Emilie Brandt’s Thoughts On Career & Upcoming New Album ‘Freeform’
- Hey Emilie welcome to Find Your Sounds, how are you?
Hey! Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today. I’m doing really well, I’m super excited for everyone to hear my new track ‘To Love = To Suffer’!
- Firstly, where does your love of music stem from and what was the deciding factor for making it your career?
My mother listened to country music a lot when I was growing up and I remember always being in the backseat singing along to Reba McEntire and Shania Twain. I have always loved singing but I didn’t start playing guitar and writing songs until I was about 15. My senior year of high school, I got accepted into a few colleges for graphic design and was half-heartedly ready to move forward with it. My grandfather was very sick at that time and we would often sit down and talk about life. He was always very adamant about all his grandkids going to college but one day when we were talking he told me, “I know music is very important to you, and I want you to know that school will always be there. Do your music for a few years and if it doesn’t work out, you can go back to school at any time.” A few weeks later, he passed away and left me with a very powerful and inspiring message. Six years later and I’m still working on my music.
- Do you have a favourite song from your upcoming album ‘Freeform’?
My favorite song on the album is probably ‘Shed My Skin’. It’s the last track on the album and that’s because I felt it was the most powerful track for me and a very optimistic note to leave all the emotion on. It’s all about finding yourself and your happiness again after a toxic relationship— some of the lyrics are ‘then I found myself alone, the one I loved turned me to stone. I found myself alone. I found myself.’ I won’t give you too much, but I’m really excited for everyone to hear it.
- You worked with Illenium last year on the hugely successful track ‘Lost,’ how was this experience?
- The experience of how that song came to be and what it is now is super random and beautiful. Nick was working on the ‘Awake’ album and the instrumental for what is now known as ‘Lost’ trickled down to my team and as soon as we heard it, we all knew we wanted to be a part of it. We wrote, recorded, and sent our idea back to Nick’s team within like two days and we heard back immediately that he was really digging it and wanted to move forward with it on his album. At the time I don’t think I knew how huge that song would become, but I’m so thankful to have been given the opportunity to work with someone so talented and inspiring.
- Who would you say has influenced your music the most, both as a singer and as a songwriter?
My top influences are a bizarre mix of Florence Welch (Florence + the Machine), Hayley Williams (Paramore), Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel (Phantogram). When I meet any of them I’m going to have to try really hard not to pass out from excitement. All of them have always been so inspiring to me as an artist and on a personal level have helped me through a lot of weird life events.
- Your music and lyrics definitely spark emotion, was there a story behind your most recent single ‘To Love = To Suffer’
Khalil Gibran once wrote, “for reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, left unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction.” I am the type of person who would rather have passion in a relationship than reason, because I lead my life from my heart, not my head. My message with this track is to not be afraid of loving someone in fear of what might go wrong. ‘To love is to suffer’ sounds super emo, but this track is actually super uplifting. After it was all said and done and we had driven our relationship into the ground, I realized that I really appreciated everything that we had. They say its better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all.
- How have you acquired this skill for seamlessly blending genres to create your own style?
I think that comes from all my influences being really diverse. I try to work with as many different producers and co-writers as I can because I really enjoy the unique experiences each one brings. I also don’t like to be constricted by anyone putting a label on me and my sound, so it’s funny to hear people try to figure out what genre my music is because I never get the same answer from any two people. My music comes directly from my soul and since I am always changing as a human being, so does my sound.
- What’s the next step for you after the release of your album?
We will be announcing some show dates soon for 2018, and I’ve already started writing and recording for my next releases after the album. I have a few collabs that I’m working on right now too, so expect to see a lot more from me in the near future!
GET TO KNOW RISING STAR HOOKIE MOUSSE WITH AN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
We have recently been given an amazing opportunity to interview Q & A some of the most talented: artists, songwriters, and producers. This interview with Hookie Mousse .
FYS : What’s the story behind the name Hookie Mousse?
HOOKIE MOUSSE : In my beginnings the name I had chosen was “Stardust”, when it starts with the production note that the name already existed in the world, then I understood that I had to create something unique. My name and surname are very common “Martin Cabrera”, I was not enthusiastic about the idea. I do not know what was on TV and a character called him Hook, I liked how it sounded, I decided that my name should be “Hookie”, the problem was that it sounded very empty, then start testing combinations, until Mousse came out like chocolate , there is born “Hookie Mousse” the only problem is that people say to me like Mouse disney, I have already become accustomed. I am satisfied and happy with my artistic name I have created something original and unique.
FYS : How long have you been creating music, and how has your music evolved over time?
