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DJ XTEE Music2Deal Interview

Kagiso Mokgari aka DJ Xtee is a very outgoing, outspoken and friendly musician that loves to interact with young people. He uses his motivational skills to help them alter their way of thinking so that they can build a positive future for themselves. Music is the only language that he understands clearly – it brings people of different cultures together.

Restrictions do not exist in this sought-after DJ/ Producer.  House Music is the specific genre he loves producing, even more specifically Deep, Tribal, Soulful, Dance, Electronic and Jazz House. The only exception being Classical/ Soulful Hip Hop (Conscious Hip Hop).

DJ Xtee is part of a global movement called Ancestral Voices that focuses on African spirituality. He’s part of the music team for a very successful documentary titled Spirit is Eternal that’s currently being selected for an award and screening at the Pan-African Film Festival (PAFF) in California L.A

His anticipated album entitled Africa Elements Vol. 1 which features the likes of Dumarokar, Lims and Nubia Soul has been released under ARON PRINCE ENTERTAINMENT from the grounds of New York. African Elements Vol.1 was recently featured on several international compilations such as:

Smooth and Groovy Vol.8

Cut in deeper vol.1,

Deep house to the club,

My Soulful Sunday vol.3 and

Sommergeschichte-3.

 

His work has propelled him forward exposing him to more influential musicians around the world gaining international access to radios, print media and getting to music remix for top record labels and artists in USA

 

kagiso DJX

When did your relationship with music start?

It started to show back in 2004 when I was still in school. Whenever there was an event, I always excelled. Back then and even today still, drama; choir; poetry and music are my favourites. Art is my gift from The Most High.

From way back then, I was learning the basics of production, with production software being the very first thing I learnt. After a few years I went onto learning to play various music instruments from two pastors, both very good in various instruments. Pastor Mpuru taught me music theory and gave me some advanced lessons on Piano. Pastor Malatji continued teaching me Piano and more several keys on it. In later stages he started teaching me how to play lead guitar. I was very lucky to meet David Moore the CEO of Paratebrain Records, a very good producer from USA, who helped me with mixing and mastering. Also how to work with vocals when doing remixes, especially time stretching.

Aron Prince from Aron Entertainment in USA also came into the picture when he signed my album. Teaching me important business aspects, also giving me serious access to serious platforms I needed to be independent.

Today after 10 years of experience in the industry, I have managed to push my production to the next level. I have managed to do remixes for top house artists, all seven songs in my album were features in international compilations released by top Record labels across the world. Many producers and deejays are currently pushing my music in major clubs globally. Most music from my album and that from my Record Label have being playlisted in various radios in USA, UK, CHINA, Italy and Ukraine. So far by one button click, you can get Djxtee’s music on every major platform online.

 

Who have you worked with in the industry?

I have worked with various artists – both local and international – such as Lemogang Mahlangu (Lims), Palesa Moatshe, Dumisane Nkosi (Dumarokar), Nubia Soul and many more.

On the international platform I have worked with Anthony Delpiano from Italy, DJ Vibes from the UK and Ferry Terry from Italy.

My production also got the thumbs up from some of South Africa’s Music’s Pioneers especially House Music  – the likes of DJ Clive Bean, DJ Qt, DJ Kanunu and Thulane The Warrior.  This includes the mixes like “it’s time to think about it” which I did for Piratebrain Records and Audiobites Records. The artists under such labels are Mr V, David Moore, and Roland Clark and many more.

 

Tell us about some of the work you have released so far?

I released 4 “Deep House promo tracks” with international artists in 2014 which got 6700 Downloads under various music websites. I did a lot of remixes for David Moore and Aron Prince. I have produced a lot of music from my records label for the following artists: Tizurs Blaze I produced both his hip hop songs. I produced a beautiful song that is dedicated to Africa featuring most deepfam records artists. I did 4 beautiful afro house songs with Dumarokar and Nubia Soul, including Dumarokar’s his new single “The Rhythm”. I have produced two songs on Nubia Soul’s album, and also did several remixes for her.

 

What is coming?

I am working on some music featuring local upcoming artists and producers across Mzansi. This year will be releasing a lot of music from my label including all its sub labels. I will also be dropping another album independently from my label, featuring talented from Nigeria, South Africa and USA. A lot of music videos, Documentaries and short films will be released featuring Djxtee.

 

What type of music do you produce?

Any feeling that I can translate into a beat, I simply do it.

 

What else do you do besides making music?

I studied IT Internet Engineering/Network management and a short course in business management and entrepreneurship. I currently co-own a call centre and marketing facility company in Pretoria. I am now the owner of my own record label DEEPFAM RECORDS. Music is the heart and soul of my life.

 

What do you look for in someone you want to collaborate with?

I look for a spiritual artist, someone that takes music as a healer of all wounds. Someone that can create timeless music that will continue build and inspire others that follow his or her music. Some that was born for music, not individuals that take changes because they have access the next thing they have disappeared with one song released. I’m looking for conscious writers with serious lyrical content. People that write music about our everyday challenges in life. Musicians that story tell by the means of Poetry and music. The ones that respect the most High’s created healing power that ease one’s soul.

 

What do you look for in an artist before you sign them?

Normally we prefer artists that suit our repertoire, Deepfam Records is a conscious movement that focuses on story telling music and conscious lyrical content.

 

What do you think are some mistakes young up & coming artists who want to be signed are making?

Their biggest downfall is that they want to be signed! Not even understanding the meaning of this words “Record Deal” and how things work. Many young artists don’t even know what are performance rights or even an ISRC code. What is it that the publishing company do; they don’t even know the types of contracts they sign every day. They mast know and understand the business side of this industry, if not they going to crash easily. Take advice from the best in this game, I didn’t make CEO by night fall. I have learned from the best with respect and patience by following instruction. Young upcoming artists need to know the industry they are dealing with. You can’t be in an industry and not understand a thing – it’s a disaster. It’s like trying to cross a highway with your eyes closed.

