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12 posts tagged

Psy scene

Time traveller’s archive — 15

Cool stuff to read (and watch) on the weekend

Ableton explains the difference between electronic and acoustic sounds
  1. Get Started Making Music. Ableton launched this cool little website with some basic music production concepts. I like the interactive tools here, pretty fun and useful at the same time.
  2. Laurent Garnier DJ set at Boiler Room, Lyon. This isn’t a new video, but still such a pleasure to watch (and listen!) such a master behind the decks. These two are my favourite moments: 1:20:03 and 2:29:39.
  3. Futurephonic Live with Chris and Regan. A cool live Q&A with two very influential people in the Psytrance festivals scene. I highly suggest watching the full video, but just in case, I’ve made a quick summary and highlights.
  4. No Sleep: NYC Nightlife Flyers 1988 to 1999. A nice collection of party flyers from the previous century, I like that. Check also my Psytrance flyers 2005–2007.
  5. Horror Musical Instrument – The Apprehension Engine. This is genius and creepy. I would probably use some of these sounds in my production!

Introducing Psytrance Guide

A great place to discover Psychedelic music

Dear fellows, I’m pleased to introduce you the Psytrance Guide:

Backstory

If you are a millennial, you probably remember the Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music. How awesome it was! As a music lover and a person who like when things are organised nicely, I used to spend hours on that site.

I was always thinking, too bad that guide is abandoned, outdated, and hence no longer reflect the variety of genres we have today, in Psytrance in particular. But then I realised: I can do it myself. I can do a website that probably won’t be that cool and fancy like the Ishkur’s guide, but fun and informative enough especially for those who are new to Psytrance.

And in fact, I did.

What is this, exactly

PsytranceGuide.com is the ultimate, up-to-date guide to Psytrance music genres. It covers twenty sugenres and I’m planning to keep it relevant through the time. Each subgenre includes several audio previews that have been carefully selected, a typical BPM range, a little description, and lists of some noticeable artists and labels that worth checking out if you like some particular subgenre.

Keep in mind that most of those subgenres have no “official” names. Everything on that site is a subject of my personal vision and experience in the Psy scene. However, I did my best and researched a bunch of niche community websites to make sure that I’m not alone in that thinking, and I will keep continuing making it more accurate.

Who is this for

Basically, for everyone. If you are new to Psytrance or if you have a friend whom you’d like to introduce Psytrance to, it’s a great place to discover the whole variety of music spectrum that Psytrance have today. However, if you are an experienced trancer, I’m sure you’ll find a lot of fun too, just like I did when I was making that guide.

A special note to DJs. If you have a large Psytrance DJ collection, but everything from Astral Projection to Zen Mechanics tagged simply as “Psytrance”, use PsytranceGuide.com as a reference to update your ID3 tags properly. This is something I use for 12000-tracks collection and it works great.

Feedback

If you found a bug, or if would like to contribute in any way, or if you have some feedback or just want to say hello, don’t hesitate to drop me a line at mail@daniellesden.com.

Future plans

Here is the list of some upcoming changes I’m planning to make, based on your feedback. No specific dates, though. Once implemented, these changes will be moved to the version log above.

  • Split Hi-Tech and Psycore as two separate subgenres.
  • Probably, add Zenonsque (Psygressive, Dark Progressive) as a new subgenre. It’s currently mentioned in the Minimal Psy section.
  • Probably, split Night Full-on and Twilight ast wo separate subgenres. Gonna gather more feedback on that.
2017   Psy scene   Psytrance Guide

Futurephonic live with Chris Williams and Regan Tacon

Video summary and highlights

A few weeks ago, Futurephonic hosted a live Facebook video featuring two awesome guests: Chris Williams (Iboga Records, Noisily Festival) and Regan Tacon (Nano Records, Origin Festival).

That was a very insightful talk on career strategies for emerging artists. You probably know my commitment to education and learning, so I wish more people “behind the scenes” could give a talk like that.

The audio quality of the video wasn’t that great though, sometimes made it really difficult to watch. I’ve decided to write down some key points so I could get back to them at any time, perhaps some of you will find it useful too.

There we go.