HOOKIE MOUSSE : Almost accidentally started my career, I worked in a matine (under 18 years), and there was an electronic event that the DJ would not be able to attend on the turn over 18 years. I liked the electronic music already at that time, but I had never played a console, they said “do not worry, the club dj will come from the other block, lend a console and teach you”, and so it was, I had console of the typical of the years 2000 double compactera denon only wav cds one week in my house and the other weekend i play in the event. Then I went to the dj club that taught me and played in stages of the night. Then that dj decided to change clubs and I was like the resident. As I was younger, my mother would sometimes accompany me to the clubs where I was a guest, and I also spoke with the owners to authorize me. I play in my first club with 16 years. To my 18 years and knowing the little offer of musics and musical monotony, I understood that to excel I should create something of my own, I’m interested in the production of reading, watching tutorials, and trying out hours every day every month. I have learned alone even without knowing how to play any instrument. I have never produced with loops, or “precreated” music. My songs are created from scratch. My music and the genres that I have produced, have evolved alongside the music industry. One can not remain stuck in a style, everything in life advances, transforms, merges. A good producer is one who can always remain modern and not get stuck in a genre, A good producer is one who has the ability to evolve and learn to create different things.
FYS : What made you gravitate towards EDM music? Have you always wanted to be an EDM DJ?
HOOKIE MOUSSE : In the edm or Electro House, I found feelings and emotions that no other genre made me feel. Songs with vocals, good lyrics, good voices, harmonious descents, energy explanations, is the perfect combination to electrify anyone. The edm makes you cry, I’ve had to cry in recitals with some haha songs. Edm Djs have made songs with world number one artists, maddona, rihanna, ellie goulding, the doors musicians, robbie williams, slash, sting, paramore, coldplay, etc
FYS : Who or what has influenced your music?
HOOKIE MOUSSE : En el año 2006 cuando comence a amar la musica electronica mis referentes y artistas favoritos eran : Laidback Luke , Steve Angello , Afrojack , Mastiksoul , Eddie Thoneick , David Guetta , Deadmau5 , Klaas, Mondo , Vandalism.
FYS : What’s next for you in your career?
HOOKIE MOUSSE : I can stop playing in clubs, or play a few times a year. But I can not stop producing, if it is true that there are times of zero creativity, I think that art is a blow of inspiration, and it varies greatly the emotional and sentimental moment of the artist. But all these years I’ve never stopped creating music. I am a dreamer of life, and I have struggled for many years to make a name for me, to grow and achieve things, my maximum dream is to be able to share my music in other countries, to have audiences of different nationalities, to know other places in the world. I hope someday I can keep it.
INTERVIEW WITH KEREM SELEK
FYS: Tell me about yourself?
KEREM SELEK: Hey,It’s Kerem Selek from Turkey.I born in istanbul and i am 20 years old.I played lots of instruments like;drums,guitar(electro and bass),keyboard etc.. Last 5 years i am dealing with production and Dj performancing.Edm,future house,deep house,g house is my profession.You can find my latest songs on soundcloud and you can follow me from instagram to see more.
FYS: Tell me please how you begin with music and deejaying?
KEREM SELEK : Nature is music for everyone in my family.If you a selek your first gift would fiddle.Everyone in my family for many years dealing with music that was what impressed me most.First i played drums in my school band for many people on big stages thats why i am not ashamed on a stage.A summer time,my friend taught me how to do production and i’ve developed my self for years.
FYS: What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic career?
KEREM SELEK : I realized while playing my own songs in my latest performance against the 9 thousand people that I was born for this job
FYS: Did the DJing, Production, Promoting come 1st?
KEREM SELEK : Production promoting come 1st
FYS: Yours favourite musicians and songs?
KEREM SELEK: A big fan of Oliver Heldens favourite song is Wombass.
FYS: How do you see the scene 5 years from now?
KEREM SELEK : I hope that the next place i deserve.
FYS: Thank you for taking the time to speak with us!
An Interview with Timucin Ozgur
Ozgur Timucin is the CEO of KP Recordings , a division of Karia Productions Publishing Group.
KP Recordings is a staple of the EDM music scene and have kept the label going strong for 5 years and counting years. Find out how KP Recordings is staying ahead of the pack and their plans for the future in this interview.
FYS:What does a normal day consist of for the KP Recordings?
Timucin: Well, it usually starts with strong, quality coffee, followed by a general meeting about what’s going on to keep the whole team up to date. After the meeting, general day-to-day tasks are performed.
FYS:You have a great insight into the world of dance music – are there any surprising trends that you can see starting to form?
Timucin: Although House music, Tech House and Techno are now becoming the strongest genres in the Dance Music scene.
FYS: How do you think the music business is currently doing? Does it look more promising?
