2014 dB Conference

The 2014 dB Conference will be taking place September 24th through the 26th (12PM until 5:30PM) and September 27th (1:00pm- 3:00pm) at the prestigious EMP Museum at Seattle Center; home of our will call/box office, opening gala, media lounge and several of our most anticipated evening concerts.

This year’s program will feature two state of the art seated venues (Level 3 and the JBL Theater) both running simultaneous activities ranging from audio/visual workshops, to panel discussions, to artist talks.

The 2014 dB Conference partners include Red Bull Music Academy, EMP Museum, Roland, Ableton, Dubspot, The Recording Academy, Splice, PlayNetwork, Livid Instruments, Resident Advisor, VDMX and more to be announced.

Please see below for a complete list of activities and up to date schedule => (20 workshops, 4 panels, artist talks, a trivia game, a synth petting zoo, product give-a-ways and more!)

FYI: This is FREE for all. We will be reserving premium seating for festival pass holders, but all are welcome pending available space.


Level 3

12:00 – 1:00pm [workshop]

Mastering ReWire – Connecting the DAWs

Description: Explore effective workflows for combining two compatible ReWire DAWs together. The main focus of this workshop will be integrating Reason and Ableton Live, as this combination is used by countless artists and producers.Instructor: Chris Petti (Dubspot)

1:15 – 2:15pm [workshop]

Max For Live – MIDI Effects and Audio Control Devices

Description: In this workshop, we will explore a few devices within Max For Live that allow you to expand the functionality of Ableton Live’s onboard devices as well as third party VSTs and audio units.
Instructor: James Patrick and Andriano Clemente (Dubspot)

2:30 – 3:30pm [workshop]

Synth Secrets – Wavetable Synthesis Featuring Native Instruments’ Massive

Description: In this workshop, we’ll be exploring the history, concepts & programming techniques of wavetable synthesis. We’ll be featuring the popular Native Instruments Massive synthesizer as well as Propellerhead Thor.
Instructor: Chris Petti (Dubspot)

3:45 – 4:45pm [workshop]

Control Voltage 101 – Modular Signals and Modulation

Description: Control Voltage is an electrical signal used to manipulate the values of components in analog circuits. In this workshop, we will cover the fundamentals of control voltage as it relates to modular synthesizer systems, and how to harness to power of CV to manipulate parameters of these synthesizers.
Instructor: James Patrick (Dubspot)

JBL Theater

1:00 – 2:00pm [workshop]

VJing Basics – WTF is it all about?

Description: For musicians performing at live shows, touring and posting their music online, having the ability to bring a full multimedia experience to your audience is becoming increasingly important as a means to set yourself apart from the crowd. In this workshop we’ll explore the role of the VJ at concerts, take a broad look at the tools being used by visualists today and discuss how to add visuals to your own live shows.
Instructor: David Lublin (VDMX)
Panelists/Guests:: TBA

2:30 – 3:45pm [panel]

Roland Aira series featuring PHUTURE

Description: Roland is proud to sponsor an intimate discussion with PHUTURE – true pioneers in the world of electronic music and the founders of acid house.  Delve into the true history of acid house with the creators of the genre as we explore how luck, genius, fate and happenstance collided to move electronic music into then-uncharted territory and sent ripples through the global electronic music community that are felt to this very day. PHUTURE and Roland staff will participate in talking about the origins of acid house as well as an in-depth look at the now-classic gear that inspired an entire cultural movement.

Moderators: Casey Bishop and Brandon Ryan (Roland)

Hosted By: Roland

Special Guest: PHUTURE aka DJ Pierre and Spank Spank

4:00 – 5:15pm [panel]

Making Money in the Digital Space

Description: In this panel discussion, experienced Industry professionals discuss new ways for artists to make money through alternative revenue streams. From licensing to streaming to ad partnerships, the panelists will cover how artists build both exposure and income through a variety of sources.

Moderator: Jonathan Zwickel (City Arts Magazine)

Panelists: John Wooler (PlayNetwork), Jen Czeisler (Rogue Octopus), Jeff Owens (Ghostly / Drip) and Jody McKinley (Rhapsody)


Level 3

12:00 – 1:00pm [workshop]

Synth Secrets – Sampling for Electronic Music Featuring Nativie Instruments’ Konkakt

Description: In this workshop, we’ll be exploring the endless possibilities that advance sampling techniques allow in modern electronic music production. We’ll feature Native Instruments Kontakt and showcase some of the advanced synthesis capabilities it has under the hood.
Instructor: Chris Petti (Dubspot)

1:15 – 2:15pm [workshop]

Modular Synthesis in a Modern Studio

Description: Through the recent resurgence of modular synthesizers, new tools have been developed to help you integrate these synthesizers into your workflow. In this workshop, we will examine a few of these tools, including Silent Way.
Instructor: James Patrick (Dubspot)

2:30 – 3:30pm [workshop]

Intro to Building Custom Audio Effects featuring Native Instruments’ Reaktor

Description: Reaktor allows for limitless possibilities of synthesizer and audio FX creation. In this workshop, we will be taking even the most novice of Reaktor programmers through the basics of building audio FX within Reaktor. No experience necessary.
Instructor: Adriano Clemente and James Patrick (Dubspot)

3:45 – 4:45pm [workshop]

Musical Shares with Splice & Ableton Live 9

Description: Splice is a platform that allows musicians to seamlessly collaborate on projects, backup and share full session files using the cloud. During our Musical Shares workshop, you will collaborate with participants using Ableton Live 9 and Splice. This is a great way to learn about some production techniques from your peers and pick up some good tips for using Splice along the way.
1. We start with each producer working on a track for 10 minutes 2. After time’s up, everybody “passes” their track to the producer on their left, and works on that one for 10min before passing
3. Repeat until until a near-completed track returns to the initial creator one hour later
On the day of the workshop, you’ll need to bring a laptop with Ableton Live 9 installed along with headphones. Feel free to bring your favorite MIDI controller as well! Participants will get hooked up with a Splice beta account and will have an opportunity to meet the Splice team who will be available to answer any questions you may have. Dubspot Instructors will be present to help out and answer your Ableton Live questions as well!

Moderator: Nate Mars

Guests: Chris Petti and Adriano Clemente (Dubspot)

JBL Theater

12:30 – 2:00pm [workshop]

Performing Live Visuals with VDMX

Description: Learn the basics of performing, producing and manipulating visual media with VDMX. Topics to include a general introduction to live video fundamentals including FX processing, image composition and audio reactivity. We’ll also discuss tricks for keeping everything in sync alongside audio software and other pro techniques for creating outstanding show visuals.
Instructor: David Lublin (VDMX)
Panelists/Guests:: TBA

2:15 – 3:15pm [workshop]

Beyond Pressing Play: Making Your Controller an Instrument

Description: As more controllers are released to work with specific software, creative musicians usually want them to do something other than what they are intended. Fortunately, MIDI allows us to re-imagine what a button or knob can do. Livid Instruments Software Director Peter Nyboer will take you through some strategies, tools, and how-to on making your controller a true electronic instrument using examples from Max for Live, Reason, Bitwig Studio, and others with Livid Controllers, APC40, and the Launchpad.
Instructor: Peter Nyboer (Livid)
Guests: TBD

3:30 – 4:30pm [workshop]

Synth Secrets – FM Syntheses (FM8, Operator, PX7)

Description: In this workshop, we will be exploring the history, concepts, and programming techniques of FM synthesis. We will be examining a few of the more popular software FM synthesizers including FM8, Operator, and the PX7.
Instructor: James Patrick (Dubspot)

4:45 – 5:45pm

Modular Hardware and Software Integration with Madrona Labs’ Kaivo and Soundplane

Description: The The Soundplane allows electronic musicians to touch sound in a way that is extremely dynamic and sensitive to subtle gestures. Paired with the visceral and emotive nature of modular synthesis via the Expert Sleepers Silent Way software, this instrument combination brings the feel and sensitivity of an acoustic instrument to electronic sound. Kaivo is a patchable, modular, granular and physical modeling softsynth from Madrona Labs. James Patrick will perform on the Soundplane and modular, resample the performance, and then drop it into Kaivo for further granulation and sonic exploration.

Randy Jones (Madrona Labs) and James Patrick (Warp Academy)


Level 3

12:00 – 1:00pm [workshop]

Resampling to Find Your Unique Sound

Description: Join us for a workshop on incorporating resampling into your production workflow, and learn how to mangle your sounds in surprising and complex ways using the technique. The focus of this workshop will be resampling using Ableton Live’s Sampler Instrument.
Instructor: Chris Petti (Dubspot)

1:30 – 2:30pm [workshop]

Unconventional Controllers (Biofeedback and Motion Controllers)

Description: In this workshop, Adriano Clemente we will be exploring some unique and unorthodox ways to control Ableton Live for live performance and composition.
Instructor: Andriano Clemente (Dubspot)

3:00 – 4:00pm [workshop]

Performing with Live – From DJing to Live Fusion

Description: One of the strongest features of Ableton Live is it’s ability to be used for live performance. Because of how robust Live is, there is a sea of possibilities for setting up your live set. You can create a DJ set with 2 decks, DJ set with loops for live remixes, even up to a fully live set based on live looping. Each setup has it’s own advantages and disadvantages. In this course Ableton Live Certified Trainer Isaac Cotec will walk you through the different possible paths to your live set. He has performed with live over the last 7 years and has distilled his knowledge working with bands, DJ’s, and electronic music producers to give you a deep look at what is possible with using Ableton Live for your Live Set.
Instructor: Isaac Cotec (Warp Academy)

4:30 – 5:30pm [workshop]

Compressor Kung-Fu

Description: A compressor is a deceptively simple and often misunderstood device that can be used in so many different ways: as a “thickener”, a “tamer”, a “distancer”, a “rounder”, a “plucker”,.. set correctly, it even will do your laundry and pay your bills.  Getting your head around all the parameters of this device will allow you to take your sounds from what you are hearing to what you want to be hearing.

Moderator/Instructor:Jake “spire” Perrine (Warp Academy)

JBL Theater

12:30 – 1:30pm [panel]

Mixing and Mastering with Ableton & Deadbeat Live

Description: From inspiration to groove to arrangement to mix to master. Mixing and mastering engineers Erik “Tarekith” Magrini and Jake “Spire” Perrine will spearhead a discussion on using Ableton Live for these final two important stages of the production process with a panel of guest artist, Deadbeat. Techniques, workflows, art and science will all be on the table for consideration.
Instructor: Erik “Tarekith” Magrini and Jake “Spire” Perrine (Warp Academy)
Guests: Deadbeat

2:00 – 3:00pm [artist panel]

Q&A with Blue Hawaii (Montreal)

Description:Join a workshop Q&A with special guest artist and Decibel 2014 performers Alexander Cowan & Raphaelle Standell-Preston aka Blue Hawaii. Topics to include their studio and live setup rigs, how to take music from the studio to stage, working with vocalists, favorite production & performance tips & tricks, and will be capped off by a mini-performance.

Moderator/strong>: Nate Mars (Splice)

Panel Guests:Blue Hawaii

3:30 – 4:30pm [game]

Ableton – TRIVIA!


Description:COME ON DOWN! Partake in this interactive game show (or just watch from afar) where audience members that submit participation forms will be chosen at random for a chance to compete for cool prizes and mad respect. Show off your Ableton knowledge in this Jeopardy-meets-Price Is Right[-ish] format trivia game, learn some crucial background info and tips & tricks and have a laugh with fellow enthusiasts.

More info on Ableton here

Moderator/Instructor: James Patrick (Dubspot)



JBL Theater

5:30 – 7:00

Red Bull Music Academy presents, a conversation with Kode9 (Hyperdub Records)

Description: Steve Goodman aka Kode 9 is a DJ, producer, academic and founder of the Hyperdub label. Hyperdub have released a string of critically acclaimed records by artists like Cooly G, Ikonika, Scratcha DVA, King Midas Sound, and most notably Burial, whose strident anonymity and distinctive, glowing garage style took the underground by storm.  Kode has released two albums with collaborator Spaceape, ‘Memories of the Future’ and ‘Black Sun’, and wrote a book called ‘Sonic Warfare: Sound, Affect, and the Ecology of Fear’ about the military applications of sound.

Moderator:Shawn Reynaldo (XLR8R)

About RBMA:The Red Bull Music Academy is a world-traveling series of music workshops and festivals: a platform for those who make a difference in today’s musical landscape.  Each year, two groups of 30 selected participants – producers, vocalists, DJs, instrumentalists and all-round musical mavericks from across the planet – come together in a different city where, for two weeks, each group will hear lectures by musical luminaries, work together on tracks and perform in the city’s best clubs and music halls. Having traversed around the world since 1998 – making stops in Berlin, Cape Town, São Paulo, London, New York City and Seattle in 2005, among others locations.  The Academy will be setting up shop in Tokyo, Japan for five weeks, from October 12 through November 14, 2014. The first term runs from October 12th to the 24th, while the second term is from November 2nd to the 14th.

Red Bull Music Academy and Decibel Festival have built their partnership based on a like-minded commitment to create unique platforms for those who push musical boundaries.  In the words of Decibel founder Sean Horton, “Ever since Seattle hosted the Red Bull Music Academy in 2005, Decibel and Red Bull Music Academy have been forging a creative partnership that has spawned some of Decibel’s brightest moments.”  This year, along with the Kode9 RBMA Lecture, RBMA Radio (www.rbmaradio.com) will be expanding its coverage of the festival with the goal of archiving its best moments to share with its global audience.  Enjoying an average of 600,000 listeners per month, RBMA Radio features thousands of exclusives shows, all available on-demand, including interviews with essential music makers, playlists curated by your favorite artists, and all the festival moments that really matter.

Previous year’s Decibel Festival shows can be listened to at: http://www.rbmaradio.com/search/shows/decibel


Level 3


Synth Petting Zoo presented by MMTA

Description:The “Synth Petting Zoo” will be a synth meet and greet on Saturday at Level 3 – EMP, which is open to the public and is all ages. You do not have to bring gear to attend, but if you’d like to bring your gear and share what you have with others, please sign up at the MMTA forum here. If you have trouble signing up feel free to email matrixsynth@gmail.com and I will make sure you are covered. If you do sign up be sure to bring everything you might need including cables, speakers and wall warts. We expect some noise! If you are in the area on Saturday the 27th, be sure to drop by. These events are not only a great way check out gear you might not normally have access to, but also a great place to meet and hang out with like-minded individuals.