Wednesday, September 7, 2005

TEKNODROME sets up shop in Steubenville, OH 740

I finally got the new crib in Steubenville! Couldn't take all the partying at the house let alone it lead to no electricity. Fuckin pill-heads. Whatever, I had some fun in there. I feel like I lost some friends though. I'm living above Ed (Thorn) & his girl Briana. Gotta stop fucking around with those hardcore temptations. Stick to Mary Jane! Ed's a better influence, he'll keep me from doing that dumb ish. Glad to have him as a friend!

Friday, August 5, 2005

DIY Methods and Community Still Matter

Being involved in the local indie music community for a several years, I often hear the same complaints from different bands year after year ie "The music industry is corrupted. Nobody will even show a minimal interest in young bands unless they have cash. Your talent, your music and your emotions don't matter at all. You need to hire a manager who will make you a rock star. People still trust what TV and radio feed them. People are not interested in attending indie gigs…", and so on.

Statements like these are so popular that often they sound to me like excuses for not putting in enough effort, or the lack of will to see the wider picture and a lack of willingness to try different ways. At the same time I can't deny all the problems in today's music world. However no problem has ever been solved by just sitting and beefing. Even if it sounds pretentious, it is still true - your life is what you make it. The same applies to your musical career and the only one who can make it work is you.

Recently I watched a documentary by Kenneth Thomas titled "Blood, Sweat and Vinyl: DIY in the 21st Century". Of course it is a must-see movie for all the metalheads and post-rockers, but it's interesting for almost everyone fascinated with music as art, business and industry. Actually this is a story of 3 charismatic and influential labels, each with it's own philosophy, style and ethics. All 3 are founded by musicians and among them there are bands such as ISIS, Neurosis, Godspeed You! Black Emperor. I'm not gonna spoil the plot or turn this article into movie review. Instead i'll just share a couple of things that are proved yet again by this documentary and by the experience of the labels and acts it is dedicated to.

DIY doesn't mean low quality. Each of labels mentioned above are famous for their physical releases. They treat CD and vinyl as art rather than a method of publishing and selling music.

DIY still means a personal and professional approach. In the case of indie labels only those founded and run by people who love and understand this particular kind of music can succeed and satisfy both musicians and listeners.

DIY is about hard work, complete dedication, being honest with yourself and others and loving of everything you are doing. Again, sounds a kinda pretentious but it's still a fact.

Therefore the main outcome of the story is that it's all about a community of like-minded people. Going back to the main point of this article, before blaming the industry, ask yourself what have you done to change things or to make an alternative. I'm not saying that each musician must start his own label, put in all their money and run a label as well as being something of a teacher in elementary school.. as Steve von Till from Neurosis does.

There're a lot of things you can start changing in your local music life right now. Find out who's playing where in your neighbourhood tomorrow night, get your friends, go and see your peers on stage. Talk to them after the show, look at their audience, plan some events together. It's so simple, isn't it? So why not do it regularly? The better your network is the more chances you can change things the way you need.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Another post from...


I'm in probably the nicest Holiday Inn I've ever seen! Chuck (Owens) is on this trip, he's out in the lobby cause he can't stand being "couped up" in the hotel room. Don't tell his girlfriend-- but I think it's cause that hot little broad in the superman shirt! I only think this cause he "hates everyone." We got a shitload of work to do tonight. Hope Jon's having fun in New York-- ass!

Friday, April 15, 2005

Worried post from...

Boston, MA

Been on the road for about a week, worried about being able to pay rent in time. I really don't want to lose that house. 

Thursday, February 10, 2005

10 Hot Tips For Producing Music In Hip-Hop and R&B

When you’re just starting out how to make beats it can be fun and frustrating at the same time. Trust me I was there. But it really is easier then you think. If you’re making a beat here are 10 tips that will get yo stated.

1. Pick a style- Know the style of beat you want to make before you start making it. Like rnb,rap,pop, etc. There have been plenty of beats that I made and could not figure out what style it was.

2. Pick A Major Artist- Think of a known artist that you would want to make the beat for. Like if you chose a style a rap, think now what rap artist do you want to make the beat for. Try to imagine that artist on your beat. This will make your hip hop beat-making experience a whole lot easier.

