Who are you and what do you do? How long have you been a working musician?

Hello, my name is Garth Be and I do many things as well as produce music. I record under the name BE, which makes finding my music online a lot of fun. I've been experimenting with sound for as long as I can remember and I absolutely love it.

I've released tracks with Still Music, Wolf Music, Prime Numbers, Neroli and Development. I have a release scheduled for the 1st of April on Huddtraxx.

What is your educational background? Are there any schools, courses, or books you recommend?

I'm mainly self taught. Kevin Edwards taught me to play drums in school and my grandad introduced me to his organ when I was a kid. That sounds a bit wrong. He was a lovely man. The organ, not his organ. All of the software, equipment and techniques I use have been learned through spending time experimenting.

I tend to consult manuals if I'm really struggling and usually prefer to get stuck in to see what happens. I own one book by Rick Snoman called Dance Music Manual: Tools, Toys, and Techniques. I intended to read it when I got it but I haven't yet. I recommend that you do. I'm quite impatient so I'd rather get straight into making music than read about making music.

I'm sure I'd learn a lot if I spent more time studying production and the processes involved in making music but I seem to be driven more towards the emotional and spiritual side of expression through music. It's been a constant aspect of my life and I use it to create environments that provide me with an alternative to whatever's going on in my day-to-day life.

What hardware are you using?

I currently have an MPC2000XL, a MOTU 828 mkII, a Roland MC-303, a Roland TR-606, a Nord Rack 2, a Roland D-110 LA Synth rack and a Kawai K1. I prefer racks as they take up less space. The Nord sounds amazing. The other two synths are new to me so I can't tell you what I like most about them. The D-110 seems a bit difficult to program, so I reckon I'll have to consult the manual. The 303 was the first piece of kit I ever got when I was about 14.

To this day I love step-programming drums. The limitations came when I wanted to sample other sounds to build rhythms, but for anyone who enjoys beats, I'd recommend the MC-303 as a good, well-priced starting point. The MPC is amazing for building drums and tracks. I find that the interface abstracts the process of producing music more so than, say, a 303, which uses a piano-like input of 16 keys.

The MPC's just got a square of small, rubbery grey squares. It's very tactile which encourages you to literally bang out the beats. Each pad is large enough for you to be quite loose with your technique. The pads are velocity sensitive, the quantize is fun to use and the note repeat function opens up rhythms you might not necessarily go straight to, at the push of a button. Depending on which OS you're using, the process of sampling and slicing and assigning can seem laborious in comparison to some software samplers, but it's worth it. It has audio outs too, which is nice.

What software are you using?

I use Logic 5.5 on a PC. I use Battery, Albino, Absynth, PPG Wave 2, Luxonix LFX-1310, and a few others. If I'm not using the MPC when I'm sampling, I manipulate samples in Logic's EXS24. I love how easy it easy to drop a .rex2 file in and play around with slices of sound. Yeah, I forgot that one, I use ReCycle 2.0. And Sound Forge 8.

I've used software for a few years but want to explore hardware more and more. There is a definite difference in the sound of the soft-synths I use and the hardware I've used, but the main reason I'm making the shift is because of the interaction aspect of hardware. It's tactile. And it's something I'd like to learn more about.

What would be your dream setup?

I can do everything I want to with the setup I have. If it was on the top floor of a skyscraper in New York or in some Amazonian tree house then yeah, dream setup.

Can you describe your creative process? Is there a particular routine or schedule you stick to?

I usually start with a beat. Or a sample. Then everything comes from there. I'll usually arrange at the end. Sometimes on the fly. I'm a firm believer that music, or expression, is something which is valid as soon as it's acted out. Structure and arrangement are important if what you're trying to achieve is structure and arrangement. If the act of expression is your primary focus then anything you express is essentially accomplishment. If what you create stimulates your own mind and arouses positive feelings and emotions then I think it's important to focus on those feelings. You might not end up finishing tracks but you'll have some great sources of inspiration to revisit. You might feel that they're complete when others don't feel the same. In that case, follow your instinct.

Where do you shop for and discover music?

Piccadilly Records, King Bee, Wowie Zowie, Vinyl Exchange, E-Bloc, Boomkat - these are all on my doorstep and all offer a wide variety of old and new music. I also use Discogs, probably too much but definitely never enough!

Any highlights from your latest musical discoveries?

I've been getting into New Breed of Hustlas lately. Some 90's I missed out on when my step-sister and her mates were into G-Funk but enjoying now. I've got a few of Dexter Wansel's records but have started to explore his work in more depth. Heavy vibes.

What's brewing in your studio?

A storm. Tea. IPA. Dunno really. I've got some new gear that I want to learn. I recently moved so there's stuff everywhere. I installed some pretty ropey shelves on Friday, so now I've got somewhere to put my decks and equipment. We'll see what happens next. As for music, there's plenty of old tracks on my SoundCloud page [see link below], but for everyone who hasn't listened yet they'll be brand new. The new new will be out on my label in the next month or so… or so… or so… (repeat to fade).

Any production tips & tricks you'd like to share?

Don't compromise what you feel strongly about. If the music you make doesn't appeal to a certain label or listener don't let it get you down. The world's full of people. Some of those people will find what you do as exciting as you do. The fun part is finding how to reach them and share your sounds. Don't be put off by people talking about how the music industry is dead and there's no point starting a label. If you believe in what you do, stay true, follow it through and make it work.

Where can we find you on the web?

SoundCloud /