Indablog // Guest Spot - Indaba Music
News, Sessions and oddities from the Indaba Community
Saturday June 13, 2009 at 10:00 AM
Guest writer Brian Casel is a freelance web designer, blogger, and musician. He runs the songwriting blog, Serve The Song. On his personal blog, Brian writes about web design, freelance business, and other topics. Follow Brian on Twitter @CasJam.
10 things My Home Recording Studio Can’t Live Without
These days the home recording studio has become the creative hub for aspiring songwriters and professional musicians alike. With the plummeting cost of computer-based recording gear, these project studio setups are more accessible than ever.
In a recent post at Serve The Song, I asked readers what they pack in their gig bag when they take their show on the road. The responses ranged from earplugs to hand-held video games! Anything to pass the time between sets I guess.
In this post, I will list my personal checklist for my home recording studio and then turn it over to you. These are items I have accumulated over the years and they’re things my creative song lab can’t live without.
My Must-Have Recording Gear:
- My Mac – This is obvious. If you’re running a home studio, chances are it’s a computer-based recording setup.
- Shure SM57 Microphone – It’s my go-to mic for many things. Great for laying down a quick vocal take, and the perfect choice for micing a guitar amp.
- Headphones – I use Bose headphones. Any decent pair should do the job. These are important since most of the time you don’t have isolation booths. You’re often recording and mixing the same room.
- Boom Mic Stands – Much better than strait mic stands. Boom stands are perfect for capturing the perfect microphone location, or working around a crowded room.
- Acoustic Foam – For mounting on the walls. This is important for controlling the weird sound reflections in your room. Home recording studios often reside in bedrooms, basements, or even closets! Acoustic foam is what you need.
- MBox / Pro Tools – Yup, I’m a Pro Tools guy. The MBox meets all of my needs for my home recording set up.
- A Comfortable Chair – Super important to use an ergonomically friendly chair when working long hours recording and mixing tracks.
- MIDI Keyboard – Utilizing the power of MIDI instruments introduces a world of options when producing killer tracks.
- Stack of Blank CDs – Sure, most music is transmitted online these days. But it’s always a good idea to burn mixes of your songs to CD to listen back on various stereo systems, pass around at shows, pop in your car stereo, etc.
- Good Coffee – It wakes me up for a full day of music work, and keeps me going all hours through the night!
- How About You?
Share your must-have gear list for your home recording studio using the comments section below.
Sunday March 15, 2009 at 12:42 AM
On today’s guest blog, the first in a series of blogs from the Indaba team at SXSW, David talks about user-generated content.
I’m easing into the panels here at SXSW, so this post may seem a bit marketing and businessy, but I thought you all might be interested in hearing some of my thoughts from panels and discussions we’re having before those thoughts are clarified, solidified, culled, prioritized, and applied.
I’ve been here just over 24 hours and I’m already struck by the lack of clarity in the market around the definition and application of social media in general, but user-generated content (UGC) in particular.
THE FALLACY OF PERVASIVE BROAD “SOCIAL MEDIA” AND “UGC” LABELS
I often overhear marketers and brands talking about how they are (or are becoming/integrating) social media into their offerings and it sometimes concerns me that we’re moving colloquially toward a bad spot where “social media” means anything that involves people.
The challenge is that defining it so broadly makes incorporating the concepts into programs extremely difficult, in part because there’s less distinction between posting a comment or testimonial and, say, collaborating on a film online using only video generated from the camera on your laptop. More than that, an overly broad and unspecific definition implies that anything a person posts to the web is social media and, by extension, that because people post the core editorial content on most sites, a website itself is inherently social.
I’m of the opinion that the market will eventually work out something it’s comfortable with and that it doesn’t need me to define social media at a high level. I will, however, note that I believe the line lies somewhere around [a] interactions primarily occurring between users vs. just between users and a site, [b] structure that encourages interactions between more than one user (so it has the potential to be a social setting vs. an intimate one-on-one discussion), and © is multidirectional (so interactions have more than one axis).
My bigger concern is the impact a broad definition has on how we look at and talk about UGC. The UGC panel I went to yesterday epitomized the problem: too often, organizations don’t (or won’t) differentiate between different types of UGC and the reasons people create it. If we don’t differentiate, we run a very real risk of not reflecting the creative process of the users and offering the right tools to facilitate the creativity that makes social interactions so enormously interesting.
After talking to several other organizations (for and non-profit alike) about their communities, I’ve begun to see two important points in working with UGC.
