2015 dB Conference



This year, Decibel is proud to partner with online education company CreativeLive to co-produce the 2015 dB Conference, which takes place September 23-25 at The Crocodile. “They’re local, we’re local, and we both believe in supporting and building music culture here in the Northwest, so it just makes sense,” said Finn Mckenty, CreativeLive’s Head of Music & Audio.

This year’s conference program will feature three days of FREE workshops, seminars, demo booths, artist talks and panels. Other dB Conference partners include Red Bull Music Academy, Native Instruments, Resident Advisor, Ableton, Elektron, Livid Instruments, XLR8R, Rane, Soulection, Ghostly International, Scratch DJ Academy and many more to be announced.

From inception, Decibel as an organization has prided itself on providing free technology-based arts education to the public. Over the years, the dB Conference has played a significant role in fostering emerging talent while bridging the gap between the music industry and festival attendees. Regardless of your age, background or experience surrounding the creation and/or business of music and visual art, the dB Conference offers a broad curriculum for everyone. For up-to-date information and activities surrounding the dB Conference, please RSVP to our Facebook Event Page.


2015 dB Conference Schedule and Program 


11:00 AM – Workshop 1: Additive & Subtractive Synthesis

Master sound design by learning about saw waves and filters, phase cancellation, harmonics and how to build out sine waves into new and interesting sounds using FL Studio’s Harmor and Harmless. SeamlessR (aka Stephen O’Leary) is an electronic music producer who has collaborated with some of the top names in electronic music, including BT and Celldweller. He is an official FL Studio “power user” and one of the leading creators of in-depth FL Studio software tutorials (such as his epic, 112-part series “How To Bass”).

12:00 PM – Workshop 2: Patchable Modular Software Synthesis featuring U-He and Madrona Labs

Take a wild ride to the edge of innovation in modern software sound design tools with Slam Academy’s lead sound designer James Patrick.  Patchable/Modular Granular, Wavetable, and Physical Modeling synthesis – Connected, demonstrated, and explained.  Featuring Seattle’s Madrona Labs Kaivo and Berlin’s U-He Zebra2 and Bazille.

1:00 AM – Workshop 3: Rane presents Rotary Mixers feat. special guests TBA

The MP2015 rotary mixer has taken the house and techno community by storm. In this workshop Shaun Whitcher and Zach Stone of Rane Corporation will walk you through all the unique features this mixer has to offer, including how to set it up with Traktor (Stems anyone?) and your favorite DAW for music production. We encourage you to bring your favorite headphones, audio files and/or vinyl for some hands-on time and to hear for yourself why all the top DJs are making the switch to the Rane MP2015 mixer.

2:00 PM – Workshop 4: FM Synthesis with SeamlessR

Master sound design by learning about FM synthesis in the analog world, audio-rate FM synthesis and LFOs, FM Synthesis in the Digital World, phase and the doppler effect and how to create different shapes and different types of movement with FM Synthesis. SeamlessR (aka Stephen O’Leary) is an electronic music producer who has collaborated with some of the top names in electronic music, including BT and Celldweller. He is an official FL Studio “power user” and one of the leading creators of in-depth FL Studio software tutorials (such as his epic, 112-part series “How To Bass”).

3:00 PM – Workshop 5: Native Instruments presents Native Sessions: Stems – A New Way to Play

Stems is a new audio format enhancing creative possibilities for DJs, producers, and live performers. Learn all about playing Stems in an in-depth workshop a TRAKTOR  NI Product Specialist. Afterwards gain some valuable insight during our panel discussion featuring a panel of artists playing Decibel Festival. Learn how Stems can change the way how DJs, producers, labels and retailers produce, release and perform their music.

4:30 PM – Artist Talk: Grassroots Collectives

Learn from some of the most successful collaborators how to start an e-label and create momentum behind your releases by banding together with other producers and DJs. Soulection is a record label, radio show and niche collective made up of over 30 artists and recently awarded a coveted spot on Apple Music’s new Beats1 Radio. Join Soulection founder Joe Kay and a handful of Soulection artists talk about how to start a collective and why banding together is often more effective than going at it alone.

5:00 PM – Panel 1: Northwest Producers Forum feat. panelists TBA


11:00 AM – Workshop 6: Warping In Ableton Live

Looking deeper at warping modes in Ableton Live 9, you’ll learn how to use the warping tool to morph any sound, correct vocals, create interesting percussive tracks and how to resample sounds. Isaac Cotec is an Ableton Certified Trainer from Portland, OR. Over the years, while working on his own music, Isaac began teaching recording techniques, sound design, and Ableton Live to private students. For over 5 years he’s helped producers step up their game and succeed as musicians.

12:00 PM – Workshop 7: The Essentials of DJ Performance with DJ Hapa

In this session, DJ Hapa (Scratch DJ Academy) will break down the most important aspects of performing as a DJ including tips and tricks to preparing your sets and being able to adjust on the fly to make sure you are keeping your audience engaged.  Hapa will cover everything from how to mentally and physically prepare for getting in front of a crowd and ways to maximize your software and hardware to allow you to not be buried in the laptop screen!

1:00 PM – Artist 2: RA Exchange with Lusine

The weekly RA Exchange is a series of conversations with artists, labels and promoters shaping the electronic music landscape. For this live conversation, RA will be talking with Seattle luminary and Ghostly International recording artist Jeff McIlwain aka Lusine.

