Introducing: GET EXCITED AND MAKE TECHNO!

Our theme.  (Original remix by Matt Jones, here.)

GET EXCITED AND MAKE TECHNO!

Several years ago local DJ / producer / labelrunner / Fractal hosted a series of informal coffee meetups attended by local producers of all skill ranges. From several to many, every month or so people excited about making music would get together, drink coffee (or tea etc), eat cookies, bring works of music in progress to share, and talk about electronic music (including of course, techno). I thoroughly enjoyed all of them, and feel like they definitely helped and inspired me.

And that brings us to now. Over the next 8 weeks, from this Saturday (June 2nd @ Habit) through July we are hosting GET EXCITED AND MAKE TECHNO; a series of discussion, hangouts, & masterclasses. You should come. I hope to bring you stickers.

More info here. Hit me up with any further questions in the comments and I will reply asap.

Sign Up Here! <

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12 Quick Tips to get More out of Soundcloud

While many of us virtually live on Soundcloud, I’ve recently realized through several conversations that a number of people don’t necessarily use it that often unless they are posing a track/mix, or sent there for a download. Personally I thing it’s a very valuable tool to become proficient with. If you take a little time to learn the ins and outs (and make use of it briefly every day or so) you can find an increasing wealth of fresh tracks as well as drive traffic to your own music. This list is by no means exhaustive (email subscribe to Sound Movement for more updates in the future), but it gives a few ideas to get more out of the service, especially if you don’t already frequent it. Here we go:

  1. It may seem obvious, but follow more people to have them show up on your dashboard (the main wall that tracks and comments show up on). You may find it useful to follow the artists that artists you enjoy are following (ie: look at who you follow, follows.)
  2. Search for, and start following relevant groups (ie: search “jungle“), to have their tracks show up on your dashboard. I will sometimes indiscriminately follow a number of groups or artists, then later unfollow those that post unsuitable tracks.
  3. Use “advanced search options“. After you use the search bar in the top right corner of the dashboard, click the “Show advanced search options” and if you like, specify things like genre, tempo, or that “Tracks should be downloadable“…
  4. Search for remixes. Popular new track just drop? Chances are it’s been remixed. Use the advanced option to hunt for edits and bootlegs. (Take this tip with a grain of salt – you will sift through 90% garbage, especially with pop-ier remixes, but may just find a gem hidden among the trash.)
  5. If you regularly play larger gigs with headliners, add your SongKick URL for gig postings that automatically add themselves to your page.
  6. Upgrade your membership and it will allow you to send tracks to more groups you are a part of (easy way to share your music with thousands instantly!!!) Thx to Grasp the Erro on this one.
  7. If you’re going to buy a premium account, use coupons from here and save a couple bucks (%25 off is nothing to sneeze at)
  8. Make checking your dashboard a habit. Seriously. Just take 5 minutes everyday after work or whatever, click on “Incoming Tracks” on your dashboard, and scroll through what’s fresh until you see yesterday’s tracks..
  9. Show some character. Go to Settings > Advanced Profile and in “description”, post a short bio (no one reads more then a paragraph), write something silly or leave an email for bookings. Be sure to add your website and Facebook page, etc. here too.
  10. Comment & favorite more. While I actively discourage you from directly asking other artists to listen to your tracks in their comments, this does not mean that you shouldn’t comment at all. If you like a track, leave a comment or click “add to favorites”. While it is by no means guaranteed that they will check your tracks in return, they are many time more likely to notice you if you do leave a tasteful comment. And you can go back and check your favorites later to see about releases and perhaps download links if you like.
  11. Return the love. If someone leaves a great comment on your track, reply with a thanks.
  12. Just Listen. Bottom right hand of the player? There’s a little icon shaped like a cartoon speech bubble. Click it to turn off comments to be able to scroll through faster and easier on popular tracks. Thx to Outsider on this one.
  13. Oh, and make sure your tracks are properly tagged 😉

Boom! Let us know if any of these work for you, or if you have a tip you’d like to share! Thanks for the comments and reposts.

How Can Transparency Work For You?

To what extent do you feel that you are being transparent, open, sharing your needs and wants with your community?

In this Ted Talk covering rogue wave theory, phase alignments, and collaborations given at TedXVictoria, local venue owner, festival producer, and multimedia enthusiast Jason Guille had much to share in a small amount of time.

One of his points that really stood out for me regarded the importance and value of transparency.

During the talk, Jason presents a chart with data he collected from active community leaders, and goes on to show a direct correlation between awareness of needs and action taken to meet those needs. Watch the video below to get a much clearer idea.

So.. What are you trying to accomplish?

Share it actively with your friends, family, other musicians, members of your community, everyone. Think: how are people supposed to support your outcomes if they don’t know about them?

(Or even better..  also find out what others are trying to do, and help them achieve that. This will increase your own success by a magnitude of 10X, guaranteed.)

Watch the talk here:

What do you think? Leave your thoughts or experiences below:

Value Proposition

value proposition is a promise of value to be delivered and a belief from the customer of value that will be experienced. – wikipedia

This week I came across a post on http://yakezie.com entitled “What Makes Your Website Different?”. The point applies to musicians as well. We live in a world that is growing increasingly connected, and we are up against more and more competition. To be effective building a strong audience, you need to define who exactly it is that you’re trying to get your message to (as a musician this may mean a particular genre or a particular audience) and what exactly makes you worth listening to over the next guy?