EXISTING VS. ORIGINAL CONTENT
The first important distinction for an organization to make is between discussions, activity, and content that focus primarily on using existing content and those that center on original content (or content that the person creates without incorporating media created by others).
Organizations that fail to do this will end up with either underlying brand issues, technology/usability issues, or process issues. A great example is YouTube, which falls prey to the first and second: it both has a lot of great original content that gets lost among the poor-quality repostings of people’s favorite TV shows and hasn’t addressed some of the key underlying audio issues (e.g,. mono audio) that would drive many more serious users to post more completed content.
THE DYNAMIC OF COMMUNITY INTERACTIONS
More and more, the way people interact in a UGC setting influences the type and format of media they contribute. At a high level, interactions fall into three broad categories:
Observation + aggregation. Basic interactions such as commenting and tagging media. Examples include any site that allows basic comments, feedback, or reviews: Netflix, Facebook’s photo tagging.
Distribution + dissemination. Interactions focused primarily on viral dissemination of content or content sharing and hosting. Examples include sites that encourage sharing insights or content organization: Flickr, Twitter
Creation. Advanced collaboration-focused interactions. Users not only post content they’ve created, but allow other users to engage during and around the creative process, whether that’s music or essays, design or film. The market will start paying more attention to these sites, in part because it’s where the content for other sites will increasingly come from.
I have some initial thoughts for how organizations can approach
social media – and UGC specifically, but I’ll save those for another
Tuesday February 24, 2009 at 08:00 AM
From Indaban Joe S.’s Blog
The Producers: Tony Visconti
Mega 70’s Producer Tony Visconti talks about his life and art
through an interview for his autobiography. He has produced Bowie, the
Moody Blues and Morrissey.
I love his comments about the record industry promoting a “samey” formula.
Wednesday February 18, 2009 at 08:00 AM
From Joe S.’s Blog
Chuck Mangione Band members die in plane crash
Two members of the Chuck Magione Band, saxaphonost Gerry Niewood and
guitarist Coleman Mellett, were killed when a Continental Airlines
commuter plane Flight 3407 crashed into a house Buffalo, NY Thursday
I meant to post this yesterday but IndabaMusic was “tuning up”.
This video shows them performing “Feels So Good”
RIP and Jam On, you are in good company.
Tuesday February 10, 2009 at 08:00 AM
From Indaban Joe S.’s Blog
Ok maybe not historic…but full of history! Just in time for Valentine’s day I’ve started a session based on the note a Union soldier wrote for his beloved during the US Civil War.
I was inspired to compose a dirge, with The Band’s and a New Orleans
style funeral march sound in mind, and lyrics tell a story that roughly
follows the Sullivan note. Stop by and check out the session. I could use some help with a refrain, vox and instruments.
Come on, Indaba. Pitch in!
Tuesday January 27, 2009 at 02:17 PM
From Indaban David B.’s Blog
Extend The Life Of Your Guitar Strings
Well here’s one for all the thrifty ladies and gentlemen out there! I’ve gone
through a lot of strings, as i’m sure almost every one of you has, and
i know every case is different-in my case, my strings were breaking by
the bridge a lot. So heres a pretty easy way to fix that. This doesnt
change the tone of your guitar/bass at all (well at least i havent
noticed) and it seems to be working fine for me so i thought i’d share
Heres a pic of what it should look like :DAnd heres one i did for my bass…used soft green bowling
- Loosen all your strings..If you havent changed ‘em in a a while it
might not hurt to go all the way and just change them-it’ll make this a
- Grab some felt and cut a piece small piece to fit over your bridge.
Anything with fabric (not TOO thick, socs would probably not work)
should be fine.
- Slide the felt in evenly making sure you cover the sharp parts completely.
- Tune it up and give her a go. Hope somebody gets some use out of this! For more tips head down to my Amateur Recording group.
tape-this stuff is the best to use IMO but its hard to get/find and
costs $10 a roll :/
- Loosen all your strings..If you havent changed ‘em in a a while it
Tuesday December 23, 2008 at 08:00 AM
From Mantis Evar’s Blog
I first met Russell Malone about 10 years ago when I was putting together a Benny Green record titled These Are Soulful Days.
This was a trio recording with Benny on the piano, Russell on guitar
and Christian McBride on bass. After the recording, I had seen Russell
perform live many times and he quickly entered my hot guitarist list.
Last night I had the pleasure of catching a Russell Malone set at the
Jazz Standard and I was surprised to see a few friends in his band.
Jonathan Blake was on drums and Indaba member Tassili Bond played bass. It turned out to be a fun night with good friends and
great music. Check out Russell when you get a chance. It will certainly
be worth your time.
