Category Archives: Indie

The Red Planet Orchestra – Changing the Status Quo of Film Scores



Conceived and conducted by Vincent Rees, the Red Planet Orchestra combine classical composition with a contemporary structure of electronic ambient music.

With sound artist Pete Smith, the Red Planet Orchestra has accumulated a growing body of work both rich in invention and subtlety. A sound palette of future memories and past dreams. Each release has created a landscape of intense serenity.

Their debut album, Aurora Symphony, was warmly received and now a firm favourite among fans – All albums feature original artwork conceived by Belgium artist Nicolas Crombez.

The Red Planet Orchestra continue to compose music for emerging film soundtracks such as the brilliant ‘Gorka’

Albums
Aurora Symphony – 2013
Secrets of Eternity – 2013
We Breathe Together-2014
States of Space -2014
The Angry Silence -2014
Time of Dark Consequences – 2016
Contamination – 2016

Red Planet Orchestra
Contact Red Planet Orchestra at bandcamp.com



 

Music Producer Follows Homeless Kid Off Subway; Records His Demo for Free


Go to the profile of April Greene

In December 2013, my dance music producer friend Andrew was riding the New York City subway when a homeless teenage guy stepped into his train car and started singing R&B. The soulful Christmas mashup so moved Andrew that at the next stop, he followed the singer off the train and offered to record him a demo for free. The kid bit, and the two became fast friends.

I thought this was one of the cooler things I’d ever heard, so I asked if I could buy them coffee and hear more about it. In our interview, Andrew and Julian discuss their chance meeting, unlikely similarities, and musical futures.

Andrew and Julian in Manhattan last winter

Julian Brannon (the teenage guy): Well, my goal is to be the best, so let’s just get that out there. There’s no one in the industry that looks like me or sounds like me right now, and I think they need me.

Andrew Toews (the producer): You are unflappable!

Me: Wow, quite an intro! Could we back up for a sec? How did you guys meet?

AT: Sure. It was just before Christmas last year. I was on the train, and Julian got on and introduced himself and started singing sort of a holiday medley, in an R&B, soul style. I think it was: “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” and…

JB: And “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey.

AT: You can tell when someone has something to pitch you on the train and you’re like, “Dude. Seriously. Don’t.” But I liked this guy, I liked his energy. There was this spark. I actually thought, “I want to hang out with this guy!” He was making my day a better day.

JB: You know, I relate to that. I know I’m there making money, practicing, getting over stage fright. But at the end of the day, I want to make people feel better. I want them to call their mother after I sing Boyz II Men “A Song for Mama.” I know I can do that for people.

AT: So I thought about it for a second and chased him off the train. I thought he might think I was a sexual predator, or otherwise a weirdo; there was definitely fear of rejection in the air. But this was a case where my talents were uniquely suited to you — you’re not a guy with a trap kit who I liked listening to but wouldn’t know what do with in the studio. You’re a singer. So I gave him my email address. I didn’t think he’d bite.

JB: Well, most people don’t respond to me! Guess it goes both ways. I thought, “I don’t know what kind of experience this guy has, but it’s practice.”

AT: It was practice for me, too. Better than spending the afternoon drinking beers, if you ask me.

JB: It was my very first time being in a studio. By the way, your studio was small! I was thinking, “This is not Cadillac Records!” But hey, this is where I’m at. I just knew I should sing into the mic. Andrew told me to just try some a cappella covers, so I did some Mario, some Adele, Guy Sebastian, and The Fray. I put it all on the Internet and it’s gotten me a couple gigs. It’s made me money! It’s badass.

AT: I didn’t want to overcommit to a bunch of studio work; didn’t want to have to tune things later. We’re selling his voice, after all, so we just went for it straight up. We kept the imperfections.

JB: I wanted to keep the personality in it as well. I put some new runs in the songs, which were great, I thought.

AT: I liked when I asked you who you listen to and the first person you said was Adele. She’s one of the only people on the radio now who doesn’t have Auto-Tune on her voice.

