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Music Rule 3

After 1 & 2 came 3. Seems obvious in retrospect lol…

 

Rule Three: Whatever worked last time DONT do that again.
This one isn’t mine, I read it in an interview with Brian Eno. Another way to put it is this “Formula is the death of artistry.”
This is another one I had to learn from painful experience, and I see artists in every scene and every scale fuck it up. I think its such a huge problem because it is not instinctive, and it is therefore hard work – you have to catch yourself doing something that is natural to yourself, and then do the opposite. We all operate under the idea that if something works, keep doing it. This is true of almost everything, but not art.

I made this mistake with Remix Records, (and with Kniteforce Records as well, to a lesser degree). Remix Records succeeded quickly, and over the space of the first few releases established a formula. And it was a good one. Mixable intro. Breakbeats with a kick drum. Hip Hop vocal snippet. Drum rolls. Drop into stab pattern or piano or vocal line. Nothing too crazy, no sudden jarring changes in pitch or key or style. Always happy. It was never written down, there was no big plan, it was simply a matter of finding out what worked and doing it. And it did work. It worked extremely well.
Until it didn’t.
Because art requires an element of inspiration, it requires something which surprises the audience, something audacious or beautiful or powerful. Something that shocks them and makes them take notice. I don’t know what it is, no one does. But I know what it isn’t – it isn’t using the same kick drum in each release. It isn’t having the “good” bits in the right place. It isn’t making sure the release is easy to mix, or uses the latest VST. All of those things are great, and all or none of them can be part of a good release, but they are not the reason the release is good. And they are dangerous, because as soon as you rely on them, as soon as you think “this worked so well on the dancefloor last time, it will work again” you have lost some of the power. Want proof – who loved the follow up to Robert Mies – Children? Or the 2nd single from that Sandstorm bloke? Or the second Smart Es release? All three were derivatives from the “big” single, trying to repeat the same trick again. Of course some people loved them…but I know the sales figures for Sesames Treet versus Loo’s Control, and I bet you they are mirror images of the other two artists I mentioned. Simply put, its not gonna work. It might for a little while, if you are lucky…but sooner or later (usually sooner) everyone will have had enough of it and then thats that – your precious formula is dead.
And you see it in all music’s and all scales. I loved the first Mumford & Sons album. I thought it was amazing, really different. I think the second album was good too….but…it was more of the same. If their third album is more of the same again, I very much doubt I will be interested in their fourth album.
Its not fair of course. But fair is irrelevant. An artist works hard to get their “sound” and so they want to keep it. And some people manage just fine without ever changing their sound. But mostly, it doesn’t work. Huge artists – Radiohead for example – mature and change. OK Computer does not sound like Hail To The Thief. Kid A is not The Bends. But they are still distinctly Radiohead. How do they do that? Fuck knows. I doubt they even know. But you can be certain they didnt do it by sitting in the studio thinking “Hey, remember that great chord structure in “Creep”? Lets do that again, only change it around a little and make up new words” lol.

More importantly, apart from the “successful” question, there is the artists personal fulfilment to be considered. I dare say some artists are fine with retreading old ground all the time – I understand that. I like to just relax and make an old skool track every now and again. Its a pleasure to do, and requires no new ideas (plug plug) and no real effort as far as innovation goes. But I recognise it as the dead end it is if I try to just do that. Even if I made millions, it would still be an artistic dead end for me because without progress, you stand still, and if you stand still when the world keeps moving, you get left behind. I have done that too.

So yeah. Once you have got it exactly right, whatever it is you are creating, you have to then move on. Or quit making that form of art any more. If you truly think you have made the best piece of music you will ever make, there is no need to keep going – except for money I suppose (See rule two).

3

Music Rules 1 & 2

For no explicable reason, I decided to post on Facebook with a list of my music / business / life  rules. Here is a copy of that post, Rules 1 & 2….

