10 Music documentaries every aspiring producer should see

With the news that Dave Grohl is making a film about his favourite studio Sound City, I thought it a good time to do a rundown of my all-time favourite music docs.


I spent ages sifting through the archives to bring you the definitive collection of films that should be on every musician and producers viewing list: regardless of your own genre, these are all massively inspiring and offer real insights into all sorts of production styles and creative processes, all of which will aid your own approach to music production. The list covers everything from Techno, House and Hip Hop to 60’s Pop, Rock, Metal, Dub and Dylan. Enjoy!


1. Tom Dowd & the Language of Music

Dir. Mark Moormann, 2004

This is perhaps the one unmissable film on the list, regardless of what kind of music you’re making. As well as telling the story of relatively little-known but hugely influential producer Tom Dowd, the film offers a fantastic history of recording and producing music, from the primitive early days to the computer/digital revolution. Thought-provoking and very inspiring. Get it here.

2. Scratch

Dir. Doug Pray, 2001

In Pray’s own words, “A feature-length documentary film about hip-hop DJing, otherwise known as turntablism. From the South Bronx in the 1970s to San Francisco now, the world’s best scratchers, beat-diggers, party-rockers, and producers wax poetic on beats, breaks, battles, and the infinite possibilities of vinyl.” Get it here.


3. High Tech Soul: The Creation of Techno Music

Dir. Gary Bredow, 2006

This excellent film about the birth and evolution of Detroit Techno focuses on the holy trinity of the genre: Juan Atkins, Derrick May, and Kevin Saunderson, and also features interviews with Richie Hawtin, Jeff Mills, Carl Cox and Matthew Dear. Essential viewing for every dance music producer. Get it here.


4. Scott Walker: 30 Century Man

Dir. Stephen Kijak, 2006

The story of a 60’s pop star turned reclusive, mysterious and actual genius producer, this film is a great watch even if you’ve never heard of Scott Walker. Not least because of the bizarreness of watching people who are icons in their own right, such as David Bowie, bowing down before his genius. Get it here.


5. Classic Albums – The Jimi Hendrix Experience: Electric Ladyland

Dir. Roger Pomphrey, 2005

What makes the Classic Albums series an absolute must view for every producer is the format of each film: it’s not just the story of the making of an album, but you actually sit down at the mix console with the producer, engineer or artists (sometimes all at once) and they talk through the individual elements of key songs, bringing up the faders for each track as they go.

The Electric Ladyland film is a favourite because it demonstrates how Hendrix (and his team, including engineer Eddie Kramer) was so ahead of his time in terms of how he constructed his songs with layers and effects in the studio, in a way we take for granted now. Get it here.


6. Moog

Dir. Hans Fjellestad, 2005

The story of Robert Moog, inventor of the Moog synth. It’s amazing to think just how far-reaching the effects of his work have been: would your favourite electronic genres sound the same if it hadn’t been for the Moog? The film also includes many good interviews with people like sometime-Nine Inch Nail Charlie Clouser, Keith Emerson, Luke Vibert, DJ Spooky and Beastie Boys DJ Mix Master Mike. Get it here.


7. Stones In Exile 

Dir. Stephen Kijak, 2010

This is the story of the making of the Rolling Stones’ Exile On Main St. album. At that time the Stones had literally been hounded out of England, so they decamped to the South of France, and set about recording in the sprawling basement complex of Keith Richards mansion. Great insight into a totally unorthodox approach (at least for the time) to recording, that ended up giving the album an incredibly atmospheric sound. Get it here.


8. Kraftwerk And The Electronic Revolution

Dir. Rob Johnstone 2008

If Bob Moog was the guy who created the potential, the equipment, for electronic music that would change everything, Kraftwerk were one of the bands that actually made that music. This film actually goes into the whole German ‘Krautrock’ scene that Kraftwerk sprung from, so you get nice bits of Neu!, Can, Cluster and Klaus Schulze too. And if you make music but don’t know who any of those bands or artists are you must watch this! Get it here.


