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MUSIC INDUSTRY BLOG by Kenny Schick

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RUSH COVER 'Limelight' - WE WON 3rd place in the competition! #rushtheband #ole #artemesiablack #kennyschick READ PRESS RELEASE HERE

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Recording Studio - What Is The Quickest Way to Quality Recordings?

So many people will answer this question focusing on equipment, studios, and producers/engineers… they'll suggest it's all about the 'best' studio, the 'best' microphones, the 'best' preamps, the 'best' instruments, or the 'best' producer. It is true that all these things help greatly in contributing to amazing sounding recordings, but the single most important factor is…wait for it….your performance.

Have you ever noticed when recording rehearsals and performances in adverse situations using less than awesome recording devices that many musicians sound fine(all the way down to crappy), given the circumstances, yet maybe one or two will always stand out as sounding amazing no matter how low tech the recording device or how horrible the acoustic environment? That is because their performances are so good they transcend technology. In the early days of recording when everyone had to record into one or two microphones(1920s-1940s), it was only amazing performances that made the music happen--think of the precision and excitement of a group like the Andrew Sisters. Musicians had to be a certain distances from the microphones to get a blend, and only had their own skills to help them attain a good recording, and there was still plenty of magic in those captures, low as the fidelity may have been.

In this day and age, we can fix so many issues with bad or mediocre performances that musicians expect it, defer to it, and often approach their own art with laziness and an unforgivable lack of skill development. Even though we are able to polish turds, it will never sound as good as an inspired, well executed performance. So how do you get a great performance? I bet you already know--lot's of practice and a constant desire to improve your skills. No secrets, no quick fixes--simply dedicated hard work. Some, like me, love practicing and love striving for new heights, and if you do this, it will help you in so many ways. Your live performances will be better, and audiences will notice this, leading to more accolades and more fans. You will save lots of money in the recording studio by taking the responsibility that should be yours anyway. You may even get called to do other people's gigs and recordings, leading to another source of income. Most of all, you will learn about discipline, you will learn of the satisfaction that comes from focusing on a worthy endeavor, and you will have the pride of seeing what amazing results your hard work will yield--this is the kind of passion that makes for a life well lived.

A few tips for practicing: I tell students this all the time, and almost none of them ever do it--practice with a metronome! You can get apps for smartphones that are great, so don't whine about expense or another piece of gear to deal with--my app was FREE!! Timing is about the most important aspect of music---it's what makes people tap their feet, dance, shake their asses, etc. Also, when doing studio work, you will often encounter the dreaded click track--it is really just a metronome, and if you can play to a click(providing the songs you are working on need one), you will get better tracks and save lots of money in the studio. You will just have a better sense of time and feel in general, so do it! Practice with tuner or around an instrument you can reference your pitch to. Being in tune is important live and in the studio--it separates the pros from the amateurs just like good time does. Again, better live performances, and less money spent paying for an engineer to have to apply the dreaded auto-tune to your vocals. Record yourself! on your smartphone, on your computer, on an old cassette player if you have to. This is the truth teller--sometimes it's hard to tell what your performances are like while you are involved with the technical aspects, so listening back without your mind being involved in anything else is very telling. It's also a great way to prepare for working in the recording studio--there will be no surprises when listening back to your tracks(except the quality will be great, so you'll sound even better to yourself). And lastly, always study your instrument of choice and try to become the best you can be at it--listen to the best and use them as your target, not the people in your immediate circles(unless your circles consist of the very best musicians/singers/songwriters there are). You are the most important factor when it comes to getting good recordings, so let that empower you.

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MUSIC BLOG - 'Cereal' - was written after watching an interview with serial killer Jeffery Dahmer.

Kenny Schick PhotographyKenny Schick photography

'Cereal' is the first song on my first solo album, 'Eating the Cannibal', released in 2000. The song was written in the mid 90s after I watched an interview on TV with serial killer Jeffery Dahmer.

Given his actions and crimes, I was expecting to witness a total nut job blabber incoherently, something like Charles Manson, but what I saw was a very articulate and well spoken man who fully comprehended the questions being asked and was very aware and forthright about what he had done.

He took full responsibility and seemed to have a great deal of insight (or perhaps hindsight) about how things progressed and went wrong. Listening to his explanation of his 'process,' as demented and wrong as his actions were, there was a logic and progression that is not unlike how an artist or scientist would move forward with an idea or concept.

It felt very strange to be able to 'understand' what was truly not 'understandable' -- to think that someone who spoke so rationally about something so irrational was just another human being who somehow just slowly slipped into such an unimaginable space.

People find many ways to find thrills in the world -- mountain climbing, skydiving, snake handling, heroin, and so many things others would call crazy. People do so many things they know they shouldn't -- cheat on spouses, steal, embezzle money, torture other humans -- the sky is the limit.

It struck me that the most saintly human may just be one odd thought process away from becoming the most hideous human -- that a series of experiences and/or choices could change one's direction forever.

