Daniel Jobbins [danmiracle]
What do you do? What is your musical specialty?
I am a music producer and sound engineer, specialising in club based electronic dance music.
I have been releasing material since 2001 (primarily in the Drum & Bass/Jungle genre)
As of 2010 I will be branching out into making electronica across the board, including genres such as Dubstep, House, Breakbeat as well as Drum & Bass
Do you work alone or in a group? If in a group, who are the others you work with?
I work entirely alone although I have collaborated with other artists in the past on select projects.
In the future I intend to collaborate more with vocalists, musicians and fellow producers.
Is there a web address where one can listen, see, or read some of your work?
Please list any awards, competitions, or other acknowledgments you would like to mention.
I managed to get a SINGLE OF THE MONTH feature in a Summer 2005 issue of KMAG (formerly known as Knowledge Magazine) for a trac called "Miraculous - Can't Hold Back" on DJ Bailey's Intasound imprint.
Please list discography in which you have participated.
Full discographies can be found on the following sites:
However a select discography can be found below:
Dan Miracle - Blazin' Fire VIP - Valve Digital, 2009
Dan Miracle - Set It Off Now - Miraculous Digital, 2009
Dan Miracle - Universal Energy VIP / Digital Data VIP - Miraculous Digital, 2009
Dan Miracle - Judgment Day - Miraculous Digital, 2009
Dan Miracle - Blazin' Fire - Valve Recordings, 2008
Citizen Snipz - Subwayz - School Of Scoundrels, 2007
Miraculous - Can't Hold Back / This Situation - Intasound, 2005
Dan Miracle - Low Down & Dirty / When Nature Calls - Valve Recordings 2004
Miracle FX - Find Yourself / My Visions - Reinforced Records, 2004
Southstar* & Miracle - Omega Amen - Intasound, 2004
Miracle - Universal Energy / Digital Data - Miraculous Recordings, 2002
Miracle - Escape - Beeswax Records, 2002
Miracle - Polluted Beach - Beeswax Records, 2001
How did you begin making music? Who introduced you?
All completely self taught. At the age of 12 I was very much into listening to music from the early UK Rave/Jungle scene which my uncle would play in his car.
I was also into programming, animation and video game design (working on a number of ideas on the Amiga platform).
I realised that my game would eventually need sounds and music but wasn't sure how to do this.
Around the same time (1994) I watched a documentary on BBC2 about the Jungle industry. A scene showing an artist called Shy FX in the studio inspired me and made my realise that I could probably get similar software on my Amiga to make music.
Almost by fate my uncle managed to have a "PERFECT SOUND" Sampler for the Amiga (which could only sample around 3 seconds of music at 22khz, 8-bit!) sitting around in his cupboard doing nothing (his friend had left it there and no longer wanted it).
After telling him that I wanted to learn to make music he let me borrow it (although to this day, I still have it!)
I was also given a sequencer called ProTracker to learn with. I had no idea how to use it, and spent most of my time sampling breakbeats from my cassette tape player.
I also attempted to record various melodies from a cheap Yamaha keyboard (via phono leads/headphone port) but was confused by the tracker layout.
Again by sheer coincidence an issue of CU Amiga magazine came out a few weeks later and not only did they give away Octamed (the best tracker on the Amiga) on a cover disc, but they also featured a tutorial on "HOW TO MAKE JUNGLE MUSIC", including how to use the tracker sequencer properly and chop up breakbeats (the cover disc even included sub bass and Amen breakbeat samples).
How could it not be fate?!
My intentions initially were to just make music for the games I was working on, but upon hearing a track called "Fluid" (Test Recordings) by an artist called Dillinja at the beginning of 1998 (played by Grooverider on Radio 1), everything changed.
It made me want to change my initial art and video game career direction into a studio based music production path.
What was your musical education?
Absolutely none (other than a drumming course which I enjoyed but haven't had time to pursue in full).
I'm from an art and design background initially and they were my strongest subjects when studying (with music being one of my weakest).
However through sheer determination and creativity I have somehow managed to understand the art of making records (which I see as an art as much as I do "music")
I would like to embark on some form of musical studying later in life though (with music theory and piano being high on my list)
When did you realise that making music could be a way of life for you?
After leaving school (having been inspired by "Dillinja - Fluid" on Test Recordings) I decided to get a full time job to raise finances to build a studio (instead of pursing further full time education, I opted for part time evening education alongside my full time job)
It wasn't until around 2 years later (in 2000) that I became confident enough to make the effort to hand out my demo CDs in person (prior to that I was simply mailing out demo tapes/CDRs in the post).
Once I started travelling around London and personally started handing out demos (to DJs at record shops, distribution companies and at various club nights), my confidence grew and so did my list of contacts.
I was fortunate enough to receive good feedback and encouragement all round (and all criticism was constructive enough to learn from; many of it levelled at my lack of knowledge of sound engineering at the time)
Within 3 months my demo ended up in the hands of DJ Wacko who then worked for SRD and ran a labelled called Beeswax.
