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5 Things Everyone Can Do To Improve the Hardcore Scene in 2015

Hello again!

A number of people liked my previous blog, so I figured I would write another one. Once again its in the format that the website Cracked uses, but this time they are online, so after reading this, go have a look. Its a brilliant waste of at least 30 minutes of your day lol:

www.cracked.com

Anyway…Perhaps it should be said right from the beginning that I write these things mainly for myself. I find writing down my thoughts and ideas clarifies what I want or need to do – the emphasis being on trying to improve my own outlook and abilities. So if you read along and disagree, or think that the things I am talking about don’t really apply to everyone, then you may well be right – it may just apply to me lol.

In some ways it was easy to write “5 Things The Hardcore Scene Needs To Learn In 2015”, mainly because criticism is easy. Try it for yourself, perhaps on a sibling, or your significant other (I take no responsibility for you sleeping on the couch). Anyone can complain and talk about how something is not as good as it could be. And as I am British, its extra easy because it is a proud tradition of my people. But in an effort to be Australian (the traditional home of boundless optimism), I am going to try and offer a few things we could all do to actually help the scene, and maybe make a difference.

Anyway, here we go…

1. Whatever You Are doing, Do It Properly.

Here is a picture of the decor at the rave in Atlanta I recently played at. It was hosted by Katalyst Atlanta, was called “Return To Pandora” and it had an Avatar theme (no, really? lol).

avatar 1

 

 

“Everything is blue in this world…”

The picture does not do it justice as it is only one room of the three and it was taken before the place was full. The venue was already awesome, but as well as the stuff hanging from the ceiling, there were actual bits of tree painted to look Avatar-ish, as well as the extensive decorations hanging from the ceiling, around the Dj booths, and also some giant mushrooms which I would have thought I maybe imagined, except that I tripped over one of them. And here is another picture of ravers who used the face and body painter, who painted people to look like the Na-vi:

avatar 2

“So are we Star Wars droids, or what?”

This is doing it properly. Not only was the party themed, and then made as blue as possible, even the body painters made sure to keep within the theme. Its a small thing, but it matters. In my last blog post, I mentioned in a very offhand manner that promoters need to do something other than themes. In retrospect, I felt a little bad about this because it is just as difficult to do something new when putting on a party as it is to do something new musically. So I wanted to clarify a little on my previous comments, and then apply it to everything else. BangFace, Katalyst Productions, Tight Crew and various other parties I have had the privilege to play for, choose a theme and then go all out to make the entire night follow that theme. A recent Tight Crew party was Mario themed, and even had game consoles set up to play MarioKart etc on. Again, its not a big thing, but these little details make for a really complete party experience. The promoters do way more than is called for, but in doing so, they make the party a unique experience. It is fantastic.

The scene as a whole has become stagnant, but I think this is as much due to laziness as to repeating the same ideas. Things don’t need to be new all the time, but they do need to be awesome all the time. So if you are doing something that has been done before, you need to do it better than before. And attention to detail is where the difference lies.

This applies to every aspect of the scene, not just parties. If you are making an old skool sounding track, use the original sounds, but produce them to todays standards. It will take longer. It will be more work. But you have to do it properly because otherwise, whats the point? Likewise, if you are making a modern hardcore track, or any sort of music, short cuts need to be forgotten. Producers cannot keep falling back on old tricks. Its the small details that make it progress rather than a rehash.

Dj’s cannot keep playing the same tracks in their sets (I am looking at you, Luna-C lol). And they need to remember they are putting on a show – so be a showman. Dress to be part of it if you can (again, I am looking at myself here as I have a tendency to dress like its sunday morning lol), dance to the music you are playing, and for fucks sake look like you are enjoying yourself even if you aren’t. There is nothing quite so dull as watching a statue play records, and that small thing reverberates around the room. The crowd feeds from the Dj, the Dj feeds from the crowd. If the Dj is dead, the crowd has to work harder to be alive. Also, are you a warm up Dj or a headliner? Both have a certain responsibility. If you are warming up, learn the art of it. It is not a respected or loved place to be unfortunately, but if you do it well, you make the whole party better. It takes skill, and I think it has become a lost art. So don’t play the headliners biggest releases just before he or she plays. Likewise, headliners need to respect and appreciate the previous Dj’s work. It costs nothing to shake the previous Dj’s hand and thank him or her, but it shows the crowd we are all in this together.

