Album by Soup

Some friends of mine, Andy Whitaker and Oz Cooper, have a new album out now. Released in November 2014, the album is intriguingly called “ALBUM” and the band is called “SOUP”. Influences and sounds ranging from psychedelic to indie, pop, and heartfelt emotion are all on the album. From the first track, “Colour Coded”, with it’s eastern intro, to just an acoustic guitar, synths, the album has it all. It’s well worth a listen. The album cover is intriguing too. A few of us were invited to a photoshoot for the cover pic, and were asked to bring along out favourite album covers. So, while you listen to “Album”, you can play a “guess the cover” game…..!!!

Album by Soup is out now on all good download sites, including iTunes: http://bit.ly/1tASo36

soup-album
Soup – Album: Guess the album cover!

 

 

Is remixing the new X-Factor?

toy piano

Or Is remixing becoming the new X-Factor? Whatever you want to say about them, tv shows like the X-Factor, Britain’s Got Talent, America’s Got Talent, etc., are becoming the major way for kids to become pop stars. The temptation to audition for one of those shows is often too much for the budding singer, girl band, boy band, or guitarist, and when they finally reach the live shows, there’s the chance to get free publicitiy, exposure, critique of their style and ability. Even if they don’t make it all the way to the final, there’s always the chance of being signed by a record company, however well they can sing.

So, why do I think that remixing is becoming the new X-Factor? Well, compare the two: someone advertises a talent contest where you don’t need any industry form or prior performance experience. You just need your instrument (voice or digital audio workstation – Ableton Live, anyone?); the material to perform with, either a song or some audio stems; and you need some time to get your performance right, but not necessarily to a high level. There are so many talent shows out there – X-Factor contests run by pubs and bars, holiday hotels, local tv and radio stations, probably a new one every day somewhere in the world. There are so many remix contests out there too. There are even websites dedicated to advertising the latest contests. Somewhere in the world, someone will enter all of these contests, but usually budding remixers, who see it as a quick way to get signed by a record label, will enter one or two a month, hoping that this will be their big chance.

But, like the X-Factor and Britain’s Got Talent, the really talented, dedicated, hardworking remixers will miss out, only to be beaten by the “popular vote”, in terms of the ones with the highest number of plays or likes will be shortlisted. Talent probably does come into it if they’re in a contest that is looking for particular techniques and it’s about ability rather than what sounds good to some people. However, like in the real world of becoming a popstar, it’s the approaching people in the industry and showing them what you can do, that gets you the opportunities. Ok, so some people who win remix contests may be famous and find a way in to the music business, but more often than not it’s the talent that is wanted and that’s what gets you the gig.

So, two things from all that. First of all, anyone can make a remix. It may not be good, but it may be what someone is looking for. Even my 8 year old can make a remix in Ableton Live. Secondly, I still enter remix contests, despite having done “official” remixes for some bands I know, and appearing on compilations etc. Why, because there’s a very tiny part of me that still sees them as a way to get famous, despite that fact that I always ridicule shows like the X-Factor! My latest remix below, is one I did in about 6 hours for the Ableton 24 hour remix contest “Beat the Clock”. I downloaded the parts for the track, most of which you could only open in Ableton Live and you had to make the remix with the same program. Having only used Live for a few days before, I probably proved my theory that anyone can make a remix, so here’s the result:

Contest Page:

Beat the Clock – Ableton Remix by Tim Blackburn/mistrust

Listen in Soundcloud:

By the way, if you’re a Soundcloud user, and like the track, please favourite it,and share it, thereby making me win the popular vote! If Pudsey the dog can do it, so can I!

Facebook | Let’s get Vienna to number 1 on 11th APRIL!

If Rage Against the Machine and Delirious can do it, so can Ultravox!!

Facebook | Let’s get Vienna to number 1 on 11th APRIL!.

Join the Facebook campaign to get Vienna by Ultravox to Number 1 in the UK charts…

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Just to remind you….

Reality check for a bedroom musician

Well, I’ve certainly had it coming to me!At last someone in the music industry telling me how it really is. Giving me an honest opinion about my music and production skills. Or actually, limited production skills. Nice tune, shame about the production.  I finally got to meet someone from the record company that let me do a few remixes for their bands. The remixes massively raised my profile and gave me a big confidence booster, and really made me think about my own tunes and how I can improve them. However, the opinion is that I really need to get some feedback and a second opinion when I’m making some tracks. Someone to bounce ideas off in terms of mixing and production, either alongside me or on the web, before I send in a remix or put any more tracks on the web if I’m doing anything more than saying “I’m just doing this for fun. Get back on the forums and read up on “production”. I could release stuff on the web, free of course, and say “Hope you like the tune, but don’t mind the production.” I guess if I’m honest with myself, it’s ok putting out tracks on Myspace but when I’m making them for someone else to release or who has a reputation to keep, I really need to get the production-side of things sorted.

Probably needed the advice and the objective comments, as I’ve probably been living in cloud cuckoo land or splendid isolation for a while.  After doing a couple of remixes I’ve done that had commercial releases, one of which made it onto a proper remix cd, I’d probably started to believe the hype. I guess that when a musician or a band starts to sell a few CDs or gets some radio airplay, they just carry on thinking that everything’s coming up roses.

So, the advice is that I should pick out a few of the many unfinished tracks I have sitting on the laptop, and really work hard of getting them to sound right. I’m not looking to get signed by a label. Just doing it as a hobby, for fun, but I have an incentive to get it right and to stop messing around, coming with millions of ideas and not finishing anything. An incentive. A very good incentive.

I was a bit downhearted when I got the comments and feedback, but I did ask for an honest opinion! So, if there are any bands and musicians out there and you get some honest opinions about your tunes or production techniques that knock you back, take it on the chin, pick yourself up, getting working to improve what you’re doing!