Timucin: It’s doing better. Fortunately for us, we’ve been growing our business every year. We’ve had some very good years, even during some really tough times in the industry. We need to keep the bar super-high and make great albums, and put our heart and soul into the entire body of work that gets created and sold. I think we’re in a business that is getting healthier.I think the key now is to keep evolving and staying ahead of the curve — never resting on one’s laurels and constantly innovating.
FYS:How do you think that has affected the way you run KP Recordings?
Timucin: I think it gives me empathy with the artists on the label and I can see things from their point of view. A lot of labels view artists as a commodity, where as we are very musician orientated and leave the creative side to the musicians. I can appreciate that is important.
FYS: As a small label, what are the biggest challenges you face?
Timucin: Ah… Everyone has more money than you. Once I separate my personal money from the business money, I find that like, my business doesn’t have a lot of money, which is why than even earlier than most labels did, we went all digital.
FYS: What have you learn running the label?
Timucin: None of us came from a business background, and I think we’ve probably made some bad business mistakes over the years, so we’ve certainly learnt about the business side as we’ve gone along.
FYS:At a small label, keeping an eye on the budget is always important. When you are promoting a new release, how do you prioritize your promotional budget? If you could only spend money on one thing – say, a radio promotion company, a print media promotion company or advertising, what would you choose? Why?
Timucin: It depends on the project. As a rule radio sells records more effectively than press. But a band whom by their nature are not going to get a lot of radio exposure – because they’re too subtle, too ‘out there’ or whatever – probably don’t justity the expense of a radio plugger. I would suggest the label services the specialist radio on its own if it can and meanwhile spend money on press. Retail promo needs to work in conjunction with other areas . If you have an artist with a significant sales history, you can project likely sales and work back, formulating a budget of what is sensible to spend and then breaking that down into specific areas..
FYS:How important do you think it is for artists to promote themselves on the internet? Do you think things like Facebook,Soundcloud can take the place of more traditional promotion routes?
Timucin: The internet has changed so many things. Digital distribution and file-swapping…podcast…Facebook, etc. The importance of the internet is pretty overwhelming. I think those web presences has really allowed them to have an important connection with their fans.Soundcloud is a great shop window for artists – but traditional press/radio support, gigging, etc. the Facebook should support and complement that activity. I don’t think it is enough to upload your new demos and sit back and wait for the world to come and discover you and make you a star.
FYS: With a lot of your artists releasing singles this summer and fall, of all different genres – can you tell us a little bit about the process of how you decide to sign the talent you do?
Timucin: KP Recording artists are not just artists. We are a music family, creating a music impression in the hearts of listeners of the world. When I sign talent, I don’t just sign anyone. I sign hard workers, people eager to grow and work together towards a common goal. Obviously talent is a must, however, I pay attention to how artists carry themselves in the business of music, work ethics, and confidence. Confidence is the magnet that attracts the hearts of the people bringing comfort to those who are not sure. I ultimately look to sign talent who can provide longevity and music security to the fans and listeners.
FYS:Can you share some upcoming plans you’re particularly excited about?
Timucin: There are two innovative aspects of our program that i have not mentioned that I am very excited about. Each of these platforms has both fixed and video ads. Like all other revenue, the revenue from these ads is split with the artists. This is something no other record company in the world is doing. To us, it just makes sense and fits with the times. If someone does not want to buy music but just wants to watch videos and listen to streams they can do so for free and the artist still makes money, everyone wins.
Another thing I am very excited about is our new sync license program. We offer not only a one stop shop for licensing and publishing music of all genres but many other benefits no other company offers,and we market their project and the soundtrack via our proprietary marketing platform. So when a music director licenses music from another company they just pay money and get music.
FYS:What advice would you give someone starting their own label?
Timucin: Start a publishing company! And remember putting out records is good for the soul not for the pocket.
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us here at findyoursounds!
Interview with Amy Barbour
We have recently been given an amazing opportunity to interview some of the most talented: artists, songwriters, and producers. This interview with Amy Barbour .I am honored that she would take the time to answers some questions and give us a little more info about her, what she does, and where we can all hear her music. Enjoy!
FYS: Hello Amy, for those who may not know you yet, please tell us about yourself and your artistic background.
