(Incredibly Belated) Disco Sunday #2

27 06 2007

After Dark

I actually wrote a draft of this particular post in May but I’m only just now getting to publish it, because there’s just too damn much awesome shit to do in NYC. The Glass played the other night, Kavinsky and Mr. Oizo a few weeks ago, Boyznoise are tomorrow night…and of course let’s not forget the amazing Baron von Luxxury’s solo turn at APT last week – *damn*, I was good!

My man Johnny Jewel has produced a new compilation on fellow multi-tasker Mike Simonetti’s new Troubleman Unlimited imprint, Italians Do It Better Records. It’s called “After Dark” and I’ve been listening to it obsessively since I got it at the Glass Candy show in SF last month. It’s got twelve sultry slow-BPM space disco jams and it’s fucking gorgeous. Here are a few of my favorites:

MP3: “In The City” – Chromatics
Chromatics Space

MP3: “Lady Operator” – Mirage
Mirage Space

MP3: “La Grotta” – Professor Genius
Genius Space

MP3: “Miss Broadway (Demo)” – Glass Candy
Glass Space

All four songs are from the compilation on Italians Do It Better called “After Dark”, available at the Troubleman Unlimited web site.

Speaking of belated blog posting…the In The City conference ended TWO WEEKS ago for Chrissakes, so at long last, by means of a conference wrapup, here are a few final quotes and info tidbits from the panelists. In addition to all the music biz wisdom you will glean, if you read all the way through there are two extra bonus MP3s awaiting your clicky clicky:

* Hitmaker extrordinare Rodney Jerkins on trendy sounds and how he replies when people tell him “we need a song just like X”: “I don’t copy the radio – I MAKE the radio.”
* Matty Safer from the Rapture on how music blogs in the UK aren’t yet as influential there as a certain 3-letter monopolist rag still is: “If your band sounds like what’s in the NME, that means you’ve got 3 months to get hurry up and tour the UK” and capitalize on having the officially approved “sound du jour.”
* Patrick Moxley from Ultra Records on how what artists want is changing with the rise of digital music: “I had a hip-hop artist call me the other day and say ‘I want to do a deal’ – not a record deal, but a *ring tone* deal!”
* The uber-intelligent Marc Geiger on the malleability of taste: “People don’t know what they like, they like what they know.”
* Tony Wilson revealed that he received $150K for New Order’s contribution to the Pretty in Pink soundtrack (“Shell Shock”), but that it cost him $170K to record the track…someone buy this man a calculator and a time machine!
* Apparently Robbie Williams was overheard saying to Felix from Bassment Jaxx, regarding their multi million dollar sponsorship deals: “But are *your* sales improving? Neither are mine.”
* A few bons mots from lifelong Metallica manager (and recent Courtney Love ex-manager) Peter Mensch: “If you want to kill Jimmy Page, throw 2 pence in front of a London bus.” “Artist development still means getting radio, which in turn sells tickets.” “Don’t ever manage Germans!”
* From the Future of Music panel regarding GM’s $60 million budget on music clearances alone: “”Advertising is the new radio – and an ad *is* now the video.” Or, as Usher Winslet from the Whitecap Group put it: “Brand association is the future of economics in the music business.”

On the last night of the event I spoke briefly to Matty from The Rapture before his DJ set at Hiro about how much I love their new Escort remix. The original track is pretty bangin’ too, you can find it on the most disco-est blog out there, the always amazing and erudite 20JazzFunkGreats. Speaking of which, I was sitting outside at Cafe Pick Me Up yesterday and who do you think walked by wearing pink pumps and black eyeshadow? Mr. (well, perhaps Ms.) Throbbing Gristle his/herself, Genesis P-Orridge! I am an ol’ school starfucker, and I digress rather massively, so here’s the damn track:

MP3 “All Through The Night (The Rapture Hush Hush)” – Escort

I also went to see a band called Enter Shikari that was playing as part of the conference as Tony Wilson’s new “discovery.” Though I wish them well and admire their efforts to do an Emo-Nu-rave thing, I have to admit I wasn’t too crazy about them. But I’ll give Mr. Joy Division/New Order/Happy Mondays the benefit of the doubt and see if my ears don’t acclimate better over time. Mr. ’24 Hour Party People’ has been right many times before:

MP3: “These Days (Demo)” – Joy Division

UPDATE: I just found out I may be doing a solo Luxxury show at the Boyznoise gig this Thursday night in NYC…stay tuned for details…


Did I mention Tony “Factory Records/The Haçienda” is Here?

