Follow me on social media

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.

26 posts tagged

I am

Personal opinion, strong principles, and more odd things about myself.

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Telegram me

You probably know what I think of instant messengers: I hate Facebook chat, WhatsApp, Viber, Skype, and all that crap. But oddly enough, I find myself enjoying using Telegram, even for business. 

Instant messengers vs. email for business communication

Telegram is fast, reliable, and has a great desktop and mobile apps. No ads, no Facebook-style-hiding-messages, no distraction. Plus public channels, flexible notifications, quick file transfers, instant cloud sync, and more. It is the best messaging tool.

If you’re using some messaging app, I recommend switching to Telegram. You can find me there as @dsokolovskiy, feel free to get in touch.

Update

I’ve also created a public channel to share my music updates, news, and blogs. If you prefer to read Telegram channels instead of Facebook and other media, welcome here: @daniellesden.

2016   I am   Telegram

Don’t do shit

What principles do you use in your work?

Daniel 

In pretty much everything I do, I’m trying to use a principle that sounds very simple: don’t do shit.

Don’t do shit
Less is more
Vinyl vs. sync button

The definition of “shit” is very subjective, but basically, it means having a sort of inner quality control system that doesn’t allow you make a half-assed product.

I often heard a popular argument in the conversations like this, people say: “why should I do more if the outcome is the same?”. Indeed, why? Well, to me the answer is clear: because I can.

Never agree on “okay” result because this way you won’t get anything new out of it, you won’t learn. Pushing yourself to the limits is the only way to grow.

You’ve made a track but it doesn’t quite feel good to you? Well, it’s good you have that feeling because you are probably right. Now go ahead and tweak it, or make a new one from scratch, until you sure this is the best you can do. Because you can.

Same goes with design, copywriting, development, management, even the way you compose an email or help your spouse with the housekeeping. This principle applies to every aspect, both in career and personal life.

2016   Advice   I am   Personal development

Psytrance and a vegan pasta bolognese

Thoughts about some music we hear under the ‘Psytrance’ tag today

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In the last few months we’ve seen pretty strange tracks occupying the top spots at Beatport’s Top-100 Psytrance chart: some Big room House, Pop EDM Vocals, Uplifting, Hardstyle — well, pretty much everything but Psytrance!

And it makes me think about how I should react on this, because frankly, I’m not quite sure. I have two different views on this.

“It doesn’t feel right”

One part of me hates when things aren’t in place or named in a wrong way.

For example, I love pasta bolognese and I don’t have anything against vegans, but I get absolutely mad when I see yet another recipe of a “vegan pasta bolognese”. What the hell is this? Meat is the essential part of this classic meat-based sauce recipe, if you took it out it won’t be a pasta bolognese anymore. That vegan version can be same delicious or even better, but please just don’t call it a bolognese then!

So when I hear the tracks like this under the ‘Psytrance’ tag, it makes me feel the same as I would see a vegan pasta bolognese:

It seems they think that having that “kick-bass” pattern is what makes it Psytrance, but it doesn’t. When I see this one spotting at #1 Psytrance chart, it just doesn’t feel right to me from the listener’s perspective.

“Music evolves whether we like it or not”

Nevertheless, some other part of me tells me this: if you ask anyone who pioneered Psytrance back in the early 90s starting in the form of Goa Trance, they will probably tell that all modern Psytrance aka “Psy-Prog” is shit. Maybe for them modern Psytrance is not “Psytrance” anymore, same as now we see those “Psy or Die” songs and thinking it’s not a Psytrance too?

Future Ducks of London – Why Psytrance has Become Shit

While we trying to use the same tags and genres to describe music, music evolves and going far beyond the original words that used to describe it. It already happened with House, Techno, and Trance music, now it’s Psytrance’s turn.

Maybe all those genres and tags just don’t work anymore, so a better solution would be simply ignoring it?

Funny enough, when I think of my own music I can’t fit into Psytrance genre alone too. Enuma Elish has almost Uplifting-like breakdown which is not typical for Psytrance as we hear today; Surreal more belongs to classic Trance or even Techno. In fact, I never sit in the borders of a single genre.

