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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Who's actually making anything at this?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Play Out! Performance Modulars Goto page 1, 2  Next [all]
Author Who's actually making anything at this?
DedMousie
Out of curiosity, how many of you have figured out how to book enough quality gigs to make enough dosh to sorta support your gear habit and/or pay a portion of your monthly rent?

If you're doing great, what type of places are you playing, and what type of material?

... I've not ventured out yet. Still working out exactly what I want to do, and the logistics of pulling it off...

I'm probably aiming for stuff like the below, which was written in the studio with possible live recreation in mind. Probably:

[s]http://soundcloud.com/les-mizzell/timmys-tinfoil-hat[/s]

I'm still working out the "do I avoid a computer on stage" problem...
Kent
Strictly by gigging this kind of non-mainstream material? I don't think that it is possible. I think that a person would have to have access to a number of revenue streams such as sound-design, preset creation, giving lectures and perhaps playing in a more accessible band/format. I doubt that Subotnik would get by on playing out alone.

I know that you wrote about making just a little bit of scratch, however I think that getting paid anything beyond beer and 20 bucks a show seems like a dream. Transportation to/from shows would eat up any revenue alone. You'd have to have the kind of name and draw to fill up events wherein you could command something beyond a token financial reward.
dogoftears
your example is a joke right? it's very nice by the way, just saying, you need to make commercial style music if you wanna pay the bills, think dance music, like, 4-on-the-floor kick drums or better yet, half time break beats... those are in right now.

if you can make infectious/cheesy enough dance music then yeah you can pay the bills with it. i know plenty of people who do. but it's a pretty crazy lifestyle. and yeah if you wanna throw yr modular on stage and do some gated FM leads with it, people will totally go apeshit. just make sure they can see you touching the pressure plates or FSR or whatever. but first is big fat kicks, non stop 909 OHH, and melodic arpeggios.
DedMousie
dogoftears wrote:
if you can make infectious/cheesy enough dance music then yeah ...


So we need to be DeadMau5 or Skrillex I guess. Heh...

Wonder how much Mouse on Mars or Autechre makes??? ... cuz you mostly ain't dancing to that!!

I saw Robert Rich a few years ago in Asheville - maybe 20 people in the audience, including one guy on his cell that Robert eventually had to STOP playing and ask to leave...
themanthatwasused
Although a lot of people can sing but not all of them should make an album.
If your voice should be heard it will be heard. But yeah in this time that we leave in where the attention span is actually shorter it is quite difficult to present multi layered and long form works like that.
Guinness ftw!
kuxaan-sum
DedMousie wrote:


Wonder how much Mouse on Mars or Autechre makes??? ... cuz you mostly ain't dancing to that!!


uhm....I danced my ass off the last time I saw Autechre but I believe their live sets are intended to be more "danceable".

Do what you enjoy and don't set your primary goals on makin' monies.

No harm in trying to make something you think might sell or be "mainstream" but I don't think it should be forced too much.

You either write that way or you don't.
And I think the "quality" of what you are striving for will show or it will drive you insane trying to get there.

I like to play out locally and usually donate any proceeds (the beer or the $20) to the venue or the traveling acts because I know it's not easy.
Heck, I usually end up paying out of pocket to help promote or get something needed for the show.

Pay to play is what I call it.
DedMousie
kuxaan-sum wrote:
uhm....I danced my ass off the last time I saw Autechre but I believe their live sets are intended to be more "danceable"


Full disclosure ...

I started in cover bands when I was too young to be playing in the clubs I was playing in. I've done everything from big band jazz, prog, pop, "wedding" band (argh).... Managed to pay my way all the way through college, purchase my first two cars with cash, down payment on my first house. I'm too old to keep that sort of thing up anymore though!

Later, when I got tired of touring, I got into composition. There *used* to be a really good market here - I've scored hundreds of TV and radio commercials, documentaries and industrial films, three full length ballets, a couple of PBS and Travel Channel series, and 4 indie feature films. That market has pretty much now gone to hell though. Composing gigs are few and far between at this point. If the video editor can slap something together in Garageband, it's "good enough"! Heh...

When I get the "let's play live" bug these days, I usually go for a job in a local theatre pit band. I've almost got the score to "Little Shop of Horrors" memorized at this point, and have done everything from "Beauty and the Beast" to "Jerry's Girls" and in between. Not too bad. Two or three days of rehearsals tops, 2 hours a night at the theatre, no gear moving one you're set up the first time!

