Esse Quam Videri:

To be, rather than to seem.

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Well, we are nearing the end of another semester here at Berklee Valencia. As I reflect back over my experiences, I thought it was appropriate to consider the motto of our institution as well.

Esse quam videri – to be, rather than to seem.

This Latin phrase has been on my mind recently because they are great words to live by. I think they reflect the mentality that our program, as well as numerous aspiring music professionals worldwide, should always try to embody.

When a peer reminded me of this slogan that Berklee College so proudly uses, my thoughts were taken back to when I first arrived on this campus. Nervous about having a fresh start and making an impression on my classmates, I remember feeling a natural sense of competition: “I used to be a…” or “I have 5 years of experience doing…” (You can insert almost any music industry related job or field that you like). While I learned a lot of great things about fellow students, over time I have also come to realize that they are not so different from me.

The fact is, we all made a huge sacrifice to be apart from family and friends while studying in Valencia this year.

We all want to find work in the music industry and establish (or rejuvenate) our careers.

We all crave an opportunity to succeed.

I like to talk about how being a good person that is genuine and sincere can take you very far in any industry. (see Can I Holla at Ya?)

Once again, this is a theme that I have been taking to heart lately. As I prepare to enter a tough and competitive industry in less than three months, I keep reminding myself to stay true to who I am. The music business is full of people who try to boost themselves up and really sell their profile (even if it is misleading at times).

Sometime these people are all “all talk” and actually don’t have the knowledge or skills necessary to lead yet are still trying to draw attention. Many of us can imagine that stereotypical cutthroat “business person” who only cares about money and advancing his or her own career. I used to get so frustrated seeing and hearing people do or say whatever it takes to gain an advantage when they are the very people I fear leading the music industry because of their questionable character and motives.

I keep asking myself: if there are so many people like that making noise, how am I to get noticed?

My plan is to continue to work hard at what I am doing now. If I want any chance at getting a job and keeping it, I will need to make sure that I am as competent to fulfill a role as I possibly can be. The rest will work itself out.

There is no point in trying to get people to believe I am someone I’m not. Instead, I am making every effort to do the things I need to.

To be, rather than to seem.

Giving fan ‘The Experience’ in a live show more important than going broke?!

Before we start, have a look at the video link below:

The flashing wristband technology in the video above costs Coldplay more than 400,000 pound a night and the band is reportedly going broke because of it. Flashing wristbands or Xylobands, have no other purpose than giving the show a very visually appealing experience. But the question remains, does a band like Coldplay, who would fill up the arena in any show on any given day, need to spend such a huge amount of money in order to retain its fans and keep their shows exciting? And if they do, how long will it be when this technology become saturated and the something new and more creative comes in the industry?

My opinion, yes, the experience of the fans at a live show is very important, but it is not worth spending almost all your performance fee on one single technology! I would rather prefer a band calling one of the fans on stage and sing along. Still, who knows?

Source: http://www.nme.com/news/coldplay/63997

Coachella Highlights: Part II

Here’s the 2nd round up of a few clips of some great performances during the last weekend of Coachella! Enjoy!

Pharrell & Co.

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Pharrell allowed festival attendees to take a trip down memory lane while bringing out a variety of special guests (inc. Usher, Jay-Z, Pusha T, Busta Rhymes and T.I.) Check out the vids below!!

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Bubbling in the desert #hov @pharrell

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Nas

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(Nas and Lauryn Hill at Coachella 2014)

Nas celebrated the 20th anniversary of “Illmatic” this weekend.  It was twenty years to the day of its release.  He performed each track from his critically acclaimed debut album.  One of the most epic moments during his set was when he brought Lauryn Hill onstage and the duo performed “If I Ruled The World.” Lauryn also performed “Ready or Not” from The Fugees repertoire.  Damian “Jr. Gong”appeared as a special guest and the two wowed the crowd with a performance of “Jamrock” and “Road to Zion.”

