Maschine Studio Live PA 05-29-2015

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YouTube version of this set:

http://youtu.be/D7V8HvRLXfo

Audio version of the set:

Maschine Studio Live PA 05-29-2015

This live set has been a long time coming, something I’ve been trying to do with different gear for awhile now.  After bouncing around for what seemed like forever trying various different set ups, I finally decided that the Maschine Studio controller would be something I could really dive into.

This entire set was created and performed entirely using the Maschine Studio controller, the laptop was closed the entire time as I wanted to treat the set as if it was purely done on hardware.   There was an NI limiter on the master channel in Maschine, otherwise this was recorded directly from Maschine with no additional processing after the fact.

An earlier attempt at doing this showed me I needed to really pay attention to my CPU usage, it’s easy to get carried away using lots of the bigger plug ins from the library.  I have Maschine set up so that each Group is a basically a separate song, so I need to have enough CPU available to load 8 songs at once in effect.

I started by keeping the drums mainly sourced from samples, both in the Maschine library, and some of my own found sounds (more on this later).  Other than the kick drums, most of the percussion and cymbal noises are various odd sounds I sampled in various forest preserves near where I live.  Editing, tweaked, effected, and pitched all over of course.

I used “Group I” in Maschine to host a global delay and reverb, and sent just about everything through that to save more power.  There was also a few filters, EQs, a transient shaper, and delay on the master channel.  These were assigned to Master Channel macros so that I could effect the entire sound of the set if I wanted to.

This left me plenty of CPU I found to get a bit more indulgent with some of the instrument sounds.  Time to dive into Massive and some of the new content in the Komplete Select sounds from the Maschine v2.3 update recently.

This video was actually my very first trial run of the set.  I was mainly trying to see if the cameras would record long enough, and if Maschine could handle running that long as well.  I ended up having so much fun I just went for it, and happily all the camera and audio aspects worked as expected too.  I still have quite a bit more I want to do to fine-tune the set and a couple of the songs, but I’m still really happy with how it turned out.

Maschine Studio ended up being a lot better than I expected from a performance standpoint.  Doesn’t take long to really start knowing your way around, and with things like the mixer, macros, and synth tweaking only one button press away, I was surprised at how quick I could move around to keep the set as fluid as possible.  Good stuff, and I look forward to doing some more live music with this set up!

Hope you enjoy the music!
Tarekith

http://tarekith.com
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Building A New Live Set

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Now that things are settled down a bit from the move, I finally have the time and mindset to really focus on getting some new music written and recorded.  Probably even performable if all goes well.

The Electribe live set I was working on was giving me a few issues so I decided to shelve it for a bit, and the Traktor S8 live set didn’t pan out the way I wanted, so that was a dead end too.  I figured it was time to dive back in on the Maschine Studio as a live tool, see if I could come up with a way to use it to write and perform and entire live set from.

I won’t lie, this video of Dapayk Solo helped kick my interest back into high gear:

He’s basically using the exact same way of organizing the set that I was planning on, and despite a couple CPU dropouts he said, everything worked fine for up to 8 songs.  At least now I knew it could be done, and I wasn’t so hesitant to spend the time prepping something of this magnitude.

I set myself a self-imposed deadline of June 1st to finish the set.  Well, slightly self-imposed anyway, I might actually have a live set to play that night.  Details pending.

The basic idea was to use each group in Maschine as a self-contained song, so that I could have multiple songs all in one self-contained project.  After some experimenting and talking to other Maschine users trying something similar, it sounded like limiting the set to 8 groups (songs) was the best way to go.  Beyond that you start running into CPU load limitations, it’s just pushing things too much IMO.

Even then, I knew I needed to try and be as bare-bones as possible when building the set, the more CPU in reserve the better.  If nothing else it gave me plenty of power later in the process when I really wanted to fine-tune things.  By sticking mainly with samples for my drums and a few instruments per song, I was able to write 95% of the set with my CPU meter barely lighting up in Maschine.