Getting out of comfort zone

Bottom line

Let’s ignore all those labels, charts, tags that Beatport and some other industry companies trying to put on music. Love the artists and tracks, not genres. Love the music, not a tag on it.

2016   I am   Music industry   Psy scene

“Still fresh!”

Or why you shouldn’t treat music as a consumable

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I see many producers post their tracks saying “Still fresh!” or “Grab your copy while it’s hot!”. I know exactly what they mean, but still, it sounds kinda creepy to me and I want to explain why.

As an A&R, I often see producers that want to release their music ASAP, otherwise, it becomes “old”. Although I totally share excitement about each and every release and looking forward to it being released, I’d like to clarify one thing.

Producers, if you submit a demo expecting it being released within a month “because oh no it’s getting old”, then you either have a lack of understanding how a record label works, either have a wrong marketing strategy. Or both. Yes, planning ahead and creating a proper release strategy is something that you should do (or your manager, if you have one).

What record labels do. A story from the first-hand experience

As a result of such “release-more-and-asap” mindset, we accustom new generation of listeners to treat with music as a «consumable», something that you should use quickly while it’s fresh and then just move to trash bin.

Look at the discography of some greatest artists like John 00 Fleming, Astrix, Protoculture and Beat Bizarre just to name a few, they crafted their albums for years. And you know why? Because good music doesn’t have “expired date” and “best before” labels. Music made with love, skills, and passion sounds amazing even after a decade being released.

Sweet Fine Crystaline by Protoculture is one of my all-time favorite tracks. Released in 2006

Let’s respect music a bit more, it’s a form of art, not expendable material.

On cover image: what the hell pizza is doing there? Luckily, unlike of pizza, music is great even the day after tomorrow. And ten years later, too.

2016   I am   Music industry

Vinyl vs. sync button

What makes you a better DJ

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Over the past several years I’ve been a witness of numerous debates around the sacred topic: a “real” mixing on a vinyl versus “fake” mixing using sync button. And very recently a new ‘demotivator’ picture popped up in my newsfeed that instantly flew across all social media, so I thought I had to write this.

In all those internet battles people seems to forget one simple fact. Yes, beatmatching is the core principle of DJing and the very basics of mixing technique, but it alone doesn’t make you a good DJ. Whatever you beat matching in old fashioned way, or sync button does it for you, there are plenty of other factors that professional DJ should learn and care about: music selection, perfect knowing of his music library in general and each track individually, sense of taste, the ability to feel the crowd and guide them through the musical journey, the way how he interact with the people on the dancefloor, how he behave on the public, and the list goes on.

Once you master all of these, your choice of gear becomes absolutely irrelevant. And it works the opposite way too. Let’s say, If you mixing on a vinyl like a cool bro, but you have no idea how to feel the crowd, you sucks as a DJ. If you play using sync button with a ton of other modern tools around, but all do you is just staring at the laptop’s display, you sucks as a DJ, too. As simple as that.

The only reason I see people still play on a vinyl is nostalgic/romantic feelings of that particular person about “good old days”. And it’s totally fine, as long as you don’t put an equality sign between “vinyl” and “better”. It’s no better than any other way of mixing, it’s just different. Someone adore retro cars, someone prefers modern and more practical vehicles, but neither of them doesn’t make you a better driver.

Same with the writers: if someone prefers to write old fashioned way with a nib pen and inkwell, it doesn’t make him a better writer over those who type on a keyboard, just like I do at this very moment.

As for myself, since the childhood I was thinking about electronic music as a frontier of the future: science, technologies, intergalactic travel, you know, all that stuff. So it was natural to me to evolve my setup along the way, trying out new things and new technologies. At the moment I’m fully satisfied with the current setup with Ableton Live and a MIDI-controller, but who knows, maybe someday I’ll step further to the new generation of Pioneer digital players, or something even newer.

Don’t get stuck in the past, but be open minded and courageous to move forward. The future is so exciting!

