We’re Texas bound! The South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, is the is the biggest annual showcase festival for music, tech and movies and we’re happy to announce we’ll be there too. If you happen to be in town this week, you’re welcome to join us for drinks or catch our presentation.
The New Dutch Wave: Entertainment Meets Tech
New Dutch Wave is a new international movement to celebrate top notch Dutch creativity and entrepreneurship. Chordify is also part of the Dutch delegation this year and our man in Austin Robert Nabbe will give you the the ins & outs about Deep Learning and our current and future plans for world domination.
If you’re in Austin, just waking up and reading this and thinking “Gee whiz, that sounds mighty awesome!”, click on the Eventbrite link, put on some pants and run! Run like the wind and take a nosedive into the Swan Dive on Red River Street, because it starts at 11:00 today (Wednesday March 15). RSVP at Eventbrite
And if you ain’t Texas bound or within running distance, don’t you worry! We’ll give you a recap of our SXSW endeavors soon…
Speakeasy: Music+Tech Mixer
If Peruvian inspired libations of the cocktail kind, some great tunes and mingling with a happy collection of music minded folks sounds tempting, drop by at the Isla. We’ll be co-hosting drinks with our friends from Bandsintown, Sneak Attack Media and Paper Bag Records at the Isla in Austin on Thursday (1-3 pm), March 16.
Drop by, hang back, grab a drink and mingle with fellow industry folks. Don’t forget to RSVP here.
Elk jaar in januari staat Groningen in het teken van muziek. Eurosonic/Noorderslag is het grootste muziek showcasefestival van Europa, met honderden pop-up podia, feestjes, en afterparties, en daarnaast ook seminars en conferenties voor de Europese en Nederlandse muziekindustrie.
Chordify heeft een speciale band met het festival, niet alleen omdat we in Groningen een kantoor hebben, maar ook omdat we in 2013 onze muziekdienst tijdens ESNS officieel gelanceerd hebben. Sinds die tijd zijn we elk jaar bij het festival betrokken geweest, met bijvoorbeeld ons eigen podium. Maar dit jaar waren we wel heel druk, met niet alleen een eigen podium, maar ook workshops, lezingen van oprichters Gijs en Bas tijdens de muziekindustrie seminars en nog veel, veel meer. Dus bij deze een recap van onze avonturen!
Music & Tech Hideout Net als vorig jaar hadden we een eigen podium met vette acts, dus laten we daar maar mee beginnen, InDeKringloop(IDK) filmde een paar ontzettend gave live sessies met folk muzikant Siv Jakobsen en SXSW veteranen Be Charlotte, die met hun tweede single vrijwel meteen in de Viral Top 50 van Spotify terecht kwamen.
We namen twee live sessies op samen met IDK: Siv Jakbosen (NO) en Be Charlotte (UK)
Naast fantastische acts, organiseerden we ook een paar workshops, zoals het programmeren van muziek met SonicPi, een DJ cursus en een workshop podium belichting.
Gado Gado Party & showcases Gado wattes? Gado Gado! Super lekker Indonesisch eten. Op vrijdagavond hadden we ons exclusieve invite-only feestje; een lopend buffet, geweldige bands en DJ’s, en ook nog eens veel bieren gin tonics.
Optreden van Marsicans op het Music&Tech podium (foto: Tineke Klamer)
Conference panel discussies Niet één, maar twee van onze oprichters waren uitgenodigd om te spreken over de toekomst van muziek, voor een publiek van grote namen in de muziekindustrie. Zo sprak Gijs over het veranderende landschap van de muziekindustrie en hoe Chordify fans en muzikanten helpt. Streaming platforms zoals Spotify zijn enorm gegroeid de afgelopen jaren, en dat heeft er ook voor gezorgd dat artiesten en labels ineens heel anders moeten gaan nadenken over hoe ze fans moeten bereiken en hun geld moeten verdienen.
Bas had het over de technische kant van de toekomst en sprak over hoe machine learning in de muziekindustrie gebruikt kan worden en dat is natuurlijk precies in het straatje van Chordify.
Muzikanten en fans supporten En als dat nog niet genoeg was qua festival bezigheden, we hadden ook nog eens onze eigen glazen container in hartje centrum, waar fans mee konden spelen met hun favoriete Eurosonic hits. In een gezellige huiskamer setting konden nieuwsgierige muziekliefhebbers precies zien en aan levende lijve ondervinden hoe Chordify werkt.
