Numbers that drive you crazy

A good decision is placed on knowledge not on numbers – Plato

The best way to start things off is to give you an example. Guess what? It’s based on my everyday life – school. To be honest, there isn’t much else I’m doing right now, working and going to school. Oh, and doing sports, reading a book, …

Ok, that’s quite a lot! But I do spend most of my time at school unfortunately / luckily…
At school everyone cares about numbers: “You need to reach at least 50 points out of 100 to pass the class.” “You need to write at least 3000 words.” ….
“I want to earn a lot more money” is a common sentence by my friends and acquaintances.

I doubt those numbers are doing anything good to us. You can measure the numbers so they drive us crazy, they create competition. And whereever we face competition, there are people faking it. A wise man said once: “Only believe the statistics you have faked by yourself”

 

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Doesn’t matter if it’s politics or the music industry, the higher the numbers are, the better you are. Or at least the better you look like. I don’t want to name any artist but there are artists having their music in the charts even if it’s been released 2 years ago (especially in Psy-Trance)
Of course, you don’t need to sell many copies to get into Top 100, but there are also less people buying music. It’s kind of weird if a song stays in the charts permament for a year or two.

So, if a song is on place one at the charts, it doesn’t neccessarily mean it is the best song. I discovered many songs that are a lot better but underrated. So getting into the charts is more a point of having lots of nice friends or companies to buy you in?
You cannot generalize it, but there’s lots of faking when it comes to numbers. And what’s the result if everybody is faking? Faking, faking and faking. It’s a vicious circle. It’s a never ending story…

So, if you don’t get into faking the numbers are driving you crazy. You start to wonder where people are getting their plays from.

 

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If we could turn off all the statistics, it would make life a lot easier. Whose music gets listen will be recognized. Event promoters would stop comparing artists by their plays (this actually happens, an artist who has more plays than another gets easier booked). So an artist who has lots of plays (fake plays) gets booked, but maybe only once. People actually don’t know him so they won’t go there to see him. Faking statistics isn’t good in any way.

What do you think about statistics? Do you like having statistics to see your progression? Or are they driving you crazy?

 

 

Guest Blog: Way To The Top (Amos & Riot Night)

Hi all. Well, that’s probably the best way to start things but I’ll introduce myself a little bit better now. I’m David, probably best known for making Trance music alongside my partner-in-crime Paul together as Amos & Riot Night. We’ve had releases on some rather ‘high profile’ labels including Aerys (a sublabel of Armada), GO Music, Degenerate, Afterdark, AVA, Monster, to name but a few, with support from pretty much the cream of the crop in Trance including Armin van Buuren, Aly & Fila, Paul van Dyk, Sean Tyas, Simon Patterson, Giuseppe Ottaviani, Sneijder, Will Atkinson (who’d played a track on BBC Radio 1), John Askew.

 

Armin van Buuren playing Vlind vs Amos & Riot Night – Betrayed at A State of Trance 855

 

But enough of that; I could sit here forever boasting about all that we’ve achieved thus far. This blog isn’t all about that and that shit is only a mere fraction of my ‘career’ within music. It’s taken 7 long ass years to get to this point here so probably best if I took it right back to the beginning.

 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always been fascinated with music and sound. As a kid, and I’m sure anyone else can say the same too, you would go through those stages of saying ‘I wanna do this’ or ‘I’d like to that in a few years’ and you never can be sure of which way things can go. Even when I was going through that phase, music was the one thing that really kept me going. I was always involved in it in some way or another, whether it be playing in an orchestra in a big concert hall, or playing as part of a rock band. I’ve been playing piano since I was 3 and drums since I was 10. As I’d entered into my teens, I realised that music was what I’d really wanted to do, but what or where exactly, I never knew.

 

Now back to this fascination of sounds that I’d previously mentioned. I remember when I’d first got a taste for Trance music as a young kid and would hear these amazing tracks in the background to programmes on TV. Those epic synth sounds really grabbed my ears and was pretty much hooked since. It came in waves though. Trance in the UK went back underground and I didn’t discover those epic tracks again until 2009 when I finally, FINALLY found out their names.

 

The ones that I vividly remember from way back then:

 

Mauro Picotto – Komodo

Paul van Dyk – Another Way

William Orbit – Barber’s Adagio For Strings (Ferry Corsten Remix)

Des Mitchell – Welcome To The Dance

Moby – We Are All Made Of Stars (Tiesto Remix)

 

When I’d rediscovered the newer Trance sounds, it was an awakening. What had I missed? Where has it been all this time? Only for me to find that it never really went anywhere, just underground. I had just started producing electronic music and remember hearing the newer tracks from the likes of Sean Tyas, Simon Patterson, Gareth Emery, Daniel Kandi, Will Atkinson, Aly & Fila, John O’Callaghan, Activa and thought, ‘well if these can do it, so can I’ and I’ve always had that mind-set for as long as I’ve been producing music. You’re always learning in this game and even though Paul & me have been working together for nearly 5 years now, that has never gone away. Hell, I’ve listened back to some of our earlier works and still remember making those tracks to this day. I mean without trying to blow our own trumpet, we’ve improved massively, but are we truly satisfied? Of course not! Sometimes those thoughts can come and go, like ‘am I really making these tracks?’ or ‘are we even good enough to be at this level’.

