Music Review | Never Look Back / Words

Music Review | Never Look Back / Words

Music can be a great way to convey emotion. PSy' Aviah has found a way to capture the idea and portray it through music. The album cover is a perfect representation of where the music is going to take you. Deep electronic rhythms resonate throughout this enigmatic music and transport the mind to another dimension of emotion.

Music Review | Dirty Tricks | I Feel Remix

New Music Monday is here and I'm moving all my reviews over to this blog address. I've got a good one for you today. Dirty Tricks has released a new remix featuring Sophia Stutchbury for the track, "I Feel." Go to my soundcloud.com page and listen to their music in my NEW MUSIC playlist.

The fusion of EDM, House, Hip Hop, Rap, and Symphonic Trance are all present in this new creation from the musicians that are creating waves in the industry. You will come across the enticing sounds of Dirty Tricks before long and you can get them in your digital sound library now.

Sophia's voice is angelic. The music has a rhythm that will get your hips in motion and bring you to a higher mental state. Music is the elixir that fuels the soul and this track has all the right ingredients to get you motivated to keep soaring.

Music Review | Red Martian "Ghost into the Fog"

Beatles & vintage rock enthusiasts get excited for the new album from Red Martian. The 13th commercial release from the band has finally arrived and is a masterpiece of modern recording while retaining the classic sound of the past decades of music. The new album, Ghost into the Fog, is a collection of songs that draws the ear in closer to the music as the album progresses. With the mesmerizing vocals that are reminiscent of the iconic band Oasis from the 90's, this album has a sound that will appeal to fans from all music genres.

The saturation of the guitars ranges from the grunge era of the early 90's to the modern contemporary rock sound of bands breaking ground in the music industry today. Yet, there is a dreamy tone to the melody of the music that brings back memories of the early days in the Beatles music. If you're a fan of the Beatles or the early 60's & 70's pop rock era and you've never heard of Red Martian, then you're in for a treat! This is a band that you can add to your music collection and fall in love with their songs just as you have with the music that you've known and heard for many years. The music has energy and will have you tapping your feet to the beat. Then they slow it down and sooth you with mellow tunes that will let you drift away in to a state of relaxation and contemplation.

Ghost into the Fog is an album that will be a nice addition to any music lover's collection. The band enjoyed working with the well-known producer, Gordon Raphael. Whom has produced bands like Strokes, Regina Spektor, & Sky Cries Mary just to name a few. You'll immediately hear the care and quality that went into every step of the recording process to make the album timeless and cherished by all that hear it's music. Take a moment to treat your ears to the sound of Red Martian, there's a song on the album that will resonate with you. 

Red Martian | Tracking in the Studio

album produced by Gordon Raphael

1/2" tape recorder

Red Martian | In the Studio

5 Steps to Getting Your Music Licensed | Step 5

Now that you've done a load of leg work to get your music out in the public and build a strong web presence, you need to focus on your fans. Gathering fans is like a wildfire, it can spread quickly or burn out in the blink of an eye. You need to keep your fans engaged in what you're doing as a band. This requires some attention to your social media content and the pace at which you release music and music videos.

Be sure to announce when you are going to release music and videos. Just as you would promote a show, you need to promote your music releases. Record Labels and licensing firms like to see that you are supplementing your hard work with an effort to reach out to the public and let them know about what you've been doing. Get in the habit of taking photos at band rehearsal and at recording studios. Post them on your social media and keep your fans engaged in every step of the process that you're taking to compose and create music. When you have a consistent following, it will grow and spread like a wildfire throughout social media. If there is a buzz about your band, then people will hear about you and at least get some exposure to you and your music. If you think your music is just that good and people will find you anyway, you're in for a rude awakening.

5 Steps to Getting Your Music Licensed | Step 4

Now that you have created a web presence, you need to get into the public eye. Promoting your website and your music starts with good press. Find someone who will write a professional press release for you and your music. The press release should exemplify the unique qualities of your band and music. Focus should be on the sound and style of the music to draw in readers. To draw attention to the music, draw ties to influences and similar artists. Just keep it short. About 300 words is all the attention a reader will give a press release, so get to the point.

