Ben Tilley, a recent graduate of CM’s Creative Music Production & Business course took time to talk to us about his new job and what he’s been up to since completing his studies.
CM: What course did you study at CM and what made you chose this course
Ben: Foundation degree inCreative Music Production and Business
I chose this course because of it's emphasis on production as well as the business aspect. I was already producing as a hobby and wanted to take this skill to the next level but I also wanted to come out of the course with career prospects and an idea of how to make money from the thing I love.
CM: Describe your overall experience of the course.
Ben: I really enjoyed it. The course challenged me from a production perspective and made me think about every aspect of of a song when writing. It also opened my eyes to possibilities within the music industry.
CM: What were the most important things you learnt whilst studying at CM?
Ben: To constantly audition the sounds and arrangements I use within my songs. If it's not good enough then change it. On the other-hand it taught me to work quicker and be less precious about my songs. I often spent a long time trying to write the perfect song only to understand that when I was more decisive with what I did musically it often enabled me to come up with elements of songs I didn't necessarily feel I was capable of. From a business perspective, it gave me the confidence to believe in my abilities. I have spent the vast majority of my life absorbing music in some way, shape or form and this passion allows me to hold my own in the music industry.
CM:Congratulations on your new position with Sony. What does your position involve?
Ben: Thanks very much. I've been employed as Junior Production Coordinator. In this role I am effectively responsible for the scheduling of Sony's digital and physical music releases. This could be anything from the current the downloads and streaming for X Factor releases through to the new Joey Bada$$ CDs and LPs.
CM: What has been your path since graduating from CM and how did your time with CM help with that journey?
Ben: From CM I went on to the University of Westminster's BA in Commercial Music course. Obviously the BA is a definite option for any Fda student at CM, post completion of the course. In addition to the things that I learnt while on the course, I secured an internship with Westbury Music Ltd (Music Publisher) directly through a guest lecturer who visited CM during the course.
CM: Are you still managing to find time to produce music of your own?
Ben: Yes. I tend to write at the weekend and it has been difficult acclimatising to a normal 9-5 while continuing to produce but it's important for me to have a creative outlet. I'm going to keep plugging away until I have a body of work that I'm really happy with then will take it from there.
CM: Do you feel your production has improved since completing the course?
Ben: Very much so. I have always had confidence in my musical ideas but the course taught me how to focus those ideas and also enabled me to execute them effectively and professionally.
CM: We hear you are planning to start your own record label. What made you decide to take on that challenge?
Ben: I’ve been thinking about starting my own label since my time at CM. Obviously taste is subjective and differs from person to person but I back my ability to identify music that sounds good. The label is still very much in the early stages but it is definitely something I want to push.
CM: What will be the sonic ethos of your label and are you looking for artists to sign?
Ben: That’s a very difficult question to answer and one which probably changes from day to day. Musically the label will be quite varied, reflecting my musical tastes. I'm into everything from Hip-Hop in all it's various forms through to House, Techno and Electro as well as Soul, Funk, Jazz, Reggae and Rock. I've loved Hip-Hop producers like J Dilla and Madlib for a long time now and in terms of House and Techno I have just bought the new Afrikan Sciences album which I really like. I am always looking for music to sign. If producers wanted a guide to labels I think we would look to emulate in some way then i'd point them in the direction of 22a, Bliq, Firecracker, Wild Oats, Stones Throw, Music from Memory, Numero Group and RVNG Intl to name but a few.
CM: Would you have any words of advice to anyone looking to persue a career in a music related field?
Ben: Do as many internships as you can. Living in London, internships can be gruelling. It required me to work another job to make ends meet, often with 1 or no days off a week BUT experience is key when applying for positions and internships may even lead to a job itself. Also, however tired you are, it is likely to be refreshing to work in a creative and exciting environment, giving you a sign of what you can expect should you secure a position in the industry.
CM: Would you recommend the Creative Music Production & Business Foundation degree course at CM to others?
Ben: Definitely, I already have! I loved my time on the course and can honestly say that I would not be where I am now without the guidance I received while at CM.
CM offer a referral scheme whereby any student who recommends someone who later enrols on the Creative Music Production and Business course will receive a £50 gift voucher of their choice.
Ben referred a friend who is now in his first year of the course and chose a voucher for Sounds of The Universe records. Happy shopping Ben!
We’d like to thank Ben for taking time out to talk to us and wish him all the best with his job at Sony and with all his musical endeavours.
You can listen to Ben’s Musichere