Oh yeah, the set came together really fast too, the bulk of it created over maybe a week?   Plenty of time to meet my deadline now!   I think it helped that I had just gotten back from a nice relaxing vacation to Amsterdam (my first time) a few days before.  But I also know that it had been awhile since I had written and released any music I was happy with, and the itch was there to just get it done.

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I’m still impressed every time I use the Maschine Studio, I admit it.  Other than a few things I can do quickly at the start of a session like start a new project, everything can be done from the hardware.  And it’s really fun to do so.  The more used to Maschine I get, the more I realize there’s so much potential there with how quick it is it to write and EDIT your music. Didn’t help that the new 2.3 update for Maschine hit right before I dove in, new goodies are always fun to play with of course. 🙂

In a couple busy days in the studio, I managed to get the core of 8 new songs written for the live set.  It’s mainly a dub techno, deep weird house sort of set, dance or nod, it’s your choice.

I still need to do some final mixdown tweaks, figure out exactly how I want to video record a run through of the set (everyone loves YouTube versions after all), add in a few fills here and there, and start assigning all the controls I want to tweak when playing the set to Macros for each group.  6 days, easy.

If all goes to play, hopefully I’ll be playing a new live set on June 1st, or at the very least have a practice run through of the set online.  Back to it!

Peace and beats,
Tarekith

 

 

The Best Laid Plans… S8 Live PA

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I seem to be on a roll lately when it comes to prepping a new live set, lots and lots of work that seems to ultimately not pan out the way I intended.  This time I had decided that it was time to explore using the Traktor S8 controller as the center of my live rig, indeed as my entire live rig actually.  Ever since I got the S8 I’ve been intrigued by the idea, since it gives you so many hands-on controls for the Remix Decks in Traktor.  Not to mention a 4 channel mixer, 4 seperate effects units, and built-in soundcard.  It’s not a small device by any means, but if it’s all you’re carrying to a gig, it’s really not as bad as setting up multiple bits of gear either.

It’s been awhile since I played live of course, not since I sold off my Elektron Machinedrum and Octatrack a couple years ago really.  I realized that even with that set up, I was rehashing material that was by now 3-4 years old anyway.  I’ve released quite a few songs since then, and I had been slowly gathering them all this last year with the intent of grabbing stems from them for a live set I’d perform one one way or another.  With the S8 live pa once again coming to mind, seemed like a good way to kill two birds with one stone as it were.

So for the last few weeks I’ve been going back to my old song projects.  Stripping things down, combining sounds, adding new fills, enhancing things to work better in a live setting, revisiting mixdowns, and generally doing what I could to capture the essense of each song in 8 stems that were 32 bars long.

Long enough to avoid being repetitive sounding, but not so long as to be wasting disk space for no reason.  It really forces you to get to the core of each of your songs and see what’s important.

After weeks of work I had my stems balanced, level-matched, tagged, and finally imported into two Traktor remix decks, one for each side of the S8.  Drums and bassline on the left deck, synths, guitars, and pads/fx on the right deck.  This was not easy actually, as Traktor is a bit clunky when it comes to assigning lots of sample loops to the remix slots.  For one thing, there’s no way to delete a sample if you make a mistake and put it in the wrong place.  WTF?

Also, Traktor guessed the tempo of my perfectly trimmed loops wrong every single time.  Literally, all of them.  Surprising in a lot of ways as it’s excellent at guessing the tempo of whole songs and setting beat grids these days.  So it was a pretty arduous process getting it all set up, but I kept plugging away and eventually it was done.

Once I started practicing the set though, it became apparent that things were not as ideal as I had thought.

For starters, I was having issues triggering all 8 stems at once and actually getting them in sync.  Of course I had Traktors Snap and Quantize on, but for some reason even though I KNOW that I was pressing all the remix pads at the same time and hard enough, one or two of them wouldn’t trigger at the same time as the others.  They would be late by whatever the quantize value was set to (usually 4 beats).  Or worse, hitting them all at once would cause a slight hiccup in the audio no matter what my latency was set to.

