boo!

Show is “postponed.” With no back-up, it’s kind of canceled. Hence the quotes. 

A few lessons here. 

  1. Don’t make a non venue a venue. I had an idea for this owner, who is a friend (was?). Maybe in hindsight it all looks pretty-self serving, but I was only willing to try this new idea out w/ myself as the unpaid help.

    The idea is small electronic music that’s unobtrusive; listen while you’re doing your thing, whatever that may be. Here folks don’t specifically listen. More passive environmental. Do it right and you enhance the experience of what’s going on around you.

    Save a concert venue, this should be the aim of mostly all music being played out. And DJ’s.. Been my experience this is what the people want anyway.
  1. Don’t ask the venue to stay open late for your test. It is very hard to change behavior. Things get weird. Maybe the owner was obligated to say yes face-to-face.

    Instead get in the middle of traffic. Don’t recreate. Innovate within a known something. 

***

Building-up a music following, career, catalog, etc. is a near-infinite series of deeply personal failures with a few small victories thrown in. These victories more than make up for the blue times.

Canceling a show is pure punishment. Makes you feel like a heel. And worse, it gives you the opportunity and excuse to stop all work. And pout. But you have to keep on it. Find a way to keep the momentum going. 

***

Last year I junked a busy singer-songwriter thing in favor of an electronic chill-type set up because it’s what I wanted to do in the first place. A lot of work down the drain, and not. Process are familiar if not the same, and all of this work will pay off in the long run. This I know for sure. 

The entire thing’s been a bit of an a**-whoop, but I know where I am going. I will get there.

Just not on the 26th

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#electronicmusic #synths #technominimal #technomusic #minimaldeeptech #dancemusic #melodichouseandtechno #minimaltechno #newmusic #livemusic #coffeeandchill #chillout #chill

#music #producer #musicproducer #abletonlive #dj #beatmaker #musicproduction #beats #techno 

Ask yourself Y THO

I’ve been trying to bang out more songs faster.

Here’s some of what’s helped so far:

Learn and map out a bunch of basic song structures. Drag your favorite song into your DAW and mark the sections.

Then, when writing, pick a structure and write to this. You can always get fancy later.

If the above feels too restrictive consider the alternative is the hard way. (Maybe you do not know your structures enough. I didn’t but thought I did.)

100% of the time it’s easier to break the rules when you know them in the first place.

Even if you just have 4-bars, stretch out the song idea over a whole structure immediately, no mater how pitifully thin some parts seem. If the spark is real and you actually have something, your seed/ idea will more than survive. In fact, there will more than likely be more to it than you initially thought.

Remember, it’s easier to take away then to add after your initial burst of inspiration.

The dark magic may be in your initial writing, but the money is in the re-writing. Anyone can come up with an idea, but hardly anyone produces finished work.

Set a time of day to re-write. An appointment.

When at a this writing appointment give yourself 2 options: write or do nothing; not internet nothing. Absolutely nothing; just sit there. (This is advice is from Neil Gaiman, and he knows.)

Always better to have too many words and verses.

Then, the more medieval you are about chopping words the better.

Keep it simple. Play to about 50% of your top-end ability.

-jd

the current mothership

The best Juno.

This week’s challenge in my electronic music Song Game Group is to use just one synth for the whole track. Even the drums!

The idea here is that there is so much gear out there, and there are plug-ins on top of plug-ins, and sample packs galore that, instead of helping, these gum-up the works, stopping all creativeness in its tracks.

It’s a dirty room or a sink full of dishes. A diner table piled high with plates and old food. A bed full of people at a party and all you want to do is go to sleep (if this happens).

A good chunk of YouTube seems dedicated to the pursuit of of learning how to use all this gear, or how to acquire it, or how some other idiot acquired it, or why it is the greatest, or why is sounds like a cat being _____, or how to take it out of it’s box …

It’ll make you ‘effing crazy. Real Crazy.

So with this sorry state of affairs that’s maybe a by-product of our consumer economy, you must do things like pretend you only have one synth to shake loose of it all.

Given all of this, I monogamlly committed to my favorite synth–the Roland Alpha Juno–for not a week, but for a whole month. A MONTH! My first analog poly was an Alpha Juno, but embarrassingly I still have not really plumed the depths here. Like A LOT of others, I got distracted by the this-one-does-this and that-one-does that of other synths. I mean, that’s how I got the AJ in the first place.

