Sunday, October 25, 2009

'So You Wanna Be A Dj?' part 22 Valleys & Peaks

Why valleys and peaks? Some of you may notice I had had some 'interesting' tweets lately.
I have learned some valuable lessons this month and I want to share it with you- because I know that something funky has been going on with the planets as so many of you have had odd things happen to you recently and are going through a tough time yourselves.
I believe the worst is behind us as I feel a 'shift' of energy. I can't go into too much detail as I do not wish to embarrass the people who made these mistakes, it does give me nothing except knowing it will hurt them. I do not need to do that as I know they are sorry.
I have worked hard and it had taken over a year to get the labels ready to launch. Getting deals in place takes time, especially when you have TWO labels.
(we had a soft launch to test things out last year)
One mistake by someone I trusted nearly cost me those labels. Suddenly I was hit with a tsunami of problems. Legal crap, the worst and most expensive kind. I almost actually gave up. I have invested over 50k and worked hard for 4 years with my artistes just to get here. What was I going to do?
I do know it is the way we react to adversity that defines us- this was my process, to turn around shut it off and not focus on it for a while as it was consuming me, and fear is poison.
So one day last week I had no energy to work and I just could not face my computer. I watched tv (I rarely watch tv as I like to watch discovery movies etc) but I landed on a programme about the Olympics and the story of the American teams and what they went through to get there. It as so inspiring to say the least.
It taught me so much and I realized if I gave up I would be letting my artistes down and that we were all a team for better or worse.
No one knows what went down, especially them as you have to stay strong. It does not inspire confidence if your weak, especially if you have chosen to be a team leader.
Then I went upstairs and I found a book called 'BRUCE LEE Artiste of life' which are his letters and teachings on his philosophy of life, martial arts and his role as actor.
I want to share this with you.

'Nothing is weaker than water
but when it attacks something hard
or resistant, then nothing withstands it
and nothing will alter it's way.'

Be like water.

I have long had a passion for martial arts though due to injury had to take a long break which I am ready to come back to. So of course he is a hero and a great teacher to me.
His confidence is amazing, his lack of fear and his belief system has restored my faith so many times when I can't see the point and I am lost I read this book and I realize we can not let that thought enter the universe. Anything great worth achieving has a story of turbulence to get there. Watch Hollywood E stories, the same applies.
Sometimes it seems like you're swimming against the tides but as they say, 'this too shall pass'.

So whatever is going on with you, I leave you with these words by the great master and hope this helps you as it helps me everyday..

If you think you are beaten-you are.
If you think you dare-you don't
If you like to win but think you can't,it is most certain you won't
If you think you will lose you are lost. For out of the world we find success begins with ones will, its all in the state of mind.
If you think you are outclassed -you are
You've got to think high to rise
You've got to be sure of yourself before you can ever win a prize
Life's battles don't always go to the stronger or faster man
But sooner or later the man who wins, is the man who thinks he CAN.

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Propa Talent presents 'Elation' November 23rd.

New single 'Give it all away' out in November 30 on Ministry of Sound, album in February

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

'So You Wanna Be A Dj?' part 21-The Art Of Control

In today's world we can all too easily spin out of control, whether you are poor or rich we can let others control our lives, sometimes without even realizing it-a little like 'sleep-living' as I like to call it. What does this have to do with music?

Well, say you are one of the lucky artistes that makes it. Your earning cash, you have a manager, an agent, a a business manager, a lawyer (OK, you get it) you ARE the food chain that everyone feeds off. Say that is YOU. What happens if you're not in control of your future, if your ship is getting steered by someone else s agenda? You may be doing well but I have learned the hard way that no one cares as much as you do about yourself.

Do you really think there are people out there who say " for 20 percent I am going to stay up nights worrying about how to make my client famous?" I bet your the only one staying up worrying about your future.

This does not mean there are no good folk out there, but so many people think a manager is going to save them, or someone will be pivotal in their career. I am here to tell you that someone is YOU. Having a great manager is wonderful-go for it! However, maintaining and overseeing all that happens in the world of you is key. Don't go off thinking all your world is safe and all you need to do is be an 'artiste' while you pay everyone to take care of your 'baby'. That baby is yours!!!!!!! you created it, went through all the shit to see it blossom, know what I mean? If you look after it well, it will do the same for you when your as old as history.

