We are very proud and excited to present the November edition of Dubspot Student Spotlight, our ongoing monthly blog series in which we shine light on some of the remarkable artists, DJs, and producers who have recently come through Dubspot! Get to know Kissey, Christian Voldstad, Balkstar, Knobby Roots, and Underscores!
Kissey // Stockholm, Sweden
Kissey | Photo by Ellinor Stigle
Born to a Grenadian mother and Swedish father, this Stockholm-raised artist wears many different hats: singer, songwriter, lyricist, producer, remixer, DJ, pianist, performer, and painter. Kissey’s taken her creative explorations to the many cities she’s called home over the years, from Stockholm, to Malmö, to Copenhagen, and to her current apartment in New York City!
Kissey’s first single, “Come Nightfall” was released on October 29th as part of her forthcoming 2014 EP, Dionysus: The Initiation, released on her newly formed label KISSKISS Records. Listen to “Come Nightfall” below and head over to her website for more.
“I mix all my tracks myself, but also work very closely with my mastering engineer, Simon Francais. We mend my vision with the limitations that sound systems (dancefloor/headphones /radio) have. The knowledge that I got from Danny Wyatt in the Mixing and Mastering class aids me today very much when I construct beats and soundscapes–a great eye-opener for how to think when I mix, knowing the rules so I can break them. On top of that, it has given me a great appreciation and understanding for Simon’s part and the importance of having a good master that isn’t just made ‘loud’ but still has the vibe left. Brilliant experience!” – Kissey Asplund
Christian Voldstad // NYC
Christian Voldstad acquired his love of electronic music listening to Pete Tong on the radio while growing up in the UK. It wasn’t until he moved to New York, however, that he would attend his first underground techno party and find the sound that would capture him and inspire him to step behind the decks himself. Since then, Christian has become a staple of the underground scene, a party enthusiast, and an avid techno tourist.
Most recently, Christian’s travels to destinations such as Ibiza, Detroit, and Miami have inspired him to bring a similar energy and vibe to New York’s nightlife. Setting out to make his mark, he’s founded the mischievous T-Rex Thursdays, a monthly party in Manhattan’s fabled Lower East Side where he can explore his love of vinyl records, underground house, and funky basslines.
“Dubspot was a phenomenal experience that taught me the skills I needed to become a proper DJ and set me on the road to success in that field. In addition, it’s also an incredible community full of talented people that are more then happy to help, even if it’s just to chat. I actually met my current employer sitting next to him while in class. I cannot say enough how fun and informative it was taking classes at Dubspot, and I will definitely be back again.” – Christian Voldstad
Underscores // San Francisco, US
Born and raised in San Francisco, Devon Karpf (a.k.a. Underscores), began composing and recording music when he was six years old. A burgeoning multi-instrumentalist (drums/piano/guitar), Devon found himself drawn to electronic music, particularly dubstep. Devon wanted to learn the complexities of Ableton Live and sound design, but could not find a school that would allow someone of his age to enroll. He had to get by with YouTube tutorials.
It was on YouTube that Devon discovered Dubspot. When he turned thirteen, he visited the Dubspot campus in Chelsea. It was clear from the moment he walked in that he had found a group of people who had as much passion for music production as he did. He enrolled in the online Ableton Live Production track, taking it alongside his normal school schedule.
Devon hopes to be a working producer someday, collaborating with great artists, seeing the world, and sharing his music.
“My experience at Dubspot Online is definitely one-of-a-kind! The videos are really in-depth and very informative. The personal feedback that I get every week on my assignments is very helpful, and I am learning a ton. It’s nice to be in a community that appreciates the music I like, learning from so many chill teachers. I have found my tribe.” – Devon Karpf a.k.a. Underscores
Knobby Roots // Colorado, US
A Colorado native, Steve Irelan (a.k.a. Knobby Roots) is paving the Rocky Mountain path with fat beats and deep basslines. Having grown up in a musical family, the itch to create started at a young age for Irelan. Inspired by artists from Hendrix to the Beastie Boys and Gangstarr, Irelan left the mountains for Denver. Here, he studied guitar and jammed with musicians while a desire to create something new and profound grew within him. His musical focus shifted from playing guitar to producing beats after discovering the electronic music scene while attending film school in Boulder. While working a graveyard shift at a Boulder recycling center, Irelan met a glitch-hop artist who became his mentor.
After six months of producing with his mentor’s help, he dropped out of film school and followed his dreams to New York City, where he enrolled at Dubspot. After an exciting year in the big city, Irelan packed up his belongings and the inspiration he had found in NYC, and headed back to Colorado where he is currently working on his upcoming EP Scatterbrain. Due out in the fall of 2013, the album will be available for free download.
“The moment that I first walked into Dubspot, my life changed forever. I went from a hobbyist beat maker to a full on music producer. Not only did I leave with a full understanding of Ableton Live, Mixing and Mastering, and Sound Design, but I left with enough inspiration to last a lifetime. The facility is inspiring in itself, and being around a school full of motivated musicians from around the world made it easy to meet people to collaborate with. In fact, I still keep in touch and make music with a handful of lifetime friends that i met in the Dubspot classrooms. I’d say going to Dubspot was one of the best things I have ever done for myself and I get excited every time I am in the area and get to stop by to say hi to the Dubspot family.” – Steve Irelan
Balkstar // Amsterdam
Bass music and game audio producer Mike Balk attended the Ableton Live Producer Certificate Program in 2010. Since then, he has produced two EDM albums released on New York label T Dance Digital. Two tracks from Balkstar’s Passive Aggressive album are currently in consideration for nomination to the 56th Grammy Awards. As well as producing and licensing music, Mike contracts to indie game developers for sound design, music composition, and music publishing services. Mike has been living in Amsterdam for the last three years, and is currently planning a move back to New York City.
“The Dubspot Course skyrocketed my understanding not only of Ableton Live but of all musical theory, from live performance to arranging and mixing your own songs. The tutors are inspirational, and the environment is dubtastic! Dubspot was the foundation I needed to progress as a music producer. I could not be happier that I made the choice to quit my job, burn my suit, sell my house, leave my country, and learn from Dubspot for three months.” – Mike Balk a.k.a. Balkstar