HF Unsigned - Harderfaster unsigned producers unite in MP3 Glory!
Reported by Less is Bat
Submitted 08-05-05 13:48
Many HarderFaster users will have heard whispers in the air about the launch of the online HarderFaster ‘unsigned’ album. I personally had heard bits and pieces about the project, but was left somewhat confused as to what on earth it was all about. The aim of this feature is to reveal to you the entire story behind the project – from the background of mp3 technology, to the concept of HarderFaster unsigned and beyond!
There is something of a ‘record food chain’ which dominates the success of up and coming producers. They depend on being signed by a record company who depend on their retailers who depend on sales. Retailers need to stock ‘big names’ to survive and due to a dwindling vinyl sales rate, this pressure for popular names is lowering the introduction of new records by first time producers. But why is the sale of vinyl declining? Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce to you the power and the debatable glory that is MP3 Technology!
The History of MP3
MP3 is short for Moving Picture Experts Group, Audio Layer III, and it is a compression format that shrinks audio files with only a small sacrifice in sound quality. MP3 files can be compressed at different rates, but the more they are scrunched, the worse the sound quality. A standard MP3 compression is at a 10:1 ratio, and yields a file that is about 4 MB for a three-minute track.
In the mid-1980s, at the Fraunhofer Institut in Erlangen, Germany, inventors began work on a high quality, low bit-rate audio coding with the help of Dieter Seitzer, a professor at the University of Erlangen. In 1989, Fraunhofer was granted a patent for MP3 in Germany and a few years later it was submitted to the International Standards Organization (ISO), and integrated into the MPEG-1 specification (I won't go into that one uber-geeks, please google away).
Frauenhofer also developed the first MP3 player in the early 1990s, but it turned out to be a pretty underwhelming application. In 1997, a developer at Advanced Multimedia Products named Tomislav Uzelac created the AMP MP3 Playback Engine, which is regarded as the first prime-time MP3 player. Shortly after the AMP engine hit the Net, a couple of university students, Justin Frankel and Dmitry Boldyrev (who more recently created MacAMP), took the Amp engine, added a Windows interface and dubbed it "Winamp." In 1998, when Winamp was offered up as a free music player, the MP3 craze began: Music fiends all over the world started MP3 hubs, offering copyrighted music for free.
Before long, other programmers jumped in to create a whole toolset for MP3 junkies. New encoders, rippers, and players were sprouting up every week, and the movement was growing strong. Search engines made it even easier to find the specific MP3 files people wanted, and portable players like the Macintosh ‘ipod’ let them take MP3 tracks on the road.
MP3 technology now allows anyone with an internet connection the chance to purchase music files from legal on-line stores. There is no physical product or storage, and it has become possible for a producer to make a track available to download with no manufacturing costs or physical overheads.
Fight the Powers that Be! – The HarderFaster Unsigned Project
Nick Hanson (known to us as NoTeKnIx) is a regular user of HarderFaster.net and is an up and coming bedroom producer of various styles of trance and freeform hard house. He has been in the background of the dance music scene for years, making music and generally having fun with the happy people that are associated with the lifestyle and industry. The more he produced, the more he knew he had to do something to get himself noticed.
Dissatisfied with his response from wary independent labels, he decided to take matters into his own hands and fight the powers that be! Nick decided that if he couldn’t find a way to release his tracks on vinyl, he’d take on their nemesis: MP3 technology. Nick had a plan, which he posted as a theory on the forums of HarderFaster. The post received an outstanding response from others, like him, wanting to get noticed and get their tracks out to the public.
Nick then decided to contact the team at trackitdown.net and proposed a digital showcase for unsigned talent from the aspiring producers amongst the 16,000 members of HarderFaster.net. As one of the fastest-growing MP3 download websites within the dance music genre, ‘trackitdown.net’ is able to offer unprecedented exposure to artists wishing to make their music available to the global consumer.
