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11 posts tagged

Psy scene

Time traveller’s archive — 15

Cool stuff to read (and watch) on the weekend

Ableton explains the difference between electronic and acoustic sounds
  1. Get Started Making Music. Ableton launched this cool little website with some basic music production concepts. I like the interactive tools here, pretty fun and useful at the same time.
  2. Laurent Garnier DJ set at Boiler Room, Lyon. This isn’t a new video, but still such a pleasure to watch (and listen!) such a master behind the decks. These two are my favourite moments: 1:20:03 and 2:29:39.
  3. Futurephonic Live with Chris and Regan. A cool live Q&A with two very influential people in the Psytrance festivals scene. I highly suggest watching the full video, but just in case, I’ve made a quick summary and highlights.
  4. No Sleep: NYC Nightlife Flyers 1988 to 1999. A nice collection of party flyers from the previous century, I like that. Check also my Psytrance flyers 2005–2007.
  5. Horror Musical Instrument – The Apprehension Engine. This is genius and creepy. I would probably use some of these sounds in my production!

Introducing Psytrance Guide

A great place to discover Psychedelic music

Dear fellows, I’m pleased to introduce you the Psytrance Guide:

Backstory

If you are a millennial, you probably remember the Ishkur’s Guide to Electronic Music. How awesome it was! As a music lover and a person who like when things are organised nicely, I used to spend hours on that site.

I was always thinking, too bad that guide is abandoned, outdated, and hence no longer reflect the variety of genres we have today, in Psytrance in particular. But then I realised: I can do it myself. I can do a website that probably won’t be that cool and fancy like the Ishkur’s guide, but fun and informative enough especially for those who are new to Psytrance.

And in fact, I did.

What is this, exactly

PsytranceGuide.com is the ultimate, up-to-date guide to Psytrance music genres. It covers twenty sugenres and I’m planning to keep it relevant through the time. Each subgenre includes several audio previews that have been carefully selected, a typical BPM range, a little description, and lists of some noticeable artists and labels that worth checking out if you like some particular subgenre.

Keep in mind that most of those subgenres have no “official” names. Everything on that site is a subject of my personal vision and experience in the Psy scene. However, I did my best and researched a bunch of niche community websites to make sure that I’m not alone in that thinking, and I will keep continuing making it more accurate.

Who is this for

Basically, for everyone. If you are new to Psytrance or if you have a friend whom you’d like to introduce Psytrance to, it’s a great place to discover the whole variety of music spectrum that Psytrance have today. However, if you are an experienced trancer, I’m sure you’ll find a lot of fun too, just like I did when I was making that guide.

A special note to DJs. If you have a large Psytrance DJ collection, but everything from Astral Projection to Zen Mechanics tagged simply as “Psytrance”, use PsytranceGuide.com as a reference to update your ID3 tags properly. This is something I use for 12000-tracks collection and it works great.

Feedback

If you found a bug, or if would like to contribute in any way, or if you have some feedback or just want to say hello, don’t hesitate to drop me a line at mail@daniellesden.com.

Future plans

Here is the list of some upcoming changes I’m planning to make, based on your feedback. No specific dates, though. Once implemented, these changes will be moved to the version log above.

  • Split Hi-Tech and Psycore as two separate subgenres.
  • Probably, add Zenonsque (Psygressive, Dark Progressive) as a new subgenre. It’s currently mentioned in the Minimal Psy section.
  • Probably, split Night Full-on and Twilight ast wo separate subgenres. Gonna gather more feedback on that.
Aug 7   Psy scene   Psytrance Guide

Futurephonic live with Chris Williams and Regan Tacon

Video summary and highlights

A few weeks ago, Futurephonic hosted a live Facebook video featuring two awesome guests: Chris Williams (Iboga Records, Noisily Festival) and Regan Tacon (Nano Records, Origin Festival).

That was a very insightful talk on career strategies for emerging artists. You probably know my commitment to education and learning, so I wish more people “behind the scenes” could give a talk like that.

The audio quality of the video wasn’t that great though, sometimes made it really difficult to watch. I’ve decided to write down some key points so I could get back to them at any time, perhaps some of you will find it useful too.

There we go.