Blog posts, and hardcore website owners need to have the correct spelling and grammar on their sites, plus working links to tracks where appropriate etc etc. Not because any of those things matter in themselves – I am certainly no grammar nazi (how do you spell Kniteforce again?) However, do it because it shows attention to detail, and that you care about what you are doing. When some new potential raver reads it, you want them to draw them in, not make them think the scene is run by fools who can’t spell and don’t care about what they are doing.

As for ravers, if you are going to a rave, get there early, and leave late, not after an hour or two. Why? Because if promoters are putting on a proper party, and Dj’s are playing proper music with commitment to their art, you ought to be there for it. They are there for you, yes, but are you there for them? You should be. Neither the promoter or the Dj is going to make a million dollars playing that set or spending time making the venue look amazing. All they really get out of it is the satisfaction of pleasing the ravers. And if all the ravers go home at 2am, it kinda sucks for everyone. And if the warm up Dj is playing to no one, why should he bother?

The reason all of this needs to happen is simple – it shows commitment to the scene and each part helps the other. The raver dancing to the first set at 8pm is telling the Dj that what he is doing matters, and telling the promoter it was worth opening at 8pm instead of 9pm. The worst thing that seems to happen at the moment is people leaving after the headliner plays. That’s sad, and it links to the Superstar Dj thing mentioned in my previous blog. If you go to the party, try to stay as long as you can? Be there for your locals. This might mean dancing to music you might not be totally into. But try it, it can be brilliant, and the Dj will definitely appreciate it.

If we all do our part and make just a little effort to do things properly, the whole scene will thrive and be more attractive to those new people coming in.

2. Embrace the Future.

futurists

“errr….”

You know whats really boring? The phrase “Real Dj’s use Vinyl” and the entire conversation that goes on after that. Its bollocks. Big hairy boring bollocks. It is also boring when someone starts a sentence with “I remember in the good old days” but I am going to do that anyway. I remember in the good old days, when ravers thought they were the future. We felt like rebels, we were embracing a new technology and a new music and a new attitude. The rave scene used to be about innovation in every aspect. To use a horrible word, we were “futurists”.

Nowadays we all seem to be looking backwards. To address the Dj and vinyl issue,  let me clear it up once and for all with this simple sentence:

Who the fuck cares?

It is the least important thing. I love vinyl. But I cant do a Supaset with it. I don’t like playing CD’s but it is practical for what I like to do in my sets. I don’t trust my laptop not to spaz out at a club and I cant edit vinyl, so CDs is what I use. The only thing all of that has in common is it is MY PREFERENCE. No one dancing to the tracks I am playing is thinking “this is good, but it would be better on Serato”. And I have never heard a set that I didn’t like because the Dj was playing on Ableton or whatever. These sort of arguments are pretentious nonsense. Does vinyl take more skill than CD? Or Traktor? Again, who cares? I want to hear something new and exciting, whether its Jimni Cricket cutting it up this way or a new producer using a laptop. What does matter is that the Dj is making it work. If you like vinyl, great. If you like Serato, also great. Whatever makes you happy, basically. But lets not pretend that it matters even slightly to anyone but ourselves.

Another boring thing is everyone saying “its not as good as it used to be” – which I am totally guilty of…But you know what? Perhaps one of the reasons its not as good as it used to be is stupid people like me hanging about the place saying “its not as good as it used to be”. Why are we looking backwards? We didn’t used to. I think we have all got into our own comfort zones, where we want to hear the things we like played the way we like them. And thats okay…but its not enough. We need to be looking forward, and embracing the new things while retaining our love for the old. There is nothing wrong with the old ways of doing things – there are certainly things to learn from the past. But once we have learned those things, apply them to the future.