 

Rule One: Trust everybody once. Assume you wont be ripped off. I know, I know, people will rip you off, it happens. But the thing is, experience has taught me the vast majority of people in this scene want to do it right. Take Djing. I have been stung maybe 10 times. In my entire career. So thats roughly once every two years. It could be argued that if I had been more careful, had a manager and contracts, those rip off’s wouldn’t happen. But I don’t agree – I have been ripped off under contracts because they are only a protection if you have the money and will to chase someone, which no one in the hardcore scene does, so lets not pretend otherwise. Bad people write contracts too. In the end, it is much nicer to assume the person you are working for will pay you, and accept that they might not, than to stress about the whole thing.
And if someone messes with you, never work with them again. Ever. No matter what. I am not talking about accidents – sometimes shit happens – I played at a party with permits that still got shut down for no reason at all except police wanted to. My first Bangface gig was after a bomb scare in London, and it meant many people did not show up. These things are no ones fault – being nice in this situation is the right thing to do.
No, I am talking about the promoter who just doesn’t pay you and thinks thats fine. It is. Let it go. but never play for him again. And tell EVERYONE.

Rule Two: Never let money be the sole motivator of anything creative.
Its okay to earn money from your art. I like nothing more than getting paid for my music. Having said that, I did not make the music only for money. But to pretend I did not also want to get paid would just be dishonest. Every artist wants to get paid – if not, why did you put the music into a place where it can be bought? Thats okay. The problem is when it shifts your artistic vision away from what you should be doing. An example – I was asked to do a mix for the now defunct Bonkers series. I was flattered and excited to do it, plus it paid pretty well as far as I knew. So initially I said yes. But when I thought about it, how would it work? I could not use my usual sample heavy tricks for the mix, the thing I am known for – they would all have to be legally cleared for that album, and one track from a Supaset would cost more to clear than the album was worth lol. So okay, I could make the set without the samples. but then, that would be a Luna-C mix that didn’t sound like Luna-C. The people who bought the album to hear me would be like “errr, what?” and the people that only found out about me on Bonkers would be a bit confused if they ever heard me play live after that. But thats okay, I told myself, I would get known by more people so sell more music and Dj more and NO! NO NO NO NO NO. Thats where you get tricked. It would have been a simple, small compromise. Some artists could have done it, and thats fine – I am not condemning them. These are my rules for me, remember? But I knew that it would have been the wrong thing to do for me. I had stopped thinking “What amazing mix can I make for this project” and started thinking “This would get me more work / attention” and at that point, it was all bollocks. So reluctantly, I had to turn it down. Only you can decide where that line is. It might allow you to be a hardcore artist that rights commercial pop songs too. It might mean you can only make 250bpm death gabber. It doesn’t matter as long as you keep your integrity, as defined by you. Oh, and that line can change by the way. Maybe even it should. In 1992 I was “hardcore is the only music, everything else sucks” in 2013 I released a folk album. 1992 Chris is not 2013 Chris, and he shouldn’t be. My artistic endeavours matured and changed and grew is all. As yours should.

0

First new Kniteforce is released….and other things happen too….

Hi Everyone,

 

I have been a bit quiet for a few weeks, but rest assured that I have been very busy with all sorts of Kniteforcey type stuff behind the scenes. Let me tell you about them. Grab a cup of tea or something, it might be a long one 🙂

 

As many of you will already know, I have just released the first new Kniteforce E.P. I had thought long and hard about how to do it. Kniteforce always had the physical product you see, and I really wish I could have released this first one on vinyl, but its just not possible financially.

I also thought it important that each new Kniteforce release had something like an Executive Edition, but I want to keep Kniteforce separate from KFA, as the labels are going to be doing two different things.

A separate issue I was pondering was how to remaster the entire Kniteforce back catalogue. There are too many releases to do it all at once, and many of the more obscure ones are simply not commercial enough to make their individual mastering worth doing. However, I know that many of you, like me, are completist. We want to have EVERYTHING lol.

What to do, what to do….

