FAQ

WHO ARE YOU?

  • We're a performance group

  • We're a member club under NUS Centre For The Arts

  • We produce original electronic music

  • We remix music

  • We perform our electronic music productions and remixes

  • We are taught and guided by our Principal Tutor Benjamin Ang, a certified Ableton trainer

  • Senior, alumni and fellow members help each other too

  • We are a community of electronic music loving people

  • We collaborate with other groups, in terms of soundtrack, sound design

DO YOU GUYS DJ?

No. If you’re interested in DJing/turntablism, there’s synQ, an NUS DJ Collective,. Some of the Halls of NUS have their own DJ groups as well, such as Sheares Beats of NUS Sheares Hall.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PRODUCER AND A DJ?

(From https://thedjpodcast.com/articles/difference-dj-producer/)

DJ

A DJ plays and mixes music together. A DJ may use effects, looping, and other techniques to change the sound or structure of a track. However, they are not creating the music as they play in a club or festival.

 

Producer

A producer creates music in a studio using a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Such programs include Logic, Pro Tools, Cubase, and Live. They produce their own original works and also remix other producer’s tracks when they are provided with remix stems. Once a track is completed a producer sends it to a label to be sold commercially.

Many producers started out doing music production and through DJing, share their music to a wider audience when they include their own original tracks in their sets. Conversely, some DJ's may also be inclined to produce their own music and dabble into music production. Comparatively, one could say that DJs are more prominent in the electronic music scene than producers since DJs are usually seen 'live'. Most popular artists go by as DJ/Producers, the types you see at electronic music festivals. They produce their own music and perform their music live as part of a DJ set.

IF YOU GUYS DON'T DJ, THEN HOW DO YOU PERFORM LIVE?

EML members perform their music as Live Acts, and this site's (https://thedjpodcast.com/articles/difference-dj-producer/) definition of Live Acts is: 'Live Acts are producers who create their own music and perform it live. Unlike a DJ, who mixes completed tracks, a live act will create the mix out of parts of their own songs. While a live act may sound similar to a dj mix, they will often only include the producer’s own music and remixes.'

There are many ways in which one can perform their original compositions. Sometimes, we incorporate live instruments when performing our own original productions. It’s not uncommon to see performers using keyboards, guitars or drums, to perform an aspect of their original music live.

Some of us prefer to launch clips instead (i.e. we prepare a bunch of pre-written audio clips and we play/remix them on the fly). These performances of our music usually involve MIDI controllers. Controllers includes micro keyboards, launchpads, faders & knob controllers and sometimes drum pads. Of course, various audio effects are involved in the live set.

The best way to understand how EML live performances are is by seeing us live. The earliest EML performance at the start of every academic year is at the Student Life Fair.

I'M AN NUS UNDERGRADUATE, AM I ELIGIBLE TO BE A MEMBER?

If you are an undergraduate of NUS, you are eligible to join EML.

 

EML is a member group under the NUS Centre for the Arts (CFA). The support and resources CFA bestows to us in terms of operating budget, production budget and facilities are intended first and foremost to NUS undergraduates only.

Exchange students are not considered as NUS undergraduates.

I AM AN NUS ALUMNI WHO WAS AN EML MEMBER.

It's OK to come back for sessions. More formally, we have yet to settle the paperwork, but there will be a formal system for alumni members of EML to fall under. As for now, see you again on Saturdays.

I'M ON EXCHANGE, A POSTGRADUATE, AN NUS ALUMNI OR A MEMBER OF THE PUBLIC NOT FROM NUS, AM I ELIGIBLE TO BE A MEMBER?

No. It is against the rules. 

But, over the years, EML has always been a community of electronic music lovers and people producing (or learning to produce) music. While we also we balance a typical university school life (or work life, for the case of alumni who come back and hang out with us). It would be a complete shame if you are not to be able to hang out with a community of electronic music lovers and producers, just because you aren't an NUS undergraduate. We understand that. If you're interested to visit or interact with us, it's best to contact us beforehand.

HOW DO I JOIN YOU GUYS?

Recruitment season is open at the start of Academic Year 2019/2020. You can register with us in this link. Remember to RSVP for the relevant recruitment related events. 

WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN WHEN I JOIN?

You may or may not attend our Welcome Par-tea which is optional. Make sure you sign up for the Ableton Live Basic Workshop + Orientation for introductory lessons teaching you the basics of navigating and using the software we use for music production: Ableton Live. After which, we’ll have weekly Saturday lessons on Saturday mornings and it’s usually free and easy in the afternoons. We have a couple of shows and performances throughout the year, so if you want to see what it means to perform, do check those out.

I ALREADY KNOW HOW TO PRODUCE, WHAT'S IN IT IN EML FOR ME?

You may learn stuff you never knew you never knew in EML. Minor details of Live's stock plugins often go overlooked, and some experienced members have surprised moments where they hear our tutor suddenly mention "Oh, actually right, you can do this". EML is a community for a wide range of producers (in terms of experience and genre) so there's always something to learn if you wanna look for it. 

There's also the performance aspect of being an EML member, so if you are opening into performing your productions live, we can provide you the opportunities to do so.

If you intend to skip the workshops but are still interested in joining us, do contact us and inform us.

ARE THERE ANY FEES TO PAY?

As NUS undergraduates, there are no fees to pay as part of being an EML member in terms of official activities under our current work plan. This means, your time from Basic Workshop to your weekly Saturday lessons is free.

