Some catching up to do on my blogging here, oh so much catching up.
Back in June, we took a little trip to Nelson to attend an educational technology conference. It gave me a chance to take my dj gear on the road, broadcast a couple of shows, do some live gigs, and even lay background audio at the closing plenary session with G. Potter and B. Lamb. It was a whirlwind roadtrip adventure as Grant recounts here. What it tested for me was the flexibility I have taking my gear on the road, and I’m pleased to say I’m almost 100% mobile! As long as I have power, I feel comfortable setting up almost anywhere and have figured out a couple of different soundsystems depending on the scale required.
The real purpose of this post however, is to begin archiving the DJ sets I’ve been recording. My soundcloud account is at capacity, so in order for me to post new sets, I need to remove older ones and some of them I want to remain available online. To do this I’ll blog the latest upload hopefully with an interesting tale and visuals (see below), use dropbox to store the file, and WPaudio to embed it, which I love so far. Eventually Ill need to upgrade my dropbox or figure out how to increase the file upload capacity on my blog, but this should hold for awhile.
The first set to be removed from soundcloud is one I did enroute to the Nelson conference, and was for a friends birthday party. As you can see from the .gif below, I was having a grand old time in my moms BASEMENT, and broadcasting my set on the mighty #ds106radio (Radio4Life). My friends were tuned in back in Vancouver, and although I couldnt see what was going on, managed to entertain for a good 3 hours. It was a bit of an odd experience, even though my mom and aunt and uncle hung out for awhile and watched, I was basically alone in my old bedroom. I knew the music was background for the party, but I had a room of listeners, a days drive away tuned in and sending the occasional twitter comment for feedback. I enjoyed it but, it was challenging to stay motivated even tho I new I had faithful ds106radio listers tuned in as well.
If I do this again in the future (and I plan to), I’d really like to increase both the audience participation, and my ability to get feedback from them and would like to experiment with shared webcams, maybe via a G+ “hangout” thing perhaps. It would would be really beneficial, (and awesome) to see listeners and have the listeners be able to see each other as everyone rocks out to the funky sounds. I saw something like this on the internet once but now cant seem to find something similar.
Most of this week off has been directed towards making music magic on ds106radio.
To start the holiday off last weekend , Cut, Scratched $ Broke, aired its 3rd show on Sunday, LIVE. Except for a scant 5 or so min. of dead air as a consequence, I was able to follow the necessary protocols & connect to the ds106 servers using Nicecast and play directly from Traktor Pro, using the Kontrol S4 that I have been rocking for only a week! Nobody could have been more stoked than I, to join my brethren in the live online madness that is ds106radio. Even though my intrest is primarily in djing music, now that I have a microphone and a channel upon which to broadcast, who knows what this ‘show’ will turn into. A few ideas though:
Live vs Recorded
The consensus seems to be that the live content on ds106 is the gold. The ‘auto-dj’, although rich in content takes a backseat to live broadcasts if twitter chatter is any indication thats for sure. Nothing lights up #ds106 hashtag like a spontaneous live broadcast, preferably from the field. As a long time listener of late night call in radio I understand from whence part of the magic comes. I have always thought just hearing random people offering their thoughts on a given topic was very comforting somehow, even if they were offered on the topics of ghosts and aliens.
My first couple of ds106 shows were recorded beforehand and only one of them had a voice over intro. This is the way I was planning to do all of them. Using Garageband gave me unlimited control over the timing and transitions and endless adjustments to the timing till things were just right. I could mashup tracks on the fly and incorporate them into the show seamlessly. No errors. Precise. Even my first voice over I did I garagebanded to death. taking out ‘ummms’ and other annoying things I heard in my voice. PAINSTAKING. The only benefit here is quality of the production and that its a recording, I was able to share on soundcloud.
I was nervous about picking up a ‘live’ mic for the first time, even from the comforts of the soundlab. But once I did, it was very liberating. I did the little intro thing, and talked about what I was going to do then pretty much dove into my set. I had a playlist roughly sorted out, but was able to make decisions on the fly, and mixing track to track was intuitive and smooth even though theres only one chance to get it right. I am familiar with the software mind you, this made the transition to an actual using the controller much easier than going in cold. But the Kontrol S4 interface is so smooth, and translates the software perfectly. It feels natural.
What I have decided for the time being is to prepare for my regular shows as live broadcasts, throw a bunch of stuff in there but keep it loose and spontaneous. Then every couple of shows, take some routines that were working into garageband, and put together more of a polished mix and post it to my Soundcloud account to distribute and share. So far it feels like the process will be a sort of back and forth, with each process pushing and furthering the next. We will see.