Now selling to dance music fans in 160 countries – far beyond that of the traditional medium of 12” vinyl – trackitdown.net has agreed to join forces with the world’s leading harder dance music community portal (HarderFaster.net) to promote this abundance of new talent.
Nick put the word out and selected the best track submissions for the launch of HarderFaster.net’s digital ‘record label’. Together, Nick and the artists hope to draw attention to their tracks through an on-line marketing campaign both on the site and further afield. If the listener likes the preview clip available on trackitdown.net then they have the chance to support this new talent by purchasing the full track at 320kbps for only £1.49. Obviously this is a great boost to the confidence of the producers and a real acid test for the quality of their work. Will they be able to sell their tracks against the competition of bigger name artists already signed to large labels?
A word from Trackitdown.net
Ed Real, director of Trackitdown Ltd says; Our technology allows producers of great music, who are finding traditional record labels unable to take on their music because of the financial limitations of investing in manufacture of records that might only break even of perhaps sustain a small loss, the chance to make themselves heard. In the past, new producers made their own white labels and sold them via distributors, but as the number of stores dwindles those distributors want to see a track record before taking on board new product. It’s a catch 22 and something that is going to damage the long-term future of our scene. So, by allowing new talent the chance to gain exposure and support through trackitdown.net we’re hopefully offering them a way to get their music out to the world and build up that vital biography. We have had exclusive tracks from Australian producers licensed to compilations in the UK via trackitdown.net and that’s got to be good news for artists and music fans!
Your chance to help!
Next time you log on and phase out with little to do, why not take a look at the trackitdown.net website and support the artists that have worked so hard to bring you something new and revolutionary. I for one will defiantly be checking through each track and taking note of the name and styles of these unsigned producers. One day these guys and girls may turn out to be the headliners of the biggest events in their genres.
Here is some information on each artist to help you decide what tunes to investigate!
Get downloading! www.Trackitdown.net/HarderFaster
• Zero Tolerance - Young duo from South East London, Ben Gillett (20) & Chris Blakey (21) have been producing for a few years, mainly tougher hard house with deep driving basses and a mix of dark distorted synth’s, also producing hard trance under the alias ‘Hysteria’. Their main influences over the years include artists such as Paul Maddox & Dom Sweeten. For further information & to check out their latest productions go to www.zero-tolerance-productions.co.uk.
NAME: CHRIS BLAKEY & BEN GILLETT
AGE: Both 21
LOCATION: SE London
WHICH PRODUCERS INFLUENCE YOU: Paul Maddox & Dom Sweeten
WHAT KIT DO YOU USE TO MAKE TRACKS: FL studio 5, Lots of VST’s and FX, Soundforge, KS Rack, Alesis M1 Active MK2 Monitors.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TINKERING AWAY IN THE STUDIO: About three years.
ANY ADVISE FOR PEOPLE WANTING TO START MAKING MUSIC?: Don’t think it will happen over night it wont it does take lots of hard work and dedication to start producing the goods, but is you keep at it you will get there eventually but it does take time. Make full use of the resources available to you there are many sites on the internet which can help and many people out there who are willing to give advice and feedback on your tunes. Oh yeah and try to be different and your own flavour and develop your own style.
Ben and Chris Hysteria
• Miss Xs - From bedroom to professional engagements in a few short months, Miss XS’s career really took off when she moved from her native Wolverhampton to Derby a couple of years ago for university and has continued to flourish since the move back home to Wolverhampton. Much has been achieved since starting out, with national bookings playing trance and hard house/trance in clubs, bars and on national and international radio stations, with performances archived and weekly on the web. She has played along side djs such as Ilogik, Tara Reynolds, Paul Maddox, Rob Tissera, K90, KV from Radio One Dubai, Daniel Divoli, Ali Wilson, Little Gem, Donna Birt, Rachel Auburn, Andy Whitby, Charlotte Birch and Caroline Banx.
