Monday, November 23, 2009

Things I have learned recently.

This is just a list from some experiences I've had as a sound engineer at live shows or have heard from other performers and engineers recently.. I'm sure most of you will learn something from it. Or perhaps it might bring back some memories.

1) This is pretty important I think.. if you play an instrument such as electric guitar or keyboard, well I can't believe I'm typing this and have had to say this, but bring your own leads.

2) If you play the drums bring your own drum key and your own drum sticks. The sound engineer may not actually have these on him - hard to believe I know.

3) Bring your own 9V batteries or adapters. Don't act like it's the sound engineer's fault that you haven't when you ask him if he has any and he says No. He's generally not the one performing.

4) Bring your own guitar picks.

5) Bring your own guitar, the sound engineer may not have one - I feel like a fucking parrot.

5) Bring your own amp unless you've organised to play somebody else's. Don't stare blankly at the sound engineer with your (borrowed) guitar lead pointed aimlessly about as if he or she can magic you one out of thin air.

6) Don't charge $25 on the door if a) Only about 10 people in town know who your band is and b) you're playing in a tiny venue that can't possibly warrant the production values expected for that kind of price. This is just common sense. I hope I never manage to convince myself to do this - so far, so good (but I am only 27 I suppose.)

7) Don't have sex/enter relationships with other band members. Particularly if they have a) just separated from long term partners b) are in the process of separating from long term partners c) are in relationships with long term partners. This is important.

8) A band is just a band. When you realise this your music will become 10 times better, the shows will become 10 times better, your sex life will be 10 times better and your hangovers will be 10 times better.

9) Above all: treat other people like Human Beings. Whether they be fellow performers, audience members, bar managers or sound engineers we all have a job to do and most of us try our absolute best. There is no room for greed or selfishness because we all rely on one another to make things happen. There is no money in music. Don't be fooled into thinking otherwise. Do not risk creating conflict, destroying relationships and earning a reputation that will harm your "career" rather than benefit it - especially over something trivial.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Video related stuff

So I've been quite busy lately on various projects and I thought I'd post links to some stuff that's been finished.

I recorded the sound for a pilot music show called Off The Cuff, made by Daniel Alexander for his final year in the Otago Polytechnic film school. The premise for the show was to record bands performing live in whatever location they wanted and to forgo any kind of presenter/interviewer in favour of a more direct approach - ie. letting the music speak for itself.

The first band we recorded were the Biff Merchants, a psychedelic rock band who unfortunately no longer exist. We showed up to a large venue called Sammy's really early in the morning and after several hours of set up managed to get a great result. Sammy's has good acoustics and it suited the band well.

Fourth World
by The Biff Merchants.

The second band recorded was a new 3 piece electro/industrapop/rock band called Thundercub. Completely different to the Biff Merchants in almost every way, this shoot was done in their practice space/flat living room area and had a totally different feel to the previous shoot. The band played well and I think we got a pretty good result.

Shotgun Pingpong - By Thundercub.

And last but not least: one of my own bands, Dick Jokes, now has a video out there on the interwebs. Louis Smith (of the Gideons) spent a whole day messing about with imovie and this is what he managed:

I AM DUNEDIN - By Dick Jokes.