Archive Monthly Archives: September 2017

Meet the Boss Dr. Rhythm Graphic

The Boss Dr. Rhythm 110 Graphic 

Ranking in at a mighty 4.4 out of 5 stars on Sonic State is the Boss Dr. Rhythm. Here's what's written on Sonic State.  

Comments About the Sounds:
It sounds like a less grungy, brighter TR-606, with fantastic handclap sounds. Ticky Roland noise snare, your roland hissy analog hihats, ride-cymbal's bell-like, like the 606s, and the Bass drum... well, if I make a successful mod I'll post it. Oh, did I mention the handclaps are the best?! Not real tunable. . . But I'll be working on making some mods once I get my spare (guinea pig) DR-110."

How did I get this Drum Machine?

Hopefully you're like me and have a handful of cool older cousins.  My cousin Mike is an awesome dude.  Super duper cool. Runs a local business, plays in a band, always up for a cigar or whiskey.  Back in the day he got cast as an extra in the Sopranos and so on. 

The boss drum machine came out in the 80s and my cousin Mike was one part of the intended audience.  Mike plays guitar and wants to jam to a drummer so Roland made these drum machines.  Well, you know how history goes. They were terrible at their original purpose as they sounded no where close to rock and roll drums and they made there way to the second hand market and became the stuff of flea markets.  Then us DJs and electronic music heads got a hold of them and you know what happened from there.  One day a long time ago at Mike's house he was like "Here take this thing, because I never use it but you might like it."  

Anyhow it's a cool but of kit.  Very very simple, theres like 5 sounds so I recorded them with my UAD Apollo through the unison pre-amps and assembled some basic loops. I don't know what project couldn't use the cymbals, claps, and snares.  What's nice is that it comes in it's own case, so many are well kept. You grab one for a few hundred but instead, I recorded and you can grab the samples here.  Enjoy. 

slogging through the process of sending demos

You've worked hard on your music spending hours to turn those loops into carefully mixed, fully arranged pieces of music. Now what?

Self release or get signed.

You can self release but without an audience you likely won't move many units.  Or you can get signed with hopes that label exposure gains you some sales and fans.

There's pros and cons to each, this post is about sending demos to labels.

I'm not going to rehash the obvious (like bulk mailing an MP3 to many labels at the same time) so here are some tips for you.

Send music that fits the label - easier said than done.  What a label has released currently may not be where they are headed sonically.  What you think is a fit may not always be the case.  Don't get miffed if you get feedback along the lines of "thanks but the music is not the sound we are looking for."

Take that as a positive sign that someone listened and took time to write you back.  You know who wrote me that? Either Igor or Dan from Pig and Dan.  I sent a demo to their label Elevate and got that feedback.  I thought it was great to even get a response.  The lesson is that people actually do listen, so when you send stuff it's not just sent off into the abyss.

Couple things to make the process more efficient.

Use Gmail and this free tool to track opens.  This is to help you know that your demo email is getting opened.

Use sites like Labels Base, Soundcloud, and Facebook to get record label demo contact emails. Once you find them, pay attention to their instructions.

Most are something along the lines of - don't send MP3, soundcloud is still the most preferred medium.  Use a private share link.  Another benefit of soundcloud is you can see your track stats.  If you're demo is getting plays, chances are it's from people you're sending to.

Personalize the subject and message.

These are common practices that help your email get opened and read.  Sell the open, then the click to listen.

I'd suggest Landr for demo purposes, some labels will take care of mastering, so no sense paying for it if you don't have to.  So far my stats are 17 emails sent and 2 replies. That's great if you ask me.  1-3% is a common response rate.  Once you get 1 email down pat, it's pretty much copy/paste from there.

Want to know another hidden benefit?

It really helps you dig.  Kinda like digging in the crates. You have to hunt and peck for labels you think will work. It really helps you define your sound.  Also most labels also have a promo email address easily found when looking for demo contacts.  It helps to build a list of promo's for yourself as well.

Another way to find labels is to look at other artists I like and see what the labels they've released on.  I'll be doing more of this.

Should you produce with certain labels in mind?

Another thing I'm thinking about is that when you DJ there's definitely an element of playing for the crowd.  Not every track you pick is 100% to your liking, you have to play to the crowd a bit.

To that note, getting tracks signed is probably similar.  You may have to produce for the crowd.  It's ironic, but music these days is pretty much all contained in these perfect little boxes.  Like going into a neighborhood of cookie cutter houses.

While DJ's pride themselves on breaking tracks and their selection skills, many many jocks today stick to a very tightly focused sound.  And it's the same for labels.  To a degree it makes sense.  A label can't be everything to everyone - my point is that these days it seems things have gone too far the other way.  Due to 1-2 hour festival sets, there's not much room for experimentation -- this has translated to labels.

Anyhow this video from Budi Voight also has some good pointers.

Remember, you're just 1 track away.

Production Workflow – The extra bit of punch and polish

Techno Production - The Last Bit of Punch and Polish

In this video you'll see me dive in and put the last finishing touches on a track that's nearly done.  I've already played in the car and listened critically so when I go in I know exactly what I want to do.

Tape saturation to give the low end and drums more ooomph.  Reverb because the drums are quite dry and want them to sound cohesive.  Reverb is a good way to do that.  I also recap checking your mix in mono, my mix bus compressor settings which I use the Fatso by UAD for. 

Hope you learn something - the next step for this tune is to be sent to labels as a demo.  This is one track in 4 part EP.  

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