Be smart about it and provide contact info and links back to your website. Possibly set up a show that the press release directs readers to attend. Break into the music scene with some gusto. Maybe throw a house party and play in your backyard or garage. Get a keg and invite folks over. People may not be familiar with your music, so it's a good idea to turn the event into a party.

5 Steps to Getting Your Music Licensed | Step 3

 The New Position | Hard Rock

The New Position | Hard Rock

You should have a good song and a well produced recording of the music at this point. Now we need to wrap it up and present it to the world. This is where your creative ideas can come to life. Get a few good photographs of yourself that exemplify the attitude and image that you want to associate with your music. This is really half of the success of your music and career in the music industry. You need to be able to captivate the listener and get them to feel the emotion that is embedded in the music. Record labels and movie producers will take you seriously if you appear to believe in your own music, so you need to create an image that they can market with the music.

You don't have to go way over the top like Lady Gaga or Marilyn Manson, but it is very obvious that they succeeded in the music industry because their music was good and they had an image that captivated people's attention. I don't think either of them would have been such a success story if they took photos in jeans and t-shirt hanging out in their backyard. Now you don't have to get crazy with the editing in Photoshop, but I'd suggest that you hire a professional photographer and get some shots that have good lighting and are framed with an interesting background. Black and white photos are always classy and have a sense of professionalism to them. That's why so many band photos are black and white that accompany a press kit.

Once you have a few good photos, you need to get some sort of web presence. You can get a free band account on many different websites. I'd highly recommend one that offers licensing opportunities. There are a bunch to choose from, but I'd suggest starting with sonicbids.com or musicclout.com. Both of these sites allow you to upload music and create an artist profile. If you have about $10 to spare per month, I'd highly recommend you build your own website and have control over the design and look of your online presence. You can easily build your own custom site with squarespace.com or wix.com for about $10/mo. Check out some of the websites built by our studio clients: The New Position & Justin Fawsitt. Both of these sites were constructed by the musicians and only took a few moments to setup and live on the web.

This is a step that you cannot afford to overlook. You need to believe in your music and developing your image will be the foundation for the career you are going to build. Just as you got feedback from your friends and family for your music, you should also get feedback on your image. If you want to accelerate your career, hire a producer that has experience in developing musicians in the public eye.

5 Steps to Getting Your Music Licensed | Step 2

Now that you have chosen the best song to market, you need to prepare it for presentation. This next step is definitely the most important, it's time to record your music. The "sound" of your music will be the foundation of your marketing campaign. So this is where you need to slow down and evaluate the best option for moving forward. You need to invest and believe in your music, so you need a quality recording with a producer that shares your vision. Cutting corners on recording your music will hinder the success of your efforts and only wind up costing you more money in the long run.

The main focus is to get a high quality recording to exemplify the ingenuity of your musical abilities. To achieve this, you need to make sure that you're recording is done right the first time. Saving a few bucks on a unprofessional recording will only add to the cost that you'll wind up investing when you go to a professional studio and get a higher quality recording. If you want to be the best at what you do, then you need to work with professionals who can give you top quality production. Project / budget studios are great for demos and hashing out ideas, but when it comes to making the final recording, you need to invest in quality. You will only get one chance to make an impression, so there is no time to waste on mediocre sound.

When you spend all your time trying to get licensed, the music has to be spectacular. If the recording is sub-par, it will reflect poorly on the content of your music. A good engineer / producer will have the skills and knowledge to ensure your music pops! Choose a studio with a proven track record and an engineer that has serious interest in your music. A good engineer will encourage you and support you along the way. Getting guidance from someone who has experience in the industry is a wise choice. This will help you avoid common pit-falls an maximize the efficiency of your production time.

Stay tuned for step 3. We'll cover the advantages of preparation and time management.