On changes in the industry

  1. The Internet is the biggest game changer for the music industry, for the better. The distribution is much easier now, you can get music anywhere in a matter of minutes and anyone can access to it.
  2. Psytrance scene has also changed in the last decade, it spread out to more places across the globe. New sub genres come in and out, it’s ever-changing process. Psytrance is a culture, so it will stay here for quite a while.
  3. In the pre-Internet days, the music industry was labels-driven, they have a control over everything. Despite such limitation, it was a higher threshold for quality of music that has been released. Social media now liberated records labels ability to put music out, but the question is whether the quality of music across the board has risen? From the artist’s perspective, entrepreneurs and marketers now have amazing platforms to be creative.
  4. We see now many artists experimenting with marketing, ads, formats of communication. We’re still learning, and there is no right or wrong way. This experimentation itself is what special about this time, it’s fantastic time to live from the artist’s perspective, basically.

It’s fantastic time to be an artist now.


On getting music out

  1. Perfectionists find it really difficult to let it go. They keep polishing, and polishing, and sometimes they polish it so much so they polish away the bits of what was good in the first place. Don’t sit on it for too long.
  2. Finishing tracks is a part of the producer’s talent.
  3. So many people doing the same thing, so much noise is out there. You have to come up with quality. Quality takes a lot longer, much longer than most people realise.
  4. Most tracks out there is nowhere good enough quality as it should be. Artists need to be realistic about what they send to labels. Patience comes along the way.

On getting noticed

  1. Spotify and YouTube channels are new platforms for discovering new artists.
  2. From the new artist’s perspective who’s trying to get noticed, it’s all about presentation. If you have a Facebook page, make sure you have a high-quality design, branding of your product. Even if you put a Facebook video with your branding behind it, it’s very important that this branding is good—if not better—as the music itself. It’s vital.
  3. The first impression matters even before anyone heard your music. It was the same even when the demos were on CDs — it’s like receiving a demo with a marker handwriting vs. CD with an artwork, well-written letter, logo. Same applies to SoundCloud now.
  4. Oldschool way of approaching by shaking people hand at the the backstage still works the best.

Branding is vital. First Impressions last.


On being signed on a label vs. go independent

  1. Labels work as a filter, taking care of the releases, artwork, promotion etc, allowing artists to focus more on music.
  2. Ultimately, all successful artists need a support, and labels are a massive help in that.

On albums and singles

  1. Releasing singles is a great things—it gives a stable flow of music from artists to fans, no need to wait a year or two.
  2. Each single is typically supposed to be a yet another dancefloor-killer which creates a lack of experiments, the cool B-sides. Back in the days, sometimes those B-sides become hits.
  3. Albums give more freedom on that matter, you can have dancefloor-killers whilst also including a couple of out-of-the-box tracks.
  4. Albums certainly add some extra weights, an extra level of value for the artists who are capable of creating those albums.

On commitment

  1. Artists need to be committed to working hard. I don’t think people realise how hard some of those artists work. The guys who work the hardest are the one who gets the gigs, gets the money etc. because they push it all the time.
  2. It’s a lifestyle, you have to be ready for this. And music is just one part of it, with social medias it’s 50–50 these days.

I don’t think people realise how hard it is.


On festivals bookings

  1. There are always some acts promoters keep in mind for the next-year festival lineup.
  2. Once headliners are booked, promoters go over recommendations first and only then to submissions. Don’t send a festival submission in three days prior to the festival, it’s won’t work that way.
  3. There are definitely some promoters who check and evaluate how many “likes” an artist has in order to make a booking decision.

On marketing

  1. If you want to pay to promote your page, do it the right way using legit Facebook mechanisms, not via external “likes’ farms.
  2. Always keep in mind country demographics when starting an ad campaign. For example, for sales-driven campaign always include countries like USA, Australia, Japan, Germany, Sweden, Denmark. However, for a streaming campaign, it’s worth also including Brazil, Mexico, and other countries that don’t usually purchase music, but stream a lot.
  3. Men typically buy more than women, so don’t split demographic targeting 50–50, push it more towards men.
  4. Upload Facebook videos.

We spend a fortune on Facebook marketing, to be honest.


On streaming and sales

  1. Streaming isn’t brining any money, let’s be real about it. It’s interaction with people, this is how people connect with the music.
  2. Anyone who really buying music is DJs. You not gonna get money selling music as a Psytrance artist, although it’s true for other genres as well. There is just not enough people buying music across the world.
  3. Beatport gives 60–70% of sales, another major amount is iTunes, and all the rest stores altogether are basically nothing. That’s how it is.
  4. Linkfire.com is a good way of putting all the streaming and stores links at once and then get statistics of clicks.