9. Pioneers of Electronic Music, Vol. 1: Richie Hawtin

Dir. Slices Magazine, 2006

It’s fun going from the films on Moog and Kraftwerk to a profile of a producer who is really at the cutting edge of current technology and electronic music. A fascinating insight into Hawtin’s personal and creative lives, being part of the second wave of Detroit Techno producers (kind of), and his views and approach to technology in music.  Get it here.

NB: I haven’t been able to find any other ‘Volumes’ from this series, does anyone know if there are any / where to find them?


10. Classic Albums – Nirvana: Nevermind

Dir. Unknown, 2005

Another favourite from this series. Featuring amazing in-depth analysis of stuff like the harmonies between Kurt Cobain and Dave Grohl’s voices, and how producer Butch Vig created the huge sounds of the guitars and Grohl’s drums.  An obvious must for every rock producer or musician, but also for electronic producers who can get some tips on bringing the energy and dynamism of rock to their sounds. Get it here.

Source: GTPS

Skream: “Come With Me” – Watch The Trailblazer’s Final Word On Dubstep And Disco

Skream is undoubtedly the most engaging personality to be propelled forth from the bloom and burst of dubstep culture. THUMP sat down with the always raw and often controversial Ollie Jones to pick his brains on the musical progression he’s undertaken– Alternately titled “Come With Me (or Fuck Off),” our new documentary follows Skream from the nascent days of UK dubstep, through the worldwide rinsing of crunchy tearout sounds, to his current house-driven incarnation.

Also discussed are that Boiler Room gig, footage from throughout his career, and a direct response to those who accuse him of bangwaggonery.

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 2

Source: thump.vice.com

Explore the universe of footwork and juke in a handy Fold-Out Map


In case you get lost on your way from RP Boo to Chrissy Murderboot, here’s a painstakingly detailed map to guide your journey.

The helpful people at Osaka-based label Booty Tune have drawn up a diagram based on the Tokyo subway map that charts the connections between hundreds of footwork DJs and producers around the world, from Chicago dons like Spinn and Rashad and juke-influenced UK faces like Addison Groove and Ikonika to a plethora of artists, labels and nights from Japan, Poland, Russia and beyond.

Check it out above and head here for the full-resolution version, which you can print out and keep for your next journey into the underground.

For more ultra-syncopated goodness check out the stack of brilliant mixtapes we dug up earlier this year and listen to DJ Clent’s recent History of Footwork mix. [via Footwork Jungle]

Source: factmag

Metalheadz celebrates 20 years with new mini-doc


Breakbeat era, indeed. Celebrating its two landmark decades in the global drum & bass game, iconic UK imprint Metalheadz have dropped a new, nine-minute documentary entitled 20 Years Of Metalheads: The Future. Leading off with candid insights from its talisman himself Goldie, director Lyle Lindgren spotlights some of the up-and-coming artists leading the label forward at the moment including Jubei, Lenzman, Mako, Ulterior Motive, and more. Tune into 20 Years Of Metalheads: The Future below and catch the previous two-part Metalheadz history lesson documentaries as well in case you missed them.

Watch the complete Metalheadz mini-doc now:

Source: news.beatport

Remembering the UK’s ’90s club culture featuring The Prodigy and Tonka Soundsystem


Welcome to our hectic Hump Day edition of the Morning Roundup. Today, we’ve got Thump looking back at The Prodigy, a 20-minute mini-doc on the UK’s Tonka Soundsystem, and a Fact TV interview with Ninja Tune’s Lee Bannon. Read this way for our complete wrap-up.