 

What are some of the difficulties in starting up a small record label?

Every business need something called “Capital” in business terms. Without proper funding and resources, everything will be a challenge. A record label has to have a backup of Public Relations personals, Video teams, band members, road managers, and sound engineers you name them. All of this doesn’t come cheap. Sometimes I often see promising record label that lack talent. But have a lot of people claiming to be artists. When it’s time to put in the work and implement, people disappear.

 

Why did you decide to become an ambassador of music2deal?

Three words I LOVE IT, I have never seen such a big online platform that’s only dedicated to music. And to make things more interesting is that they don’t ask you money. While you can access artists globally and collaborate, maybe sign your next major deal. It’s a cool platform I think every artist should just jump in and access endless information about music related business and information they always need.

 

Music2Deal Profile: Kagiso Mokgari aka DJ Xtee

 

 

 

Interview with Sixtus Gerald (CEO of MYMUSICNIGERIA-MEDIA)

 

PicsArt_02-26-09.14.55

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I am Sixtus Gerald a music marketer and manager.
Owner of MYMUSICNIGERIA-MEDIA based in Nigeria and have partners in USA, SOUTH AFRICA ,GHANA ,AUSTRIA..,…… basically covers Africa and globally


Have you licensed your music / signed your artists internationally? Which country do you think is the best to license music to? Why?

Yup licensed some songs ,

But just inter- African ,working closely with marketers in USA and UK  TO GIVE MY ARTIST NOT JUST AFRICAN FAM BUT GLOBAL RECOGNITION,  I think USA OR UK IS BEST ,why?? They got the standard ,got the market and influential globally

If you were to partner with someone to license his music / sign up his artists for your region, what sort of music are you looking out for? Why?

Hip hop,soul,jazz,pop ,afro pop …….. All type of song
Music is universal,
Just basically good music  genre .
All I want is a standard song that is 100% marketable

 

Any award or special recognition yet ?

Yes a lot, just recently won “THE BLOGGER OF THE YEAR AWARD” @THE SOUTH EAST ACHIEVERS AWARD ON 24TH FEB 2018

My second major award so far

I have been recognize by the ENUGU state as the marketer of the year 2017.

 

Notable projects you have completed  

As a marketing and management company we handle marketing almost dally from different artists

Divine icon music talent hunt (national music talent hunt in all Nigeria states) etc

We market events, regional and international eg (SOUTH EAST TALENT HUNT), Handel artist tours, shows booking ,organizing shows and event …….we are basically a marketing and management company

IMG_20180226_091959_207

 

Upcoming projects / tours?

– Miss tourism enugu on 28th Feb  .

– South east music fiesta (proudly sponsored by my media firm) 28TH JULY

-DIGITAL  MARKETING SEMINARS (16 MAY–20 MAY)

ALOT  COMING UP….. all in 2018

(Looking for hard working, project driven Persons globally we can collaborate on lots of projects globally)

 

What do you think is the single largest problem faced by the music industry today? How do you think it can be resolved?

Artists finding new and effective ways to earn money from their music.

HOW TO RESOLVE IT  IS VERY SIMPLE **** DIGITAL MARKETING (ONLINE streaming PLATFORMS)
My marketing company is committed in reaching out globally to all music lovers ,
Sales of songs on iTunes, apple music , Amazon and co.

Will get the artist or label instant earning and royalty after 3 month or 6 months
(Contact us for more details)

 

Your plans for 2018?

2018 is the rave

2018 is not just like any other year is the year to dominant the music industry globally

Currently my company have partners in USA, SOUTH AFRICA, AUSTRIA, GHANA AND CANADA ******

MY PLAN FOR THE YEAR IS TO BE THE BEST WITH THE BEST SERVICES

 

A good word on Music2Deal.com

MUSIC2DEAL IS JUST THE BEST PLATFORM I EVER BECAME A PART  OF, I CAN EASILY CONNECT WITH  MY CLIENT IN UK,GERMANY WITH THE HELP OF MUSIC2DEAL

the message system is just the best,
If am OFFline
I can easily get a mail notification when a message is sent to me.
Totally the best platform👍

CONTACT ME FOR ALL MARKETING AND artist management

 

 

 

Meet Sheridan Rupert – SA Representative to Music2Deal – a music professional obsessed with people development and systems

Sheridan Rupert is in the music business in South Africa and has always had an inherent interest in the development of people. But she hasn’t always been in the music business. She started playing piano at the age of 5 and studied through Royal Schools of Music and Trinity College throughout primary school. She attended the Johannesburg School of the Arts from 1985 to 1989 where music was her speciality and majored in piano and organ (through Unisa).

After school she completed her performer’s diploma through Trinity College and tutored beginners in her spare time. This creative also dropped out of law school – the signs were always there that a creative environment is where she belonged.

After nearly 2 decades in corporate, she ventured into the music industry in 2015, volunteering her services so that she could learn.

During her time in corporate she was always in an HR/ Training & Development Role and particularly in the last 6 years of those, strongly focused on career development (succession planning) and database development (she designed a learner management system).

These have always been her natural tendencies, which is why she naturally landed up doing that in the music industry.

The last 2 years she spent as an artist manager, mostly in a voluntary capacity, to understand the music industry and gain experience under her company, Slight Edge Events, which was registered in 2017.

She is currently on the Kumisa Artist Management Programme (2017) which covers music law, contracts and other areas of the music industry essential for any artist manager to be an expert in. KUMISA, the KwaZulu-Natal United Music Industry Association, is a non-profit, regional music industry organisation that aims to serve and represent the interests of the music industry in KZN, nationally and internationally.

 

Sheridan

 

What were the main difficulties you experienced getting into the industry?