Inge van Calkar treedt op in de Chordify Container (foto: Tineke Klamer)
Naast toekomstige muzikanten, deden we ook flink ons best om bestaande acts die tijdens ESNS speelden, zo goed mogelijk te ondersteunen. Zoals je misschien al weet, hebben we sinds kort een externe Chordify muziekspeler, die andere muziekplatforms, artiesten en festival ook in staat stelt om Chordify te gebruiken op hun eigen website. We vinden het belangrijk om muzikanten zoveel mogelijk te helpen en te promoten, en dat doen we daarom helemaal gratis. Onze nieuwe muziekspeler helpt muzikanten om op een hele nieuwe manier hun fans te betrekken en dat is belangrijk, want zijn de allerbeste fans niet de fans die met je muziek meespelen?
Dutch indie band Orange Skyline was formed in 2012 and draws inspiration from sixties mod bands, Gainsbourgian French pop and Mancunian rock and roll bravado. The latter two influences actually started out as a joke, but nonetheless made it to their official band biography. In a nutshell, they produce clever songs with an instantly recognizable, catchy sound.
Niels van der Wielen, Mart Atema, Stefan van der Wielen, Simon Christiaanse (picture: Sanja Marušić)
The band is releasing a new album early next year, with a whole new musical direction. The brothers Stefan van der Wielen (vocals) and Niels van der Wielen (guitar) sat down with us to talk about their musical influences, approach to songwriting. As a teaser and a Chordify exclusive, here’s their latest music video (only available in the Netherlands for now.. You can watch their previous video, called ‘Rapture’ here):
Which artist inspired you to pick up an instrument? Niels: We both played piano before we started playing guitar, I think around the age of 10. Stefan is two years older, so he already had a two year head start with piano lessons. Originally, I wanted to play guitar first, but I decided i would get more satisfaction out of being better at piano than my big brother. (laughs)
Stefan: He definitely succeeded and made me give up! I never really practiced a lot anyway. When we went to an Oasis concert in 2009, that was the moment when we both were like, fuck it, this is what we’re going to do with our lives, doesn’t matter how. We’re going to buy guitars and just do it! Mart, our drummer and neighbour at that time, was with us too. So all all three of us wanted to go full pull right from the get go.
Niels: Which is of course an incredibly unrealistic expectation when you’re 14 and 16 and you haven’t even bought your first guitar yet. (laughs). But I guess in a way it worked, because we were really motivated. We never really jammed or practiced just for the fun of it, we always had a purpose in mind, something to work towards, you know?
So after you guys bought your guitars, how did it all start? Stefan: We never took lessons, we just started playing together right away, figuring out how to play by watching YouTube videos and looking up chords. Mart started playing drums around the same time, and we would use his attic to just jam and practice together. All three of us learned to play by playing together.
Niels: The first few times, you’re like, shit, I suck at this! But then you learn how to play two chords and suddenly you think you can take on the world. The first time you see a bar chord, you’re like, fuck, I’ll never be able to do that, but eventually you’ll nail it. It’s just small steps. We never played covers either, we just wrote our own stuff.
Stefan: During our second rehearsal, we were already talking about recording duo albums and shit like that. (laughs). That was before we even wrote our first song!
Niels: And when we wrote our first songs, we really blew ourselves away. (laughs). We were like, Noel Gallagher would be so jealous! It’s actually a lot of fun to look back on those first songs, because boy were we wrong… I think that being naive like that was also a good thing, because you’re enthusiastic enough to learn and keep going.
When did your bass player Simon join the band? Stefan: That’s a funny story. He was in Niels’ class in highschool and he was already really good and playing in all the cool bands. We were all like: “shit, we really need this guy in our band!” We actually bribed him. We were recording our demo and rented a studio. We told him he didn’t have to pay, but that it also meant that he was automatically in the band.
Niels: But he had already decided he wanted to be in the band anyway, before we decided to bribe him! He was like: “Nice, free studio time!” But when we played together in the studio for the first time, he really blew us away. Simon just needs to hear something once, and he’ll just play along right away. And he could slap! Oh my god! (laughs) When you’re that age, that is pretty much the coolest thing in the world you can do on a bass.