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Sekkle sekkle sekkle

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(**Images and videos are courtesy of the Instagram community**)

Coachella Highlights: Part I

It’s that time of year for the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival!  The festival features two consecutive weekends of music held in Indio, California.  One of the great things about Coachella is the opportunity to see some of your favorite vets perform as well as new and up-and-coming acts from diverse musical backgrounds! Catch a few of my fave Coachella highlights below:

Solange and Beyoncé

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Solange Knowles, affectionately known as Solo by her fans, covered Erykah Badu’s “Bag Lady” during her set at Coachella.  She then performed some of her own tunes, including Sandcastle Disco (one of my faves from her) and her latest single “Losing You.”  The biggest surprise of the night was when her big sis Bey took the stage alongside her!  Looking like a scene straight from one of Solo’s music vids, Bey popped up and the twosome danced in sync to “Losing You.”

Peep the vid below:

OutKast

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Outkast_Coachella_2(Weekend 2 at the Coachella Festival)

Andre 3000 and Big Boi of the critically acclaimed Southern Hip-Hop group, OutKast reunited on stage for the first time in seven years at Coachella! They were the headliners during the first weekend and the duo performed again this past Friday.  During the first show, they performed 27 songs and was joined onstage by Janelle Monáe and Future. After mixed reviews from the initial comeback performance at the festival, they revamped their production and performance issues for their set on Friday and received more praise from festival attendees this time around.

Vid below from the first performance:

 

 

Po’NO’!

I thought I’d take a couple moments to address a couple of quick thoughts I’ve had about Pono. I realize i’m a little late to the game in addressing this, but my newsfeed seems to be congested with the preamble of ‘Record Day’, but when the silent release of Neil Young’s cover album caught my attention it created the connection.

To begin, any ‘Download’ service immediately draws a red flag for me. As a user, I’m moving away from bogging down my laptop, it already runs at a snail’s pace, the collection of various third-party applications, Adobe Files, Microsoft Documents and music files absolutely crush anything that was once magical about my Apple experience.

However, the idea of a loss-less file for me sounds great, but i’d rather stream it. That being said, the difference between a compressed MP3 and Flac File on my shitty earbuds and laptop speakers isn’t likely to make a significant enough difference to validate purchasing additional hardware ( or an application specific one, like the Pono Player ).

In addition, the major issue I have with most streaming/ download services is the lack of depth in the catalogue. I’m interested in user generated content, but I also want to hear every possible version of my favourite songs by artists that i’m interested in.  With the exception of Youtube and in some cases Vimeo, my interests in works have already come and gone by the time they reach these catalogues ( if they do at all ); they are not adapting to the way most users consume content. I also don’t see platforms digging into labels catalogues and remastering the full breadth of music libraries to provide these file formats.  I also don’t see Pono as a service with longevity, It’s too niche to be sustainable and it’s not innovative enough to validate a change in the way I consume information.

Have any thoughts? Leave them in the comment section below.

“Community Managing”

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And I’m back with more definitions. This week, the chosen word Community will be starring our blog! We’re constantly being bombarded by ideas and business models that pursue to establish a community or maybe make two different ones interact. Communities communicating and communities being community managed. We definitely live in a crazy world.

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Lovely and 100% reliable Wikipedia says the word  is derived from the Old French communité, derived from the Latin communitas (com, “with/together” + munus, “gift”), and it can refer to a usually small, social unit of any size that shares common values; or – probably more appropriate –  in biology, a group of interacting living organisms sharing a populated environment. It also reminds us that, in human communities, there are certain factors such as intent, resources, preferences, needs, risks, and a number of other conditions may affect the identity of the participants and their degree of cohesiveness. Scary, isn’t it? The two definitions below can also be applied to the present scenario.

