Music Promotion and Marketing 101

There have been a few questions popping up on reddit about how to start promoting your music as a producer or performer. I responded a couple of times and each time the reaction was very positive – and thus I am republishing my reddit comments here.

Granted I barely have time to promote my own stuff at the moment – but if I got serious this is what I would do. This is by no means an exhaustive list but this is how I would get started:

Continue reading “Music Promotion and Marketing 101”

Vangelis – Rosetta

Nostalgia Strikes

Once in a while, an artist’s name will just pop into my head out of nowhere. Typically, this is followed with immediate thoughts of nostalgia, leading to frantically searching Spotify for that one song I played on repeat on my DiscMan what seems like ages ago.

This time is different, but not too different. Continue reading “Vangelis – Rosetta”

Deconstructing The Perfect Dance Song: Kaoma’s Lambada

If you asked me to name the best dance song of all time, off the top of my head, it would be none other than Lambada, Kaoma’s interpretation.

Even though the song never quite took off in the US as it did in Europe, I feel many see this breezy summer tune as the quintessential dance song.

There were 15 other variations of the Lambada tune before Kaoma finally nailed it and created an international fever.

It’s no surprise that the track hit number one on many music charts, but… why? Do yourself a favor and press play on the video below, and then read on as you listen. Continue reading “Deconstructing The Perfect Dance Song: Kaoma’s Lambada”

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.

Sonaris Music Review: Old Memories by The Last Port

Old Memories The Last PortSome surprises are good. That was the second thought that ran through my head after listening to the first track of the four-track EP Old Memories, by Paris-based The Last Port. My first thought was “Whoa!” As the heavy, moody SKIES began with a spritly vocal, accompanied by a deep, heavy synth – shivers ran down my body in surprise.

I’ve been listening to a bunch of chillout stuff recently, stuff from Tycho, Com Truise and the like. I dig chillout music almost anytime, and as I’m preparing to do a little chillout work myself, I’ve been doing my homework. But, I digress…

SKIES is a great, chilled melodic track with a repeating vocal theme, deep atmosphere and heavy beat. The only thing I would have preferred to hear here is more accentuation of the percussion, as it gets lost behind the synths.

OLD MEMORIES introduces a cool, clean, crispy, trap-like beat with sizzling hats. Another vibrant, melodic and melancholy track – a great second track in this series. The transitions and breaks are fantastic, bringing out some of the more subtle elements.

EMPTY HEAD and NTHNGCHNGS follow the same “formula” – chill, melodic, vocal and relaxing.

All four tracks are fantastic and flow well together. I’ve listened to the EP on repeat several times and aside from some minor things which I could nitpick on the mix, the overall production is very solid: well organized, well composed, original and most importantly – filled with feeling, something a lot of today’s mainstream electronic music often lacks. If you’re in the mood to chill, head to bandcamp and listen to the whole thing, before you inevitably get a copy to listen to in the car.