The main difficulties are getting access into an existing eco-system, where people don’t’ know you and don’t’ know if they can trust you. It’s also difficult coming into a system where it seems as though there isn’t enough work for everyone. Any newcomer is not exactly welcomed, you become a bit of a threat. To get into the system, I did volunteer work of any kind I could find. People are not eager to teach. So I learned by doing. I think this is how everyone starts and you can believe it when I tell you I had egg on my face on far too many occasions. It wasn’t easy, but it was probably the best years of my life.

 

How has the artist management programme changed things for you?

I will forever be grateful to Kumisa for granting me the opportunity to learn as I would not have been able to afford this one-year programme. If you are an artist manager or a professional in this business, you know how much there is to know. This course has changed my life in every possible way.

When you are new in an industry, it seems that everyone around you knows more than you do, and you kind of get sucked into a system where people appear to know what they are talking about, but don’t really know.

It frightens me that musicians don’t’ know about royalties and copyright and if I had my wish about the difference I make in the industry, it would be in that area, making sure musicians are educated.

Having studied now and learning everyday has changed my confidence. It has changed how I work and who I work with.  I have also come to value my work.

After managing people for 2 years, I also know that I would not like to manage people full time. I don’t’ have the right personality. I would far rather be involved in designing the career plan and milestones for an artist. Ensuring that they develop holistically, be psychologically prepared for what’s coming and how to cope in the industry. Selecting strategic festivals and people to meet. And then make sure they each teach one 😊

 

If we gave you a magic wand, what would you create?

A music centre in Durban. A gigantic building with many spaces for a few recording studios, rooms for photoshoots and video shoots, skype calls, coaching rooms, lecture rooms, boardrooms, administration offices, individual computer terminals. A one-stop shop to get your music business set up. A building that would have musicians coming in and out all day, providing services which don’t cost an arm and a leg. More professional education available on a more regular basis. I believe that the whole game changes when certain information and services become available to EVERYONE and not the select few. Like the change that happened in the world when the internet came into being. All of sudden the information hoarders were not so powerful. You could find anything you want by simply googling it. We still have far too many musicians who don’t know what they don’t know. I want that to change and I will work to change it.

 

You still have the magic wand. What would you have done differently if you had to do the last 2 years over?

I would have gone to Kumisa earlier – I would have banged down their door until they put me on a programme. Nothing else. As much my lessons were painful ones and I lost a lot of money, the experience is priceless.

 

You’ve been using Music2Deal for 6 months now – can you describe your experience.

I volunteered to market the system because I could bring my passion for connecting with people  together with my passion for marketing. Your network is your currency and it is not possible to get anything done in this industry if you don’t know who are the right people to speak to. This system made that happen for me. However, it wasn’t really until my 3rd month that I started to realise it’s power. When the realisation hit me of what was possible, it’s like a new energy came about in marketing it – that new energy is because I was selling my experience now and not a system. I would honestly not continue to market something which doesn’t work for me. Music2Deal is one of the best things to happen to me which is why I work on it every day.

 

What else does Slight Edge Events do?

I have one artist manager working with me – she is managing one artist. My focus has changed to quality over quantity. I mean at one point there were 22 artists and my little car – I really did have my head in the clouds for a while and I won’t ever forget those times or the poor musicians sardined in my car with the blaring music.

I currently offer an administrative service to musicians in terms of music registration and online music platforms, which include online stores. I also assist them in writing biographies and basically consult on getting the basics in place like social media presence etc.

I do event support in terms of promotion, photography and videography. Although I am not a qualified photographer and videographer, I do these for artists who could never afford to get anyone to do it for them. My job is to get a clear performance which shows the artist’s stage presence. I leave the fancy stuff for the video gurus.

I spend the rest of my waking moments updating my database of blogs, media and radio and get an absolute thrill every time I use my database.

 

Where can we find you on social media?

Facebook personal https://www.music2deal.com/za/KUrGphv5MmvjHfcDZ067sGQkufA

Facebook personal: https://www.facebook.com/SheridanSlightEdgeEvents/

Facebook Company Page: https://www.facebook.com/SlightEdgeEvents/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWQJLqneNv67z0-cGH4vKfw

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sheridanrupert_slightedge/

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sheridanrupert/

Music2Deal Interview with Anca Lupes – one of the most experienced professionals in Romanian music business.

Anca Lupes – is one of the most experienced professionals in Romanian music business. One of her main advantages is that during her career in the music business she activates in almost all the areas of this industry –media (press, radio, TV), concert promoting, record companies, management and booking agencies. Due to her extensive experience, in 2006 she starts teaching Music Business. In 2009 she becomes the first Romanian music business professional to graduate the Master in Music Business Program at Berkelee College of Music. The same year she becomes part of an international music business consultants network – Musiconsult. Currently she is partner in Star Management, a 360o company specialised in business services for artists and the music industry that she established in 2004. In 2016, she founds Mastering The Music Business – a DIY conference for independent artists & music business professionals.

 

 

What exactly is the Mastering The Music Business and how did it come into existence?

Mastering The Music Business is the first music business conference ever organised in Romania.
After years of teaching music business and consulting in this field, I realised it was time for Romania to have a music business conference, where independent artists and music business professionals could meet their peers, learn from each other and start new projects together, also meet music business professionals from more developed markets and professionals from related industries such as advertising, video games and movie production.

 

Why Romania?

As a live music market, Romania has thrived in the last years, especially since we were included in the European Union in 2007. Tenths of festivals of all genres are happening all over the country, with new ones emerging every year. Compared to its neighboring countries, Romania is a much bigger market – with a population of approx. 20mil inhabitants, vs Bulgaria (7,3 mil people) or Hungary (10 mil people) also with the biggest economic growth in Europe lately. On the other hand, it’s time for the very talented Romanian musicians to start being more mobile outside our boders and of course we are welcoming any live artists interested to make their debut in Romania. Last but not least, we want to give Romanian music business professionals the opportunity to meet specialists from all around the world.