JB: Yeah, her and Beyonce: who won seven Grammys and who won six? Know what I’m saying? At the end of the day, raw talent will always win out over good looks.

Me: Can you rewind a bit, Julian, and tell me your backstory?

JB: Sure. I’m from Houston. I used to weigh 300 pounds. I came to New York to sing. I’m a good singer and I can easily act, but I didn’t want to do Broadway. I wanted to be a real artist, go solo. My friends would do talent shows, and I’d say, “Okay, that’s cool — you do you, but I’ma do me.” Don’t get me wrong — musical theater moves people, too. But every note is perfect; there’s no life, no meat. That’s why I like R&B, soul… That music knows how to make people feel things.

I also wanted to get a better education, be with like-minded people, live at a fast pace, not have a car… And when I came here, I sure got all of that! But I also experienced what I would call… a graceful fall.

Long story short, I enrolled in Pace University in 2012, and the classes were easy enough — except algebra; I’ve never been a math whiz — and I was able to network a lot there. But I had to leave prematurely when I couldn’t get enough loans. I even dressed up in a suit one day and canvassed Wall Street to ask people for loans — nothing!

So I needed something, and I got this crazy pyramid scheme direct marketing job right away. I became the number one sales rep in no time. I was on fire, I had no choice. I have many talents besides singing — I’m good at sales, drawing, art. If I tapped into any art, I could master it, but music is what I care about.

Am I talking too fast? No? Okay.

So when I got kicked out of the dorm, I got into a cab and went to a hostel. I told FEMA my house got blown away in a storm so they’d pay me! Then I moved into an apartment in Harlem, where I was suddenly partying with adults, people age 25 to 45, and some of them were very wealthy. Then my company wanted me to open their new office in Texas, so I moved back there to do that. But there was some shadiness, some managerial shadiness, and suddenly my paychecks were much smaller.

So I moved back to New York again to get away from all that, but I was super broke. I stayed with friends for a few months, but wound up in a shelter. It’s a shelter right in the middle of NYC, though! And it keeps me not feeling homeless. It’s not an apartment; it’s a shared room and bathroom. And I’m choosy about who I associate with there — it is a shelter, mind you. If I get signed or put into a financial place where I can afford it, sure, I’ll move out. But other than that, it’s fine; it works.

Anyway, I found I could make more money singing on the train than working at Bill’s Burger. $50 an hour! Your minimum wage for a day is what I can make in an hour! So I was doing that a lot toward the end of last year, and I got a lot of attention from people on the train — producers, etc. I was auditioning for showcases and all that. I’m actually going to an audition right after this, and I’m doing Amateur Night At the Apollo this coming week.

I surround myself with people who are going to help me get where I need to get. It’s all about progressing. We know it will take hard work to live a privileged life, and we can be an inspiration to each other.

But here’s the thing: when you hit rock bottom — when no one’s answering your calls, when no one will let you sleep on their couch — you realize what you still have to offer. When I was singing on the train, I was thinking, “This is all I have.” But that was a good thing. That’s when I realized that’s what I really have to give in this life.

Plus, when I get rejected, it’s a positive thing, because when I get big, that’s one more person who’s going to be like, “Damn! I missed that one.”

Me: Does your family worry about you?

JB: Family? My mother, yes, it stresses her out. She’s stressed out to the max.

AT: I can imagine!

JB: But I tell her that I’m a survivor, and that I survive with dignity. It’s a struggle. But I try to do it with dignity — ask don’t steal.

AT: Reminds me of conversations I had with my mom when I was around your age — 18 or 20. I moved to L.A. with no plan. I got kicked out of a warehouse squat; was sleeping on roofs… My mom was living overseas and I called her and said, “Okay, I’m sleeping on rooftops, but I have a job, I have a car. Sure, I’m spending a lot of time in McDonald’s bathrooms scrubbing my armpits, but I’m not a scumbag and I’m not on drugs. I could do something different, but this is what I’m doing right now. I’m keeping it together.”