He contacted me and was very positive, asking if I could produce something for his label.
I sent him another demo shortly after with new material on. He heard a track called "Polluted Beach" on it and wanted to sign it straight away (to my surprise, being only 17 at the time).
This was released 1 year later and managed to get to number 3 in Fabio & Grooverider weekly chart in Summer 2001.
Loving the culture, seeing my track on vinyl and watching people dance to something I created for the first time was something I knew I wanted to be a part of the rest of my life.
Through the music releases, this also opened doors for me to utilize my art and design abilities in the music industry and this helped pay the bills to fund my music making (as well open more doors to new contacts).
What is your creative process?
I generally start music with either an idea for the track as a whole (theme/title/main sounds), an idea for the drums or an idea for the bassline.
If an idea for the drums or bassline is in my head, I'll generally get those down first and then record as a 64 bar loop.
In that loop I'll work out the majority of the sounds that can fit into the track (around the drums and bass elements) and then I'll do a quick sequence of the entire track (averaging around 5 minutes in length).
If I start with a theme, I'll work out the intro and main music elements first before laying down the drums and bass (at which point I'll do the same 64 bar loop thing)
Once I've got a basic length worked out, I'll do a quick bounce of the track and check the RMS levels and frequencies in a Spectrum Analyser.
I then spent a stupid amount of time applying Graphic EQ, Compression, Limiters, Delays and various other plugins until the track is sonically at a level I'm happy with.
After that I then re-listen to the tune and add in the intricate details (syncopation, fills, breakdowns, switches, progression on sounds, extra sound fx) until the track has every possible idea I can think of.
Then I'll bounce it again and mp3 it for use on my IPod for what I call the "90% stage listen"
I generally find most of the mistakes when listening via cheap headphones in environments far removed from my studio, and using an IPod seems to work best for this. Most of the mistakes I find are generally me trying to be a perfectionist, but sometimes I feel it's "not what you put into a track that counts, but knowing what to leave out"
So for this final stage, I take out things which I put in that aren't really needed, then do a final check on frequencies and mix levels before bouncing at full resolution (96khz / 24bit) and then converting to 320 MP3s to send out for feedback.
When do you have your most lucid moments, in the morning or night?
I used to work freelance and subsequently became a night owl, beginning work sessions at 11pm right until 7am (with the most creative ideas appearing out of nowhere around 2am-3am).
I was to produce until I physically could not sit at the desk anymore and had to go to sleep. The highlight of this is that I'd wake up the next and completely forget what I'd made the night before (which added excitement when listening to it as it sounded fresh).
The downside of this was that I used to suffer from sleep paralysis due to going sleep while my brain was very active.
Nowadays I work full time during the day so my production time is divided throughout the week, making use of every possible oppourtunity: mobile IPod Touch sequencers on the train and lunch breaks, laptop music editing during the evenings and studio time on weekends.
Have you ever awoken with a melody created from your dreams?
Many times. It was strange the first time it happened as I could completely remember the hook of the track and managed to lay it down first thing in the morning.
More recently, I had an annoying dream (that didn't even feel like a dream) whereby I spent the most of dream creating a track which I loved, only to wake up to go and listen to it and realising that it was only a dream :(
How do you know when a song is finished or needs no more changes?
Once I've put in every possible element I can think of (fills, syncopation, build ups, breakdowns, sound fx), I listen to it on loop and check for technical faults with the mix.
After a quick mixdown (normally at night) I put it on my IPod to listen to while travelling on the way to work the following day.
It's at this point when I'm subconciously listening to it on the train that I realise what bits are missing/what needs to be taken out.
How did you discover your creative territory? How would you describe it?
Coming from an art and design background, I've always been into colours.
From a young age I realised I could "see sounds" as colours and shapes when listening to it.
As I became older and more into animation, I dreamed of one day being able to create the type of images and colours I see in my head when I hear music.
I also wanted to try it the other way round; by turning visual ideas and themes into music itself.
Initially my only goal was to tell a story through instruments (hence the themes of a lot of my material: "Polluted Beach, Find Yourself, My Visions" to name a few)
To me that all have a distinctive colour palette visually and I can completely close my eyes allow tracks like this to take me on a journey.
As time progressed my priority became more about making music for people to easily dance to then it did making music to listen to in depth (but I still aim to have an element of depth and progression within a track if possible)
I enjoy producing all styles but I must admit that the most joy comes from seeing people dance to it and feedback from people who enjoy what you've made.
What part of your job is your least favourite?
Perfecting the mixdown! (an impossible task in itself).
The constant changing in standards of electronic music on a loudness level means that every few months I have to adapt to the general "average RMS levels" that other tracks within the same genre are made as (otherwise my material won't stand out amongst the other loud tracks when played in a club).
Personally, I prefer the mix to have more breathing space for the drums and bass elements. However to do so would make your track unmixable with other tracks and there's no point in making club music if nobody will play it in a club!
