Tagged: Interview

Knew Knowledge meets – Tre Jean-Marie

I’ve been a big fan of London songwriter, producer and all-round good guy Tre Jean-Marie, 20, for a long time now. His potential as a hit writer has been evident for a while and at last it seems his talents are getting the recognition they deserve as he’s about to put pen to paper on his first publishing deal. So I thought there’s no time like the present to ask him a few questions and spread love and awareness of this exciting, young UK talent.


Knew Knowledge Interview

with…

Tre Jean-Marie, songwriter/producer

TreJ-M

  • Twitter: @trejeanmarie
  • Soundcloud: /trejeanmarie
  • Management: Jordan Jay & Ross Gautreau at Karma Artists
  • Lawyer: Simon Long at Collins Long

Hi Tre. So how did you start out in music?

I come from a musical family. Both my parents and some of my cousins are deep in the industry, so I’ve always been exposed to it. I remember being 9 or 10 years old and sneaking on my Dad’s computer in the middle of the night to teach myself Logic 5, and I haven’t turned back since.

 

Where do you prefer to write your songs?

Studio, home…The tube! Literally wherever I feel comfortable and catch a vibe!

 

What equipment do you use to write and record with? 

I used to be obsessed with outboard gear, but it’s not really practical, so now my set up is really simple. I have a travel bag that fits my laptop plus all its accessories, and that’s pretty much it – I can plug in to wherever I’m working from around the world.

 

What do you like to write about lyrically? Do you follow any themes or concepts?

However the music makes me feel. If I’m writing with an artist I try to pull from their own experiences rather than mine, after all, I’m there to enhance them.

 

What is in the pipeline for you over the next 6-12months? 

There’s lots I can’t mention or go into detail on, but there’s a MNEK single I’m really excited about that I’ve co-written/produced. I’ve been working quite heavily on Jacob Banks’ record too, and Emeli Sandé and Jojo are also amongst my favourites of recent work…The next 12 months should be fun!

 

What has been the highlight of your song-writing career so far?

This interview with Knew Knowledge 😉

 

How do you find with the artists you work with?

Mainly through the usual channels of managers, record labels and publishers. But every so often I’ll hear something fresh through social networks or at a showcase and reach out to the artists directly.

 

You’re close to signing your own first publishing deal. How has this has come about and how it is to be the subject of a signing frenzy?! 

I’ve actually done one [publishing deal] before but things went wrong quite early and I was fortunate enough to be able to get out. I’ve been working my arse off for a long time now, so to have material finally being released and to see it paying off by so many publishers – and even some of my idols putting in offers – is an overwhelming feeling. But that said, I know how important it is to not get complacent and stay focused. I’m pretty close to closing a deal with one of them at the moment.

 

You recently set up your own publishing company too. How easy was this and why did you decide to start your own operation?

Starting my own publishing company was quite difficult at first. I had a lot of meetings with people who were impressed to hear the ideas I had coming from the mouth of a 20 year old, but were too scared to make the commitment – perhaps because of my age, or because I don’t have a history in the publishing world. But I have a lot of talented unpublished friends, and I really wanted to create a model where, when possible, I could source opportunities for them. To me, doing a joint venture with a bigger publisher who was as excited about my vision as I was and saw the long-term potential was more important than finding somebody that was just going to throw some money about. It has started to grow quicker than I could have ever imagined.

 

It sounds like your business empire is growing nicely. Are you interested in doing your own artist project in future too?

I’ve started and scrapped my own project so many times that I think my friends are getting tired of me saying it lol. The trouble is that I don’t want to do it purely because everybody else is – and that’s no discredit to all the producer-artists out there, because there’s some amazing ones – but if I do end up having my own artist project it would have to be completely left, and that would have to come naturally.

 

Describe your experience of the music business in 3 words;

  1. Magical
  2. Cut-throat
  3. Confused

 

If you could be in a writing session with any songwriter dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Pharrell Williams. He’s had hits from before I was born and has managed to stay relevant up to this day. The Neptunes [his production team] have produced and/or written a lot of my favourite records of all time.

10 Best Neptunes Productions – article

Pharrell – Frontin’ ft. Jay Z

 

Name 3 great new artists you have recently discovered…

  1. I’ve been working with this guys called JP Cooper recently, and every time I hear him sing I’m mind blown.

 

  1. Grades is hands down my favourite producer-artist house project right now.

 

  1. There’s this UK rapper called Little Simz I’ve only just discovered. She’s great!

 

What was the first record you bought?

If I said S Club 7, do you promise not to judge me?

 

When was the last time you bought a CD or vinyl? What was it?

I can’t remember the last time! Digital is so much more convenient.

 

What will you be doing/where will you be in 10 years time?

