Time to cut the newbies some slack.

I’ve seen quite a few posts recently with various djs complaining about the next generation of djs.

The main thrust of their argument is that technology has taken over from the skills of beatmatching, key matching and the timing of mixing.

 

So what do I think about this? Well, lets look back 15 years. It was the height of big beat, Daft Punk and Stardust were at the top of their game. House music pretty much ruled the charts. Everyone knew someone with a set of decks. Didn’t matter if they were direct, belt or even hamster-driven, there was one or two people out of each friendship group who either attempted to replicate the famous DJs of the day or had a brother (or indeed sister!) who had a DJ for a mate.

I was one the people who took up djing at this time. There was very little whinging from the previous generation of djs – there could even be said to be a bit of excitement about the newbies starting out on their journey of music-related discovery.

As with every fad, some people stuck at it (myself included), while others sold decks, and moved on to the next thing. The ones who kept going, learnt their craft, made different mistakes from the previous generation, and pushed the boundaries more.

 

So let’s compare this to the current crop of wannabe DJs. So what’s changed? In a word, the kit that is used now makes the mechanics of djing easier. And I use that phrase carefully. Because its not really what djing is about. The guys who came up with me from 15 or so years ago learnt on vinyl. Then re-learnt for CD. Then re-learnt AGAIN for mp3 and laptops. But how you do it doesn’t matter as much as what’s being put into it by the dj themselves. Djing is about linking your feelings about music, sharing them with others in a big kind of mutual appreciation session.

Very few people get this straight away. It takes time, experience, observation, a great deal of mistakes and a fair bit of self-reflection before you start to spot where you’re going wrong.

We may have learnt the lessons, but those doing it now don’t know them yet. They may not have experienced the same emotional connection yet, but can we really moan when they are just where we were all those years ago?

 

In conclusion then, we need to give these guys a break. Let them get experience and then see if they stick at it. The ones that do, could well be keepers. So lets not blast them for not knowing what we had to learn ourselves.

Reviews part 2

Reviews

Danito & Athina – Really Like – Deep Inside Your Love EP – Jeudi Records

http://www.traxsource.com/track/1480480/really-like

Some tracks put a smile on your face. This one certainly does that, along with a piano riff that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Its a soulful, deep (in the traditional emotional sense, rather than the reincarnated UK Garage deep stuff), and has a laid back quality which keeps things grooving along. The rest of the ep is more of a deeper vein, but is of equal quality. Got to say, this is the first time I’ve heard any tracks on Jeudi Records. I’ll be checking them out in future.

 

Kraak & Smaak featuring John Turrell – Back Again – Jalapeno Records

http://www.traxsource.com/track/1355723/back-again

Really been feeling the slower more soulful vibes of late, and this one has a great balance of bleep, funk, soul and groove. Got a real Crazy P/Ron Basejam/Hot Toddy feel to it which I’m really feeling. Definitely worth checking out.

 

Ninelives – All This Love (Drop Out Orchestra Remix)- Vendition

http://www.traxsource.com/track/1485461/all-this-love-drop-out-orchestra-remix

I’ve been playing the last few Ninelives tracks for a while now. They are always well constructed, funking groovers of the highest order. So when I spotted that Drop Out Orchestra had remixed one of their releases, it REALLY flagged my interest. The Drop Out boys make bass that sounds like no other – fat, low slung and properly dirty. They are properly among my favourite remixers out there at the moment and anyone who can make Rick Astley into dubby disco, and then make it sound great, has got to be worth listening to.

LLAMA025: More Luck Than Judgement: 25 Releases from Llama Farm

Global Release Date: 01/04/2014

Remixes release weekly exclusives from 11/02/2014

Featuring:

1. Bang Bang – Still Got Feelings (Arco Remix)
2. Ken Venom – Caribbean Nights (Corduroy Mavericks Remix)
3. Bang Bang – Freaky Love (Tom Special Interest Remix)
4. Tourist – Ticket to Ride (The Boogie) (Little Man Big Remix)
5. Bang Bang – Still Got Feelings (Jon Delerious Deep N’ Dub Remix)
6. Tourist – Ticket to Ride (The Boogie) (Freaky Behaviour Remix)
7. Bang Bang – Still Got Feelings (Demarkus Lewis Remix)

 

Well, after 7 years, 2 distros, at least 17 different artists and what can only be described as a sporadic release schedule, Llama Farm has made it to the quarter century of releases. We started out not knowing what we were doing, and eventually we learnt not to worry about it all and go on instinct.