Therefore, I too, have aim for loud mixdowns...
How often do you practice?
I try to make music (of some kind) at least once a week now (as opposed to virtually every hour of every day 10 years ago!)
Free time for creativity begins to lack as more responsibilities in life kick in, unfortunately...
How do you feel right before going out on stage?
I've only been on stage twice to date and both times were as a VJ (visuals) as opposed to doing anything music related.
I performed as part of the Valve Sound System at Indigo2, O2 Arena, London (May 2009 / August 2009)
Despite being on stage, I was 90% hidden by the projection screen so I didn't feel nervous.
I'm guessing the nerves will kick in once I start performing as a DJ though!
Which musicians or groups have been inspiring to your career?
Dillinja, Lemonde (formerly Lemon D), Krust, Roni Size, Shy FX, DJ Die, Yuzo Koshiro, Chris Huelsbeck, Photek, 4Hero, J Dilla, D'Angelo, Maxwell, LTJ Bukem, Blame, Boymerang, Grooverider, Fabio, Bailey, Crissy Criss, DJ Flight, Fred Locks, DJ Suv, Peshay, Masters At Work, Heist, Don Leisure (Jamal), MJ Cole, Emalkay, Benga, Skream, Breakage, Chase & Status, Bob Marley, Zero 7, Bjork, DJ Hype, DJ Zinc, Pascal, Redman, Adam F, DJ Fresh, DBridge, Instra:mental, Calibre and many, MANY more!
List three songs that are key to your life.
AT THIS PRECISE MOMENT IN TIME:
"Dam-Funk - The Sky Is Ours"
"Lemonde - I'm In Heaven" (which hasn't even been released yet)
These 2 tracks are pieces of sheer electronic beauty. No more needs to be said.
Just pure, magical audio escapism. Eargasmic!
"DJ Krust - Maintain"
This track was responsible for me passing my school exams. Having the lyrics "Maintain...I Know What It Is and I've got to...Maintain" repeat in my head over and over again helped me focus and stick to the right path.
To be honest, I could've easily listened 50 songs here...3 just isn't enough!
What should be done to stop piracy?
To an extent, I don't think it can ever be fully stopped.
It existed in the cassette tape generation, it existed in the VHS generation, it existed when CDRs came out and the same with DVDRs.
These products existed to give the option of being able to record on them, so piracy was inevitable.
In the age of the internet with file copying and sharing being so easy, I can't see how it can be prevented (even tools like Spotify can be recorded to mp3 while streaming).
On the other hand there are those out there who will support the artist and music they love regardless of how easy it is to obtain for free.
It's providing these fans with what they want for a reasonable price that should be the key, rather than focusing on how many sales have been lost (which may not have been real sales in the first place)
These fans are potentially the same people who'd pay to attend your live shows at some point.
Technology and times are changing and we have to adapt to new means and methods.
What type of music do you detest?
I listen to all styles of music to try and understand them so there's no particular style I hate as such.
There were particular tracks/songs I couldn't stand in the past but have later grown to appreciate them on an engineering level (while studying the mixdown)
Vice versa, there are tunes that I used to love but since becoming more involved in production and engineering I now find it hard to like them as much if I can hear technical issues in the track (which is the downside of becoming an engineer I guess)
What time did you get up this morning?
6am, need to leave by 7:30am to catch a series of trains to get to work on time
How do you sell yourself? What has been your experience with record companies and representatives?
Prior to the big online era, personally meeting record contacts, representatives and physically sending out demos was the key (and something which I spent a lot of time doing).
Nowadays it's mainly about mastering the art of social networking. You need every possible profile going (Myspace, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube etc) and you need to update them constantly as well as have new material on a regular basis.
Time's are changing but you have to put the effort in to reap the rewards. I've also found that giving away free releases occasionally can help raise your profile (as well as featuring videos and material on places like Youtube)
What other things have you done to make a living?
Web Design, general Art, Illustration & Design (logos, record sleeves, mascots and many other things)
Also worked in industries such Video Games, Music, Sign making, Food and Computing taking part in various roles from Purchasing, Operations and Admin to Office management and Asset Co-ordination.
Have you ever played on the street or in the subway? How much did you collect each day?
Never, but you never know, might be worth a try one day if things don't go well...! :P(although bringing a sound system and computers on the street/in a subway might not be the best idea)
Who would you play with, without a doubt?
Dam-Funk, Ryan Leslie, Pharrell Willams & Chad Hugo and D'Angelo.
They all have some INSANE amount of talent and it'd be incredibly inspiring to be involved in any of their music.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the business?
Don't expect anything to happen over night, be prepared for long hours, sleepless nights, hard work and a lack of financial reward (at least initially, you may eventually do well).
Despite this, keep enjoying what you do and strive for progression.
Push yourself harder each week and have fun while doing it.
Ultimately to sum it up in 2 words: STAY POSITIVE!