Because I don't really like to write songs that are immediately obvious, and perhaps because the subject matter is so uncomfortable, I stuck to my usual obtuse method of lyric writing. Even using the 'incorrect' spelling 'Cereal' (which sort of reminded me of kid's sweet cereal that is so yummy and attractive but so bad for you) instead of Serial was sort of way of putting a mask on a song that written too literally could be too confronting.

I like to allow room for listeners to make up their own meanings to songs so they can relate them to their own personal life experiences rather than to just shove my thoughts and experiences down their throats. The song was originally recorded to an old black face ADAT, and for the re-release, I imported the files off the ADAT into Pro Tools so I could remix the song with more control and re-sing the lead vocal.

HEAR THE SONG HERE and let me know what you think, of the song, of the music of the thought process anything.

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BLOG: PLAYING WITH OTHER BANDS - LIKE 'SOUTHBAY DUB ALLSTARS', 'GUILDED SPLINTERS', 'DBWALKER BAND', 'HOOPTY FUNK' ETC... SAXOPHONE, ELECTRIC GUITAR, FLUTE, VOCALS, PERCUSSION... PLAYER FOR HIRE

I've played with so many bands in the past and love it. I love playing different genres, I like the challenge. I'll either learn parts for the gig, get sheet music sent to me or I'll just wing it if thats what the band wants. I know music and music theory so feel very confident taking on challenges like that. I especially love it when I get asked to play my saxophone, that was my first instrument so feel most confident with it, its a loud instrument and playing live with a band lets it breath and get to do its thing, I find this very satisfying and fun. I've just joined a new band called Hoopty Funk and that is a lot of playing and learning new original funk tunes, its so much fun to play and stretch out that much.

     

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BLOG: ABOUT THE NEW CD - THE MAKING OF 'SHUFFLE'

kenny schick shuffle cd

It's been 6 years since I released a CD! hard to believe how time flies, but it was 2007 when I released 'Under' upon my return from Australia. As many of you know, Sabine and I run our own music production company, so actually, I've (helped) put out many CDs over the last 6 years - just not my own (this includes 3 ArtemesiaBlack CDs with Sabine, so sort of mine I guess...).

Seems my own music sort of got set aside to help others, but last year, I began to notice I had quite a few new songs recorded - stuff I'd been working on in between client work. I also noticed that I had several songs from previous CDs that had never been released and that didn't really fit genre-wise with the new material, so I was thinking multiple releases. Then I got the little brain worm - seems as though so many folks listen to iTunes in 'shuffle' mode, so why couldn't I release a CD with 'unrelated' material and just make it a 'playlist' of Kenny music? I also realized there were songs from the first 4 albums that hadn't really gotten too much attention and that were never finished off quite to my liking, so I thought this could be a retrospective as well. So it all started to come together in the form of CD #5, 'Shuffle'.

The new songs are obviously just 'new', and the unreleased songs were mostly from the 'Fuzzyland' album which was released in 2004 - they were cool songs, but Mike Freitas (who played drums on that album and helped me co-produce) and I decided they didn't fit, so they sat incomplete until last year.

The very first album, the 2000 release 'Eating The Cannibal' was a super limited release, and it was one of my favorites of all the albums being so experimental and being my first 'child'. That album was started in the second of 3 basements that were my studios in the early years (thus Basement 3), and recording for that disc started some time in the early or mid 90's. It was recorded to a single black face ADAT(8 tracks, bouncing, yadda yadda). I was very happy that the machine (after an initial error message) actually started and played the VHS tapes so I could get the material into Pro Tools….phew!!

'Rising' which was completed in 2002 was my first Pro Tools recorded album, and I was just never fully happy with that disc, though it got good reviews. 'Fuzzyland' came along in 2004 and was a 'success' in my eyes, with help from Mike Freitas, Gordon Gurley, and Jerry Ososkie. The first 3 albums had all sorts of great musical contributions from so many folks I'd played with over the years, but there was never a band to support them and there were never CD releases for any of them because of this.

It was after the release of 'Fuzzyland' that I started to seriously realize that I needed to play live shows to support my 'children', but having tried to put together bands a few times earlier, I decided to see if I could do it as a solo act, and thus started the more singer-songwriter approach that so many of you are familiar with in regards to my performances.

The solo acoustic thing was a lot more difficult and life changing that I ever imagined it might be: playing with a band, as I had always done, was one thing, but being responsible for the whole 'thing' was another, and I quickly realized that my singing, with the inability to do multiple takes in a studio, was a problem. I'd also never really loved the sound of my voice, as I'd learned to sing in really loud bands/situations, so producing a knife-like cutting sound was the result to get through all the volume, and that was just not a tone that really worked for me as a lead singer. I took voice lessons and studied acoustic guitar players for a year before I ever did a 'show', and the first shows were pretty rough by my estimation.

