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Facebook is my main news hub where I share upcoming releases, gigs, photos, videos, and blogs. Typically, I post 3–5 times a week.

Telegram and Twitter duplicate what I post on Facebook, with occasional extra content.

On Vkontakte, I write in the Russian language for my fans out of from Russia and CIS.

I also upload vlogs and gigs videos on YouTube and share travel photos, selfies, and studio routine on Instagram.

Daniel Lesden Blog

Music, technologies, and human experience from a Russian music producer and A&R manager based in Israel.
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Track of the week: Salva Divinorum

E-Clip is no doubt one of my favourite artist and a big inspiration to me, his production always innovative. We’ll certainly see more of him later in this blog, but now I’ll post one of his first releases that became iconic.

Love this game of build-ups and drops here, that moment at 4:51 and another one 8 bars later especially.

Artist E-Clip
Title Salva Divinorum (Original Mix)
Release Press Hold
Label Iono Music
Year 2011
BPM 138
Key Fm

Pros and cons of my career decisions

Vlog 003

I’ve got great comments to my previous vlog, in particularly, Elimelec Domínguez asked the following:

“If you had to start again in your career, what would you focus on? What skills and areas are vital to the success that you already have? What things would you completely rule out?”

Wow, I love it. I recorded a new vlog episode to answer these questions, I hope other upcoming producers will find it useful too. So there you go, pros and cons of my career decisions:

Thanks to Digital Om Productions for the nice t-shirt :-)

Sep 22   Behind the scenes   Career   Vlog

The Guest Mix @ Trance Psyberia

It’s been a while since I was doing guest mixes, so here’s a fresh one I’ve made for Trance Psyberia, lovely fellows and Psytrance enthusiasts based in LA. Full tracklistings available on the website.

There are a couple of cool tricks with extra loops and effects, for example at 13:30. Quite intense and fast-paced mix, overall, I find it satisfying. Hope you’ll do, too.

Sep 19   Mixes

Track of the week: Sharks & Laser Beams (Manmachine Remix)

You probably know by now that I’m a big fan of Manmachine. This track has been a secret weapon in my DJ sets for quite some time and I don’t think I’ll remove it from my crate anytime soon. Such a banger, loving it.

Artist Manmachine
Title Sharks & Laser Beams (Manmachine Remix)
Release Sharks & Laser Beams Remixes
Label Digital Om Productions
Year 2015
BPM 140
Key Fm

Managing a record label duties with Trello

An insight look at an A&R routine

When I joined the JOOF Recordings team as an A&R assistant in 2015, things were done using the typical tool that everyone uses — email. Each release goes through various steps, such as getting the mastering done, getting the artwork done, arranging remixes, making sure everyone got what they need etc. So as a big label that typically has a few dozens of upcoming releases in the pipeline, we had a bunch of emails sent back and forth. The problem was obvious: it was difficult to get an overview of the pipeline and hard to track individual status of each release.

Eventually, I came up to using Trello as a mission control centre for our releases, and in this blog I’d like to tell more about it. Perhaps, my experience will be helpful for other label managers out there, and for regular listeners, it might be just an interesting insight look at an A&R routine.

What is Trello

If you never heard about Trello and don’t know anything about it, I suggest watching the Getting Started With Trello or read the Beginner Tips for Using Trello first to get an idea of what this service is all about.

Basically, Trello is a free web-service for organising stuff. One of its common application is using it as a Kanban board, with cards moving across that represents a task in a production process. Like this:

Drag-n-dropping a card in Trello feels very intuitive and works really well

This concept allows you to get a big picture and see each individual task simultaneously in a nice visual way, something that a typical to-do list fails to achieve. It is commonly used for software and web development, marketing, customer support, and other teams and businesses.

The workflow

Our board has lists that represent the workflow and cards that represent releases. Here are the lists:

Forthcoming For releases that we’re expecting in the foreseen future, usually from the label’s artists. E.g. “A follow-up EP from John”
New demos For incoming demos that we found something worthy and for the releases from the previous list once it’s done. Here we have our internal discussion whether this particular release fits or not
In Progress For approved releases from the previous list. A release in this list means we’re currently working on the mastering, the artwork, the remixes etc
Submitted For releases that are good to go and submitted to the distributor. Once a card is here, we just waiting for the release date
Released For released titles that are out in stores, our back catalogue. It means our job is done here
Rejected For tracks that don’t fit JOOF for any reason. Rejected demos go straight here from the second list above
Profiles For cards that include our artist information: name, contacts, address, pictures etc. We use it a shared contacts book and for the contracts

Feel free to use these lists as a template for your label board too.