All in all, just didn’t feel reliable enough for a live gig.  Who wants to build up a song to an epic point and then have the critical sound not trigger on time?

The other thing I wasn’t expecting, was that when you use the Remix Decks in Traktor, the only way you can apply effects is using the performance knobs set to send mode.  Basically this means that you get a send knob for each column of loops, and it controls the send amount for that column to all effects units the deck is assigned to.  If you don’t use Traktor I’m sure that doesn’t make sense, so I’ll explain it another way.

I had planned on using two effects units for each of my decks, and each deck has 4 loops playing.  Because each effect unit can also be a group effect with three effect types, this means I could have up to 6 seperate effects for my drums and my bassline, and 6 additional effects for my synths, fills, and pads.  When you’re working with only audio loops, you need as many ways to manipulate them as possible, otherwise it’s just a some what rather boring to perform DJ set.

But with this send effect limitation, that means I could only apply all 6 effects at once to each sound via a wet/dry control.  There was no way to send the kick and snare to one effect, and my high hats to different one.  This greatly reduced my ability to shape and manipulate the sounds the way I was intending, and more or less put me back into a DJ mentality (to be fair, this IS a DJ controller afterall).

At the end of the day, it just seemed a little too limiting for what I was trying to achieve, so I might just have to write this one off as experimentation and move on to something else.  I’m going to mull over some other ideas over the next few days to see if I can still make this work, but it’s looking less and less likely.

Oh well, sometimes you have to fail to learn, and at the very least it helped me prep some stems in case I think of another sample-based method for playing live.

Now if only Korg would release that bug-fix update for the new Electribe.  Hmm…..

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Stay tuned for more adventures in prep work!
Tarekith

And…. Maschine Studio again.

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It’s been almost a year to the date since I last owned a Maschine Studio, so I figured it was time to buy one again.  🙂  Ok, maybe it wasn’t for that reason alone.   What led me back to this piece of gear, especially when I was planning on spending most of my time working on the new electribe?

Well, unfortunately, the electribe hasn’t quite worked out the way I had hoped.  I’ve been having a ton of fun using it, don’t get me wrong, definitely not selling this one!  But my intention from the get go had been to use it as a standalone box for doing live sets, and more and more it was looking like that might not be possible for a few reasons.

The biggest issue I was having was due to voice-stealing, hitting that 24 voice limit the electribe has.  To be honest, I was concerned about this before I even bought the electribe, I know I tend to like richer soundscapes in my live sets.  But I figured with careful programming and limiting myself to using only 8 parts at once, I could probably get by just fine.  The Korg website also says that certain OSC types and effects might reduce the maximum voice count.  But it doesn’t really tell you much more than that, so it’s hard to know exactly what to realistically expect without using it.

It turns out that in use it’s actually really easy to reduce the voice count with those features, and I started running into sounds dropping out or effects being cut off with only 5-6 parts playing at a time.  Usually 3-4 simple drum parts, and 2-3 complex synths.   Occasionally I’d have voices drop with only two parts playing, obviously some kind of bug going on when that happened.  I was planning on keeping things minimal anyway, but that’s just a bit TOO minimal for the music I like to make.  Shame really, as I was getting some really awesome sounds out of this little box, just not enough of them at once.

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While that’s the main thing holding me back from using the electribe the way I wanted, there were a couple other small quirky bugs I’d occasionally run into.  A few hard freezes requiring a power cycle to fix, some clicks in certain sounds almost like you get when samples have non-zero crossing points, and the master effect level occasionally jumping around for no reason (I wasn’t recording motion sequencing for it).  And of course the obvious one where parts could be unmuted when you only selected them in some Trigger Pad modes.   These were usually very rare, but still a little annoying for something I wanted to use live.