Wednesday December 17, 2008 at 08:00 AM
From Indaban Jesse C.’s Blog
Looking for a
last-minute, inexpensive gift idea for the music lover in your life?
Cool! I have just the thing for you! After years and years of just
letting my concert photos pile up on my hard drive, I finally decided
to do something about it. I was going through my photos and realized
that I’d taken a crapload of photos of feet at the various shows I’ve
been to over the years, so I gathered the 12 best photos and turned
them into Shoegazing 2009, a calendar of shoes at shows.
Tuesday December 02, 2008 at 08:00 AM
From Indaban JALYN’s blog
How Fragile They Are
One of the biggest challenges of being a musician is dealing with criticism. I’ve always understood the value of “constructive” criticism, but in my experience it is rarely given out. Some artists love being critiqued and are energized by what people have to say about their work even if it is negative. They view it as an opportunity to be better artists, and I say God bless ‘em. I always felt it was more of a cheap shot to criticize an artists end result without having gone through the entire creative process with them. Yes, of course there are a million different directions any artist can take, but in the end, its not a democracy. Ive grown to expect and even understand when people express their opinions about my work, good or bad, and Ive learned to not let it effect me either way, because after all, it is my journey. Criticism from fellow musicians is the worst. I blame part of that on the competitiveness of the industry, and the fact that we are all trying to by heard. The rest is pure ego. We all can do it better than everyone else. That to me is the biggest reason why musicians want to collaborate, but rarely do. I’m no different. I love the idea of sharing, but most of the sessions that Ive been involved in slowly become one persons vision instead of a collective effort. Its a shame really. Musicians make a band. Even virtuosos surround themselves with support. The technology that we are blessed with today allows us to do everything on our own, we don’t need anyone. The remix competitions have been fun to be a part of, but the “competitiveness” has taken away from what I believe this site is all about. Be easy.
Got something you think should go here? Email me at Streeter [at] IndabaMusic.com
Tuesday October 28, 2008 at 09:00 AM
From the 3EB contest blog, some really nice words from the guys. It’s not often you get to hear rock stars call your work amazing, so let’s relish that moment, shall we?
Lordy, this was awesome. We have to say that through listening to these
we never found one that was bad. You, the community, wrangling this
music, making these mixes have inspired us. We are truly flattered and
we think you are legit. You sound like pros.
is absurd that we are picking a “winner” as if one of these was better
than all the others. We had a hard time with this. We loved all the
different beats and change ups.
Eduardo Reynoso Jr “Versatile”
humor at the top made us laugh for sure-as well as the way he mixed and
how loud he rocked the guitar volumes -solo’s and everything.
Distorting the vocal in the middle of the song was a great idea, too.”
really think he made a musical remix of the song and would love to jam
with him. I am not just saying that because he and his wife come out
and support my other band Year Long Disaster when we play in LA (and
even in Vegas when we supported the Foos). He made interesting changes
while still maintaining the essence of the song. Great use of effects
for musical reasons as opposed to just adding some stuff onto the track
because you can. I am really impressed with the production. It is just
"This could be a remix on a dance floor in any city right now. There is a sweet musical blend between Pink Floyd’s The Wall blended
with Depeche Mode. I am a fan of both of those bands-and the way you
brought the sounds in-was as good as any pro-I know of. You let your
creativity loose-while maintaining a semblance of the track-hard to
do-but well done! BRAVO!!!!"
juan jose a.
the vibe of this one—raising the tempo-going full force for the euro
dance floor. taking the vocals out was a bold move also—it made room
for variance in the sonic spectrum-and created a new song out of a
song-which is really a artistic way to go. You obviously understand
your keyboards and it shows-the sounds fit well together.”
convincing version of the song in a reggae style(ly). The production is
such that it is easy to imagine the song originally written and
produced in that style. I am not a huge fan of reggae other than some
Marley and the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, but nonetheless,
this a a very “pro sounding” remix. Well done."
sounds like Ric Ocasik produced it so I immediately think it is cool.
It just reminds me of the Cars for some reason. Maybe it is the bass or
the 1/8 note guitar. Nice root note changes. Very cool. I will try and
forgive you for not using any of my drums.”
Gabriel Ill Urian
“I dig his dance mix. The message of the song still comes across while serving the purpose of dance track. You got skillz.”
work has stood the test of time for me. I liked it originally. He
drastically changed the feeling of the song but still somehow makes it
Remember, Indaba, you can still join the 3EB remix contest for their track “Don’t Believe A Word,”: just make sure you do so by November 6th.
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