I hope to be be doing exactly what I’m doing now but with a long discography and success that will inspire the next generation of writers and young entrepreneurs!

 

Finally, choose one from each;

Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye? Marvin Gaye

New Jack Swing or Neo-soul? Neo-soul

Jean Michel Jarre or Herbie Hancock? Herbie Hancock

‘Thriller’ Michael Jackson or ‘Bad’ Michael Jackson? Thriller, but only fractionally

Kanye or Jay Z? Yeezy!

Beyonce or Katy Perry? Queen B

George Martin or Quincy Jones? Quincy Jones

Knew Knowledge meets….Madeon

I recently caught up with my good friend & prodigal talent Madeon and asked him some pertinently direct questions about his career so far; from starting out winning remix competitions from his home basement to writing songs in a Parisian hotel penthouse with one of the world’s biggest pop icons & his highly anticipated debut album…


Knew Knowledge meets – Madeon – Artist/Songwriter/Producer

HQ_DJ_PAGE_988x490_MADEON

Website/s: http://www.madeon.fr/ https://www.twitter.com/itsmadeon

Label: Popcultur/Sony Columbia

Publisher: Warner/Chappell

Management: Marco Ferraro @ Manajamma

Agent: Solomon Parker @ WME (World ex-US)/ Alan & Paul @ AM Only (USA)

 

1. How did your career in music start?

I won a remix competition for a Pendulum track in late 2010, and that’s when I started making music professionally.

 

2. When did you start writing songs and why?

I was initially much more interested in the technical, production side and somewhat disregarded the songwriting aspect; I wanted to solve the mystery of how those amazing electronic sounds I’d heard on my favorite records were made – it was an investigation. Discovering The Beatles made me appreciate songs so much more and I now perceive the composition and writing as the substance of music, with production only serving as a frame.

 

3. Who or what influences your music?

I’m very visual. I collect digital paintings and photographs I find online and organize them in an “Inspiration” folder. I use them as a starting point for songs a lot of the time, trying to translate those visual emotions in a musical form.

 

4. You shot to fame in 2011 following your brilliant ‘Pop Culture’ mash-up video. How did that change things for you, professionally and personally?

It was a very important moment for me. It really accelerated my introduction to the live performance world. I had never seen a DJ in my life or listened to a full set when I started performing (as a DJ), but ‘Pop Culture’ enabled me to play in front of great crowds early on.

 

5. Where do you prefer to write your music?

Ever since I started making music, I’ve been writing in the same room, in my basement.

 

6. What equipment do you use to write/record with? 

I’m extremely software-based. My set-up consists mostly of my computer, a MIDI keyboard and some speakers. I also have a microphone and a couple of guitars.

 

7. Where did you record your latest release?

The latest song I’ve put out is “Cut The Kid”, but I actually wrote it in 2012. I started it as part of my annual “24 Hours EP” challenge in which I lock myself in the studio for 24 hours straight with no sleep and have to write and complete three songs from scratch. A lot of the songs I’m most proud of started in one of those sessions. It’s a great way to stop overthinking the writing process, forcing you to be confident in your ideas.

 

8. How is your debut album coming along? 

I’m really happy with how it’s coming together. I won’t say any more though!

 

9. Have you co-written any material for the album?

I’ve only started co-writing recently. I can’t talk about everything I’ve done but one of my favorite sessions so far was with Jimmy Napes. He’s an immensely talented musician and a brilliant guy.

 

10.Did the experience of writing and producing for Lady Gaga change anything about your approach to creating music?

Absolutely. She’s a genius – working with her definitely taught me a lot.

 

11.What do you like to write about lyrically? 

I like lyrics that feel natural and conversational and that tell a specific story while staying vague enough to be relatable. I like to write about emotions more than events.

 

12.Where do you rehearse?

I don’t really rehearse; the appeal of DJing is the improvisation and interaction with the audience.

 

13.What does your live set-up consist of?

I use one laptop for the audio and one for the video (which is triggered in real time based on the audio), alongside three Novation Launchpads and two Xone K2 (one of each is dedicated to video effects).

 

14.Which song of yours is your favourite to perform live?

‘Pop Culture’ is always fun. I’ve played it so many times it’s muscle memory.

 

15.What do you get up to on tour in between shows?

Air travel takes most of my awake time. I like to wander in the cities I visit when I have the time, which is unfortunately quite rare.

 

16.Describe the music business in 3 words.

1. Fast

2. Confused

3. Changing

 

17.Do you have a party trick or any hidden talents? 

I used to invent magic tricks. That was my first job actually.

[Well obviously he used to invent magic tricks(?!?), but this is also quite cool – solving a Rubik’s Cube in under 1 minute…I’ve also seen him do this with his hands behind his back which is quite amazing]

 

18.Who were your role models growing up?