However, I've always played OTHER folks stuff. It's time to ditch that and finally do what I want for myself. I really love what Robert Rich does live, and that's mostly the direction I've been looking at. To be honest though, I think it would be fun to drop some danceable beats at times and see what happens! Being a Gemini, I could see two different live "identities", one doing more dancey stuff, and the other, the really weird abstract...

I'm still a ways off from doing anything, but as it progresses, I'll let everybody know what happens.
Dofkev
DedMousie wrote:

I've scored hundreds of TV and radio commercials, documentaries and industrial films, three full length ballets, a couple of PBS and Travel Channel series, and 4 indie feature films.

That is pretty impressive and more work than most of us will ever see. You must know the game quite well to acquire these opportunities. I assume you live in a metropolitan area? You must know what venues and opportunities exist in your context, right?
I happen to live in a small city that has a very supportive avant garde music community. There are a few (two) non-profit music organizations that focus on presenting non traditional music. I receive a few commissions from them a year. There are a few venues that host touring artists who play this type of music. The art museums are sort of open to strange music - sometimes. Most of my artistic work these days is live performance with modular synthesizer. I play probably 20 shows per year - most for free. Last year I made about $1500 playing live, and most of that was from 3 commissions - hardly enough to pay for a modular synth, much less rent.
For a frame of reference, this is what I play live: video of shows
dogoftears
Autechre is definitely an exception to the rule and i tend to look up to them quite a bit for being able to remain experimental and cause such controversy and intense discussion amongst their fanbase. But they became famous with what was essentially ravey dance music... good stuff but still dance music, quite good on drugs while moving about in a dark room, that kind of thing. And as already mentioned their live sets tend to be more dance oriented than their albums-- though I was the only one dancing at last Autechre show I went to.

If you can get famous enough writing dance music then you can probably end up fucking off and doing all sorts of whack shit, but you need to have a lot of trust built with a large fanbase to really be able to pull that off.

Get involved in a local dance-music scene... I am into psychedelic trance. I throw and attend remote outdoor events all the time, usually with really killer sound. I get to play my music fairly often for intimate groups of freaks brave enough to drive to the Mojave desert or some norkal forest for a party. But it's dance music still. I have my friends Sweatshop Boys close every one of my parties-- they do live minimal modular synth drone-bient sort of stuff, and i always get a ton of drug-addled partiers coming up to me and complaining about the music during their set. I mean really like they want to kill these people, or they are offended or take it personally or whatever-- it's kind of amazing. People are really not programmed to accept/digest any form of experimental music. The sad facts of life.
shortsleeves
I must say - this is a most interesting thread. Keep your experiences coming, guys!
dogoftears
oh also Re: Mouse on Mars
i saw them recently in SF and it SUCKED. they are trying to fit in with some contemporary dance music style, but their sonic quality was garbage and the venue wasn't even half sold out and there were no young people present. i haven't kept up with them in recent years at all, but it was not even close to what i expected/hoped for...
DedMousie
Dofkev wrote:
I assume you live in a metropolitan area?


Nope! I'm in South Carolina/ Probably the absolute WORST place for a composer!

It's really weird (sad) how the market here changed over the years. There were probably 3 or 4 of us making a pretty good living writing - mostly for commercial stuff. At this point, I don't think ANYBODY here is able to make a decent wage at it now. Original music here has REALLY been devalued over the years.

First, there's now dozens of bedroom studio kids willing to do it for FREE, just with the hope that a few free jobs will get them into paying work. Doesn't happen that way. As soon as they think they've done enough "free" and ask for anything, the clients move to the next 'free" person. Why pay *anybody* if you can find somebody that can do an "OK" job for free? Quality doesn't seem to matter as much now days, and nobody is willing to pay any of us experienced folks when "good enough" can be had for nothing.

The economy certainly hasn't helped either. I've done a few jingle jobs where the agency in charge didn't give a second thought about hiring out a large studio, 8 string players, a brass section, rhythm, and a couple of singers. That never happens now. Just listening to the the commercials on the radio at this point bears that fact. The radio stations usually will do production for nothing when a client purchases a schedule - typical local auto dealer commercial where the DJ screams over some pumping tract. Once again, why pay for something you can get for free? Other than national spots, there's almost *never* any jingles any more.