Live performance at Eurosonic Noorderslag 2016 (picture: Ben Houdijk)
Any other artists that inspired you besides Oasis? Niels: Oh definitely! And a lot of artists still do. Like the new Bon Iver album, wow, just incredible!But also Kanye West’s album Yeezus. The intertwined vocals, sounds where you’re not really sure if it’s a guitar or a synthesizer, it’s just so awesome and I think in terms of sound, this is really a game changer. You’ll definitely it hear back on a lot of indie albums in the next five years.
Stefan: Or Tame Impala and Cliff Martinez, who was the composer for the movie Drive. Those synthesizer sounds are so incredibly cool. We’ve listened to a lot of synth pop music and the new album is definitely influenced by it. We played around with old school synthesizers in the studio. It takes some tweaking and fiddling around with buttons and cables, but the sound you get from it! It’s so full and cinematic almost.
What did you take away from other people’s songs? Stefan: We listen to pretty much everything. Because I’m a musician, I listen to songs in a different way, as in, you look for things that are professionally interesting and that you can use or make your own. And since I started listening to songs in a different way, I get a lot more enjoyment out of it, because suddenly any genre or any song is interesting. Like a super commercial top 40 pop song, written by a handful of Swedish songwriters and worked on by hundreds of other people. I just love it, listening to those tiny details, because it’s something you can learn from as a band.
Niels: It’s funny, because we started with Oasis and bands like that. And when you’re younger, that’s all you would listen to. You’re an indie band or britpop band, and that’s who you want to sound like. You couldn’t even admit to your friends that you really enjoyed that new Beyoncé song (laughs).
Any advice for aspiring rock stars to inspire them to keep on playing? Niels: Make sure you’re not just a band, but a team. The bands I always looked up to were the ones that looked like this cool gang you know? If it’s all business, or if you don’t really hang out together, I don’t think you’ll last very long.
And put in the work and effort. When I just started playing guitar, I’d play like seven or eight hours a day, and we would rehearse five times a week. And play lots of different stuff. I tried shredding to Malmsteen or Matt Bellamy solos, even the intro to Sweet Child of Mine. I gave up trying some of that stuff and other stuff I would never use, but it makes you a better player.
Stefan: Get rid of your principles. People get so stuck on genres sometimes. I’ve caught myself doing that too, where I’d be stuck on “this is the kind of music I want to be playing” and “this is what it should sound like.” Once I was able to let that go, it just felt so liberating. Just have the guts to let go of it and you’ll have so much more to work with creatively.
I think that’s why some bands aren’t able to break through and become successful, and why some successful bands are suddenly no longer relevant after a few years. They’re hung up on the music they decided was cool when they started and won’t let go of that.
It was a truckload of work, running from stage to backstage, dragging camera and sound equipment and hustling last minute, spontaneous interviews, but it was a lot of fun too. We ended up with something you’ll love, with a few tips from the pros on how to make a career out of music, as well as inspiring stories that’ll make you want to pick your instrument right away and start jamming!
Everyone can become a musician You may have already read some of our Backstage interviews, and this mini documentary is pretty much in line with those interviews. Learning to play an instrument is a lot of fun, but it’s not always that easy, and sometimes you feel like giving up all together. It’s something everyone involved in music can relate to, even the people who are now professional musicians.
So, rather than asking the questions you’ve already heard a gazillion times before, we wanted to dig deeper and talk with musicians about the musical process, the journey from picking up an instrument all the way to performing on stage.
More than your average aftermovie or artist interview Every festival, every event and every party has one nowadays: the aftermovie. They’re cool to look at (especially if you’ve been there). The boys from Wood & Wire wanted to do things differently, and give people a little more meat to chew on. They wanted to create a hybrid of an aftermovie and artist interviews, that tells a single story, rather than giving you an impression of the atmosphere or just another collection a interviews.
The enthusiasm and willingness of all the musicians we’ve interviewed was amazing and we’re all really proud how the movie turned out. So many thanks to all the musicians for their time and stories and of course a big thank you to the Welcome to the Village Festival organization!
Becoming a musician is full of highs and lows. There are times when you’re nailing it, and there are other, frustrating times when you feel like giving up altogether. To give you a bit of inspiration, Chordify has gone to the pros for tips on how to persevere, conquer – and rock!
Adam Perry – Drummer of bands Bloodhound Gang and A, CEO of BandApp
Adam Perry, also known by his stage name The Yin, was born in Leeds, Yorkshire in England in 1969. He’s one of the founding members and drummer of the band A and in 2005, he joined the Bloodhound Gang. Adam is also the CEO of BandApp, which enables musicians to share music, tour dates, and conversations directly to their fans’ smartphones. He sat down with Chordify to talk about his long musical career.