– Thrills, chills, pills, and bellyaches! Thump contributor Joe Muggs takes a long look back at the Prodigy’s landmark 1994 album Music for the Jilted Generation. Watch the band play “Their Law” live in Moscow below. (full story)

– In other ’90s related news, a 20-minute documentary has just surfaced on the infamous UK-based Tonka Soundsystem. A youthful DJ Harvey also makes a notable guest appearance in the video below. (full story)

– Breakthrough LA-based beatmaker Napolian (aka Ian Evans) recently released his album Incursio on Oneohtrix Point Never’s Software label back in May and has also dropped a fresh video for standout single “Reminisce.” Watch it now.

– So what’s the deal with bass augmentation devices? Find out in DJ Tech Tools’ new in-depth feature that explores this wearable bass-device phenomenon. Catch the 7-minute video below and get the scoop right here: (full story)

Finally, Fact TV linked up with Ninja Tune’s genre-bending artist Lee Bannon during Montreal’s Mutek festival. In his video interview, he talks about his recent chat with Goldie, exploring custom-made software, and how catching The Crystal Method led to his hardcore music obsession. Watch it now.

Source: news.beatport

Watch the DJ Rashad and Spinn: Teklife in Monterrey film trailer now!


Although DJ Rashad is gone, he’s most definitely not forgotten. In a new short film that drops tomorrow, Pitchfork TV documents a weekend in the life of the Chicago footwork pioneer alongside like-minded Windy City producer and close friend DJ Spinn. Last March, the Teklife crew DJ duo performed in Mexico at the Monterrey DIY music festival NRMAL and the cameras were there to capture every moment. While you wait for the full short film to drop mañana, whet your appetite with the already-released teaser trailer below.

Watch the DJ Rashad and Spinn: Teklife in Monterrey trailer now:

Source: news.beatport

Watch a New Documentary Detailing Tensions Between London Police and the City’s Grime Scene


There’s a long history of tension between London police and the city’s underground music scenes, but perhaps no corner of the UK music world has encountered more problems than grime. Following the recent cancellation of a Just Jam event back in February, the folks at Noisey decided to dig deeper into the situation. Today, the web portal has debuted a new mini-documentary exploring the issue, the aptly titledThe Police vs. Grime Music. Hosted by JME of Boy Better Know, the 20-minute film features interviews with a variety of figures, including lawyers, journalists, promoters, and grime artists like Jammer, Meridian Dan, and Big Narstie. It also examines the problems stemming from London’s Form 696, the city’s “risk-assessment procedure” that often results in grime events being cancelled. The Police vs. Grime Music can be viewed below.

Source: xlr8r

Celebrate 20 years of Pioneer CDJ innovation in Film


As the saying goes, it’s all about having the right tool for the job. In the case of the modern working DJ, that right tool is the Pioneer CDJ that’s the current industry standard. Pioneer DJ has just released a new five-minute video celebrating two decades of designing DJ technology, focusing on the evolution of the CDJ. Catch Carl Cox, James Zabiela, Jazzy Jeff, Laidback Luke, Paul Oakenfold, and more all share their personal stories of encountering Pioneer’s early CDJ gear and how they believe it changed the current state of DJing.

Watch the Pioneer DJ History — Part 1 video now:

Source: news.beatport

Explore Afrika Bambaataa’s 1983 classic “Looking for the Perfect Beat” with producers Arthur Baker and John Robie


If you’re New York hit-making producers Arthur Baker and John Robie, what do you do as an encore to crafting Afrika Bambaataa and the Soulsonic Force’s 1982 electro classic “Planet Rock?” You switch it up, of course, by pushing the limits of what a drum machine can do for 1983′s follow-up “Looking for the Perfect Beat.” In the latest episode in Red Bull Music Academy’s ongoing beat:repeat series, influential producers Arthur Baker (shown above) and John Robie chat about how they spent six months creating the influential 808 odyssey while pushing this pioneering drum machine to new heights. Catch the complete video below and see the original music video for “Looking for the Perfect Beat” too.

Watch the full beat:repeat episode with producers Arthur Baker and John Robie now:

Source: news.beatport

 Page 1 of 2  1  2 »