Sometimes EML may have Masterclasses involving prominent electronic music personalities, and these classes may have fees, usually going for $50.

WHEN ARE YOUR SESSIONS, AND WHAT ARE THEY LIKE?

Sessions are held every Saturday 10am. It’s almost always safe to assume that there is a session on a Saturday, and we’ll usually make an announcement when there isn’t one. During exam periods there will very likely be no sessions.

 

EML sessions are not really 'training' per se, like what you would expect in an orchestra, or a band, or a dance group. Under Tutor Ben, we have electronic music production lessons encompassing topics such as mixing, using chords, controllers, making melodies etc.

 

We have lesson till lunch, then we go for lunch, then we go back to the studio to hang around or work on music. Members who have errands or school work to do usually may leave if they need to.

DO YOU TAKE ATTENDANCE FOR EML SESSIONS?

We do. We used to not to, but we do now. There are certain aspects and features in our club that require us to discern which members are more active than the others. For instance, we loan controllers and equipment in our studio to members if they need it for production. Understandably, such resources should be given to those who deserve it more.

ARE THERE ANY PREREQUISITES I NEED?

Absolutely no prerequisites.

 

You are:

  • Not required to have music theory

  • Not required to have experience in music production

  • Not required to have experience in any musical instrument

  • Not required to have any equipment, except for your laptop with the required software installed.

WHAT SOFTWARE DO YOU GUYS USE?

Lessons are taught on Ableton Live 10,  so it's recommended to have Ableton Live 10 in your laptop.

Some members use other DAWs such as FL Studio for production, but live performances are usually done using Ableton.

Most members use Ableton Live 9 or 10. As of 2019 onwards, more people are upgrading to Live 10. Lessons teach about music production using Ableton Live 10.

I WANT TO HEAR YOUR SOUND

Listen to the songs produced by our members here soundcloud.com/emusiclab 

You can also check out videos of our sessions, jams and performances here youtube.com/user/electronicmusiclab

WHEN SHOULD I HAVE MY FIRST SONG READY AS AN EML MEMBER?

Every composer/producer learns and progresses at their own pace - no pressure. As long as there’s consistent effort and diligence put into your track, we’d be happy to listen to what you’ve made whenever it’s ready.

That being said, for those of you who are ready - you may perform or present your track(s) in a small and informal sharing session; an internal junior showcase that will be hosted sometime in December. All newcomers are encouraged to share their works in an informal and casual setting.

I NEED HELP WITH SOMETHING BUT I'M TOO SHY TO ASK OUR TUTOR BEN

Every senior is definitely approachable. It doesn't matter if whether we are introverts or extroverts, because we've all started as beginners confused about many things as well, so we understand where you are starting from. As long as you're willing to ask, we’re willing to teach.

 

At EML, we see ourselves as a family. The music production community here in Singapore is relatively small. In members usually help one another out without having to be too shy. Unlike other performing arts groups where the membership count would hit up to the hundreds, one good thing about being a small and tight knit group is that it allows each member to be noticed, and the size also facilitates peers to help one another.

HIT ME WITH THE HARD TRUTHS.

It's not going to be easy. You are not going to make the EDM track you'd always wanted to make just days after the Basic Workshop. Maybe not even within your first semester. But as it is in the performing arts, when has it ever been easy? When has success or personal fulfillment been granted overnight to the artist?

Anecdotally, if you're a freshman, you’ll probably find yourself balancing between academics and co-curricular activities, especially in this new environment that is university. You’ll probably settle in the fact that music production is actually harder than it looks and by Week 7 or 8 you'll get spooked because you think you're about to do badly in your first set of 5 modules for your first semester. This is a heads up. But honestly, the same goes for most other extra-curricular or co-curricular activity/commitment in NUS.

If you do miss out on some lessons, maybe you'll feel inadequate or lost about what you have missed out. You might feel confused as you're not familiar with using Ableton. It's important to know the tools at hand. Many members who don’t grasp how to use the software find it difficult to compose and produce music with ease. That said, EML is a community, so if you're still unfamiliar with basic navigation, ask a senior to get you up to speed. 

We find that long staying EML members have always had the stubbornness to want to learn and the yearning to see their creative ideas actualize as sound, beat and music. We recognize that we are all at different stages when it comes to music production and collectively, we strive to cultivate a community where we'll support and journey along with each other. And also with you.

You may adopt a personal preference to recluse and do some self-learning and exploration, in the wish you'll to return to a point where you are 'worthy to be alongside other members'. But know that you already and always welcome to stand beside us. As we enter every academic year, EML will continuously explore ways to make it engaging and a fulfilling experience to learn music production. 

 

And music production aside, EML is also a diverse and cosy community of electronic music lovers, local gig watchers, off-scene clubbers, mainstream clubbers, classically trained pianist turned producer, and a mish mash of other personalities. And sometimes socializing, jamming or just spending an afternoon learning how to make a 4 bar EDM clip together, is what may bring you back every Saturday.   

Some of the seniors and alumni in EML have their own stories to tell. In the individual artists profiles (https://www.nuseml.com/our-artists), feel free to read the various testimonials and stories our members have to say about their time in EML.

At the end of the day. Enjoy making music, and enjoy listening to music.

More questions?

  • Bandcamp - Black Circle

©2020 by NUS Electronic Music Lab