I'm still doing documentary work when it presents itself, or the occasional job that interest me artistically, regardless of budget (or lack thereof). A number of years ago I got into Coldfusion and PHP code, and my income comes from writing web applications for folks. I really miss doing music full time though, and am trying to figure out how to make that happen again. I know it will take multiple income streams to pull it off - my own "weird" music jobs, alter-ego slowly building something that will work in the dance area but keep me happy artistically, lecture/demo type stuff (the Arts Commission here, if our governor doesn't manage to kill it off, can really help with that...), reaching out a little further for some more documentary type jobs ... it's going to be a long road, but I'm carefully planning the steps to take.
authorless
Where abouts in SC are you?
DedMousie
authorless wrote:
Where abouts in SC are you?


Columbia.

We FINALLY got a venue here that specializes in alternative music, http://www.conundrum.us , so I'm sure once I venture out (...and that's still a way off), I'll start there, after a few initial test shows here at the house...
Soy Sos
It's funny you should pose this question. I make my living as an audio engineer, sound designer and sometimes DJ. As for modular weirdness:

1. Two weekends ago I performed 2 shows on my modular accompanying
my own sound design cues for our dance company's concert. My take home
for the performance and creation of the entire score around $1500

2. Last Tuesday I played at a local club on modular and M'Bira along
with a saxophonist, Guitarist and Drummer, Two sets all improv. $70

3. Last night I performed a 20 minute structured improv on modular along with the same Saxophonist from Tuesday. We "opened" for Arnold Dreyblatt.
At the end of the night the guy who runs the art venue hands me $15

http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/ae/theater-dance/dance-review-stay cee-pearls-on-being-explores-self-identity-through-movement-676754/

http://www.pghcitypaper.com/pittsburgh/a-new-dance-work-explores-post- blackness-and-other-aspects-of-identity/Content?oid=1620331
jonkull
DedMousie wrote:
First, there's now dozens of bedroom studio kids willing to do it for FREE, just with the hope that a few free jobs will get them into paying work. Doesn't happen that way. As soon as they think they've done enough "free" and ask for anything, the clients move to the next 'free" person. Why pay *anybody* if you can find somebody that can do an "OK" job for free? Quality doesn't seem to matter as much now days, and nobody is willing to pay any of us experienced folks when "good enough" can be had for nothing.


Not to derail your thread but this sounds a lot like what's going on in the commercial art world. These idiots don't understand that they're preventing themselves and everyone else from getting good paying work. I have friends that have been working in design and illustration for 20+ years who are having a hard time finding work that pays. Everyone wants the first one or two projects free and then 'maybe we'll pay you next time.' I'm happy I have a staff position.
hpsounds
Very interesting topic, but I can't help you on this subject. BTW, your music is very nice ! love

Hédi K.
DedMousie
jonkull wrote:
Not to derail your thread but this sounds a lot like what's going on in the commercial art world.


I had a couple of friends that were making a very good living doing stock photography, and was considering getting into that a bit myself. Then crowd-sourcing happened, and even for a commercial project, you can get all the images you need to next to NOTHING.

hpsounds wrote:
BTW, your music is very nice !


Thank you. A number of years back, I was the in-house composer/sound-designer for a post production house in Charlotte. I was busy as hell, but I got *sooo* burned out writing stuff for agencies with no imaginations. All they ever wanted was "make it sound JUST like hit song X, but not close enough to get us sued".

By the time that job was over, I was completely burnt. I had trouble even listening to music for awhile. As I slowly got back in doing material, I believe going in the direction I've now taken was a direct protest against anything I had previously been doing!
pas
Soy Sos wrote:

3. Last night I performed a 20 minute structured improv on modular along with the same Saxophonist from Tuesday. We "opened" for Arnold Dreyblatt.
At the end of the night the guy who runs the art venue hands me $15


Opening for & hopefully spending some time w/ mr. Dreyblatt is payment enough, congrats.
Soy Sos
pas wrote:
Soy Sos wrote:

3. Last night I performed a 20 minute structured improv on modular along with the same Saxophonist from Tuesday. We "opened" for Arnold Dreyblatt.
At the end of the night the guy who runs the art venue hands me $15


Opening for & hopefully spending some time w/ mr. Dreyblatt is payment enough, congrats.


He was nice enough. When I first came in he asked me,
"Are you my opening act?" We had a bite together at the
Vietnamese restaurant next door after sound check.

