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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Spreading your infectious beats

  

    So you've been busy making some beats and you're ready to share them with the world.  What do you do now?  Make a demo and send it out?  Sure if you live in the 90's.  Now you can do it all yourself from the recording to the releasing and the PR.   New sites to share music are popping up all over the place.  Before you sign up for any of them make sure you know the fine print and don't lose control over your music and your money.   The options can be confusing so I am here to share what I have learned so far.
    Let's start with Soundcloud.  You probably already have one if not set one up.  It has a nice free option that allows some downloads and free streaming as well as a huge community to get involved with.  http://soundcloud.com/sparkyandtherandomband  However you cannot charge for downloads to make money even if you sign up for the premium stuff.  http://soundcloud.com/premium  So I don't recommend paying them because you want to make money right?  Bandcamp is another site that has been gaining a lot of users and I almost signed up but they take 15% of your sales. http://bandcamp.com/pricing  So it has a lot of great features but was not right for me.   Reverbnation is another option.  They'll have a custom website for you for $18 a month and you can sell downloads on Itunes and a bunch of other sites for $35 a year. reverbnation  The site is big and they have a lot of extras for the price and you get 100% of the profits.  But you have to pay money to make money, or do you?  Then there's Vibedeck.  Completely free (paypal does take it's usual transaction fees) and you can customize your own page.  No limits to uploads or downloads.  You can set it up as fixed price, free, fan sets price or my favorite- tweet to download.  http://vibedeck.com/sparkyandtherandomband  They seem to be newer and are still adding new features but you can connect it to your soundcloud, Facebook and Youtube.   So you pay no money and you make money.  So it is what I went with to distribute my digital music. 
    There are many more including ways to release physical copies too.  This is not the ultimate list so do your research and look out for yourself.  These days you can do it all yourself.  You already have your own home studio right?  Even if you're not a laptop musician setting up a home studio is not that hard or expensive and so crazy convenient.  I'll tell you more about my set up soon.  I'll also delve into PR on a later date.
Keep making the strange things happen and tell the world as loud as you can.
-Sparky-

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The story of Sparky and the random band

     Sparky was a mild mannered DJ just walking down the street one day when the robots from the year 2040 came and abducted him.  He woke up locked in a basement with all sorts of strange electronic equipment and odd instruments.  The robots came in and said "Make us some beats"  There was an organ, theremin, piano, drum machine, effects pedals, didjeridoo, and more but no turntables.   
       Sparky had no idea what he was doing but he went to work making noise.  They locked him up and kept saying "Bring us more beats."  After a while they captured his wife and allowed her to help him.  This just aided his escape.  Together they used the power of BASS to bring down the walls.  So after 30 days they were free and reunited. 
      They kept copies of all their work and now make experimental films and keep making the strange things happen (everyday)


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Making a big splash when you are a strangeduck

     The future is bright for independent artists on the internet.  Social media networks have enabled you to do all your own advertising and networking for zero cost, if you put some time and effort into it.  Each site comes with it's own unique way to utilize it and some have options to pay but you don't have to pay to get it set up.  Instant interaction with the fans is now so easy and will be very key to the success of artists in the future.  Now you can even use your entertainment time as marketing time.
This is our newest little flyer.  Just larger than a business card the flip side has all our internet contacts.  We dropped a bunch off while at the Bassgasm show at First Ave in MN.  That's the old way of spreading the word now Turntable.fm is the new way.  You set up your profile on turntable.fm to have all your links (Twitter, FB, Youtube and your own website)  then you hang out in different rooms playing music similar to yours all the while your links are there just like a little business card.  You instantly find people that like music similar to yours and then you can mix your own songs in and then drop a link in the chat.  Just like that you have increased your audience.  You can get live realtime feedback from strangers about your music and make new friends too.  Already I've seen big and small artists utilizing this method.  You were going to listen to music today anyway so now you can work and play at the same time.
  So set up those accounts and link it all together and interact.  You don't have to wait for the fans to find you if you go hunt them down

Monday, May 16, 2011

Canyons, critters and cruising.

 
We just got back from a week vacation at Snowbird in Utah.  It was amazing.  A ski resort in the Little Cottonwood canyon overlooking Salt Lake City.  I grew up at the base of the canyon so going back is always a treat.  It was still winter on the mountain but spring in the valleys.  The resort had just shut down skiing so the place was empty.  We had the place to ourselves with a hot tub on the balcony and a rooftop pool and gym.  All with amazing views of snow covered peaks.  The weather was snowy for a few days then sunny and warm.  Evidence of avalanches were everywhere as spring started to melt it all. 