The good news is that other electribe owners had been in contact with Korg about these, and Korg had told them a new OS update is on the way shortly that will fix the bugs.  In the end I decided to hold off on going much further with the electribe until the OS update is released and some of this stuff gets sorted.  Like I said, I’m really enjoying using the box otherwise, and I didn’t want to end up in a position where I was just beyond frustrated and tempted to sell it.

You know how I can be 🙂

So for now I’ll just use it occasionally for synth parts and coming up with cool riffs, perhaps some solo drum machine duties, much lighter use that I know it can excel at.  Of course that leaves me in the position of still not having a live set, and at the same time really not wanting to just work on single tracks in a DAW on the laptop.  So I started relooking at what my groovebox options were, everything I had used in the past, and some other options I hadn’t yet explored like the Dave Smith gear or the Roland Aira range.

In the end, they all had certain limitations that I felt I didn’t want to work around at the moment, and more and more I kept remembering how impressed I was with the Maschine Studio.  I said back in my original review of it that it was probably the best groovebox I’ve ever used, and I kept remembering how few limitations it had in terms of sound quality, the number of sounds you can use at once, and the way you chain endless effects.  I hadn’t been happy that it was still something that was tied to the computer then, but I think more and more I’m coming to realize that for the kind of music I want to make, that’s probably an inevitability anyway.

So, once again the Maschine Studio found it’s way into my studio (err, what will become my studio anyway) and I’m already happily writing away on it.  I still plan on creating and performing a live set using just the controller, and luckily my time away from it has given me a few new ideas on how to do this now that I own it again.  I’ll share the specifics as I get further along.

In the meantime, I’m refreshing the Korg page daily waiting for that OS update to drop (errr… not really) and I can’t wait to get back on the little grey box once things are a little more settled down.  I can’t wait for my monitors and the rest of my gear to get here either, I swear they shipped them on a sailboat or something….

That’s it for now, stayed tuned for more about the new live set, as well as further adventures setting up a studio in Luxembourg.

Peace and beats,
Tarekith

Electribe Video Review

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Finally got a chance to record my video review and walkthrough of the new electribe, hope some people find this useful!

http://youtu.be/KF9DK2eQOdw

Hopefully over the coming weeks I can do a few more indepth videos on different aspects of the electribe.  This should give people a decent overview of how it works and what it can do sound-wise.

Peace and beats,
Tarekith

Electribe 5 Days In

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Well, it’s been a busy week getting everything prepped for the big move still, but I’ve been trying to get as much time on the Electribe as possible. Overall it’s been a super fun experience, and I’m really starting to feel like the new Electribe could be my new main instrument for some time to come. Given all the gear I’ve been through this year trying to find “the one”, that’s a great feeling.

Now that I’ve had more time to get deeper into the synthesis options, I’m getting more and more confident that there’s a lot of sound design capabilities. The Mod section in particular really adds a lot of animation to your sounds, especially when you start adding in motion sequencing too. One of the few downsides of the Mod section is that a lot of the BPM synced LFO are also key sync so the cycle starts with each note on. Not a huge deal since there’s unsynced LFOs that can run freely, and happily the rate on these goes super low for really long evolving sounds.

One of the few frustrations I’ve been having is with editing my sequences after I’ve recorded something. The Electribe has a Step Editor for this exact task, which allows you to change a note’s pitch, velocity, or the gate time (note length). Unfortunately it seems that because you can’t have a note longer than one step, really long chords and the like are recorded as tied notes. This makes it hard to see which step has the actual note trigger, and which ones are tied. I still need to dive into this a little more, but for now it’s just been easier to delete the part and just record it again. More to come on this.

I’m still exploring the basics of Pattern creation at the moment, so I haven’t had a chance to do much from a live performance standpoint. I’ve been experimenting a little with how to do transitions from one pattern to the next, mainly using master effect delays. If you set a really long decay time for the delays (and use the same delay for both patterns), you can do a decent bit of blending to smooth out the transitions. Unfortunately the Hold button on the Touch Pad doesn’t seem to work when you switch patterns, so you need to keep your finger on the trackpad to keep the delay effect on and at the same level. Still, better than nothing and at least it’s s starting point.

