Monday, January 21, 2013

The Most Common Microphone Mistake and how to avoid it.

We take a break from our business coverage to deal with a mistake that I see so often when I am out performing with other bands trying to get through the glass ceiling and make it to that next level.... microphone technique.  So many times I see bands who have it together, their playing is tight, you know they have put in the hours. The problem is you can't understand the what the singer is saying because he or she is right up on the mic.  For simple demonstration simply put you hand in front of your face right on your lips and speak.  Yuck right.  That's what's happening when you get right up on the microphone.  Each microphone has what might be described as a field surrounding it .  You need to practice to get a feel for it.  What you are working to discover is where you hear you voice strong and clear.

The next most common problem is getting too far away from the mic.  You tend to see this with dynamic performers who lose track of where the mic is while they are really getting into the performance.  The thing to remain cognizant of is that nothing kills that vibe like losing the vocal during a really high energy part of the song.

The best situation is of course having a great monitor system so that you can actually hear your vocals.   Let's be real though, if you are playing in some of the places you have to play to get to the top, having monitors at all much less a great monitor mix is a luxury.  You've got to overcome it though, and know where you need to be in relation to your microphone to get that great performance across.  So the only way to get it down is to practice, practice, practice just like any other part of your performance.   Doing so will help you get to the next level and ensure that your audience is saying great band but I couldn't understand the singer.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Social Butterfly Entertainment Network

Hi all you patient readers and finders of My Baby Robot.  Posts have been ..... sporadic at best, but it is a new year and we aim to rectify that situation.  As we reboot, the focus has moved towards the business side of things.  Never fear though when a great show is headed our way we will let you know the skinny.

       To get us started with our new business focus, I interviewed Christie Welch of the Social Butterfly Entertainment Network, a music production company here in the DFW area.  We discussed  her company and how they view their role in the local music community.

  Brian:  First off Christie when did you found the Social Butterfly Entertainment Network (SBEN)?
Christie:  It has been pretty recently, just back in June of 2012.
Brian:   Wow, that isn't that long ago.  What was your inspiration for starting the company?
Christie:  I saw a depressing view as I was walking adventourously through Deep Ellum one day.  I saw old art that was abandoned and left behind by bars, clubs, lofts... the people who had resided and businessed in Deep Ellum.    Standing there I realized the Deep Ellum had "slopped" down to Dead Ellum.  I am a thriving individual and LOVE art and music.  I want to start a revolution here... an uprising of the art and music industry through music.  I see in California, Florida and New York that they thrive on their art and music scenes.  Dallas is in a position to make that happen, but I realized that it was missing something.  It was missing a sense of unity within the community... that we needed to work together.  I would like to change the attitudes of what could be the best artistic community ever.  That is the what and the why we do it for SBEN.

Brian:  Wow, that's a great answer.
Christie: Well, it's the truth.
Brian: Most great responses are.  You know I feel similarly about Denton.  There is so much talent that doesn't seem to be pulling in the same direction.  It would seem to me within the metroplex there is as much if not more talent than in the areas you mentioned.  What do you have in mind to make that happen?
Christie:  Right now we are booking and scouting out talent.  We are creating events to bring local talent together so that they can work collaboratively.  Most people have been hit hard by the realities of today's economy and by pulling together we can make things happen.  It's in my blood to do this kind of work.  When we work together we can make these events happen... we can fundraise... we can rise up and bring JOY to the community.  It's all about working together, talking each other up and supporting one another.  It's perfectly Ok to work with other musicians and make new sounds, it's Ok to mesh with other bands.

Brian:  That's definitely a good way to be.  Speaking of music you're a musician yourself.  Tell me a little bit about what you do?
Christie:  I play percussion and backing vocals for Bum Lucky.  I am the featured vocalist in 2-3 songs.  As a vocalist, I am known for being able to jump into anyone's sessions.  I have diverse tastes and my solo material is mainly reggae blues/ lounge vibe... conscious vibes.  I work with a guitarist and a bass player and are looking for a drummer.
Brian: Ah, the elusive drummer.   Thank you so much Christie for speaking with me.  Is there anything else you would like the readers to know?
Christie:  Peace, Love and Unity through art and music...the way we feel... I think we can all do it.
Brian: Awesome, thanks again Christie.