5 steps to getting your music licensed | Step 1

You want the world to hear your music. Thus, you need to get it licensed in a movie or TV show that reaches a large audience. This is the best way to get recognition and propel your music career into a full-time job with a stable income. Over the next five days I'm going to give you some insight into how you can go about getting your music licensed.

Step one: picking the right song to market to record labels and producers. It's good to have an arsenal of songs to choose from, but you need to focus on pushing one song. How do you choose the right song to market? Easy, ask your friends, family, and fans which song is their favorite. This simple poll will give you all the insight you need to make the choice. You can post a survey through email or your website and use the data to narrow down your most popular song.

It's crucial to let your fans make the choice because this is a sample pool of the potential listers that will hear your music. This is something that a marketing rep looks for when choosing music to license. Music in a movie or a TV show can be pivotal in the success of the production and popularity in the public eye. If the music is popular on its own, then it already has established success. This is a big deal to producers.

Once you have made the choice, it is important to make sure the song is ready for submitting to licensing opportunities. We'll cover this in the next posting. Please leave any questions or comments below.

How to book the right venue

Playing concerts is what we all love to do. Playing to empty rooms is never fun. Here are a few tips on how to get more people at your shows.

First, do a little bit of research on the venue that you want to play. Does the venue have a history of hosting musicians or music similar to the music you play? It is a good idea to go and see a show at any venue that you're considering before you book your own show at that venue. If you have a chance to talk to one of the bandmembers it's playing at the show, ask them questions like how easy it was to book the show and how much fun they had performing there. Gather as much information as you can about the venue before you even start to talk to the booking agent for the venue. Once you have a good idea of whether or not you want to book the show at a certain venue, that is when you contact the booking agent. You want to speak with them confidently about performing at their venue. Book a show far enough in advance so that you have time to do adequate advertising. You want people to come to your show so you need to give them time to plan on being at the show for the date that you are about to book. Most folks have plans for about 2 to 3 weeks in advance on weekends, which is probably the best night for you to try to book a show.

Next comes the hard part. You need to find a way to get people interested and aware that you were playing a show. Don't rely on the venue to do all the promotion for your show. You need to get out there and do some good old legwork and word-of-mouth promotion for your show. Get some posters made and find good places to put them up so they will be visible and draw people in to putting your show on their calendar. Just a little bit of good advertising and promotion will bring probably 10 to 15 folks to your show.if you get more that's awesome. However playing a show for a few people or a lot of people shouldn't matter or affect your performance. Even if one person comes to your show, put on the best show of your career.

Building a Home Studio | Top 10 Microphones

Thinking about getting a microphone to start or build on your home recording studio? Here are 10 mics you should consider. Ranging from Dynamic to USB mics that are great for singing or podcasting.

Building a Home Studio | Part 2

PC or Mac, this is the ultimate question. If you're unsure of which one to get, you can always get a Mac and install parallels to run both platforms. A PC will ultimately be a little more affordable and have multiple options for a decent DAW.

I have personally had both computers and over the years have settled on a Mac. I started with a G4, then moved to a G5, and now I currently use a Mac Pro. If you're going to run a ProTools HD system, you'll need a computer that can handle PCIe cards. You can buy a chassis to house the PCIe cards, but then that is one more cable and device on your desk.

Be sure to get a computer with a fast processor and at least 8 GB of RAM. The i5 & i7 processors are excellent options for audio production. If you're not quite sure what to choose, call a specialist. I work directly with Joseph Secu at Sweetwater.com (800) 222-4700 x1232.

Also be sure to get a good monitor. With all the mainstream TVs having the ability to connect via HDMI or VGA ports you can have a large selection of monitors to choose from. Being able to see what you're working on is very important. You're going to be staring at this computer screen for hours on end, so it would be a good idea to invest in a screen that doesn't strain your eyes.

Tomorrow we'll cover microphones.

Building a home studio | Part 1

Starting a home studio can be confusing at times. There's so much information on the web that you don't know where to start. Here are a few helpful tips on how to get your studio going.