NAME: MISS XS
LOCATION: Wolverhampton, uk
WHICH PRODUCERS INFLUENCE YOU: Glazby, Pvd, Farley, Gaz west
WHAT KIT DO YOU USE TO MAKE TRACKS: Fruity loops 4.5 producer edition
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TINKERING AWAY IN THE STUDIO: about a year now (at home on my pc)
ANY ADVISE FOR PEOPLE WANTING TO START MAKING MUSIC: It doesn't all come at once take your time and make the music for your self and your friends.
• Code 20 - One of hulls fresh talents is code 20, a dj that covers various genres including hardstyle, hard house, hard trance, techno and many many more as long as its tough as nails. He is one of the finest producers that hull has to offer to date with an in depth knowledge of music production and a fantastic ear for sound, as well as running his own event a few years back @ Trancemission and having participated in many events here in hull and Yorkshire – this is definitely one guy to keep your eyes on.
NAME: Ben Pallet
WHICH PRODUCERS INFLUENCE YOU: Hannes + cold – Gogues – Smushling –Kevin Energy
WHAT KIT DO YOU USE TO MAKE YOUR TRACKS: Fl studio 5.1
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TINKERING AWAY IN THE STUDIO: Around 6 / 7 years.
ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE WANTING TO START MAKING MUSIC: Find your style that you are comfortable with and work on it and experiment with different sounds.
Code 20 / Tommi B
NAME: People call me Bren
LOCATION: Sunny Milton Keynes
WHICH PRODUCERS INFLUENCE YOU: Dark by Design, Ben Kaye, Barry Diston, DJ Issac
WHAT KIT DO YOU USE TO MAKE TRACKS: My PC and a lot of alcohol!
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TINKERING AWAY IN THE STUDIO: About 3 or 4 years now.
ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE WANTING TO START MAKING MUSIC: Don't be overwhelmed! Click every button, turn every knob. Just play about!
• Ricky Smirnoff - I first set eyes on a pair of turntables aged 14 in 1994. When my brother was at college I sneaked into his room and let the metal spin. I first started getting to grips with some early old skool hardcore and drum and bass. Then through the years as my passion grew fonder I started buying my own vinyl. As the scene moved on so did I, It was now the mid 90’s and I was now into house music (and garage when it was garage) playing tunes from ‘Renegade master’ to ‘Yeke Yeke’. Not forgetting Natural Born Grooves – Groovebird.
Moving on toward late 90s I started dj’ing for a Pirate radio station called Outcast. My influences at this time for both production and dj expertise were largely BK, Nick Sentience and Andy Farley. This was my first opportunity to crank up my tunes without worry of getting evicted. From there I got a regular set for World Dance Net Radio based in Greenwich in a warehouse where I experienced stimulating a crowd for the first time. I played for WDRFM for 2 years.
Within the same period I was dabbling in a program for the Playstation called ‘Music2000’ just for fun. I used to get home from clubbing on a Saturday morning and sit up all day making tracks while I had ideas fresh in my mind from the previous night. My friends and family encouraged me because I had made some really unique and unusual tracks. This gave me the assertion that I had a huge fascination with writing music and decided to get a hold of a decent music production program. It was only then a friend KControl encouraged me to get a pc with a proper sequencing program so there would be no limitations on what I could make. I spent the next year getting to know how to use programs such as: - Cubase, Logic and various other musical related programs.
So in the last 4 years I’ve been spending most of my time fooling around in my home studio…
• Gavner (50 % of Riot Brothers)
NAME: Gavin Mearns
LOCATION: Hull, East Yorkshire
INFLUENCES INCLUDE: Lab4, Stanton Warriors, Plump DJ’s, Guyver, BK, Paul Maddox plus many many more across various genres.
WHAT KIT DO YOU USE TO MAKE TRACKS: Dell Inspiron 5160 (3.06GHz/512DDR/60GBHD) Laptop running FLStudio5 In conjunction with various VSTi and VSTfx plugins. Fave VSTs include: Vanguard, Absynth, Junglist, Pro53, FLkeys & Superwave Pro Bundle.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TINKERING AWAY IN THE STUDIO: I’ve been producing properly for around about 5 years although I was tinkering with Music when it first came out on the playstation, also Ejay was a stepping stone in understanding the structure of dance music.
ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE WANTING TO START MAKING MUSIC: Never say never. If you have a love of music you should generally be able to express your feelings through creating something of your own which is easily done given enough time, focus and determination. The possibilities are out there, it’s just a case of whether you explore them. Once you do, you then realise you are capable of anything.
Gavner – With Guyver playing as the riot Bros
• Noteknix - Noteknix is an up and coming bedroom producer who produces various styles of trance and freeform hard house. He has been in the background of the scene for years making music and generally having fun with the happy people that are associated with the electronic music movement. He has been hard at work trying to get unsigned talent in the same situation as himself out there for years, having found harder faster and the people involved with the site he has finally made a break through to get these artists noticed by creating the Unsigned Project.
NAME: Nick Hanson
LOCATION: Hull, Yorkshire
INFLUENCES INCLUDE: Chicane – bk – Fergie – Fat boy Slim – Aphex Twin
WHAT KIT DO YOU USE TO MAKE TRACKS: FL studio 5.1 – Korg Triton Le – Behringer eurorack mixer – JBL Speakers
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TINKERING AWAY IN THE STUDIO: Around about 7/8 years, started with music production tools such as music, mixman, Ejay, then progressed onto the Demo version of fruity loops ( that doesn’t save your work !) so I was making new sounds daily and sequencing them via ejay ! Finally got the full version of fruity and haven’t looked back since!
ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE WANTING TO START MAKING MUSIC: It comes with time, but if you have the patience its very rewarding in the sense that when you create something worthwhile you feel so proud to have done so! Get into it, stick at it and don’t be overwhelmed at first – and don’t be afraid to ask people involved in music production as they are always up for helping!
• Kiotic - Dan (kiotic) has been producing for over 3 years now, with his first release due out in the May on Global Panic Records with Technikal called Emotion Is Khaos. The types of music that he producers are mainly hard house & hard trance, which he also DJs. He is currently working with other producers such as Aftershok, Miss XS, Danny-B and soon to be working with the up and coming DJ Andy Rise. His new track, Cheater, is featured on the Unsigned CD, a fast paced, dirty little number which has been getting played by the likes of Andy Rise and Cally Gage. He is willing to work with anyone who wants to collaborate and make hard dance.
NAME: Dan Thomas
WHAT KIT DO YOU USE TO MAKE TRACKS: Fruity Loops V5 Producer Edition, Roland JP8080, Novation KS Rack
* picture not available *
• Cyanide/Shady – Jay - John Goult aka Cyanide/Shady has been a massive part of the scene down here in Yorkshire, manning such events as Eat your Words, R house and other different venues and private parties. A true asset to the scene, with top notch production skills showing his flair across various different styles from trance, hard house, trance – and one of his biggest skills, hip hop and rap.
NAME: John Goult
WHICH PRODUCERS INFLUENCE YOU: Guyver + BK
WHAT KIT DO YOU USE TO MAKE TRACKS: Fl Studio 5.1
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN TINKERING AWAY IN THE STUDIO: 6 years – ish !
ANY ADVICE FOR PEOPLE WANTING TO START MAKING MUSIC: Don’t give up ever, even if it seems to be taking forever – don’t be impatient + forget about ever being friends with your neighbours !!
Cyanide – Shady – Jay
Many thanks to NoTeKnIx and Ed Real and best of luck to all the unsigned producers.
Pictures supplied by NoTeKnIx
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The HeatUK and HarderFaster Xmas Payback Party — reviewed!
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Party Proactive is coming: interview with Soto of Botchit and Scarper
Squelcher VS Guilt — The Beach Party review
The views and opinions expressed in this review are strictly those of the author only for which HarderFaster will not be held responsible or liable.