Why I Never Force Music Production

I’ve been on a bit of a break lately. I’m still posting stuff on Soundcloud but not quite as frequently. Part of it is life stuff, like working a new full time job, part of it a burn-out, part is a lack of recent inspiration – musically, anyway.

But, that’s all OK.

You see, my best music has always come naturally, and it comes and goes. Sometimes I just feel it. That’s the beauty of having left music mainly as a “hobby” – I prefer passion – of sorts, I don’t really have to do anything I don’t want to.

For a while I found myself getting hung up on producing music for licensing, which was fun at first and actually pays money, but it started feeling a like a job – especially after creating multiple variations of the same 60 second cue for someone who doesn’t know what they want, and then ultimately having them pass on it because 20 other producers bid on the same project.

Anyway, I think that frustration is well known to many, and is certainly not anything totally new.

I did just do a remix of mitch murder’s breaking waves, as a gift for my wife, which mitch was super kind to let me do.

Right now I am playing around with the idea of launching a music-related business – so perhaps more on that to come, pending the outcome of the business plan.

As always thanks for all the love and support. I have been getting a bunch of demos recently, through the site, which is encouraging. I listened to all of them so far and reached out to couple of producers about releases. Keep those demos coming.

I don’t force production because it winds up sounding manufactured, formulaic and lacks any sort of identity. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – this is the golden age of music because producers no longer have to crank out bad records to survive. It all takes less time, the promotion is easier, and the music sounds better than ever.

New Year, New Label, New Journey

New Label

For those who are familiar with my releases, many might know that I’ve traditionally released 90% of my music with label Addictive Vibe Records, which my friend Alex Biagi started almost 10 years ago. Unfortunately, Alex was no longer able to run AVR, for personal reasons, and thus the label dissolved.

Out of loss sometimes comes opportunity. I was in a good position to launch my own label, Sonaris Music, with the support of a number of artists from AVR, including Alex. This new step is a natural move for myself and a logical next step in my musical journey.

The new label is still focused on emerging artists, first and foremost. The biggest difference between AVR and Sonaris Music is I am adding a number of electronic, and non-electronic genres to the mix – such as trap, rap and hip-hop. While SM will still primarily focus on releasing electronic music – which is what our awesome distributor Label Worx focuses on – we have the opportunity to sell on Amazon and iTunes, so there’s no reason not to include non-electronic genres.

Looking for New Talent

Because I now have the reigns to a brand new label, I am looking for emerging electronic talent. The cool thing about Sonaris Music is, the label is laid back, non-exclusive, but most importantly – we’re a community. A lot of big decisions we make as a group, which means we typically vote on new artists we add to the label. We hand pick all artists who release with us and that’s what makes Sonaris Music cool – I personally (at least digitally) know every one of the 50+ artists who released music through AVR and I plan to continue this tradition with SM.

No Music Reviews – For Now

In other news, I’ve clearly not had the time to do the music reviews on this site, as I had initially planned. Because I don’t like to half-ass anything I do, that means I won’t be doing music reviews at the rate I had been doing them previously.

My apologies to the many people who submitted music for review and didn’t hear back from me. I admit that’s not very professional and not the way I like to do things.

For now, please do not send in any music for review, unless you want me to listen to a demo you’d like to release with Sonaris Music.


That all said, the new year is off to a great start, with several releases already scheduled through Sonaris Music – and more to come. I look forward to hearing from you.

S.

I have not been good about doing reviews, for which I apologize.

Life takes unexpected turns, and lately I have been totally swamped with work and other life events. Because of this, I have neglected to review some of the great music which people have been sending my way. My hope is that I will find the time in the near future, but for now you’ll have to accept my apologies.

That said, if you’re interested in reviewing some original music, have good writing skills and a good ear – drop me a note.

The good news is, as you may or may not have noticed – I spent some time, recently, completely redoing this website with the goal of making it faster, smoother and providing a better overall experience.

I am still actively working on music, with a release in the works in the very near future, so stay tuned. I am also hoping to put together another licensing or sample pack. If you want to contribute some samples, I can include them with credit to you.

Destiny is Upon Us. Well, The EP Anyway.

If you got on InternetDJ.com about six months ago, it was hard to miss the annual remix comeptition which InternetDJ.com hosted with my label Addictive Vibe Records. The remix competition centered around my original progressive house track Destiny.

The track peaked at #1 on InternetDJ.com charts in the summer of 2014 – which was onviously exciting for me as it was the first time I’d had an original hit the #1 spot (I’d done it a few times with remixes). Out of the 17 total entries in the running one track stood out in the crowd with solid production value. Andy Line approached the competition with a light, summer dance beat, incorporating a few major elements from the original track.

After a few months of figuring things out with Andy (read: I forgot to send him the distribution agreement), and perfecting both mixes in the studio, we released a joint, two-track EP titled “Destiny” on Beatport, Amazon and iTunes and a bunch of other online shops.

Destiny was inspired in part by the progressive house sounds of 2009, my days of riding my Honda VFR750 in the Colorado Mountains, the movie Drive, and Birdy Nam Nam’s amazing tune and video – Defiant Order.

