SAE London student Bradley Fletcher creates performance system on Audio Production course

07 Sep 2020

SAE London student Bradley Fletcher has created his own performance system using the skills he has acquired as part of the Programming Environments module. We spoke to him to find out more about what this project has entailed, and to learn more about his experience on the Audio Production course. 

What have you been learning as part of the Programming Environments module? 

As part of the Programming Environment module, I have basically been learning what goes on behind the front panels of analogue and digital audio applications with insights into the functioning and logic of their architecture.

How have you found the process of learning programming languages? 

With excellent guidance from my tutor Simon Fay and a bit of enthusiasm, learning the process was quite simple with minor complexity here and there but I guess the difficulty level depends on the application.

Could you tell us a bit about the performance system that you’ve been working on - for a non audio person, what does this involve?  

For the AUD6204.1 module I proposed to create a performative system for Trap music with no idea how It would turn out, I only knew I needed to create multiple devices. During planning, I categorised what was necessary for the genre which is the drums, bass and synthesiser sections. After this was done and a bit of research, I began my assignment by creating a drum machine which could be loaded with multiple drum samples from the user’s HD. Also, parameters on the drum machine allow the user to manipulate each drum sample’s pitch, length, delay and LFO (which gives subtle amounts of movement for more realistic grooves). Next, I created a synthesiser replicating the architecture of YAHAMA’s DX-7 with the addition of reverb, chorus, and distortions. I also created a randomisation button mechanism for all six sound generators so that parameters can be easily changed without focusing on the technicals of sound design like ADSR and ratios found in synthesisers. I also created a bass synth which inputs MIDI note information via sequencer similar to the synthesizers and drum machine applications.

What have been some of the challenges you’ve experienced during the course of this project and how have you overcome them? 

The only continuous challenge was manifesting every part that I envisioned, whether it be in code or design. Depending on the level of difficulty I would sometimes allow at least three days for the problem to play around my imagination and also for me to observe it from different angles without viewing the project. If it was a small problem that I encountered, I would spend time on designing (GUI) or research until the solution popped up. Simon was also always very helpful in guiding me to solutions and pushing me to think further into designs and functionality. 

What are you enjoying about the Audio Production course? 

Apart from the benefits of learning in general, what I enjoy most about the Audio Production course are the continuous challenges thrown at me. Although there is little time to execute some assignments in perfection due to the pace of the course, I feel like it has most definitely pushed my mindset to evolve in ways which it wouldn’t have evolved if the course was at a slower pace. Not having any previous experience I have been introduced to multiple mix consoles, sound for film, outbound gear and so much more.

How has your work been impacted by Covid-19? 

During the peak period of COVID-19 I felt my focus increased. Reflecting back, I can say for certain it related to the fact that the world was at a standstill. Very unfortunate for those who lost lives and families but during that peak period I personally felt less of life’s anxieties, which made me work and create more effectively.  

At this stage do you have any idea which area of the Audio industry you would like to work in? 

Currently, as a side venture. I’m working on developing an independent label called “Knightshift Records”. Ideally as my main job I would love to work in an established recording studio as an assistant engineer so that my learning and experience could continue and be increased within a professional environment after leaving SAE.