As we look back at 15 years of Red Bull Music Academy with the global premiere (on Feb 17) and free digital release (on Feb 18) of What Difference Does It Make? A Film About Making Music and ahead to the 16th instalment of the month-long meeting of musical minds in Tokyo, the time is right to see what some former RBMA alumni are getting up to these days...
Just eight years ago, Flying Lotus (pictured above) was a participant at the Melbourne Academy. He's now a fully-fledged member of the RBMA family and the sound-bending embodiment of everything that the Academy hopes to nurture. The prolific beat-maker has released four genre-defying LPs on Warp. 2012 saw him tackle rap under his Captain Murphy moniker and collaborate with everyone from Thom Yorke to Odd Future. His own label, Brainfeeder, has nurtured talents including Thundercat, Tokimonsta and Teebs. Not one to rest on his laurels, FlyLo is now tackling soundtracks in 2014 – Imperial Dreams, complete with his score, premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Just last year, this Merseyside lad attended the New York Academy. Months later, the sound bomb that was Kanye’s Yeezus dropped, complete with production credits for the young Northerner. Since then Evian Christ's cult status has been stellar. Staying loyal to Tri Angle, the label that first signed him back in 2011, he will release his Waterfall EP with them in March. But facing forwards, he signed a publishing deal with Yeezy’s G.O.O.D Music and has been hinting at an album. Watch this space.
Also a graduate of the School of West, HudMo has been working on production duties for Kanye since 2012. This followed his signing to Warp only two years after attending the Toronto Academy. The ambitious Glaswegian released his first album back in 2009 and has been hinting at a follow-up. This all hinges on him finding time between his G.O.O.D Music work and various collaborations, including the meteoric TNGHT project that he launched with fellow RBMA student, Lunice.
This nu-soul pioneer came to the Madrid Academy back in 2011. He strives constantly to move forwards. After leaving the Academy he founded touring band The Beauty Created, name after his second album, with musicians including Brooklyn producer and Ninja Tune signing Machinedrum. An incurable romantic, he will be playing a Valentine's concert at New York’s legendary Webster Hall tomorrow night.
Attending the Melbourne Academy with FlyLo back in 2006, Aloe was already signed to LA’s legendary Stones Throw Records. But it wasn’t until 2010 that he became acquainted with the mainstream. After releasing LP Good Things, the music world lost its marbles over single I Need A Dollar, selling more than one million copies. A surprising turn last year saw Aloe team up with Sweden's barn-rocking, EDM super-producer Avicii to co-write and provide vocals for Wake Me Up – a dance floor juggernaut that went to number one in 103 countries.
Yet another graduate of the Melbourne Academy, Nina is a Russian house DJ and producer with some serious respect from her peers. In a male-dominated scene she holds her own by refusing to cut corners – she even sings on her own tracks. Signed to the prolific Rekids label, she released her second album, Mr Jones, last year. With constant world tours and a compilation album out this year, success shows no signs of slowing for Nina.