I usually find that if I just let ideas or problems roll about in my head for long enough, a solution presents itself. And after a few weeks, it did…so here is my brilliant plan:

 

Each of the new Kniteforce releases will be available on CD. Each CD will contain the new Kniteforce release, plus remasters of the back catalogue that will only be available on the CD. These remasters wont appear on the other MP3 stores, or on my store as individual MP3s. The only other way they might appear is as a “Complete Kniteforce Remastered” collection in the distant future.

Where possible, I will make it so that the remasters suit the new release. For example, here are the details for KF61:

 

Catalogue Number: KF61

Artist: Cru-l-t

E.P Title: No New Ideas E.P

Release Date:

CD Track Listing:

01. Baby

02. Yeah

03. Baby Breaks

04. Nothing (Remastered)

05. Something (Remastered)

06. Krull (Remastered)

07. Nowhere (Remastered)

08. Poosie & Cru-l-t – Knite In Paradise (Remastered)

09. Poosie & Cru-l-t – Hear Me Hear Me (Remastered)

10. Latch The Door (Remastered)

11. I Cant Take The Pancake (Remastered)

 

http://www.kniteforcerevolution.com/shop/kf61cd/

 

As this is a Cru-l-t E.P, I have chosen the earliest Cru-l-t releases to be remastered. KF62 is expected to be a Kingsize & Vibena release, and that will have other tracks from the early Kniteforce catalogue. KF63 is a new Luna-C E.P, and that will have early Luna-C remasters. Eventually we will work our way through all of the Kniteforce label, and once that is complete we can move on to Remix, Knitebreed and Malice tracks.

The CD will come with traditional Kniteforce nonsense. That nonsense will vary from release to release, and no doubt spoons will be involved at some point or another lol. Oh, and those that buy the CD will also get a sheet of paper containing my usual insane ramblings and also a link to secret page where it will be possible to download the tracks in .wav format.

 

This way we still have a really nice physical product, it keeps the Kniteforce ethic alive, and it is still digital friendly.

 

The three new tracks from the Cru-l-t release will be available individually as MP3s on the Kniteforce store a few weeks after the release of the CD.

 

In the future, I will release a Kniteforce Vinyl. I have spoken to Poosie and he is gonna come in and do a new F.P or 2 Croozin’ release, and I have also been hassling Jimmy J, so hopefully both of those will come about. If I can grab Alk-e-d and get a nice Luna-C track, perhaps that would make a good vinyl E.P for later in the year.

 

Okay, other news….

 

I have been organising new merchandise for the store. I have repressed on some shirts and the Remix Records Hoodies, and I am also looking at getting some hats, record / laptop bags and laptop covers.

 

Supaset 14 is pretty much complete. I played in Atlanta on the 7th of June, and apart from it being an awesome party (big up Katherine, Theresa, Andrew and everyone that made it such a fkin amazing night) the set seemed to go down well. I have used the same ethic as I did for the Old Skool Supaset – mashing up tracks from all sorts of eras. It is sounding very chaotic and I think people will love it. Its also a little less silly than my previous sets for some reason.

I have also started work on Old Skool Supaset 2, and expect to have that ready in July.

As well as work on my new Luna-C EP for Kniteforce, I have started work on a new EP for KFA. I have one track completed for each E.P, so its coming together slowly, but both of the tracks have come out very well so I am happy. The Kniteforce one is old skool 165bpm breakbeat piano stuff, and the KFA one is full on banging chaos. Very very mad.

Its fun to be able to bounce between styles based on what I feel like that day!

Anyway, I hope you managed to get to the end of this blog post without falling asleep! More news soon…

 

Luna-C

 

 

2

Important Announcement Part Two – Kniteforce

Today I would like to formally announce the return of Kniteforce Records.

Not KFA.

Kniteforce.