2015   DJing and performance   I am

Less is more

I use principle “less is more” and it works great in every aspect:

  • In music production: less plugins means in-depth knowledge of each device, less CPU usage, easier mixdown. And budget savings, too.
  • In radio show: less periodicity mean more diversity in tracks and guest mixes. This is the reason why I’ll never turn Rave Podcast into a weekly show.
  • In web development: less features means more attention and polishing for other important functions, as results — launch on time with no bugs.
  • In workouts: less exercises means more focus on each muscle group.
  • In food: eat less at once (but more often) to stay healthy.

Do less to get more.

2015   I am   Management

Joining the Digital Om Productions roster

After having two EPs signed on Digital Om Productions, I’m pleased and honoured to officially join the label’s roster.

Daniel has been a great supporter of the label and with his commitment and terrific skills in the studio and on the decks he is a welcome addition to our growing family of Live Acts and DJs.

2015   Digital Om Productions   I am

Why I ask to buy music

Weird things. Artists ask to buy their music while getting almost nothing from it in terms of income. At the same time, music is free all around: releases appear on ‘piracy’ websites literally in a few hours after out on stores. So looks like no one is happy with buying music as artists get no profit and listeners can download same tracks for free? Well, not really.

I keep getting asked over and over again when I’ll be playing in different parts of the globe: Mexico, Brazil, Portugal, Sweden, Spain, Russia, Serbia, Canada, USA — the list goes on. People do want to hear my sets, but current gigs list is not big yet. So how music sales can affect on the gigs?

Every time someone buys a track, it goes upper in the charts. And being in Top-100 chart has a practical meaning: top positions in gets more attention, from both listeners and professionals of the industry. So, perhaps, party promoters take a decision in artist bookings by looking at Top-100 chart too? I’m not saying that music sales affect gigs directly, but it does in some way for sure.

If you want to hear my sets in your town, in your favorite clubs or festivals, the best way to motivate promoters to book me is to show it’s worth it! So if you want, go get your copy of my latest EP here → http://bit.ly/ThruTheStarsEP

Taking this opportunity I want to thank everyone who already supported my release as it currently spotted on #17 in Top-100 chart. Thank you!

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2015   I am   Music industry
2015   A&R   I am

My first production experience. Part 1: flashback to 1999—2005

ModPlug Tracker, Re-Birth RB-338 and Reason

Formally speaking, I count the beginning of my music career from 2012 when my debut EP was officially released. But in fact, my awkward attempts at making some music started a long time before that — more than 15 years ago from now. And I would like to tell you about this experience.

It’s all begun when mom bought me a keyboard, Yamaha PSR-330 — that was the best thing I could ever dream about. It was 1999, I was twelve. Normal kids are playing football and do some other things which supposed to be fun, spending all day long outside. I wasn’t that type as I preferred to sit home at the computer all day long after the school (or instead of school, sometimes).

It was completely different times than nowadays almost with no internet, every piece of information was on the weight of gold. So I started to learn every software I could find on piracy CDs, and the first one was ModPlug Tracker.

Jeez, these days I’d not even open this:

ModPlug Tracker: my first music sequencer

Unfortunately (or luckily) none of my ModPlug Tracker projects saved till present days.

A year later I discovered a program Re-Birth RB-338 which I was very excited about — it reminded me a spaceship control panel:

My favorite Re-Birth plugins (“mods”): MSM 2.0, Classic, and Pitch Black

It’s very simple, the entire program is made of two sequencers (one for the bassline, one for lead) and two drum machines. Yet still, I’m pretty sure a lot of early Trance music has been made in Re-Birth, for example, one of my all-time favorites track Venus by DreamTech.

Mine weren’t that cool, tho. For the first time ever I’ve got what the Cut Off is, as well Resonance and Distortion. Here are one of my first tracks made in Re-Birth, I was 13:

Around 2003~2004 I had a “breakthrough” and found another piece of software which I used for about 4 next years — Reason by Propellerheads, same developers as Re-Birth.

Despite that Reason have so nice graphic user-interface showing analog-like connections, cables, and wires, I had no clue how does it works — everything I did was intuitive

I never intended to release any of that stuff, nor even thought about it. Music production was the goal itself, process for the process, not for the result. Of course those attempts sounds terribly bad, but after all, I had so much fun!

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