Saturday, September 27, 2008

So You Wanna Be A Dj: Part 13

As we come to the end of the basics in becoming a Dj, music, production etc... The rest will be up to you. I could go on forever about what I have learned but then you would be left with very few surprises and how boring would that be? Today I want to talk about legacy, what you do is what you leave behind. I mean what do you want to be remembered for musically? This means you have to think about the genre of music you choose that best represents you and your expression. I am an odd case when it comes to this, most people do one thing and stick to it, if you're a drum and bass producer, then that's what you are, same goes for house breaks etc. Back in the day it was unheard of to do what I did, step outside the box, in fact run from that damn box and laugh at it. I did the unthinkable, shock horror gasp and made a "pop" record.

"Learning Curve" was a very successful record though I never viewed it as "pop". To me it was an experiment fusing all genres, all emotions into a deeply electronic adventure. I had always wanted to write songs and that is what I am at heart, a songwriter, playing the piano from an early age, I always incorporated melodies into all my productions, that is what made me stand out I guess you could say from the get go. However, I was so drawn to the technical aspect of production that when drum and bass first appeared on the scene I was instantly hooked being the geek I am. So, as you may know, tracks like " Spiritual Aura" though drum and bass had these lush strings and a strong sense of emotion in it, very different to what was out there. I disliked the ugly harsh side of drum and bass but that does not mean I didn't like my drum and bass BADD ASS TOUGH like the heroes Dillinja, Pendulum, RonnieSize, Groovrerider produced.

Still, I liked to keep things fresh and moving, so though drum and bass got very modern, it also got so technical that I felt the emotion was missing somewhat. So I went in a different direction, and the rest is history. You probably know I leapfrog through genres, I like the flexibility of producing whatever I want, though no doubt this has caused more confusion and certainly made it hard for me. The problem is I get bored and I have always been that way. The only way to survive this head fuck is to do what I do, multitask your music. How has this hurt me and how has it benefited me is the question, and this is what I want you to understand when choosing this path.

As I watch some of my fellow artistes who have stuck to one thing become successful and really cracking it, I often question whether I fucked up. I really do, had I stuck to house which was what I first played (that's right, I was around before the birth of drum and bass) I would be so fucking huge!!!! or would I? Did I do well because I chose drum and bass? point is, you'll never know. I certainly would be richer, that's for sure.

At the end of the day all I can advise you is this: be passionate about the music your making and it will show in that music. That's what I did, and I hope that it showed, in every note and lyric, every bass line. I have been lucky to have had many ups and downs but generally a very successful career, mainly because I do it all myself. though I have lost so called "fans" because I didn't stick to one thing, I wasn't a "purist". which is bullocks to me anyway, music is music and I don't apologize for loving it all.

Sad and bad as it sounds if you want to make money at this you may want to ask yourself that question early on in the game, I never did, all I wanted was to produce music, but I wish I had thought about it a little at least. This job comes with no pension, so plan ahead it's a rough sea you have chosen to sail on with a little boat. It's gonna get choppy as well as beautiful calm.
I hope you pick a genre that has commercial appeal and a chance to make a living, by that I mean you don't want to be a bedroom DJ all your life do you? you need a crowd.

That's my two cents anyway... see you next time x

ps. I wish to dedicate this blog to Paul Newman who left a wonderful legacy behind as a human and as an actor, I will miss you.

support music please

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Zeitgeist,The Movie

Zeitgeist, The Movie

Zeitgeist, TheMovie

When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.
It's time we woke up to the fact that we are in very real danger of a totalitarian world.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

So You Wanna Be A DJ: Part 12

Today we are going to talk about the taboo subject of illegal downloading (click on that and read about the consequences) and how it effects artistes... and it does! So if you're one of those thieving assholes that lives on Kazaa etc. that thinks I am an asshole for writing this, you could look at it this way: You pay for food, clothes and just about everything else, yet I don't know anyone who can live without music, we all have it, we are the iPod gods, the click generation, so it still amazes me that people expect to pay nothing for this.

Or you should read up on the consequences because the Recording Industry Association of
America is coming down hard on you lot with massive fines. click here to educate yourselves. RIAA .