Well, it's good to be back in the saddle again.  Looking ahead we will be tackling the topic publishing in the ever changing world of music.  Expect more than a couple of pieces surrounding this topic, which I know is on the mind of every songwriter out there.  Take some time and check out Bum Lucky and of course we are honored when you give the author a listen and when so inspired download some of his own compositions.  Cheers to a wonderful and prosperous New Year.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bandamonium at The Crown and Harp

This Friday night, November 9th, get ready for a musical adventure that you'll need to be there to believe, we like to call it Bandamonium.  In one evening starting at 8:30 you will go through an entire spectrum of popular music at the Crown and Harp.  To set the night off on the smooth and easy, we have the song stylings of Dallas' Pop jazz queen, or if she prefer president, Emmeline.  A semi-finalist in Dallas' RAW awards, come out and support her Wednesday.  Then come out again Friday to unwind and celebrate.

Next it is time to start the drinking, with Levi Cobb and the Big Smoke.  They'll bring their whisky soaked folk rock and you bring the matches to what could be described as simulteaneously raccous and tuneful.  They'll be passing out copies of their new album at the show.

Next is Denton's finest, your favorite rock band My Kickdrum Heart.  Playing an amalgam of dancing rock from the 50 years, the band is high off radio airplay of their new single, "Falling",  released on Bandcamp.
The snakey slink of Dallas' We'rewolves comes howling at you.  Lyle Brooks of describes it best, "With each minute of each song, one can hear the group evolving more and more into its own atmosphere. Stirring the pot, the Wolves explode from a classic rock launching pad onto an alien landscape. The tune, a voodoo mudslapper, creeps up under the floorboards. Grappling with a flesh-and-bone inertia, the drive gives way to a menacing toe tapping."

And then to bring it on home the sweet fuzz garage grooves of Dead Mockingbirds.    Expectations are they will straight up bring the rock.

So get there early,  stay late and then call someone to carry you home.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Rock the Metroplex: Titus Andronicus and Japandroids.

For those of you who are fans of Denton's local rockers, My Kickdrum Heart, this weekend will bring two bands on two nights from two coasts to the Metroplex to rock your collective socks off.
Most likely ready to work out the frustrations of the storm that ravaged their home in New Jersey, Titus Andronicus, comes Tapatio Studios, Saturday November 3.  Tickets are merely ten dollars and local band Soviet has been added to the bill.  Check out this video from their album "The Monitor".

Coming Monday November 5th to Dallas's legendary Trees, Vancouver duo Japandroids , hit the scene fresh off a stint in Europe.  They are known for high energy performances that you don't soon forget.
Here is a video from their latest release "Celebration Rock".


Thursday, November 1, 2012

How to make sure your MP3's are right for internet radio

In today's highly competitive independent music industry you need to do everything you can to stand out.  One thing you can do is make sure the meta data on your MP3s has all the pertinent information.  Here is a except from the submission requirements from Soma FM.

Make sure your MP3 files are high bitrate (256kb or "v0"/Highest Quality VBR). No WAV files please; no m4a files. Check your Metadata! Make sure your artist name and track names are correct. Include the album name where available, otherwise leave blank. Put your website and email address in the comments field. Use the "Grouping" ID field to put the name of the channel you think will best fit. Set the Genre to be something that best describes your music. 

So how does one do that?  Well if you have a I tunes it is a snap.  First go to I tunes and locate the tune.

Then once you highlight the tune go to File and select Get Info.

Here you can enter all the relevant information, including adding the artwork for the track.
Next go to the summary to make sure the information is correct.
You'll be able to look at the bit rate here.  The normal encoder will do that at 128 kbs.  As you can see in the example above a higher bit rate is required.  For this in I tunes go to preferences and chose Import settings.

Import using MP3 encoder, setting custom.
Click on Custom and from there choose 256 kbps.
And there you have it.  Happy sharing.  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

New single available for download by My Kickdrum Heart

My Kickdrum Heart has released a new single, "Falling", available for free download using the name your price option on Bandcamp.  You can download it from the player in side bar.  Please get the word out and share this with everyone you know.  This single is being released in anticipation of their debut album, "Love in Time of Apocalypse... Sexy Party".  The single has recently been played on Paulcore on KANM, the college radio station for Texas A&M and