In happier news, it was recently discovered that you can connect an iPad or iPhone to the Electribe via the camera connection kit, and the Electribe will show up on the iPad and a MIDI source and destination. This means you can sequence your iPad apps from the Electribe, or use an iOS MIDI app to enter notes on the Electribe instead of the Trigger Pad. ThumbJam and Genome users should be happy with this!

Especially when you realize you can then route the audio from the iPad into the Electribe, either directly through untouched, or to be effected by the Electribe effects. Since each part on the Electribe can host its own Audio Input OSC, that means in theory you could have 16 different effects processing the audio input signal in parallel, all at once. Sweet. I starting to think the Electribe and my iPad running Gadget could be a pretty awesome live combo!

I’m still trying to get a video review and some audio examples done asap, so hopefully I’ll have some more info soon. Stay tuned!

Tarekith

Korg electribe First Thoughts

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At long last, it’s arrived.

In some respects it feels like it’s been forever that I’ve been waiting, having pre-ordered my electribe back in September when it was first announced.  On the other hand, in some ways it’s been almost ten years for this moment, when Korg would finally release a successor to the EMX.  Not that I didn’t like the EMX, it’s insanely deep if you spend the time with it, both for performance and composing.  But for some reason it just never had that specific sound I was looking for.  I always wanted to see Korg take it one step further, give us just a little more creative control and depth of features.

It’s no secret I’m a big fan of grooveboxes, it’s by far my preferred way to make electronic music.  I’ve owned most of the major ones, and gotten pretty good at knowing them inside and out over the years.  Recently I decided to take a break from hardware live sets to focus on other musical endeavors, so I’ve been without a groovebox for almost two years.

The big question on my mind, is will the new electribe fill that role for me?  Does it have an interface that sucks you in and makes you lose track of time without realizing it?  Will the sounds match my tastes today, and can I actually perform those live in a way that lets me express myself in a way I enjoy?

I’ll be doing a more in-depth review in the coming days, but for now I wanted to note my first thoughts after only a couple hours playing with it.  Just the things that first struck me about it as I learned my way around.  So, let’s get started.

I was happy when I first picked it up after unboxing to learn that it’s definitely as solid as most people have been saying.  It’s got some weight to it, though it’s not overly heavy at all.  A bit lighter than I expected in fact.  No flex in this thing at all though, it’s definitely a metal body and feels like it.  I don’t see any issues taking this thing live.

The knobs are pretty good overall, nothing spectacular, but they feel solid enough for live use and after a bit of use are loosening up without feeling wobbly at all.  The trigger pads are nothing special either, but again they feel more than up to the task.  They definitely aren’t as responsive as say Maschine in comparison, but I had no issues with double-triggering or not being able to enter different velocities while playing.

The touchpad is probably the cheapest feeling part on the unit, you can feel a sort of bumpy, textured surface underneath.  It’s not as smooth as it looks.  It works well enough in use for most things, but it was a bit tricky so far to accurate play scales with it, for instance.  In time perhaps.  Anyway, not a deal breaker by any means, as most touchpads are pretty cheap feeling to me.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t even listen to the factory patterns at all.  The first thing I did was initialize the first pattern, go through the menus setting all my preferred defaults, and then save it over all the 250 factory pattern slots.  Sorry James, I gotta start mine from scratch 🙂

I did start to have a bit of a panic doing this though, as I realized just how many menus there are, and how often I would have to be using them to write music on the electribe.  Luckily, I tried holding Shift while going through the menu pages, and this jumps you from one edit menu category to the next.  IE, you can skip from global settings, pattern settings, part edit, etc.  That helped a lot.