On changes in the industry

  1. The Internet is the biggest game changer for the music industry, for the better. The distribution is much easier now, you can get music anywhere in a matter of minutes and anyone can access to it.
  2. Psytrance scene has also changed in the last decade, it spread out to more places across the globe. New sub genres come in and out, it’s ever-changing process. Psytrance is a culture, so it will stay here for quite a while.
  3. In the pre-Internet days, the music industry was labels-driven, they have a control over everything. Despite such limitation, it was a higher threshold for quality of music that has been released. Social media now liberated records labels ability to put music out, but the question is whether the quality of music across the board has risen? From the artist’s perspective, entrepreneurs and marketers now have amazing platforms to be creative.
  4. We see now many artists experimenting with marketing, ads, formats of communication. We’re still learning, and there is no right or wrong way. This experimentation itself is what special about this time, it’s fantastic time to live from the artist’s perspective, basically.

It’s fantastic time to be an artist now.

On getting music out

  1. Perfectionists find it really difficult to let it go. They keep polishing, and polishing, and sometimes they polish it so much so they polish away the bits of what was good in the first place. Don’t sit on it for too long.
  2. Finishing tracks is a part of the producer’s talent.
  3. So many people doing the same thing, so much noise is out there. You have to come up with quality. Quality takes a lot longer, much longer than most people realise.
  4. Most tracks out there is nowhere good enough quality as it should be. Artists need to be realistic about what they send to labels. Patience comes along the way.

On getting noticed

  1. Spotify and YouTube channels are new platforms for discovering new artists.
  2. From the new artist’s perspective who’s trying to get noticed, it’s all about presentation. If you have a Facebook page, make sure you have a high-quality design, branding of your product. Even if you put a Facebook video with your branding behind it, it’s very important that this branding is good—if not better—as the music itself. It’s vital.
  3. The first impression matters even before anyone heard your music. It was the same even when the demos were on CDs — it’s like receiving a demo with a marker handwriting vs. CD with an artwork, well-written letter, logo. Same applies to SoundCloud now.
  4. Oldschool way of approaching by shaking people hand at the the backstage still works the best.

Branding is vital. First Impressions last.

On being signed on a label vs. go independent

  1. Labels work as a filter, taking care of the releases, artwork, promotion etc, allowing artists to focus more on music.
  2. Ultimately, all successful artists need a support, and labels are a massive help in that.

On albums and singles

  1. Releasing singles is a great things—it gives a stable flow of music from artists to fans, no need to wait a year or two.
  2. Each single is typically supposed to be a yet another dancefloor-killer which creates a lack of experiments, the cool B-sides. Back in the days, sometimes those B-sides become hits.
  3. Albums give more freedom on that matter, you can have dancefloor-killers whilst also including a couple of out-of-the-box tracks.
  4. Albums certainly add some extra weights, an extra level of value for the artists who are capable of creating those albums.

On commitment

  1. Artists need to be committed to working hard. I don’t think people realise how hard some of those artists work. The guys who work the hardest are the one who gets the gigs, gets the money etc. because they push it all the time.
  2. It’s a lifestyle, you have to be ready for this. And music is just one part of it, with social medias it’s 50–50 these days.

I don’t think people realise how hard it is.

On festivals bookings

  1. There are always some acts promoters keep in mind for the next-year festival lineup.
  2. Once headliners are booked, promoters go over recommendations first and only then to submissions. Don’t send a festival submission in three days prior to the festival, it’s won’t work that way.
  3. There are definitely some promoters who check and evaluate how many “likes” an artist has in order to make a booking decision.

On marketing

  1. If you want to pay to promote your page, do it the right way using legit Facebook mechanisms, not via external “likes’ farms.
  2. Always keep in mind country demographics when starting an ad campaign. For example, for sales-driven campaign always include countries like USA, Australia, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Denmark. However, for a streaming campaign, it’s worth also including Brazil, Mexico, and other countries that don’t usually purchase music, but stream a lot.
  3. Men typically buy more than women, so don’t split demographic targeting 50–50, push it more towards men.
  4. Upload Facebook videos.

We spend a fortune on Facebook marketing, to be honest.

On streaming and sales

  1. Streaming isn’t brining any money, let’s be real about it. It’s interaction with people, this is how people connect with the music.
  2. Anyone who really buying music is DJs. You not gonna get money selling music as a Psytrance artist, although it’s true for other genres as well. There is just not enough people buying music across the world.
  3. Beatport gives 60–70% of sales, another major amount is iTunes, and all the rest stores altogether are basically nothing. That’s how it is.
  4. Linkfire.com is a good way of putting all the streaming and stores links at once and then get statistics of clicks.