Captura de pantalla 2014-04-10 a la(s) 19.15.45So our special disrupted community has been up to a lot lately. Apparently the website is nearly ready to be up, still dealing with the hosting and last minute design changes. Once it’s up, we’ll be able to start uploading content, testing and learning more about SEO and different online marketing aspects. I’m trying to convince Tyler so that we can launch it also in spanish.. but properly done! Although it’s pretty frustrating when you stop to think how in no time, we’ll no longer be in this project 😦

foolOn the other hand it seems that I’m still back in the oldies, for I’ve been spending time translating content into spanish and spending time with my old colleague Photoshop. Although my main task has been dealing with Facebook and social media in general. Even though we probably don’t have yet many spaniards following us, we intend to grow at a local and national level. My location when that time comes, is obviously unpredictable! :S This means that all our communications must be both in spanish and english, and despite living in Valencia we’ve all been absorbed by the Berklee bubble… or community! 

It seams like someone strongly wants me to follow the Marketing path, for I’m starting to get confused between different projects. Once again, I forgot how slow things can go when a groups communication system isn’t well structured.. or simply when too many (good intentioned) people are involved in a project with no head, just an uncontrollable tail.

To close this weeks blog, I’ll recommend everyone the TV series Community. You might actually understand some of the moments we’re experiencing right now! 🙂

10 facts about the music of the Beatles that you (maybe) did not know …

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In a Rolling Stone Article I found an interesting article naming 10 facts of Beatles recordings you might be interested in. For the first time I was impressed by an article like this:

The 49-year-old composer and sound engineer Scott Freimann has already followed the work of the Beatles at a young age and wrote a number of successful books about the band. For example, “Deconstructing Sgt Pepper”, “Looking Through A Glass Onion” from the “White Album” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” on “Revolver”.

As a sound engineer and Beatles expert, he has put together ten facts about recording techniques and musical references that you probably did not know:

1. Paul played the lead guitar on “Ticket To Ride”.

Widely recognized as a bass player, Paul McCartney played lead guitar in various pieces. As in “Ticket To Ride”, “Taxman”, “Sgt Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band” and “Good Morning Good Morning”.

2. The Kazoos in “Lovely Rita” have been recorded on pocket combs, wrapped in EMI toilet paper.

The toilet paper was “very thin,”  because EMI was really stingy. Their roady Mal Evans was sent so that he gets it.

3. The bridge in “A Day In The Life” was inspired by “Hey Joe”.

Paul McCartney was a big fan of Jimi Hendrix, directly after his arrival in the UK. Hendrix’s “Hey Joe” inspired the down-sliding bridge to “A Day in The Life”.

4. The intro to “I Feel Fine” was borrowed from Bobby Parker’s “Watch Your Step”.

John Lennon was a fan of R & B guitarist Bobby Parker of Louisiana, whose hit single “Watch Your Step”, the Beatles had played in 1961 and ’62 at concerts. The riff inspired “I Feel Fine”. Led Zeppelin used the same riff still much more apparent on ‘Moby Dick’.

5. “Her Majesty” originally appeared as a part of the “Abbey Road” medley.

When the 23-second “Her Majesty” was cut out of the medley, which was the second side of “Abbey Road”, it was packed to the end of the tape. As it later turned up there, the band decided to let it as a hidden track on the album. “The last chord is missing because it was the first of ‘Polythene Pam'” said Freimann.

6. John and George sung “Frere Jacques” on “Paperback Writer”.

You can hear parts of “Frère Jacques” in the backing vocals.

7. George played bass on “She Said She Said”.

It is a rare Beatles recording on which Paul McCartney did not play.

8. Paul played drums on “Back in the USSR”.

On “Dear Prudence” as well.

9. “Good Morning Good Morning” was inspired by a cereal advertising.

The World’s most widely known, with the exultant cock.

10. The flamenco guitar intro to “Bungalow Bill” was actually a Mellotron.

Beatles fans have long speculated about which Beatle played guitar at the beginning of “The Story Of Bungalow Bill Continuning” by Freiman however, it is merely “someone who plays a sound on the Mellotron and then triggers a loop.” A Mellotron is an electromagnetic piano, which is now named for legal reasons, Novatron.

