Hello fans! I hope you are doing well! I am not dropping a new track yet, I have a few tracks that I’m working with but I’m not sure if any of them will make it on the album or even how many tracks I want to place on this album. I’m trying to pick the ones that really speak to me and fit the overall theme of the album. There’s also that pesky challenge of deciding if I want to make a title track and if so, what it would be like. I’m still debating all those things as I work towards producing the rest of my album.
In the meantime, I confess that I have become more and more addicted to YouTube videos. I remember a time when YouTube was basically a dumping ground for whatever random video blog or stupid antics someone wanted to show the world. It’s only been in the past 5 years or so that I have noticed an increasingly higher percentage of quality content made from thinkers and people who are not afraid to argue with the status quo. But, if you’re not a dinosaur, you probably already know that.
So why am I bringing this up? Well, because I wanted to share a gem on YouTube that I found and since I know that there is so much content on YouTube that even if all new uploads were to cease (they won’t), it would still take you 60,000 years or more of non-stop watching to watch every video on YouTube at the time new uploads ceased (Quora.com). Because of that number, there is a very good chance that you may not find this video that I found. However, I think it is a fantastic explanation of the popular music scene.
This video, friends, is why I am not upset that I’m not a ‘popular’ musician. While I’d certainly love to make more money with the music I have made so that I can afford to work on music more directly, I’m also not about to try and mold myself to fit a particular niche in the world of popular music. I create what I create because I feel like I am driven to create it and that I should share it in case anyone else would like to hear it. While I certainly draw some inspiration from modern styles of music, they do not define my music. I create the things that I enjoy listening to and hope that everyone else will enjoy listening to it as well. I hope you found this information at least somewhat useful.
Hey fans! I had a realization yesterday – Kansas City, MO (KCMo as we call it), my new home, has an amazingly rich musical history. I know, as a musician you’d think I research this stuff before I moved but – well, life happened. Anyway, yesterday I was just curious about the artwork atop the Kauffman Convention Center (they are these four pillars that look like cudgels on top of smoke stacks) so I did some research. This ultimately threw me into a great series of articles on the history of KCMo and – it’s music. I feel like an idiot for not knowing these things:
- Kansas City, MO is considered the birthplace for American Jazz. Now, to my credit I’m not a jazz aficionado but I am a music history buff so you’d think I know.
- The 18th and Vine area, not far away from the downtown core, is considered the Jazz Holy Land and also hosts the Blue Room which launched MANY well known acts.
- A few singers from here made it very big over time. Of my generation of music – Puddle of Mudd started here, so did Melissa Etheridge. Even Eminem spent a few years in St. Joseph, MO on the eastern edge of the KCMo metro area.
- One other very well known act from my history – Tech N9ne – is from this area and I had no idea!
As a random bit of fun, you will recall that I wrote Street Fire after visiting a certain neighborhood in KCMo and feeling the energy there. It turns out that this neighborhood is only a few miles away from 18th and Vine. Perhaps that is part of why the energy was so strong there. Whatever the case may be, I am enjoying a city that has a culture of music and I can’t wait to learn more about it when the time allows.
If you’re bored, here is a list of tracks that I think you’ll like from KCMo folks:
- Tech N9ne – Hood Go Crazy
- Vedera – Satisfy
- The Get-Up Kids – Ten Minutes
- Blackpool Lights – It’s Never About What It’s About
- CES/Cru – Seven Chakras
- Mac Lethal – Angel of Death (feat. Tech N9ne)
- The Casket Lottery – Code Red
- Coalesce – Blue Collar Lullaby
- Skatterman and Snug Brim – On My Feet
- The Gadjits – Beautiful Girl
- Krizz Kaliko – Girls Like That
- The Life and Times – Coat of Arms
- Flee the Seen – I’ll Be Back on Sunday
- Shiner – The Truth About Cows
- Reggie and the Full Effect – Congratulations Smack + Katy
- The Rainmakers – Let My People Go-Go
- Republic Tigers – Sinkin’ Annie Down, Down, Down, Down
- Solé – 4,5,6
- The Elders – Men of Erin
- Kutt Calhoun – I Been Dope (feat. Tech N9ne)
Maybe this will help catalyze my music production! I guess only time will tell!
Hello fans, it’s been a very long time since I have provided you any updates. I’m sorry about that, but life has been very busy. As of March, I took a new job and moved my family to a new city in the Midwest USA. This has been a challenging transition to say the least. I have already talked about it at length on my personal Facebook and on my spiritual blog so I won’t go into it here. But, it does at least explain why you have not heard anything from me.
I do have a much more spacious office and studio space in my new home as the basement is finished and offers lots of space that is not currently needed for other purposes. I have already setup my mixer deck, my speakers, mic, and a few other peripherals. I also have done a few solid tests for acoustics. Will this translate into new music? Maybe so or maybe not.