Here is the overview of our JOOF board just to show you how these lists look like visually (all text labels are pixelated on purpose, for obvious reasons):

Trello board with JOOF pipeline

Even through the pixelated filter you probably see some colour strips on the screenshot above — that’s the labels, a sort of a tags system built in Trello (I will call it tags to avoid confusion with the word “label” in this context). You see, recently JOOF Recordings launched two more labels under its wings, JOOF Mantra and JOOF Aura, so formally speaking we’re managing three labels at once at this Trello board. And this is where those tags come really handy.

Here are the colours of the tags we use corresponding to each:

  JOOF Recordings
  JOOF Mantra
  JOOF Aura

Such colour code helps dramatically as I can instantly tell what’s status in each of our label just by looking at the board. And of course, I can also filter these tags or just search when I need to find something specific.

Card details

You probably noticed some square icons on the screenshot above, they are visible even through the pixelated filter. Let me show you a zoom-in screenshot of a card:

Trello card

See my user icon at the bottom right corner? Since here at JOOF we have several people receiving demos, we assign a person who managing that particular release to avoid miscommunication. A kind of “account manager” in sales and customers relationship.

For example, if I see an icon of my fellow colleague Gary, I know that he’s taking all communication with that artist regarding this particular release.

If you open up a card, it shows all the juicy details such as attached files, lists, due date, and the chat our team have about this release. Here’s how it looks like:

Trello card detailed view

Well, that’s pretty much it. Trello is a great tool for collaboration and management, but its application can go far beyond this. Personally, I also use it for tracking my radio show, vlogs schedule, gigs database, and so much more.

Feel free to ask if you have any question, I’ll keep the comments box below open.

Read also: Managing social media with Amplifr

Track of the week: Tempest (Union Jack Remix)

To me, there is no any other Trance producer and label that influenced me that much in the 90’s as Simon Berry and his Platipus Records. Both of his projects, Union Jack and Art Of Trance, are the definition of a proper oldschool Trance music to me.

I’ll certainly post more from Platipus later in this series, but for now let’s take a listen to this fact-paced Acid Trance classic.

Artist Salamander
Title Tempest (Union Jack Remix)
Label Platipus Records
Year 1995
BPM 146
Key Cm

Just make a new track!

I haven’t released any new track since my second album is out and I feel shame for that.

Partly because I felt emotionally drained after working on the album for the entire year, partly because of some very unpleasant events happened to me earlier this year (which I won’t talk about here), and partly because I was too busy and overwhelmed with my job and other projects.

With all of that, I seem to forget about the most important thing to-do as a music producer — to actually make music. I’m still trying to find a balance in career and life. Sometimes it works, sometimes... well, not really. Yes, I’m not perfect.

So, I write this for two reasons.

First, I want to make a public promise: you’ll hear more music from me and I won’t let such a big gap between releases happen again.

And second, I want this to be a reminder for myself: stop infinitely tweak sounds, stop starting new projects whilst have some unfinished ones, stop spreading your time and energy on something that isn’t so important.

Or let me simplify it to this shorter sentence:

Get your shit together and just make a new track!

Sep 7   I am

Rave Podcast September 2017

Special guest of the month: Mechanimal

Rave Podcast September edition is up online on the main website, SoundCloud, and iTunes.

The first hour of the show features one of my previously recorded DJ sets, and for the second hour we have a privilege to enjoy producer’s guest mix from one of my favourite UK Psy artists, Mechanimal.

Sep 6   Rave Podcast

Why music alone is not enough

Vlog episode 002

It seems my vlog pilot episode was accepted quite nicely, so I’ve made a new episode for you.

“Is having just music enough to make a career as an artist? Why producers need an audience? Is it artist’s duty to do marketing?” — in this vlog, I’ll try to answer these questions and give four tips based on my experience, along with taking you on my trip to Greece.

Read also:
Managing social media with Amplifr
A website vs. Facebook for musicians

Sep 3   Greece   Marketing   Social media   Vlog

Track of the week: Diablo

What a nice track here, love the slow build-up and that roaring sub-bass at 3:37. And those vox bits in the breakdown really adds some spicy. This is exactly the type of music I like to have on my running playlist.

It’s funny how Junodownload tagged it as “Minimal/Tech House” whilst to me it’s a proper Progressive House, perhaps even on the edge of Trance.

Artist Paul Thomas & Dylhen
Title Diablo
Label UltraViolet Music
Year 2017
BPM 122
Key Em
Earlier Ctrl + ↓