CDR London caught up with Jack ‘Pola’ of Drum n Bass duo Pola & Bryson who have been making waves across the UK over the past year. Jack attended CDR for the first time last month as suggested by his Creative Music tutor and found it to be the perfect space to test out tracks without any judgement or critique from others.
When and where did you first attend CDR? What do you recall?
I first attended only a few weeks ago! One of my tutors over at Community Music suggested I go and scope it out as I was looking at hearing my tunes on a large sound system without playing them out in clubs. I was genuinely surprised with how many people turned up that night, and it was great to see everyone enjoying the music on offer. Really nice vibe.
What have CDR sessions meant to you?
Playing your own music can be extremely daunting, I found it difficult to play my own stuff in clubs for years, and just when I felt I’d gotten used to the idea of doing it, the perfectionist in me took over and I’m so terrified that the mix won’t sound right alongside mixed and mastered works. CDR is a prime opportunity to test your tracks before taking them out to gigs and playing them in front of a larger audience.
Please could you describe your work life/creative life tussle. Any tips or tricks for managing to keep making music?
I’ve been working full time jobs for years after leaving college and struggling to juggle the work/music lifestyle. The music has ultimately always taken the back seat. After 7 or so years I had gotten so frustrated with the lack of time I had for my music that I began looking for university courses to apply for. Originally the idea was that I’d pretty much have lots of spare time and free money haha, I know, how naive of me but after starting at Community Music I realised how much I could learn and better myself musically. I must admit that I’ve been rather lucky to have the past 2 years to progress myself to this point but for anyone else in a similar situation I’d advise giving it your all. If you aim or dream to make a career in music, you really have to commit your time to it.
Please give a brief description of your current production set up.
My current set up is rather minimal. A small but powerful desktop pc, a pair of Mackie MR8 monitor speakers and a great little Akai soundcard. I’ve just recently been sent a Bass Station II from the folks over at Novation which was very nice of them and I’ve really enjoyed playing about with that. As far as hardware goes, I’ve had very little opportunity up until the past couple of years to ever get my head around how it even works haha. At Community Music I’ve pretty much hogged all of the access time to the studio’s over the last 2 years, just getting the most out of the equipment there. Hopefully they’ll let me continue using it from time to time for future projects.
Any projects or tracks your working on at the moment that you’d like to let us know about?
I’ve spent the past 10 months working on a debut album with my production partner, Harry Bryson. We’re putting that out in August on Soulvent Records but not before an EP on Spearhead Records which is a label we’ve always admired and wanted to work with. Other than that there’s not a lot we can announce any time soon I’m afraid. We have a few remixes coming out here and there and a couple of collaborations but that will all have to wait for now.
Finally, have you any advice or words of warning for producers/musicians developing musical works in progress to play at CDR?
I would suggest going there with an open mind. Firstly, nobody will turn around and mock or criticise your track as they most likely won’t know who you are in the room. Secondly, most people attending are there for the same reason as you and understand how hard the creative and technical process of music production is. Most importantly, even if by the slimmest of chances you’re not happy with what you hear, that’s ok, because, at the end of the day, you’re your biggest critique. Makes notes of what you think needs to be changed, go back, take your time and change them until you’re happy. We all make music because we enjoy it, whether we enjoy the process, the end product or both.