If you have read last weeks “Important Announcement Part One” you will know about what is happening with KFA. If not, you should go read it here:-

http://www.kniteforcerevolution.com/posts/important-announcement-part-one-kfa/

Kniteforce is returning with a simple mission statement, which is:

“Be as Kniteforcey as possible”

Kniteforce records is going to be releasing new material and will be taking on new artists, as well as hoping to entice some of the older ones back into the studio. The label will be releasing the sort of music that Kniteforce would be releasing if the last 15 years or so hadn’t happened. So breakbeats! Piano! Stab patterns! Stab patterns that aren’t trancy! Kick drums! But not the overpowering big ones! Unless you are doing old skool Gabber like Malice used to do!

You get the idea.

As usual, Kniteforce is not on a mission to be the best, greatest or most powerful hardcore record label. No. It is on a mission to have some fun. The first few releases are already lined up:-

KF61 – Cru-l-t – No New Idea’s E.P

KF62 – Kingsize and Vibena – E.P name to be confirmed

KF63 – Dj Luna-C – Back to the Front E.P

Here is the artwork for KF61. Soundclips will be sent to those on the mailing list in the next few weeks, along with a release date.

KF61Artworkfullsize583

KF61ArtworkfullsizeBside583

If you have some music you would like to submit to Kniteforce, KFA or to me as a Dj to be used on Podcasts (yes, podcasts are returning) or in Supasets when I dj, you can now click the “Submit Music” link and go right ahead!

If you read this and think “I ought to tell some people about Kniteforce’s return” then feel free to share. I would like that very much!

Nice one,

Luna-C

PS it is incidental, but interesting, that KFA has reached the catalogue number KFA60, while the original Kniteforce label’s final release was KF60. This means from here on in, there will be releases on KFA and on KF which have very similar catalogue numbers. So that will add to the confusion. And that tells me I am doing the right thing lol. Confusion for the win!

14

Important Announcement Part One – KFA

Hi Everyone,

Since I first started Kniteforce back in 1992, I have always been somewhat…erratic. I tend to be very into something for a number of years, then fade out, then come back for a while, then do something totally weird and on and on it goes. This is fine as an artist – maybe even the defining characteristic lol – but it is not so good for the running of a record label. Record labels need to be constant in order to grow. Part of the problem has always been that my heart lies with old skool breakbeat hardcore, and dance music, including hardcore, evolves and changes. It is right that it does so, but it makes it increasingly difficult for me to judge what is “good” when it comes to the modern sound. This leaves KFA in a strange position of being both new and old. And weird.

I like the weird bit, and that is going to stay the same.

But other things are going to change. I have realised that I do not give KFA enough attention, not enough for it to grow and become more of a force within the hardcore scene. I am too focussed on my own music and artistic endeavours, and not enthusiastic enough about finding new artists and building the label with them. I rarely listen to the demos people send me, because I am too busy with my own music. And I have to be busy with my own music because, here in the USA, I have not enough artists. Which means I don’t have enough time to do anything other than work on my own music. Its a Catch 22. Throw in my wavering interest and it it a recipe for a label which is chasing its own tail.

So now I am going to change how things are done. I know that what I need is someone to look after certain parts of the label. I need someone I can trust, someone who is enthusiastic, reliable, preferably a Dj who is heavily involved in the current scene, but at the same time one who is not “owned” or politically obligated to anyone. I need this person to be on the hunt for new artists and music for KFA. To listen to the demos and then forward them to me if they are right for the label.

I found that person:

May I introduce you to Anglerfish?

sparky500

http://www.kniteforcerevolution.com/posts/artists/anglerfish/

She is going to be the new calling point for KFA. If you have something you want released on the label, you will need to send it to her. You can do this by clicking the “Submit Music” link on this site. Right now, that link goes to a classic “Error 404” page – but it will be running by next week, when I make the second part of this announcement.

KFA is going to keep its distinctive taste in “all music that makes people want to dance” but it will have a little more direction, more regular releases, a point of contact that actually replies to emails, that sort of thing. Like a normal record label.

I will still have final say on what goes out on the label, but as both Anglerfish and Luna-C share a lot of the same quirky taste that will work out well. The advantage here is that she will hear a modern track and have much better judgement on whether it is good for the label that I would have.