AMY:Hey! Well I have been a singer ever since I can remember, even as a child, always musical. I as a child always wrote stories, songs and poems. As I got older I did some performing arts and became part of stage schools. The theatres I was in always had the perfect roles for me, lots of singing, dancing and acting. I then studied performing arts also when I was a little older. Of-course as a young girl I loved all this. I then became part of a Northern Irish girlband, we did gigs across the country, did x-factor, the whole shabang, but I was kind of lying to myself, I always wanted to be a solo artist and always stood out from the rest of the girls in the band in terms of thinking, genre style, and my goals for the future. I quit after 2 years and started producing my own music, from then to now self teaching myself production has been amazing, it is like I have this amazing power now to express ME anytime, creating my own music from my heart, I became unstoppable. There is a lot of music in my bloodline in my Barbour Family (mother’s side) way back over a hundred years ago. This could be a link to me.
FYS:How would you describe your daily life?
AMY:My daily life would consist of endless producing of my songs and projects, on a daily basis I would get sent tracks also from other producers from all over the world that would like me to sing on their tracks, so most days I am very busy finishing projects for releases. I also was found on sound cloud by APD Directing and they originally wanted my music weekly to air on a radio station they are starting but now I am the radio show owner and presenter, we are currently getting it all set up and have lots of other exciting things coming up too.
FYS:Who or what inspired your love for a music career?
AMY:Like I said I have been musical from as long as I could talk, I am 100% sure as a young infant I would have bashed a lot of musical toys loud and mumbled a little bit of english thinking I was performing for a live audience, ha! Yes I have always known what I want,
I don’t think I was ever influenced to do music I just knew it was what I was born to do, don’t get me wrong I am inspired by a lot of people and their work, but I am my own person and always will influence myself. Music is my life and always was going to be my career no matter what.
FYS:When did you write your first song and what is the title? What was the inspiration for the lyrics to your first “Original” song?
AMY:Wow, this brings back memories, my first song is called ‘Should we rush?’ you can actually find it on my sound-cloud (Amy Barbour UK) it is the first track ever posted on my page. I wrote this track over 4 years ago, I had other songs wrote but this one was my first professional track produced and vocals recorded. The song is about a couple entering the new exciting stages of dating, a million thoughts entering her mind, shall she play it cool, or let the excitement maybe ruin the relationship by rushing things, so in the song she is asking herself what to do. Interesting song I recommend you to give it a listen.
FYS:Do you prefer on specific genre of music over any other genre? If so, what genre and why?
AMY:I love all kinds of music from blues to jazz, to 80s rock to indie, but I do specialise in light airy house music, I have also made techno, trance, french house & progressive it all depends on how I feel when making the song, somedays I don’t even know what style I want to make I just start making it and let my heart do its thing, by the end it could turn out to be any genre.
FYS:If you were given the opportunity to open for any artist of any genre of music, who would you choose and why?
I would 100% pick ‘AIR’ a personal favourite band of mine or the likes of ‘Moderat’ or ‘Flume’. Very interesting bands, I am a huge fan. Their music is just so different and every song they make is never the same style to any tracks they make, they create fine art yet very different to each piece.
Amy Barbour – Feel (by KP Recordings)
Release Date on Beatport : Jul.11.2016
FYS:What a great interview! Thank you Amy for taking time to answer these questions for us. I’m sure ALL of your fans will love reading more about you. Things I’m sure they might not have known. I know I enjoyed it.
An Interview With A Ghost Producer
Ghost production: Electronic music’s most controversial topic.
One of electronic music’s most consistent, longstanding controversies, too: an unfortunate behind-the-scenes reality since day one, the industry’s longstanding reputation for smoke and mirrors (or cloak and daggers) is embodied by ghost production.
Currently back on the agenda thanks to DJ Mag’s Top 100 debate, I tried to track down a ghost producer and get their side of the shady service and find out more about their day to day operations.
Easy to say, tricky to do. Even the artists I know who have ghosted tracks for big names wouldn’t go near this one… And advised me to back off too. As a last resort, I contacted a handful of the EDM Ghost Producer companies who brazenly exist and seem to offer miracles for those who aren’t prepared to put in the years of studio graft themselves. These companies were quick to get back to me, but shut me down sharp when I started asking questions and not handing over money.
After a month of nudging, hassling and potentially ruining good contacts in the industry I gave up. Two days later, one found me. Through a mutual friend he’d heard I was sniffing around and wanted to explain how things work from his own unique perspective.
With tracks for some of EDM’s biggest DJs (top five of the DJ Mag Top 100) and frequent Beatport number ones to his name – plus a past that includes being a medium weight solo artist with residencies at some of Ibiza’s biggest clubs, the creation of a whole wealth of sample packs and myriad engineering jobs – he’s been around the block a few times, he loves what he does and was happy to share his stories. NDAs permitting.
Read on to find out what life is like through this particular ghost producer’s eyes… Why he thinks many DJs are ‘circus clowns’, why he thinks drum & bass and dubstep hasn’t been affected so much by ghost production and what to do if you ever become one yourself (spoiler: he gets quite controversial at points)
You’re a ghost producer, then…
I am. I think you’ll be surprised at how many producers actually do ghostwrite for people here and there. It’s easy money!