On investment

  1. A well-thought advertisement campaign could be a solid investment, eventually giving more gigs in return.
  2. Rather than relying on a photographer that can or cannot shoot while you are playing, you can hire one to be sure you’ll get high-quality photos.
  3. Some artists spend their entire fee hiring photo- and video artists to make a proper aftervideo from the event. Do it at least once in six months.

Invest in your branding.

2017   Career   Marketing   Music industry   Psy scene

Psytrance flyers 2005—2007

I was cleaning up some old folders on my disk drive and suddenly discovered a quite nice archive of Psytrance flyers from the parties that took place in Moscow city in 2005—2007. Unfortunately, most flyers are lost so these are the only left. And yes, I was partying hard!

I thought it would be fun to looking at these pictures now, a decade later, especially for that generation of ravers who already have kids: “Look, son, that is where your old man used to rave!”. I think Moscow trancers (and some graphic designers, just for lolz) will appreciate these pictures.

Cosmo Horror Party by Insomnia Records (16.12.2005), New Year by Top Secret (31.12.2005), Mad Christmas Gift by Nervoza Planet and Freak Out Pro (07.01.2006)
The History Of Trance IV (November—December 2005), Psykovsky Debut by Vertigo and GlookAround (10.12.2005), Psyvergi Winter Jam by NoiseMakers (08.12.2005), Sunrise Trip by Psypunks Community and Nails Promotion (10.12.2005), Troll Scientists vs. Putskari in Moscow by Butterfly Effect Group (10.12.2005)
New Concept Party by Katapulta Promotion (21.01.2006), Vibe Tribe in Moscow by Tie-Vote Team (28.01.2006), Ostravaganza Birthday Party by Delight Lab (03.02.2006)
Returning in Movement by Refreshing Direction (17.02.2006), X-Dream in Moscow by Psy Detection Group (15.04.2006), Underworld by Nervoza Planet (10.02.2006)
Enlightenment by Delight Lab (03.03.2006), Mimoza by Positive Makers (07.03.2006), Psycoholic in Moscow by Hypnotic Reaction and Restarting Family (29.04.2006)
Nagual Voyage by Indigo Project (17.06.2006), Devil’s Mind Label Night by Sonic Chakras (15.04.2006), To Be Continued by Delight Lab (28.04.2006)
Hello Summer Open Air by Synthetic Dreams and Tie-Vote Team (20.05.2006), Magic Forest by Vastral Katapulta (19.05.2006), Nagual Voyage by Indigo Project (19.05.2006)
Brain Irradiation by Stebators Team and Novaya Psychedelica (17.06.06), Juno Reactor in Moscow by Coma Sound System (08.07.2006), Private Open Air by Night Spirits (24.06.06)
Dynamic Sensation Vol.2 by Night Spirits (15.07.2006); Many-Kaha-Hoo By Sonic Chaktars, Stebators Team, IDM Group, and Shining Lotus (15.07.2006); Psychedelic Trance Open Air by Sun Flower Promo (15.07.2006); Adieu Summer 2 by Tie-Vote Team (26.08.2006)
A series of events by Syntex Lab (June—July 2006)
Comics by Technical Freaks and Nervoza Planet (02.09.2006), Welsh Birthday by Real Stuff Pro (29.09.2006), Psyko Birthday by Syntex Lab (03.11.2006)
Halloween by Coma Sound System (04.11.2006), Gravity Plus Label Party by KPM Club and Electronic Trousers (11.11.2006), Demos & YoYo Birthday by Artfreaktion Records (18.11.2006)
Pajamas Party by Roxbury Club (18.11.2006), Voobrazjenie by Promo Style Group (01.12.2006), ReStart The New Year by Fun People Trance Promo & FullOut Group (29.12.2006)
World Spirit by Sound Spices & Yet Sound System (16.12.2006), First Spring Trip Air by Tutti Fruiti Lab & SubStance Sky Promo (29.04.2006), Private Rave by Psy Matter’s (unknown date), Predpodgotovka by hVP & Phantom (07.04.2006)
Cyber Queen by Sound Spices & Yet Sound System (07.03.2007), Alone in the Dark by Stebators Team (11.11.2005), Dark Factory by Nervoza Planet & Biocom Pro (26.11.2005)
Halloween by Psydivision Promotion (29.10.2005), Beautiful Dead by Nervoza Planet (31.03.2007), Global Cooling by Insomnia Records (16.12.2006)
Intonation in Provocation by Syntex Lab (17.02.2007), Just a Toy (25.11.2005), Red Planet series by Artfreaktion (2006?)
Spring Connection by FTPG & Sostoyanie Project (23.03.2007), Nastroenie by Free Sound Lab & Multivision (02.01.2007), DJ P.A.N. Birthday by Zodiak Sound (10.03.2007)
The Time is Flying by Psy Detection (11.11.2005), Spiritspiraliom by Tie-Vote Team & Re-Aliens Promo (04.11.2005)
Utopia in Moscow by KPM Club Promo (24.02.2007); Wallace Gromit Wrong Trousers by KPM Club Promo, Electronic Trousers, Noise Detection (13.01.2007), pre:Vlublennost by Syntex Lab (09.02.2007)
2017   Design   Fun   Psy scene   Russia

