Improvisations at Isla Negra
A few weeks ago with my partner we made a brief “retreat” to Isla Negra, a town on the central coast of Chile known for its relationship with the poet Pablo Neruda. Besides from disconnecting a little from the routine, one of my purposes was to take advantage of discovering the synthesizer I had recently acquired, the Bass Station 2 from Novation. My first analog synth, which because lack of time I had not been able to explore. These two tracks are the result of those explorations, one per night. (The improvisation of the third and last night took an unexpected course and I kept it as an idea for a future topic).
I invite you to listen to these improvisations, inspired by the sea and the sand of Isla Negra. While listening, you can look at the photos of the place, which we took during those days.
Music for the documentary “Volver a las Raices”
Some months ago I had the privilege to create the music for the documentary “¿Hacia donde vamos? Alimentación saludable en un mundo globalizado” (“Where do we go? Healthy eating in a globalized world”) by Volver a las Raíces. This wonderful documentary tells about myths and truths on healthy eating, “superfoods”, and invites to rescue traditional meals from our local territories.
Improvisation searching for sounds, this time on the Hammond organ emulator B4II from Native Instruments. As noted by the title, this idea is almost 9 years old.
A new-age ambient track, product of an improvisation searching for sound on the Mini V plugin from Arturia.
How to support your musician friends
I believe everyone has at least one friend / family member musician or artist. In the case of musicians, we see them striving all the time to improve and promote their art, paying every week for a rehearsal space, buying strings / cables / sticks / reeds, paying for classes; paying for recording studio time; taking time away from family or rest to rehearse, and to find where to play; and finally, promote their gigs in all their networks.
And even if we wanted to, we can not always support them. Maybe due to time or tiredness we can not go to all their gigs (in Santiago at least, typical that they start not before 10-11pm on a weekday). We may not have money to buy the CD or have no place to play it. But there are many, many ways to support them, and many without money.
Tip number 1 if you want to support your musician friends: SHARE their content (music, videos, photos) in your networks, virtual and real.
This post is inspired by the image in the header, created by the artist Isadora Zeferino. Certainly several things seem obvious and they are, but many times we ignore them. This list is obviously incomplete, if you think of something else, please comment!
THINGS YOU CAN DO WITHOUT MONEY
Though liking and commenting on your friend’s posts in social networks is good, the following is more important and more useful:
- SHARE their content. Better yet if you take the time to write something nice in the post and not only share the link.
- Talk to your friends and family about your friend’s music; If possible, show them the music on a computer, cell phone, etc.
- Publish on your social networks that you’ll be going to your friend’s gig; If you can not go, publish the event or flier for the gig and invite your friends. Even if they don’t go, the post or invitation will make some “noise” in their favor.
- Post on your social networks if you liked a friend’s song. It can be an instagram video singing with the music behind; Share the Spotify link in Instagram, etc.
- If you go to their gigs, take photos and videos, upload them to your social networks and tag them.
- If they give you stickers or buy them, stick them in public places where people can see them. On the bus, the subway, the bus stop, etc. Do not hoard (if you want one for yourself, buy another one or ask him to give you one).
- When they appear in media (radio, TV, press, podcast, Youtube show, etc), comment about it on the media’s social networks pages. If it’s a live interview or broadcast, comment at that moment: your friend will see the support and the media will know that s/he has audience.
- If you get a flier, pass it to someone else when you’ve read it.
- Subscribe to their YouTube channel, follow them on Spotify.
- Do you use Souncloud? Repost their tracks and playlists.
THINGS YOU CAN DO WITH MONEY
- Go to their gigs and pay the ticket
- If the gig is produced by your friend or band, DO NOT ASK FOR A DISCOUNT, DO NOT ASK FOR AN INVITATION, DO NOT ASK + 1. Every gig carries several costs that musicians often have to cover from their own pockets.
- Buy their CDs, vinyl or cassettes, and merchandising in general, if you like it.
- If you buy a t-shirt or other cloth, of course, wear them.
- If they’re on Spotify, listen to them a lot. Each play of 30 seconds or more is a bit of money for your friend.
Can you think of more ideas? I’d love to read them in the comments!
The importance of the technical rider
Legend has it that the technical rider of glam rock group Van Halen included a clause that forbade catering from having brown M & M. The legend insinuates the cliche of rock star diva and ridiculously demanding. However, the legend turned out to be true, as David Lee Roth himself, lead singer of the band at the time, tells in this video. And the clause was not a whim: at the time, the band had a gigantic and demanding lights show, and on more than one occasion the infrastructure of the premises did not comply or even endangered the lights crew, basically because the promoters had not fully read the band’s technical rider and so ignored those technical demands. To ensure the promoter had completely read the rider, they included in the rider, in the middle of the section about lights, the clause that forbade brown M & M in the catering, on pain of cancellation of the event with full payment to the band. If brown M & M appeared in the catering, as it happened, they knew that it was not safe to play in that place.
Though Van Halen’s case is extreme, the technical rider is an essential tool for bands and artists of all sizes and careers. But what exactly is the technical rider? It is a document that describes the needs and technical conditions that an artist asks for their shows. It can be simple and only describe the needs of PA and microphones, to extremes such as the one mentioned by Van Halen, where catering is described, dressing room conditions, electrical requirements, etc.
It may vary, but in a basic way it includes:
- List of channels, microphones and instruments
- Specification of PA, mixing console, sound levels, monitors, etc.
- Stage plot
It may also include:
- List of musicians and staff
- Backline requirementsCatering requirements (food / drink)
- Dressing room requirements
And virtually any condition or request that one may come up with, though it is advisable to include only what is really necessary, and that is also at the level of the artist’s negotiation power at that moment.
Why is the rider important for small, emerging artists? For several reasons: the first, because it makes you more serious to the event production. The second, obviously, is that the production crew has the chance to know in advance and in time your needs, and be able to negotiate alternatives in case they can not satisfy them. Also, because it simplifies them and helps the work of the stage technicians: they know how to arrange the microphones and for whom, how many channels are needed, etc. It is also an essential document for the artist’s own crew, and a basis on which to work with the event crew.
Of course, it is not uncommon for promoters to ignore or fail to meet the riders. Most of the time, in my experience at least, it may be because they already have an established production (PA, catering, schedules) that the artist must accommodate. But even in these cases sending the rider in advance offers the opportunity to renegotiate the conditions, look for alternatives, etc. In productions specifically organized around the artist, it is very likely that the production fulfills the requested (provided it is rational, not camel milk or only green M & Ms).
Here are a couple of examples of technical riders of bands I’m part or have been part (in spanish). You don’t need to reinvent the wheel: grab from different riders that you can find (there are many on the internet) and use what suits you. Ideally, you should consult with a sound engineer for the technical parts.
As always, if you have any questions just contact me!