SEAT Musicathon, Berlin

By Michelle Connolly Monday 16th May, 2016

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Following on from last year’s Architon, where design students were challenged to create a digital museum for SEAT’s collection, we travelled to Berlin to follow two British artists competing to create SEAT’s new sound logo. If they’re successful, their sound will be heard around the world in their next campaign. They were challenged to come up with a piece of original sound design channelling the personality of Barcelona, SEAT’s home city, in the ‘Show your sound to the world’ challenge. We’re in the second round here, having been chosen from 1,185 applicants two finalists each from seven countries around the globe are undertaking workshops and masterclasses before being presented with a brief to create a new piece of content that judges will choose three winning teams to head to Barcelona for the next round of the competition, and finally to Los Angeles – spending five days in a top studio composing SEAT’s new sound.

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Each of the cars in SEAT’s range boasts superior audio and tech capabilities, using technology like MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to enhance the music experience for drivers. SEAT’s future-thinking means that early adoption of audio tech like this is inherent across the range and gives them a space to play in the music scene. It’s this forward thinking that led them to create their very own sonic branding project, with the hottest young talents on board.

 

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Taking place in the eclectic nHow Berlin, Europe’s first music lifestyle hotel, it was specifically chosen because of the inspiring musical surroundings on the banks of the Spree River. Imagined by renowned interior designer Karim Rashid, the mixture of flowing design elements and strong technological interpretation reflect the brand’s emphasis on creativity through technology. Being in the heart of one of the world’s most interesting musical cities is the ideal place for the contestants to work, with inspiration at every turn, and one of the most diverse music scenes you could imagine.

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Helping to craft the pieces are ambassadors for the program, Bloodflower. This young duo started out producing and recording their own work, making their way on their own and are ideal mentors for the contestants. We’ve seen them listening to the pieces and giving advice to all the entrants, and their input has been invaluable. It’s fascinating to watch the process, from strumming on instruments to jamming in a group, music in an international language.

Let’s get to know the UK entries a little better – first up is Helen Jones, a music producer from North Wales whose diverse influences led her to produce electronic house music with a tropical vibe, but she also dabbles in hip hop, and releases music under the name ‘Freefade’. Clearly enjoying the process, it seemed lke a very fresh experience for Helen and she’s excited to work with a range of other talents and take something new away from the process.

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Dapper Chapper (DC): Hi Helen, great to meet you.

Helen Jones (HJ): You too, I’m so glad to be here.

(DC): So I have to ask how you got involved with the SEAT Musicathon originally?

(HJ): So originally how I found out about it was Talent House, a while ago One Direction were doing a remix thing that I was going to have a go at and never got around to doing but that was via Talent House so since then I’ve just been reading up whenever it comes into my inbox. Then the SEAT Musicathon came in and it just looked good and well, why not, I had a piece that fitted that vibe – the Spanish, Barcelona vibe – and thought may as well give it a go!

(DC): I think that was going to be my next question – how do you bring the Spanish influence in to your work?

(HJ): I have quite a house dance music vibe but over the past two years, I was in Spain, in Barcelona weirdly and I was down on the beach quite a lot and it’s still a housey vibe but more laid back, chilled Spanish vibe to it and I really like that. So when I got back I slowed down my music to that pace, slowed the BPM and I bring in synths, the synth sounds are so real so I’ll put in an accordion or maybe some TomToms so it’s got that Mediterranean feel, dance housey vibe but with that nice holiday feel.

(DC): Obviously your inspiration in this case was the city itself but generally where do you take inspiration from?

(HJ): Oh, definitely from people in my life, family, experiences, where I live – North Wales can be quite stunning – from other musicians , it can be quite eclectic. I was always into indie, its only since I started producing music that I’ve become more electronic, indie was always my thing. I try and be as open-minded as possible and not close off any genre, even if that means it’s a pop track. I don’t really like people that are snobbish about music, if it’s catchy and I like it I’ll play it.

(DC): Are there one or two artists that you feel had more of an impact, or inspired you to get into music?

(HJ): Yeah to get into music, classic band, you either love them or hate them – The Beatles. We played them from when I was a kid, I grew up with them, their story. A band from Liverpool only 40 minutes down the road and they changed the world. Then more of the music that I do it’s the 90’s trance stuff. Paul Oakenfold, Cream – recently I went to Cream Classics up at the cathedral where the Philharmonic Orchestra do all the songs and it was unbelievable, the venue was amazing but to see that music played in that way. I like dance music that has melody and core progressions that get you there. I’m not one for the ‘boom boom boom’, there is a place for it obviously but it’s not what I’m in to. The 90’s and early 00’s are more for me.

(DC): Are you looking forward to the collaborative element?

(HJ): Absolutely, at the moment I haven’t been so much because when I try to get ideas I have to be in my bubble for a bit. We only got the task last night and today we’ve had talks and stuff so in between I’ve been getting ideas together. Where the collaborative element will be good for me is the production side, I love writing the music and putting the chords together, getting that feel but I think my production probably lets me down a bit – but that’s perfect, some of the guys here hopefully can give me a bit of a hand if I need it.

(DC): What do you think is going to be your biggest learning from this process?

