When 21st-century pop culture meets 20th-century pop culture

March 18, 2013

All the references are itemised here.

Advertisements

Band interviews

March 8, 2013

James Scott (no relation) decodes the mysterious art of band interviews for you:

***

What Bands Say And What They Really Mean

The modern music industry can be a confusing, intimidating thing. All this jargon, and that weird way of speaking that bands only seem to do in interviews and press releases. What does it all mean? Well, I’ve put together this handy phrasebook for translating musician into English. Next time you read an interview with a band, or have them drunkenly tell you all about their band in the toilets after the gig (whether you care about their stupid band or not), run what they say through this handy guide and get a better idea of what’s really going on:

  • Yeah, we’re sort of electro, we love the TS808 and all that stuff.
    (We couldn’t find a drummer.)
  •  

  • We like to mix up loads of genres. We’ve all got loads of influences and we all bring something to the band, so it makes our sets very eclectic.
    (We’re always arguing about what to play.)
  •    

  • We’re releasing this next record as a free digital distro, to say thank you to our fans, because music should be, like, free, man. Crush capitalism!
    (My dad’s garage is still full of unsold copies of our last album.)
  •  

  • Our creative process is quite fluid, like, we just blue-sky think all these ideas, and it all just flows together, man.
    (We take lots and lots of drugs.)
  •  

  • We really believe in lo-fi analogue recording, it’s just so much more authentic than this modern, over-produced bullcrap.”
    (None of us knows how to use Protools.)
  •  

  • We love our new drummer, he’s really got into the spirit of what the band is all about, it’s like he’s been here all along.
    (We hope he’s less of a psycho than the last guy but our hopes aren’t high.)
  •  

  • We’re all full-on rock and roll, all the time! We’re living the dream!
    (I’m an alcoholic and my wife has left me.)
  •  

  • We’re a really democratic band. We don’t believe in leaders.
    (Our decision-making process consists of yelling and fistfights.)
  •  

  • We like to play intimate venues, it really helps us connect with our fans.
    (It’s less embarrassing when only five people turn up.)
  •  

  • We really like to mix it up live. Every time you hear us, it’ll sound a bit different to last time.
    (We’re under-rehearsed and make a lot of mistakes.)
  •  

  • Man, there are so many sharks and money-grabbers in music! It’s really hard as a musician to avoid the bad guys.
    (Someone at our last gig sold us “skunk” that turned out to be oregano.)
  •  

  • We can’t believe how lucky we are to have such a quality guitarist join us. We’re all learning so much from him!
    (It turns out there are more than four chords.)
  •  

  • This music blog says we’re the future!
    (It’s written by my girlfriend, but even then I had to take her to see Mamma Mia before she agreed to listen to our demo.)
  •  

  • We’re not into that self-indulgent virtuoso crap. It’s got no feeling man, Kurt Cobain proved it, you’ve gotta have heart, it’s all about the message you’re conveying!
    (We suck and we’re in denial about it.)
  •  

  • Yeah, we’re cool with the old bassist. Things just weren’t working out, so we went our separate ways, we’re just too busy to talk to each other.
    (We’ve agreed that if he doesn’t tell anyone about my drug dealing, I won’t tell his girlfriend that he cheated on her.)
  •  

  • The last singer didn’t really fit in with our philosophy, you know, the way we approach music and creativity.
    (He believed in showing up to rehearsals sober.)
  •  

  • We decided we don’t need a bass player, we love to explore unconventional soundscapes.
    (Every bassist we tried to audition took one look at us and ran away screaming.)
  •  

  • I hate breadheads! We’re in this for the music, man, commercialism is killing music!
    (We could never persuade anyone to pay money to listen to this rubbish.)
  •  

  • Yeah, we set up our own label to release our music independently, it’s the best thing for an emerging artist and gives us so much freedom.
    (No record company would look at us twice, so I got my cousin to make some stickers in Photoshop to put on the CD case.)
  •  

  • Guitar solos are for posers!
    (I suck at guitar.)
  •  

  • We’re releasing an EP because people don’t want to listen to whole albums any more. Downloads have changed everything man, it’s all killer no filler these days!
    (We only know five songs)
  •  

  • I think a bit of creative destruction really helps the songwriting process. It helps that we all have really strong personalities who aren’t afraid to say what they think!
    (We fight like siblings in the back seats of a hot car.)
  •  

