Back in dinosaur days, if you wanted to record music you had to beg and plead with a record label to give you a 6-figure loan, which you then used to pay someone else to let you use their studio.
Fortunately however, high quality studio equipment has become more affordable in recent years. Most of The Complete’s music is recorded into 2 kick-ass pre amps that I own, and then put into the computer to be dealt with later. (It’s not entirely that simple, but you get the point).
But in order to get a professional sound you need more than just good gear…you need a good room. All the best gear in the world can’t help a crap-sounding room; after all, garbage in-garbage out.
Now, my recording room is good…but I only have the one (boo-hoo right?). I wanted to be able to set up my live room in a bunch of different configurations so that I can do ALL of my necessary recording in it. One set up for vocals, a different one for acoustic guitar, another for drums…you get the picture. To do that, I needed sound baffles. A quick Google search told me what they’re made out of, and to my surprise everything was available at my local big-box hardware store.
So I made some:
While not inexpensive, they cost a fraction of what 6 weeks in someone else’s studio would cost. This just helps prove that you don’t need to go down the old road anymore. Just save your dollars, use the internet to learn how-to, and do it your-freaking-self. (I’ve seen inventive people put together photography studios, video production suites, you name it. The internet is the most powerful tool available to creators.)
We only have ourselves to blame if we aren’t moving forward.
PS I’m starting to think I could build my own guitar amp…
I don’t watch the 24 hours news cycle. I don’t listen to Top 40 radio. Yet somehow I still know details of Lindsay Lohan and Taylor Swift’s personal lives.
And I couldn’t care less. Lohan gets in a fight? Throw the idiot in prison like you’d do to the rest of us. Taylor Swift gets her heart broken? As if that’s never happened to anyone before.
But I know less about pop-tart celebrities now than I ever did. You see, old media’s reach is not as extensive now as if once was. I have options. I read the news, just not CNN or Fox. I listen to more music than you, just not Billboard’s Top Whatever.
The rise of the internet is the rise of choice. And that’s what really troubles the RIAA and MPAA, not ‘piracy’. Your entertainment money isn’t going into their pockets anymore. Why should it? Hollywood remakes and junk-food, sound-alike music? Thanks, but I’d rather pay $30 to see Alkaline Trio than $30 (tix and food) to see the same Transformers movie over and over.
The old guard is losing our attention with the same old, same old. The future of entertainment belongs to the great writers, the great singers, the great songwriters, the great PERFORMERS.
Quality will win in the long run. The Stones are celebrating 50 years. Where’s Miley Cyrus?
1 – I am way too dependant on the internet. The whole time the power was out I felt like I was missing out on a new funny cat picture or something.
2 – Eating nothing but gas station food for two days might SOUND awesome (…) but it is not. Bluuuuggggghhhhhh.
3 – Driving through a modern city with all the lights off is a surreal experience. Creepy even.
4 – Newfoundlanders are the worst drivers in North America. Either people don’t know the road rules or choose to ignore them. This makes for some pretty hairy situations at major intersections when there’s no power.
5 – There’s way more stars than previously noticed by me. We’re like…insignificant specks of dust or some junk.
So I’ve set up my schedule for the fall to include the release of some more songs w/a corresponding video. Some people have asked why I don’t just release them on an album.
I think of it like this: how many albums do you own where you only listen to 2 songs, and skip the rest? Be honest. I’ll bet it’s most of them. There’s a lot of reasons for that I think. Perhaps the most obvious being that bands are often rushed in the studio and can’t always give each song the polishing it might need.
I don’t mind having less material if it means that there’s fewer C- and D-quality songs in The Complete’s catalogue. I work out of my own studio which means I’m not paying someone else by the hour. There’s no one looking at their watch or demanding 10 finished songs by the end of the month. That’s a pretty sweet situation. (The downside of course, is that it’s easy to be a lazy sack of crap.)
Maybe a bigger reason though, is the fact that most people (myself included) flock to YouTube when they’re looking for music. If I hear about a band I think I might be interested in, I don’t buy the album sight unseen (like I once had to. How many times was I pissed off and disappointed?). Instead, I just search YouTube.
Since The Complete is a fairly new act, I can’t really take 6 months and lock myself away to do an album either. It’s my intention to release music on something like a regular schedule in order to try and keep people interested/paying attention.