3. Show Your Appreciation Part 1 – Speak Up

speakup

“or I will jab you in the face with this mic”

With the scene being so small, we really need to encourage the makers of things to stick around. We need to let the promoters, artists, Djs, record labels, ravers and everyone else know that they are appreciated. There are various ways to do this, and all of them are important.

For a start, leave a comment. Leave a comment on this blog post. Leave a comment about the rave you went to last night. Leave a comment on the Soundcloud mix you listened to. Write a review on iTunes, a message via Facebook, an email to a Dj, whatever, but speak up. Don’t sit there enjoying shit and not saying shit. Those of us in the creation business put out hearts and souls into what we do, and as often as not we sacrifice money, time, and even relationships to do it. We would do this anyway – it is how we are built, we are driven. But creativity is a finite resource that needs sustenance. Part of that is being inspired by others, but another part is to know that what we are doing is worth the considerable effort we put into it. It’s not about ego. It’s about…how to explain? I sit in the studio most days, and I have ideas in my head for tracks and sets and artwork. I feel the excitement, I get hyped up, I have this thing I want to do, something I want to try out because the artist in me screams that I have to, I have to. And the icing on the cake is that when I show everyone this thing, people are going to love it.

The single thought I have to avoid thinking is “no one will care about this” because if I start thinking along those lines, all the enthusiasm drains out of what I am doing. I will do what I am doing anyway – I will still eat the cake. But its so much better with the icing on it.

Look, I am not going to pretend that I don’t want people to love what I do. Perhaps that makes me egocentric, but any artist that publicly displays any type of art wants the people to like it – otherwise they would not bother to make it public.

Why am I writing this blog? Because loads of people commented on the last one. Why am I putting out a new hardcore track? Because people danced to the last one. I can sit at home and make music for me and write things for me, but every time I reach out and connect with you, it validates what I am doing and encourages me to do more. And even if you hate what I do, the feedback lets me know, helps me move forward.

I cant be sure, but I think this is the same for every Dj, producer, promoter, photographer, blogger – whatever, you name it. We are not desperate for comments and people kissing our ass, we will do what we do anyway most likely, but it sure is nice when you release a new tune and people actually bother to say how much they liked it.

4. Show Your Appreciation Part 2 – Pay For It

payforit

“Subtlety – now available in comic sans”

There have been endless boring debates about piracy, and I am not going to drag it all up now. As far as that goes, there is so little money in the scene nowadays that if you are stealing hardcore music, you are quite literally incapacitating those who make the music, and that is the debate over. So please, pay for it or fuck off.

But what I really want to say here is that we all need to pay for what we like, and its bigger than music piracy. A successful party promoter gets to know a lot of people – networking and encouraging people to come to the party is absolutely essential to the success of the party. But I would ask those ravers that are friends with promoters to still buy the tickets at full price. You may think that “its just you…and your girlfriend…and your girlfriends mate” that want a discount / free ticket, but you are three people in a huge list of others all asking for a discount or free entry. And taken as a whole, that is a chunk of money that the promoter may well need to afford the night. And if they are lucky enough to make a profit, that money can be used for the next party being a bigger, better experience.

I keep going back to it, but the scene cannot sustain itself if people don’t pay for what they want and get paid for what they do. And its really not that hard to do, nor that expensive, if we all just pay a little. Its the same way for Dj’s. Yes, you are playing out, and promoting other peoples music. But everyone is a Dj nowadays, so all the Dj’s also need to buy the music rather than try to get things for free. Also, a plus one at a party is standard. A plus two is okay as well. A plus ten is taking the piss and you really need to check yourself. A free alcoholic drink is nice, but the promoter is not obligated. And no, you don’t deserve 20 bottles of champagne.

These are just a few examples, but there are many others. In all cases, if stuff is offered for free, then sure, take the kind person up on the offer if you want. But consider that kind person – are they being kind to everyone? At what point will the kind person no longer be giving away anything because they are now working in the accounts department of a corporation?