Daft Punk, Paul McCartney, Stuart Price.

 

19.If you could collaborate with any artist or songwriter dead or alive, who would it be and why?

Paul McCartney, come on.

 

20.When was the last time you bought a CD or vinyl? What was it?

I think it was The Glitch Mob’s ‘Love Death Immortality’ vinyl. I liked the artwork.

 

21.What is in the pipeline for the next 6-12months?

I’m back on tour this summer and I’ll be performing in Las Vegas regularly throughout the year. I can’t announce anything yet but I’ll release more music in the next twelve months than I ever have.

 

22.What will you be doing/where will you be in 10 years time?

I’d like to spend some time learning as much as I can beyond music.

 

23. Pick 3 new artists…

1. Chrome Sparks :

 

2. Glass Animals

 

3. Tourist

 

 

24.Finally, choose your favourite from each pairing;

Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye?

Marvin

Rolling Stones or The Beatles?

Beatles

Pink Floyd or Led Zepplin?

Pink Floyd

Michael Jackson or Janet Jackson?

Michael

Knew Knowledge meets – Joseph ‘JP’ Patterson

To kick off our brand new series of insight interviews with artists, creatives and industry execs, we caught up with Joseph ‘JP’ Patterson – music editor/journalist/radio host/artist manager/tastemaker – who started the now-legendary ChockABlock club night and has since worked with the likes of MTV Iggy, The Grammys, SuperSuper Magazine, BBC Radio 1, MTV UK & Amazing Radio.

 

Joseph Patterson

    KNEW KNOWLEDGE meets… Joseph ‘JP’ Patterson

    Twitter: www.twitter.com/Jpizzledizzle

    Website: www.josephjppatterson.co.uk

 

 

 

 

 

 

KK: How did you start out in the music industry? What was your big break?

JP: It all started for me in April 2007, when I put on my first club night. It was called ChockABlock. After the first event in Northampton, which had Skepta, Tinchy and Logan Sama headlining, I launched it at EGG Nightclub in London where it stayed for three years on a monthly basis. Mostly everyone in the grime scene has blessed the stage and decks at one point or another, as well as a few known names in dubstep and bassline/4×4. In September 2007, I put together a blog site — just to kinda write about the events/raves I would go to and post videos that I was rating. And, one day, I was brave enough to pitch to SUPERSUPER Magazine (R.I.P) about the up North bassline/4×4 scene. They ended up giving me four pages and, because they loved what I had done, I was then offered the role as Contributing Music Editor. From then on, I’ve stuck with this writing thing. I taught myself everything, didn’t go to college or uni, so it was a struggle in the beginning. But, I don’t think I’ve done too badly [laughs].

 

Describe your job now.

I’m a music journalist, radio host, and artist manager.

 

How did you come to work with MTV, Amazing Radio and the Grammys’ blog? 

In 2010, I was headhunted by MTV UK’s urban music team to be the Editor of their urban music site, The Wrap Up. I stayed with them until 2012. I then began working for MTV IGGY (USA), where I’m now their UK Correspondent. The GRAMMYs column came about via me pitching them an idea for a post and them offering me a regular monthly column off the back of it, which was dope. And Amazing Radio, they actually approached me to host a two-hour show, which was a blessing following the shutdown of my monthly 15-minute segment on BBC Radio 1 (they had to cut it due to new time schedule). I love doing radio. Every Thursday night from 7-9pm, myself and Hyperfrank get to chat breeze and play the best music that the underground scenes have to offer. Good times!

 

What’s been your hardest or most troublesome interview so far?

Honestly? I haven’t had any. I’m in a position where I can interview who I want, so I’ve been able to pick and choose who I interview. Every singer, MC, rapper, producer and DJ I’ve interviewed so far has been super cool. I like to go into my interviews making the interviewee feel like we’ve known each other for years. It flows much better that way, and you’re able to get much more out of them if they feel like they’re kickin’ it with their homie.

 

What makes a great artist in your eyes?

Talent, first and foremost, and they have to know their roots. I hate when people get too big for their size 10s and forget where they come from. A down-to-earth attitude makes anyone appealing. I mean, who wants to spend their hard earned money on a prick? Sometimes, characteristics can override talent. Sometimes! Me, I can watch or read an artist being an asshole in an interview and be put off their music for life [laughs].

 

It’s pretty well known that you like your raving. What are the best clubs/nights/events in the UK right now? What town is reliable for a good night?