He performed his 1st work, on bowed upright bass.
Second bit was a laptop piece using recordings of medical machinery
chopped up in Ableton and triggered from a Launch Pad.
It was very loud and went on too long for my tastes.
terrafractyl
I thought I'd put in some words here, as I currently make a living off playing gigs... It is most certainly a difficult thing to do in any Electronic Music Scene (and your not horribly commercial)

but yeah I'm the same as Dogoftears, I play Psytrance at outdoor festivals, I have been doing this since around 1998, but playing regular gigs from around 2005 and it has taken me that long (8 years? wow) to go from doing it as a hobby to doing it as some kind of Job.

Its been 8 years of constant Gigs, and spending a million sleepless nights on my music to get things to a point where :
a) I have a fan base large enough to actually generate a promoter some kind of income, and
b) enough people in the scene still don't hate me yet.

Both of these things took a lot of effort, and I consider myself lucky to have gotten to this position!

Musically I'm not really still into the Psytrance (not like I used to be anyway) and I write plenty of more experimental and abstract music for some of my other music projects, but I definitely wouldn't be putting food on my table if it wasn't for the Psy, as this is where 90% of my income comes from, and the other 20% comes mainly from mastering other peoples music, and I've only gotten THis work due to my name as an psytrance Artist.

don't get me wrong, I still find something super entertaining about dropping phat basslines to a bunch of people and seeing them wave their arms around. (and if I can combine this with 'anything' vaugely interesting, musically or compositionally, then I think I'm winning somehow)

But yeah I think bloody minded persistance is the Key to most peoples success in the Electronic Music Industry.

Look at nearly any successful Electronic Music Artist (of course there are exceptions) and the chances are, they have been Creating and performing a similar style of music for 10+ years.

Its not going to happen over night, it won't even happen in a year.

One thing that kept me going through the nights with no $$ and only ramen noodles to feed myself... I always thought, If I applied myself fully to making interesting music, it would only be a matter of time before someone out there took notice and cared about what I was doing. This method takes a little more time and patience than having a mad PR rep spamming the whole world and telling everyone how awesome you are. but I still believe its true.

edited for Grammar
ignatius
i make weird electronic music.. how do i make it rain! Mr. Green
dogoftears
terrafractyl words of truth.

listening to yr soundcloud a bit here and you make much more accessible/commercially viable Psy than myself. i make more the Goa Gil type of trance w00t

which works great at Goa Gil parties and the small events i throw in the desert or forest. but i have a very difficult time getting booked for larger european festivals. even though i'm released on numerous comps and always featured on Gil's divine dozen list i seem to carry some sort of infamy for being that guy who will scare the shit out of you while yr high at the party. and people on drugs can be very sensitive, they take things personally, which is of course hilariously egotistical, im just trying to make experimental electronic music with integrity that still has fat dance beats, i have no personal vendetta against an individuals trip.

so of course over the years i've tried to homogenize my music a bit, have less weird break downs, some more familiar sounds, even lately lots of <gasp> melodic content in the last year or so, and slowly it seems to build into something. but because i sort of draw a line at how far i'm willing to let it go in terms of "commercial value" i know i will always be an underground music artist.

i also use other projects as an outlet to make more experimental music. there's nothing more challenging, fun, and rewarding, though, than making a brilliantly fat trance track that has all the bells and whistles of a high quality production, has a lot of sounds and structures that i personally like, and still manages to make people dance.
DedMousie
As to the "diversify and have multiple income streams" ... I've been doing editing, mashups/remixes, and the occasional original work commission for various dance companies around - and could probably very easily put together a 1.5 to 23 hour set of electro-swing or something like that to play out. Might actually be fun ... So there's one potential income stream...

Lecture demo stuff - already got a foot in the door - did that many years ago with a Arp 2600, Minimoog and an Echoplex! Managed to get into a few universities and such. Best experience ever however was a set I did at a school for the handicapped here. What AMAZING kids! I'd love to do more of that, and maybe slowly collect a couple of crackle box type instruments that could increase the "hands on" experience a bit.

Like I previously said - planning stages and LOTS of planning to do yet, but there's been some great ideas thrown out here that everybody can benefit from I think.

By the way, even if you're not an Amanda Palmer fan, everyone should watch her TED speech: http://www.ted.com/talks/amanda_palmer_the_art_of_asking.html
DedMousie
Scared the hell out of everybody when I said "Electro-Swing", didn't I? Still, I actually see an audience for that I think! So, one income stream...
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