 

What are the plans for the next coming Mastering The Music Business event, what can we expect?

As usual, there will be panels discussing current topics of the music industry, presenting success stories, key professionals giving lectures and holding workshops. Evenings will be reserved to showcases so we will have everything for everyone: learning, networking and entertainment opportunities. Although with a focus on independent artists, MMB is opened to everybody in the music industry so our delegates are managers, booking agents, labels, media people, promoters, collecting societies, business consultants etc.

 

Why is it an absolute must for every music professional to attend the event?

Because this is the place to find out about new trends, technologies and all opportunities currently available to independent artists and their teams, to meet other professionals, open new markets, to exchange ideas and start new collaborations. For people from abroad, this is the place that gathers all relevant artists and music business professionals in Romania.

 

How do you want the Mastering The Music Business event to develop? What are your future plans? How could the event look like in 2020?

By 2020 MMB will grow to be an effervescent meeting place for all kind of people from the local and international music industry, all of them with the same eagerness to be informed, up to date, connected and at the best of their abbilities.

 

Afis-generalist-1

 

Romanian Music Industry Facts & Figures

During communism years that ended in 1989, Romania had one radio station, one TV station and one record company, all state owned. Hard to call that ‘music industry’. :)

We have all agreed here that Romanian music industry was officially born in 1996, with the passing of the copyright law. It was also the green light for all international majors to find local companies to license – BMG, Sony, Warner, EMI, Polygram … everybody was suddenly here.

21 years later, the Romanian music industry has come a long way and trying hard to close many gaps that are separating us from other European markets.

Bucharest is the capital city of Romania (over 2mil people living here), enjoying an effervescent nightlife with many live music clubs, of all genres from EDM to metal.

Around the country there are many live music clubs, in all big cities. There are also lots of theaters and other small & medium venues with capacities ranging between 300 – 4000 places and big sports venues with capacities ranging between 1500 to 11000.

All three major record companies are represented here –Sony and Warner have local licensees and Universal has its own office. There are also some relevant independent labels (Hahaha Production, Global Records, DeMoga) and the alternative/indie movement is powerful and thriving.

There are over 20 major radio stations/networks, mainly CHR (3 in Top 5) and 5 music TV stations (local).

 

Links:

www.starmanagement.ro

www.masteringthemusicbusiness.ro

Music2Deal.com

Music2Deal interviews; ‘Alex Cortiz’ (Aad de Mooy) Music Producer/Label Owner Netherlands EU

Alex keyboard

Web & platforms 

Apple Music  Vibin Grooves (Official website)

Discogs  Soundcloud 

Spotify  Beatport

Deezer  Reverbnation

Music2Deal  Linkedin

Welcome once again dear reader, another artist interview and I must tell you that I’m very pleased to have this opportunity to dig into the background of Aad de Mooy aka Alex Cortiz as I’ll admit I’m a big fan of this producers work so this interview was also an honour for this music-lover!

As an early aside folks, I’m always grateful that such direct contacts are now more easily made per the web, communication & the technology tools available to all of us in the age we live in.

So, this interview is another of those such encounters along my musical road so many thanks to Aad de Mooy for his time, myself & the Music2Deal team appreciate.

Let’s lead into our conversation via a tale of my own first encounter with the work of Alex Cortiz which began when I stumbled across ‘Bar Fly’ on a compilation album purchased on the spur of the moment whilst crate digging in London’s west end. I immediately loved the lazy lounge feel and vibe to the track but also, I found the name of the artist quite distinctive for some quirky reason although I didn’t dig much deeper at the time. A couple of years later a good friend in my music-land Guido van der Meulen** mentioned Alex Cortiz as we discussed life as well as one of his mix’s during an early morning Skype call and then, Guido mentioned the name ‘Aad’.  I dug deeper and it transpired that he already knew the producer behind the Alex Cortiz brand & persona as their paths had crossed via music and social media etc, a common tale in music-land I’m sure.

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As an aside, I myself dig the work of Alex Cortiz as I admire how his work moves effortlessly between up-tempo, dark & moody deep house through to down-tempo but still with a good use of beats & fine atmospheres. Aad drops in effects and sounds that really work with the overall ‘tone’ and vibe of the track. This is an aspect I seriously dig about this artists work.  With that said, let’s now discover more about the man & producer behind the Alex Cortiz brand and various other production personas.

DP Hi Aad, a warm welcome to the Music2Deal platform and thank you very much for making time for this interview. Let’s first begin with some background from yourself as a solid brand and producer, can you fill us in?

AAM Sure, well I have produced music professionally since 1990 with brands/personas such as D-Shake, Paradise 3001 and Flygang to name just a few and of course, as Alex Cortiz. I started off with D-Shake, a one-man artist & band known for the worldwide techno club hits ‘Yaaah’ and ‘Technotrance’.  These days though, I’m predominantly working under the Alex Cortiz banner capturing downtempo, nu jazz, dub and deep house. My latest project is planned for release via the Groove Gecko persona (album title ‘Slo-Fi Cuisine’) which captures musical elements including dark jazz, dub and future downtempo.

DP mm, sounds like a delicious mix of vibes straight away Aad, I look forward to listening to that new work (blatant fan comment :))

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DP Can you tell us some more about how your career in music began & developed?

AAM Well in 1983, 84 I started playing guitar in several new-wave bands based in Amsterdam and from there, I jumped into my first 4 track recorder & several other electronic dance devices, such as the Roland TR606, TR707 and the Korg MS10.

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DP In-terms of the current operating environment for a producer & specifically the mixture of music, self-brand building and social-media, how relevant do you feel record-labels are in achieving a level of success & a viable income in today’s music industry?

