Dubspot LA Course Spotlight – Music Foundations Course w/ Mark de Clive-Lowe + Q&A

The best producers, DJs, and musicians in the world strive to be well-rounded. So should you. In Dubspot’s Music Foundations Program, you’ll explore three major aspects of music: rhythmic theory, melodic theory, and critical listening. Music Foundations courses start 9/23 and 9/27 in NYC, 9/16 and 9/22 in LA. Enroll now!


Dubspot LA Course Spotlight: Music Foundations w/ Mark de Clive-Lowe

Mark de Clive-Lowe is a musician, composer and producer originally from New Zealand, now based in Los Angeles, California. His unique sound is a percussive blend of funk, jazz and electronic music. Mark has performed at music festivals across the world and his collaborators include Lauryn Hill, Jody Watley, and more. Join Mark de Clive-Lowe for our Music Foundations Course at Dubspot LA! Unravel electronic music’s origins, build your chops, learn music theory, and make and play music the way you want.

Learn more about our Music Foundations program here.

Q&A w/ Mark de Clive-Lowe

How would you describe your sound? How did you arrive at this point stylistically?

Mark de Clive-Lowe : I grew up as a jazz musician with a deep love of hip hop, then jungle captured my imagination followed by house and club music in general. I’ve played piano since I was 4, and got heavily into electronic music production when I moved to the UK in 1998. Collaborating with everyone from Phil Asher to Lemon D, Masters at Work to DJ Spinna, jazz labels like Verve and Impulse to legendary jungle label Metalheadz and everything inbetween gave my formative producer years a really eclectic foundation. I just love music and that’s not something I can define by bpm, genre, acoustic vs electronic or anything else.

You’ve collaborated with a lot of big names in music. Why do you think collaboration and relationships within a community are important for a musician?

Collaboration is essential. having objective feedback and someone to bounce ideas off is imperative. When we’re creating alone sometimes we can lose objectivity over our own work. It’s also just more fun – you get to have a conversation using creativity instead of words. I’ve been lucky to collaborate with so many of my favorite producers, artists and musicians and there’s been something to learn from each and every instance. I think that now more than ever – with technology being so advanced and being able to make music by yourself without even getting up off the couch – it’s so important to challenge yourself to collaborate. It’s the best way to grow and learn.

Tell us about your latest album, Church. What’s different about this record from your previous work?

Church is based on my clubnight of the same name that has been in residence in LA and NYC since 2011. The club night came about as a way to share my musical journey over the course of a night – taking it from acoustic jazz to live remixing and on the fly electronic production morphed with the live band and guest artists. I have the grand piano, Maschine, USB keyboard, Kaoss Pads and other toys which is the nucleus of everything that happens – it’s a very spontaneous experience and it’s all about blurring the lines between acoustic and electronic music, jazz and club music with plenty of improvisation. When I recorded the album I took the band into studio with me in NYC and LA and we recorded it live for the most part – with me doing all the electronic processing and programming on the fly. It’s the first time I’ve done a record like that instead of preparing or post-producing all the electronic elements in the studio.

In your opinion, how important is learning music theory for an aspiring music producer?

There’s so much software technology now that can almost play the music for you and let you off the hook from having to learn traditional music theory. However, if you’re serious about making music and driven by a true passion for it, then only using those kinds of helper technologies is giving yourself the most superficial experience of creativity and music making. Knowledge is power and although there’s plenty of examples of great artists who break the rules to create new forms and sounds, it was by knowing the rules first that they were able to break them. Knowing music theory takes the random element out of creativity in that when you know what you want to hear, you know to create it. I’m a huge advocate for every music maker to have at least a fundamental working knowledge of music theory. If you want to be a doctor, you have to know about medical theory. It’s no different.

Mark de Clive-Lowe

How important is music history to you? How does your knowledge of the past inform your own music?

The history goes hand-in-hand with the theory. It’s essential. What comes before us informs us of the culture that we come from and is all part of a lineage and on going bigger picture. My music is not just “my music” – It’s part of a larger tapestry of all the music that is being made, has been made and will be made. If you’ve only ever listened to music made this year and you’ve never heard Debussy, Fela Kuti, Kraftwerk, J Dilla, Underground Resistance or numerous other artists from the last 600 or so years then you’re really missing out on the story of what we do and the chance to understand how you can be a part of that lineage and history. It also puts things into perspective – the mind boggles at what was achieved by many creators before electronics, before quantize, or before software based DAWs and so on.

Can you run down your workflow for song writing? How do you typically start a song? How do you finish it?

I have different workflows – I could be jamming on maschine getting inspired by rhythm and sonics, i could be sitting at the piano feeling out a melody or harmonic progression, i could be listening to a record and something i hear sparks a whole complete idea – it really depends on the moment. once there’s the basic first idea though, i find it really natural to proceed and finish a composition or a production – two elements that i like to differentiate between although there is some crossover. i like to combine traditional musicianship and playing with the manipulations that technology offers us. i use different DAWs for different situations and like to be flexible to what is needed in any given moment. i can create a remix live on the fly in real time as it’s being heard or i can sit down at the keyboard and compose something note by note, phrase by phrase which i can then adapt to whatever production aesthetic is required.

What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to an aspiring musician?

Learn. Practice. Collaborate. Honor the past and be humble. It’s pretty simple really. Passion feeds dedication. Dillagence will do the rest.

What do you have coming up this year? Any touring or releases scheduled?

I’m on tour right now as the showcase performer for the global launch events for Native Instruments new Komplete 10 and Komplete Kontrol keyboard – writing this from Berlin today. We did the event here last night and there’s London, New York, Atlanta, LA and Tokyo to come. I’m also speaking on technology in music at a world peace conference in Greece later this month, and doing Maschine workshops in Angola and Costa Rica next month. There’s always live shows coming up as well – solo live remix dancefloor sets, and Church live shows with the full band. the double vinyl of the Church album drops next week so I’m excited about that – nothing like the sound of a needle on wax! I’m doing a few remixes at the moment too – for Low Leaf, Gabriele Poso and the Urban Renewal Project as well as working on some new music for my own next projects. Remixing is always fun – bringing my own interpretation to other artists and taking their creativity somewhere else.

Blended Learning

Dubspot is proud to offer our extensive Dubspot Online curriculum to all music production students attending the NYC or LA schools, combining the benefits of an interactive physical classroom with convenient access to educational videos, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. This is Blended Learning.

We are excited to be a pioneer of this approach to learning electronic music production. Blended Learning provides students the opportunity for more workshop activities with instructors and collaboration with peers in the classroom, while empowering them to reference complex material in the comfort of their own studios.

Music Foundations

The best producers, DJs, and musicians in the world strive to be well-rounded. So should you. In Dubspot’s Music Foundations Program, you’ll explore three major aspects of music: rhythmic theory, melodic theory, and critical listening.

Unravel electronic music’s origins, build your chops, learn musical language and theory, and make and play music the way you want.

What’s Included:

  • Music Foundations Level 1: Pads & Rhythmic Theory
  • Music Foundations Level 2: Keys & Melodic Theory
  • Music Foundations Level 3: Critical Listening

“This course exceeded my expectations. I went through everything I needed to have a solid knowledge of basic music theory.” – Jonathan Crespo, Miami

“MF has been an amazing experience! I didn’t realize I was going to learn so much about electronic music history, something my generation missed.” – Yianno Koumi, United Kingdom

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

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