 

29572311_10156365674198593_7214399031156408320_oAmos & Riot Night entered Beatport Top 10 on Place 8 with their track “Betrayed” together with Vlind

 

Has this been plain sailing? No. Have we given up? No. Why should we give up? There is no reason to give up! I’ll be frank; I’ve seen folks drop out of this industry simply because they’ve given up far too soon and, to be completely honest, not put enough effort in as they should. Yeah, we did hit a low point at the tail end of last summer and there was too much negative shit at the time. Then again, it’s funny how things work out though? Radio 1 play, new signing with Armada, GO Music release.

 

Can speak for myself that one small negative blip can really throw things off course and it’s pretty shitty when it does. You gotta just pick yourself back up, keep going.

 

Hopefully you’ll be seeing a lot more of us doing these blogs and hope you enjoyed this first one J

 

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5 Tips for the perfect DJ Set

In the past weeks many of you requested a blog on how to prepare a DJ Set. Selecting the tracks is a personal preference and every artist is taking care of other aspects. Today I’ll give you some of my tips.

 

1. Playtime

The very first thing I do is looking up what time I’m playing. There’s nothing worse than having a DJ playing the hardest and most powerful tracks in the very beginning. Don’t be such a fool and select your tracks carefully!!

2. Other DJs

You aren’t the only DJ playing that night, are you? If you don’t know the DJ who’s playing right after you just drop him a message and ask what style he plans to play. Select your tracks in a way, that you finish them off with some tracks in the style the other DJ is going to play. It’ll make the transition from one DJ to another a lot smoother. The party people will thank you for doing so! 😉

3. Structure

Great, you already know what songs you are playing in the end / beginning of your set. If you play the warm up or cool down you have tons of possibilities on how to structure your set.
Don’t hesitate to spend most of your time in structuring the mix. Adopt the same structure you used the last times. The crowd loves the style you are playing and they want to hear something similar! Don’t play the same sets at the same venues, though.

4. Plan B

I recommend you to have a “Plan B”. Think of your DJ Set like a car ride. You got destination A and B. However, there’s more than one route so you can either take the highway or the motorway.

5. Play it!!

Once the DJ Set is structured and well organized it’s time to play it! There can’t go anything wrong by following the steps above cautiously and corresponding with the crowd!

 

Do you have a checklist on how to prepare your checklist? I would love to hear about your workflow! Just leave a comment down below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible!

If you’d like to read more 5 tips guides, hit the like button, leave a comment or drop me a message!

Focus On The Moment

The past weeks I focused on writing about philosophical topics. However, I thought it would be more than appropriate for this week’s blog to write something personal. In the very beginning of my so-called “blogging” career I talked about what inspires me to produce music, my journey and what I’m looking forward to in the future.

Nonetheless, the most important is to enjoy the moment. So I’d love to talk about what my life currently looks like, the problems I’m facing and, of course, the small successes I’m having.

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I wonder what the maximum amount of time, yes, I’m talking about time, is you can put into working until your body and mind stagnates. Currently, I work about 70-80 hours a week excluding the time I spend for travelling. It seems to work out fine for me, I still got lots of energy and I can accomplish most of my work in time without losing quality. Until it’s sunday. Sunday’s the day I get nothing done even if I try hard.
So I rather spend my sundays with reading a book, sleeping or doing nothing. I cannot work 7 days a week without any breaks and little amount of sleep. I doubt anybody can do so.

What still keeps me up to do my work are the little achievements. The ones I know I got better, even if it’s just a bit. There’s nothing greater than seeing someone’s checking your work and they see you put effort in it. And they like it.
I did some artwork for a friend last week, finished the mastering for others and a new song whilst I coped with school. What excites me the most is that I got deeper into video animation. Video animation is like a super professional topic for me. I didn’t know it’s that hard. But I can do it if I really want to.

So finally, what keeps me going to do all this stuff? It’s just the little things in life that I enjoy and appreciate!

Where is the line between art and not art?

I decided to do things a little differently this week…
Instead of posting a quote for the beginning I’d like to start with the definition of a term:

Art: The expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

Source: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/art

 

In my opinion, they absolutely nailed it. “producing work[s] to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power”
We know that art is created not only to invoke interested, wonder and emotion in the beholder, but also to allow the artist to express themselves.

The definition states “beauty”. Beauty. What is beauty? There’s an old saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Therefore, what appears to be beautiful in my eyes may not look so appealing to you.

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Is art only about beauty? Can something be beautiful without being art, or be art without being beautiful? What about maths? Is maths beautiful in some way?
An architect designs buildings, a musician composes songs and a carpenter builds a workpiece. All of these forms are classed by many as art, proving that artistic practice is not limited to just paintings.
I see many people complaining about modern art.
They say: “Even my child could do this”, “Those are just random lines without any meaning”, ….

