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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Aug 2019 > LEARNING THE ART OF COLLABORATION

LEARNING THE ART OF COLLABORATION

MusicTech recently attended a Beatcamp weekend at Real World Studios, where the stresses, strains, joys and euphoria of collaboration were put under the spotlight. Attendees were paired up with strangers to create a track using the studio’s facilities – and we learned a lot about the art of collaboration…

How would you get on if someone put you in one of the world’s best recording facilities for a weekend and asked you to make a piece of music with someone you’ve never met before? That’s the challenge for 16 members of Beatcamp 2019, who have signed up for their latest event at the idyllic Real World Studios in Box, UK. We’re not talking signed recordcompany bands or musicians here (although, as we’ll find out, many have a background as successful musicians). All the attendees have paid to go through this experience, which entails meeting someone they’ve been paired up with by Beatcamp and making a track together. Oh, and the resulting tracks will be put together on an album that will be released across all the major streaming platforms. Sounds daunting?

THE ULTIMATE CAMPSITE

Yes, it probably does sound daunting; terrifying, even. But let’s focus on the rewards and perhaps we’ll understand more why these people are here. First of all, the obvious. This is Real World Studios! MusicTech has been here before on a number of occasions, but Peter Gabriel’s studio never fails to charm you with its creative magic. It’s built around – literally – an old mill in the heart of Wiltshire, with grounds, ponds, lush surroundings and heaps of tranquility (oh, and great food).

It’s not cheap to be on the Beatcamp weekend – we’re looking at around £2,000 per person – but nor is there any holding back on the experience. The other main draws for these Beatcampers – and for us, as MusicTech has been invited along to enjoy the experience – are many.

Firstly, we all get access to all the Real World studio gear in the main control room and side studios to make these tracks. That’s everything from a Bösendorfer piano to a rack of vintage gear (or 20); everything from an SSL desk to a suite of vintage synths and guitar effects. You name it, it’s here. That’s certainly enough to be getting on with. The thought of simply plugging our synth – yes, we’re allowed to add our own bits and pieces to the stockpile, too – into a vintage Roland Space Echo is mouthwatering, and indeed, by day three, the temptation proves too much to resist.

Secondly, all attendees get access to the in-house engineers and producers at Real World, who we’ll be meeting throughout this article. That list includes studio manager and senior consulting engineer Tim Oliver (Robert Plant, New Order, and Sinéad O’Connor); our recent interviewee, producer Steve Osborne (Elbow, New Order, Happy Mondays, and Placebo); engineer, producer and musician Cameron Jenkins (Lana Del Rey, The Verve, John Cale, and Lemon Jelly) and engineers Oli Jacobs and Oli Middleton.

That’s quite a list of expertise and they are on-hand to guide each and every pair through any production technique or gear setup that they could wish for.

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