Is it though? I’ve seen prices on EDM ghost producer sites… $100 per track? You’d have to whiz through tunes with no care or detail to make a living off that!
Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of ghost writing companies who are pretty scammy and churn out rough ideas and sell them as they are. They’re miles away from what I do; the cost and job will vary from request to request. Most of the time I’ll have something sent to me. An idea or a sketch or bassline notation which I can trigger the MIDI from. I’ll also ask for reference tracks so I know what they want it to sound like. And if the idea is quite strong and the reference points are suitable then I can do a track in a day. If the basic idea is down then it’s a case of designing the right sounds, adding some harmonies or chords and arranging it into a full piece.
So surely if someone is able to put down an idea they should really actually perfect the production craft and not hire someone like you?
Yes. But…. If you’re a singer and guitarist and want to make music for a band then people don’t expect you to write and arrange and record the bass, drums and other instruments. You might have ideas but you don’t play all those instruments.
Then put a band together?
Well yeah, in the world of live music. But in the world of electronic music you don’t have that option; you’re expected to be the composer, the drummer, the bassist, the keys, the mixing engineer, the mastering engineer. A lot of the time you’re expected to be the label owner and marketing manager too. So if you’re making some progress and doing a lot of gigs and you have ideas that you feel will work in your sets then why not hire someone to help you?
It’s a lot to ask someone to be a good DJ, good producer, good composer all at the same time. If you’re earning okay cash getting in gigs and you’re familiar with your DAW then to me it seems logical to get a producer in to help you. I do recommend that they come in and sit in with me so they can learn from it all but that’s not always possible.
How about when people come with really really shit ideas?
I tell them straight and don’t work on it. I only work with people I like and appreciate where they’re coming from. I’m lucky to be in a position to be fussy. If someone sent me a piece of shit I’ll politely tell them it isn’t going to be what they think it is. If they’re asking to be in the Beatport Top 100 then they need to really listen to what’s in the top 100 ask me to make something that’s relevant to that.
Have you ever seen an artist swinging their dick around on social media or interviews making out they made the track themselves?
Not really; the guys I work with are quite humble and when they do have success with my productions they’re not rubbing it in my face type of thing.
But if they did?
I’m not sure…. I don’t think I’d care that much. I’m quite used to it; I’ve heard UK top 40 tracks that use my loops from sample packs I’ve designed for companies. A well known name in drum & bass for instance…
Wow. Have you ghost produced any drum & bass or dubstep?
No. They’re genres I love and have dabbled with in the studio just out of curiosity and love for the sounds, but it’s not something I’ve ever made or been asked to do. The mixdowns and production levels in general are at such a level that it would be hard to pass off unless you’re making it 24/7.
I do know some ghost producers who have made dubstep and drum & bass tracks for artists in those genres. But it’s nowhere near as popular because drum & bass and dubstep celebrate sound design and authenticity. Certainly a few years ago dubstep really pushed sound design to new levels and the idea of having someone make a track for you was defeating the object.
So obviously we’re chatting now because the DJ Mag Top 100 re-kicked the conversation that’s been going on for many years. Do you think this will ever change? Where does it go from here?
It doesn’t go anywhere! This is my argument! People have always had ghostwriters or producers. Big singers or bands don’t always sing their own songs. Big EDM acts are more honest about it now than ever. You see so much outrage and fury in the underground scene but they’re furious at a genre or part of the industry that is miles away from their own; Justin Bieber, Cher, Britney Spears – none of them write their own songs, none of them produce, none of them engineer, many of them lip-sync when you see them live. That’s the absolute truth of the industry and has been for years. It’s just that various forms of music scenes that used to be strictly underground are now in the commercial market and it’s causing an outrage that certain techniques used by the larger side of pop music are now being applied in certain areas of electronic music.
So you reckon people who get outraged about this are getting upset over nothing?
Absolutely. Bottom line; most artists who say they produce their own tunes, do produce their own tunes, certainly on the underground. And most the big EDM guys have publically admitted they’re not the sole producers of their music but people still come and see them perform, like they do with the bands and popstars I just mentioned.
But fans of these artists feel they’re being lied to…
Well yeah they kind of are being lied to, but no more than anyone else in any other musical genre as I mentioned before. But that’s just part of the celebrity-focused world we live in these days. I mean for fucks sake, people pay actual money to go and see some bag-of-dicks degenerate from a z-list reality TV show making a guest appearance in their local club these days. What’s that about? People pay serious money just to be near someone famous, so why wouldn’t those famous people cash in on it? Doesn’t it seem a little more than coincidence that 99% of famous musicians are also really good looking? I’m not saying this is right, quite the opposite, but if musicians (of any genre) got famous for their talents alone, the music industry would be a very different place.
