I found myself in the middle of a debate a few days ago with regards to music. A statement was made in essence that the talent of people in movies and music is disastrously low and the people who work in these areas spend more time focusing on the 'social' aspect of what they are doing instead of the actual hard work. This statement really hit home with me because as some of you know my sons work in the music field if you've kept up with my articles. I proceeded to disagree with this statement because my sons do spend time networking online as well as putting in the hard work. I do not think one excludes the other. Not only that, one of my son's professors told him that networking was the way of the future for marketing. I provided a link to the article I wrote which contained not only my sons' grand prize winning mix-remix "Awakening" for Xbox's Halo 4 remix competition, but also the original mix that is called an "orchestral/electronic mix" created by Halo 4's music creator - Neil Davidge, for everyone to listen to as to the quality of remixes and hopefully to recognize that there was hard work put into it to be the finished product that it became. Below is a video announcing the Halo 4 contest and where it states Neil Davidge 'creates or alters from existing sounds'.
Take a look at the setup Neil Davidge has in the above video. Of course, he has earned his way into the high-end professional world of mixing and remixing (producing) and his equipment shows that. My sons, who by the way have a BA in Public Relations and have taken multiple engineering courses of study, and have had courses in music theory have a sort of similar setup except on a much smaller scale. Anyway, they have mixers-synthesizers, keyboards, recording equipment, sound equipment, turn tables, and sound effect accessories, etc. all hooked up to their computers and tied into their various mix-remix creation software (which they had to learn like any other application - think Photoshop) - a tech savvy music creation system. Below is an example of one type of music creation program. This video does not show all of the attached equipment, but you can get an idea of the knowledge you would need - not only in being able to work the program, but also being able to manipulate all of the controls and stems to create the sound you want.
Along with the system my sons have, they also have skills in playing and utilizing all functions of a keyboard, playing a guitar, scratching skills, and singing, not to mention the third party of their group is an excellent guitarist and a vocalist also. Wherever and whenever possible, these elements are used in the process of their music production along with original solos from outside vocalists even when doing a remix. They also create their own sounds, drum beats, scratches, tunes, etc. that are incorporated into the music-making software to create a mix or remix.
One thing that was inferred was that those who play live instruments have talent whereas those who mix and-or remix do not as all most are doing is making "Big Noise" and only using samples (samples can also be original and original sounds must be converted into samples or stems to be used in the music creation programs) . Another thing that was mentioned was that today's music seems to be missing "intro-verse-bridge-chorus-solos. I agree with this statement to a certain extent, but I don't feel it should reference all who work in the specified fields. You can't always judge a book by its cover. Not all producers are the same nor should they be categorized as such.
Music being played for the purpose of a live audience and music created for background, TV, movies, video games are, IMO, difference things. Each has their place and sometimes they can be used together. Listen to this original mix written and produced by my sons for a football anthem (click on The Maniac Agenda logo on the web page). It has all of the elements a live band would have even though it has a different sound. This won a one-time third-place publishing deal with two prominent music groups who have now joined forces and I, personally, do not consider it big noise. It may not be the type of music you like, but if you can overlook that and really listen to it, you can tell there was skill involved in creating this original mix. All of the elements are original in this work - music, vocalists, verse and chorus writing, bridges, hooks, etc.)
In the next part of this article, I'm going to do a comparison on the differences that I see of a live band verses a mix or remix producer. Of course, there may be other areas that I might not mention because I do not work in the field so have no knowledge of it. Much of my knowledge comes from my experiences in learning musical instruments both clarinet and piano, talking to my sons, watching them create a mix or remix, and talking to band members through my work.
1.) Live Instruments -
---------- Instruments are costly and can be extremely costly depending on the brand you wish to buy. Fortunately, though, you can rent instruments if needed for an occasion if you don't have one.
---------- Amps, speakers, mikes, mixers-synths (if use)
---------- Lighting if used (In my experience many bands do not supply their own lighting. They rely on what lighting is available at the place they are performing.
---------- Sheet music, possibly music stands when first learning a song.
---------- Materials to clean instruments
---------- Cases to keep instruments in
2.) Mixer-Remixer (Producer) instruments - a producer usually has live instruments along with all of the other equipment that is necessary to create a mix or remix. They can be limited to just a computer and whatever is offered in the computer program, but normally a professional producer will have much of the necessary live instruments and-or equipment needed to fulfill a project.
---------- Equipment I mentioned above that my sons use
---------- Earphones (good ones so you can hear each individual part)
---------- Material to make a sound room to record live vocals.
---------- Computer(s), software, plugins (some you pay for, some are free, some you create)
---------- All of the equipment mentioned here plus the equipment as mentioned under live instruments except for sheet music & music stand if the mixers-remixers are also performing live shows.
IMO, the learning curve for the basics is about the same for a live instrument and a startup or average remixer. Both have to learn the parts of their instrument and how each part works and both have to practice, practice, practice. One plays music from sheet music or a music book, the other plays music from the plug-ins offered in the software, but has to put it together first.
I will give an edge to a person learning a live instrument through an instructor and that is they also learn music theory along with learning how to play the instrument. Many remixers do not bother to learn any music theory or aren't even aware of it. Also, I believe a live instrument player's skills on a live instrument are much better than a mix-or remix producer's live instrument skills.
Intermediate & Advanced
Once a live instrument player and a mixer-remixer have mastered the basic concepts of their instruments, this is when you really start to hear personality in the music. Personality for an instrument player usually involves one instrument and possibly some peripherals attached to the instrument. To add more personality to an instrument player, becoming a member of a band would also do it.