I am still working on the new album and trying to focus on the new, more techno-focused sound. If you’ve followed my blog you’ll know that I have dropped 4 songs so far. I usually try to put 7-9 songs on each EP that I create. I have never officially released my “Space Jingle” Christmas song on an album so if I include that, it would be 5 songs. However, if I’m going to include Boom Room on the album, I am likely to have some legal hurdles since a few other artists have already used the same pad setup to make different songs and copyrighted them (or so YouTube and SoundCloud seem to think). I don’t have the financial means or desire to take on a possibly lengthy lawsuit so I may have to drop Boom Room from the album entirely. If so, I’m back down to 4 songs with Space Jingle. That means I need at least 3 other songs to round out the EP. I certainly have a few projects that I could turn into songs and I very well may do just that. But I never just throw a song together that might be good and put it on an album to fill up space, that’s not my approach at all.
Each track I include on an album is one of the many I have written and ultimately decided was worth the release. So writing 3 solid songs is going to depend a great deal on my time to work in the studio and the right amount of creative indulgence applied to those works. If the creative juices strike me, it may be just enough to take one of the many projects I have and turn it into a real song, or it may be a totally new project that just fits when I write it. Or, it could be any mixture of those two. So I don’t intend to rush this as the more rush, the lower quality the music I produce tends to be. As I write new stuff worth mentioning, I will share it to those who follow me.
Meanwhile, I am focusing my attention on getting my life in order after the move. I am also working on getting my oldest son a set of electronic drums the he can use because he seems to have some untapped talent in this field (at least if his rhythmic drumming on overturned laundry baskets, pans, and darn near any other surface he can get his hands on has anything to say about it). I took the kid to a music store about a year ago and they had an electronic set with headphones. He put them on and spent the greater part of 30 minutes drumming all over the place. If I can reasonably afford to buy him a set and hook it up to the studio, you can imagine the fun we could have. Imagine if one of the tracks on my new EP had a drum fill courtesy of my child or even an entire rhythmic section. As an artist, it’s my duty to foster other artists, that duty is increased one-hundred fold when the other artist happens to be my child.
Stay tuned! DJ6i out!
It’s the first of the year which means it is time for my usual yearly post. It is honestly pretty strange to see that it’s been over a year since I released any music. I want to do much more but I simply have not had a good time to do it. I have worked on a few pieces of music in the studio but most of it was just cleaning up some old tracks. Sadly, I don’t think much will change soon.
I am not calling it quits as an electronic musician, or as any kind of musician. I am not really on a hiatus either. Rather, I am just trying to get myself to a point in life where I can enjoy writing music again without feeling like what I produce is just “so-so”. It’s also hard to encourage myself to continue dropping new stuff when I rarely even see an uptick in the world listening to what I have already produced.
Of all these things, I am chiefly considering how I view my place as an artist. I love writing music of many kinds. I focused a lot on heavier dubstep because I listen to it and feel the desire in my heart to make more of it. But when it comes down to it, I am not sure if my music really counts as dubstep or any genre for that matter. I am pondering changing focus to more atmospheric/downtempo music that will serve as good background music for other videos or perhaps even some chiptunes.
Even so, my artistic drive is considerably minimal right now and the fact that my time is limited as well only serves to make my production of music take a backseat. As I get around to releasing new music, you guys will hear about it here but it may be different than what I have done in the past. I want this season of my life to end soon and allow me to return to a more creative place but it is simply not there right now.
It’s been a very eventful few months in my household. As many of you know, I moved to a new house in September which gave me much more space for my studio, something I have never really had that much opportunity with before. The studio is so large that I can have my full wrap around desk with three sections, two bookshelves and my printer setup and still have enough space to setup three or four chairs to have some musicians play. Now, I cannot setup a full trap set or anything but if I needed that, that’s what the storage shed is for – it does have electricity, heating and insulation after all. But alas, my studio has not been very busy in the past few months.
Now, I should state that my Studio Mac itself and the three screens have been VERY active, just not the actual studio. Because of the fact that I have been teaching online Masters classes for two consecutive terms (with more to come), the studio Mac is the only full blown workstation I have at my disposal that allows multiple monitors. As a result, I have been spending a great deal of time in my studio but only to use the computer to grade papers. Sure, I have fired up the studio to show some friends how powerful the sound system is, played some music for my kids and friends, and watched a few movies in there, but I have not made a lot of new music.