Wow. Fair point when you’re discussing the pop music industry at large. Back in the world of electronic music the majority of DJs aren’t good looking, though.
No they’re not, although that’s pretty subjective. But to be honest, I’ve always considered DJ to be a bit like circus clowns. Fundamentally you’re paid to entertain a crowd of people; you want to make them smile, laugh, be happy by any means necessary. Promoters don’t care if you’re playing a pre-recorded set, for example, as long as they’re getting tickets sold. I gave up DJing a few years ago because of these circus clown politics.
We’re not having this discussion to DJ bash, though….
No no, of course. There are some very talented DJs out there. My favourite is James Zabiela. He embraces the technology and retains the musicality. Sonny Wharton is another one. By the end of their sets I’m hypnotised. So yeah there’s an art to it but it’s definitely been lost by many.
Taking it back to the art of production. You say you can do a track in a day, does that include the mixdown and everything else?
Most of the time. Because I’m a mix engineer I usually mix as I go along anyway. So when it comes to the final mixdown I usually give my ears a break; so if I start at 9am I could have the basic track down by 2.30pm. I’ll stop there, either for the day or to work on something else, and come back to it once my ears have settled and I’m approaching it afresh. But if you mix as you go along then nothing needs that much work.
Okay… So how much do you personally charge to ghost produce?
Every track is different. Part of being a ghost producer is predicting how well a track will do. Would you rather £50 upfront now and £50,000 in royalties? Or £10,000 upfront and no royalties but potentially missing out in £200,000 in royalties?
Say a DJ Mag top 10 artist approaches me for a track, I know for a fact that the track will go Beatport top 10 without question. So I’ll charge a very low day rate for getting the track done but I’ll negotiate a credit, royalties, PRS and mastering etc into my contract. I’ve had DJs come to me saying a festival wants to book them but they need a history of releases and Beatport charting tracks. They’re quite honest about it, they say it doesn’t need to be a hit, just something with their name on. So with them I wouldn’t negotiate any credits or royalties – it would be a waste my money on legal fees – so I just say ‘bung me a couple of quid and it’s yours’.
So having a good lawyer is a must-have skill for ghost producers?
It’s a must-have skill for anyone in the music industry! Mine is an absolute whizz. Artists – ghost or not – should pay attention to contracts anyway. Look at what’s happened with deadmau5 and Play. They’ve rinsed his earliest tracks so many times which is why he’s now suing them. You don’t want your old tracks popping up on Beatport and being marketed as if they’re new, do you? So any producer should be aware of this and have a clause about the label not selling the material after a certain amount of time or when you’ve reached a certain level of sales.
It’s important for people know what or who they are creating music for and how it will be used and how it will make money for everyone else in the cycle. For example, the loops I was talking about earlier… When I make samplepacks I know I’ll never see a penny besides what I’ve been paid for the job to make them. I’m cool with that, that’s the contract I’ve signed. Other artists who’ve made samplepacks who, like me, have seen artists hit the charts with those sounds, have been up in arms saying ‘I should be famous now!’ and been frustrated. But that’s the nature of this job.
So I guess if any producer out there reading is thinking of doing a bit of ghost production on the side then they should understand the implications of what they’re selling and who they’re selling it to?
Absolutely. The one thing that bugs me when people discuss ghost producers is the term ‘sell out’. I think ‘hold on, I’m not after fame and fortune, I never have been’ I’m just a big dance music fan and I love tech and synths and writing. My love is in the studio and that’s what I get paid to do. The definition of a sell out to me is someone doing something they don’t love for money. My work – as a mix engineer, sound designer and ghost producer – has paid for a very nice studio, a lot of beautiful synthesisers and a nice life. I don’t think that’s selling out at all.
Interview With Pop Star – Entertainer Icon Stella von Schöneberg
Stella von Schöneberg, is an European pop singersongwriter from Berlin.She started her musical career by performing with the groups: “Prosecho” and “Come Out” /Germany & “Polygon”/USA. Stella von Schöneberg, came to prominence when she began performing in the pop music scene of Europe as a solo artist 2005 and enrolled at Frankfurt University’s Sciences of Sports & Music Arts.She signed her initial album “Cosmic Energy” in 2010/11 with B12 Records.In 2013 Stella, cooperated with the youngest Dj Asia’s on an album release in India: Stella von Schöneberg feat. DjPrithvi: “Beat the Box”.