Bad stage name?

I had an interesting conversation today, I’ve been told that my stage name “Daniel Lesden” is associated with Trance or Techno music but not with Psytrance, and this is why I presumably don’t get enough attention from the Psychedelic community (despite the fact my album is currently #1 at Psytrance CDs charts).

What do you think about it guys? Is this really the case? It seems that for Psytrance producers it’s become a habit to use superheroes or famous characters’ names, but I don’t get what’s wrong in having a real name as a part of the alias? After all, aren’t musicians supposed to be judged by... well, you know, music?

2017   Music industry   Psy scene   Question

Time traveller’s archive — 9

Some stuff to read (and watch) on the weekend

Patrick Chen sharing insights about Psytrance scene
  1. Behind the Scenes: FM Booking. Some interesting insights from Patrick Chen: “In Psy scene, per an artist, DJ, or producer, the average price rate is about €2000 per gig. Nevertheless, prices can oscillate hugely. [...] price range can be from €500 up to €10 000 or €12 000, it all depends on the artist popularity. The most popular countries in Psy scene at this moment are Switzerland, France, Australia, Germany, Portugal, Israel. [...] There is something very important that an artist should have always: unique style”.
  2. D-Nox interview for Psymedia: “I run my labels to have a platform for my music or for my friend’s music. I don’t see it as a big business much more but rather as a space for the people I like.” Yet another confirmation of The truth about music sales I’ve written earlier.
  3. The Illusion of Truth, a nice talk from Veritasium about human psychology. I like this one: “The things we’re exposed to repeatedly feel more true”. It explains a lot of public figures.
  4. Will Music + DJ Gear Manufacturers Adopt USB-C?. It seems I will have to replace my old MacBook Pro for a newer model in the near future, so really hope to see a wider adoption of USB-C port among gear manufacturers.
2016   Music industry   Psy scene   Science   Time traveller's archive

Psytrance and a vegan pasta bolognese

Thoughts about some music we hear under the ‘Psytrance’ tag today

cover black

In the last few months we’ve seen pretty strange tracks occupying the top spots at Beatport’s Top-100 Psytrance chart: some Big room House, Pop EDM Vocals, Uplifting, Hardstyle — well, pretty much everything but Psytrance!

And it makes me think about how I should react on this, because frankly, I’m not quite sure. I have two different views on this.

“It doesn’t feel right”

One part of me hates when things aren’t in place or named in a wrong way.

For example, I love pasta bolognese and I don’t have anything against vegans, but I get absolutely mad when I see yet another recipe of a “vegan pasta bolognese”. What the hell is this? Meat is the essential part of this classic meat-based sauce recipe, if you took it out it won’t be a pasta bolognese anymore. That vegan version can be same delicious or even better, but please just don’t call it a bolognese then!

So when I hear the tracks like this under the ‘Psytrance’ tag, it makes me feel the same as I would see a vegan pasta bolognese:

It seems they think that having that “kick-bass” pattern is what makes it Psytrance, but it doesn’t. When I see this one spotting at #1 Psytrance chart, it just doesn’t feel right to me from the listener’s perspective.

“Music evolves whether we like it or not”

Nevertheless, some other part of me tells me this: if you ask anyone who pioneered Psytrance back in the early 90s starting in the form of Goa Trance, they will probably tell that all modern Psytrance aka “Psy-Prog” is shit. Maybe for them modern Psytrance is not “Psytrance” anymore, same as now we see those “Psy or Die” songs and thinking it’s not a Psytrance too?