  • We’re going to do an unplugged gig. It’ll be a really cool way for our fans to hear our music in a new way.
    (It was supposed to be a proper gig but the drummer couldn’t make it.)
  •  

  • Yeah, our singer has that ‘x-factor’, he’s unconventional but he just dominates the stage, you can’t take your eyes off him.
    (He can’t sing, has a stupid haircut and dances like an idiot.)
  •  

  • We just love to improvise, our songs are more like loose templates that serve as the basis for free-form extemporising.
    (We’re too disorganised/high to write any songs.)
  •  

  • We mostly play covers, but we like to throw in an original now and then to keep it interesting.
    (And watch the audience go to the bar.)
  •  

  • Man, these promoters are scumbags! They just want to screw the bands!
    (This one guy had the temerity to call us jerks when we didn’t bring anyone to the gig and drank the free bar dry.)

    If you liked this you might also like my handy guide to musicians. You might also like to sign up to my mailing list, which contains all kinds of handy hints and exclusive resources that will help you not to become like these bands.

    About The Author:
    James Scott is a Music Producer in London, UK. He works with up and coming artists all over the world to help them get noticed in the industry.

***

(From Guitar World.)

And two more from my friend Karen (Hi, Karen!):

  • He’s left the band because he wanted to concentrate on his own material.
    (We threw him out because we found someone else we liked better.)
  •  

  • I just write the first thing that comes into my head, man!
    (My lyrics are so convoluted and nonsensical that even I have no idea what they mean.)

Photo of the day

February 25, 2013

This photo was taken on Tuesday 25 February 1964:

On that day, those four musicians worked on these four songs in 6½ hours (with a one-hour lunch break):

The Beatles – “Can’t Buy Me Love (1964)

The Beatles – “You Can’t Do That (1964)

The Beatles – “And I Love Her (1964)

The Beatles – “I Should Have Known Better (1964)

At the end of the session they celebrated the lead guitarist‘s 21st birthday.

***

From The Beatles Bible:

10.00am, Tuesday 25 February 1964 (48 years ago)
Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Norman Smith

Although The Beatles had taped much of “Can’t Buy Be Love” while in Paris on 29 January 1964, the first scheduled recording sessions for the A Hard Day’s Night LP took place on this day. It was also George Harrison‘s 21st birthday, which was celebrated in the evening.

The Beatles were due to begin shooting their first feature film on 2 March, leaving them with little time for recording. There were two sessions on this day: the first began at 10am and ended at 1.30pm, and the second from 2.30-5.30pm, both in Studio Two at EMI Studios.

The first song to be tackled was “Can’t Buy Me Love”. Vocals and guitar parts were overdubbed onto the backing track recorded in Paris, after which the song was complete and ready to be The Beatles’ next single.

The group then turned their attentions to the song’s future b-side, John Lennon‘s “You Can’t Do That“. The Beatles finished the song in nine takes, only four of which were complete. The previously-unreleased take six was included on 1995’s Anthology 1.

In the afternoon session they worked on two songs which ended up on the A Hard Day’s Night soundtrack. “And I Love Her” was the first to be tackled. The Beatles recorded just two takes on this day; the second of these, the only complete run-through, was also released on Anthology 1. The group remade the song on the following day.

Also begun on this day was “I Should Have Known Better“. Three takes were recorded, but only one was complete. As with “And I Love Her”, the song was remade on 26 February.


The Non-Eternal Question, Part 2

November 15, 2012

Some time ago I asked you which file-sharing service you preferred on this blog. I use two: DivShare and Box. The general consensus was that it didn’t matter much either way. (As a young Mr. Lennon once sang: “It doesn’t matter much to me.”)

However…

It’s come to my attention – mainly because I noticed it – that whenever I have a look at my blog (to see how things are looking) I sometimes have to wait a long, long time for a song to start playing after I pressed “play”. It depends on the post as to how quickly a track loads, but in the case of this Musical coincidence involving a shedload of songs, if I tried to play any one of them I’d be waiting, waiting, waiting, waiting… waiting for it to load.

It appears that Box pre-loads every MP3 in a post, and that can be a little unhelpful if you’re viewing a post that has more than one or two tracks in it. It can be even more unhelpful if you’re looking at the entire blog (not just a single post), with all the songs in all the visible posts all pre-loading.