So please welcome her to the label, like her Facebook page:

www.facebook.com/djanglerfish

Send her an email

anglerfish@kniteforcerevolution.com

And be prepared for KFA to start acting like a real record label from here on in lol.

Nice one,

Luna-C

PS you might be wondering what I am going to be doing? That will be in the second part of the announcement, next week! 🙂

1

KFA59 Released! Feels So Rite Winners! Old Skool Supaset 2 Confirmed!

Hi Everyone,

 

Another blog post? Say it ain’t so! lolz

Some news! First up, KFA59 – Idealz & Shift – Random E.P is now available in the store. This is a wicked release, jungle and d’n’b tinged, and better for all that. Plus 3 bonus track for those who pick up the Executive Edition! Get in there…

http://www.kniteforcerevolution.com/shop/kfa59executive/

 

KFA59Front583

 

KFA59ArtworkExEc583

 

Next up, I want to give a big thank you to all who donated toward the old skool supaset! Your generosity is amazing, and I am very grateful. I will be working on Part 2 over the next 2 months, and those that donated will be emailed a link before it goes up for free download everywhere else! Thank you so much 🙂 Here is the link for part one, in case anyone missed it:-

http://www.kniteforcerevolution.com/oldskool-supaset-volume-one/

Lastly, and very importantly…

It is time to announce the winners of the Remix Competition, but before I do that I want to thank everyone who entered. It was very hard to choose the best of them because I received such a wide variety or remixes. In the end, I decided on my two favorites, and I am going to include three runners up as part of the Executive Edition! This will be KFA60, and will be released on April 28th!

So without further ado…(drum roll)…The joint winners are…(louder drum roll)

Inspector Sands & CLSM (Bring Back Breakbeat Again Remix)

Dj Sparky Anglerfish

Both remixes are stunning in totally opposite ways. The Inspector Sands and CLSM mix is very old skool content wise, breakbeats and all that good stuff, but with modern techniques and twists, it is both unique and classic.

Meanwhile, Sparky Anglerfish took her mix in the other direction, huge kicks and a fun filled bouncy modern vibe with a sly sense of humor.

I have also finished a mix of the track, which sits somewhere between these two remixes. Obviously, that makes me the real winner of the competition lol 🙂 I kid of course! Big ups and thank you to the winners…and also to the runners up that will be on the Executive Edition:-

 

Audio X – This mix is old skool styled, very nicely done!

Disrupta & Sonic Fixation – A very fun and chaotic mix, switching between d’n’b and hardcore….

Jdubz – A very strong contender, this version reminded me of the original Kniteforce sound!

 

KFA60Artwork583

 

I will post sound clips in the near future.

Oh, one more thing…I have copied this email to my blog. I want to try and keep both emails and blog updates a little more regular, so I am going to try and send out / update every week. Unless there is nothing to tell you, in which case I wont bore you with emails about nothing lol. But I think there will be news every week, and you may want to keep an eye on things, as I have an announcement next week too…

As always, thank you for your support!

Nice one,

Chris / Luna-C

2

Oh My Golly Gosh….A Blog Post in 2014!

Hi!

To misquote one of my favourite old skool rappers…

“Its been a long time. I shouldn’t have left you. Without a blog post to read through. Think of how many dull months you sat through, Times up, Im sorry I kept you.”

Yes, it has been a long time. I have wandered all over the place in my mind, and been doing other things (the Reeve Album, being depressed etc) and now I am back. I am not sure how back I am, but I guess…quite back. Four releases coming soon, taking on Dj gigs, working on sets back. So yeah. I’m back.

Its hard to explain exactly what happened without getting into a bunch or personal stuff that I may talk about in the future, but probably wont because why? Simply put, as most of you know, I just got bored and tired of hardcore. I have always loved a challenge, but found that I had done everything there was to do within the scene and by the end of 2012 was pretty much tired of the whole thing, running on fumes, worn out, and done.