AAM If the record-label can bring a relevant & viable database of music partners to the table & has licensing partners, promotion channels as well as a depth of experience in distribution and promotion then yes, I think a record-label can be valuable still.

DP Have you licensed your music/signed your artists internationally?

AAM Yes, many times, all over the world.

DP Which country have you found the ‘best’ to licence music & for what reasons?

AAM The Netherlands; because of trustworthy business partners, as other countries within the European Union. It’s better as business is straightforward overall, payment is made per the terms of the contract in-hand. But of course, other parts of the world are or can be potentially bigger markets (e.g. the united states) but even in America, things are already more complicated from a legal viewpoint. Payments are harder to enforce as PRO’s work differently and there are, of course, many different agreements regarding music in that region.

Alex studio

DP Can you tell us about some of the notable projects you’ve completed historically?

AAM D-Shake (techno /multiple 12” singles and one album), Paradise 3001 (ambient dub techno / multiple 12” singles and albums), Timewarp (Leftfield techno/multiple 12” singles), Flygang (disco/album Disco Machine), Hallucination Generation (techno/multiple 12” singles and an album), Cat Scanner (techno/various 12” singles), Alex Cortiz (13 albums). This is to name just a few as there are much more. *

DP *On that point, I thought it would be useful for our readers to get a flavour of this artists book of work to-date under just one of his production personas, Alex Cortiz. The list is both substantial & each album consistently contains good tracks, a rare feat in my world of music.

Volume 1 (1998)    Moodfood (2000)

Make Believe (2001)     Mesmerising (2002)

Magnifico! (2004)     Phoenix (2005)

Lo Tek (2007)    Camera 707 (2011)

See Me Flowin (2012)   Magnifico! Vol.2 (2014)

New Works Vol.1 (2014)     Deep Deluxe (2015)

Oddities (2016)       Zooming In (2017)

DP So if for example, you were to partner with another party to license their music or indeed even sign artists for your label & region, what sort of music would you be seeking and why?

AAM I would look for progressive downtempo and quality house music because this is where my interests lie and I think there is still much to win there if you have the time, money and insights to create a solid base & brand for that niche in music.

DP I understand that there is new work in your production pipeline, are you able to give us a flavour of your next project Aad?

AAM Alex Cortiz (2 new albums pending release early & late 2018 respectively)

Groove Gecko (1 new album released Sept.’17)

D-Shake (4 new techno 12”s are pending release this year)

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DP What would you say is the biggest single problem faced by the music industry today and how can it be resolved?

AAM How to generate a decent and fair income/royalties from downloads and streams. This goes for both record labels as well as private artists/producers.

DP At what point did you observe that you could make this a reality for yourself and indeed, make a living from your production work?

AAM When the 2nd D-Shake release ‘Yaaah’ became a worldwide club hit.

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DP With regard to creativity vs, the business aspects of the Music business, what are your views on this important area? **

AAM They are both as important and in the end, you will see it takes 50/50 of your time. If you neglect the business aspect (marketing/promotion / good contracts / solid administration) you will not be able to live off it.

**Asked as yours truly has met artists with an (IMHO) unrealistic mindset reflecting the following attitude; ‘I don’t do the business side, I’m the creative one’. I just find this unrealistic as the two areas go together and even more so in an age when a manager is arguably not even required to achieve a level of standing.

DP What have been your best & worst experiences in music Aad?

AAM Best; being in several hit charts worldwide. Worst; several bankruptcies of record labels and licensing partners, meaning I ended up not getting paid the royalties/income that was due to me.

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DP with regards to social media, how do you project yourself as well as share your work?

AAM I try to share work at regular intervals on social media and I consider how old or new a piece of work is as well as which as the time of year & which social media platforms to post on.

DP Do you ever see yourself playing outside of a studio?

AAM  Hmm, although I think it can be very useful, I’m fortunate in that I manage to produce sufficient income without live work.

DP Can you give us a flavour of the background to the creation of your forthcoming Alex Cortiz album?

AAM The next Alex Cortiz album will take off where Deep Deluxe ended. (a response which btw prompted a big grin from myself dear reader, as I really dig the Deep Deluxe album, dope)

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DP Per your now 27-year career on the underground-scene, it seems that this is a big album as it will take your music to a wider ‘general’ audience, how does that make you feel?

AAM Well it’s not a big album in the way you’ve described it as frankly, I keep it simple & always hope the next album (under any guise) will take me to a wider audience. Therefore I try out several new ideas for every album. For instance, my last album’ Zoomin In’ is quite different from its predecessor ‘Oddities’. I use glitches and bass sounds not everybody will like. Also, I added more vocal touches than usual.

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DP Clearly you have established a fine reputation on the underground down-tempo scene & in other genres also Aad so what are your current ambitions for the future?

AAM To buy a yacht! Ha-ha! J but seriously, it’s my plan to try to develop myself as a DJ. I’m hoping to create some mixes that matter. I’m curious to see if I will be able to add new music samples & use the music of others in a fresh & even daring way.

DP A very interesting last response above and most intriguing to me too, must listen out for that new work-string from Aad, variety is life after all and the same applies in music-land.

For now, at the top are relevant web links to Aad’s book of work to-date as well as direct album links below. I highly recommend a listen and do feel free to add thoughts & comments below post listening dear reader, I’ll be reading all with interest.

