With DJ’ing and music production more accessible and popular than ever, it stands to reason that only those with an edge tend to get noticed. Honing your skills, whether behind the decks or in the studio has become vitally important in taking your passion to the next level and making a career out of what you love. SKapade Studios can help you make the leap.

Based in Dumbarton and founded by Stephen Kirkwood (who is signed to the likes of Spinnin’ Records and Ministry of Sound), SKapade Studios offer services ranging from one-on-one production tuition to track engineering and DJ masterclasses from professionals with their own particular skill-set.

But it’s the personal touch which makes SKapade special: Stephen and the team not only provide technical tuition, they also aim to motivate an inspire people who want to make music their career. Awarded by the Princes Trust for their digital and social media strategy, they’re clued-up on the business side of things, giving an essential insight to self-employment as well as producing beats.

Ahead of their open day this Saturday (14th May), we grabbed a chat with the team to find out what makes SKapade Studios such a valuable resource for those who want to make a career out of music:

SynthGlasgow: SKapade Studios only launched last year, but you’ve already established a reputation for quality services which produce results. Can you tell us a little about the motivation behind SKapade Studios and how it all started?

SKapade Studios: Well, we wanted to create a platform that we personally never had growing up, where people could learn about the creative industries from experts who are actually out there doing it! We teach about some of the most challenging areas we experienced growing up and the importance of positive role models, while also giving an insight into skills you just don’t learn in school.

We quickly realised that we were doing the right thing when we were asked to do some inspiring talks at some of our local schools, which was an honour! We have since given talks to more than 5000 pupils and even held an event at Glasgow University to inspire young entrepreneurial business students, which we are still buzzing about!

SG: There are many different facets to explore with sound production and electronic music. What particular areas do you specialise in and what can people learn at the studios?

SKapade: Our ethos at SKapade is simple: We just love dance music in all of its various forms! Our producers specialise in techno, house and trance, but we have also worked on hip ­hop projects, EDM, chill­out and lots of progressive music.

Our clients are very important to us and we make sure everyone who steps through our door not only learns, but has a unique and positive experience they can take away with them. Some of the things you can learn at SKapade are music production, the art of DJ'ing, events management, goal-setting, an introduction to self­employment, teamwork and personal development.

SG: The SKapade team is comprised of many people – including graphic designers, musicians and artists. Who is on the team and what skills do these people bring to the studios?

SKapade: Our team means everything to us and we are so grateful to everyone who helps us; everyone is 100% committed to our ethos and mission. Our team is made up of founder, Stephen Kirkwood, who is a well established name in the music scene and a great teacher here at SKapade. Stephen has more than 10 years of experience on Ableton and has some major releases under his belt.

Stuart MacLellan from 2nd Phase is another household name in the tech-trance scene with some huge hits that have been played all over the world. Their knowledge and production skills make them some of the best equipped teachers in the whole of Scotland!

We also have the ultra talented Nico Mendez who is our in-house deep house producer. Outside of our producers we have Steven Galloni, co-­founder, comedian and sales manager. John Lang is our in-­house events specialist and videographer, and Jack Dyer is our studio manager. Other team members include Claire Forbes, Amanda Smyth, Iain Montgomery and Reiss Armstrong ­ all of which bring their own unique skills and talents to the table.


SG: You mention that one of your aims is to motivate people to work in an area they’re passionate about, rather than settling for something their not happy with. What type of advice do you offer people who are looking to make a career out of electronic music, DJ’ing and production?

SKapade: Hard work; we spend roughly 16 hours per day down at our office/studio to make ‘the dream’ happen. Life in the creative industries is no walk in the park, but trust us, it’s worth it! Our dream has always been to work at something we love, because if you find a job that you love then you will never work a day in your life.

We would also say that building positive relationships with other people who are living the same lifestyle is a key to help you on your way. If you truly put in the time, effort and work on your craft then anything is possible. We all have great ideas, but it’s those who put in the work that achieve great things. Never lose sight of the bigger goal even when times get tough. Above all, the only way you will put in the necessary amount of work required to make it happen, is if you actually love what you do!

SG: You have an upcoming open day where people can experience what Skapade Studios has to offer. What can people look forward to if they come along?

SKapade: If you come along on the day you can expect to meet many members of our amazing team, as well as other like­-minded people who all have a passion for music and the creative industries. It will be a great networking opportunity for local businesses, educational departments, local authorities, local councillors and young people to brainstorm new ideas and bring our community together.

On the day we will have live DJ sets from some of the best local talent, mixed with production masterclasses from our experienced producers. There will also be fresh food and Italian coffee provided from our favourite local Italian cafe Benvenuti!

SG: You’re currently offering 20% off music production training when customers quote ‘SynthGlasgow’. What training and experience can people expect if they take you up on the offer?

SKapade: They can expect a really authentic and positive experience when they book with the team. Our team are very experienced when it comes to making music and we support anyone with creative ideas.

They will have the chance to work with industry experts who can help anyone raise their game and get to the point of releasing music to a high standard. With most creative people, the best way to learn the craft is by learning from the people who know what you want to know, and that’s exactly what people can expect: a high quality and tailored music production learning experience. Most of all, anyone working with us in the studios can expect to have loads of fun, great banter and see a really busy music hub in action!

SKapade Studios host an open day this Saturday (14th), with production and DJ masterclasses, a behind the scenes tour and much more. Quote ‘SynthGlasgow’ to receive 20% off music production training at SKapade Studios and book by contacting info@skapadestudios.com.

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