Point5XL Produces on the iPad with iMPC Pro, Lo-Fly Dirt & Drums Out The SP404
Posted on 27 July 2019
Incredible producer, Point5XL, has really taken mobile music production to the next level. Doing everything from the music to video edits all on his iPad, .5 is a vet! We were pleased to know that our app, Lo-Fly Dirt, is an integral part of his sound. He shares a bit more about his process and thoughts on the mobile music landscape below.
1. Who is Point5XL? What does the name mean & how'd you come up with it? Tell us about your start in music production...
Hello everyone, I'm Point 5 aka Navigate, from London, England. Point5xl is a name I use on some of my social media pages because, the name Point 5 was already taken when I was trying to set up accounts on them, LoL. Originally, when I started out in music production, I would just use my real name which is Navron. Point 5 and Navigate are names that were given to me by a few friends of mine.
I started getting into music production during the mid-90’s after hearing some of the songs I grew up with, being used as samples in Hip Hop production. I said to myself “I could do that”, but I didn’t have the equipment to do it. I eventually enrolled on a Music Technology course and learned how to use the AKAI S900, S950, S2000 and the S3000 samplers. Around 1997 I managed to save some money and purchase a Yamaha QY70 Sequencer, then shortly after that an MPC2000xl. My music course teacher had a friend, who was starting a music production company at that time and I landed a job there as an in-house producer. If something needed sampling during the studio sessions, they would get me to do it. I was more comfortable with using samplers and knew how to navigate my way around the system, so that’s how I got the name Navigate. The name Point 5 was given to me much later, my production style back then sounded like Pete Rock or Eric Sermon. During a session, my production partners would say, “Yo Pete Rock soul brother #1.5, sample this joint for me”! In time it was shortened to just .5 (Point 5).
2. You're heavy into making music on your iPad. How long has this been a thing for you? Why do you choose this over a more traditional desktop set up? What's your main app for production?
I’ve been using the iPad roughly since 2014. I honestly had no clue about any music software programs that were available to create music with an iPad before that. My main piece of equipment was my AKAI MPC2000xl Drum Machine which I’ve used for many years. The pads on my MPC stopped working and I didn’t get a new ribbon cable for it. I stopped doing music production for a long time due to health reasons, so my little cousin M-Tech88 bought the iMPC Pro App for me. This was so I could continue to make music while I would make my frequent trips to the hospital.
It blew my mind that this app was just like a real MPC. It didn’t take me long to learn how to use the iMPC Pro app as I was already familiar with an MPC200XL. I made a beat on it, uploaded it straight to Soundcloud and just went from there. Recently I’ve started using Beatmaker 3 on the iPad also, as another option for music production, but I need to learn how to use it properly!
3. Your beats give an incredible vibe! Can you tell us about the compression & side-chaining you're doing? How are you getting things to swing? What apps are you using for your texture?
When I produce a track, I like the listeners to feel something from the beat. It could be the overall sound or just the way it’ll make you nod your head. When I start laying down the drum patterns, I don’t use quantize while recording. I prefer the natural feel of a drummer, so I replicate it within my music, that’s what gives it that swing. Another thing I would do, is add lots of compression to my kicks. This gives that side-chaining effect you hear throughout my beats. When I use Beatmaker 3 to create beats, the Lo-Fly Dirt app is my go to plug in for my kicks. The various setting within it gives the drums some nice textures.
[Click photo to jam this masterpiece with Lo-Fly Dirt in the mix]
4. You recently picked up our Drums Out The SP404 bundle. What stands out to you about this series? How do they compliment your sound?
The Drums Out The SP404 bundle compliments my sound in a huge way because they sound like they were created for my style of production. My beats are just raw and dirty one minute and nice and soulful next time round. I was going through the drums and everything I played would inspire me to create something different each time! The variety of kits, loops, even the amount of fx added to the drums are on point.
5. Your beats have some really creative, thoughtful videos! How do these come about? Are you doing these on your iPad too?
I started doing the videos because I’d see my cousin add Anime videos to his beats on his Instagram page. I was pretty late jumping on Instagram. At that time I didn’t know what it was. He’s the one that told me to get on there and post my music. He did the majority of the early videos I posted until I got to grips with using iMovie on my iPad. As time went on, I started using the LumaFusion video editor. When I’ve finished making a beat, I have a general idea of the video I’m going to use. It’s all based on the feel of the track.
6. What are some of the things you're most proud of with your production? Any records out that you've produced we should check out?
I’m proud that I’m still able to do what I love to do, which is make music and also stay true to who I am as a producer and not change my style to fit in. There was a time I would be listening to my favorite Hip Hop artist/group or RnB artists on the radio. Now, I’m having direct conversations with them. I always tell people, “You never know who’s listening”. There aren’t any records out yet, but I’ve recently started sending out music to a few of those established artists (Hip Hop/RnB), so we’ll see how that goes.
7. Where do you see the mobile music making landscape going? What's inspired you? What's lacking currently? How do the next 3-5 years of iPhone/iPad beatmaking look to you?
I see the mobile music landscape moving forward. There’s going to be more apps being developed by companies like MSXII and others. We’re living in a time where everything is on the go. If you're feeling creative and you need to start something real quick, just pop out the iPad and away you go! You’ll still find some people who are skeptical about iOS music production. I use to get asked all the time if I actually only use an iPad to make my music. LoL.
There was a post on Twitter from Madlib stating that he made the whole Freddie Gibbs album on an iPad and from that one tweet, got a lot of people talking about iOS production. Some producers have to be open-minded to the changes in technology and realize that these are just extra tools that can work alongside the MPC’s etc. 3-5 years’ time we’ll see an increase in mobile production only because things will be faster, have more memory, and more established producers will start using iPad/iPhones. The ones who had doubts before may actually go and purchase an app or iOS device.
8. Finally, where can our viewers find you? What are you currently working on that's coming out soon?
I’m currently working on a few things like creating music for Podcasts, Fashion shows, Sports Companies, Websites and also trying to start another beat tape. So there’s quite a bit happening behind the scene. To hear some of my music, you can head over to my social media pages:
Twitter : @point5xl
SoundCloud: Point 5 aka Navigate
Facebook: Navron Griffiths