All I am saying is your great, you got this far, hiring the right team is important, but do not think that that's all it takes. Learn the business your swimming in, for it is full of sharks. Knowledge is real power. I have said many times that all you need to do is watch what others do, the answers are always provided for us- if you know where to look. However trusting your gut, that little voice is so important.
Better to try an idea and fail than try nothing and watch others do what you wish you had the balls to do 4 years earlier. I know, it's happened to me. I have had some great ideas and people say ' oh no that won't work' like a slave I thought they must know what they are talking about surely? Only to see someone else do the very same idea and make tons of cash. Hard pill to swallow! But a valuable lesson indeed.

Remember, you got you here. It will be you that cares the most so trust your gut.
I try to remember that I can't kill anyone if I make a mistake so go ahead make it because it is the best way to learn. Learn how to run a label, how to produce how to market yourself, social media, Wikipedia! LEARN IT ALL. Become a JEDI in your world, master it, I have faith in you for the force is strong in us musicians.

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

'So You Wanna Be A Dj?' part 20-The Art Of Reinvention

Hi guys and dolls I want to talk to you about the art of Reinvention. Why is this important? Keeping you sound fresh will keep you in the business for a long time.Ask Madonna,she is the queen of it and a great example of an amazing Career and what you can do when you don't limit yourself. You don't have to be like me, or her, I change my style of music like I change my hair, but being able to adapt means you won't be a flash in the pan as they say.I want your flame to burn brightly for a long words are sadder than "I used to be in the business but now I have a desk job I hate"
It is really important to check out your influences, your heroes,your fav. producers and regularly listen to what is out there. I do this every time I go in the studio because you can never get to comfortable even if you have a signature style. For example, my fans know that whatever I put out will have mad energy, but I think they also love that I always come with a new sound and do push that envelope, sometimes I get shit for cross pollination genres but now it is more accepted for sure.. so experiment away!
When you have picked a genre, be it house,drum and bass whatever flicks your switch
(in my case EVERYTHING) there is no reason why you shouldn't be the guy or girl that turns it upside down and creates a new flavour. This is how music evolves,someone in their studio grows some balls and does his/her best to be original. Copying other people is lame,strive to be you.
Now, there are some formulas in music you should not mess with,like arrangement,it works for a don't mess with the tricks that work. A great breakdown is a great breakdown,I can't stand when I get a record, I love it,but the breakdown is like a limp penis. I always wonder if that is how the producer 'producers' in real life ha ha ha. As the old saying goes, if you can't dance you probably can't f--k.
My favourite label is Toolroom records
They have the art of reinvention and producing music down to a fine art. Not to mention all the amazing artistes they have on their side. I study labels, producers because I swim in their world,so I better have some chops if I hope to get some respect myself. These people and so many others in out wonderful sea of music are the best for a reason, it is not easy...In fact it is the hardest but most rewarding thing I have ever done, so the least you can do is try to be the best you can.This scene and this world deserves that,needs that from you and I.
Lastly,once you are luck enough to 'have made it' the real journey begins. What I am going to tell you is that once you made your first album/record like I did with 'learning Curve' you say to yourself 'and now for my next trick?' The second album is the hardest,I certainly took way too long to get back in the saddle mainly because I had poor management that kept me touring as I kept too many parasites feeding of my success I forgot the goal was to make music,it is the oil that keeps the wheels turning in my world. A mistake I will never make again. You have to keep coming with a fresh approach for your next record...and it can be a mind f--k I can tell you! For me Synthesis ( out sept 22 MINISTRY OF SOUND) was a wonderful adventure in discovering where I would go musically.So it's not always so much drama once you know the direction you want to go in....
I love not knowing how my next record should sound...once I get in that studio and figure it out,there is nothing more exciting.Imagine the joy of having to create a completely new vision of you musically for your fans....If you want to be in the game and in it for a lifetime-keep yourself current and knowledgeable and let yourself be free to experiment in your studio...I hope you have as much joy as I do daily doing just that!
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Friday, July 10, 2009

What's new?

Well guys and dolls it's time for a little blog. I wanted to update you on all things going on in my world.
Lets start with my labels PROPA TALENT/IMPROPA TALENT.
We stopped releasing material for a few months because we have moved to a new distribution company, this all takes a long time, but the good news is we are ready to relaunch again.
Standby for our first release coming soon!