JB: One time my mom got a call from the police because someone found my wallet. She thought I had been killed, murdered, stabbed… But I was just at work. At the end of the day, my mother is my best friend, she supports me.

I’ve never been in love, or anything like that. I’ve been alone all my life. Not that I haven’t been close to people or they haven’t showed me love, but not intimately.

Me: Wow. Drew, would you record another singer like this?

AT: Yeah. Not right now because I’m super busy and I don’t have a studio outside my house anymore, but in theory sure. Then, if I had the time and the opportunity showed itself.

I tend to be a fearful guy. I always make myself do stuff, but it never comes easy. So this was good practice presenting to people. You don’t have to be the best in the world. I don’t want to say, “If I’m not going to be Beyonce, I’ll just quit.” That’s not the attitude I want to have.

JB: You learn certain things in life. I believe in the law of averages. No matter what you try to do, it will happen — it’s just a matter of time. If you shop yourself to 1,000 people, one of them will like you. Life is a numbers game. I’m just waiting for the date. I’m trying to set up a foundation to build upon. I want to go a record label and say, “This is what I got; what can you do for me?”

AT: It’s a big world, and it does take a certain brashness. Fear of failure is rampant, so to see someone who’s willing to rock a crowd is really good. I became a producer in part because I can be a part of that balls-out performance experience while still having a measure of control.

JB: I want to open up my own studio one day. Then I want to be a pastor in my later years. I can relate to a lot of people, I can elevate them.

AT: You grew up singing in church, right?

JB: A little bit. But my mother didn’t take me to church that much.

[I zoned out for a minute here and stopped taking notes.]

JB: Yeah, drinking. The struggle is so real; we all have to cope. But I try not to drink too much. I mean, I smoke weed. But at the end of the day, I do what I do because it’s artistically helpful.

AT: Oh man — you burn? We could have burned!

JB: We could have burned?? If we could have burned, we would have been burnin’!

AT: We need to do a follow-up session.

I asked Andrew and Julian what they’ve been doing since our interview last winter. Here’s what they said:

Andrew: “Drew has been keeping the disco fires burning at his new home studio in Bed-Stuy. He stays DJing dance parties, producing original material for a handful of artists, cranking out edits and remixes, and building a small sound design and production business. He’s also offering private music production lessons, with an emphasis on Ableton Live techniques and workflow.” Get at him via fakemoneynyc.com or drewjoy.com.

Julian: “I’ve been working in music. Planning to work with a close friend to produce our first project for my EP. Also starting a wedding singing group to support the financial aspect of producing an EP and a potential album come this time next year. I’m still living in Hell’s Kitchen saving up to move. I am currently working as a barista at FIKA in Chelsea. Great filler job while I focus on my real dream.”



‘Light Infused Dust’ by Jason Grundstrom-whitney



I wrote the song ‘Let Love Abound’ thinking about the mental illness and substance abuse that my family has suffered from for a very long time and the beautiful people I work with. In this song I am talking about stigmas that run very deep in America.

The stigmatization of those that suffer with substance abuse, the stigmatization of those that suffer with mental illness, and the stigmatization of those assumed to be prejudiced .

Our band was based in Virginia Beach for awhile. I ran into Bluegrass players that were very open and not the judgmental or prejudiced people that many assume. I pray that we stop stigmatizing those with mental illness, substance abuse, and open our minds to people as they are as opposed to who we think they are. I pray that we, ‘Let Love Abound’…..




Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio (2nd Gen) – An All-In-One Digital Audio Recording Solution

All-In-One Digital Audio Recording Solution

All for just £217 including VAT

The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Studio (2nd Gen) features everything you need to turn your computer into a digital recording solution, improving on its original design to deliver maximum audio quality and performance. The Scarlett 2i2 Studio (2nd Gen) features the 2 in / 2 out Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) USB Audio Interface plus a CM25 large diaphragm condenser microphone, complete with a pair of HP60 closed-back headphones. This bundle provides you with everything you need to get studio-grade recordings straight out of the box, for everything from vocals to acoustic instruments.

