Engage your audience with eye to eye contact.

I blast myself with a 500 watt worklight when I sing my vocals live. The sunglasses I wear go from no tint at the bottom to dark at the top. This lets me see but also allows me to make eye to eye contact with the audience. I’ve played massive events with over 40,000 people but my favorite gigs are small clubs. Whatever the size of the venue or festival your core fans will make it close to the stage. Take the time to acknowledge them. If your not entering the stage by a curtain call before you begin your audio onslaught shake the hands of a few people who you can tell are there to see you. This is especially important if your playing a venue where your just one of many acts and the crowd is only a small part yours. Why? Because if you get the front moving the rest will follow.

In the 90s on one infamous night at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City I jumped into the crowd in a drunken state and ended up getting clocked. I was pretty trashed and my pre-show comments on the mic pretty much sealed my fate. After my eyebrow grew back and the stitches healed I gained the confidence to get close to the audience again. Today of course I’m always sober and my fans have had ten years to multiply!

My favorite part of the gig is when I get a chance to jump into the crowd with the work light. Get close to your fans. They like your music because on some level they are similar to you. They know your lyrics and relate. Go and greet them face to face!

The video above is from this Saturday night’s gig at the Ground Zero Festival in Bussloo, The Netherlands. You can see it was easy from me to jump down into the crowd but I had to run around the back to get back on stage! For a photo set (without the bad video noise): click here

The title of this blog is cropped in Internet Explorer.

I did a bad thing and I apologize. What did I do? I designed this blog without ever checking it in Internet Explorer. I use a Safari and Firefox on a Mac. The thing is even though I’m not a professional web designer I know better. It must have just slipped my mind.

I discovered that everything on the site looks fine in IE expect the lower half of the title “Wire to the Ear” is cut off. I know it’s not really a big deal right? Content is king anyway right? I was in Amsterdam performing yesterday at “Ground Zero” (bad name) and although I was happy they put me in the Sheraton Hotel; to get 24 hours of paid internet in the room would have been 19€. Instead I just used the lobby’s Microsoft Center which was free but the OS was locked down and I didn’t have the choice of Firefox. As it turns out that was a good thing because it let me see the error.

That got me thinking about what browser’s people are using to view this site so I checked my Google Analytics. I was surprised that only about 20% of you are using IE. You can see the rundown of all the browser percents in the little screenshot.

I’ve been planning to install Parallels, Vista and MS Office on my Macbook Pro and this is another good reason to do it. For those IE users please be patient as I think it will take me a few weeks before I actually get around to installing the MS stuff and fixing the title. A good website to know about which I just discovered today is IE NetRenderer which will render any site in IE and display a screenshot:

Sir Ken Robinson motivational speaker on music.

Every week I listen to Sonic State’s great pro-audio podcast Sonic TALK. I highly recommend it. This week they took off and in their place played a talk by Sir Ken Robinson. You really owe it to yourself to listen to this. I guarantee your going to like it a lot. He touches on divergent thinking, the singularity and why music is so important for our society and why it must be taught in schools.

As discussed in Sonic TALK 089, while I’m away we’re going to play the lecture recorded at the recent London International Music Show by Sir Ken Robinson. His main areas of focus are creativity and divergent thinking – which has a real bearing on how people use their intelligence. He’s a strong advocate of nurturing the maverick mind rather than suppressing – which is how he feels most education systems and corporate environments work. – Nick, www.sonicstate.com

Sonic TALK -Sir Ken Robinson At LIMS: click here

photo credit: eschipul

Giving my ears a break from remixing Satronica.

I’m happiest when creating songs for fun. Music that doesn’t have to fit anyone’s expectations. Constantly those recordings are my best. Remixes fall in the “oh man why am I doing this” category. I really pull my hair out trying to bend someone else’s vision into my own. For the most part if a song is great to start with it won’t need a remix. Sure there are super rock or melodic songs that need to be made into club hits but most of the remixes I get offered are already electronic.

Today I’m remixing a guy named Satronica. He’s one of my good friends from New York. He’s working on an album for Lenny Dee’s Industrial Strength Records. The song titled “Revenge Plan” is vocal heavy. The way he sings is pretty weird, almost an Arab chant style. I’m still trying to figure out how to mash the vocals into a tight grid. I may end up cutting each word up and throwing it into Reason’s NN-XT.

Because the vocals are so strong I don’t feel the need to keep his original music so I fired up some new toys and here’s a clip of what’s on the machine today.Keep in mind it’s just the synths and basic beat at this point. Purely amateur time so far:

The kick is Jomox Mbase 01, the main synth is the Voice of Saturn being sidechained with the key using Ableton’s compressor, later I add in another two copies of the Voice of Saturn channel but detuned left and right. The lazer zap’s are from an Audiorealism ABL. The drum roll is D16’s Drumazon and Devastor also sidechained with the Mbase 01. The snare is loaded into Native Instrument’s Battery 3 and if from a freebee disc I got with Computer Music magazine a few years ago.

It’s not nearly where it will end up but I thought you’d like to check in on the process. Writing this post gave my ears a few minutes break.

How can you not smile when you watch this?

“Hey can I be in it?” – the little sister

“Yeah you can dance.” – underneath0skin

“That’s like your basic techno beat right there.” – underneath0skin

Yes it is kid. Your already better than 90% of the fools out there. This brings back a lot of memories playing with the first bunch of music gear I got. My little brother and I used to rock out in the basement. There are cassette recordings of it all somewhere. Someday I’ll find them and be amazed.

Simply Noise. A website with a single purpose.

I’ve been trying to remember who the famous producer who said something to the effect, “Keep a fan on in your studio while mixing. The light background noise will aid you.”. If anyone knows who I’m talking about or the direct quote let me know. I never had that problem on my old Power PC Mac’s as the fans were always raging. Today though my Mac Pro is silent so here comes a website to help! Ridiculous? Yes. Cool? Kinda!

“The best free white noise generator on the net”. – www.simplynoise.com

via Musicradar

Discogs releases a customized seller widget.

Discogs has started using it’s API and has released a seller widget. Many of my friends say Discogs is the defacto place to sell electronic music vinyl, more so than even eBay. So this is good news for those of us clearing out our mother’s basements or trying to stop paying overpriced storage fee’s somewhere.

These widgets allow you to show your Discogs data your blog or other websites. Just copy/paste the HTML code into your website where you;d like your data to appear. – discogs.com/widgets

For more info about Discogs check out my post titled, “Discogs is a great music database and community.” You can find my label on Discogs: here. And my artist page: here.