I am certainly not suggesting giving Mr Greedy McSelfishpants any extra money – but we all know those who are genuinely promoting the scene and those who are only in it for themselves, and we all ought to help out the good ones in every way – in comments, financially, and then perhaps most importantly…

5. Show Your Appreciation Part 3 – Get Involved

There are millions of things you can do to support the scene. The two mentioned above are the easiest in a way – it is easy to sit at home and leave comments or pay for something. The fact that many people don’t is a mystery to me, but it is no mystery that many people don’t get involved. It takes effort to get involved, it takes work, it takes doing something other than watching TV lol. But still, if you can, then please, get involved. You know someone putting on a party? Help them set it up or post it on your Facebook or twitter or help with the flyers. You have access to a studio? Make some music. You have turntables? Make a mix, and put it out for people to download. Can you draw? Design in Photoshop? Flyers and logos are calling you. Skill with decor? Or photography? Step up, you are needed.

Getting involved is better than leaving comments or paying for stuff, because it does both. If you are helping the promoter set the party up, you are saving them money and time (and yes, you should then get free entry but that should not be the reason for doing it lol). If you are releasing podcast mixes, you are commenting in the best way possible about what you love with the music. Again and again, whatever you can do, I encourage you to do it. Not only will it help the scene, it will also be fun for you, and you will meet a lot of new people and learn a lot of new things. It is true that it sometimes sucks – you can put a lot of effort and get little reward. But in my experience, it is mostly awesome, and you will have a great time. Helping the scene might be the reason to start, but once you start, that will be an incidental benefit, one you wont notice because you will be having too much fun doing whatever you are doing. Even if you disagree with me on everything else I have written, trust me on this one, because I know it to be true.

Nice one,

Luna-C

16

5 Things The Hardcore Scene Needs To Learn In 2015

I read the website Cracked quite a lot. Most days. They usually have 4 or 5 new articles a day, and they are usually in the form of lists. Some are comedic and some are serious, but they are always fascinating or funny or both. I was going to add a link, but for the first time I can remember, the site is down. Sigh.

For a few weeks, I have had the idea of doing a hardcore version titled: 5 Things The Hardcore Scene Needs To Learn In 2015

Having said that, it was more of a personal idea and something to think about, than something I would publish. But as it turned out fine, I thought I would share it. Also, it mostly relates to the US scene, as I live in the US now, but I think it applies all over to some degree:

5. Hardcore Needs To Realise Its Not A Big Scene Anymore.

doggy

“Hi, I’m happy hardcore, nice to meet you rest of the worlds music!”

This is the root of the problem I think. And part of it is due to old fucks like me who remember a bigger scene and forget that it has changed. We don’t know how to adjust because we lived through the vinyl selling years. To us (and you can count in this pretty much any artist or Dj who had their music released on vinyl), the current music industry is relentlessly disappointing. We were very used to selling records for a living, and Djing as a bonus, or vice versa. We always think we could “sell more units” if….something. We are not sure what that something is, but we still think it.

But we can’t. Not now, maybe never again. And this thinking leads to errors in judgement.

Another part of the issue is that the scene as a whole is optimistic by nature, and we all want the scene to be bigger and better. We just cant quite figure out how to go about it…but still, we hope. But that hope only lasts so long, and we don’t see anything change, so….

And the last part of it is pure mythology. I am constantly told by promoters and ravers in the US that “This party is nowhere near as good as the UK, right?”. But the UK has shitty and good parties, the same as the US. And many of the US parties have been as big or bigger as the UK parties I have played. The only thing the US currently cannot do so well is the “huge” rave. Those are getting rarer everywhere. But the main reason the US cannot do it is geography. Ravers are spread too far apart here to pull off 2000 plus parties with any degree of regularity, if at all. It used to be like that, yes – but hardcore needs to realise it is not a big scene anymore.

This error in thought leads to warped expectations that sour us on the scene. No one likes being disappointed. And while we all walk around thinking “It used to be better” or “It should be better” or “I wish it was better” we are not really getting anywhere. Instead, I humbly suggest we accept the scene is small. That’s okay. It leads us to better questions, such as “What can we do with it? How can we make it better for the people in it? What has not been tried before”. Being small has advantages – lower risks being a major one. If the party is gonna be small, if the sales on the new release are tiny, there is nothing to stop us trying out new ideas. And we need new ideas desperately. This will grow the scene. Nothing else will, and shit, we have tried everything else lol.