 

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 MKII

The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) features everything you need to turn your computer into a digital recording solution, improving on its original design to deliver maximum audio quality and performance. The interface features a 2 in / 2 out configuration, featuring both XLR and line/instrument inputs for recording microphones and instruments. There is also a 48V phantom power switch that allows you to connect and power condenser microphones, perfect for recording studio-quality vocals. You can also connect your headphones directly to the interface for monitoring purposes, allowing you to hear the audio signal as you record. The compact design and size of the Scarlett 2i2 makes it highly portable, allowing you to take your interface with you wherever you go. This is ideal for digital musicians who like to collaborate with other artists who may not have the same equipment at hand.

The MKII has been improved tenfold with a range of new features and functions that improve performance and audio quality. One of the most prominent upgrades is the new super-low latency performance. The super-low roundtrip latency improves performance and efficiency by minimising the delay between the original signal and the processed signal on your computer. This is paramount when recording vocals or instruments as it gives you the ability to record signals as close to real-time as possible. The sample rate of the Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) has also been increased, now running up to 24-bit/192kHz for maximum audio quality and studio-grade recordings.

CM25 Condenser Microphone

The CM25 large diaphragm condenser microphone is designed to record everything from vocals to acoustic instruments, delivering stellar audio quality. The microphone features a cardioid pickup pattern, making it perfect for a range of applications from recording studio-grade vocal takes to string sections or guitar amplifiers. The microphone improves on its original design with a wider frequency range and improved performance. The microphones also comes complete with a 3 metre XLR cable and a stand clip for attaching the microphone to a stand.

HP60 Closed-Back Headphones

The Scarlett Studio HP60 headphones are reference-grade headphones designed to deliver incredible detail, allowing you to monitor and mix songs with maximum accuracy. The extended frequency response and large drivers allow you to hear every nuance of the sound as it is intended, perfect for monitoring mixes and listening to reference tracks while you mix and master. The closed-back design offers maximum comfort whilst ensuring minimum spill from the headphones themselves, resulting in a precise and clear performance, perfect for referencing mixes as you work.

New Software Bundle

The Scarlett 2i2 Studio (2nd Gen) also features a brand new software bundle, providing you with everything you need to record, edit and mix your recordings. The new software bundle includes: Red 2 & 3 Plug-in Suite, Softube Time and Tone Pack, Ableton Live Lit music making software, Novation Bass Station VST with AU Plugin-Synthesiser, 2GB of Loopmasters sounds and samples plus Pro tools First (First Focusrite Creative Pack). This software bundle provides you with everything you need you get started out of the box. The addition of the Pro Tools First (First Focusrite Creative Pack) adds to its functionality, providing you with the Pro Tools First software and 12 free plug-ins.

What’s In The Box

  • Scarlett 2i2 (2nd Gen) Audio Interface
  • HP60 (2nd Gen) Studio Headphones
  • CM25 (2nd Gen) Condenser Microphone
  • 3m XLR CAble
  • USB Cable
  • Bundle code for your free software

Features

  • Get everything you need in one box, and start recording straight away.
  • Two natural-sounding Scarlett mic preamps with plenty of even gain
  • Large diaphragm CM25 condenser microphone and 3m / 10′ Microphone cable
  • Two newly-designed instrument inputs, designed for seriously hot pick-ups
  • One headphones output with gain control
  • Studio quality HP60 closed-back headphones
  • Class-leading conversion and sample rates up to 192kHz / 24 bit
  • Super-low latency for using your plug-ins in real time without the need for DSP
  • Compact and tough enough to take anywhere
  • Powered by USB so you don’t need to carry a power cable
  • Includes Pro Tools | First Focusrite Creative Pack and Ableton Live Lite
  • All the additional software and loops you need to start recording
Get yours here



 

Launch your music with Freedom for Musicians


At Freedom for Musicians, our philanthropic purpose is to serve and support musicians from any genre, style or culture by providing a free promotional service via FFM Magazine.

