Artists know what it takes to ideally get from point A to point B. There is always going to be trouble along the way. We need help because we are sad. Artists are also can be needy, but it’s a DIY world.

Distributor CD Baby, besides making getting music out easy, is ever-present with the help, consonant encouragement, and useful advice. All of these extras coalesce in it’s mostly-annual DIY Music Conference with Kevin and Chris, whom I once again did not get to meet.

I saw Chris in the dunnie at one point. (This is not the time, people.)

Events like this are carry-your-own-bag in that you get what you give (or attend). Attendance doesn’t cut it. **You have to know what you want in life and art. All the rules, work, and solutions continue to basically be the same, but the processes are forever evolving.

Maybe you know what to do, but do you know how to do it? This is where the conference is most helpful.

What follows is a bit of journal entry/ collection of links for what we took from the festival.

Standouts were the Austin Kleon keynote, product: Laylo, the hilarious lady from Amazon (wish I had a pic), Spotify info session, voice coach, and YouTube info session.

Austin Kelon’s book(S) is/are required reading for artists. It’s good to know you have company is the sometimes-awful process of creativity. Every artist needs to pin this diagram (he stole from Maureen McHugh) to their wall/ cornea –or make it yer lock screen.

via Austin Kleon

Laylo is the email list/ messaging product we’ve all been waiting for. Look forward to rebuilding our list. The cross platform integration and fan-facing no-hassle interface is great. Bonus points: VP Stephanie was hilarious.

Amazon has a lot training and info, and it seems very worth the time to dig into their Artist tools. Making it up a bit here, but if you are doing anything that appeals to bit of an older demo, this may be a good way into a world and audience that’s not totally overworked. The team seems pretty small and very helpful.

Also honorable mention to Mike Warner who is one of the good guys. Need to read his book again.

Reminder to self and everyone else: you need to read, digest, and own everything Spotify has to offer artists.

And You Tube’s new organized artist site is much improved and easy to understand. Everybody on earth uses YouTube daily, so time spent here is worth every minute you can give it. Like, maybe instead of over-planning your crappy tour …

IN CONCLUSION, old rules apply. It does not exist if it’s not on your calendar.


If you’ve been following along at all, and for personal ego purposes I’ll pretend you have, I’ve been dealing with the problem of how to get a number of back-logged songs recorded and out efficiently and as cleverly as possible.

Had you ever told me there would be problem of too many songs, I would have maybe believed it but could not have envisioned it. Believed it? Yes. Couldn’t have envisioned the path.

Maybe you don’t know how to get-doing it either, in need a spark or a push. This series will be for you.

So, as much for me as it is for anyone else, we’re going to go back and map it all out. And, hopefully, continue to document the process in blog (not video) form.

We’re really going to go into into the why rather than review gear, which seems to be what everything turns in to these days. So this is basically a long, ongoing story. Incredibly boring to some, enlightening to others, and interesting and affirming to a small, specific crowd. Not for everybody, but really for somebody. Smallest possible audience theory at work here!

And speaking of, my why of doing all of this to identify my small, specific crowd. You are out there. I know you are! I want you to listen to the music I make.

The Beginning:
The real spark came with a special purpose combined with some divine timing, which was a random camp reunion lunch of all things. Put simply: I met a former camper who was in a song writing group at the same time I was going deep into Ableton Live 9.

A lucky perfect storm, yes, but I was paying enough attention to life at the time to know it was kind of now or never. Some direction with perfect timing.

You may be thinking to yourself that mid 40’s is well past now-or-never, but I do not think it’s ever too late. If you’ve got it you’ll always have it. Doesn’t mean you can’t lose your way, but if it’s in there, menage to come out, it’ll be there waiting for you. I feel like I have science to back this up.

Series entry #2 is the Why of Ableton over the other DAW’s.

There has to be some gear! Early, primary tools were from Roland, Moog, M-Audio, Arturia, Ableton Live, Sound On Sound magazine, and a lot-lot of YouTube. [system1, various boutiques, oxygen-25, minituar, Analog Lab]

I spy with little eye …

Look at none other than the high priestess of all all things interconnected-Moog, Lisa Bella Donna–maybe the most analog person on the internet, using the recently-reviewed the Zoom LiveTrack L-12 in a pretty amazing set.

You know, sometimes people need some validation. It’s also funny how life converges if you let it.

Example: my first analog synth was a Minitaur. What I wanted was a Taurus 3, but I could not make that happen at the time. Today they are long gone, presumably in closets or buried in save-it-for-later-when-I-can-get-to-it collections. Anyway, years later I cross-graded to a Sirin, which was great, but the Minituar was such specific and wonderful little beast. So I was restless. And after a year of seeing the delightful-looking Grandmother out there, I took the plunge, finally renting one. Wow. Bought one almost immediately, and have really loved it since. But, save LBD’s PatchBook, I’ve been using it sans spaghetti cords.

A Bajook!

Then I saw this. Generally only slightly perturbed at the Grandmother’s manual (KB Mode in the VCA not 100% explained), Patch and Tweak with Moog has already, 39 pages in, cleared up some small bits and pieces regarding the Grandmother to an amazing extent, revealing the total the monster I knew it to be. [Book review forthcoming] It also, obviously, features Lisa.

So, as it happens when you let it, while I was cleaning up the studio last night, a bit thoughtlessly cueing up a random Lisa Bella Donna Youtube performance, what did I see pulling it all together!?!

This is all to say that using this mixer at home rehearsing solo, or with the band, or to record solo run-throughs for said band, or recording with your DAW [Ableton Live], AND playing live, from solo-acoustic to full band with click Moog etc., this mixer is the most flexible I have come across when usability and portability are key factors. A pleasure to use, really.

Besides, it’s nice to know you may be on the right track. Have a great day.