Start with a budget. Stick to the budget. You're not going to build a world-class studio overnight. It takes time to develop a feel for how a studio operates. Buy affordable gear at first to determine if you have the talent and stamina to run a studio. Running a studio is a full-time job and will consume all of your free time. So it's best not to invest all your money into the studio up front.

Get a decent interface. One that has a few mic preamps and some routing options. As you grow, you can upgrade your interface. There are so many options, but you can find used Digidesign 192 HD interfaces on eBay for about $500. Start with one of these if you can afford the system setup. If you're on a tighter budget, I recommend an interface that has been modified by Black Lion Audio. They offer superior A/D conversion and at a price that won't break the bank.

This will be the core of your studio, so spend a little bit of time researching what will work best for you. A good computer is also vital and there are many PC & Mac options. We'll get into that tomorrow.

Internship Dos and Don'ts

I respond to internship requests on a daily basis. Many of the requests are one-sided and offer no benefit to the studio. Here's the deal, an internship is beneficial to both the studio and the intern. If you want to intern at a studio, you have to possess some sort of value to the progress of the studio. The studio is going to give you experience and education so you can be a competent member of the industry. If you have nothing to give back, you'll never get an internship.

Before you go and start pestering studios, you need to do a little prep work. Start with reading a few books on Pro Tools and recording principles. You can read books on many different topics and learn quite a bit about the industry at your own pace. Educating yourself adds so much worth to your assistance in the studio. Once you know the difference between XLR & AES cables, you will move quickly through patching and studio setup.

Buy some gear and do some home recordings. Get a little bit of experience with using a DAW and play around with the settings. If you want to learn Pro Tools, go to www.avid.com and sign up to receive Pro Tools First. It's a free version of Pro Tools that will get you started. Most professional studios use Pro Tools HD, so there will be a slight learning curve, but getting familiar with the fundamentals is important.

Watch a few videos on YouTube and ask some questions in forums. Do not show up to the studio with a bunch of questions. When you're in the studio, just observe! You're there to learn and the engineer is there to work. If clients are on the studio, keep your yapper shut. If someone asks you a question, answer them, but that should be the only time you speak.

If you do have questions during a session, write them down and save them for after the client's session. It all boils down to manners and common courtesy. You need experience and that is what you should absorb. Being in the room while a session is happening is chalk full of experience. Pay attention to how the engineer conducts the session. Keep track of how many takes are recorded and how they're recorded. When the session is over, start to help with the break down. Ask the musicians if they want help loading their gear. Be helpful and it will be rewarded.

Music Review | Warme

  • Artist: WARME
  • Track: Council House Opera

Rock n' Roll is alive and kicking! The Brit Indie Rockers 'WARME' are building back the iconic empire or the classic rock that fueled the music industry through the last century. The single "Council House Opera" has a familiar sound that was reminiscent of some of the most memorable bands from the '90s. Tones of BUSH, The VERVE, & SOUL ASYLUM are evident in the heart-pounding rock of WARME.

The music industry has been over saturated with so many musicians that it has become more and more difficult to discover new music that needs to be heard. WARME is one of the bands that will rise to the top with the music that grips your soul and takes you for a ride. Council House Opera was written by the band's lead singer, Lee, and has lyrics that relate to the band's real life struggles. Lyrics that relate to everyone on some level and point to the realities of our modern society.  WARME is a band for any rock enthusiast and should be on a stage near you in the near future.

The Art of Mixing

I've recently had a few clients come record at the studio with no experience on how to approach mixing. Taking the time to record good tracks is extremely important, but mixing those tracks is also vital to the sound. Mixing is an art form that can take years to develop for an audio engineer. As a musician, you should respect the experience and creativity that your engineer puts into mixing your music. When you find an engineer that likes to think outside of the box, consider your music blessed that it will not have a canned sound and will benefit from the artistic vision of a passionate mind.

