Introducing Freshtone Samples…

FRESHTONE LOGOThis week we’ve been excited to announce our new distribution partnership with Freshtone – a new sample company that features the works of Matthew Corbett and Mike Wilkie who are best known in the world of samples for their work with Zero-G, including Sounds of the Seventies, Vocal Forge and Vocal Foundry. We wanted to find out more about their new venture and what makes them different from other sample library developers so we caught up with Matthew to get the lowdown…

Hi guys, it’s great to have Freshtone onboard with Time+Space, could you each tell us a bit more about yourselves and why you created the company?
Myself and Mike have been working together in one form or another since 1993. He has a background in Major labels and Publishing, working in the industry during its halycon period in the 80’s moving on to writer deals and eventually his own publishing company.

My background was formed during the early days of drum and bass, playing live throughout Europe and the UK and releasing material on our own label Speedlincs and also with Moving Shadow.

Matthew Corbett
Freshtone's Matthew Corbett

In 2001 we started working together again full time and went on to form Lockdown Media writing and recording music for television and film working with, amongst others, production music houses like Sony/BMG which of course later became Universal.

During this time we also worked with Dom and Ed at Zero-G on sample products, formulated a small Royalty Free Music label, Phonic Food and undertook direct commissions for TV production companies.

Your tracks have been featured on many tv and film productions, can you give us some examples of these?
We’ve had one of our tracks ‘Say Party’ used on Transporter 2 with Jason Statham and a track ‘Pinatas’ also featured on the Hollywood film Adrift.

We’ve just written three songs that will feature in the live action Horrid Henry movie, based on the award winning children’s television series which is currently in post production.

BMW used our track ‘Rays Of Light’ for their pan-European advertising campaign for Efficient Dynamics, voiced by Donald Sutherland.

We’ve had TV placements on Oprah Winfrey, Kath and Kim, Balamory, My Supersweet 16, Wife Swap, Hollyoaks, GMTV, Horizon, Wonders Of The Solar System, Panorama, Flog It, How To Look Good Naked, Big Brother, Escape To The Country, Joe Millionaire, Dancing With The Stars, MTV, Sky Promos etc…..

Most of the money generated is strangely not always from the things you hear about but more often than not, the things that you don’t! Sometimes a long forgotten track re-emerges having been used on Greek TV for eighteen months without us even knowing, and that’s one of the things that makes it all so interesting.

Lost Tapes Vol 1What was the idea behind your first release, Lost Tapes?
For some time now, as writers, we’d been getting a bit tired of using and chopping up the same breaks that everyone’s been using since 1988!

We’d heard various attempts to recreate old skool loops but most had made the mistake of recording using modern techniques and just bypassing the magic at the first hurdle. After a while we decided that if nobody else was going to go back to the source and record vintage breaks and instrument loops as they were recorded in that golden era then we’d have to do it ourselves. So we did!

Was there anything in particular that you learnt from your days of creating sample libraries for Zero-G which benefitted you in the production of this title?
Planning and pre-producing sessions has been vitally important to make sure we got the most out of the artists we’ve used. When recording the songs for Vocal Forge and Foundry we would get through two to three songs in one session, all with full BV arrangements and ad libs. Without planning and thorough preparation it would have taken a LOT longer! With Lost Tapes we had three days in a vintage analogue studio to get everything done, not much time and it was touch and go right down to the last minutes that we’d get it all done. As everything was on tape we had no room for error. Luckily, working with world class players has its advantages and both the drum and guitar sessions were gruelling but executed perfectly.

Mike Wilkie
Freshtone's Mike Wilkie

There’s a lot of sample library companies out there today, what makes your work different to anybody else’s?
We’re very conscious of the amount of competition out there and think that our future success lies in spotting gaps in the market. Being quite different to each other in age, experience and skill sets has made a fairly unique team and we’re applying this unusual dynamic to our adventures in the sample market. Mike was buying records when funk first appeared, I was buying records when hip hop artists started to sample those same records, creating new musical landscapes, so we can listen to the same music and take away totally different stories. This helps us navigate different ideas and concepts without getting tunnel vision.

We’re steering away from the synthetic genesis of sound, trying to shape products out of real players playing real ‘things’. We’re not down on our competitors producing synthetic product, but so many are it wouldn’t make any sense for us to follow suit. We want things recorded richly and interestingly using the best musicians we can find.

We also want to make our releases useful and usable, we’ve thought long about how to arrange folders and how the loops and samples are engineered. We’ve taken (a lot of!) extra time to work the samples, removing timing errors whilst retaining the soul. In the past we’ve both spent countless hours editing other people’s samples before we’re able to use them in our productions and that’s not something we want to pass on to people who buy our releases.

Freshtone recording session
Freshtone recording session

Are there any particular genres that your sample libraries will focus on or can we expect a mix across the board?
Freshtone is about keeping it ‘real’. We’re never going to produce a dubstep release or ‘Phat Booty Jointz 5’ because in all honesty, it wouldn’t fit with what we’re trying to do. There’s a market for live samples and our mission is to respond to it and hopefully give producers what they’ve been short of up until now. We’re open to suggestion and would like to hear other user’s ideas. If it fits our ethos and we can see a place for it – we’ll do it.

What else can we expect from Freshtone in 2011, or are you keeping your lips sealed for now?
Our next three releases on the slate are as follows; Vintage Drums: The Fills. We have two amazing drummers lined up to go back to the retro studio. We’re concentrating this time on drum fills, breaks to match them and rides, rims and rolls of all descriptions. As users we’ve used, re-used and re-engineered all of the fills in our sample banks countless times – it’s time for some fresh meat! This title will be ready for release at the end of the summer.

Next up is a vocal release, we’re just writing material and gathering the talent, keep your ears peeled, it’s going to be immense! We still hear our work from Vocal Forge being used all over the place including the ongoing ‘In New DJs We Trust’ promo on Radio 1, we’ve taken some lessons from those days and will come out with a smasher. This will be released in late Autumn.

Lastly at the end of 2011 will be Lost Tapes: Vol 2. This will include a vintage brass section plus a host of new toys and pedals we’ve been amassing. We’d be interested to hear from users of Vol.1 anything they’d like to see in Vol. 2. This will be available in the early months of 2012.

Looking ahead, we’re trying to convince the accountant that Vintage Drums: the LA Sessions is a sure thing!

Click here to view Freshtone’s first release ‘Lost Tapes Vol 1.’

Posted by Melanie Doidge

Having worked in marketing for over fifteen years with experience in various industries, Time+Space and the world of music production continues to be the most exciting of them all. With our brands consistently pushing the boundaries of technology with their products, the terrific DJs, Composers and Producers using them and the feedback from magazines and our customers, there's always plenty to tell the world about. Musical experience? I reached Grade 6 in piano back in my school days and am currently in the throes of trying to resurrect my abilities!


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