The old music industry has run into problems because its entire infrastructure is set up to sell you a round piece of plastic. In the old days albums had astronomical profit margins. Problem with that is, music is 1’s and 0’s now. For better or worse, I think it’s time we musicians embraced that. With that in mind, I’m currently operating under the belief that it’s all about the song. If my songs are good enough, people will hear them. If not then it’s back to the drawing board.
Some people HAVE asked me for a physical release though, so I may collect everything at some point and do a short run of Vinyl or CD pressings. For the most part however, I’ll be focusing on the song/video format for the foreseeable future.
NO I DO NOT LIKE NICKELBACK. Let’s just get that out of the way.
Then where am I going with this? Read on.
Do you use twitter? Have a favourite blog? Do you go to Pitchfork for album reviews? Use tumblr? Text your friends?
Then Nickelback is not for you. They’re not for me. Nickelback is for the 39 year old lawyer who goes to one concert/year. They’re for the group of nurses who want a night out. They’re for people with disposable income, who are a little older than the tastemakers and therefore blissfully unaware of the Nickelback hating apparatus that is the internet. They’re for people who still buy CD’s. They’re for people who want to Rock and Roll but have to be up early tomorrow for that important meeting.
More importantly, not only are those people unaware of the near universal level of hatred for Nickelback on the internet…they wouldn’t care anyway. MOMMA’S GOING OUT AND HAVING A GOOD TIME.
And also, who cares if anyone likes Nickelback? I’m not going to any of their shows and I’m not buying the records. I’ll save my money for The Black Keys tyvm.
You and I can hate them all we want but Nickelback will still carry on, totally immune to criticism….to the tune of half a million dollars/show.
So let’s not waste our time on them, but by looking at pictures of cats and naked people instead. YAY INTERNET!
There’s currently a bit of a shit storm taking place over at The Oatmeal, and it is hilarious/awesome. I won’t re-hash the story here, you can read it for yourself on The Oatmeal.
The best part about all this is the lawyer that FunnyJunk hired. I know this type of lawyer, a special kind of cunt. Musicians have been getting reamed by assholes like this for decades. Overprivileged, over entitled, over indulgent. Masters of the universe since 2nd year law school. Bullies.
They use the threat of lawsuits to get what they want. And it works. No one wants to tangle with these guys in court, so they settle. They’re accustomed to fucking whoever they want, drinking/sniffing whatever they want, threatening whoever they want and totally getting away with it because they ARE the law. They stand on the backs of the poor and the ignorant.
So some dicknozzle tries that on Matt Inman (The Oatmeal guy) and lo and behold it blows up in his face.
The lesson here? Maybe we don’t have roll over and take it.
How to be a Rock Star: 21st Century edition
-You won’t get super-rich. Musicians don’t have fuck-you money, bankers do. Accept this.
-If you want a long career, don’t take the record deal. Everything they say they can do for you, you can do yourself. Taking the deal means they MIGHT help with some of the back end workload, but know that you’re an employee and you’re gonna get screwed.
-If you take do the deal, expect the label to take a cut from everything. Music sales, licensing, merch, ticket revenue, etc. Van Halen got home from their first world tour and owed a million dollars to their label. Lady Gaga finished the Monster Ball Tour and owed 3 mil.
-Build a fanbase and connect with them. They are real people, not faceless masses.
-Don’t ignore tweets/shoutouts/YouTube clips/etc from fans. Even Nickelback occasionally tweet back to their fans.
-Think you can party like a rockstar forever? You can’t. I tried.
-You are not Keith Richards.
-Love what you do or don’t do it. Rock and roll kills people.
-Learn, learn, learn. Always learn. Think you’re an expert or a genius? Then you aren’t. Jimi Hendrix said he can learn something from any and all guitarists.
-Don’t be stupid with money. Keep track of it. Don’t let it be smoked/drunk/sniffed away.
-Run the band like a business. It is one.
-Choose your employees wisely. You are your team. Make sure they’re happy.
-Nobody is coming to pluck you out of obscurity and make you a star. How many successful American Idol contestants can you name? 4 or 5 maybe? You need to bootstrap your own way up.
-There will never be another Thriller.
-Don’t look like shit.
-Don’t sound like shit.
-Don’t be a twat. We’re all in this together.