Option three for this kind of person is not to read this blog. I write it for people who hope to make a living pursuing their dream of making music and Dj'ing, just like I am. I will say that it is our choice to life this life, to follow this dream, I could choose to do anything but I personally feel that there is nothing else I could be happy doing except for this and acting. But it is really hard and you would be foolish to think this is an easy job.

The reality is that back in the day there was alot of money to be made, those were the golden times, well, today is very very different. I think much of the upcoming talent still thinks it must be like the good 'ole days and that it's easy to learn how to spin and make cash. I was lucky to be around at that golden time, most of the huge djs are huge because they built reps and produced in those timse and are still standing today because of that. And the fact is, they work hard and are bloody good at what they do. Oakenfold, Tiesto, Paul Van Dyk are all good examples. Some have faded into the" what happened to...?" box and there are a million reasons for that too (I will get into that on my next blog).

The main reason it was easy is that in England there were a number of Pirate radio stations, mainly because electronic music was new so totally unsupported, there was FANSTY FM, CENTREFORCE, RAVE FM and many many more..... now I know what you're gonna say, "hey that's illegal!" and it was, but the main difference was that it launched a scene, it made this music what it is today, it also made people want to buy records and did we! It was normal if you had a hit on these stations to sell 80,000 copies of that song because people loved it. So you see, it really helped, the scene got bigger, it created giant raves because of the demand to hear this wonderful new sound, we were outlaws outrunning the sheriffs and it was glorious!

Now it's a different story. Times are tough, police are tough, laws are rough. We do not live in a world that is free, the 80's were our 60's. well, for me anyway.

So how does this all effect you?.

You need hit records to become a well known DJ that people will want to see perform. That means spending as much time as possible in the studio, that means there is no time to do this while you have a job, unless you don't need sleep and I know many that pull this off but it's hard to be consistent when holding down a day job and music is your night job. So many like me opt to commit to this full time, as we have talked about in my earlier blogs, it's not only about the music, you have to promote yourself, get out there, handle all those myspace, facebook sites etc. so, it is hard and unrealistic to expect to do all this at night, although I am more creative at night all the business maintenance happens in the day....( running my labels etc).

It's simple, if you don't Dj then making music is your only income. How can you live if people download it for free? I spent a year producing "UP ALL NIGHT" sold over 30,000 with no tour or real promotion, (this was a drum and bass record and there is little to no market for that in the states so no point spending my hard earned dosh on promoting it) yet I made hardly a dime for my efforts because alot of those sales were made on sites that pay such a poor return like 10 cents on every track bought, and because it was downloaded for free by many.

Discouraging isn't it? I question why I put myself through this so many times I can tell you! I mean that's alot of sales!!!! I should have been golden....
iTunes is great because it soundscans so you can see real sales as if you were in a store, Beatport does not which is sad but they are a great company. Nonetheless, those are the sites to be on and I learned not to supply the "el cheapo" sites from my last record the hard way.

Whether we survive in this industry depends on you, and the support we get, the same goes for the music, it will only last and be put out there for your consumption if you buy it, otherwise only the rich can afford to make it, and give it away for free, like Radiohead who I love and are in that wonderful position, however, they are alone in that place and can afford to. They wouldn't be here today if no one had bought their music in the first place.

Now I have another point of view, I don't mind giving it away like I do on my mailing list every month (I give a track to any who sign up) if this means people come to the shows so maybe that will be the way forward. I certainly hope it all means something because I for one love what I do and all you can hope for is a life spent doing what you love, managing to get by with out the worry of how. This is why many still opt for a record deal, at least they are prepared to offer the financial support needed to keep you on the road which is expensive.

To end this, there is good and bad points to this, if you're a rich artiste, giving it away helps you but hurts the lesser upcoming guys and dolls, we need to value our music like we value fashion and food.
I ask you this one question next time you are about to 'click'... When you play a track that makes you feel wonderful, gets you through a rough day, is it really not worth a fucking dollar?

support music PLEASE.

Luv and Bass, DJ RAP

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