My album Synthesis (follow up to "Learning Curve") will be released in the fall
There will be an official press announcement as to what label this is coming out on soon. I don't want to ruin the surprise.

I have formed a new drum and bass band called METASYN. we are half way done with this new drum and bass project, you will start to see this everywhere soon.... keep a close eye on DRUM AND BASS ARENA-METASYN is coming.

As for me personally, Synthesis took 2 years of my life to finish,5 years to create as I had to live a little,get some life experiences and all that so I could write something meaningful. I had big shoes to fill after Learning Curve. And finally nearly 40,000 of my hard earned cash to really bring to life.I wanted to make the best record I could make without anyone cramping my style. I did it with the best musicians out there,who lovingly brought my pre-live pieces to life. These people are now life long friends that changed me forever.

So thank you for all your support I am uploading a free track for those who sign up to the mailing list
Enjoy what's coming! Luv and bass DJRAP.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

"so you wanna be a dj ?" 19 some help 4 u.

We are at episode 19 of this series and I want to take a break from the dj/production side of things for a moment.Because through your journey ahead you will be cast on oceans of waves, jagged cliffs and tremendous winds....challenges indeed. You need to cope well when these storms hit you,I have learned a few tricks along the way,because people were kind enough to save me when I was drowning in my sea. This will help you as a person, your more than a DJ you know!
The goal is to be a great human, everything else comes second in my opinion, what we leave behind is our legacy. Who will care when your gone? who cares now? It is an important question,few take the time to ask themselves if what they do effects others in a positive way providing light,or do you keep providing shade?
Before I start I wish to thank my boyfriend Chevy,Chris,Eve,Josh,Paul,Jerry and The Sakyong Jamgon Mipham Rinpoche
These people have helped me find an inner peace that was lost to me before.There are many more people who have helped me on my journey in so many ways and I thank them all.
Now, here are some cool dvd's to watch and some great books to read.Lets start with some dvd's.
1.Down the rabbit hole, what the bleepThis is quantum physics at it's best. It also changed my life, my attitude and really is interesting, I dare you to try it!!!!
2.Deepak Chopra the essential dvd collection
3. Fast food nationKnowledge is power,know what you put into your body,the goal is to have a healthy mind,soul and body.
4.supersize me.You will never eat junk food again!
5.Eckhart Tolle's findhorn retreat " stillness amidst the world" In fact get everything he does....
Books. I love to read because I am on planes all the time,what better use of your time?
Here are some of my favs.
coversations with god,The power of now,The sedona method,A new Earth,Effortless mastery( this is a must, liberating the master musician within)the seven spiritual laws of success,How to know god ( Deepak Chopra).
By the way, I am in no way suggesting you don't pepper this with your horror movies...
(I do) or stop reading US magazine ( sad to say I sometimes do...) Or stop watching AMERICAN IDOL (go Adam Lambert!!!!!)Just open your mind to it all,it's a big world out there.
Meditation is hard to learn but well worth it. I am trying this every other day,again really tough.But If I can't control my mind and be still,there will always be " noise".
Exercise should simply be part of your life. There are no excuses. It creates endorphins that make you HAPPY as well as the obvious benefits.
I hope some of you have the same great results I have found with this...remember life is about go taste them all!!!!!
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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"So You Wanna Be a DJ Part 18?" Motivation

The importance of motivation. What flicks your switch?
So some time has passed and WMC is but a distant memory,was it really that great? (Yes,if only I could keep that feeling.) Back in the real world, my day is chained to my computer ( I actually love it) and late night studio sessions. If one stops to think if what they are doing makes sense, you would go crazy. I close my eyes and leap off that cliff with no feather mattress to land on. Faith is my parachute, hope is the wind. Jagged rocks of uncertainty below me.
Sometimes it gets so hard to be motivated . Some-one else is always doing better than you, but I try to remember that someone is also doing worse. You only have to watch CNN to know how lucky we are.
I am a little disposed you might say because I do alot for my art. Blogging, videos,spend all my money on the business of making business,podcasts,running two wonder if it all actually leads to anything. If you want to buy my records you will,right?( unless your sad and steal music) does me making videos help you do that? I guess this months important question is: is all this viral/Internet/social networking worth it? Does it help your business? Or does it de-motivate you?
I ask this because I think it can de motivate you,It can be a time-suck, take you away from the real business in the studio,unless your sick like me I actually enjoy it. I am curious as to my fans opinion.So I hope a ton of you give me feedback re this issue, I really do.I personally enjoy talking to you,it gives me the motivation to keep going,God knows I need all the help I can get,we are only human after all.
As my mum says, we all bleed when cut. Amen to that!
I wake up get my tea ( I am a Britt) answer fans in my space etc... and there is nothing better than someone saying how your music helped them through a tough time. It is humbling to know soldiers risking their life took a minute to write and say my music helped them jump out of a plane, while training,getting ready to risk their lives. I say don't do it to sell records, do it because it makes you feel good. That's my motivation. You. ( and a little vodka).

