We had the pleasure of catching up with ACM Creative Artist Degree alumnus Arthur Bean, who we’re proud to announce is now in partnership with Grammy nominated producer, Che Pope. Che has worked with a range of iconic artists including Kanye West, Eminem and The Weeknd! We learnt about Arthur’s new release with Che, his music inspirations, upcoming projects, ACM experience and advice for current students…
1) Tell us about your new release and partnership with Grammy nominated producer, Che Pope? How did this come about?
I wrote and produced ‘YEAH’ a couple years back and sat on it ever since. When lockdown happened I felt like it was time to start releasing as I wanted to be part of a soundtrack for a time no one’s gonna be forgetting soon. At the same time I saw one of my favourite producers running these Instagram Live’s playing other people’s music to his online community so I sent the track in and got a crazy response. From there I sent a new one every week and the feedback was consistently good. He started mentioning his plans to replace the traditional record label system by creating partnership deals with artists under his company ‘Wrkshp’, offering up his endless network potential in return for 50% ownership of masters. After reaching out and being offered this position we mutually agreed on ‘YEAH’ to be our first track, so I took it down from my distributor a week before release and pushed it back a month.
Listen to Arthur’s new single “YEAH”, now on our alumni playlist:
2) What’s your advice for students after their time at ACM?
There are different things to be said for each course but as a broader message; my sole piece of advice would be learning the difference between ego (/pride) and confidence. Having too much of a pride at this stage can feel good and powerful in the short term, but doesn’t earn you any confidence in the long run. I see it all the time (and still do it) where pride drowns out any potential development. Like when someone is trying to teach you something and you want to appear like you already know so you invest more energy into being seen as knowledgeable rather than absorbing the information and actually becoming more knowledgeable. This is why it’s nerds running the world, they never had the distraction of a hungry ego.
Another example is when we mimic famous artist’s current characteristics too much, rather than their come up story and suddenly we become ‘too good’ for our own positions. This is a huge confidence killer because short-routing to the top causes a lack of foundation that the big artists of today spent years building out of rejection and lesson-learning mistakes. I figured this out during my second year and got a job assisting at a studio near me. This opened doors for me to produce and engineer for artists and grow my network. It was painful for my pride serving other artists, but discomfort is usually a sign of growth. That period taught me more than I ever knew; leaving me with studio time, a larger network, increased skill base and a better understanding of the industry, all to be invested into my artist career for the cost of dropping my pride. That being said we all want different things, so it doesn’t mean anyone should follow that exact route. What it means is if you are overwhelmed by a desired destination, think outside the box about what resources you need and suddenly different routes into the industry will open up. If it means you have to start at the bottom to obtain those resources, throw yourself in and be the best at it every time. Real confidence is trusting your talents to glow no matter the position.
Also for artists: define. and. develop. your. brand. Know it so well that if you pitched it in an elevator, you’d execute it so perfectly there would be awkward silence for the rest of the ride.
3) What are your main music inspirations? Have these changed over the years?
Sonically, The Weeknd’s entire mixtape dropping days and Travis Scott from his mixtape days to present. Those two were my obsessions because they both came completely with their own sound. When I discovered them, they both had relatively small communities around them but DIE HARDS, and oddly they both rose to global recognition at similar times in similar styles of maintaining authenticity in a more mainstream mould. The last one is Kanye West; I have the utmost respect for his drive, persistence and for anyone who has broken musical boundaries his way. The partnership with Che is a full circle to me because he’s been heavily involved in all three of those artists, especially the early developments of the first two.
Other than that, I like sourcing inspiration from everywhere from my Dad’s endless world music collection to what’s on the radio.
4) What did you study at ACM and what was your experience like?
I started with the Production Diploma after three years of self-taught production to tighten up my technical knowledge, which I’d never have covered at home. They covered almost every area possible, which honestly is boring if you want to be an artist, but in a roundabout way became the most useful part as it later opened up doors to engineering, further leading me into the room with key industry names.
From there I went on to the Creative Artist route, which was all about breaking comfort zones. It’s so easy to picture performing in big venues or studio sessions but you won’t know how shaky your confidence is until you’re forced to perform to a class of 5 people. I loved that course because they covered every area of being an artist – from production, songwriting and performing to music industry studies.
5) What have been your career highlights so far?
It’s still so early and my focus on being an artist has distracted my reflection on any highlights, but I’ve been fortunate to engineer/write/produce for or even just be in the studio with so many of my favourite artists from around the world. It’s been cool seeing people at the top of the game work.
And of course this partnership is my favourite highlight.
6) How did your time at ACM shape your career in music?
Indirectly more than directly. I found ACM had loads of resources on offer but never pushed anything in your face, which encouraged pro activeness. What this means is that if you are serious about what you want to do, you will figure out what you need – ACM’s niche was ‘we have a department for that’ rather than ‘we will spoon-feed opportunities to every student’. The environment was like a mini scaled music industry, you’d start to see regular names performing at associated venues and on posters around the buildings and those are the ones who persistently utilised departments like Industry Link. Personally for me I treated it as an incubator and spent my time there in a skill development phase so it’s hard to measure but there’s no question it didn’t influence my journey.
7) So what’s coming next? Do you have plans to work with Che or any other artists?
Song after song with projects in between. I have so much work ready to go and I just want to keep creating and releasing until I can’t anymore. Loads more to come with Che this year, he is such a good guy so I’d want to keep working with him for a while.
Yeah collaborating’s cool. I can get quite caught up doing my own production, artworks, mixes etc so it’s always interesting seeing different flavours coming into each recipe.
If you dream of achieving success in the creative industries, join us for our new Digital Open Day Experience. We can’t wait to see what our alumni do next – and we’d love to welcome you into the ACM community.