I later remembered that by holding shift and pressing a trigger pad, I could also access shortcuts to different menu pages.  This works MUCH better, all the major functions have their own shortcut, and the ones that don’t are now only a button press or two away in most cases.  Really speeds up any menu operations, so I’m a lot less worried about this.  It’s brilliant in fact.

This sort of thing applies in a lot of places on the electribe, for instance holding shift and turning the OSC select knob skips you between the different drum types, then different samples, finally the raw OSC types.  Same with the effects, you can hold shift and skip through the distortion category, the delays category, etc.  This type of thing really speeds up the work flow a lot, so I’m happy to see they didn’t just do it in a couple places, but machine-wide.

The sounds and the unit itself sound really good, no disappointments there.  I haven’t had time to really dive into the synth editing as much as I want yet, but the drum sounds are uniformly up to date and useable, and the PCM samples have a lot of potential too.  Some cheese as well, but I think with some clever editing we’re going to see more use ou of these than people would expect.  The raw OSCs have a lot of tweakability thanks to the OSC edit knob, which sometimes drastically alters the sound of the OSC beyond what you’d expect.  Overall there’s a lot more room for sound design than on any other electribe to date I feel.

I did have a few issues with clipping internally causing some clicking noises, but once I adjusted the volumes of my parts down a bit it cleaned right up.  Headroom is apparently pretty important given the complex processing going on.  Keep it a tiny bit quieter than you might expect, and it all works and sounds amazing.

I’ve already read the manual a few times (it’s only 16 pages) so it wasn’t too hard for me to find my way around and start making my own patterns.  The first one sucked, total preset cheese sounding, even I cringed 🙂  The second one was much better though, and had exactly the sort of depth of sound I wanted in a modern groovebox.   Good low end, nice bright mids, and effects are really clean and blend well with each other.

Big sigh of relief!

Basic editing operations all worked as expected and were simply to find via the shortcuts mentioned above.  It’ll take some time to become second nature, but already I feel pretty quick on the unit.  There’s a lot of depth here, and I think Korg did a really good job of making it easy to get to.   It’s still early, but so far I’m still really excited at what I’m going to be able to create with the electribe.

So, what about the not so good things?

As mentioned, headroom is important if you want to keep things click free.  Not really a huge deal, you just can’t get crazy with your levels internally.  I did have one weird lock up too, some notes got stuck and the display always showed the same menu screen no  matter what I did.  A power cycle fixed it, but still a little worrying.

You can save your patterns while they play and you are editing them, but occasionally it seems to throw the timing out.  You get a slight skip in the pattern playback.  Not something you probably want to do live, even though it only happens about 3 in 10 times.

A lot of people are worried about the whole pattern change glitch issue, but for me it wasn’t really something I noticed.  Yes it would be awesome if reverb, delay, and amp release tails carried over to smooth transitions, but that’s just not how this box works.  So far it’s really only with the part delays that I find it’s that noticeable, and I’m sure I can think of a workaround once I get a bit time with the box.  Maybe not ideal, but not something that really is a huge turnoff for me either.

Other than that so far it’s been a mostly positive experience, hell it’s been downright fun to be honest.   I’ll post some more thoughts and a video review in a few days, hopefully I can cram as much time as possible on the electribe so it doesn’t take too long.

If you have any questions, just let me know and I’ll address them if I can.  I don’t plan on using this as a MIDI sequencer, so anything related to that side of things will probably be the last area I dive into though.

Stay tuned!
Tarekith

Strymon Timeline Review

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Finally got a chance to do my video review of the Strymon Timeline, which you can view here:

As always, let me know if you have any questions, happy to help if I can!

Welcome To The New Blog!

Woo hoo, welcome to the new blog location.  Sorry if you got multiple notifications for this blog post the last day or so, still working out a couple last minute bugs with notifications.  Ummm, that’s all I have, but more soon!

(Strymon Timeline review…..)

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What’s In A Name?