Which song or artist inspired you to pick up an instrument? I started playing drums when I was 11 years old and Stewart Copeland of The Police was definitely a big influence. My favourite bands when I started out were The Police and The Jam, and I really loved that sort of new wave, post-punk era of music, where bands that started out as underground punk bands suddenly became huge pop bands.
Later on I got into heavier music, and that’s when I discovered the band Rush. Once I started to listen to Rush, I was like “Wow, Neil Peart is God!” I tried playing the song ‘Tom Sawyer’ and a couple of other songs and failed miserably of course!
What was the first song that made your fingers ache or bleed? Definitely ‘Don’t Stand So Close To Me’ by The Police. Copeland just hammers on the bell of the ride. I had this really basic three piece drum kit back then, playing a lot of the new wave era simple kind of stuff you know? This sort of white reggae, and that song really inspired me. The Police were also heavily influenced by reggae and when we got our first record deal with A, the band I was in before Bloodhound Gang, the Police were probably our biggest influence.
What was your biggest obstacle to overcome while learning to play drums? A genuine lack of talent! (laughs) It was always a big barrier, when you hear a song and you think “Oh, I can do this”, but it’s actually quite hard and your lack of talent just gets in the way. Perversely, I never actually wanted to be a drummer. I just wanted to be in a band.
But in terms of barriers, musically there wasn’t really one for me, because you can only do what your ability allows you to do, I suppose. I knew what sort of music I was able to play and which styles. But in terms of barriers to being successful, there’s hundreds of them. It takes many years of knocking doors down until you actually get to the holy grail and get a record deal, and then the hard work begins.
Was there a specific moment when you knew you wanted to be a professional musician? The first concert I ever went to was performed by a band called The Jam, a huge, seminal band. My brother Jason and I washed cars and worked all summer long to buy tickets, and when we were finally able to buy them, the concert was already sold out. Luckily, our parents had already bought the tickets for us as a surprise. They made us work for it and I guess that’s where my entrepreneurial spirit also came from, just doing all sorts of odd jobs around the neighbourhood to buy concert tickets.
When I got to the concert, that was when I realized that this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to be in a band. I wanted to be in a place like this, full of lights and rigs and PA systems and trucks and busses. The whole thing about touring and being in a band was just exciting to me. Not just the playing songs side of it, but the production side of it.
When we moved to London, we used to go out and watch soundchecks. There are just so many venues there, so many concerts and we wanted to see as many of them as we could. It was just cool to watch the bands load in and do soundchecks and see what the daily life of a rock band really was like. That was what really inspired me and I really wanted to be a part of it.
Drumming was really a means to get there. I love tapping on stuff and I have a really good sense of rhythm, so I figured drumming was just the best route possible for me to be in a band.
What was your first time playing with others like? My brother Jason and I moved to a sleepy little village in Suffolk, and it was the third day of school, when we jammed together with Mark Chapman. The first time I heard him play guitar at his house, I was just blown away. Here’s this 14 year old, just nailing ‘Hammer To Fall’ by Queen and ‘Eruption’ by Van Halen, and we we’re like, “Fuck! This is amazing!” We genuinely thought he was the best guitar player on earth back then, and he did eventually become one of the best rock guitarists on the planet, on the front cover of Guitarist Magazine and all that stuff.
He’s also an amazing songwriter, coming up with all these great riffs and harmonies and how that could just segue into a great song. The three of us just kept on playing together, and that was basically the foundation of our band A.
Tell us about how your first band A landed you your first record deal My twin brother Jason and I moved to London at age 19 or 20, and we were on the dole, unemployed for three years. We started our own little studio, called Alien Studios, in Shoreditch, now a really trendy part of London, but at that time it wasn’t at all. We did remixes and commercials for TV ads and stuff like that, until we were in a position to offer the studio for free to major record labels to bring their bands down there.
Consequently, we got 30 A&R guys tagging along, sitting in the studio all day and we’d pick their brains out and let them listen to our stuff, getting feedback until they started to take notice. After struggling for about 5 years, I think it was in ‘95, the band Bush played a gig in London. They played together with a Canadian band called Moist, and they needed a third band for the bill. They chose us, because the poster would say A Moist Bush…we all thought that was incredibly funny!
