Thursday, June 28, 2007

DJing feels euphoric!


So, I finally got a mixer (a Behringer DJX700) and since one of my turntables needs to have it's tonearm checked and re-wired, I am spinning on one turntable and playing MP3s through my first channel via my laptop. And since I don't have Serato, I have a few Ed Banger records and a bunch of these electronic records (Adam Freeland and other assorted shit like Republica's "Ready To Go") so I've been mixing electronic music for the past hour.

And even though it's far from my favorite genre, lord almighty it feels AWESOME to mix live. Even better that I am spinning things on a record I never heard (3 LP version of Adam Freeland's "Tectonics") and mixing it with mp3s out of my iTunes library on the fly. Beat matching is not THAT hard. Although getting an mp3 to try and play in time with a record is kind of tough since there's a small bit of latency when you unpause. (Matching a record to an mp3 playing is a lot easier than I imagined.)

Cueing records isn't so hard too and it's fun bobbing around and trying to make beats match. I am doing things in phasing. Like when I decided to learn scratching. I'd learn one technique and use only that throughout a few songs. Then the next day, learn a new one and mix them up. I am doing that with mixing too. I am simply just trying to fade songs together and do simple beat matching in my head. Nothing fancy. It's going to be a lot harder to try and find tracks to beat match with on the fly, but the more I read up on DJing and the more I experiment, I know I'll get it going.

But for now, I FEEL SO AWESOME.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Mo' Money Mo' Money Mo' Money: Automotive Edition!

Alas, the Fjord Centaur has seen it's last ride. To it's credit, it was last seen delivering me to my brand new (used!) pair of Technics 1200s! Dear Centaur, you have served me well, believe that! As my first car, I loved you so. For a year straight, I got into one minor fender bender, one parking ticket and no speeding tickets. You'll be missed!

In your place, shall be a Dodge Intrepid. Known as a car that actually has serviced as police vehicle in some states, I can say, I am not only kicking ass on the road, I am kicking ass like a crime fighter. As corny as this may sound, the fact that this car is so fast, has such great acceleration and drives so smooth, everything else feels so much smoother and faster. I know, it sounds corny, but after driving a car that made driving from 0 to 30 feel like I was wasting a 1/4 of a tank of gas to a car that can do it like it automatically rolls down its windows, it feels great.

Taking this car of course means spending more money that I don't have, but, I feel a lot better on the roads. I feel like I am driving something that is not pushing itself on the highway driving 80mph and switching lanes. Granted I rarely drive like a speeding asshole on the road, I just hope that driving a vehicle better suiting for such actions will not lead me to do so. The most dangerous/stupid thing I do when I drive is speed on straight aways but ONLY if other people are. I am never the fastest person on the road. I've driven an entire year not getting a speeding ticket and I'd like to keep it that way forever.

But this new car comes with new things: 1) New 90 day workout and health challenge with my brother with the conclusion the day after my 23rd birthday. 2) New full on hobby and hopeful side job: DJing. After a few more purchases, I'll have all I'll ever need to DJ anywhere, any time with an infinite library to choose from. Of course, that also means being broke until that all happens. That also means working over time on other things. Sacrifices for future glory really. 3) There's other things on the horizon too: at least three different music projects, a full art book done with fellow artists and friends and hopefully some clothing / accessory design further down the road.

At this point, I really have the rest of 2007 planned out. It's just time to get the nose to the grindstone and take over the future. For now, I need to sleeeep.

My Beautiful and Random Life: LAUGH and PEACE! Edition

While I did anticipate my weekend leading into the beginning of this week being something no short of "the beginning of something new and exciting," it was anything but. More on that in the future.

I do want to touch on something great: The Internet. Because of it, I've managed to touch base with some interesting people. From rappers that worked with Jay-Z and m-flo to journalists who have hung out with some of the coolest people in the video game industry. But recently, I've actually been talking to the creative mind/s behind Laugh And Peace.

Some of you may know them from their work on Vib Ribbon, an obscure title which was one of the few notable titles, among Parappa the Rapper to usher in the now popular "rhythm game" genre. Asides from the games innovative gameplay which centered entirely around the music, the game featured a very quirky Japanese pop soundtrack, of course provided by Laugh and Peace.

Back in 2005 I made a small music project named HYPERCOLOR, named after the early 90s color changing t-shirts of the same name. It was just random electronic music I made for school. Earlier in 2007, I wanted to change the name for a future Japanese pop inspired music project. For that, I changed all my influences on the page to reflect my favorite Japanese musicians. One of them being Laugh and Peace.

A few weeks ago, they sent me a message to ask if they can send a friend request and to thank me for being inspired by them. I immediately accepted and since then we've been talking about equipment, remixes, my future turntable purchases, Masaya Matsuura's old band PSY-S and other awesome topics. Earlier today I was shown this video:

Rei Harakami - Nijizou (Rainbow Elephant)

The guy (I am not sure which one of the two I am speaking to) said they were influenced by this guy and to really take note of him because he does all his music with a very old keyboard from 1994. He wanted to make a point to me that the equipment so much doesn't matter. It's the idea and creativity of the artist that is really worth note.

The video is something I really appreciate as far as whatever Japanese media I tend to enjoy. The simple and quirky visuals, the tie in between music and images and the way the music is composed. He really hit the mark and I am excited to see more from Rei Harakami.

For what it's worth, I seem to make amazing connections with people without trying. I mean, is it pure coincidence that a year before I decided I want to vacation in Japan next year, I not only am seriously (and I mean seriously!) starting up in music and I all of a sudden get to talk to one of my major influences? My life has always been surprisingly random and more so surprisingly... well, surprising! I am definitely going to try and see how this is going to fit in my life. I believe in fate, luck and karma more than any other force in the universe so I feel as though I am meant to make the best of this and see where it goes. As of late, things have been going less than perfect, but, I always find a way to turn things around with the most amazing luck and timing.

As far as I see it, things can only get better!