Future Ducks of London – Why Psytrance has Become Shit

While we trying to use the same tags and genres to describe music, music evolves and going far beyond the original words that used to describe it. It already happened with House, Techno, and Trance music, now it’s Psytrance’s turn.

Maybe all those genres and tags just don’t work anymore, so a better solution would be simply ignoring it?

Funny enough, when I think of my own music I can’t fit into Psytrance genre alone too. Enuma Elish has almost Uplifting-like breakdown which is not typical for Psytrance as we hear today; Surreal more belongs to classic Trance or even Techno. In fact, I never sit in the borders of a single genre.

Getting out of comfort zone

Bottom line

Let’s ignore all those labels, charts, tags that Beatport and some other industry companies trying to put on music. Love the artists and tracks, not genres. Love the music, not a tag on it.

2016   I am   Music industry   Psy scene

Interview with Trance Magazine

TranceMag is a leading Trance music site who shares the latest reviews, interviews, and hosts TranceMag Sessions every Sunday. After making the guest mix, Daniel Lesden has been invited to chat with TranceMag stuff writer Florin about his background, second album, expectations, and opinion on the Psytrance scene.

Hi, Daniel. We’re glad you’re able to take some time to talk to us. Hope you’re doing well.
Hello and thank you for having me here. I hope you’ve enjoyed the guest mix I did for TranceMag Sessions recently.

We most certainly have! Thank you :-) Let’s start off with a little introduction for our readers. When did you get interested in electronic music, PsyTrance in particular?
Formally speaking, my music career began five years ago with the debut release on Ovnimoon Records, but my love and passion for electronic music has started long before that — around the age of 11.

Could you tell us more about your early musical background? How did it all start for you as a producer, and what were some of your influences?
Since childhood, I knew for sure I wanted to connect my life with music, and to encourage my initiative, mom bought me a Yamaha keyboard. The best present I could ever dream about! The same year (1999) I got my first ever PC, and that was a starting point of my experiments with music. In fact, I have written about my first music production experience — an article in two parts with all the behind the scenes details and even samples of my earliest music (spoiler alert: it sounds terrible, you’d better not listen to this).

As for influences, well, you have to realize that a 13-year old kid had very limited access to music at the end of 99—early 00’s. I desperately tried to find any piece of electronic music, so overall my musical taste was very broad: from Prodigy’s Breakbeat and Scooter’s Happy Hardcore, to Nitzhonot of Cyan, Goa Trance of Astral Projection, ‘Classic’ Trance of M.I.K.E. Push, and even some really crazy 180-BPM Trancecore stuff, like Beyonder and Rebellion. But I get used to calling all these diverse genres by one simple word — Rave.

I get used to calling all these diverse genres by one simple word — Rave.

What was the first track you heard that you instantly fell in love with? What about the first record you bought?
Speaking of Psytrance music, Astral Projection’s “Mahadeva”, Yahel’s “Last Man in the Universe” and Man With No Name’s “Floor-Essence” were definitely some of these tracks.

Taking a look at your productions from last year, one is treated to an outstanding line-up. However, Enuma Elish seemed to steal the show, due to it being widely supported by both well-known Trance artists and listeners, catapulting you into the limelight. What’s the story behind the track title and production? Could you share your experience while making it?
I’m glad you like Enuma Elish, and thanks for asking because there was an interesting story, indeed. I received a personal request from John 00 Fleming to make a “138-140 BPM driving monster”, the kind of real Trance he’s been hungry for. And that was perfect timing as I felt the same.

You know, all those modern dancefloor tricks like build-up and drops that we hear in today’s Psytrance music are fine, but sometimes I feel that ‘Psytrance’ misses the ‘Trance’ component. I wanted to make a straightforward track with a hypnotic vibe, a track that awakens emotions, even if it’s considered as old-school today. So, inspired by the old 00.db tracks, as well as by many of my personal all-time favorite Progressive and even Goa Trance tracks, “Enuma Elish” was born.

And just to tease you a little bit, “Enuma Elish” is gonna be remixed by a UK artist.

I wanted to make a straightforward track with a hypnotic vibe, a track that awakens emotions, even if it’s considered as old-school today.

Your work has appeared on some of the world’s best Trance labels (specifically those more underground Trance oriented) like JOOF Recordings, Pharmacy Music and Digital Om Productions. How important, do you think, is their support for a young and talented artist like yourself? How hard is to maintain the consistency and authenticity of your sound?
JOOF Recordings, Pharmacy Music, and Digital Om Productions are some of the best labels in underground music with a huge cult of followers. But what’s most important is the people behind label names: they are truly passionate about what they do, real professionals. Their support means a lot. And it is an honour for me to work and learn from them.