Taking the proper amount of time to mix is subjective based on the outcome the artist has in mind and would strive to achieve. A 10 minute mix can yield good results and a 10 hour mix can be remarkable. The time it takes to mix can depend on so many different factors and becomes virtually impossible to determine. Try to take momentary pauses in the mixing process to step back and analyze the current state of the mix. These moments of review give you bearing on where the mix is going and how far it still needs to go. The finish line is vague and it may not be apparent when crossed if you don't take a moment to pause and reflect.

Music is so unique and recording situations change constantly. There is no way to determine how long it will take to mix a song before it is completely recorded. The mics and gear used in recording fluctuate on various levels from session to session. The number of tracks to mix may vary based on what the producer has in mind for the final mix. Recreating the same mix from session to session is possible, but very rarely duplicated. It's the subtle changes that make each mix unique. The initial approach toward the mix is the foundation as to what direction the music will go.

Where do you start? Do you start with the drums and percussion? Do you start with the vocals and build the music around them? There is no right or wrong answer to these questions. The art is the creativity that you bring to the mixing desk. You can do the same approach every time and always get different results. The plugins and out board gear may change from mix to mix or you may use a template. There is no guarantee that the sound you have in mind at the start of mixing will be the sound at the end of mixing. This is a good thing because you will craft a different sound from song to song. If every recording had the same mix, the music of the world would not be as interesting as it is today.

Dedicating a fixed amount of time to a project has some detriment to the project. A mix is finished when it sounds finished. It could happen in 10 minutes or 10 days, but you have to let your ears be the judge of when a mix is complete. An unfinished mix will leave a bad taste in your mouth. Budget for enough time to finish a mix and then be pleasantly surprised when the work gets done early. Expecting quick results almost always leads to disappointment.

Allow the mix to be artful and you will be rewarded with satisfaction. The final mix is your legacy, so don't limit your mark on musical history with an unfinished mix. Legendary recordings were all mixed with passion and time. When you craft the mix just right, it will be played over and over until the end of time.

Choosing the right audio engineer

Not all audio engineers are the same. Some specialize in a particular field of audio production. Others focus their skills on a certain genre of music. Choosing the right engineer is a very important part of your album. The right engineer will produce your music and essentially become a member of the band. Without the right engineer, your recordings will fall on deaf ears.

How do you choose the right engineer?
Start by talking to a few different engineers. You can tell a whole lot about a person just by having a simple conversation. Talk about your music and the vision you have for the finished recordings. Talk about things that interest you and find out if you share any common interests. You don't have to be good friends with the engineer, but you should at least get along. You will be spending many hours in the studio with the engineer and you need to make sure that you will be productive. So before you spend hours on end with an engineer working on your music, make sure you can see eye to eye on the vision of the project.

A good way to gauge an engineer's potential is to listen to some of their past recordings and projects. Any professional engineer will have a few examples of their work out on the internet. If you like what you hear, then you will be happy with what the engineer can do for your music. The engineer doesn't necessarily need to be an expert in the genre of music you prefer. Some of the best albums have come from an engineer that specializes in a completely different genre of music. Sometimes a fresh set of ears on the project is the key to success.

Getting the most out of your studio session

Many bands come to Shine On with no prior studio experience, so here are a few tips for using studio time efficiently.

First and most importantly, be prepared to spend time working on recording & mixing. Spending all your time on recording will leave you with unfinished tracks. A good engineer will record decent raw tracks, but they will still need to be mixed. The amount of time it takes to mix a track can vary, but a good rule to follow is at least 1 hour of mixing for each recorded minute. So a 4 minute song can take 4 hours to mix. If you want to get technical about the mix, plan more time. Better to over-estimate than run out of time with half-mixed tracks.

Second, show up on time. Time is the primary factor for how your session moves along. Showing up late to a session is the same as giving away money. Don't expect an engineer to stay late cause you showed up late. It's called an appointment and that means everyone has agreed to meet at a specific time.

Third, make sure your gear is in good condition to record. Tune, replace strings, bring spare everything, and always plan for the worst-case scenario. It doesn't happen often, but I've had sessions where the tubes in the amp burn out. Think of everything because this rolls back to the time factor. Running to Guitar Center in the middle of your session is waste of time and money. Don't expect the studio to put your session on hold while you run errands.