Another aspect I have begun to consider more. I will need to take my music searching to the next level if I want to keep bringing the fresh beats #ds106 listeners have come to expect each week. And I sorta feel I shouldnt steal it all! Yesterday for instance, I was in the local record shop picking up some concert tickets and spray bombs, and happened to browse through the 5$ cd bin. Score! 4 new discs, all of which have tracks destined for future shows. Also, to both acquire new music and pay back to the artists, especially for the hottest new tracks, I have taken out accounts on both Beatport and Juno. Websites dedicated to providing a commercial platform for DJ music similar to itunes.
Scott Lo has provided further inspiration with his tokyo calling podcast and all creative commons content. You will find each cast well documented and credit given to each artist as per the typical CC license requiring attribution. Even as an aspiring hobbyist DJ, I feel a certain obligation to give credit (at least) for the tracks I play, even though I dont want to take the time on air to discuss each of them. The internet of course offers the solution via soundcloud and one of my favorite DJs provides the model. If you are not familiar with Greg Wilson, he is worth checking out. Kown for mixing on REEL TO REEL TAPEDECKS, and after an extensive career, he was out of the scene for a few awhile, but has been back recently, DJing and blogging up a storm.
He uploads, from what I can tell, all of his mixes onto soundcloud, and is one of the most attentive responders to comments I have ever seen. In this case, many of the comments are questions about who the artist or what the track names are, and Greg is always there to provide Title, Artist, & Label information and in many cases links to the websites of the producers or where the music can be purchased. He is a true advocate for the artists and the music industry itself. And he gets to do it by spinning all his favorite tracks to audiences all over the world. I am hoping this year to be able to catch one of his sets in person, so we will see where that takes us!
Who would have thought of such a thing? Its true, like so many others these days, I’ve been known to partake in the culture of ‘peer to peer’ file sharing for much of my music consumption. Not to mention PEER to PEER in the first person file sharing. There is nothing like taking a portable drive over to friends house and returning with 4 G of new music to listen too. That said, I’d say at LEAST 75% of my music listening is done on last.fm anyway, since I mostly listen at home or at work. Last.fm is a service that I am more than happy to pay for. I have been for some time now. The only reason I really need an mp3 library at all is to put music on my shuffle, or to make mixtapes for friends. (I still have to call them mix’tapes’ even though they are cd’s) More often than not if I am actually spending money on music its a special event, most likely a concert where I always try to support the artist by picking up some of their material at the show, or, a once a year trip to A&B to spend 100$ or so on whatever artists I have not been able to find elsewhere or want to give my money too. Except for instances of spontaneity like I just blogged, very little of the new music economy has affected my habits. That is until now.
Recently I have tried experimenting with “buying music online” , something that at first seems against every principle the web holds dear, but in fact it is quite gratifying. What follows is an account of three different services I have used recently for new music purchases, each experience was quite different and reminded me how each service is actually filling quite a distinct market. I actually NEEDED to go to these three different sources for each item I wanted to get.
Lets start with what might still be the most common way to buy music online, picking up a CD at amazon. This disk by Handsome Boy Modeling School has been on my ‘to get‘ list for some time now, and I have just not been able to download the bitch. What finally sent me over the edge to send away for it was a track featuring my new love Cat Power that is so going on a mixtape. I knew this was gonna cost me at least 20$ if I could even find it in a local shop, and since I got a free delivery deal by buying a book at the same time….
… a digital music store that works directly with independent artists and labels with the intention of building a closer relationship between the people who love the music and the people who make it.
Regardless, although the lads have a mySpace, they are distributing their music on yet another third party site, (no NOT iTunes) and only as a single 45 min download. which, for 5$ is a pretty saweet deal.
Lastly, a project that is a little closer to home. A local company, Project Opus, with whom I am fortunate to be affiliated, offers quite a unique service that once I spent some time exploring, indeed did entice me to spend my money. Opus goes a step beyond merely providing titles in album and track formats to be downloaded at a buck per. (although that is their rate). Nay, Opus has much higher ideals, to build on the relationships between artists and audience. In fact, the devoted audience and fans can in this case end up being the artists best friend and contribute to their success in a very real way. I started my exploration by browsing some of the tracks that were listed in their music library under Rap/Urban/Hip Hop. Opus targets independent and local artists and I was pleasantly surprised that I had never heard any of it before. Great! Before you know it, I had discovered many new tracks that I wanted to have handy for potential mixtapes and mobile travel, and was able to add them to my own playlist which I called
dope jams. In fact, it was this customizable playlist that became my purchasable item. Not only do I get to buy it, but others that are browsing my profile page may also listen to the mix and decide to buy the whole thing themselves. Will I get a cut if that happens?