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Volume 1 https://open.spotify.com/album/5Gp4lIYYkl42YjdgnoOY2G

Moodfood https://open.spotify.com/album/08FPGuBmFpPUFP8boHiEYM

Make Believe https://open.spotify.com/album/6sFNCJS2YYxx2Zq3UkLKkj

Mesmerising  https://open.spotify.com/album/5Bjm15yChPPrjbGKKxBCGm

Magnifico!  https://open.spotify.com/album/1Q44klEfRfkZrlK9q6TRWD

Magnifico! (bonus tracks) https://open.spotify.com/album/6Fn3id5NMMIuVPCkLDBhs1

Phoenix  https://open.spotify.com/album/4wpHHgL2PkfM7JIhTTLCI0

Lo Tek https://open.spotify.com/album/0YsGUh0XMDomEtfb1woUcG

Camera 707 https://open.spotify.com/album/2HvlSmzVyAfnIlVIls2Ygn

See Me Flowin https://open.spotify.com/album/13xpdoCJBB4bljMRQdHvEo

Magnifico! Vol.2 https://open.spotify.com/album/2FeOho9J6nQLrgNJuqHDJh

Magnifico! Vol.2 bonus tracks https://open.spotify.com/album/5t75KjlCPxwuBFpim9ITCC

New Works Vol.1 https://open.spotify.com/user/113433464/playlist/0w2nK6LSyQR6zcyJr0Wfs6

Oddities  https://open.spotify.com/album/2V64BjViZI9lQAGEcJLFFN

Deep Deluxe https://open.spotify.com/album/1osXI9PWRSem3gzAIMBdjQ

Zooming In https://open.spotify.com/album/2Lo7JPTvXj8Ri1JWUBz6r6

Get it on itunes-square_bd8a97e

Volume 1 https://itunes.apple.com/nl/album/volume-1-funkin-triphop-variations/id1212992138

Moodfood  https://itunes.apple.com/nl/album/moodfood/id1213511620

Make Believe https://itunes.apple.com/nl/album/make-believe/id1213273339

Mesmerising   https://itunes.apple.com/nl/album/mesmerising/id1213270542

Magnifico! https://itunes.apple.com/nl/album/magnifico-a-selection-of-his-finest-tracks/id1213269603

Magnifico! (bonus tracks) https://itunes.apple.com/nl/album/magnifico-bonus-tracks/id1213268136

Phoenix  https://itunes.apple.com/nl/album/phoenix/id1213235230

Lo Tek https://itunes.apple.com/nl/album/lo-tek/id1212964592

Camera 707  https://itunes.apple.com/nl/album/camera-707/id1213484223

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DP Ok, I’ll conclude this interview with a big shout out and much appreciation to Aad de Mooy for his time & on-going musical offerings, I’m always glad we crossed paths Mr Cortiz, my ears tell me so! 😊

AAM I would like to thank Darren for his interest in my music and to the pointed questions. I think M2D can be a valuable platform where musicians, producers, record labels and managers from the music industry can interact with each other with the prospect of good deals for everyone.

Thank you Aad and peace & music dear reader, forever!

Darren Pearson, Music2Deal UK

Darren (DP) on Twitter     Music2Deal UK Home
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Reference: Guido van der Meulen, DJ & web broadcaster and the man behind ‘Guido’s Lounge Café’, a global & highly popular downtempo weekly show & musical brand.  Listen and more here;
Mixcloud   Soundcloud   Twitter   Website  YouTube  Goggle+  Guido’s Lounge Cafe on Facebook
 

 

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Music2Deal interviews: ‘Afterlife’ aka Steve Miller; Music Producer/Label Owner United Kingdom

DP Steve, hello & a warm welcome to Music2Deal & indeed, to our blog. Both I & Mario are very pleased to have you onboard the Music2Deal platform per your background so today, let’s focus on yourself and your career in music specifically. Can you tell us something of yourself to begin and perhaps give our readers a deeper insight into your background & motivations please Steve?

SM Hi Darren, well I’ve been writing and producing electronic music for commercial release for the last 20 years. Before that, I toured with a reggae band and worked occasionally with K-Klass on some of their remixes. As a child, I was classically trained at the piano. As a teenager striking out in the world, I once found myself in a testing situation when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life vs. my parent’s expectations of the path I should take.

DP So clearly you have a life-long background in music?

SM Yes, although a photography professor once told my parents that I should go to art college as my photography was also excellent although my parents wanted me to be a lawyer. So many parents want their children to be an improved update of themselves rather than recognise the fact that their children are each individual spirit’s and have very different ideas about what they themselves want to do whilst they are on this planet.

DP Thanks for that candid background to your motivations Steve. Now, before we dive deeper into the man behind the producer, can you tell us, which are your own top 3 tracks that you’ve produced as Afterlife to-date?

SM The following tracks in no particular order;

 ‘The Way to San Jose’ – from the album ‘On Being’ (released July ‘17)  San Jose is one of my favourite villages in Ibiza and a place we have driven through a lot travelling from Ibiza Town to the San Antonio Bay area so I decided to create a soundtrack to match.

‘Speck of Gold’ lyrics & vocals by Cathy Battistessa** (released June 2004) From the album of the same name, this was my reaction to the events of 9/11 and this track took over 2 years to get right.

‘Guitarra G – Banda Sonora’ (Afterlife Mix) (released Feb.’09) When Defected initially sent me the parts to this track, they included a LOT of guitar takes by a very talented guitarist from South America (name unknown). The takes were not really used much in the club mix so that’s why i started with a long ambient intro to allow the guitar to shine through.

Resume

SM My first professional work was as keyboard player & writer for 9-piece reggae band ‘Bassdance’, led by Basil Gabbidon, ex-guitarist from Steel Pulse. We toured for 6 years nationally between 1984 -1990 then I left the band and headed to Los Angeles to learn digital music production. I returned to the UK 3 years later and consequently sessioned all keyboards on Karl Pitterson’s** own album. Karl incidentally was the sound engineer on Bob Marley’s legendary ‘Exodus’ album and produced the Handsworth Revolution album by Steel Pulse.

Karl taught me about engineering and I then worked with Nigel Luby** who taught me a lot more about engineering & electronic music production generally. Then I worked with K-Klass for about a year on remixes, then the Afterlife project commenced in 1993.