  With the ski lifts all shut down we rented a car to go to the base of the canyon to hike and to be able to go record shopping and sightseeing.  I did find a comedy record with Piero Umiliani's "mahna mahna" on it at the Deseret Industries.  If you are looking for a store in Salt Lake drive down State street there were lots of Pawn shops and thrift stores and antique stores.  We got a couple of great OZ books and Snoopy's harp.  There was also a random car battery flying across the road which was a little scary.  You can also find the rare and elusive liquor store of Utah on State street.  Very hard to find and expensive to drink in Utah.    
  The drives up and down the canyons were beautiful.  We also took a side trip into Big Cottonwood canyon to see Solitude and Brighton.  The snow was still 10 feet deep but the place was shut down and empty except for some snowmobilers.  The drives were a slice through rock cliffs, waterfalls, pines, aspens and then down to scrub oak and sage.  Breathtaking views of the valley and surrounding mountains were everywhere.
  We took a hike up Bell canyon to a reservoir which reflected the snowy peaks behind.  We then followed a trail that went up through the various layers of the forest following a fresh mountain stream fed by the cold melting snow.  The sound of the water gurgling over the stones as the birds sang just forced you to sit and become part of it for a little while.  This small canyon is just next to the little cottonwood canyon.  There was also a short paved trail the Temple quarry trail which gave you views of huge granite cliffs with mountain goats dancing on the rocky cliffs foraging on all the fresh spring greens. 
  It was very relaxing and tranquil and we can't wait to go back again in any season.  I have made a 3 part music video using footage from the canyon drives.  Itt is called Greeple.  http://www.youtube.com/user/djsparkyandtherandom  The music is live experimental electronic organ music made by Sparky and the random band.  All original and all strange.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The weapons we use to make the strange things happen.

Someone asked me on twitter what DAW I use, after searching to find what he meant (digital audio workstation) I looked at my old Fostex multi-tracker and I had to reply nope I don't use one.  I basically use the multi-tracker as a mixing board for levels and combining the layers live.  Wait what live?  Yes, live session recordings unscripted unplanned live recordings.  It's based on free jazz and beat poetry but made with effects pedals.  We route an old Conn organ, Moog theremin, Alesis drum machine, didjeridoo, guitar, lap guitar, vox and anything else we can mic or plug a cable into through various effects pedals, hit record and start playing around.  We record live straight to cd a minimum of 30 minutes at a time.  Usually there are 2 to 3 tracks that are perfect as is the other stuff is usually layered straight together using Magix music maker 17 so I guess that is kind of a workstation but I don't use it in the traditional sense.  Obviously I am still learning about all my equipment and how to make noise and music but I am just teaching myself as I go.  The video programs I use are windows movie maker and Magix movie edit pro 17.  So we make music, make videos and then post them to the internet for the world to see, sometimes all in one day.  So even we don't know what is going to happen next time we start to make the strange.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

How we met

     My wife and I are high school sweethearts who have been together for 16 years but just got married in '09.  Music and radio brought us together.  We saw each other in the hallway for the first time while drawing on our chuck taylors across the hall from each other.  We made an awkward hello and then it was my turn to audition so we did not talk more then.  I saw her after that between classes, I would hold the door open for her (thanks for teaching me good manners mom).  One day after school she just came up to me and said "Do you want to go to the Cranberries concert?"  I replied "Yeah but I don't have money to go."  She said "No, I won some free tickets and I want to take you."  Apparently she liked my beat up old VW bus. (Last time I saw that thing it was a hippie's house in the middle of the desert in Northern AZ.)  So I of course said yes!  She won the tickets from a now defunct alternative station AM 1060 KUKQ out of Phoenix. (That station was amazing and very influential.)  Since then we won free tickets again to see the Cranberries and saw them a 3rd time the day before our 15th anniversary of seeing them the 1st time.  And that is the short version of how we met and we still celebrate our 1st date to the Cranberries.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Putting all the ducks in a row

    All my life I have been active in the arts.  I began drawing and singing as early as I can remember.  I just moved to painting in the last 6 years or so.  I go through bursts of output and dormancy.  One day I decided to fuse various hobbies together.  Making videos using the art I had made as well as footage my wife and I had taken over the years and layering it with my new love experimental music. 
     My brother introduced me to turntables a long time ago.  I learned to play and make didjeridoo's from Bart Bagnall while working at the Renaissance festival.  (I'll share some adventures from that time later).  I learned organ and piano at a very young age.  I should have known I would end up playing experimental music on an organ, I used to sit at my Grandparent's old organ for hours.  The theremin, guitar and percussion I am teaching myself as I go. 
    So this is still strange uncharted territory but I can't wait to see and hear what comes out next. 

You can follow me @strangeduck on twitter 
Keep making the strange things happen (everyday)
Sparky