If you plan ahead and prepare for your session, you'll walk away with great recordings that sound professional.

Music Review | Third Thought

Old school punk, folk, & rock fans, you have some new music to get excited about. Third Thought is a band from Fremont, OH that has been inspired by some of the greatest musicians of all time like the Beatles, The Who, The Replacements, The Clash, Alice in Chains, & System of a Down, just to name a few. Third Thought is the songwriting platform for singer-songwriter/guitarist Matt Ingles. Mat has been playing guitar and writing songs since the age of 14. Matt has always been heavily influenced by various genres of rock and music in general ranging from Thrash Metal to 60s pop, and anything else he finds interesting, passionate, and composed uniquely.

The band is currently mixing their debut album, Speaking Vibes, and should be available in the very near future. Gentlemans Curse Lifted is the debut track from the album and it has tones that remind me of Marcy Playground's "Sex and Candy" with just a touch of influence from the alternative punk scene that was raging in the late '90s. The raw vocal sound is the first thing that grips you and draws you into the music. The musical composition is accustomed to having that rock edge with the dial pulled back ever so slightly to the folk sound of the industry. Fans of WEEN will be overjoyed that the guitar solo has moments that will take you back to the days of Chocolate and Cheese. Definitely a band you should take a moment to hear and find out if you've just found your new favorite band.

3 ways to avoid ending your music career

Getting excited about your music is a great feeling. Everyday I work with musicians that are motivated and driven to compose and create new music. I see first hand the creative process that goes into the labor intensive tasks of developing ideas into new songs. Many musicians start sending out info on social media while they are still amidst the recoding session in the studio. Some leak videos and audio recordings of the music before the recording session is complete. Though you may be excited and eager to share your excitement with the world, you have to stay focused and maintain a professional attitude. No one will take you seriously unless you have some element of intrigue.

When you prematurely release media and info your image and reputation becomes amateur. My years working with CMJ, Live 105, and Shine On Studio have given me ample opportunity to work with some of the most accomplished and successful musicians in the music industry. Let me share a few ways you can avoid ending your music career.

1. The element of intrigue
It is a good idea to engage your fans and followers on social media, but don't over-saturate your feed with mundane info. If you tell everyone everything you do, then there is no mystery about you. When this happens, people loose interest in what you're doing. Then when you finally have something special to share, it gets over-looked and has no impact on the world. Cut back on talking about yourself and sharing every moment of your life. If you must engage the social media, talk and comment about what other people are doing.

2. Rough drafts are not public
When you leave the studio with rough draft mixes, take them home and review them. That is the purpose of a rough draft! These mixes should not be posted on your website or social media. When you release unfinished work, your reputation and image are permanently scarred. Listeners don't care that you label the track "rough mix" or that you will be making changes to the mix later. They just absorb what they hear and immediately decide if they will follow or forget you...forever. You should always strive to put your best work forward and impress the world with your musical talent. First impressions are vital to success in the overcrowded modern music industry. Wait for the final mix to be finished and then release all of the tracks at one time for the best impression you can make on the music community.

3. Keep you personal & professional lives separate
As an entertainer, you must constantly entertain. Sharing your personal life with the public does not bode well for your professional career. The moment that the public does not view you as a unique individual in the entertainment industry is the moment when you lose all credibility. You must stay focused and keep all your public interactions on a high level of professionalism. Separate your social media and keep your personal life private for your friends and family. The public likes entertaining distractions, so be their entertainment with your music.

These few guidelines can lead to the foundation of a successful or unsuccessful music career. It takes a great deal of effort to maintain a professional music career. Think about what you do before you actually do it. Ask your friends and family for feedback before you present yourself to the world. Hire a producer that you respect or that has a good reputation. Hire a manager or a publicist to maintain your public image. These are things that professional musicians do and they are successful. You get out of it what you put into it, so be aware of what you're putting in.