(HJ): Oh goodness, I think the first thing is working under pressure and it’s something that I hate and love at the same time, that stress element is in there as well. I’ve never known of an opportunity like it, being with other musicians from lots of differennt countries and influences, the experts here, Bloodflower from the UK – I believe they’re similar to me in that they’ve only started playing live relatively recently. I think they produced for a long time and the idea of performing makes me laugh. Even though I play piano I prefer to be behind the scenes. The whole thing is amazing, being in this wonderful city, and the boat trip should give us more knowledge of the music spots. Even getting in the lift here (at the nHow Hotel) there’s different music genres playing. It’s just music, music, music and that’s what I live for, it’s nice to share that with people passion and are that much into it.

(DC): What would you say has been the highlight so far?

(HJ): Apart from getting my luggage back! (laughs) Definitely just getting here, the excitement, meeting people, getting to know everybody’s stories, seeing what they are about. Really enjoyed the talks today and I think it’s only going to get better. As long as I create something good!

(DC): If you had one message for our Dapper Chapper readers, what would you like to say?

(HJ): Wow, I suppose for me, and I hope this doesn’t sound cheesy, I only started producing music 6 years ago I’m a bit older than any of the contestants as I’m 40 now and I think getting to this stage is amazing – so always go for what you dream for, it’s never too late, and always have a go.

(DC): Thanks so much for chatting with us and best of luck in the competition.

(HJ): Thank you, all the best.

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Next up we have Camunelle Fletchman, a young Mancunian whose passion for music and house beats shines through in his bouncy personality. Gaining confidence and skills with every passing moment, he’s delighted to have the opportunity to work with new people, creating music together.
Dapper Chapper (DC): Hi Camunelle, lovely to meet you

Camunelle Fletchman (CF): And you, great to be here in Berlin

(DC): Let’s start at the beginning – what got you interested in the SEAT Musicathon?

(CF): I guess what got me interested was taking that chance and being part of something big. I never got into competitions before, it was all about the music but I thought I’d try anything. I saw this as a start of something new, pushing it forward, next step, getting my music out there. Also the SEAT brand, it’s something big, it’s been around for so long.

(DC): So generally where do you get your inspiration?

(CF): Well I get my inspiration from other artists. I watch a lot of MTV Base, mostly I get inspired by artists like Calvin Harris, they bring a lot of energy to their music and I think this is an advantage.

(DC): And specifically to do with SEAT, did you do a lot of research, try to get into Barcelona itself?

(CF): Not really, I know how big it is I’ve seen quite a few videos, it’s been around for many years and I understand how big the brand is.

(DC): What do you think is going to be yoru biggest learning from the process?

(CF): The marketing side. I’ve never done any marketing before and I see that there’s a lot more to music. It’s also selling yourself. They’ve shown me a lot of techniques, I’ve had a lot of support and I’ve learned a lot and am developing even more now not just as a music producer but as someone in the marketing business as well.

(DC): Are you looking forward to the collaborative element?

(CF): Yeah, definitely, yeah. I think cause it’s something new, a new experience. I’m always looking forward to anything new. I’ve never been involved in something so big so definitely looking forward to it.

(DC): Is it quite inspiring to have artists joining you from all over the world?

(CF): Yeah definitely, I’ve seen a couple of people from Spain and Italy – I’ve never been to those countries before. It’s been very good to see them around, talking to them, it’s a good experience – a new experience to meet new people, get new ideas from them as well. Learning even more.

(DC): Music as a tool – do you think it unites people quite well, transcending borders?

(CF): Definitely, music always unites people, I think it’s an emotional thing for everybody. When you listen there’s always emotion behind it. When it does come to music it will unite people all over.

(DC): So far, what would you say has been your highlight?

(CF): My highlight… I think mine was introducing myself actually! I came up there and straight away said “Don’t be afraid, I’m actually shy” everyone started laughing so that was a highlight, yeah. Everyone has seen a different side to me. I’ve never been up in front of that many people before – never mind a crowd, but that smaller group of people (looking at me).

(DC): Do you play live?

(CF): I DJ in clubs, so it is live but it’s just me showing off, on the decks and everyone going wild for the music. The only time I’ve played live was when I was 16 at a talent show and basically it was an open mike thing. They asked me to sing, and I chose a song and just sang it – just did it!

(DC): Who in the music sphere would you say is your influence or inspiration?

(CF): It’s really hard to pick, I don’t even think I could choose one there”s so many that influence me. Because I listen to so many different types of music as well there’s so many from different genres as well. If I was going to pick one I would have to say Swedish House Mafia. I didn’t go to their last concert but I saw it on tv and it was just brilliant.

(DC): Lastly, if you wanted to say anything to our readers about yourself or your music, what would be the message you would like them to take away?

(CF): I think the message I would like them to take away is that I’m developing as an artist, if you like EDM music come to my page on facebook as DJ C Spins, I’m also on Soundcloud and twitter so if you like my music give me a follow!

Read more on the contestants here – http://www.seat.co.uk/musicathon.html

Unfortunately the UK contestants won’t be moving on to the next round, the winners from Berlin were Ariadna Castellano from Spain, Christian Wiercimok from Germany and Tomm Zeskel from Italy. The organisers had this to say though: “The Musicathon exceeded all of our expectations, both for the quality of the pieces as for the enthusiasm showed by the participants during this marathon creative session”, said SEAT Marketing director Susanne Franz, who was also a judge for the final round of the competition. “With this project, SEAT reinforces its commitment to co-creation and proves once again that it is an open, accessible and young-spirited brand”.