How to make ‘Jack’ by Breach

The track ‘Jack’ by Breach is interesting in more ways than one. It is an example of when underground music becomes too popular for the niche few, and spills over into pop culture. 

The track was never written with a view to attaining commercial success, it just happened! Released initially on Claude von Stroke’s Dirtybird label, it did the business in Miami at the WMC this year and was subsequently hammered by DJs around the world. Dirtybird were then approached by Atlantic who wanted to licence and re-release the track with a nice shiny video, and a load of mainstream radio play – almost unheard of!

This mainstream success follows in the footsteps of such acts as Disclosure – ‘underground’ music that has achieved a bridge of the gap between the underground and mainstream, whilst remaining credible. Simple melodies and great production which also works on the dance floor – the holy grail!

Therein lies my reason for making this tutorial. I originally heard this track on Radio 1 at about 10am one morning and thought ‘what the hell is that?!’ It’s simplicity blew me away (plus the fact that Radio 1 were having a rave at 10am), and this is something which you need to understand as a dance music producer: less is more, simplicity is the key. Not only will the clubber find it easier to digest simple, strong melodic content, but it’s easier to mix in the studio and therefore easier to get it sounding good on a loud club system.

We’re looking in detail here at a couple of the elements, namely the bass line and the main sample. All the vocals are actually done by breach himself (even the female ones, clever plug-ins used!) so hopefully this will give you some ideas for interesting applications of your own voice and recorded samples.

MMS Producers #003 : Mr Jonny Batch

Mr Jonny Batch is the third in our series of SEM producers, and with him he brings a lot of bass, wobble and wub wub wub. 

After studying the Music Production Course with SEM in 2011, he has now gone on to study a degree in Music Production at the Leeds College of Music. When his track Leeroy dropped into our inbox we thought it was definitely time we caught up with him properly to find out what he’s up to. Here are his Soundcloud, Facebook, and Youtube channel links – all well worth checking out!

Hi Jonny! Great to have you on this series. Could you give us a  bit of background on what made you decide to start the Music Production Course?

I first started out just putting other people’s songs to my gameplay [check out Jonny’s impressive Youtube Channel to see what he means] but after a while I realised that the videos started to get taken down because of the copyright on the songs, so I then started to make my own music. I knew it was what I wanted to do, but at the time I was in Sixth Form and not studying music there – so I couldn’t do much about it. Then one day my friend suggested going to the Midi School because it was close by, and the studio hours that it was open allowed me write music well into the evening. It was a great place to start out, that’s how I ended up studying Music Production with SEM.

So you studied the SEM Music Production Diploma alongside your A-levels (hard ones at that) and still managed to consistently make tunes – that’s pretty impressive! Are you super-human or just really good at getting the balance right? How did you manage?!

Haha I’m definitely not superhuman, just dedicated – I had to restrain from writing songs and playing with a synth until 3 in the morning and actually do my A-Level work too! When it got nearer my exams I did have to re-adjust the focus on my A-levels, but like I said I had the flexibility to do music around my work (even though I wanted to do it all the time!) The main thing I did was do all my A-level work in the day and do music at night.

And sleep never. It’s clear that you’ve been writing a lot of music since finishing the course which is awesome, Leeroy is a banger! Can you give us a quick producer’s cut on it?

The main part of Leeroy is clearly the bass. For the bass I used NI Massive with Ohmicide, which is an incredible distortion plugin – and then automated the filters, the feedback and the phaser and then sent off many busses to more distortion. Basically a lot of distortion haha. But a good thing to do, I think, is make one synth do a lot of things instead of making lots of synths do lots of things, if that makes sense. Yes I’ve been experimenting throughout different styles trying to gain an understanding on how the key features of each style is produced. Experimenting is very good, and weird sounds are good too.

Leeroy by MrJonnyBatch

Weird is always good! What can we expect from you in the future – are you DJing at all?

Well I’ve just joined Leeds College of Music so got a lot of collaborations with singers and rappers and my own work as well so there will be plenty more songs coming soon! I have started to learn how to DJ, I got a Numark Mixtrack Pro to start with, but I feel that with DJing I want to be more creative than just mixing in songs and would rather do something more like beat juggling and other things to make for a more interesting live performance. But that will be quite a challenge.

You should have a look at our Maschine Online Course, sounds like it could be right up your street.

And now for Jonny’s 5 influential tracks. Take it away Jonny! 

And now for Jonny’s 5 influential tracks. Take it away Jonny!

The Prodigy – Breathe

Breathe by the Prodigy is my first inspirational song, first off because it’s an incredible tune. It’s also one of the first songs for me that bridged the gap between rock and electronic because it has the heavy distorted guitars and the pounding electronic beats which at the time blew my mind (I was fairly young then). The heavy breaks-like drums, the big bass, distorted guitar riffs and vocals combined with the random Wu-tang samples made this the biggest inspirational song for me.