This is not to say that I am quitting or retiring, no. Simply put, the music I make is a hobby for me and that hobby is something that I only do when time allows. For the past few months, I have simply not had time to do much. The main reason is that the recent patch of sickness that passed through my house caused me to be set back several weeks in grading papers for my online teaching job. I am finally done with that until the middle of January, but even that afforded me little time to work on music. I DID touch up my revision of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” that I intended to use as my Christmas song for 2015 only to find that I simply wasn’t going the same direction on it that I had been when I started it several months ago. I attempted to work on a remix of “The First Noel” to release instead, it was a short song and didn’t have as much complexity in the chords as the others, but I ended up running out of time to work on it because my time had to go to grading papers.
As a result, things have been very boring for my music persona as of late. I firmly believe that I am one of the most boring Twitter artists ever as I would get new followers in waves that would stay on my page for a few months only to vanish shortly thereafter when I did not post much. That’s okay, I was never in this for the fame. 🙂 However, it is cool to see what many other artists I follow are doing and in a few rare cases, being able to interact with them. I was totally stoked when I responded to a tweet from SchoolBoy about being in the ER and he ACTUALLY responded to me. Sure, he may not be as well known as someone like Skrillex or Zomboy, but he has droves of fans and has worked with some big name artists and chose to interact with me. That’s pretty cool in my book!
What does the future hold? I don’t really know. I have a number of ideas to flesh out and even some songs to finish. The main issue is just finding the right mixture of time and drive to put some new stuff down. Until I do, stay tuned!
Hey there everybody, it’s been a few weeks since the family and I moved out to the country. I had expected that I would have the updated studio put together by now, but I simply had too many other things to unpack and/or do that I didn’t get to work on it until this last weekend. However, I am pleased to announce that the studio is about halfway put together by now and I have already played around with pieces of it to make sure it’s working normally.
Here is what I have done so far:
- I have had the Mac setup and running this whole time but I just recently hooked it back into the Lexicon so my studio feed can go out through the mixers.
- I purchased two JamStand monitor stands, assembled them, and put the studio speakers (my KRK Rokit5’s) up on there.
- I ran the audio out of my Lexicon and into my Behringer Xenyx mixer.
- The mixer board now gets the studio feed as a hard channel (in the past, I would only plug in the mixer when I was doing some recording with my friends) and I can have full mixing (and FX control) from my studio source before they hit the speakers.
- I have already attached the condenser microphone to my mixer and ran some tests. I was able to distort my voice using the Behringer FX options which is something that had only worked part of the time with my last build. Not to mention, the kids had a great time playing with the different tone shift mixers on the board to make their voice sound different. So far, our favorite is FX number 78, I call this “The Dark Lord of Evil” pitch shifter. It literally makes even my 4 year old boys voices sound like Darth Vader or Diablo.
- Lastly, I decided to test my ability to do a hard mix out from something pre-recorded so I used the opportunity to make my oldest daughter twitch. You see, she has taken a liking to Luke Bryan’s song “Kick the Dust Up” which comes from one of my least favorite genres – modern country. I got her very excited when i told her that I would allow her to listen to her favorite song on ‘daddy’s big speakers’. I queued up the iTunes feed (remember, my Lexicon now directly connects to my mixer) for the song. As soon as she would get to singing a portion of the song, I would fire off a different pitch shifter (such as the Dark Lord of Evil FX mentioned above or it’s polar opposite, a high-pitch tone shift that sounds almost like the chipmunks without boosting speed) and screw with her. She thought it was funny the first time but after the third or fourth, she started stomping her foot at me or otherwise expressing her frustration – mission accomplished. After all, what good are your children if you cannot screw with their heads every once in a while?
That is to say that the studio is about halfway together. I already have some more wiring on order so that I can run some more leads into the mixer and switch the near-field speaker wire feeds to something higher grade. When I originally purchased my near-fields, I was at a local big box retailer and wanted something quick to hook the feeds of the speakers in from the Lexicon. As a result, I purchased some cheap leads at the store. They worked for a while but I noticed that they tend to pop and hiss from time to time because they are not as well shielded as they could be. That being the case, the new wire leads will be much better quality. I should have those today.
Other updates that I plan to do shortly:
- Purchase a powered amp like an Alesis that will push wattage from the mixer to the speakers without clipping the audio.
- Get my Casio keyboard wired into the studio so I can go back to recording some synth melodies.
- Convert my studio Mac into a table-mounted monitor so I can pull it above the keyboard for compositions ( I have the parts but have not installed them).
- Add a second monitor to the table mount to provide me more screen space for my mixing freedom (again, the parts are here, I just have to install them).
- Connect my guitar and pedals to the studio mixer and test some guitar riffs in new songs.
- Invite some local musicians to come in the studio and jam with me to test some recording.
Ambitious, I know, but I have never been one who is prone to cower against some big challenges – in fact – I would say my ability to take those in stride is part of what has made me what I am. Hope to have some new tunes for you guys soon enough! DJ6i Out!