You love dance music, nightlife, the lifestyle… hell you might even be a DJ who has a great residency in your home town… but how do you make the leap into the bigtime sparky? Icon Collective is the nu-school for Electronic Music Production and these cats are not messing around. They’ve developed a program that specializes in dance music and their graduates are responsible for the freshest new sounds including Prince Remixes, collabs with top Hip Hop artists, video game scores, and upcoming club hits. If you want to learn 2 produce, you gotta check this out.
Located in the heart of downtown Los Angeles in a gated, 4 city-block entertainment complex, the Icon Collective is an innovative electronic music production school that caters to the digital era of music creation, promotion and distribution. Founders Christopher Wight and David Alexander took a moment to teach us all what makes this “Collective” unique within the paradigm of music education. Get out your pencils, there will be a pop quiz.
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CD: What motivated you to start Icon Collective?
IC: We were working for well-known music/recording engineering schools and realized their programs did not cater or relate to electronic artists and DJs. They’re preparing artists to become audio technicians—WTF?! They don’t understand dance culture/lifestyle and are not addressing the needs of beatmakers and DJs who have a passion for electronic music. We provide an environment that makes aspiring producers feel like “Wow…this is my culture…my lifestyle…this was created for me.”
CD: What’s your background in education?
IC: Christopher and I have been involved in every aspect of vocational music and recording education for the last 10 years, from career counseling and teaching, to developing innovative curriculum for other schools. Because of these experiences, we realized the need for a place like Icon Collective. David’s creative credits include scoring videogames such as Quake II and James Bond 007, and produced remixes for artists like Prince, U2, Nirvana, and The Eurythmics. My father is a composer/producer so I grew up in and around music and studios all my life…it’s in my blood. I pride myself on being an entertainer/performer and have toured with Linkin Park and Cypress Hill, just to name a few. It’s what sets Icon apart from other “engineering schools”: the founders are artist who live and embrace the lifestyle, just like the producers we’re educating.
CD: How did you develop the curriculum?
IC: We continually look at the current tools being used to produce electronic music and incorporate them into our curriculum. For example, Predator and Cypher are virtual synths used on lots of electronic records. Call any recording school and ask them about Predator or Albino, I bet they won’t have a clue what you’re talking about.
CD: What’ve been the most popular courses you’ve offered?
IC: I would have to say that our Creativity and Marketing classes are popular because they discuss a 21st century approach to being creative, independent and successful—including new models for promoting and distributing music directly to fans. The Synthesis class is popular because it exposes our producers to new tools for creating the sounds they imagine in their head.
CD: Is it true all students get an Apple laptop when they complete the program?
IC: David said to me one day, “What’s the use of learning an SSL or a Neve console if you can’t afford one when you graduate? Let’s give our grads the ability to continue being creative when they finish our studies.”
CD: I heard you have an on-line program?
IC: We have so many people that call us from out of state or outside the country that would love to study with us, but the cost of living and housing makes it impossible for them to travel to LA and study at our campus. We have created a 6 month course that includes HD instructional videos, 1-on1 weekly private chats and other industry firsts to bring our approach and philosophy towards music production to future producers around the work. It’s the future of education, and since we are pushing the envelope of music creation, why not push the envelope of education!
CD: Many music producers are “self-taught”—for future producers reading this, what else would you say to convince them that they should enroll at IC?
IC: IC is more a community, a collective, than a school by design. We want to shorten the typical process of “trial and error” experienced by those that have traveled the “self-taught” path. We give you the tools but do not dictate what you should create with those tools. It’s our goal to empower you to produce the music you feel in your heart…the more original and creative you become, the more we feel we have accomplished our mission of giving you the opportunity to live a successful creative lifestyle.
Thank You Dave and Chris from Icon Collective for joining the ClubDistrict family !
We look foward to seeing you on tour and in the nightclubs. - ClubDistrict -
Interview by ClubDistrict.
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