Outbreak in Leicester is pretty decent, but that’s a sporadic event. Circoloco goes off! London always goes off, though: Defected at Ministry Of Sound, and EGG on a Friday and Saturday always works a treat. I’m trying to chill on the weekly raving, however. I’m getting to old for it. I can’t cope [laughs]. It’s all about festivals now. I’m heading to Amsterdam next week for DGTL Festival, which is a house and techno two-dayer. Looking forward to that one a lot. 

 

What are the main differences between the UK & US scenes right now – for new music and raving?

I was into American hip-hop and R&B up until ten years ago, when So Solid Crew came through and changed life. I’ve been UK all the way ever since. We’ve got enough talent over here to keep us busy, I think. And there’s a million and one US music writers covering US music, so why would I – being from the UK – try and make a name for myself by writing about US music? It makes no sense to me, which is why I’ve devoted my career to the promotion of British music.

When it comes to raving, I don’t even know how to rave to hip-hop and R&B anymore. That’s bad, I know. House and techno just brings a different vibe, and I don’t think shuffling to house music will ever take off in the ghettos of America like it has over here [laughs]. I love the UK, man. “We different, yeah, we different…” [laughs]

 

What was the first album or record you owned?

Soul For Real’s ‘Candy Rain’. I was 7 years old. It cost £2.99. I bought it ‘cos I thought I sounded like the lead singer when I sang [laughs].

 

When was the last time you bought a CD or vinyl? What was it?

I get sent so much music that I don’t really need to buy music. But if I like it, I’ll support it with a coin. The last CD I bought was Youngs Teflon’s The Renaissance.

Young Teflon – iTunes

 

Does free music have a role in today’s industry?

It does, especially for new artists trying to get heard. But, people need to start buying music a lot more than they do. Too much good free music is just flying around. For the industry to grow and the same level of music to be made, people need to invest. Don’t moan when your favourite artist gets dropped from their label because they got over two million SoundCloud plays and only 10,000 single sales. Just sayin’.

 

Describe the music industry in 3 words.

1. Strange

2. Complicated

3. Exciting

 

What song and/or album has influenced you most in life?

I’m a church boy at heart, so gospel’s played a big part in my life. Kirk Franklin’s ‘Brighter Day’ has got me through some dark times. It’s super uplifting.

 

If you could style-out a duet at Karaoke, which band or artist – dead or alive – would you duet with, and to what song?

Biggie and ‘Sky’s The Limit’. That tune right there! It still get regular reloads.

 

The artist you manage/represent wins a Grammy and asks you to collect the award; would you make a long, heart-felt acceptance speech on their behalf or shuffle off stage nervously?!

The latter, most definitely. I’m a shy person, so accepting it in front of the crowd and knowing there’s millions at home watching would be hard enough for me to cope with [laughs].

 

Do you have a party trick or any hidden talents?

I’d win in a riff and run competition with Usher, let’s just say [laughs].  

 

Who were your role models growing up?

God and my pops; they still are my role models in life.

 

What advice do you have for people just starting out in the music business & want to do what you do?

Be prepared to work hard and after-hours, ‘cos slackers usually get left. Don’t be naive, be thick-skinned, and remember: not everyone is your friend. Knowing what you’re talking about inside out usually helps, too.

 

What artists have you recently discovered that have got you excited?

1.  Lukas Freeman

2. Kelela

3. Novelist

4. Little Simz

 

What is in the pipeline for you over the next 6-12months? 

I don’t like to plan ahead; I just take my days as they come. Currently, I’m co-managing Lukas Freeman and One Over. There are some big meetings happening right now, so just expect some big things from the trip-hopper and house & bass producer in the coming months.

 

23. Finally, choose one from each:

Sam Cooke or Marvin Gaye?

Marvin Gaye!

Rolling Stones or The Beatles?

The Beatles have made more bangers, so I’d have to go with them. ‘Hey Jude’ is my jam.

Pink Floyd or Led Zepplin?

Erm, Zepplin.

Beyonce or Lady Gaga?

C’mon, course it’s gonna be Bey! Gaga’s a bit too weird for me, man. Saying that, though, I don’t think she gets enough props for her voice; put her in front of a piano and the soul comes out. 

Wiley or Dizzee?

This is a tough one, but I’m gonna have to go with Wiley. His production work plays a big part here.

Jean Michel Jarre or Herbie Hancock?

Call me uncultured, whatever innit, but I had to Google both these guys [laughs]. But yeah, Herbie Hancock’s a don on those keys! I love a good piano riff, me.

‘Thriller’ Michael Jackson or ‘Bad’ Michael Jackson?

For me, it has to be ‘Bad’… I still can’t believe the man’s dead!

Kanye or Jay Z?

Jay Z’s a vet in this ting! Kimye still has a way to go yet.

George Martin or Quincy Jones?

Quincy Jones

 

Copyright Knew Knowledge 2014