4. The Superstar Dj Has To Die

dj-keoki

I got this image by searching Superstar Dj. Exactly.

Slightly controversial perhaps, but I have long thought that the superstar Dj is the epicentre of the problem. One of the things that drew me to raving was the sense of community. I was with all the other weirdos, listening to weird music in a weird place played by a weird fella, and it was great. We were all together, we were all odd, and we were all part of the same crowd. The raising of a Dj to superstar status immediately separates the Dj from the crowd. I am always flattered when someone asks for an autograph or does the bowing thing, yet it always leaves me a little uneasy too. Because of my history perhaps, because my best years raving was an era when you didn’t even know who the Dj was as often as not. I understand the intent, it is a thank you and a way to show respect etc, and thats a beautiful and appreciated thing. But I would much prefer a hand shake or a hug – those things are inclusive, meeting someone on the same level. Bowing etc cannot help but put distance between the Dj and the people, a distance that is not healthy for the Dj or the mentality of the rave. Rave culture as a whole should be about everyone being part of it, equally. We all do different jobs, be it raver, Dj, promoter, producer, and all of us are needed to make it work.

When the Dj is the star of the party, the parties without a star Dj cannot gain traction. It did not used to be like this, and does not need to be this way. Parties used to make a name for themselves by being good – the flyer would list the Djs, but it was not the sole reason to go to that party, or even the major reason. Parties built a reputation for being good regardless of the amount of fame the Dj had.

It puts an unfair emphasis on the Dj as well – promoters can’t help but think that if the party is not full, then the Dj does not have enough pull. But there are many reasons a party might not be full – geography for example. Darren Styles would pull about 3 people in my hometown of Raleigh, because Raleigh has about 3 ravers. I am certainly not blaming the promoters for thinking this, or for empty parties. Its just the Superstar Dj warps the perception right from the beginning because it leads to “Big name + party = good party”. Not so.

The Dj superstar thing affects the Dj too, with some having egos the size of planets, and others that expect their every whim to be catered to. It unbalances everything. We want a strong rave scene, not a strong fan base for a few of the Djs in the rave scene. We need promoters that can put on parties and have them be successful without having to have a big name. More small parties that are great will do a lot more good for the scene than a yearly Big Dj Worship Gathering, no matter how much fun that yearly gathering is.

3. Old People In the Industry Need To Charge Less

 

oldmoney

“I sure love playing HTID! I can easily afford my adult diapers for the month!”

And by people, I mean me. But I also mean other people like me, who have been around for long enough to charge a decent amount to play. If we accept the scene is smaller than it used to be, then we have to accept it cannot pay the same fees it used to. Now, this is a problem because like others, I have mistakenly learned to live on the money from music. And this leads to expectations. And hopes. And thinking the scene is big because that way I can still get paid and therefore survive like I used to. No! That is just bullshit.

We have to lower our prices because we need more parties. There are less parties when promoters cannot afford to do them. Those of us who are lucky enough to be able to spend the majority of our time making and playing music need to be doing more of it, for less. Its gonna be difficult, but it is what it is. Until the scene gets stronger, we will just have to deal. This applies to remix fees as well. And record label cuts from artists. Pretty much straight down the line. If the people with the most power want the scene to grow, then we need to encourage more people to stay in the scene. So we need more of everything – more producers, more promoters, more Djs. And to get that, we need it to be affordable and worthwhile to those entering the scene. So we need to lower our prices…but conversely…

2. New People In The Industry Need To Charge More

little dog

“Look, I want to be at the party for you, but I need a little help in return…”

We need new people. We need it desperately. We need at least five more S3rls, a few more Jakazids, a Rhythmics or two, a big pile of Jon Does, more Bangfaces and Tight Crews, more Rebuilds and more Hardcore Undergrounds ….we need more. We need more people making music, we need more people playing it, and we need more parties. We wont get that when the new people don’t get rewarded for their efforts. They get shitty Dj times and rarely get paid – the promoter cant afford it cos they got a big name in who is charging all the money. New producers give music to labels and don’t get paid or even accounted to. Its hard to do a years accounts for someone only to find that they have earned $1.63. Still, it needs to be done so that the artist feels it is worth doing and so that they know that they are not being taken advantage of. It’s one thing to say “your release made no money” but it is another to prove it with accounting. It makes a difference.