As 2006 rolled around, I'd started to get the hang of it and the song writing had taken a direction that reflected the performance format, but it was not quite standard singer-songwriter fare. Later that year, I ended up in Australia as many of you know to meet Sabine and play music.

With a lot of time to work on my craft, I came up with some methods of playing acoustic guitar that made it sound a little more like multiple musicians, and recorded the majority of what would be the CD 'Under' on a mini recording rig I brought down with me. This is also the time that the first ArtemesiaBlack album was born, and Sabine and I started playing together. Upon returning to the US, I played a lot of solo shows and even toured the west coast a few times, and then toured the whole US when Sabine arrived on our shores in 2008.

Then the mobile recording I'd started in Australia ended up being the start of our music production business as I began recording other artists in the fashion I'd always recorded my own albums. Still heavily influenced by all the acoustic music I'd heard during those years, I did begin to record some new material here and there, but I began missing some of the more layered instrumentation of my earlier approach, so some of that has crept it's way back in just a little…. : ) As far as songs from old releases that appear on 'Shuffle', they have been re-sung and remixed to sound more like I'd always imagined them. And here we are in 2013 with me trying to remember how to play my songs in preparation for a CD launch.

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Kenny Schickmusic on KWTF broadcasting from Bodega Bay, California, USA at 881 FM and streaming on the Internet at KWTFnet .. http://www.kwtf.net/

>>> that by the way is the wonderful place you can see in "The Birds / Alfred Hitchkock" and "The Fog / John Carpenter" ....! http://wwwbodegabaycom/

>>> A word from the producer .................
Many thanks for sending your music - one or the other way. The artists/labels I present are well thought out. Trying to present a update *non fashion* variety of creative people using todays means to produce and distribute their very own vision of free *independent* sound (plus some *Litter Legends*, musicians who showed me something special - not the *usual* names, I guarantee). I experienced that having an open mind concerning *art* leads to a fruitful creative process, so the show presents whatever one can do with *sound* - the way the *official* music world was decades ago. From fresh easy pop to complex difficult creations To me it's all one universe. I am always trying to maintain quality and uniqueness. According to feedback a kinda snappy way of presentation keeps the show diverting and informative .. could'nt do without you out there! .. spread the news!!!

And a special extra *thank you very much* for sending physical releases regarding the exploding mailing rates! VERY much appreciated! Again and again I realise the importance of having *something* in my hand...to look at .. to turn around . to..all the things you can't do with a file/jpg...thank you!

>> more than 200 shows now available via http://www.archive.org > search for Lord Litter...

Vive La Difference!
LL
http://wwwLordLitter.de

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LORD LITTER'S MAGIC MUSIC BOX INTERNATIONAL
2016 - 27
produced for KWTF Radio - http://www.kwtf.net/
>> on air and online ....
> Friday at 6 PM

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1. The Spongetones - Talking around it - CD - scrambled eggs - http://www.spongetones.com

2. The Conspiracy - Locust rain - CD - Predator - http://www.wearetheconspiracy.co.uk

3. The Contrast - Ghost Man - CD - A Sinister Flick - http://www.thecontrast.net

4. Sidewalk Society - Look at the View - limited colored vinyl single - http://www.fruitsdemerrecords.com

5. Mike Thompson - Thunder Island - CD - Out of my Head - http://www.MikeThompsonMusic.com

>>> LITTER LEGEND..............................
6. Flamin Groovies - High Flyin' Baby - CD - Teenage Head - htthttp://www.flamingroovies.com

7. King Of The Tramps - Airplay Bottles - CD (LP to come) - Cumplir con el Diabolo - http://www.kingofthetramps.com

>>> LITTERs (private) Legends..........
8. Fishermen's Stew - tear down the fences - CD - letter to Norway - http://www.gregsounds.com/ - http://www.gregsounds.com/photos-group-23.html

9. Life in a Blender - Dead get down - CD - Tell Me I'm Pretty (2002)
http://www.lifeinablender.net ........................................

10. Church of Betty - I remember you - CD - Swirled World - http://www.chrisrael.com

11. Kenny Schick - Half Life - CD - Shuffle - http://www.kennyschick.com

12. Mighty Sam McClain - Around Every Corner - CD - Time and Change, Last Recordings - release http://www.kkv.no - Migthy Sam McClain http://www.mightysam.com/

13. Eric Schwartz - Jesus, Leave the Bible Belt Alone - CD - the Aristocrat - http://www.ericschwartz.com

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L O R D L I T T E R
musician / DJ
Renegade of Culture since 1984

producing radioshows for these onair/online stations
- http://www.Radio-Marabu.de
- http://www.KWTF.net
- http://www.radio-on-berlin.com

> "..more than 200 Lord Litter Radio Shows (listen/download)
http://www.archive.org ..."

http://www.LordLitter.de
LordLitter@LordLitter.de

 

 

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