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Why is modern art so popular then? Because of its beauty? Because of its emotional power? Is it about its uncertainty? Art can be very philosophical. It can be interpreted differently by everybody. For me, that’s the big difference between modern art and ancient art.

So is Albrecht Dürer’s Young Hare art? The answer lies in the eyes of the beholder: it’s for you to decide…

 

Tired of being tired?

“Your future depends on your DREAMS so go to SLEEP.” – Mesut Barazany

Every day that I go to school, I see many of my friends are tired. Do they need to be so tired, and would they benefit from sleeping more?

For me, sleeping isn’t a waste of time. I actually feel like I’m gaining time. Time that can be used more efficiently. Time to be used to grow myself. My workflow is a lot better when I’ve had enough sleep.

Sleeping a lot isn’t the only key to success. Sleeping efficiently is the way to go. Nine hours of sleep is nine hours of sleep, surely? In my opinion, nine hours in bed isn’t equal to 9 hours sleep.
Ever woken up during night to go to the toilet or for a drink of water? Or maybe because your brain is smashed with questions? Do you remember when you fell asleep?
If you go to bed at nine o’clock will you actually fall asleep at nine o’clock?

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Sleeping is a state of mind. A way of clearing your thoughts, of reexperiencing your life. Letting your brain process the information it received throughout the day.

So I’ve got a question to you:
Before you go to bed, do you shut down your PC without saving data and closing all applications?

No?

Why are you doing this to your body? Don’t you think your body needs to shut down and save everything that happened? Using your mobile phone before sleeping activates your mind, which is not what you want when you are supposed to be trying to sleep!
You can take out the USB stick plenty times without losing any data, but in the end you will eventually harm the stick.

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How can you relax your body before falling asleep?
I prepared a list for you what helped me the most:

  • Getting fresh air to your sleeping room before going to bed
  • Shutting down all electronical devices at least 30 minutes before falling asleep. Try to power them off and remove all plugs from the socket.
  • Read a book, write a poem, remember what has happened today or do any other kind of intellectual art
  • Calm down and try not to get interrupted by anything or anybody. Do it like your mother has told you if you can’t sleep 😀 one sheep, two sheeps, three sheeps,….
  • Keep a dream diary to sum up all your dreams. You think you do not dream very often? Well, just try to find yourself in the morning instead of rushing out of bed and try to remember what you have been dreaming. With some practice you may remember some of them.
  • Get a regular sleeping habbit. There is nothing worse than sleeping at different times a day. The night is meant for sleeping, whilst the day is used for working.

If you have any other tips on how to get your body ready for sleeping, please let me know in the comments down below!

So don’t be tired of being tired anymore! 😉

Perception

“Your perception may not be my reality” – Aporva Kala

 

Have you ever eaten something you did not like? Have you wondered how others can eat this? It does not matter if you are already an adult and experiencing this by your children’s eating habits or if you experience it by your own. Your parents told you it tastes so good. But actually it does not. May it be your perception?

Is my green the same as your green? Maybe it looks completely different within your eyes but you call it green as it’s been taught you to be green.

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One thing is for sure. Mindset plays an important role for your perception. If I want to like it the chances are high that I will like. But that is not always the case (referring to the green pepper story 😀 )

I am a musician so it is very fascinating to see how people perceive my music. What do they feel like? What do they hear?
Often I find myself sitting in front of my pc worrying if that snare is too loud or if it fits in appropriately. Actually, it is the other way around 😀 I love to keep my snare very quiet :)) Nonetheless, everybody reacts differently. Some complain that it is ways too loud whileas others say it is too quiet. But most of the people do not really care as long as it does not disturb them.

But does my music convey a message? Does any song convey a message these days? I doubt many people care about the story, or the lyrics. Have you ever found yourself in interpreting lyrics? Music got a way of entertainment instead of transmitting stories.

There is just one thing that surprises me. All the great songs i hear do have a story. All the songs that do not have a storyline get forgotten. They get lost in the crowd. They will never become successful in the music industry.

The story influences the songs quality and perception but people do not perceive the story? Have you ever thought about lyrics of a certain song? Have you ever experienced the feeling the composer have had while writing the song? Did a song teach you a lesson for live?

 

“Your perception of me is a reflection of you”

 

 

 

 

Dance with the sun!

People are taking care of their nutrition, doing lots of sports, spending less time in front of their TV. All of that just to become happy.

Most of them miss the most important source of happiness. Light. Sunlight.

When I woke up this morning it was dark outside. I went to the gym and did my morning workout. I realized (yep, actually realized!!) that the sun was rising while i was training.  It filled me with joy. It was a great day. I could barely see any clouds on the sky. So I decided to spend more time on the outside today.

It is winter over here in Austria and we got only 8 hours of sunlight a day. I spend lots of my time at school, actually almost all of my available time, so I hardly see what is going on outside of these four walls.

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I was wondering what is important to become happy. And sunlight is definitely one of the major factors. Spend at least an hour a day on the outside. Take your time and fill your body with Vitamine D. Take an hour off of your work.

Sunlight will do the rest for you!

 

Have you ever experienced a lack of sunlight? How did you feel? Did you find out that you were missing sunlight?