Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Just spent the evening at YouthVille Detroit, a not-for-profit community center for Detroit youth, ages 11-19. Here's a bit about YouthVille:
YouthVille Detroit is "a youth development center (not just a recreational facility) based on the belief that young people need: • A Safe Space • Responsible, caring adults engaged in their lives • To be intentionally involved in their own development • Broad supports and opportunities Communicating the concept of positive youth development as the mission of YouthVille Detroit was a key initiative. The inclusion of youth parents, teachers, school administrators, business leaders, legislators, and the governor brought commitments and enthusiastic support from various stakeholders in the Detroit community and southeastern Michigan."
Malik Alston & Mike Huckaby after the demo playing around.
Mike Huckaby offers regular courses there in music production. Kyle Hall got his start at YouthVille in Huckaby's class, and eventually started teaching on his own there for a time. Tonight was a demo offered by Mike Huckaby for free (a relatively regular occurrence here in Detroit!) of Maschine by Native Instruments. If you want to know more about Maschine, just click back there. I'm going to tell you about the event. I went because I think it's so great that these types of events happen in Detroit - free, no registration, open to all, just come together and hang out and learn about music production. I'm not a producer, not a DJ, not even a collector...of anything. I'm telling you that so that you'll understand where I'm coming from. I'm a lover of this music, this place, culture, and people. And I write. Mike is clearly devoted to educating people and sharing knowledge. Check out this article by Brendan M. Gillen about him. And this rad LWE podcast. And this Red Bull Music Academy mix. All dope ass hotness. And for the demo, he prepared a file titled "dope ass pattern for demo." It was Dope. Ass.
The room was full when I got there. I was a bit late, had to wait for my man to come home from work. Those kids can't watch theyselves! Anyway, the room was packed with incredible musicians and DJs. Anthony Shake Shakir, Kelli Hand, Eric Johnson, Raymond Jones (DJ Raybone), Rick Wade, Delano Smith, Malik Alston, Mike Grant, Kero of Kero Logistics, and Michael Geiger. Walter Wasacz was in the house as well. And devotees to Detroit, social visionaries Shay Maxwell and Jay Newhouse showed some love. You'll certainly be hearing more about them soon...
Side of YouthVille on Lothrop Road, Detroit.
One of Mike Huckaby's audio files for Maschine was called "dubstep kit" - I really wanted to know what that sounded like!!! Probably awesome. He had a YouthVille student of his on his keyboard assisting with the demo. There was discussion of sampling. Let me just say, when you're an academic, any discussion of sampling always involves some DETAILED, LENGTHY discussion of legal issues. And sure, that's important. But it's damn refreshing to just listen to musicians talk about using sounds. Oh, and Mike described some of his samples as "nonsensical samples" that he would use to turn into something fabulous (my words, not his!). Some of these nonsensical samples had the words "dirty electro" in the title - Dirty Electro! As he flipped through them, I got excited over the dirt. Finally, he described his synthesizer from an unmentioned Dutch company with whom he may customize his own synthesizer...in its own special color. The Huck Synth (again my words, not his...).
It was really lovely to be at YouthVille - my first visit. Detroit is such a great place. Whenever I visit, it's hard for me to leave. I just want to go hang out in all the places I really love. I don't live that far away. Ann Arbor is about 40 minutes away. I just really like a lot of things about Detroit.