La Roux – In For The Kill (Skream Let’s Get Ravey Remix)

This second song was a big turning point in my music career. I first heard this at Wakestock (a festival in North Wales) when I was about 15 whilst watching Skream – once I had experienced him live it kickstarted me to start making music again, so I re-downloaded FL studio and started again.

Deadmau5 – ft. Rob Swire – Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff

My next song is Ghosts ‘n’ Stuff by Deadmau5. The reason I picked this song is because at the time when I heard this I was creating dubstep and only dubstep. This song broadened my horizons to what I could create and I realised that electro and other dance genres can sound powerful without it having to be at 140bpm and having a huge sub underneath everything. It also made me realise drums are a huge part of  dance tracks!

Noisia – Diplodocus

Diplodocus by Noisia is the first Noisia song I ever heard and from there on I have been in love with them. Big Basses, big drums, random sounds, what more could anyone want? This makes them one of the most inspirational groups for me and they got me more into drum’n’ bass, which is a big part of my production these days.

Feed Me – White Spirit

The last song is White Spirit by Feed Me, and it’s what inspired my song Leeroy. This song made me realise that automation and movement of synths in songs is key and keeps it interesting to listen to. The production is great, the drums are big punchy and simple and the bass is just incredible. Added to a little variety further in the song makes this a great tune.

Great song choices Jonny, thanks for stopping by. Looking forward to tracks from you in the future!

MMS Producers #001: Jose Wills / Nymad

Students on the Music Production Course at the Midi School have been creating amazing music, and we felt it was high time we started giving them some exposure. We’re going to pin them down in a series called ‘MMS Producers’, showcasing music they’re making, and getting an insight into their musical influences by posting up 5 tracks of their choosing for you to listen to.

First up is Jose Wills – Nymad! 

Arguably Jose’s production sounds like the lovechild of Nicolas Jaar and Synkro, hovering anywhere between 140 and 170bpm and punctuated with many live elements (spot the ice dropping in the glass and cans opening in ‘With Trust’). A workhorse in the studio and continually pushing for an aurally pleasing and interesting soundscape in his tracks, Jose definitely has exciting things ahead of him. Make sure to follow him on Soundcloud : ….And now for Jose’s tracks, a great selection if we do say so :) Sirata by Habib Koite I used to hear this song all the time during my childhood. I only now remember this because when I was around 18, I found the CD and I was immediately taken back several years when I heard it. I’ll never forget that moment.

Everyday by The Cinematic Orchestra There’s a flute-like sound in there that stopped me on my tracks the first time I heard it, and I’ve been captivated by this song ever since. It speaks a great deal of emotion!

Recurring by Bonobo This one reminds me of all the great times I’ve had with my close friends. Also, the way the intro breaks into the song is just fantastic. Whatever situation you’re in, Bonobo will make it better.

Wonder Where by dBridge This song represents, to me, the side of drum and bass that I fell in love with. For me the autonomic movement has been a great influence. I’m a huge fan dBridge.

Wimbledon 1980 by Indian Wells This song provided me with a new direction, in terms of music. I really like the arrangement and dynamics of it, I think it clearly tells a story. Immaculate production.

The Music Industry: A History of How We Consume Music

The revolution will not be televised…

Hey, we all love an infographic!

chronological music industry gif

A history of how we consume music



School of Electronic Music Producers #002: Luke Burras

Luke Burras is a solid School of Electronic Music studio-dweller and as a result another high flier on our Music Production Course. We’ve got a tasty remix that he’s done with Damien Maskell and Danny Knowles for your ears – great work from the three of them after only 7 months in the School! We asked Luke a few questions about how he got involved with music, and we’ve also got 5 of his influential tracks for you to listen to. Make sure to follow Luke’s soundcloud, there’ll be big things ahead we think!

Hey Luke, thanks for stopping in! Tell us, what made you decide to study at the Midi School?

After applying to multiple universities to study Music and Audio production, I still wasn’t satisfied. Most courses were so Media based and not as ‘hands-on’ as I wanted them to be. Manchester School of Electronic Music is 95% practical which I find awesome, and still cheaper than any university.

How are you finding the course so far?

So far the course is going great. The first half of it I found easy, because it was learning about things that I found really interesting – reverbs and delays, EQ, compression etc. Within about 6 weeks of starting at the School I found my production was getting better. And now I feel ready to begin saving up to get a good home studio going, and just keep doing what I love which is making music.

What’s your next move in terms of your production style?

I don’t have too much of a next move to be honest! I started the course just to get better at producing. I’m gonna continue doing what I love and hope that one day there’s a possibility it can take me somewhere.

