Neocha is a popular online publications featuring the best global creative minds with an Asian heritage. They sat down with our co-founder Natalie Lam to discuss the vision behind The Foxgrove.
By Leon Yan
Jan 12, 2016
The Foxgrove is a new boutique electronic music and DJ school that opened late last year in New York City. It was created for beginner-level music lovers, who have absolutely no production skills and probably never imagined being able to make their own music. Co-founder Natalie Lam, who originally is from Hong Kong and previously had worked 20 years in the advertising industry, actually prefers to think of The Foxgrove not as a school, but more as a “music social club” or a “fine learning experience”.
She believes that most people’s knee-jerk reaction to the idea of schools is not necessarily a positive one, but aside from the learning part, how The Foxgrove functions is unlike how traditional schools work. For both Natalie and co-founder David Maurice, creating a comfortable learning environment was really important. They decided at the beginning to get rid of the things that they didn’t like about schools, namely the “bad lighting, coldness, rigidness, discipline, (and) pressure”, and add the things that they would have liked to have had in school.
The space of The Foxgrove was designed with “organic luxury in mind”. They used “ample wood, leather and fabric elements to create an intimate, relaxing space to offset the brand new music gear”. For Natalie, it was important that people didn’t feel intimidated by some of the challenges of having to learn and work with new technology. Some of their past students have likened the experience of attending a class at The Foxgrove to “learning to remix EDM in a spa”, while Natalie herself likes to describe it as a “boutique hotel meets recording studio”.
The Foxgrove believes that the future of music in this digital age will go beyond streaming music and will also involve the democratization of music production. Natalie says, “We all love music. A hundred years ago, many people played music in their homes. It was only in the past fifty years that music was monopolized and commoditized by the record industry – music was put on a high pedestal. Music creation was reserved by the industry for the few who are ‘talented, charismatic, and connected’ in order to make massive profits.” The Foxgrove believes that with the current advancement of electronic music technology, more and more people can become the creators of music without even relying on record labels. With the technology becoming more accessible and affordable, the future of music may soon lie in the hands of music lovers and amateur producers. Natalie says, “We want to be the portal for those who never thought of touching music to get the first sweet taste.”
So far, The Foxgrove have had over 300 students attend their school. They are mostly young professionals looking for a new hobby or teens from high school. Their approach to classes and workshops is to provide their students with useful music education in digestible quantities that are short and sweet. There are music introduction classes that cover about 80% of the basics of music production and DJing, and there are also more advanced courses for those who are more serious. The focus is mostly on having fun, and turning the idea of music production into a mainstream hobby, like going for yoga class after work or going to catch a movie during the weekend. Similar to how Instagram and digital photography have in recent years helped democratized and popularized photography, The Foxgrove is looking to help bring music creation back into the lives of people. In the future, they are looking to expand globally to other important creative hubs, in cities such as Shanghai, Hong Kong, Beijing, and elsewhere in Europe.
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