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Ah, the joys of trying to find a new artist or DJ name! For many people this is actually a very hard task, as it’s the first time they’ve had to put an identity to their music. Especially when it’s something that might be with you for a very long time if your music is successful. I thought I’d give a few tips on choosing a new artist name, based on some of the things I’ve seen work well over the years (as well some things that didn’t work).

A good artist name can be many things for different people; a globally established brand for their music or DJing, a funny play on words to attract attention, or perhaps it’s just a front they can use to retain some sense of personal privacy. Whatever your reasons for wanting to use a name other than your own (which is certainly a viable option too!), here’s a few key points to keep in mind when coming up with yours.

Originality counts. There’s nothing worse than having an artist name that is the same or similar to other artists already out there. When I first started making music, I used to go by the artist name “rEalm”. It was fitting for the music I made, it was something that spoke to me and seemed just right. Unfortunately, there were so many other people out there using the same or similar name, that it was impossible for me to stand out using it. A quick google search of it would turn up hundreds of results that had nothing to do with me, even with the goofy capital “E” in there.

There’s also a practical side here, in that I found it near impossible to register an easy to remember domain name for my website, not to mention email addresses. I ended up just creating a completely new name from scratch as a result, something that I knew only I would be using. This has made my life so much easier, since I could use a nice and simple website like tarekith.com, or Tarekith at gmail for people to reach me. Anyone searching my name will always get pointed right to my site, useful for promotion.

You don’t have to make up your own name, but it certainly is the best way to make sure no one else is using it!

Keep it simple. A really long name, or something that’s difficult to pronounce or spell correctly, at best just makes it harder for your fans to connect with you. At worst, they’ll end up shortening or abbreviating it for you which sort of ruins the point. Keep it fairly short, ideally 3 syllables or less if you can, and make it easy to pronounce and spell.

Funky spellings and weird abbreviation might seem like it’s helping you stand out, but you run the risk of it looking dated later on (I.E. replacing C’s with K’s, etc). It’s worth pausing and considering if this is something you can live with for 20-30 years possibly before you go this route.

One name or many? There’s two different views on the subject of should you use one name for all your releases, or use different artist names for releases in various genres. Some people like to target different audiences depending on the music they are writing, so using various names helps them focus the release to specific audience.

On the other hand, using the same name for everything means you’re possibly attracting a much bigger following to ALL of the music you’re creating instead of just some of it. Though that might put some people off if they only like a certain style you write now and then. Personally I like being known as an artist who releases music in a wide-range of genres, but that’s a call you’re going to have make on your own.

Who else likes it? Consider how your name looks not only to your fans, but also your peers. Calling yourself DJ Dickfuck might be a good chuckle now, but will other artists want to work with you if you call yourself that? Will you have issues being put on flyers for gigs if you use an offensive name?

Some people just don’t care about this stuff and will use whatever they think is funny. But considering how competitive the music scene is, it seems odd to me to stack the cards against yourself with something a simple as your artist name. Horses for courses I guess!

Finally, don’t stress too much about. The best names usually come in moments of inspiration, just like the music we write. If something comes out of the blue, but it feels right, by all means go with it. You can always change it later too, there’s no rule that the name you pick now you HAVE to use forever either.

Which is good, because at the moment I myself have been giving a lot of thought to possibly changing my artist name. Initially I wanted an artist name to sort of define myself outside of the name my parents gave me, and to give me some layer of anonymity online. It worked great at first, but as I’ve grown my mastering business more and more, my real name (Erik Magrini) is out there more and more.

So for a few months now I’ve been considering just switching and using my real name from now on, and perhaps letting the Tarekith moniker rest for awhile. It’s a tough call though, because after so many years of building up that name as my “brand” if you will, I worry that many people won’t follow the change. Or that ultimately, changing my name again is just going to a waste of time and everyone will still call be Tarekith anyway. 🙂

Lots for me to think about, but hopefully some of my ideas have helped you out in the meantime!