or furnished Native Instruments gear. The winner, as selected by the on-hand adjudicating team was awarded to the participant with the best track.
For the beat producer challenge, each participant was given the stems from the winning track in the Mutek Online Challenge, which was run prior to the event. Challenging online users to create a signature beat using the tools provided in the KOMPLETE START bundle the competition prize was awarded to Russian producer cherry consul. Along with the audio stems, the 11 participants set to work using setups featuring MASCHINE, KOMPLETE KONTROL controllers, and various other instruments.
At the end of the day, the winning prize was awarded to West Coast producer Chris Vega. “I make a lot of different types of music. Hip hop, pop, R&B, EDM, experimental stuff,” he states, when we caught up over email. “When the competition started, I had no idea what type of song I should make. I always want to make something crazy, but I’m usually afraid that people are going to want something less weird. Then I heard the song we were remixing and how strange it was. It kind of inspired me to also make something fun and a little surprising.
“When I started making the track, I was listening to the stems and trying to figure out what I could do with them. I knew I didn’t want to stay too close to the original song because that would have been boring. So I took some sections from the stems, and I wrote a few things around them to re-contextualize them. I kind of ended up with two build-ups and two drops. Then I grabbed some of the drum samples from the original track and tweaked them a lot. I had to really mess with the 808 sample because it was crazy distorted. I also micro-sampled bits and pieces from various stems to create some pseudo-percussion to go along with the drums, including something that sounded like the ticking clock that was counting down on me.
After all that, there was about five minutes left so I threw everything together into something resembling a song and tried to pretend I wasn’t nervous.”
Check out Chris’ SoundCloud here.
One of the other participants was California-based, Indian producer Anu Eapen. “I wanted to challenge myself and to also meet others with the same passion and experience their creative process,” she said about the competition. “Producing music with a clock ticking is very different. Everyone did a great job and I’m amazed by the tracks that were produced with the same finite set of samples.
“The samples provided were very different from the kind of music I’ve been experimenting with so far. I was a little lost initially. I used Logic Pro X as my DAW and used Komplete Kontrol A25 to create the pad and bass for the track to start with and then added chops from the samples.”
Check out Anu’s SoundCloud here.
You can listen to other select highlights from the event below: