dBs Manchester Electronic Music Production student Kieran Brown has signed an exclusive deal with Sirup Music - the label that spawned the career of his hero Avicii. We spoke to him to find out how the deal came about and how studying at dBs helped him get to this point.
Not only are these the very first tunes that he has released, but he's doing it on the label that launched the career of one of his idols - the late, great Avicii. Just coming into his second year at dBs Institute, Kieran's hard work and perseverance have been key to his progression and the staff and student community at our campus in Manchester have helped nurture him as an artist. We caught up with him to find out more about getting signed and his experience at dBs.
First of all, tell me a bit about yourself. How did you get into producing music?
I started playing guitar when I was around eight years old. I started lessons but didn't really like them so I decided to teach myself! I then learnt piano and again, didn't like lessons so I just taught myself. Then I was like, I know how to play the guitar, I know how to play the piano, I can sing a little bit. Let's try and all put it together. I bought a MacBook with my first paycheque, and then bought Logic. I decided to quit my full-time job when I was 20, went back to college to do two years in music tech and now I’ve just finished my first year at dBs!
So quite a broad range of experience then. What are your influences?
So it started off with pop music and then I got into Avicii, Martin Garrix, EDM and progressive house. That influences my music - as I’m getting better at producing and as I get more along at dBs, I'm trying to connect them all together.
You mentioned Avicii. Your new tune is out on Sirup Music where he got his big break, right?
Yeah, his track Seek Bromance was released as Tim Berg. That was released on Sirup and then Ministry of Sound bought the rights off them.
So how does it feel to be releasing music on the same label that one of your idols has worked with?
It was mind blowing at the start. As soon as they said that they liked my tune and that they'd be in touch, I was like, this is mind blowing, because it's the first track that I'm releasing. That someone from a small town in Wales will be releasing music on the same record that Avicii did, one of my idols, is massive for me.
Walk me through the process, then. How did you land the deal?
Well, first off, I sent them a demo on LabelRadar and they rejected it but then I sent them the same track via email because Dom [Kane] told me I should try it that way and it was accepted through email. They declined it on one and accepted it on the other, so it's down to perseverance, really!
So one track came out earlier this summer. What next?
After I signed the first track to them, they were asking if I had any more tracks, so sent one straight over to them. They liked that and then they were like, “Right, so we're gonna try and sign you for a year.” So that's what they did, they signed me for a year. I think now every time I sign a new track, it goes another year. I've currently got two releases that have come out, 'Pushin' and 'Stay Right Here', then I've got another three tracks lined up each month for the rest of the year.
That’s amazing news! When did you decide you wanted to study music production?
It sounds a bit cliche, but I was watching The Martin Garrix Show on YouTube and it was showing him going to Tomorrowland, Vegas to all these big things. I was watching it and thinking, “I want to have a go! I want to try that.” I was making music before I watched that video, but it was awful. Absolutely awful. But after that, I wanted to try and see if I could take it full-time. I hadn't done a degree but I thought, now's the time to do it. I haven't got any bills, mortgage or anything, now's the time to go back and start fresh through college, through uni and try my best to make a living off music.
And how do you think studying at dBs has helped you progress so far?
When I started at dBs, I was nowhere near the best but I was working hard every day. I was making sure that I was putting my hours into production and now I'm the first one with a record deal! It's good for me because where I come from, no one really makes music… It's obviously the studying that's helped me but it's also the interaction with the lecturers and students. Interacting with people who are in different genres, who make music in different genres has been really helpful. One-to-one time with the lecturers and the other students here has also brought me along leaps and bounds. I’ve really enjoyed my first year!
What else about dBs has helped your progression?
I think the studios are amazing. I like the API, which is probably one of the easiest studios to use, but I really like that one. There's also the Dolby Atmos Suite that we can use in the second year. That looks really cool… Also, the staff have been amazing. Dom and Tim have been amazing. Especially Dom because he's from Wales as well. He speaks Welsh to me all the time and no one else understands which makes me laugh. It's nice because Manchester is 100 miles an hour compared to where I’m from. There's nothing going on here, but it's nice to have a bit of home in Manchester as well. You think you're on your own, but Dom is from Wales. He knows Llanelli where I'm from. He’s from Carmarthen. It's a small world really! The lecturers generally have been amazing. They've been open to helping anytime. Eve at reception and Jack the technician, they've also been helping me when Dom or Tim are busy they've given me some advice and who to send my music to. Jack has been with me in the studio. I feel very lucky to be at dBs.
And what’s it like studying at the New Century building?
It's in the perfect area to study. We have dBs in the basement, New Century Kitchen and the venue upstairs. It's unique. You wouldn't find it anywhere else. I've been to the New Century Kitchen and the food is great. I took my girlfriend, my sister and her boyfriend, my parents. It’s great. With the venue, you can chat with the artists who are coming in to DJ or play. It's just a place where everyone tries to give as much advice as possible. It's like you're all part of a team. Everyone works together and tries to get the best out of each other.