Promoters must start paying their home talent, and the home talent must start charging to play, even if its just gas money. If I were in charge of everything, I would make it a requirement that everyone who plays on the night receives a minimum wage of $50. Not because people won’t do it for free – they will. But they shouldn’t. And not because I think promoters have bags of money – they don’t. But it would establish a) the Dj’s time and effort is valued and b) make the scene more professional, so that the people in it would not feel used or like they wasted their time. It would also make promoters think about who was playing where. It is too easy to hire a venue, find you have an extra room, and then just get anyone to play because they will do it for free. All this does is spread a small party into smaller areas, so instead of one big room thats full, you have two big rooms that are half full. And it looks like its only a quarter full,  because it doesn’t make a bigger party. You usually wont get more than a handful of extra people for the extra room. And the fact that Djs will play for free means that the promoter does not have to worry about how good the person is. The thought is “Its a free extra room with a free set of Djs, why not? It makes the party look bigger”. But it doesn’t. It makes it look smaller because no one room is ever packed out. The vibe is spread thinner. It also brings down quality because if you are not paying for something, it doesn’t usually matter if its not very good. But in this case, it really does.

1. Everyone Has To Take More Risks

risk

“A whole article and not one mention of farts”

This is maybe the most important one. Man, the scene is stale. Look, I love hardcore, I have been here for 22 years now (on and off but mostly on lol), so I don’t think anyone can doubt me. But we need to pick it up, shake it out, and find new ways of doing things. There is nothing wrong with what we are doing particularly, other than its what we have been doing for over a decade or more and it is just stagnant. Hence the lack of growth. Producers need to risk much more in their music. Seriously. Its not just about what fills a dance floor – because although that is important, I find I am hearing the same formula for hours at every event and have been for years. And it cant help but get boring. I am not advocating any style other than “do something new”. This is not an easy thing to do. In fact, it is maybe the hardest. But unless we start getting a little more variety in the scene, we are destined to stay exactly where we are. Its no good when someone gets into the scene, loves it, and leaves it in the space of a year because the first and last party they went to had the same Djs playing the same music in the same venue.

Djs need to mix it up. Just…play other peoples stuff for fucks sake. Not just your friends and your own. Not just your usual sound. Its tough because we all like certain things, but we have to just get out of that mindset altogether. We have to be willing to use our power to push more variety.

Promoters have similar issues. They need to come up with things to do with parties other than the “theme” idea. We all love Mario, Xmas, Anime and Halloween, yes, but its been done. And done, and done and done. All the parties that I see being successful go the extra mile to make each event something unique. This is absolutely essential.

 

 

I hope no one reads this and thinks I am having a go at anyone. This is just what I think needs to change, and so I wrote it out. As with everything I write, I might be very wrong. But it feels somewhere in the ball park to me 🙂

 

Anyway, I am going to put my money where my mouth is and in 2015 I’m gonna try and do the following:

1. Drop my price as a Dj and remixer. I want to play more and do more, and believe in what I have written above. Therefore, it is necessary.

2. Try to play at least 5 small parties this year where I have not been advertised to play. I will play for free. If you are a small promoter reading this, hit me up and lets see if we can make it happen.

3. Give a greater financial incentive to my artists on the label. There is very little to go around, but I want them to stick around 🙂

4. Take risks as a musician and artist. I already have an E.P lines up called “Risk”, named as such because it is a very different thing to what people might expect from me. And I am going to keep pushing, in every direction, taking risks with the music I make even if it fails. Especially if it fails. There is no other way to find out what works.

5. Take risks with my Djing. And play some other peoples music, for fucks sake!

Nice one,

Luna-C

18

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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