White Cube Studios experiments with weird and wonderful music pairings for a new behind-the-scenes television show. Kate Dobinson gets Inspired.
A tiny cube can hold an awful lot of creativity. Like a greenhouse, White Cube Studios is a hotbed of musical talent; a wild jungle of producers, DJs, songwriters, all jamming together for a brand new television series.
Inspired is a monthly docu-series aired via White Cube’s social media channels and follows what happens when two talented artists who have never met, make music together in the Al Nahyan studio.
The YouTube series is the brainchild of audio engineer Nerses Sanassian, photographer Waleed Shah and logistics man Abraham Wakim. All have worked with big-name artists such as Snoop Dogg and Kings of Leon.
We think the show has massive potential to bring together Abu Dhabi’s music community and makes for eyes-glued-to-screen viewing, so we went-behind-the-scenes to dig a little deeper.
Why set up a TV show?
Inspired is about the magic of music – specifically the song writing side. Musicians have an amazing ability to capture moments that live on forever, and Inspired is about catching those song writing moments.
How does it work?
Two (or more) musical artists are invited to the studio for a day of collaborative song writing. The song is recorded that same day and we’re catching the whole thing on camera.
The show is not about watching a well-rehearsed band, with pre-existing chemistries and friendships, write their next album. Rather, Inspired brings together artists who have never met (and frankly if it weren’t for music they probably wouldn’t get along). In most instances they don’t find out who they’re collaborating with until they’ve made it to White Cube Studios. In this light you get to witness new friendships evolve throughout each episode.
How is the show a game-changer for the music scene?
We push the envelope during the artist selection process. A blues band knows how to jam with a blues band. Throw in techno and that’s when things get really interesting. Inspired brings together different types of music, such as rap meets folk. This brings uncertainty to the table – it’s great to see that uncertainty and conflict unfold into a fluid moving tune.
Can anyone come along?
We look to invite independent artists that live here in the UAE – we’ve always seen this as a refreshing twist when compared to the counterpart commercial music content, and there’s a strong commitment at White Cube to showcasing local talent. Inspired maintains that core concept.
What helps you to drive the project forward?
This rule is my favourite: The ‘This needs to happen now’ rule. There’s no coming back – we record it all today and that’s the song.
Who has been involved so far?
For the pilot episode we introduced rapper Majeed and singer/songwriter Esther Eden at the studio. They were both a little nervous at first, but once we started talking music, we could tell they clicked. The artists sat down, shared ideas about the song, what the song should be about and what it should sound like. It was really amazing to see different genres work together so smoothly and fluently. But don’t just take our word for it; go check it out on any of White Cube’s social media platforms.
Where can we watch it?
A new episode is scheduled for release each month. We encourage everyone who’s interested in what we do to check out YouTube.com/WhiteCubeUAE where you’ll find each episode and plenty more on the UAE’s indie music scene.
White Cube Studios is a licensed music studio in Abu Dhabi and provides recording facilities, photography and video services for corporate and personal projects. White Cube also hosts concert events around the city, www.whitecubestudios.ae, www.facebook.com/WhiteCubeUAE, www.youtube.com/whitecubeuae.
We three kings:
Introducing White Cube’s founding trio
Audio engineer Nerses has worked with an impressive list of international artists at Beta Records in Hollywood, such as Jessie J, and mixed 15 episodes of Beta Records TV, a weekly US syndicated TV show featuring artists such as Flo Rida, Snoop Dogg and Dave Grohl.
Leads the video and photography for White Cube and has shot acts such as Kings of Leon, Fat Boy Slim and Benny Benassi for top publications. Also coordinates performances and placement opportunities for UAE-based artists.
Leads all audio logistics, acoustic treatment and studio financials. Responsible for organising all White Cube music events across the UAE and the mastermind behind stage design and construction.