A Stage Hand’s Guide to Music Venues in D.C. and Baltimore

Here is a little guide to some of the top dance music venues in D.C. and Baltimore! These are my favourites of all of them – I will be sure to add to the list as I attend more shows! – Jared

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“In the box” production with kcik. or me.

Logic Pro X

I do a lot of production. I love working on music anywhere I can bring my laptop! I know it’s not good practice to be making music with apple earpods but hey, if inspiration strikes while i’m on an airplane, then I probably will go ahead and work. I can always come back and fix mixing mistakes whenever I’m back with some proper monitoring equipment.

While producing, I use Apple’s program “Logic Pro X.” The tenth iteration of the program, Logic comes out on top as my favourite digital audio workstation. Logic 9 was the first version I use, and I love the new update. X came with a lot of criticism but I have found that it fits my workflow very well. It’s lots of fun, and waay better than garageband.

On to my favourite plugins! starting with virtual instruments I give you:

Omnisphere

Omnisphere

Meet omnisphere. This thing is a beast! basically it is the multi-tool of music production. This synth can play prerecorded sample libraries as well as synthesize sounds, as well as adding effects on top. Oh, and it can have six different sounds playing out of one instance. Super powerful, amazing sounding, I can’t say enough about this synth.

Massive

Massive

One of them ore popular synths in the EDM world, Massive has the capability of making lots of wubs, plucks, pads, or leads. It has a uniquely intuitive interface allowing all parts of the synth to react to one another. This synth taught me a lot about building my own sounds, and how you can get creative just by routing one thing to another.

Effects:

H-Delay

H-Delay

Waves’ Hybrid Delay is one of the most natural sounding delay plugins I have used. This thing can create echoes like no other piece of software (or hardware, i’d bargain). I particularly use the “lo-fi” and “ping pong” settings to get the effect I want.

LFO Tool

LFOtool

Steve Duda, Owner of Xfer records comes up with some of the most original and useful plugins known to producers. He innovates with his creations and comes up with stuff that would not exist in the hardware world. LFO Tool is a modulation effects tool. Its most base function is to mimic the effect of sidechaining while giving producers control over the attack and decay of the sidechain without going through complicated routings to get the sound you want. It’s a huge time saver for me.

RBass

RBass

Waves comes back in to the mix here (ha, see what I did there) with this insane bass compressor, RBass. The Renaissance Bass plugin does some awesome sound trickery with harmonics and overtones and physics stuff to accentuate the low end of your bass instruments like your kick or bass guitar or bass synths. It gives tracks a very rounded, warm low end. This plugin is a must have for electronic producers. It’s fantastic!

Stage hand

More about the stagehand – as a producer!

Well. The news in the world of Dance music is kind of slow right now and doesn’t pertain to me as much. So I thought I would talk about how I make music.

usbtemplate_kcik_version

First, I make music under the name kcik. You can find some of my stuff on my soundcloud here.

My computer music days started when I was around 15. I got an electric violin for my birthday that was accompanied by an audio interface that let me plug the violin in to the computer and use some computer generated amplifiers and effects. This led to hours of fiddling around with garage band and Line 6’s Pod Farm plugin.

Next, I was able to work my way through garageband, making rap songs, acoustic covers, whatever really came to mind. I found garageband to be kind of limiting, so I upgrade to Logic Pro 9, a full featured digital audio workstation. I spent a lot of time in Logic 9, and it was in this program where I began with electronic music.

I was searching through sounds in the virtual synthesizer instruments when I found a sound that was exactly the same as the lead in the song “Sandstorm” by Darude.  So, I too that sound and tried to remake my own version of the track. It sounded pretty bad, but during that I found out about the joys of sidechain compression and subtractive EQ and began working on some sound engineering stuff.

Progress on to when I moved to Maryland for College, and spent a lot of my time making music in my dorm room. I brought my interface and monitors and I still use them daily.

I’ve upgraded my collection too – I now use Logic Pro X and have purchased plugins from Waves, Spectrasonics, Native Instruments and Xfer Records. I’ve sorted through all of these products and am starting to come up with some of my favourite tools to use.

I’ll talk more about my favourite plugins in a future post, though.

Til next time,

Stagehand.

The TIDAL Revolution, and why the owners aren’t sellouts

A few weeks ago social media was buzzing with the news of a new music streaming service called Tidal. It claimed to be a revolutionary service that would change the music industry forever. It also said that it would offer high quality lossless streaming for audiophiles.

Other than this,the details were hazy. We knew that Jay-z was a major shareholder in the company, and this oddly promoted livestream claimed that artists huge in all kind of genres were supporting the service as part – owners. From electronic music, Deadmau5 was the sole representation.

Now that the dust has settled, I came upon this article (shared by deadmau5 on his twitter.)

This linked to an interview with Jay-z about Tidal and how it would work. This covered a lot of the issues people seemed to have with the streaming service. People were really angry at the idea of a new streaming service that costs $10-$20 a month.

Now, I would like to set the record straight here from what I have found out.

First, Tidal is a streaming service, much like Spotify or Pandora.

Second, Tidal offers lossless streaming for $20 a month. IF YOU DON’T NEED LOSSLESS you pay $10 a month. Simple, right??

Third, Tidal is a good thing because instead of record labels owning the music service, ACTUAL MUSICIANS own the service and are able to make more money for themselves. A musician is not a lucrative career and the fact that some are able to invest in their own company is a pretty cool thing. (side note: Tidal will pay the highest royalties for plays out of all streaming services)

Finally, I know a lot of people have some philosophy that all music should be free. This is problematic. How do you expect to make money as a musician if you can’t sell music? Touring and shows aren’t the easiest lifestyle and musicians devalue themselves by not selling their art. It’s just the way the world works.

/rant.

the stagehand