14 06 2007

Tony Wilson

I really thought I had a genius solution: I’d take 5 minutes after each panel, write 2 or 3 highlights of each panel (a la my Keynote post), and hit “publish.” Then to the next panel, rinse, repeat. However, this conference has been so jam packed with tasty thoughts and lively discussion from industry heavyweights that I barely had time to escape for a sandwich at 3:15 before rushing back to see living legend (Joy Division/New Order/The Hacienda/Happy Mondays/subject-of-fantastic-pseudo-reality-film etc.) Tony Wilson have an intimate one-on-one (discussion! talking! heads out of the gutter, people…) with the new president of Mercury records, David Massey.

Here are some of the highlights from Day 1:

* A conversation with songwriter/producer/legend-at-29 Rodney Jerkins (“The Boy is Mine”, “You Rock My World”, “Say My Name”, and 100 more top 10 hits): Rodney had some great advice for songwriters looking at signing a publishing deal (ahem), specifically that he wished he’d considered an admin deal instead of co-pub; and don’t forget the “reversion clause” in the contract! Clearly a man with an impressive work ethic, he said he often wonders how other writers/producers find the time to live the party life 24/7, since he went right back to the studio after winning his Grammy. Hyperbole or not, point taken, and his forward thinking-ness was also refreshing: he said he’s looking for a successor/mentee to help him stay relevant. Rodney is clearly destined to be a player in the music biz for a long time.

* DRM panel (i.e. “why can’t I play my music files from Web site X on device Y?”: I’ve been suspicious about the effectiveness of those little music sales boxes on Myspace, and when asked point blank about sales, the rep from Snocap said it was still “early” in the “coralling” stage. Presumably meaning that its the logistics of pasting 5 lines of HTML code into one’s page thats preventing sales. And not the fact that people go to Myspace to flirt and listen to (*not* buy) music. I had this thing on my page for about a month and even when we were averaging 400-500 streams a day we had zero sales. Not one. I’ve heard this from other artists who have also taken their sales boxes down after a short trial.

* Sync panel (i.e.”who chooses what music gets used in a commercial (or TV show or video game?”): great lineup of music supes, production and agency people addressing the question above. Interesting to hear that a lot of these choices – at least ones that aren’t pre-selected by a client – come from what an art director or editor just happens to be listening to on their iPods at the time. Message to unsigned bands: ply your ad agency friends with demos!

More later. Day 2 is starting.

– Baron von Luxxury

“In The City” Conference: Day 1

13 06 2007

I’m not going to liveblog this thing but I will try a hybrid reporting model with a few bullet pointed notes in between panels and then a wrapup later tonight.

Keynote: Tom Silverman – founder Tommy Boy records
* His main question is: why, with all the new Internet based means of exposing an artist, aren’t there more artists and songs being broken via the Web?
* Theory put forth: Internet is amazing resource BUT ability to choose ultimately inhibits the serendipity factor once inherently a part of FM radio, MTV etc (back before they, too, were less regimented and programmed to target a demographic segment);
* It should be noted: this man put out Afrika Bambattaa’s Planet Rock. Told a cool story about using the first Fairlight and 808 in the studio with Arthur Baker to make that record.
* Speaking of legends, the speech turned into a conversation between Tommy and Sire records founders Seymour Stein and Richard Gottehrer, wherein the latter regaled us with some amazing tales of that label (home of Madonna, Talking Heads, Depeche Mode, etc)’s origins. Apparently they used to go to England and, for little or no money, they licensed UK artists that the labels there were afraid to put out in the US. And an empire was built.

More later, next panel starting now….

– BvL