On the other hand*, DivShare only loads a track when it’s activated (by a very kind person pressing “play”), so theoretically that would be quicker than Box trying to load everything all at once. But DivShare occasionally goes offline and becomes unavailable (it comes back again, though), which prompted me to go with Box.

Are you having any of the troubles I might be imagining?

I think I’m going to have to go back to DivShare.

(*It just occurred to me that the phrase “on the other hand” may be insensitive to people who have only one hand.)


The Non-Eternal Question (or: It’s Just A Regular Question)

October 26, 2012

I have a favour to ask of you.

I use two file-sharing services, DivShare and Box. I like them both, but at the moment I’m using only DivShare.

However, I’m sometimes bothered by the time it takes DivShare to load an MP3. When I try it on my computer, DivShare will occasionally be slow to start playing an MP3. It may just be my Internet connection, not yours, but I’m not keen on the idea of you pressing “play” and having to wait a long time to hear the track.

With that in mind, I’d like you to test an MP3 in both DivShare and Box. The main aim of the test is, as hinted at above, is to find out which file-sharing service is quicker at loading songs. I’ve provided the MP3 in three different sizes, to see if file size has any bearing on loading times.

And away we go…

The track is:

King Crimson – “Frame By Frame (1981)

1. Short/Small (0:18, 782 KB)

DivShare:

Box:

2. Medium/Reasonable (2:18, 5.3 MB)

DivShare:

Box:

3. Full/Large (5:09, 11.9 MB)

DivShare:

Box:


Jobs You May Not Be Interested In # 219

October 25, 2012

This post has nothing to do with music.

A friend of mine (Hi, Stephen!) emailed me a video and mentioned that after watching it he may now need therapy. I watched it, and emailed him back with a few comments. After sending off the email, I found myself in the mood to put both the video and comments here.

Don’t worry – I won’t make my idiotic emails a regular feature on this blog. If you’re not interested in this post at all, no sweat. There’ll be another post along soon enough – and it’ll be about music.

***

My favourite parts of the video:

0:22 – The text mentioned about going up a “gided tower”. For a moment I thought that “gided” was French, until I realised it was a typo.

2:18-2:22 – I laughed out loud when the ultra-relaxed voiceover guy drawled: “It’s good to relax, and look around while you rest”. I thought of people watching the video at this point who would definitely not be thinking the same thing.

At this point in the video, as the chappy looked around at the vista, I thought to myself: “Height is meaningless.” (Although it’s not meaningless to someone who’s falling. It means they’re falling and will soon meet the ground.)

2:32 – Was that a Stormtrooper from Star Wars?

2:39 – “Here you can see an electrical junction box…” Yes you can.

2:42-2:50 – I thought that this part of the video, where the maintenance guy/daredevil started the last part of the climb and instinctively looked down then up whenever he took a step, is probably the part that would terrify viewers the most. It’s this part of the video where having a camera on your helmet may not be the best thing for anyone not doing the climbing.

5:30 – Height is meaningless.

5:33 – I thought that (possibly) dubbed thunderclap was silly.

5:51 – Climbing, climbing, climbing, climbing…

6:20 – Yay! A shot of the horizon to help your eustachian tubes restore a sense of balance.

6:43 – At the very top is a beacon, and my first thought was: “He climbed all that way just to change a light bulb?”

6:51 – “This is the tricky part.” That has to be one of the greatest examples of understatement I have ever heard.

7:00 – I’d like to retract my earlier statement about the most terrifying part of the video being 2:42-2:50. I dare say this part, at about 7:00 where the climber leans over the beacon, may be even more terrifying for anyone watching the video. (Well, anyone who got this far.)

7:05 – And he leans over more. Can I take back what I said in the previous paragraph?

7:05 (part 2) – Well there you go. I didn’t know there was that pole above the beacon. It’s nice to know the climber has something to hold on to when he’s at the top. That’s helpful. When you’re 1,768 feet in the air. Without a safety harness.

7:11 – I’m sure that’s a Stormtrooper. Or a BASE jumper. Or maybe it’s the climber’s supervisor, making sure he’s doing the job properly. (Supervisor: “Good work, Bob.”)

***

Postscript: I can understand the terror involved in watching something like that but I must admit that I was fine because throughout most of it I was thinking non-terrifying thoughts. (See above.)


Yes indeed

October 6, 2012

Courtesy of my current Beatles fixation, this is what the inside of my head feels like:

And it feels good.