On investment

  1. A well-thought advertisement campaign could be a solid investment, eventually giving more gigs in return.
  2. Rather than relying on a photographer that can or cannot shoot while you are playing, you can hire one to be sure you’ll get high-quality photos.
  3. Some artists spend their entire fee hiring photo- and video artists to make a proper aftervideo from the event. Do it at least once in six months.

Invest in your branding.


Jul 31   Career   Marketing   Music industry   Psy scene

Psytrance flyers 2005—2007

I was cleaning up some old folders on my disk drive and suddenly discovered a quite nice archive of Psytrance flyers from the parties that took place in Moscow city in 2005—2007. Unfortunately, most flyers are lost so these are the only left. And yes, I was partying hard!

I thought it would be fun to looking at these pictures now, a decade later, especially for that generation of ravers who already have kids: “Look, son, that is where your old man used to rave!”. I think Moscow trancers (and some graphic designers, just for lolz) will appreciate these pictures.

Cosmo Horror Party by Insomnia Records (16.12.2005), New Year by Top Secret (31.12.2005), Mad Christmas Gift by Nervoza Planet and Freak Out Pro (07.01.2006)
The History Of Trance IV (November—December 2005), Psykovsky Debut by Vertigo and GlookAround (10.12.2005), Psyvergi Winter Jam by NoiseMakers (08.12.2005), Sunrise Trip by Psypunks Community and Nails Promotion (10.12.2005), Troll Scientists vs. Putskari in Moscow by Butterfly Effect Group (10.12.2005)
New Concept Party by Katapulta Promotion (21.01.2006), Vibe Tribe in Moscow by Tie-Vote Team (28.01.2006), Ostravaganza Birthday Party by Delight Lab (03.02.2006)
Returning in Movement by Refreshing Direction (17.02.2006), X-Dream in Moscow by Psy Detection Group (15.04.2006), Underworld by Nervoza Planet (10.02.2006)
Enlightenment by Delight Lab (03.03.2006), Mimoza by Positive Makers (07.03.2006), Psycoholic in Moscow by Hypnotic Reaction and Restarting Family (29.04.2006)
Nagual Voyage by Indigo Project (17.06.2006), Devil’s Mind Label Night by Sonic Chakras (15.04.2006), To Be Continued by Delight Lab (28.04.2006)
Hello Summer Open Air by Synthetic Dreams and Tie-Vote Team (20.05.2006), Magic Forest by Vastral Katapulta (19.05.2006), Nagual Voyage by Indigo Project (19.05.2006)
Brain Irradiation by Stebators Team and Novaya Psychedelica (17.06.06), Juno Reactor in Moscow by Coma Sound System (08.07.2006), Private Open Air by Night Spirits (24.06.06)
Dynamic Sensation Vol.2 by Night Spirits (15.07.2006); Many-Kaha-Hoo By Sonic Chaktars, Stebators Team, IDM Group, and Shining Lotus (15.07.2006); Psychedelic Trance Open Air by Sun Flower Promo (15.07.2006); Adieu Summer 2 by Tie-Vote Team (26.08.2006)
A series of events by Syntex Lab (June—July 2006)
Comics by Technical Freaks and Nervoza Planet (02.09.2006), Welsh Birthday by Real Stuff Pro (29.09.2006), Psyko Birthday by Syntex Lab (03.11.2006)
Halloween by Coma Sound System (04.11.2006), Gravity Plus Label Party by KPM Club and Electronic Trousers (11.11.2006), Demos & YoYo Birthday by Artfreaktion Records (18.11.2006)
Pajamas Party by Roxbury Club (18.11.2006), Voobrazjenie by Promo Style Group (01.12.2006), ReStart The New Year by Fun People Trance Promo & FullOut Group (29.12.2006)
World Spirit by Sound Spices & Yet Sound System (16.12.2006), First Spring Trip Air by Tutti Fruiti Lab & SubStance Sky Promo (29.04.2006), Private Rave by Psy Matter’s (unknown date), Predpodgotovka by hVP & Phantom (07.04.2006)
Cyber Queen by Sound Spices & Yet Sound System (07.03.2007), Alone in the Dark by Stebators Team (11.11.2005), Dark Factory by Nervoza Planet & Biocom Pro (26.11.2005)
Halloween by Psydivision Promotion (29.10.2005), Beautiful Dead by Nervoza Planet (31.03.2007), Global Cooling by Insomnia Records (16.12.2006)
Intonation in Provocation by Syntex Lab (17.02.2007), Just a Toy (25.11.2005), Red Planet series by Artfreaktion (2006?)
Spring Connection by FTPG & Sostoyanie Project (23.03.2007), Nastroenie by Free Sound Lab & Multivision (02.01.2007), DJ P.A.N. Birthday by Zodiak Sound (10.03.2007)
The Time is Flying by Psy Detection (11.11.2005), Spiritspiraliom by Tie-Vote Team & Re-Aliens Promo (04.11.2005)
Utopia in Moscow by KPM Club Promo (24.02.2007); Wallace Gromit Wrong Trousers by KPM Club Promo, Electronic Trousers, Noise Detection (13.01.2007), pre:Vlublennost by Syntex Lab (09.02.2007)
2017   Design   Fun   Psy scene   Russia