The idea was to create something flowing, with a steady build and a driving melody. I wanted to write something I could listen to on a highway drive in the rain.

The track has been positively received overall on iDJ and on Soundcloud, getting over 20,000 plays in a period of a couple of months with an aggregated review score of 8.5/10 on InternetDJ. Destiny is my first commercial release in over a year, while I worked on trying new production techniques in 2014 – I did release a bunch of free music on Soundcloud.

I’ve got a number of new electronic music releases in the works for this year – it will be an exciting one to be sure! Stay tuned and catch up with me on Soundcloud, Facebook or Twitter!

I am also planning on redesigning my website here again relatively soon, so please excuse the mess while I work on it. Stay cool.

Remix competition! Remix my original track, Destiny, for a chance to win $150 + a release on Addictive Vibe Records

Sonaris DestinyIt’s InternetDJ.com‘s 10th annual remix competition, and – for the first time ever, the tables have turned. I have participated in most of the remix competitions over the years, but this time around, I get to be the remixee!

There is a $150 cash (paypal) prize for the winner of the competition, plus the possibility of a release on Amazon, iTunes, Beatport, Google Music, etc… If the remixes are particularly good, I may consider releasing several of the remixes as part of an EP, via Addictive Vibe Records.

The rules: InternetDJ members have until Midnight Saturday October 4th 2014(ET) to download the sound pack, remix into a new song and upload it on this page to InternetDJ. After this day, the upload function will be closed and shortly thereafter the remixes will be filtered for nonsense and presented within the InternetDJ Voting Booth. Any electronic music style will be considered, including-but-not-limited-to: drum & bass, progressive house, filter house, breaks, chillout, ambient, jackin house, dubstep, trap, french house, etc… your mind is your limit.

The Voting Process and Prizes: InternetDJ members and visitors are welcome to vote on all the uploaded tracks. The top three highest rated remixes will then be delivered to Sonaris, who will select the #1 remix. This winner will receive the $150 paypal prize from InternetDJ. The winner may also have a chance to be released on Beatport/Amazon/iTunes. It will be up to Addictive Vibe Records to decide if the winning remix will be released. Addictive Vibe Records may approach two or three remixers to release an EP with the original + remixes. Any agreements between the remixes and Addictive Vibe Records are in no way connected to InternetDJ. If the remixes are good, you might get a release out of it!

Click Here for Official Rules and/or to Submit Your Entry

What the funk is Jackin’ House music?

configure-disc-jockey-disco-1504Jackin house is nothing new – in fact it was around in the 80’s. So, why am I writing about it today? It’s not exactly hot news, considering there is a wikipedia page dedicated to Jacking and jackin house, but it’s new to me – so let’s talk about it. I’ll be honest and say upfront that I didn’t go back and listen to all of the roots of jackin house, yet, or even listen to all of the “big” names producing and DJing it right now – ‘journalism’ now-a-days! Reason is, to me, the history is not as important taking a look – really, a listen, to the sound. This isn’t meant to be a history lesson on jackin house or a debate on its roots or origins, so much as a brief overview of what it is, and how you can make it.

So, from my somewhat limited experience, jackin house allows for quite a bit of creative freedom, not unlike many other EDM styles where the lines can be pretty grey, at best. The common thread I’ve found, between most tracks I’ve heard is:

  • old school drum samples – think punchy, dry kickdrums, almost obnoxiously loud open hats accented by high hats
  • very little release on the percs – I tend to do with with my percussion anyway, but in jackin house – aside from maybe the occasional cymbal, the percussion is generally pretty cut and dry with the release knob cranked down
  • blaring bass – it’s fairly common to hear some 404 sounding bass, or just really punchy bass instruments
  • funky basslines – the funkier and catchier the bassline, the better
  • repetition – a lot of the jackin house tracks I’ve heard use repetition quite a bit, but those that wind up being the most interesting are where there is at least some percussive or bass variation
  • vocal samples – in probably half, if not more, tracks I’ve heard there is some vocal sampling – again, this is a great place to get creative; some favor dropping the pitch on the vocals a bit to create a darker, hous-ier (is this a word?) feel – while others do a lot of vocal cutting and chopping
  • a lot of fun – jackin house is really bringing the dancy house music vibe back to the dancefloor which for a while has been dominated by high pitched whining synths, screaming sirens and bass drops – of which some, not all, but many are getting a bit fatigued

So, why should you care about jackin house? Well, for one, it’s definitely making a comeback. With the fast rise of standout female DJ Hannah Wants, with Chris Lorenzo dominating quite a bit of the scene with his basslines, with the pure fun and energy that jackin house brings back to the club, it’s hard not to be at least slightly infatuated with it. Is it a fad? Well, everything in music comes and goes, and comes and goes again, so yeah it’s probably pretty safe to say that the popularity of the subgenre will rise and then fall and then perhaps rise again with some new added twists. But, like any great party, you might as well enjoy it while it lasts!

For a quick and dirty lesson on what jackin house sounds like, check out Hannah Wants’ Soundcloud and listen to some of her outstanding jackin house mixtapes.