DP In-terms of output can you fill us in on the projects you’ve completed?

SM See the discography below;

“Another Chance” – Roger Sanchez – Defected records and UK Number 1 (Silver disc awarded for UK sales, see shot below*)

“At Night” Remix – Shakedown – Defected

“Visions” – Jakatta – Rulin Records/MOS (Gold disc awarded for UK sales)

“Pjanoo” (remix)– Eric Prydz – MOS

“Mad World” (remix) – Tears for Fears – Universal

“The Best Things in Life are Free” (Janet Jackson & Luther Vandross (K-Klass mix) A&M Records

“National Anthem” (remix) – Lana Del Rey – Polydor

“Guide me God” (remix) – Sinead O’Connor – Rasa Records

“American Dream” (remix) – Jakatta – MOS

“Sandcastles” (remix) – Jerome Sydenham & Dennis Ferrer – Defected

“Balearic Unplugged” – Lovely Laura & Tyrell – Album (production, arrangement, mix and additional instrumentation) – Hed Kandi

“The Sun Goes Down” (Pete Gooding remix) – Level 42 (production, arrangement, mix and additional instrumentation) – Universal Music

“It’s You” (No Logo Sunset Mix) – Shapeshifters – Defected – (production, arrangement, remix and additional instrumentation)

Discogs Recent additions to this platform include my new album ‘On Being’ as well as a new album from ‘The Normalites’ (me and Chris Coco).

Lovely Laura* & Tyrrell ‎– Hed Kandi: Balearica Unplugged Final production & additional instruments.

me and roger*With Roger Sanchez at Cafe Mambo Ibiza after a hot sultry evening & just before we both went to do the ‘night shift’ at Pacha.

DP Have you licensed your music/signed your artists internationally Steve?

SM Yes, I’ve licensed my own tracks to over a thousand compilations, I’ve also licensed my own albums to Hed Kandi & Defected records in the past but now run my own label, Subatomic UK.

DP Which country do you find is the best to license music to and why?

SM I don’t think there’s any best country to license to as all labels release worldwide, irrespective of their country of origin & if they are serious about what they do.

DP What are your current artists/projects/goals with the Afterlife brand and ‘journey’?

SM I’m really pleased with the reaction the Micko Roche album ‘Bleu’**is receiving. It was released in May of this year and has received a lot of DJ and radio support across Europe. The nicest email I got was from Danny Rampling who absolutely loved it. Micko is a very talented musician & songwriter as well as a real pleasure to work with. I have signed a couple of tracks from Micko’s daughter Jesse who has a fine voice and writes good songs. It will take a couple of years of careful work but I see an album there. She’s working on a live performance but that will take time getting the right players together to replicate the recordings.

DP Whilst in the area of vocalists  Steve, what advice would you offer to newcomers seeking a vocal career in music?

SM Find a vocal coach that teaches you the basics of correct breathing and pitch, no more than that, the rest is up to you.

DP Would you advise vocalists to seek out a manager and what attributes should they look for if so?

SM You will only get a good manager when you are worth managing and when that happens they will find you. The PRS has great guidelines about the sort of manager you should hire, for me a good legal knowledge of the business is essential.

DP Indeed, although per the age we’re in, do you feel that artists even require a manager per the variety of widely available self-promotional tools, platforms and human connections e.g. Music2deal as well as social media?

SM Only when they are successful enough to be worth managing properly, then it’s a must so the artist has the time to concentrate on their art.

DP  Ok so is a track-record of live performances a must-have for any vocalist that you would consider collaborating with? e.g. Cathy Battistessa** & Melanie Williams (Sub Sub)

SM Yes, there’s not much point being a singer if you don’t do live gigs, it’s part of the job.

DP What’s your view on live performances Steve? i.e. can you describe for us your ideal environment and setting?

SM An audience of people NOT videoing the performance with smartphones, rather simply living in the moment is a good start. Secondly, outdoors in the sunshine with a great sound system and engineer.

DP Ok thanks & moving on to the bigger pictures in wider music-industry terms, what do you feel is the biggest single problem faced by the industry today and how do you think it can be resolved?

SM Streaming. Artists do not receive anything like the correct share of streaming income, streaming sites cater to the lowest common denominator of pop music, the algorithms used are incredibly “narrow-minded” and do not represent the enormous range of new exciting music being made around the world. It’s the McDonalds of the music business and without a decent income, we will see more part-time artists and less professionalism. That’s not good for anybody. It’s a fact that only 20% of Full PRS members make their living solely from music. 20 years ago, the figure was 80%.

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AL1

A ‘Breather’, an interlude.

At this point, I thought we’d take a step back from the main interview & dig into one Afterlife track in particular. It’s a highly popular track in the Lounge downtempo arena and unsurprisingly so as the vocal performance from Rachel Lloyd fully complements the audio experience created by Steve so, let’s dive in for more;

‘Breather’ (track 8, album ‘Simplicity 2000’) – the origins of the initial version;

Nb. Play me while you read me!

DP  3 random comments via YouTube

“15 years later it’s still sooooo sooooothing……..

“OMG this song takes me back 17 years, I can’t even describe how it makes me feel, such a beautiful nectar-like timeless warm mysterious summer night”

“This brought a fresh air of holidays and images of an island to me. when it ends I’ll realize the quiet of my room. and then I’ll travel somewhere else with another song ..”