2:00 PM – Workshop 8: Modular Synthesis with James Patrick and Richard Devine

Explore the world of modern sound design as seen fit by industry pioneer and artist Richard Devine. In this intimate walk-through of Richard’s creative process, Richard and Slam Academy’s James Patrick will share the history, tools, and techniques that lead to mastery of this rapidly evolving world of Eurorack Modular Synthesis and modern sound design.

3:00 PM – Workshop 9: Native Instruments presents Native Sessions: Reaktor – Build Your Own Synths

Explore the techniques for designing your own sounds using REAKTOR with an in-depth workshop by a NI Product Specialist. Then, join the discussion featuring a panel of artists playing Decibel Festival as they share an inside view on how this powerful tool helps create their own unique sounds.

4:30 PM – Workshop 10: Reinventing Electronic Guitars with Livid Instruments

The Electric Guitar was born in the same era as electronic music, but, despite sharing most of the same letters, they have taken very different paths in history. As electronic music has recently adopted much of the spectacle that the electric guitar has helped form over the past decades, the time seems ripe to bring the sounds, spirit, and playability together for an hour of experimentation and possibility. Leveraging the tools of electronic music, we’ll look at ways of adopting the electric guitar’s versatility into electronic music with a combination of controllers, software, sound processors, and technique to inject new sounds and new fun into your music.

5:00 PM – Panel 2: Getting Into the Zone: A Discussion About The Creative Process feat. panelists TBA


11:00 AM – Workshop 11: Songwriting and Composition with Ableton with Isaac Cotec

Ableton is a powerful live performance tool, but also a powerful composition tool. Learn how to use Ableton’s Live 9 to craft new songs seamlessly without getting lost in the DAW. You’ll get tips on organizing your sample library, presets, and other assets so you can stay in the flow once the creative process starts. Then you’ll work through every step of songwriting process. Isaac Cotec is an Ableton Certified Trainer and he will teach you how to setup Live so the technical side of your songwriting process is simple and straightforward.

12:00 PM – Workshop 12: Max for Live

Max for Live puts the past 20+ years of interactive software designs into the stabile and comfortable world of Ableton Live.  In this workshop we don’t answer “what” is Max, we answer “why.” Explore the greatest and most exciting Max for Live tools available to date, as demonstrated and enjoyed by Slam Academy’s James Patrick.

1:00 PM – Workshop 13: Intro to Push for Ableton

Ableton’s Push Controller is a powerful hardware controller specifically and uniquely designed to work with Ableton Live by Akai. With 64 intelligently controlled pads, learn how to play, step-sequence and adjust loops and compositions on the fly to make the most of Ableton Live in a true live performance. Thomas Faulds is an Ableton Certified Trainer, sound designer and percussionist based out of Los Angeles, CA. Aside from recording and releasing albums, he works as an independent music tech consultant, teaching the inner workings of music production tools to students and professionals alike.

2:00 PM – Workshop 14: Reverse-Engineering Sound Design

Learn how to tune your ears and master your basic knowledge of different methods of synthesis so you can begin to reverse engineer your favorite sounds. You’ll learn about layering and mixing, the basic theory behind each method of synthesis and how to experiment with sound design to recreate sounds from scratch. SeamlessR (aka Stephen O’Leary) is an electronic music producer who has collaborated with some of the top names in electronic music, including BT and Celldweller. He is an official FL Studio “power user” and one of the leading creators of in-depth FL Studio software tutorials (such as his epic, 112-part series “How To Bass”).

3:00 PM – Artist Talk 3: RBMA Conversation feat. TBA

4:00 PM – Workshop 15: Elektron Hardware Workshop

Elektron on stage and in the studio – a talk about how hardware is more relevant than ever both from a live performance aspect and when working in a computer based studio. Devon Hughes is the US Sales Manager for Elektron Music Machines Inc., the LA based North and South American division of Elektron Music Machines MAV AB. Devon has an extensive background in electronic music production and live performance stretching back over 15 years, covering both hardware and software solutions, using both digital and analog technologies. He has remixed artists from Germany, Japan, Canada, Denmark and the UK and has performed in the US and abroad. Joining Devon will be electronic artist, producer and DJ John Tejada.

5:00 PM – Panel 3: How To Get Your Music Heard feat. panelists TBA


CreativeLive was founded in 2010 by Chase Jarvis and Craig Swanson, who partnered to create an online education space where they could connect the world’s top creatives LIVE with a global audience of aspiring creative professionals.

Within months after launching, tens of thousands of users had watched CreativeLive’s live, free classes — and a huge portion of them had also purchased the courses. Now streaming live from studios in Seattle and San Francisco, CreativeLive has broadcast more than 2 billion minutes of live education to more than 2 million students worldwide.

CreativeLive empowers you to unleash your potential by bringing the world’s greatest experts directly to you, live. Featuring workshops in photography, video, design, business, audio, music, and software training, CreativeLive unlocks previously closed doors by making education accessible to everyone.


Founded in 2003, Decibel Festival has become a unique platform for exposing attendees to leading-edge multimedia art from around the globe. With a focus on live performance, interactive multimedia art, state-of-the art sound and technology based education; Decibel has solidified itself as one of the premier electronic music festivals and promotional organizations in the world. The five-day festival program averages over 25,000 attendees a year. Outside of the annual festival program, dB Events produces over 60 one-off events, ranging from intimate club performances to massive international festival stages. With an average attendance of 450 per club event, dB Events bring in an additional 27,000 attendees year round. For more information visit our dB Events page