I had also been playing the guitar, and wanted to make an album with “real” songs on it. So it seemed like a good time to just step back and try working on something else. It also seemed like a good time to grow a beard and just generally change my life.

So first this happened:

newblogpic1

And then this happened:

newblogpic3

(which you can buy if you want, just click the image!)

As anyone who has listened to the Reeve album will be able to tell you, its a little on the depressing side (thats understatement btw lol). I have always struggled with depression to one degree or another, and I usually used it to make hardcore tracks. I am well aware of the strangeness of that, using misery to make happy music. What can I say, I am a strange guy. Anyway, the point is this…maybe stopping doing hardcore – the thing I had sort of defined myself by for 20 years – and then writing a bunch of really depressing songs wasn’t the smartest move in the history of me, but it was something I had to do. And once I had done it…nothing. I was left feeling exhausted and directionless and also fairly lost.

It was at this time that my dear friend Paul Kingsize asked me to play at Bust An Old Jam. He had asked me to play at the first one months earlier, but I said no because I was at my least hardcorey. Thats a new word I made up. Shut up. But when he asked me to play at the second event, I felt like I couldn’t say no. Paul Kingsize was massively instrumental in the success of KFA, and helped in every way from when it first started, to selling the records via his old website, to helping me advertise, to making the My Angel video, and the list goes on and on. It would actually be near impossible to tell you all the ways in which he helped with the running and success of KFA. What I am saying is, apart from wanting to help a friend, I also owed him big time in numerous ways.

So the second time he asked, I felt obliged to say yes and I wanted to say yes. Even though I still wasn’t feeling it, I said I would.

Then I started panicking.

I had to make a new set. 90 minutes. And I was not in the mood. At all.

Paul made it clear that the tracks he wanted me to play should be in the 1994-1998 era. He obviously forgot that as soon as anyone gives me rules of any kind, I immediately disobey them. Again, I’m weird like that. Plus I also have no grasp on time. I have no idea what year anything happened. If you ask me when Piano Progression was released, I would say either 1993 or 1994. Or 1995. Or 1996. Fuck knows. I would need to check discogs.com.

Anyway, after fretting about it for a little while, I finally started work. I decided the only way I could get going was to start with a track I loved and see what happened. So obviously, Hyper On Experience. I then followed it with a bunch of other tracks I liked, and quickly found myself 10 minutes into the set.

It was at this point I remembered the set was hardcore from 1994-1998. A brief scan of Discogs and I learned that all the tracks I had played were from before 1994. Oops.

If you download the set, you can here this realisation – it happens when Dj Demo’s “Ive Got A Feeling” comes in. After that, I was checking dates, before that, I was just trying to get the damn set started. Here is a link to the set btw, just in case you have no idea what I am banging on about…

http://www.kniteforcerevolution.com/oldskool-supaset-volume-one/

Anyway, while making the set, something strange happened. I started to enjoy myself. Like, really enjoy myself. I think maybe somewhere along the line I had forgotten how much I loved hardcore. I think maybe modern hardcore has got so far away from its roots that it is no real surprise that my love for it wore thin. But making this set? Mixing all this old skool goodness? It was like awakening from a long sleep, like a part of me was resurrected.

As soon as I finished the set, I got to work on some new hardcore tracks. But not new hardcore. New old hardcore. And I also had music coming in from Idealz, and then theres the remix competition…and so this happened:

newblogpic2

I will explain more about what all this is about, as well as add soundclips, and also do a review of Bust An Old Jam in my next blog post, which will go up next week. I also have big news as to KFA’s future, and also some news about Kniteforce Records. But for now, I just want to thank Paul Kingsize and Crissy Manic for inviting me to play. It seems like a small thing, but making the set made me relearn my love for hardcore, which made me make the first new hardcore tracks in over a year, and is leading to a lot of very exciting things. So I owe tham a big thank you. And if you are happy to get the set, and that I have a bunch of new hardcore releases coming out, then you ought to thank them too 🙂

 

Right, thats it for now 🙂 More next week!

 

Chris

 

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