It is nice to have a unique signature sound of course, but when an artist uses the same sounds over, and over and over again with no any development, to me it’s more like laziness rather than “signature sound”. That’s why, from time to time, I go out of the comfort zone to make something totally different, and Surreal, released earlier this year, is a testament to this.

You are one of the most versatile producers nowadays, managing to successfully balance Progressive and Psy, integrating a lot of melodies, and pushing your sound in an exciting direction. What is most important to you when making music? What message do you want to spread with your sound?
I think the most important thing is to stay true to yourself, regardless of trends. It may sound selfish, but first of all, I make music to express myself musically. If you try to please everyone, you won’t please anyone. And I am very grateful to all the people that follow me throughout this journey.

If you try to please everyone, you won’t please anyone.

From what you announced recently, we learned you are working on your 2nd artist album. Could you share some details about it? What inspired the album and what sound dominates throughout?
I am a huge fan of cosmic exploration and science fiction. Pretty much every track I’ve made so far was inspired by one of these themes, and the album I am working on at the moment is no exception. The album is still in the making, but I would say it gets a more full-on-ish type of sound, more aggressive, more “high-tech” if I may call it this way.

Does the album have a name yet? Also, will it be released on JOOF, like your previous one, Chronicles Of The Universe?
It has a couple of working titles, but the final name is yet to be decided. As for the label, I’d keep it in secret for now. Let it be a surprise!

You have mentioned a few collaborations and a remix will be featured on the album. Could you tell us with whom you have worked? What were you looking for when it came to picking the producer (or producers) to collab with?
AudioFire is an amazing producer I have worked with, perhaps you’ve seen my recent announcement about it. The remix was done for some folks from Serbia, producers I admire a lot. I’m afraid, that’s all I can say for now.

When picking a producer to collab with, I look for similarity and otherness at the same time. Both of us have to like each other’s music in the first place, that is for sure, but at the same time, we have to use a slightly different approach. What’s the point, otherwise? Same as in a dispute, I believe the best solutions are born from the collision of different opinions.

I believe that a track has to have some storyline behind it, some plot that would open up the listener’s imagination.

Is there one track on the album that perfectly describes your style and sound you want to present to the listeners?
I think the album production teaser I’ve shared recently sums up the overall album vibe perfectly. If you enjoy that teaser, I guess you should love the whole album, too.

What is the most important thing for you in a track? Do the listeners have to search for a deeper meaning?
I believe that a track has to have some storyline behind it, some plot that would open up the listener’s imagination. Someday, I want to make music while also accompanying it with a short film and written a story, so people can experience my vision as a whole. So yes, listeners certainly can find some deeper meaning in my music.

What are your expectations from the album in general? What message do you want to send?
I had expectations before, and it didn’t end up well. Expectations are no more than guessing of the outcome, and the outcome is something that you cannot control. What you can control, however, is your own actions. So rather than set high expectations for something that may or may not happen, set yourself a habit of doing your work well, do it on a regular basis, and on the best possible level you can. And this is exactly what I’m doing with music now — just doing my best.

Expectations are no more than guessing of the outcome, and the outcome is something that you cannot control. What you can control, however, is your own actions.

What is your opinion on the current Psy-Trance scene and the modern sound that people are attracted to?
We can certainly see a growing interest for Psytrance music these days, some Psytrance acts are now playing at the world’s largest festivals along with commercial Trance and House DJs in the lineup — something that wasn’t possible just several years ago. And I like it, because a growing audience opens up more possibilities to the scene. As you probably know, I grew up in Moscow, and what I remember is that many good party promoters gave up on organising Psytrance parties simply because there were not enough attendees to cover the costs for a venue rent, good equipment, artist fees etc.

I believe that since Psytrance has gone mainstream, more people will demand smaller underground parties as well, which would give a second breath to the clubs, party promoters, and artists. Commercial and underground music are two sides of the same coin, like light and darkness, they exist only because of each other.

What do you think needs to change about the scene? Any producers out there at the moment that you are really enjoying?
I like the fact that entry threshold for electronic music in general becomes easier, and more people can afford making music. More people in the scene means more ideas, more talents yet to be discovered. And this is great.