Bad stage name?

I had an interesting conversation today, I’ve been told that my stage name “Daniel Lesden” is associated with Trance or Techno music but not with Psytrance, and this is why I presumably don’t get enough attention from the Psychedelic community (despite the fact my album is currently #1 at Psytrance CDs charts).

What do you think about it guys? Is this really the case? It seems that for Psytrance producers it’s become a habit to use superheroes or famous characters’ names, but I don’t get what’s wrong in having a real name as a part of the alias? After all, aren’t musicians supposed to be judged by... well, you know, music?

2017   Music industry   Psy scene   Question

Time traveller’s archive — 9

Some stuff to read (and watch) on the weekend

Patrick Chen sharing insights about Psytrance scene
  1. Behind the Scenes: FM Booking. Some interesting insights from Patrick Chen: “In Psy scene, per an artist, DJ, or producer, the average price rate is about €2000 per gig. Nevertheless, prices can oscillate hugely. [...] price range can be from €500 up to €10 000 or €12 000, it all depends on the artist popularity. The most popular countries in Psy scene at this moment are Switzerland, France, Australia, Germany, Portugal, Israel. [...] There is something very important that an artist should have always: unique style”.
  2. D-Nox interview for Psymedia: “I run my labels to have a platform for my music or for my friend’s music. I don’t see it as a big business much more but rather as a space for the people I like.” Yet another confirmation of The truth about music sales I’ve written earlier.
  3. The Illusion of Truth, a nice talk from Veritasium about human psychology. I like this one: “The things we’re exposed to repeatedly feel more true”. It explains a lot of public figures.
  4. Will Music + DJ Gear Manufacturers Adopt USB-C?. It seems I will have to replace my old MacBook Pro for a newer model in the near future, so really hope to see a wider adoption of USB-C port among gear manufacturers.
2016   Music industry   Psy scene   Science   Time traveller's archive

Psytrance and a vegan pasta bolognese

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

cover black

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

What record labels do

From the first-hand experience

covers white

Hi Daniel, since you work as an A&R I hope you can answer my questions. Some time ago I signed my debut release on a label, it’s a good and credible label so I’m absolutely happy with this. However, when my release is out, I have seen no promotion or much activity from the label. I put all my efforts for creating a quality product and expected a solid campaign to help me reach out success and get bookings, so I’m wondering why it’s not happened? Maybe I just have wrong expectations? What record labels actually do?

Brandon Perry

You asked very good questions Brandon as I see misunderstanding among many producers about how labels work and what they actually do. It is mistaken to think that a record label should do everything: marketing, bookings, management — these all are distinctive aspects of the music business, usually done by different people or companies.

To answer your questions on a deeper level and give a first-hand experience, I asked an expert’s opinion of Nishan Sankhe, Digital Om Productions partner and co-label manager. From there Nishan tells:


Nishan Sankhe, label partner and co-manager.

Digital Om Production is one of the leading Psytrance record label based in India and Nepal
www.digitalomproductions.in

Well, just to begin with, I would say that it is every label’s frontmost duty to put out the best possible promotion using their entire experience and network for each and every release they do by bringing the maximum exposure to the music being released. Now coming to the question of the label you released your debut title with not doing enough as per your expectation to promote the release. The answer to this is very straightforward: discuss things in details with a label in the first place, while you are still in talk and negotiations about starting to release with a particular label as a roster artist or maybe guest artist. It’s very important that you being an artist first try and evaluate your own expectations and then make a note of things you are really expecting from a label to do for you, and also understand what that particular label is actually willing to do and offer in terms of assistance and support.