I do think my music would be better, and I would be slightly happier if I would have only stuck with this and the Minitaur, and my shadow motivation is to, after all of this is said and done, go down to just a few synths I know very well. (target list: Alpha Juno, Grandmother, OP-1).

I am preparing for a show on the 12th, and I am also finishing a couple of tracks for pre-studio, tracking. I am not 100% sure if only using this guy will make all of this easier or harder, but it’s already making it simpler.

I believe the Juno series has a categorical sound akin to what the Stratocaster/ Les Paul/ Rickenbacker all have to guitars. A differentiating, know-it-when-you-hear-it thing. Crucially, pop music would not sound the way it sounds without Juno series. So, can a modern musician survive a summer month with just one synth?

We’ll see.

Not the manual, but manual adjacent.

A few things to think about: The manual is really great, as is the above pamphlet/ book. I use an iPod touch for arps and sequences, and this works better than a phone for a lot of reasons. Related to this, having no sequencer or arpeggiator on a synth like this can be a real plus. This helps a lot. Ableton works really well with Alpha Juno (native External Instrument plug-in). Connect 2 things with this (iPhone runs op-1 and AJ).

best AJ video out there *notice how much he plays the AJ over the Juno-6

Great Web 1.0 resource here


Pushing Buttons

I am almost 50 and on my 3rd or 4th act. Today it’s reinventing a band that only barely got off the ground. Not only this, and to make matters worse, we are computer-based.(Electronic performance is a very young man’s game!)

I read an article last night where Liam Gallagher was talking about his ‘This will do’  period. It was a time when things didn’t matter as much and he let ‘good-enough’ get released. But post-Oasis, his 2nd solo record was incredible (And is still his best work (so far). Around the same time, old men Coldplay released their greatest work (and the next one was not too bad either). 

Today both have GREAT new releases (here and here). And Duran Duran just released this.  

What in the world is going on? 

Nothing. 

People are just doing their thing. I think for these artists they are hyper-conscious of their audiences while letting the process and eventual products exist as their own rewards. Rick Rubin says we make music as an offering to God . Whoa! Possibly, but I have to live with this for a bit. 

I spent a day or two going through my old catalog preparing material for new/old  band. What shit a lot of this was. But what do I care. The growth is astounding, honestly. Just think where we will be when I’m 60!

A lot of my friends look old, and I cannot imagine the way they must feel. Memes are fond of saying things like ‘you’re as old as you feel.’ This is both crap and true at the same time. 

I need to sleep a lot more, I cannot stay up late more than 2 night in a row. I cannot eat sugar at night or have caffeine past, say, 11 am. The list goes on. 

A lot of rules (!), but we live in a world that does not know the rules but lives by youth culture’s rules. And these change every day, What are we left with? Everything is permissible but at the same time deeply judged. 

I am left with my best work ahead of me and staring me in the face, and 64 buttons to make and perform a song. And I could do it all with my computer, or my phone, or anything else I have lying around. 

Amazing. 

This will be chopped up into a song at some point!

Being from Austin, and being more electronic, and being more pop, and living in the the world of Americana and big, floppy hats, and being very authentic, things get weird if you let them. I have some low grade anger towards the middling world of Americana. This is not to say that there is stuff that does not rise above, but there is definitely stuff that does not.

I did sound for a show this weekend, and I just didn’t get it. Seemed like an act. So, how do you check that at the door and get to the essence?

Here’s how I’m going to do it.

The new Set-Up

My gig this week will be the first where I finally drop the guitar as a centerpiece along with the sing-songs and push into the shaky frontier of improvisation and electronic. Mixing this with my 80’s-sounding sing-songs.

Will it work gig #1? I don’t know. Going to try. (I am excited about show 3 or 4.) The starting line-up is drafted, and I am going with what’s pictured above. Have some assumptions about the equipment and its ability to hold up.

The Xone mixer is very old, but it’s also very rock-solid. Interface from Ableton to mixer is a bit sketchy. If it all goes to shite I can just play the guitar and sing, so nothing lost there.

I will say this: on the Monday before a Friday show, I am interested to see how it turns out. It could go 1000’s of different ways. That’s really great and inspiring. Hope it’s inspired!

Hope to see a few of you out Friday!