Stella von Schöneberg, captured the attention of Asha Puthli (the Indian-American World Legend 70s) who
recognized her talent and vocal abilities and Asha supported Stella at her album “WOT” in WMC/Miami 2014: Stella von Schöneberg feat. Misteralf vs. Stefano Ravasini (signed with Cult Note Records). The album reached number 5 on the charts in Europe and topped the Billboard Dance / Electronic Albums chart peaking at number 36 on the Billboard Dance 40 chart in the United States.Her new song ” Roomservice” was released March 2015 @WMC/Miami-FL: (includet at the album “Souling” Ibiza-Miami 2015/Move Recordings) and later as an exclusive release on KP Recordings by Karia Productions Punlishing Group / Proton Music Inc.Her next studio singles “Afterparty” and “Venus Power” are scheduled to be released by the same label as next..Inspired by glam rock artists like David Bowie & Queen, as well as pop singers such as Madonna & Michael Jackson and even influenced by the ethnic artists Ravi Shankar, Stella is well recognized for her
outré sense of style as a recording artist, in a unique music/art & fashion- visual and live performance.Stella von Schöneberg, has positioned herself as an entertainer icon and what separates her, is her unique sound, appearance, her art-stage Show and her ability to attract new fans worldwide.Her sound can be defined as a European style of influenced- pop-house; laced with powerful messages;into rhythmic and sultry lyrics!
FYS : How would you describe yourself as a musician?
Stella von Schöneberg : I don’t really think about that. I just express my feelings and emotions within the time doing. It’s on others to judge that.
FYS : How long have you been writing music?
Stella von Schöneberg : Since I was a kid already but mainly started when I live in a Byzantine monastery during my youth.
FYS : What does your writing mean to you?
Stella von Schöneberg : It’s my view onto my psychic and physical needs to feel happy and fulfilled.
FYS : What currently inspires you to do this style of music?
Stella von Schöneberg : It’s some sort of an acoustic expression of me feelings. The inspiration was always driven by my emotional movements.
FYS : How would you describe your music?
Stella von Schöneberg : Nonconform. I see it as a meadow full of colorful wild flowers and insects.
FYS : Have you got a target audience for your music?
Stella von Schöneberg : As for what I can tell by my live performances and chart positions I’d call it from teens to the fourty’s and mainly those looking for something beside mainstream, often those with a tendency to underground.
FYS : Has your music got any messages or meanings to it?
Stella von Schöneberg : Of course: “just be urself”!
FYS : Do you write for yourself or for others?
Stella von Schöneberg : Both
FYS : How would you describe your musical image? How did you go about determining what image to portray?
Stella von Schöneberg : In simple terms I guess it’s best described by “crazy bitch” coz I give a fuck on what others want me to be. It’s my life and I’m the one who gotta run it. Nobody cares if I cry of broken heart or suffer from shit I have to take. So I figured, and that’s what I wanna transport, the only way of getting along well is to be urself. “Be straight and don’t ride others horses. Make ur own way.”
FYS : Please leave one tip you think is invaluable for aspiring/beginner singer/songwriters to know
Stella von Schöneberg : Be authentic and not what others mean how u should be. A.Einstein’s school teacher once described him as: “a medium talented student who wouldn’t get far in life”.We all know what he achieved.
Interview With The Singer & Songwriter Judy Karacs
Starting out as a classically trained vocalist, Judy spent the majority of her career singing opera and classical music in churches and stages throughout the world. Her recent foray into the genre of dance, trance and house has only been a year in the making. It was her initial connection with Italian DJ, Adrian P, which served as the catalyst in changing her musical direction. It was this collaboration that allowed her to start honing her skills as a singer and songwriter. Their first musical collaboration, Falling Down, was released in February 2013 on OTB Music Publishing. For Judy, this is only the beginning. Her goal has always been to convey truth and passion in her compositions. She hopes that her music and future collaborations will not only inspire her listeners but allow her to develop her skills as a musician and give her the opportunity take her music to the next level.
FYS * What is your musical background? Do you have a musical family or did you just fall into songwriting all on your own?
Judy Karacs * Well actually I started studying music at a young age. I began playing the violin at five years old and then continued my studies in music throughout university. I began to focus on singing when I was about thirteen. In university I studied classical voice and had the opportunity to perform in local opera companies, around Toronto, as well as to tour with several choirs throughout Canada and Europe. My mother and father were not musical but my mother always had a strong appreciation for the arts and she often would take me to concerts and operas while I was growing up. I think that helped me gain a greater respect for all art forms. It also motivated me to learn more and expand myself more creatively.