So to celebrate this landmark achievement (well for us, anyway, since most labels don’t do one of these till release 50 or 100), we got together some friends and asked them to take a gem from our back catalogue, update, tweak, caress, and fondle it, and then send it back.

Thankfully, everyone pulled a blinder. So in this package of fondly remembered earworms, we have retouches from the likes of Demarkus Lewis, Freaky Behaviour, Jon Delerious, Little Man Big, Corduroy Mavericks, Tom Special Interest , and Arco.

There maybe even something else on the way from one of our mates too, but why open all the presents before your birthday?

So here it is. Enjoy. And here’s to at least another 25 releases where we made what we liked in the headphones come out the big speakers.

Cheers

Pete Le Freq
Llama Farm Recordings

Special Thanks go to Dimitri @ CMS for the Mastering, and Joe Savoy for his fantastic artwork.

101 Ways to annoy a label owner….#56 The poorly thought out demo submission

Producing tracks takes time and care. Talent helps too. So you’ve got what you think will be a #1 hit on beatport. And you need to get it released. So what do you do? 

Well, before I tell you what I THINK you should do, I’m going to give an example of what you shouldn’t do. With Llama Farm, I have a dropbox on my soundcloud account (http://soundcloud.com/llamafarmrecordings if you want to have a look….). I wrote what I thought was quite clear in terms of what I’m looking for.

I said in no uncertain terms that any submissions should be in keeping with the labels output. Yeah, obviously wasn’t clear enough. So what do I get? People sending vast amounts of tracks shared to 5000 people who will equally be not interested in it. “Privately shared” on soundcloud means restricted numbers. 5000 people does not equate to private.

Interestingly,the most recent submission described my label as “deep and crispy”. I have no idea as to what this refers to, but the submission HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE OUTPUT OF THE LABEL, so I deleted it.

 

So what should you do?

 

  • Firstly, send your music to a label you buy the music of regularly. If you make what you like, this should tie together.
  • Submit one track, and make it your best one.
  • Be polite, but don’t make claims you can’t back up. (If they’ve never heard of you, you are not the saviour of whatever form of music you have chosen to produce)
  • Send it to a handful of labels. Remember that people know people too. House music is a pretty small community, word does get round as everyone chats. If word gets round, you may get offers from interested labels.
  • Ask people for feedback. Take it on board when its criticism. Make better tracks. Repeat!

 

And hopefully, that’s turned a frown upside down.

 

PS Please, please, please stop sending me minimal techno. Its a waste of my bandwidth.

 

Buying your own music: the lowest form of self-promotion?

I was a bit shocked recently when I discovered there was another level of what can only be described of fraud in the music industry. Its something that’s joked about – but until now I didn’t believe it was actually true.

Put simply: labels getting their artists to buy their own music, or labels buying their own releases.

My instant reaction is that this sounds retarded. In fact, to most people its the lowest form of self-promotion – and very costly too. So why would anyone do it? Its kind of the music industry equivalent of getting someone to bump your bids on Ebay….

Well, given the current low state of sales in the industry, you can kind of understand why someone would consider it. If buying 20 copies of your own track gets you top 10, and more people “notice” your release, then you sell 40 copies as a result, then you’d think it would be worth it. However, by the time you factor in the stores share (lets say its a nice easy 50%), you would have to sell double the number you bought to break even. This is already starting to total up…..

Then there’s whether you do it on one store, or a couple. Which means the costs add up quickly. Say the label has released on 5 stores, buying 20 copies on each store as a starter to get them kicked off.

So for a 100 downloads of their single, they would have to sell 200 to break even. And given that 20 copies would cost around $40, its going to set them back $200 to buy those copies.

And that doesn’t even factor in if the release is a pile of crap. In which case, the investment is $200, plus the cost of the release. The current returns in house music especially, make this a high risk strategy for making money. Combine this with someone buying plays to get them more noticed, and you have a set of seriously dodgy tools which probably won’t get you any admiration from your peers.

I would love to have a list of labels or producers who actually do this and get them to justify why they did it. I’m still shocked that anyone would think its a good idea. Or maybe I’m just naïve and everyone is doing it.