Find something that can take yo away from the studio,live a little, it will make your music better,full, mature. I guess I will never be rich in money,but in my soul I am a billionaire.

Hope this helps, luv n bass, DJ RAP

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

"So You Wanna Be a DJ Part 17?" Victory

The importance of " victory".What does it mean? I believe victory is for believers and for those who believe in it long enough. You see this picture above? That is my team in the studio ( well some of them anyway!) Left to right, Chris wood( mix engineer) me ( writer), Andy Irvine ( bass guitar) Chevy Bhorntus ( producer/composer). A happy team means a great experience making what will hopefully be a great album!
It is important to be realistic and keep your feet on the ground in this business. It is easy to let success get to your head, and as my mother always said, " be nice to those on the way up, because you never know who you need on the way down". I have seen so many people who started out cool and ended up wankers, They were " hot" for a minute, full of ego, but soon disappeared when their 15 minutes of fame cooled down. Our biggest enemy- is EGO. Better to have a long career than a short one!!!!
I have worked with some of the best in the business, Mark Isham, Hans Zimmer and these amazing composers taught me a valuable lesson early in my career....
It does not get much bigger in the world of Hollywood music score .These titans are so humble, as with any great human who is not fearful, they are quietly confidant, with no need to tear others down or brag about their accomplishments. You will find in the world not only in music, that those who do this are often unsuccessful which is exactly the reason they behave in this way. They are terrified they will remain so.... Because I had the opportunity to watch these composers work I realized early on how far I had to go ( god all I do is produce dance music ha ha) and that if I ever did indeed make it, would try to be like them, in other words be grateful not hateful!!!!
I struggle still with this concept, we all do. None of us are perfect but I honestly try on a daily basis to be the person I want others to see..the person I want to truly be. Some times I win, sometimes I fail, but I chose to not beat my self up but try again...I often ask " could I have handled that situation better?" If so I learn from it and adjust.
The desire to be noticed for all the hard work you do is strong, ( if the force is strong with you) sometimes the squeaky wheel gets the oil right? Maybe, however I have learned that it is your ability to be consistent and endurance and your self belief that really pays off as well as your talent. That is victory.
What is my point? well you you make it and your out there a million eyes are on you, people dying to be where you are ready to tear you down, make up stories,always with a camera (those damn phones lol) blogs, forums..the INTERNET. So be smart, be polite and when ever you work with people above all, be professional. If you are in a studio session be nice to whoever you are working with,especially the runners, you can be sure they will tell everyone if your an asshole who demands vodka at 3 am and doesn't leave a tip! Pay everyone on time, I pay everyone before- if I am using session musicians-just so they feel comfortable and this always elevates the mood because they feel safe. It goes a long way because so few do this ....YOU will stand out. After all, your gonna pay them anyway right? Be original!!!!!
If you take drugs/drink , be private,doing this in front of your crowd on the decks is so cheesy
( yes I see it all the time) otherwise you will end up like some djs who are more famous for that than their talent, promoter, agents, we all live in a small pond so be smart about who you chose to swim with!!!! look at any star who is famous for their fuckups instead of their art...they will have to constantly fuck up to be interesting because sadly, that's all they have. Being famous just to be famous is so lame but then, if you are a real artiste you won't crave fame or be in love with the idea of fame, you'll be too busy actually creating art .
I just finished adding the final touches to my album,( synthesis out in fall) I worked with some of the best musicians in the business, and it was so nice to have them say so many nice things and cut me a deal to boot because they enjoy working with me. I hope to work with them over and over because it is hard to find great people, so it pays to make it fun and keep it clean. After all, its not so much what you did that people remember, but how you did it.
Hope this helps, luv n bass, DJ RAP

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