SM Breather was the first track I made with Rachel Lloyd. Rachel was a vocalist who came to the studio with a couple of DJ’s who wanted her to sing on a house track (which never took off incidentally). When the session was over, I asked Rachel what she thought of the backing track to Breather and she indicated that she would like to try a vocal so, I hit record and away she went. Her vocals are just a stream of consciousness really, I liked the take so I said I would edit and arrange it later into a song which I then did.  It formed part of the original Simplicity album (released late ’99 by Hed Kandi) and it consequently sold out in a week. Then, Mark Doyle (founder/owner Hed Kandi) deleted the release and suggested we commissioned remixes so, we then re-released a double album with quality artwork the following year. Rachel came to the studio several times during the making of the track and I always remember that her way of working was to never hear the track before she started recording her vocals so it really was as I mentioned, a stream of vocal consciousness which seemed to work and which Rachel was happy for me to edit the takes into a song format.

‘Breather 2000’ was, of course, the remix of the original:

SM The brainchild behind it was Eric Walkoff** who was a Norwegian national broadcaster on NRK Radio**, essentially Norway’s equivalent of the BBC.

SM Erik called me one day saying he had an idea to make a Latin remix with a brilliant guitarist who (at the time) was the best in Norway and did a lot of sessions for TV. It was completely Eric’s idea to remix the track in a Bossa Nova style, he commissioned the players, the studio and he then went on to be the mix engineerHe also remixed a house track I’d made (‘Sunrise’) which became the main release of that song which was then remixed by Roger Sanchez (both tracks can be found on the Speck of Gold album). Eric was a recording genius and he loved to do live mobile recordings. You can hear one of his recordings here which he did at Roskilde of Groove Armada live. It was (I believe) GA’s first live performance and Eric took the NRK mobile studio to the gig specifically for Groove Armada. He then recorded the live set then mixed it back in the main studio at NRK to create this mix;  Balearic classics Vol.6

I consequently visited Erik’s home in Oslo and he came over to the UK many times and we became good friends.

DP I always enjoy such insights to a tracks creation so yes, I did indulge myself completely with that last question peeps (blatantly some may say as it is a fave!).  Let’s now continue with our discussion and interview itself. I put this next question(s) to Steve specifically as he’s a known industry collaborator with a good ear for a fine vocalist and has worked with many in his production career personally based on what I’ve seen & heard so, well, there it is and on we go.

DP So tell me Steve, when you collaborate with another party to license their music or indeed sign artists to you your label, what sort of music are you looking for and why?

SM I tend to work with artists who can play at least one instrument very well and have some fresh ideas but need help with the production side. Musically it can be very diverse so it’s more about what grabs me on an emotional level.

DP Creativity vs, the business aspects of the music industry, what are your views on this (just as) important area?

SM I think that a lot of artists are too involved daily with social media and spend less time in the creative zone. Only last week I saw someone post that they had started a record label but didn’t realise how much hard work went into it, they had no idea whether they should be a PRS member or PPL member and were asking people on Facebook for their opinion…you might as well go down the pub and ask a bunch of strangers how you should run your business…

AL4

DP Do you have a view with regards to social media, how do you project yourself as well as share your work in both music & art?

SM Facebook and Twitter work for me. I don’t have time to share photos on all the rest.

DP Can you fill us in on the background to the creation of the recent Afterlife album?

SM It’s simply a snapshot of the last 12 months of my life, I think that’s all an album can ever be.

Listen to the album preview

View platform availability

DP Can you give us a flavour of Afterlife’s plans for 2018?

SM I’m concentrating on my next album and my monthly radio show Subatomic Radio. The latest Afterlife album was released July 7th this year ‘On Being’ which includes two tracks that I co-wrote with Rood Chakra who were Holly Chand, Naked Nick, Matt Black and Jonathan Moore (Coldcut). Later in the year, there will be an E.P. from No Logo (Pete Gooding and I).

DP as an aspiring writer of lyrics myself, can I ask whether songwriting is an area that you’re very comfortable with Steve? and would you perhaps even describe your own ‘process’ of writing lyrics & songwriting (that’s a purely ‘just for me’ question peeps, it’s a wordsmith thing  )

SM Well, I don’t write lyrics at all but I DO really enjoy editing a stream of consciousness & vocal takes into a song arrangement so, I’m very comfortable writing music, it’s the space that feels the most real. The process usually begins with a melody or bassline and groove in my head and I must then drop everything & get into the studio quickly to get the bare bones down before I lose it, (or write down the dots on paper). Sometimes though with tracks such as ‘Blue Bar’, it was simply because I had been asked to write a piece of music for a specific album – in the case of this track, Jose Padilla phoned me and asked me if I could write something for Cafe del Mar Vol 3.

DP After building a solid reputation on the underground down-tempo scene what are your ambitions for the future?

SM To make even better records.

DP What’s been your experience of using the Music2Deal platform so far?

SM I think it’s a great way to bring like-minded people together.

DP Overall what have been your best & worst experiences in music?

SM Best: Listening to the Protection album by Massive Attack for the first time, I played it repeatedly. Worst: Listening to anything by David Guetta!  (DP chuckles loudly!)

Like that last response! :D  ok, that’s a wrap, always leave em’ laughing right dear reader.!  Seriously,  I trust that you’ve enjoyed reading this as much as I did during my scribing & conversations with Afterlife over various mediums. A big thank you to Steve Miller for his time & insights. Myself, Mario  & the M2D team appreciate & are pleased that you’re on board Music2Deal for the future!

SM It’s been a pleasure, thanks for putting together Music2Deal, anything that helps unite music makers has to be a good thing.

Subatomic label

Afterlife artist page

DP Finally, and just for yourself dear reader, my last words are simply these; Go listen, get inspired then go create!  Why?  Because that mantra works for this sometime scriber & always sound lover

Peace & music, forever

Darren E. Pearson – UK Country Partner

Music2Deal.com

Join my business network on Music2Deal

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**References

Erick Walkoff, background.

NRK Radio on Wikipedia 

Cathy Battistessa (Official website)

Cathy Battistessa – Wikipedia

bleu   Miko Roche ‘Bleu’ album mini-mix

Micko Roche on Facebook

 

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