For the remixer it usually involves moving to the producer level where they are intertwining multiple levels of sounds, music, vocals, etc. and have learned how to manipulate all of the controls and capabilities of the particular software they use along with their live elements to create a completed work. They also need to learn to blend all samples (stems) into a song and to make the transitions as smooth as possible from one element to the next.
Another difference between a live band and a mix-remix producer is genre. In looking back through history, most live bands stick with one genre. I think this is changing to a certain extent now. A professional mix-remix artist more than likely works with multiple genres separately and at the same time. It is not easy to mix hiphop and other genres together in one piece of music and make it sound decent. The only stem not original for my sons in this next video were the basic vocals (my sons did enhance the vocals in the below track). All other elements are my sons work and was one of the first mix-remixes they created using multiple genres.
The difference I see after the learning process is this: Once band players know their music repertoire, they usually have to practice to keep at peak level. They may add their own stuff into it and if they are an excellent player can show off their skills. A mix or remix producer is always starting out fresh with new material whether it is theirs or someone else's and are creating a new version of the composition if it is a remix. If it is a mix, everything they come up with is new.
Look at it like this - a musical (composer) who writes music manually uses notes. They have a bunch of notes they need to put together to make a melody. This is the same thing a mixer does except notes are called samples or stems. If original samples, the mixer has recorded their playing a live instrument or a sound effect and brought it into their creation program and converted it to a sample. It can consist of one note, multiple notes, one measure, multiple measures. All these samples then have to be put together to make a completed, finished piece of music.
The next video below is an example of a metal genre mix-remix created by my sons which also includes hooks, riffs, intro, chorus, verses, etc. Everything except the female vocals are the original work of my sons. Even with that being the case, the female vocals were manipulated to fit their creation. I am also including a link to the original mix (uncensored) done by "The Crystal Method" of "Come Back Clean" again so you can compare and, hopefully, see the kind of work that is involved in a mix-remix creation. By the way, my sons did negotiate with "The Crystal Method" to retain their copyright on the music and male vocals. They did win in this contest, but not a first place win.
IMO, a band with live instruments has it all over a mix or remix artist when it comes to live performances. The sound is better overall for a concert setting and amps, etc. can bring out the instruments. Basically I consider successful, professional mix-remix artists to be some of the nerds of the music world and sometimes their appearance shows it (God, I wish my sons would get their act together and look more presentable when performing). They are so talented and have so much on the ball when it comes to their music, I wonder if they just forgot that they also need to please the crowd in a physical way. Who knows, maybe it's their way of rebelling against having to wear those parochial school uniforms for so many years. To each, its own as they say. The stuff parents have to just swallow their pride with and accept when it comes to their children.
I talked to my son, S.A.T., as to whether or not he obtains business from his website. To my surprise he said no. What he indicated was when he runs into a potential customer on the ground, he sends them to the Agenda's website so they can listen to some of their work. If they like what they hear, they contact them to do some production work; if they don't like it, there is no contact. He said music CD's, etc. don't sell anymore which is also why most of their music is available for free download as long as it is not hung up with copyright issues, which can be the case if the track is a remix even when the majority of the work may be original.
I also asked him why he markets on "TMA"'s Facebook page so much since he doesn't obtain business from the web. He stated it's a place to pick up new ideas and possibly find new vocalists and musicians that they might like to work with. They also like to help other people with their musical endeavors. He also says the more people that know about them, the better chance they might have to really make it big if the time comes that they are lucky enough to be picked up by a well-know label. Personally, I think their skill is in the production-educational field and not the performance end of it.
Why live bands don't do this, I'm not sure. Most of the time you don't get a sample of their work online. You find out what they sound like after you have booked them or request a promotional DVD prior to the booking so you can hear what they sound like.
To end this article, I have to say this. I feel there is a place for live bands and for mix-remix professionals. They are talented in different ways and the marketing used for each type is different. Mix-remix artists have been around for a long time, but in the form of those labels that picked up new musicians and you paid big bucks for those services or signed a binding contract for those services. Now that there is software available to everyone to perform those activities, mix-remix artists who want to reach the level of professional producer must have not only the musical and technical knowledge to create as the big labels do, but also the skills to market themselves so they can become known to the general population as well as any label who might want to utilize their services. Socializing on websites like Facebook and Twitter are excellent ways to do this for the mix-remix professionals.
This article "The Misconception of the Professional Mix-Remix Producer" was authored by ©PonGoad 2013. All Rights Reserved.
All videos included in this article belong to the respective authors and-or websites and PonGoad does not claim authorship of any of the videos or the content contained in the videos.
The following graphic artistry-designs** used in the above article were created and enhanced using Adobe Photoshop CS3, Microsoft Office 2007, and-or Windows Paint by ©LadyGs™ Decoratives & Graphics 2013. All Rights Reserved.
"1LGs_AGLnCR" ©PonGoad 2013. All Rights Reserved.
"1VLGsInBnWb" ©PonGoad 2013. All Rights Reserved. .
**Fonts used in the above graphics are courtesy of Windows 7 -"Kunstler Script" ©The Monotype Corporation, "Monotype Corsiva" ©URW, and "Arial Black" ©Monotype Typography, Inc.
"It For the Love of the Game" - The Maniac Agenda™ & Concord Music Group
"Come Back Clean" - The Crystal Method & The Maniac Agenda™. Video by raquelborn
"Halo 4 "The Awakening" - Various including Microsoft & Xbox
"Zambony" - K-OS & The Maniac Agenda™.
©PonGoad 2013. All Rights Reserved. (Article) ©LadyGs™ Decoratives & Graphics 2012. All Rights Reserved. (Graphics) ©The Maniac Agenda™ 2013. All Rights Reserved and Some Rights Reserved. (Mixes, Remixes)