Bush and Moist were both up and coming, so I guess there were around 30 different record labels there, and, by the end of that night, we had 9 offers! And this was still the heyday of the music industry in Britain, so they gave us pretty much everything we asked for and it became like a 10 year school trip, where we played along with as many bands as we could.
Your third album ‘Hi-Fi Serious’ was a major commercial success and you guys won the Kerrang award for Best British Band in 2002. But you took a long hiatus after the fourth album. Why was that? We took a long time to write our last album and recorded it in about half a year in a studio in Seattle, along with Limp Bizkit and Soundgarden. This was back in the day when record companies still had endless amounts of money and we spent a fortune on that album. One of the first songs we recorded was ‘Rush Song’, dedicated to Rush. We actually met them in Wembley on our tour and knowing that Rush had heard it was one of the best moments of my life.
‘A’ and the artwork of their succes album ‘Hi-Fi Serious’
But other than that moment, commercially our album didn’t do very well. Our previous album did really well and we got a lot of radio play, but we took so long to write the next album that, by the time it came out, the whole world had changed in terms of music. Rock music was not on the radio in England anymore. But that’s just the way it works. That’s also what’s great about it, I suppose. It’s very cyclic, very fast. It keeps everything very fresh, but it can be negative if you’re on the wrong side of it.
I don’t look back with any regret though, we just took far too long making our last album. We were all a bit burnt out because we’d been touring for 10 years, with about 250 shows a year.
Adam in action
How did you get to play drums in the Bloodhound Gang? We’d all known each other for quite some time before I started playing with them. Their tour manager actually played some songs from our second album for Jimmy Pop, the lead singer, when we were both touring Europe. We got to tour together, initially for just two weeks in Europe, but that became a year and a half and a proper world tour. That just wouldn’t happen these days but our record label was like “OK, fuck it, go do it! Here’s some money, go make it happen.”
The first time we all met each other was in Amsterdam, at the Melkweg and we just instantly became best friends. When ‘The Bad Touch’ suddenly became a huge hit, the concert venues just kept getting bigger and bigger and suddenly we were playing stadiums in the US together, and we just became this big traveling family.
We kept in touch, went to each other’s weddings and when their drummer quit just after we decided to take a hiatus with A, they called me up and asked me if I could fill in for three weeks. So I got the tour dates, and it was all arenas in Europe, which was just amazing. I was busy setting up my business, but I thought it was great just to get the drums out again and play for three weeks. That turned into a six year tour…
Up until the incident in Russia probably? Where Jared the bass player pulled a Russian flag through his pants? Yeah… we got deported. It was pretty frightening at the time. It was just absolutely insane, being locked in an airport for 9 hours hours. They locked down the airport and a bunch of Cossacks beat us up. We got the embassies involved and they sent a SWAT team with guns to protect us. We were all over the news and there was a crowd outside burning American flags. It was just insane.
When we were finally able to fly to Moscow, we immediately got arrested and we got deported after a couple of days. We were banned from entering, including our families, for five years.
What are you guys up to now? We’re actually still feeling the ramifications of what happened in Russia. We’re still not able to perform in several countries, which is a terrible shame really. So we released a new album in January this year, but we don’t have any shows planned. I might do a few reunion shows with A though, we did one last year. But we’ll see how it goes.
I would love to play a few Bloodhound Gang shows again though. They’re just an amazing and actually very intelligent bunch of people, despite all the pranks (laughs). I was the boring guy, going to bed around 1 a.m., but I’ve seen so many crazy and hilarious things with those guys. We made bands like Mötley Crüe feel pretty tame! I kind of miss the onstage vomiting, feeding people packs of butter and letting fans drink 27 cans of Red Bull on a dare!
You’re also the CEO of BandApp, an app that enables musicians to share music, tour dates, and conversations directly to their fans’ smartphones. How’s that going? It’s been a rough couple of years, because the digital music industry is a really difficult industry to be in and raise investments. But people still use our app a lot and it never ceases to amaze me how many people build BandApps every day.
We’re about to go for a major pivot, however, which I can’t talk too much about, but it’s going to be incredible and it can really scale into a global thing. We’ve been working on something for the last year in the live space, so arena based live shows, which we’re going to become part of and it’s really exciting. So it’s not going to be so much music focused anymore but more based on entertainment.
Any advice for kids just starting out in the industry? The days of 9 figure record deals and gold plated tour busses are probably gone for most people, I think. Especially in rock music. I guess when that’s your idea of success, it’s about managing those expectations. If you can make a living playing music, if you make a living touring with friends, well, that’s being successful already.
You can do a lot yourself nowadays, in terms of promotion and putting your songs online, connecting with fans. Things like BandCamp, iTunes and BandApp and loads of other platforms and apps will let you do that. I think it’s still fairly easy to get to a level where you play venues of 500 to 2000 people, but there’s a glass ceiling above that, and not many bands are able to break through that ceiling and become hugely successful.
What still matters is just writing great songs. Just look at Adele. Love her or hate her, she writes amazing pop songs. Not a single one of her songs isn’t great. Once you write a great song and put it online, it’s just there and it will remain there. If you’re lucky and if it’s the right time, fans and record companies will find you.
A final note for those who are worried about privacy or possibly somewhat ashamed of their guilty pleasures: it’s all big data, not individual results. If you secretly want to learn to play the entire Frozen soundtrack, don’t worry, we can’t trace it back to you!
We had an absolute blast at the Welcome to the Village Festival a few weeks back. Together with the festival organizers and InDeKringloop (IDK), we hosted our very own Village Sessions, a collection of intimate artist performances, which you can check out right here!
Thomas, Paul, Jonathan and Patrick – part of the amazing IDK crew (picture by Tineke Klamer)
Growing up on a steady diet of acts like De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest and The Fugees, The Lytics’ mellow grooving beats have a twist of their own, mixing psychedelic synthesizers with vibraphones and adding swingbeat and afrobeat to the mix. For their Village Session however, they went a cappella, and did a great job.
Remy van Kesteren (Netherlands)
Dutch harpist Remy van Kesteren combines his more classical roots with pop, minimalism and a dash of jazzy improvisation. Watch him play his genre blending and kickass song ‘Leviathan’.
The Hackensaw Boys (US)
These good ol’ Virginian boys stay true to their roots, with traditional folk and bluegrass. Kick back and whittle on your front porch rocking chair and enjoy!
East Cameron Folcore (US)
This progressive and political folk rock band from Austin, Texas cite Black Flag and Gustav Mahler as their influences. That’s a pretty broad spectrum, but their song ‘Nine Six Nine’ has a very cool Bruce Springsteen vibe to it.
Canshaker Pi’s sound has a grungy, raw feel to it, with screaming guitars and a droning bass. Watch them rock their song ‘What you are trying to say’.
Tjing Tjing (Netherlands)
Tjing Tjing is the side project of established Dutch singer/songwriters Roosbeef and André Manuel. Check this intimate musical get-together and polish up your Dutch (!) language skills.
How many Bewilder band members and camera crew can you fit into a caravan while still being able to play a cool folky song and film it live? Click to find out!
Instead of trying to pronounce or remember their name (which supposedly is a reference to a Dutch jazz musician) or categorize the experimental sonic violence of their music, why not just give it a listen? It’s worth it.
These Danish guys play melodic post-punk, with hints of melancholy and explosive guitars. Check out their song ‘A Youthful Dream’, performed at the backstage area of the festival.
Now that festival season is in full swing, we’ve got a mighty cool scoop for y’all. We present to you, in all its majesty: the embedded Chordify Player! Go ahead and check it out on the Welcome to the Village Festival artist pages.
Welcome To The Village festival in 2015
So when you’re organizing your busy festival schedule, you can play along with featured songs at the same time! There’s now no excuse not to bring your guitar or ukulele to the festival, because you’ll be totally prepared. Just click on the Chordify button and play along with the featured songs, using our brand new embedded player, without even leaving the festival web page.
Chordify iFrame as shown in the Welcome To The Village website
This kickass three day festival will be held from July 15 to 17 and we’re pretty stoked. As you mayrecall, we hosted a stage with our friends from Welcome to the Village during Eurosonic, the biggest music showcase festival in Europe. And we’ll be teaming up with WttV again, to bring you more festival exclusives.
Village Sessions and artist portraits and Welcome To To The Village Channel
Our friends from InDeKringloop (IDK), will be filming a couple of intimate live sessions with a handful of the awesome artists playing at the festival. You’ve probably already seen IDK in action, but if not, check out one of our sessions from last year’s Welcome to the Village, with Blood Red Shoes and their song “Lost Kids.”
