Pro-Audio Retailers on Twitter

Pro-Audio Retailer on Twitter

I hate spam but I still want a good deal from time to time. I’ve created a few secret Twitter accounts where I follow topics I don’t want polluting my main Twitter account’s stream. One secret account is full of stores and affiliate link sites trying to sell stuff. Two examples are Woot (http://twitter.com/woot) and Amazon MP3 Deals (http://twitter.com/Amazonmp3). Today I realized the main U.S. music retailers all have Twitter accounts too. Sam Ash seems to be offering some interesting stuff via it’s Twitter site:

“Call 1-800-4SAMASH TODAY to receive a free set of Samson StudioDock 3i Studio Monitors with your purchase of over $299!!” – @samashdirect

I was hoping to find Analougehaven, NovaMusik, BigCityMusic or RobotSpeak but a quick search didn’t reveal any Twitter pages for them. If I am wrong let me know. Leave any other pro-audio shopping slash Twitter pages in the comments too please.

http://twitter.com/samashdirect
http://twitter.com/sweetwatersound
http://twitter.com/Guitarcenter

Are you shopping on Black Friday?

Well I am back in the good ole USA. After a day of Thanksgiving over eating and loud relatives Black Friday is here. Still quite jet lagged so I woke up around 4:30 AM and watched lunatics on the news rushing into stores. For those in the rest of the world Black Friday is a day where American retailers cut prices on everything. They also have “door busters” which are usually high priced items up to 80% off their original price. Each individual store will only have a few hundred of these door buster items so it causes people to line up before the store opens early in the morning. This year HDTVs seem to be the rage item. Just a year ago a 42″ 1080p HDTV would have been over $1200 and today I saw a few for $799.

So are Pro-Audio shops in on the game? You bet! As soon as I logged onto IM my friend Dan who works at the Guitar Center on 14th Street started chatting me up. He was telling me he preparing his feet and mind for the long day. This is the deal GC has going:

“Today its 15% off 1 item…and the rest of the weekend it’s 10% off.” – Dan

Are you any of you heading out to grab some deals? Are you going to be getting gifts for yourselves or something to put under the tree? Are there any killer Pro-Audio deals you know of?

photo credit: tshein

8bit interview. Music from Brooklyn and Second Life.

8bitCihan Kaan is a Brooklyn native who in the early ninety’s made a ton of underground electronic music under the name 8Bit. In fact as he will tell you he’s the original 8bit. Last week I was chatting with Cihan and he mentioned he recently performed live in the online game Second Life. When he told me he made money I knew I had to interview him for Wire to the Ear.

You grew up in Brooklyn saw the rise of techno take place just blocks away from your house with Frankie Bones, Groove Records and the Storm Raves. Tell us in brief your interaction with the “scene” as it was called! Who were some of your friends and what were you guys all doing?

Yea, everyone lived within a two mile radius of each other, Sheepshead Bay/Canarsie/Marine Park/Avenue U. Lenny Dee of Industrial Strength Records had barbeques at his mom’s place (now a russian health insurance fraud clinic) with all the acts on his label so I was there as much as I could be without being invited, hehehe. Frankie and Adam were over on the west end of Avenue U and I had street beef with the west end Avenue U Boys (AUB) so I couldn’t really stretch over there too much without threat of escalating my beef (in a nutshell, my best friends brother was Avenue U East Side crew leader who was missing so ppl thought I had some connection to that). Heather Heart was making the Under One Sky zine and lived the closest to me and on any day you would see her wandering Neck Road with a tb-303, hunched over walking home. Thats a clear image for me because I was a drugstore delivery boy and I would see Heather all the time walking around with some vintage acid toy. Most of my crew was the “younger” lot of rave kids, so although I was one of the first promoters of Storm Rave I was primarily converting skaters and punks to the new rave scene of the time. There was never a full acceptance into the older generation of techno ppl, most of the kids I brought in were still wide-eyed about techno and there was a sense that this optimism made you less of a hardcore head. I don’t think that was true. After the Storm we all became NASA elite and I remember Moby performing every week. One night me and Moby talked about my new demo I was pimping around on Cassette (the OHMZ cassete) and he wanted to meet 8bit - Liveafter his show, but that night my bag of tapes got stolen so the transfer never happened. Later in the night I was depressed in the chillout room and Ernie (a kid who ran around with an Ernie doll on his neck) found the bag, but it was too late. Around that time I hooked up with Super Mario who was starting a hardcore label with Joey Jupiter of Atomic Babies and put out my first 8Bit record Tweeked, which he took privilege to completely cut apart to make DJ Friendly. That record actually is mostly all that red box you gave me along with the Oberheim you also gave me. The 707 I bought from the buy-n-sell for $50, and the Amiga I used for samples obviously was left over from before the scene. After Tweeked came out (it was a white 7″), Curious George and Deitrich Shoenemann from Prototype 909, hooked me up with job at Moby’s old label Instinct and I packed his records in boxes all summer. I hope that answers your question, I’m really flying over lots of details and probably forgetting lots of people along the way.