Standing Up to the Man

This musically fructiferous week has yielded yet another productive recording session with Tess and Tim.  We discussed post-production needs and recorded lead vocals and integrated colorful harmonies to “I Bought You a Coat”

 

During this session promotional needs were addressed, such as the imagery and visual art style to be employed on the artwork of the upcoming EP.  I also recorded supplemental audiovisual material in the studio: photos and video footage of the recording as well as an interview about the artist’s musical project.

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On the bright side, *ba dum psh* having access to the university lighting equipment effectively and drastically enhanced the quality of the promotional materials.

 

The legal aspect of the practicum has suffered a more conflictive week, since several weeks into the recording process, Berklee has proposed a new contract that contradicts several key items that were established at the very beginning. This poses a significant challenge for the legal team, to protect the interests of all stakeholders involved while moving within Berklee’s legislation, particularly the artists.

The Process of Making a Record… This is the boy Marcus.

…is multifarious, convoluted, sprawled, and disorganized among many other things. But it is not boring, it is not tedium, and it is not monotonous. We are in the last stages of the recording process for Miranda Inzunza’s upcoming EP, “Mercury in Retrograde”.

Its Crunchtime.

This is the boy Marcus.

My biggest task was to find an able and willing bassist, an experienced engineer, a drummer, and a place and time where all these individuals could agree to meet to help Miranda out. Please trust me when I say this, it is much easier said than done. Especially being a full time grad student, working on a business plan, producing my own EP, working on a social media plan, keeping my self sane…. yadayadayada… you get it.

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Here’s a picture I took at the end of the session which lasted until 2AM.

Look at her, she’s a champ! Not one complaint or pout!  You can tell by these faces that the session went extremely well and we made a ton of progression.

Oh, by the way, that dude on the left goes by Jimmy and the guy in the right is the A69’s very own Daniel Toledo!  You could count on these people to give the people at Berklee Valencia a great record. Jimmy engineered the entire session incredibly and Daniel played the electric bass.

We also had our very own Carl Pires on drums, check him out after the drop.

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Ladies and gentlemen, Carl Pires. #Drummer #AandR #work

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I actually shot that video with a Nikon T3I, don’t ask me how I got it on Instagram. SHOUTOUTTHEHOMIEJAD for reminding me of the name of the camera. 

All in all, the A&R team here at A-side is doing the very best job we can to bring you THE PEOPLE some quality music. Rest assured,  we got this.

 

Follow me on Twitter: @Avrelivs_ 

Is Amazon working on a Music Streaming Service?

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Amazon really seems to hit the ground running lately. First came the conjunction with Amazon Prime, a new video-on-demand service and a few days ago Amazon has announced the FireTV then, the counterpart of Apple TV. And apparently that was not all.

After Amazon released Fire TV, a streaming device for TV only a few days ago, now a contract indicates that in the next few weeks Amazon will also introduce a music streaming service similar to Spotify. While Amazon Prime customers currently can already stream movies and TV series for free , such an offer for music is still lacking at the moment.

Just like Spotify, Amazon might also offer a free  service in the streaming like the Spotify limited version and a premium subscription, which presumably would be a part of the Prime Offer. A contract between Amazon and the music label states suggests a deadline for the signature on May 1, 2014, which is a timely launch of the streaming service. Especially after the price increase Amazon Prime (of 29 € to 49 €) a music streaming service is another great incentive for customers to complete the Prime subscription. Amazon would therefore also make their own hardware (the Fire TV) even more attractive.

But even this leaked contract is real it’s no guarantee that Amazon will ever actually launch a streaming service. 

The contract, which publishers are being asked to sign by May 1, states the following:

“…If you provide a signed copy of this Agreement to us or our data manager that includes any changes, additions, or deletions (handwritten or otherwise), no such changes, additions, or deletions will have any force or effect…”

Here’s the full contract.