That’s Right – Burras, Knowles & Maskell by Luke Burras


Time for Luke’s 5 tracks. Here we go…

The Cribs – City of Bugs

About 6 years ago, when I was 14 or so, I went to see Bloc Party at the GMEX in Manchester, where the Cribs supported. This was the first time I had seen them, and really kick started my love for indie music. Although I am slightly out the loop now, this song never gets old to me. It hasn’t influenced me so much in terms of production, but a teenage dream of mine was to one day perform a cover of this live, as it is such a powerful song in terms of performance. I love the tremolo picking on the guitar and the general epic feel. It brings back a lot of young memories for me.

Dr. Dre – Big Ego’s

At about the age of 17, I started to pick up on hip hop. Listening to indie music and dedicating so much time to it in my early teens I didn’t give other genres much of a chance. Once I listened to “The Chronic 2001” by Dr. Dre it was a different story. I guess it was a breath of fresh air in a part of my life where I was changing. I was struggling to find music I really liked and my mind opened up to a whole new badass side of the music world. I love how clean and crisp the drums are on this track, but the piano just makes it for me. The chords are so simple, but so perfect. I’ve had many good times cruising around in my mate’s car listening to this album. Hip Hop is a genre that I will definitely always have time for.

Jacques Greene – Another Girl

On September 29th, 2011, I went to Liverpool to visit a few friends who study there. It was the usual plan, a big night out and a big chill to help us recover the next day. I was told we were going to ‘The Shipping Forecast.’ A very strange name, but I it was a cool venue. The night ended up being amazing. It had an unforgettable line-up with Ifan Dafydd, and of course, Jacques Greene. It was the first time I had really been introduced to this side of House music, that almost had a Garagey/RnB twist. The vibes were amazing, and I heard Jacques Greene’s track “Another Girl” for the first time. The track has such a good feel. I love the vocal sample on this one. It’s hard to pick out what I like so much because I like it all. Give it a listen and I’m sure you’ll understand.

Pillowtalk – Soft (Life and Death Remix)

I could go on about all sorts, all day, but considering I am producing mainly house music now I think it is right to dedicate my last two songs to the genre that is my main focus. At about aged 19, I started to realise that all my friends were crazy about house music. It was mainly “deep house” that they seemed to talk about and browse youtube for. At first, I wasn’t really interested. House music just seemed like one big general thing to me. It was kind of the same story as hip hop. I had never thought to give it a chance and kind of dismissed it before really trying to get into it, (stupid, I know.) But at the same time, I kind of like that. It takes a lot of time for things to grow on me. Songs of a new style have to challenge me before I can really begin to appreciate them. It’s hard to explain. I guess I’m a tough critic. When I was roughly 19 and a half, I had pretty much fallen in love with this kind of house music. This tune was probably the one that sealed the deal for me. I love the sleepy male vocal, the percussion, and the way the bassline subtly drops in still puts a huge smile on my face. I have no doubt found a style/sound that I like, and will appreciate for the rest of my life.

Martin Roth – Deep Style

When I first started listening to house music I was big on Maceo Plex. I thought the sexy vibe he portrayed in all of his songs was so individual and unique, which it is. I probably stumbled across Martin Roth on youtube via related videos. Deep Style is an awesome track. It has been out just over a year now, but it is kinda new to me. It has the similar sort of sexy vibe that Maceo Plex sports so easily, but also has techy kind of qualities shining through. The airy pad sounds that burst through in this one are just too cool. I’d love to know what Martin uses to produce. If I had a list of all the synthesizers he owned I would save up and buy every one. His ear for sounds is just impeccable.

How to Sample Music : Part 1/2

Sampling is a technique used by most music producers covering most genres of music. In this video I’m showing you how to prepare song files for sampling and replicating a few classic dance tracks – but sampling also takes place on a much smaller scale. Do you Ultrabeat/Drum Rack/Groove Agent/ReDrum? In which case you’re probably sampling! Making use of pre-recorded audio and manipulating it to make something new from it.

Some sampling is extremely subtle, the artist will disguise the sample they use so that it is indistinguishable from the original. In the examples I’ve used in the video, the use of samples is so blatant, it’s almost as if the sampling artist is paying homage to the original artist.

There is absolutely no shame in sampling, without it there might not be such genres as hip hop and house today. It brings attention to the original artist, who might have not had any recognition otherwise (depending on how obscure the sample is!) The other great thing about it is that when you sample, you’re using a piece of (usually) professionally mixed and mastered music: this immediately brings a rich texture to your composition and can give you a full sound almost straight away.

Who Sampled?

I can also highly recommend taking a look at : a website painstakingly researched to show you who has sampled who across the years. Type in your favourite artist – if it’s someone like Chic, you’ll get to see all the artists years down the line who have sampled Chic. If it’s someone like Daft Punk, you’ll get to see all the tunes they’ve made where they’ve sampled someone else’s work – hope I don’t spoil Daft Punk for you..

If you like this video, please take a look at the following – it shows just how deep you can go when sampling – also bear in mind this was done in around 1996, because the days of Ableton Live. Genius.

A bit of history…

Also take a look at this ace old-school documentary from 1989 about sampling: