The Choppertone: Custom MIDI Controller for Ableton Live – Nick Francis Video Interview +

Producer, programmer, radio broadcaster, music director and host of Quietmusic, Nick Francis recently stopped by Dubspot NYC for an inspiring interview and intimate live performance and demonstration on his own custom-built MIDI controller The Choppertone along with Ableton Live.

In this exclusive Dubspot video interview, Nick Francis talks about his musical evolution, from listening to rock and pop music of the 1960s and ’70s to delving into the world of jazz, experimental and electronic music (musical instruments and music technology); Francis embraced everything from Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Brian Eno, Herbie Hancock and Weather Report to DJ Shadow, Moby, and Fatboy Slim. He has a strong appreciation for classic American soul and R&B and music of the 1940s and 1950s, but also pays attention to current music and recognizes the efforts of innovative electronic musicians and performers of the 21st century.

“Electronic music is the folk music of the 21st century.” – Nick Francis

Furthermore, Nick Francis talks about using Ableton Live for radio programming, performing and creating remixes and mash-ups; being inspired by Matt Moldover experiment with MIDI and creating his very own MIDI controller after seeing Livid Instruments controller building kit bundle and attending a workshop with Ean Golden of DJ Tech Tools; he breaks down the process of assigning chopped-up bits and pieces of music ranging from classic American jazz standards like Fats Waller’s “Honeysuckle Rose” or the piano works of Thelenious Monk along with disparate elements like the drums from a Steely Dan song, mapping them to the Choppertone.

In this exclusive Dubspot video, Nick Francis performs a live mix titled “Canto de Wonderwall” which blends and weaves a series of downtempo and calm sounds from Brazilian guitar extraordinaire Baden Powell’s “Canto De Iemanjá” and Angelo Badalamenti “Twin Peaks Theme” to French duo Air’s “Alone in Kyoto” and Ryan Adams’ cover version of Oasis’ mega-smash “Wonderwall”, seamlessly mixing the pieces to create an intoxicatingly good vibe mix.

Ableton Live Producer Certificate Program

Start dates and information about payment plans can be found here.

If you have questions, please call 877.DUBSPOT or send us a message.

The flagship of our music training, with every Ableton Live course offered at the school. After completing this program, you will leave with 4 completed tracks (EP), a remix entered in an active contest, a scored commercial to widen your scope, and the Dubspot Producer’s Certificate in Ableton Live.

What’s Included:

  • Ableton Live Level 1: Shake Hands with Live
  • Ableton Live Level 2: Completing Your First Track
  • Ableton Live Level 3: Production Essentials
  • Ableton Live Level 4: Sound Design & Instrumentation
  • Ableton Live Level 5: Advanced Composition & Production
  • Ableton Live Level 6: Taking Your EP Global

This program is about learning Ableton Live by going through the entire process of being an artist, by developing your own sound through a series of sketches and experimentation. You will also learn the ins and outs of this powerful software through a series of exercises designed to help you master the steps involved in producing your own music. After a level of getting familiar with the tools that Ableton has to offer, you will then develop your sonic ideas into full length songs – one per level. You will be exposed to a variety of approaches to arrangement and composition, storytelling techniques, ways of creating tension and drama in your music. At the end of the day, it is the sum total of your choices as an artist that define your sound, and levels 2 – 6 will give you the experience of actually completing tracks to add to your portfolio.


  • Ableton Live Core & Advanced: 6 levels
  • Dubspot’s complete Ableton course load
  • 132 hours of hands-on instruction
  • Additional instructor-supervised lab hours


  • Ableton Live Core & Advanced: 6 levels
  • Dubspot’s complete Ableton course load
  • 60-80 hours of high quality videos
  • 3 hours of instructor-led chat sessions per week
  • Direct video & audio feedback from instructors