Tell us a few of the most memorable events (dare I say Raves?) or nightclubs from back then.

The Storm Rave in ’93 the warehouse in Shaolin was like the Thunderdome scene in Mad Max; burning cars, people dancing on rusty metal barrels. It’s a root memory I have I always mine from when I’m making a track. Frankie screaming into the mic that we were future. Never seen party like that since. Also, remember we had no style back than, so for the most part it was a diverse set of kids (not yet called ravers) all gathered listening to this new future music. It wasn’t a poseur thing at all — in all these academic papers on the rave scene I read about, people seem to forget that techno really emerged as a movement, not a style. It was Dinkins’ New York when you were still allowed to break in to places and bring in Speakers and equipment. Storm raves were always great parties but other events that stood out were the outlaw parties thrown around the neighborhood, the Gerritsen Beach swamp parties were nuts, not only could i ride my bike to the party, but everyone would be there and the music was insane, all in a swamp marsh. I tried to recreate that in the scene in “Refuse to Fight”8bit - Logo when the crew is staring into the fire, the video I directed for Frankie. Seems like parties were all over back than, under the highway, under the bridge, whereever we had access to a dark spot with concrete around.

Darker memories come later when I was too hopped up on psycedelics particularly at NASA, one night I lost my mind and the beats sounded like machinations from Hell and I thought the dancefloor was a shark infested pool. I actually leapt into my boy Evan’s chest trying to get some of his positive “E” vibes. Of course that didnt work and I quickly fell into a fear and loathing type of head and pulled a blade out on the guards who were trying to quell me (I was trying to jump into Dante’s chest, Scotto’s chest, etc). They threw me out and all i remember from there is walking around in the winter on the west side of manhattan with my clothes ripped off.

Since this interview is for a music tech blog let’s talk gear. Compare how you made music in 1994 to 2007. What was your computer set up then vs. now? Continue reading →

Photos from Guitar Center. 14th Street NYC.

Eventide Poster

Do you remember one of the first posts on wire to the ear titled “Would you work at Guitar Center?“. A few weeks ago I was in New York and stopped by the flagship Guitar Center Store on 14th Street and took some photos for you. My friend Dan works there and he says he loves Microphoneshis job.

They do have a pretty well stocked Pro-Audio department including some interesting pieces like the Chameleon Labs 7602 Preamplifier/Equalizer (a Chinese made inexpensive Neve clone). There are times when you need to see and hear something in person before you buy it. I spent a good amount of time playing with the Moog Voyager. I’m getting close to getting one of these amazing synths.

The Chauvet LED-EQ visualizer thing was pretty nice. You have to see these in person to appreciate how bright and flashy it is. They have a ton of nice microphones, a decent speaker room and scattered around are posters of vintage gear including this one which shows the history of Eventide.

Please click here to enjoy the full photo set from Guitar Center. Please note I put a Creative Commons license on these images so feel free to use them as long as you link back to this article.

www.flickr.com

Would you work at Guitar Center?

Guitar Center

I’ve been very lucky in the music business to never have to get a “day job”. Making music is my day job. So what do others do? About two months ago my friend John told me he got a job at Guitar Center in New Jersey. I’ve always been curious how much the sales people make and with John’s permission here is the run down.

5:08:27 PM John: so here’s the skinny on the pay at guitar center
5:08:31 PM Oliver Chesler: do tell
5:08:35 PM John: it’s a commission draw
5:08:36 PM John: I get a base.. 7.15 an hour.. for 40 hours per week..
5:09:37 PM Oliver Chesler: what is commision draw?
5:09:39 PM John: if my commissions are greater than the amount I would get for 40 hours a week @ 7.15 per hour.. then I get paid the commission amount, and don’t get paid the $7.15 per hour
5:09:44 PM Oliver Chesler: hmm
5:09:55 PM John: the commission rate is 2% of gross sales, plus 10% of net sales
5:10:07 PM Oliver Chesler: ok
5:10:10 PM John: so, if I sold 1,000 dollars in gear I would get roughly about 45 Continue reading →