The following is a 0-5 rating system borrowed from Marketing Experiments that is in reference to websites, but also directly applies to your music website. Take a moment and think of your website / Soundcloud / Bandcamp, etc. (you have one right?):

0 – No real value proposition (a full-price retail product that can be bought anywhere).
1 – Limited value to a small market. There is extensive competition and/or few barriers to entry.
2 – Substantial value to a medium-sized market. There is limited competition and/or significant barriers to entry.
3 – A product or service with strong product differentiation, but little competitive protection.
4 – A unique product or service that is highly valuable to a large market, and strong competitive protection and/or extensive barriers to entry. This may take the form of a registered patent or limited access to product components.
5 – A unique product or service that is highly valuable to a large market, and exclusive or near-exclusive control of essential product components. This may also include a registered patent.

Take an quick but honest look at your music website and consider:

  • What value are you offering to your audience?
  • Is your music or performance actually different (unique), and can you communicate that clearly?
  • Do you know who it is that you are trying to reach (“market”)?
  • How would you rate your website?

F*ck Inspiration

Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get the work done. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightning to strike you in the brain, you’re not going to make an awful lot of work. – Chuck Close

I’ll share with you one of the most influential paradigm shifts / biggest breakthroughs for productivity (in all areas of my life) in recent years:

Don’t “wait for inspiration” to strike before you start working,

You get inspired by working.

Somehow this seems counter-intuitive. “Wait, shouldn’t I wait till I feel like writing music or creating a mix before I get started?” Simply put, no. Too often we wait idly for lighting to strike before we fire up our sequencer or tables. Of course, when an idea pops into your head, yes run (don’t walk) as fast as you can to get it down tangibly while your juices are flowing. I remember Max Ulis saying at his Producer’s Forum in Vancouver: Do whatever it takes to produce when creativity strikes. But what if you’re not feeling it? Do it anyways.

Honestly? How many great projects or works of art have taken place with no momentum whatsoever? It seems simple, but just going through the motions, regardless of how creative you feel, often provides the spark you needed to get the ball rolling. Here’s just a few ideas for going through the motions, even if you aren’t feeling particularly creative.

  • Going through tutorials (online or in books)
  • Revisiting old projects or tracks in progress
  • Spending time jamming with friends or throwing out ideas
  • Create patches or templates for instruments instead of building tracks
  • Sample, sample, sample whatever you can get your hands on when not writing.

Yes, it’s impossible to force creativity some times, but many times you just might anyways. Or at least, get something productive done in the meanwhile (see above list). Here’s a short list of ideas if you feel stuck.

While by no means am I the most prolific artist, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten incredibly stoked from just producing or practicing even when I didn’t feel like it at first. We’ve all experienced it at some point. Maybe I’m not so into practicing when I first start, but the right combination of tracks just sets me off and sends me in a whole new direction with a set. Yes inspiration is incredibly valuable, but you certainly can’t bank on it. Nike hit the nail on the head. Just do it.

Know ⇨ Like ⇨ Trust

There is a very particular process that building a successful, long term relationship with your audience goes through. If all goes well for you, the process looks like: 

Know ⇨ Like ⇨ Trust 

First someone knows about you,

then they like you (or what you do)

then they trust you (and your work).

It’s virtually impossible for it to go any other way. People can’t like or trust you unless they know you first. And do you think that someone would really trust you if they didn’t like what you are putting into the world?

Lots of musicians simply try to gain exposure (know), but a) don’t have a high quality brand or music (which would enable people to like easier), or b) aren’t consistent enough for people to build trust in their work.

I believe being authentic is at the core of true likability. Don’t bullshit your fans. We live in a different world now. If your act is fake, you will get burned, it’s that simple. Also having a unique and powerfully communicated message (read: sound) is vital. It helps you stand out. But people have to like more that just your music, they have to like you as well.

Trust is a very deep topic to discuss, but for now, it is essential to understand that without trust from your audience, their interest will be short and they will not spread your music in the same way. Consistency is an important factor in the trust equation. Trust is also very easily lost – all it takes is one wrong move.

The process takes time – it doesn’t happen over night. Focus on all three steps for sustainable success.

What do you think? Thank you for all your comments and reposts.

When Do You Do Your Best Work?

When do you do your best work?

Is it in the evening, first thing in the morning with coffee,  after work, 4 in the morning (I know a self employed designer that works like this) or during a full moon? I think it’s important to reflect upon. Save yourself time & get more done.

At a Red Bull info session, I asked Flying Lotus what time of day he wrote his music, and he replied with “in the morning”. Who knew? I believe it had something to do with demands of his living situation, but regardless I thought it was interesting. I would bet that isn’t when most of us do our writing.

Although I am not saying it is the best time for you, I have heard from business success experts such as Tony Schwartz that it is best to do your highest priority tasks earliest in the day. This is apparently because you have the most will power at the start of your day, and it depletes as the day progresses. Makes sense to me, and I certainly find this true with non-music tasks. Weather this applies to music would be interesting to study as well.

Historically, I’ve found that personally I tend to do my best work (in the case of first starting a track) on a Friday night. Ill stay up late until I’m burned out on the thing (for the time being), sleep (refresh my ears), then work on it on and off throughout Saturday and Sunday, then leave it alone for a week. This gives a bit of objectivity on the mixdown and programming. After that time I’ll make necessary tweaks and go play it on a bunch of different systems and in a club, then make final tweaks. This is by no means a perfect process, but it just seems to be how I’ve written most of my music. Sometimes I’ll write with my bud Atma and we’ll start in the morning, then go till around dinner. That works well for collaborations between us.

Most of us have schedules, and thus try to fit in as much music time as our lives allow, so any time is valuable time. But if you do have time available – consider experimenting with when you write or practice performing and investigate the results.

I’ve written previously about some ideas on how to overcome writers block, but I think this is the flip side of the coin. Of course, everyone is different, and may even perform differently day to day, but I think it pays off to find when you are most productive.

  • Be conscious and pay attention to when you work best
  • Consider experimenting with alternate times throughout the day
  • Leave a comment! What works for you?