I actually didn’t begin songwriting until much later in my life. I never gave myself the opportunity to explore that side of myself but thankfully I was given the chance, through collaboration, to finally begin writing. The experience completely changed my musical focus. I loved the freedom to create something out of nothing. It was totally liberating. Writing was something that I always thought was going to be a very difficult process but it just seemed to flow out of me more naturally then I ever would have anticipated.
FYS * What sorts of things have you done to improve your songwriting since then? Any favorite books or previous mentors you’d like to talk about?
Judy Karacs * I think the best thing for any artist to do when writing music is to be true to themselves and their inner voice. It’s important to write about what moves you. Capturing the feeling behind the story is key to songwriting even if you are telling the story from someone else’s perspective. The audience can always tellwhen a song is genuine orwhen it feelsfake.
Sometimes we are our own worst critics. I think musicians need to give themselves the space needed to become a good songwriter. It is important to give yourself the time you need to write. Some songs take a lot longer to come so it’s better if you aren’t too hard on yourself and allow the process to happen naturally. I try not to force the creative process. Sometimes I can hear the song in my head waiting to be born but it doesn’t come. It can be a frustrating process but I know that it will come when it’s ready and I have to tell myself that it’s ok.
I have tried to improve my songwriting by challenging myself to write better lyrics. Sometimes I find it difficult to find the words so I often struggle with that. I want the listener to be able to relate to my music in some way. I try to imagine myself in different situations and explore my feelings as if I were another person. Getting a different perspective is key to being able to tap into the emotions that unite all of us.
Actually one of the books I have just finished reading is The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It is not a book about songwriting but I think is a book that all artists should read. The book is like a user manual for people who are feeling stuck creatively and who are desperately trying to tap back into their creative force. I think as artists we often tell ourselves we aren’t good enough and we hold ourselves back from reaching our full potential. I didn’t want to get stuck and stop writing altogether. I think any means of motivation to get back on track is a good one.
Mentors… well there are so many. I love artists who aren’t afraid to express who they are and who always push themselves to their creative edge. They inspire me to keep moving forward and to keep myself motivated. My goal is to become totally free creatively and to allow that natural expression to flow within me at all times. I am always striving for that but I know it’s a lifelong process.
FYS * How have you gotten your songs out to the industry who should hear them? Sounds like you’ve been pretty successful with this. Do you have any tips to offer other songwriters in this regard?
Judy Karacs * This is an extremely difficult process. To be honest I have been lucky because the DJ’s I have had the opportunity to collaborate with have taken care of this aspect of the business. To be honest this is the part of the industry that frustrates me the most. As musicians we also have to be great marketers and promoters and as you know that is a full time job in itself. I love to write music. I love to sing but I hate to promote and therefore I am not very good at it. It is hard to stand out from the crowd in this day and age where anyone can buy a computer and write music and put it up on the Internet. I even ended up forming Duo Records with my collaborator Adrian P because we became frustrated that we weren’t able to release our music through other avenues. We spend a great deal of our time making music and then nobody wanted to release it so we ended up taking matters into our own hands.
My tips to other songwriters would be to spend your time creating good music upload it to SoundCloud, Facebook and YouTube etc. then send it to smaller record labels and hopefully someone will listen to it and accept it as part of their label. You have to keep trying. Don’t give up. It takes years to build a following and it won’t happen overnight. You need to work at it. Many people are releasing things on their own which is also a great idea but one thing smaller Internet based record labels can give you in exchange for the song is more publicity and more audience reach. You need to be able to stand out from the crowd and to be honest I still think that comes down to the song. If the song is good I think people will listen to it.
FYS * You’re currently doing some producing, isn’t that right? How easy was the transition from performer/songwriting to producer? What’s different about it from songwriting – and what’s the same?
Judy Karacs * I am not producing anything at this time. This is something I would love to pursue in the future but I think my technical knowledge is limited at this time. I have worked with sound engineers in the pastin the recording studio. I know what the process is like. I think I have a pretty good ear and I think that my music background helped a lot with that. I can hear what works and what doesn’t. I think the formula for a great producer is a magical combination of a great ear as well as superior technical ability. You need to be able to hear what needs to be changed and make the adjustments accordingly. Creating the right mood, atmosphere and fulfilling the artists creative vision through a musical landscape is a difficult job.
FYS * What’s coming up for you,Judy? What are you working on now and where do you feel your music and your producing is headed?
Judy Karacs * I want to keep collaborating and creating as much good music as possible. I want to push myself more creatively. I want to start learning how to create more tracks on my own but most of all I want to sing more. I also need focus some of my attention on my very neglected self-promotion. I am always open to whatever new opportunity might be headed my way. The journey so far has been amazing and I am excited to see what the future has in store for me.