However, the professional side of music has many more questions than answers available. As a result, we see a lot of low-quality tracks flooding music stores, or up-and-coming artists who have no idea how record labels work. And I’m trying to change it by making knowledge more accessible and widespread. That’s the reason why in August 2015 I launched the “Advice” series, where every Wednesday I answer the questions people send me. Together we make the music scene better, and I’m very grateful for the massive feedback I receive from the music community, fellow DJs, and producers.

As for producers I really enjoying — oh yes, so many good artists around. Just listen to my radio show!

We see a lot of low-quality tracks flooding music stores and up-and-coming artists who have no idea how record labels work. And I’m willing to change it.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years, in terms of your music?
As I said above, I don’t want to fall into the trap of expectations, so hopefully I’ll just continue to follow my journey.

Let’s bring it a little closer to current events. This year marks the 5th anniversary of your monthly show, Rave Podcast, so congratulations! How does it feel to have reached this milestone?
Thanks! Frankly, it was unexpected. I was like, “okay let’s see what we have for the February edition… hold on, is it February 2016 now? I’ve launched the very first episode in February 2011, so this must be the five year anniversary, jeez!”. Time flies! I’m really amazed how many people became regular listeners of Rave Podcast throughout these years, and I really appreciate each and every one.

Staying on the subject of the podcast, what is the concept behind it? Following that, how do you choose your guests?
At first, I started the podcast just to share the music I love, and the basic concept was to show different music genres — hence the name, “Rave Podcast”. But Rave Podcast is more than just a show, reflecting my ever changing musical taste.

By the end of 2011, I had changed the concept to not stick only to Psytrance as the main genre, but also showcase artists from all over the world. At the moment, artists from 27 countries have made their guest mixes for Rave Podcast. Just imagine how big and diverse the Psytrance scene is!

Having a radio show with a loyal following is also a huge responsibility because at some point it affects people’s taste. When choosing a guest, I’m trying to showcase a very broad spectrum of musical beauty: from deep Progressive to uptempo Fullon, from mellow to harder sound, from up-and-coming producers to the world’s largest names. It’s a fine balance, and it looks like we’re doing well so far.

We’re curious, outside of DJing / Producing, what else do you do with your time? Besides the album, what else can we look forward to from you? Any confirmed gigs?
These days, artists have to do much more than just music, so when I’m not making music or DJing, I do everything else: business negotiations, work with the audience, marketing plans, website, blog, social media, dealing with the press, just to name a few. Speaking of personal time, I love running to keep my body healthy and mind clear.

Before the album, you’ll hear a remixes EP of my tracks, including my own 2016 mix for one of my older productions. This one is gonna be really interesting.

As for gigs, I have a lot of requests from both promoters and party people in USA, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, Finland, Japan, Brazil and India, just to name a few, but none is confirmed so far. Maybe it’s for the best as I’m trying to use this time wisely to finish the album. Studio work and active travel are two things that can’t be be easily combined.

Is there a track in history you wish you would’ve written, or have been there to witness it being made?
No, I don’t think so :-)

Silly question, but do you have a pet? If not, what would your ideal pet be (you can even go with an imaginary one, if it’s more interesting)?
I don’t have a pet for now. I believe that a pet (whatever it may be) is not just a toy, it’s a living creature that needs attention no less than a person, and spending extra time is something I can’t afford at the moment. But if I had a pet, I think it would be a cat — I just can’t resist their cuteness!

Any last words for our readers and your fans?
I would like to thank all my fans, colleagues and the people I work with for their support and experience. I sincerely appreciate it. And thank you for the nice interview, TranceMag! Can’t wait to see you all on the dancefloors around the globe!

Link to the original post
Text — Florin Bodnărescu

What record labels do

From the first-hand experience

covers white

Hi Daniel, since you work as an A&R I hope you can answer my questions. Some time ago I signed my debut release on a label, it’s a good and credible label so I’m absolutely happy with this. However, when my release is out, I have seen no promotion or much activity from the label. I put all my efforts for creating a quality product and expected a solid campaign to help me reach out success and get bookings, so I’m wondering why it’s not happened? Maybe I just have wrong expectations? What record labels actually do?

Brandon Perry

You asked very good questions Brandon as I see misunderstanding among many producers about how labels work and what they actually do. It is mistaken to think that a record label should do everything: marketing, bookings, management — these all are distinctive aspects of the music business, usually done by different people or companies.