Our services so far:

  • All our musicians have access to the website via the admin team.
  • A Musicians Directory
  • Live stream your performance at the FFM Live Lounge
  • Event promotion through our network of thousands of musicians worldwide.
  •  Members can advertise, for free, any musical product or service on the website. (Musicians Market Place)
  • Flex your journalistic muscles and publish your music blog on our website.
  • Become an International ambassador for your home country.
  •  Recording artists can access the marketplace through our own fully licensed independent (FFM Records Ltd) record label.
  •  An opportunity to be a Featured Artist.
  • The Freedom Orchestra. An orchestra established to bring together recent settlers in the UK either refugees or migrant musicians. (Coming soon)
  • Have your musical innovations promoted as ‘Featured Product’.
  • Promote your online lessons to a global audience.
  • Share and promote at our Facebook home.

If you would like us to promo your work, all you need to do is message me, Roger Moisan, with your links etc, and we will do the rest.

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY, AND WILL NEVER BE, ANY CHARGE FOR OUR SERVICES

You can join FFM by becoming a member of our Facebook Group

Message me personally through Linkedin

email – rogermoisan@yahoo.co.uk

Visit us at FFM Records



Wow! What a Great Song



When a songwriter produces song after song after song of this quality, promoters such as myself, sit up and listen. David Powell is one of those musicians. I make no apology for sharing my new found star from West Virginia, USA.

More from David Powell

David Powell
David Powell and son



 

Promote Your Music Online for FREE


With more than 400 articles, FFM Magazine is packed full of great stories, music, videos and resources for the music enthusiast. Join our community for free or just browse. There is something for every musician at Freedom for Musicians.

At Freedom for Musicians, our philanthropic purpose is to serve and support musicians from any genre, style or culture by providing a free promotional service via FFM Magazine.

Continue to our Articles




How can I get more exposure as a musician?


At Freedom for Musicians, our philanthropic purpose is to serve and support musicians from any genre, style or culture by providing a free promotional service  and providing exposure via FFM Magazine.

Our services so far:

  • All our musicians have access to the website via the admin team.
  • A Musicians Directory
  • Live stream your performance at the FFM Live Lounge
  • Event promotion through our network of thousands of musicians worldwide.
  •  Members can advertise, for free, any musical product or service on the website. (Musicians Market Place)
  • Flex your journalistic muscles and publish your music blog on our website.
  • Become an International ambassador for your home country.
  •  Recording artists can access the marketplace through our own fully licensed independent (FFM Records Ltd) record label.
  •  An opportunity to be a Featured Artist.
  • The Freedom Orchestra. An orchestra established to bring together recent settlers in the UK either refugees or migrant musicians. (Coming soon)
  • Have your musical innovations promoted as ‘Featured Product’.
  • Promote your online lessons to a global audience.
  • Share and promote at our Facebook home.

If you would like us to promo your work, all you need to do is message me, Roger Moisan, with your links etc, and we will do the rest.

THERE IS ABSOLUTELY, AND WILL NEVER BE, ANY CHARGE FOR OUR SERVICES

You can join FFM by becoming a member of our Facebook Group

Message me personally through Linkedin

email – rogermoisan@yahoo.co.uk

Visit us at FFM Records



Latest release from FFM Records – Dita Nurdian ‘Miss Dee’



Dita Nurdian is an Indonesian writer of electronica and dance music. Her passion for this genre is evident in her prolific output. At FFM Records, we have released 4 of Dita’s latest tracks and you can download them here, Beatport and stream on Spotify.




Dita Nurdian is FFM’s Ambassador for Indonesia




Latest release from FFM Records – ‘Measure of Abstract’ by Slawomir Rataj



Slawomir Rataj is a guitarist and composer from Poland. Recently released under the FFM Records label,  Slawomir’s debut album ‘Measure of Abstract’ is an instrumental album that combines electronica with Slawomir’s phenomenal guitar playing.

You can download the album here, at itunes and stream on Spotify.