Each release goes through some basic work process as mentioned below :

  • Pre-release period: mixing and mastering, creative development, pre-promotion and marketing, distribution, sub-licensing;
  • Post-release period. This majorly involves marketing and promotion of the release from a few weeks to months after the release is out. In some cases also bookings for the artist if it’s already part of the pre-negotiated deal. And finally collection of proper sales royalties from all channel partners, distribution, and reimbursing the artist back with his share as per the deal of the previously signed contract.

Now coming to the main question, ‘What Record Labels Actually Do’.

The answer is very subjective depending on what record label you are working with and is already somewhat answered in the explanation above, but to emphasize further I’d say that it is not a record label’s job to find bookings for the artist. The music industry in many sense is now so organized, that there are specialized booking agencies who pick and source upcoming talents. These agencies frontmost duty is to bring maximum exposure to the artist as a whole, start to manage his existing bookings and along the line bring him more bookings via the booking agencies ever growing network.

Also, I remember I have read in one of the previous advice here, there was a question about artist managers where Daniel wrote what actually artist manager does and what are the pros & cons of hiring one. So, in simple words, it is a job of such artist managers and booking agencies to work towards bringing more bookings for the artist, not a record label. 

Artist manager: who is that person, and three question to think about

To emphasize more on a record label job, I would say that it is label’s Job to constantly keep updating themselves with various promotion platforms, new social media trends, think of more innovative ideas to promote their releases, always look for best distribution channels and renegotiate the deals when needed. It is very important that label stays in touch and sync with the roster artist keeping them updated on new development and plans, same as collects genuine feedbacks from fans and other artists, as well as DJs in their network about each and every release and pass them back to their releasing artist. Labels also need to start building connections between artist to bring out some possible remix and collaborations opportunities. So, these are the most important and mandatory things that any record label should be doing for their artist’s roster.

Very interesting thing is that some record labels who have been around for a while and have already managed to establish themselves strongly in the Industry either by consistently releasing quality music for years or sourcing out producers with unique sound which resulted in building them as pioneers of certain style or sub-genre within a genre of music over time. As the result, gained massive fans and cult following globally are now also managing bookings for their artist by themselves or partnering with some independent global / regional booking agencies. We somehow feel this should be each and every label’s ultimate goal to not just build a very organized distribution and promotion network for their artists, but also lay a very strong platform for achieving global bookings.

All the above things are possible only with a very fair open hand in hand working relation between the artist and label. There is no compromise at all when it comes to putting in more than 100% and keep doing always better than what your last effort was.

Special thanks to Nishan Sankhe for his time and expert’s opinion. On cover image — complex mechanisms of the music business, it works properly only when all pieces are combined together.

2016   Advice   Music industry   Psy scene

Why Israeli pick such stage names?

I love Israeli trance scene since early Goa trance in the 90s to Psy-Prog of nowadays. This small country contributed to the PsyTrance more than any other. But I can’t understand only one thing: why do they choose such stage names?

I’m talking about popular characters or common things like: Coming Soon, Captain Hook, Rocky, DaVinci Code, Ace Ventura, Born Sleepy, Easy Riders, Roger Rabbit, Fire Starter, Freedom Fighters, Ghost Rider, Royal Flush... and there are more I guess.

Lineup of the biggest events

Why? What the point of naming yourself by the name of worldwide-known characters? Can someone explain me, please?

2015   Psy scene   Question   WTF

Who is still making Progressive Psy parties in Moscow?

Since I moved to Israel I lost the connection with the Moscow Psy scene, but I’m curious to know: are there any promoters who still making Progressive Psy parties in Moscow? Who are those brave guys? Is anybody bringing to Moscow artists like E-Clip, Sideform, Egorythmia, Protonica, Lyctum, Zyce, Mindwave, and the list goes on?

As far as I can see by the flyers, Moscow promoters make only Full-on parties with the same headlines for a second decade in a row. Am I wrong?

Update

We’ve got a little discussions on my page in Vkontakte, I’ll put a link here, just in case.

2015   Psy scene   Question   Russia
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