To answer your questions on a deeper level and give a first-hand experience, I asked an expert’s opinion of Nishan Sankhe, Digital Om Productions partner and co-label manager. From there Nishan tells:


Nishan Sankhe, label partner and co-manager.

Digital Om Production is one of the leading Psytrance record label based in India and Nepal
www.digitalomproductions.in

Well, just to begin with, I would say that it is every label’s frontmost duty to put out the best possible promotion using their entire experience and network for each and every release they do by bringing the maximum exposure to the music being released. Now coming to the question of the label you released your debut title with not doing enough as per your expectation to promote the release. The answer to this is very straightforward: discuss things in details with a label in the first place, while you are still in talk and negotiations about starting to release with a particular label as a roster artist or maybe guest artist. It’s very important that you being an artist first try and evaluate your own expectations and then make a note of things you are really expecting from a label to do for you, and also understand what that particular label is actually willing to do and offer in terms of assistance and support.

Each release goes through some basic work process as mentioned below :

  • Pre-release period: mixing and mastering, creative development, pre-promotion and marketing, distribution, sub-licensing;
  • Post-release period. This majorly involves marketing and promotion of the release from a few weeks to months after the release is out. In some cases also bookings for the artist if it’s already part of the pre-negotiated deal. And finally collection of proper sales royalties from all channel partners, distribution, and reimbursing the artist back with his share as per the deal of the previously signed contract.

Now coming to the main question, ‘What Record Labels Actually Do’.

The answer is very subjective depending on what record label you are working with and is already somewhat answered in the explanation above, but to emphasize further I’d say that it is not a record label’s job to find bookings for the artist. The music industry in many sense is now so organized, that there are specialized booking agencies who pick and source upcoming talents. These agencies frontmost duty is to bring maximum exposure to the artist as a whole, start to manage his existing bookings and along the line bring him more bookings via the booking agencies ever growing network.

Also, I remember I have read in one of the previous advice here, there was a question about artist managers where Daniel wrote what actually artist manager does and what are the pros & cons of hiring one. So, in simple words, it is a job of such artist managers and booking agencies to work towards bringing more bookings for the artist, not a record label. 

Artist manager: who is that person, and three question to think about

To emphasize more on a record label job, I would say that it is label’s Job to constantly keep updating themselves with various promotion platforms, new social media trends, think of more innovative ideas to promote their releases, always look for best distribution channels and renegotiate the deals when needed. It is very important that label stays in touch and sync with the roster artist keeping them updated on new development and plans, same as collects genuine feedbacks from fans and other artists, as well as DJs in their network about each and every release and pass them back to their releasing artist. Labels also need to start building connections between artist to bring out some possible remix and collaborations opportunities. So, these are the most important and mandatory things that any record label should be doing for their artist’s roster.

Very interesting thing is that some record labels who have been around for a while and have already managed to establish themselves strongly in the Industry either by consistently releasing quality music for years or sourcing out producers with unique sound which resulted in building them as pioneers of certain style or sub-genre within a genre of music over time. As the result, gained massive fans and cult following globally are now also managing bookings for their artist by themselves or partnering with some independent global / regional booking agencies. We somehow feel this should be each and every label’s ultimate goal to not just build a very organized distribution and promotion network for their artists, but also lay a very strong platform for achieving global bookings.

All the above things are possible only with a very fair open hand in hand working relation between the artist and label. There is no compromise at all when it comes to putting in more than 100% and keep doing always better than what your last effort was.

Special thanks to Nishan Sankhe for his time and expert’s opinion. On cover image — complex mechanisms of the music business, it works properly only when all pieces are combined together.

2016   Advice   Music industry   Psy scene

Why Israeli pick such stage names?

I love Israeli trance scene since early Goa Trance in the 90s. This small country contributed to the Psy scene probably more than any other. But I can’t understand only one thing: why do they choose such stage names?

I’m talking about popular characters or common things like: Coming Soon, Captain Hook, Rocky, DaVinci Code, Ace Ventura, Born Sleepy, Easy Riders, Roger Rabbit, Fire Starter, Freedom Fighters, Ghost Rider, Royal Flush... and there are more I guess.

Lineup of the biggest events

Why? What the point of naming yourself by the name of worldwide-known characters? You can’t even it find such artist in Google because all search results you get are those characters or cartoons. Can someone explain me, please?

2015   Psy scene   Question   WTF
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