Village Session with Blood Red Shoes, performing an acoustic version of “Lost Kids”
Can’t make it to the festival? Not a problem! Wood & Wire will be filming a mini documentary with artist interviews, very much like our own Backstage interviews, where these talented guys tell you all about how they learned to play their instruments.
Welcome to the Village
For a grand total of three days, from 15-17 July 2016, Welcome to The Village 2016 will be the most beautiful little village in the Netherlands. Taking place in recreational area the Groene Ster just outside of Leeuwarden (the Netherlands), the festival is organised by a large group of young freelancers, their friends and more than 500 volunteers. Their aim is to create a melting pot of fabulous music, awesome international talent and delicious food all brought together in a streamlined and logical design. This very same recipe managed to sell out their debut festival in 2013 with 4,000 visitors and it has continued to grow since then with 6,000 and 7,500 visitors in 2014 and 2015 respectively.
The music programme is made in collaboration with the visitors, and in cooperation with organisations such as Subbacultcha, dEUS and Ticket to the Tropics. This year’s edition will feature 2ManyDJs, Alex Vargas, Black Mountain and Fresku, to name just a few. So what are you waiting for? Check it out! Grab some tickets, get the chords and play along!
We’ve got some really cool news for all you aspiring songwriters and producers. We’re teaming up with with fellow music tech startup Rocket Songs, so if you want to take your passion for music to the next level and make your mark on the industry, these guys have got you covered. Rocket Songs lets you license songs from some of the biggest and hottest songwriters in the US.
What do most successful pop artists have in common? Talent of course, but they also work with great songwriters. They have access to the greatest and most expensive songwriters, hired guns like Max Martin, and the ability to populate the most popular playlists. They make hits, because they can pay for those hits and rocket launch them into stratospheric awareness.
So what has that got to do with you? Well, with Rocket songs, you don’t need to be backed by a big label or fork over tons of cash to work with the cream of the crop. They’ve got a platform where you can find the songs that fit your voice and taste and just buy the license directly through Rocket Songs, regardless whether you just need the beats or a sample, or the master tape of the whole song.
(picture by: Rafabendo)
Rocket Songs lets you license professional quality tracks, and just to give you an idea of the level of quality, The Voice Kids Dutch finalist Bodine is currently working on an album, in collaboration with Rocket Songs.
Our very own ‘The Dutch Voice Kids’ finalist Bodine works with RocketSongs too!
To kick things off with our awesome and official collaboration, we’ve got an exclusive channel, where you can check a cool selection of featured songs and different genres. Of course this partnership works both ways, so we’ll be supplying the chords for all the new songs of all you soon to be pop idols!
How it works For songwriters and producers, the key is finding a musical puzzle piece that closely matches your musical personality, creative vision, and genre. Rocket Songs is betting that you’ll be able to make this match a lot quicker, simply because they’ve done the pre-selecting and curation for you. So, think of Tinder with only great-looking people with winning personalities that match your idea of a perfect hook-up (or uh, long-term relationship), and you get the idea.
RocketSongs lets you pick genres, moods, and more to match your idea of a perfect song
Once that matching process is complete, it’s on to licensing. There are four different licenses you can choose from, depending on what the level of access the owner authorizes: Standard License, Expanded License, Exclusive License, and Master Use License. Each offers successively broader access to things like core recording elements (or stems), with exclusivity as a protection guarantee.
Basically, if you want the greatest level of freedom and exclusive usage, the Master Use License makes the most sense. If you need a quick, non-exclusive or limited use of a component, the Standard License saves you a lot of money. But overall, the whole idea behind Rocket Songs is to dramatically reduce the costs involved acquiring hit-ready material (think about a discount from the millions to the thousands and you got the model).
Becoming a musician is full of highs and lows. There are times when you’re nailing it, and there are other, frustrating times when you feel like giving up altogether. To give you a bit of inspiration, Chordify has gone to the pros for tips on how to persevere, conquer – and rock!
DJ Swivel – Jordan Young (music producer, mixer, audio engineer, and DJ)
Jordan Young (born 14 December 1984), known professionally as DJ Swivel, is a Grammy Award winning Canadian music producer, mixer, audio engineer, and DJ. He is best known for working with Beyoncé as her personal recording engineer and has also worked with Jay-Z, Kanye West, Fabolous and Jay Sean among others. In 2013, he won a Grammy award for best traditional R&B performance with his work on Beyonce’s song “Love On Top”.
(DJ Swivel – by Mike Woods)
However, Jordan is not just turning knobs and flipping records, he’s also an entrepreneur. In 2015, he co-founded music tech start-up SKIO Music, a collaboration platform for creatives that makes music licensing in the digital era more efficient, transparent and fair, allowing artists to focus more on creating.
Which song inspired you to pick up an instrument?
No particular song. I just thought it was cool to play around. The first instrument I ever played was the violin in school band. I was in fourth or fifth grade, and I was awful. After that I switched schools and tried the trumpet. I was a little better with that but it still wasn’t my thing.
Finally I picked up the bass guitar. I was listening to a lot of Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins and lots of hip hop and R&B. So I felt like with that instrument I could play all of my favorite songs, which was appealing. Trying to play some Method Man on trumpet just didn’t work the same! I played bass for a few years and got pretty good at it, but eventually dropped that too in favor of turntables, a keyboard, and some production equipment.
What was your biggest obstacle?
I don’t believe in failure. I believe in progression, and doing what you love. The first few instruments I picked up, I didn’t love, so I moved onto something else. What I loved was music. The medium in which my ideas came out was always interchangeable because it was never about an instrument for me, it was about creating ideas.
When did you start to write your own songs?
First of all, my music theory is lacking. I know my scales but I’m not classically trained in any way. For me I have ideas in my head, and I just want to get them out. I began writing in tenth grade music class. That’s where I caught the production bug.
Any advice for aspiring musicians or producers to inspire them to keep on going?
It’s cliché to say, but don’t quit. You only fail when you stop. It’s a mental discipline to push forward even when there are visible struggles ahead. I’ve heard the word ‘no’ more times than I can count. But every once in awhile you get a ‘yes’, which gives you the motivation to keep pushing.
(Official Music Video: Beyoncé – End of Time)
DJ Swivel was the sound engineer for this song and the entire album. After filling in for a day when another engineer was sick, Beyoncé was so pleased with Swivel’s work ethic that he became her go-to guy.
You mentioned in a column you wrote that you primarily consider yourself an ‘idea guy’, so what do you consider good and bad ideas, musically speaking?
I don’t really think of it that way. Musically speaking, I don’t know if an idea is good until it’s done and I can take a step back and listen. Sometimes you know right away that it’s not working and in that case I’ll walk away. I don’t like to force anything. I’ll go months without creating if I don’t feel like it, and then I’ll have days where I forget to eat because I’m focused on an idea.
A band like 30 Seconds to Mars spoke out against big record companies, promoting the philosophy that artists and creatives can pretty much do themselves what a record company does. However, even established bands don’t have the big promotional machine that big record companies have. Very often, bands going down the DIY road fail for this reason. What are your thoughts?
I strongly believe labels have a place. I also believe you can do it without them, it’s just more difficult. Take a step back and think about it. What is a label? A label is just a group of people each with a specific job. None of those jobs are particularly difficult, nobody’s performing open heart surgery. They mostly require ideas and experience, which means there’s nothing preventing anyone from doing it themselves outside of the financial investment and risk. If I can afford to go hire a great radio team, or marketing team, then I don’t need the labels.
The labels should be looked at as banks with expertise. If you can’t afford or don’t have the team in place, a label is a great place to be. And this is the case for 99% of artists. However, it’s absolutely possible to do it without them, provided that you have the right tools and that’s where a company like SKIO Music comes in. SKIO is a licensing platform handling contracts, as well as payments. The goal of the company is to provide tools for creators which can streamline the process of handling “business” and give them back the freedom to create. If you don’t have a team, SKIO is your team.
Aside from learning to play an instrument, aspiring musicians wanting to get into the business will also need to learn what they can about the industry. Any tips on where would be the best places to start?
There are lots of great schools that teach about the music business, but even in that case, it’s such a nuanced industry. I personally got my foundation from school, but I learned the ability to apply my knowledge as I went. I learned by making mistakes. And that’s partly why SKIO Music was created, so creators can avoid some of the pitfalls that I and many others have faced.
Any other practical tips for the business side of things?
I would just say, learn as much as you can. You’re a much more powerful artist if you understand how deals get done and how business is handled. Don’t always leave it to the professionals. At the end of the day, the only person you know for sure has your best interests in mind is yourself. So arm yourself with the tools necessary to handle anything that comes your way.