3. Listen To Their Song- Take a listen to the rap artist you are making the beat for songs. See the style. Get a feel for the kind of hip hop beats the artist raps over.

4. Formatting The Song- Very important. formatting is, the intro, verse, chorus, verse, bridge, etc. That’s all it is but basically you just change the order around however you feel like it. Turn on the radio and see how your favorite artist formats there song. When instruments come in, when they drop out. The most basic form to start with is, 2 or 4 bar intro, 16 bar verse, 8 bar chorus, 16 bar verse, 8bar chorus, 16 bar verse, 8 bars chorus. This is the most basic beat-making song format. This is very common in rap. If you want an even simpler way, you can create an 8 bar loop and keep it the same throughout the whole song. I have seen this done a lot.

5. Laying down the beat- I have learned that for starters, it’s easier to start with the drums. Kick, Snare, Hi hat, are always a good start. Record a pattern for four bars with those first. Then layer that with maybe some toms, cow-bell, symbols, etc. Whatever you want to use. THE DRUMS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT IN MAKING HIP HOP BEATS! Your drums must hit and hit HARD. The best way to get your drums hitting hard is by not using “pitty pat” free kits you downloaded from the internet for free. If your drums are weak, then your beat is going to be weak.

6. Laying Down A Melody- This is where most hip hop beat-makers have the most trouble. Because most eat makers can’t play the keys. For starters, you might want to learn basic keyboard skills. The major thing you need to learn are, major and minor scales. After you learn that, try and do different combinations and patterns with the drum beat you have made. Use an instrument like, a lead guitar, horns, clav, something that will stand out. Your melody can be however you want it, but for starters, you could do a 4 bar melody, or an 8 bar melody.

7. Layering The Beat- What is done a lot in beat making is layering. If you have your whole beat finished. You can go and make it sound bigger by layering. All you do is fill in some gaps, do the same pattern you did with one instrument with another instrument. Do this throughout your beat. This will make you beat sound a lot fatter.

8. Pan- Panning is basically having an instrument all the way to the right, all the way to the left, and anywhere in between. You pan for all kinds of different reasons. It gives each track its own little space in the stereo field. There are no rules for panning, put you have to do it. So just try it out and see what you like best.

9. The Mixdown- Very important! Very Important! Very Important! If you have a poor mix on your beat, then you have pretty much wasted your time. When mixing a beat, start with each track individually. Solo each track and make sure it sounds good by itself. EQ it if you have to, but if each track sounds good by itself, the whole beat will sound that much better. DO NOT DISTORT! If your master levels are in the red before you bounce to disc or .mp3, your distorting. Don’t worry about if its not loud enough. You never ever ever want to distort. If you are distorting, check any instrument that has boom or low end, Like a kick, bass, sub, etc. these tend to distort more often.

10. The Bounce- Now that you made you’re beat, Its the hottest hip hop beat ever, you want to put it on cd or upload it to the internet. When you’re exporting a beat for cd, Use .wav file. 44.1 16bit. If you want to upload to the internet use, 320kbps (the highest .mp3 quality) or 128kbps. Most websites wont accept 320kbps because the file size is too big. So go with 128kbps.

These are all just guidelines to help you get started. There are millions of ways to make a beat, But this is just to help you get your feet wet if you don’t know where to start.

Saturday, January 22, 2005




Wednesday, January 5, 2005

A Music Producers Job: The Breakdown

A music producer's job has many facets.  He does everything from making the beat, to arrange, compose and even helps song write tracks.  He will work the the sound engineer who will help with the technical aspects of the recording process. Some engineers are also producers.  Coaching and directing vocalists are also functions of the music producer. You also act as a middle man between the artist and the label, finding a happy medium for everyone involved.

Producers make anywhere from $50 to $500,000 a track.  He is also in charge of the creative mix.  If you're a new and up and coming producer, most will suggest that you start doing work free just to get your name out.  You can also bring on some artist yourself, blow them up, then everyone will be asking who produced those tracks. There is definitely a lot of money to be made if you have enough perseverance and talent.

A producer should be enthusiastic about music and the artist.  One who is an expert in the genre that they work in. You should be able to give constructive criticism, and develop an honest and successful relationship with the artist. Who you know is everything in the industry.