Major Music Project: Final Outcome

Overall I am happy with my final outcome. I think that it showcases my ability more as a songwriter than a producer, however it is a good starting point for my career.

There is some rough cuts in the vocals, such as words being cut off or the one line being sung two different ways, which makes some parts of the songs a bit awkward, but I don’t think it detracts from the music too much.

I’ve planned a release for November 2nd with a short social media campaign with my band member(s), offering the EP to be streamed for free on Soundcloud, or downloaded for $2 with a bonus acoustic demo from Bandcamp. I’m also looking into digital distribution, depending on prices and audience engagement. This will most likely be done after the release date. I’ve also got some CDs to be sent off to radio stations that prefer hardcopies, as well as a few copies to give to friends and family. Because I have no money, these were done at home, which doesn’t give them the most professional look, but hey, it’s punk rock.

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Major Music Project: Written Proposal

Outcome can be found here

Outline

For my Major Music Project I am writing, recording and producing a five song EP for my band, The Ninth Dimension. The genre of the EP will be punk, drawing influences from Melbourne bands such as Camp Cope and the Smith Street Band, as I find the raw live sound of their records can be very emotive. As well as this, I will also draw influences from pop punk and emo bands such as The Wonder Years, Real Friends, Brand New and Green Day, as well as more commercial or heavier bands such as Paramore, Sum 41 and Neck Deep, as these bands best capture the sound that my band aims for.

The arrangement of the songs will include a five piece band set up of lead vocals (as well as backing and harmonies), lead and rhythm guitars, bass, and drums. This will help to give the EP the live feel that bands like Camp Cope have, as well as keep in line with using real instruments, as is the norm with the punk genre.

The goal for this project is to create an EP where my influences can be heard, but is also unique in itself. I want my band to have its own sound, and for our EP to not sound like a Paramore or Brand New EP. I also want the EP to sound as professional as possible in the recording and mixing, however I do want to retain some of the DIY feel of a punk record, which will be a fine line to balance.

Some tracks that have the sound that I’m aiming for are:

Escape Route – Paramore

The Static Age – Green Day

Failure By Design – Brand New

Dismantling Summer – The Wonder Years

No Apologise – Sum 41

Timeline

My main deadlines for my timeline are to record  guitars over week 4 and 5. Following this, I will be recording drums in week 5 (instead of week 4 to get the best possible sound and practice time) and I’ll be able to record vocals from week 5 through to 6. This allows for week 7 to 11 to be weeks where I mix the song, with a final week at the end incase anything gets push back. My main time constraint is with recording the vocals, as I am working around another person’s schedule, and can only fit in shorter sessions. Because of this, my aim to have all the lead vocals recorded in these sessions, and if I run out of time for backing vocals I can either do them myself, or have another person do them.

How it connects to my future

This project connects to my future in the music industry through producing an example of the skills and knowledge I have developed throughout this course, which I can show potential employers for jobs and internships. It will also give me first hand experience into the process of creating and releasing an EP or body of work which I can apply to other projects.

Furthermore, having an EP for my bands gives us something to promote and advance our musical career, as currently we only have a couple of demos posted online to show people. This allows us to connect to others and expand our audience, through gigs, radio play and making music videos for the songs. 

Demos

Assessment Task 3: Collaborative Hypermedia Story & Reflection

The Beginning:

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer

All Links:

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!part-one/dktij

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!part-two/n90sl

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!drummer-1/uh008

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!drummer-1-show/tfz78

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!success/yi7c8

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!great-success/pqgt7

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!win/e2gaf

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!fail-part-ii/akwa6

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!drum-off/ok2vd

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!dance-track/wg42q

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!drummer-2/v9yag

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!drummer-2-show/v0hke

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!drummer-2-fail/yunh8

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!quit-the-band/gotn0

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!drummer-3/mf40y

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!drummer-3-show/vxs1y

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!acoustic/tfwl1

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!drummer-4/fy78r

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!blank/apxtf

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!drummer-5/g5iut

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!blank-1/a8pkw

http://s3486072.wix.com/chooseyourowndrummer#!blank-2/mt712

 

The Reflection:

The hypertext story assessment task has provided us with a way of expressing ourselves as musicians in a format that is not exclusively musical, whilst exploring an idea that is familiar to other musicians, as well as (hopefully) humorous to general hypertext browsers. As Jeremy covers in the week 11 YouTube-based lecture, user input is extremely valuable when considering how to make a hypertext story more immersive for the user, and as a result of this we came to a collective agreement as a group to ensure that we had different options available based on what each particular user chose to do as they moved through our story. User reward was another factor considered in why people might take the time to complete a hypertext story, so we arranged ours in such a way that one would eventually reach a ‘successful’ end to the story, thus allowing them to access a Soundcloud link with all of the audio we recorded for the assessment task.

On an aesthetic level consideration was given to ensuring that the hypertext story has a cohesive and consistent look and feel throughout the entire experience, with similarly designed yet unique backgrounds adding to the immersion of the overall piece. We specifically made use of graphics that were covered under creative commons, and more specifically those filed under CC0, or the non-attribution license. This allowed us to make our hypertext story appear more streamlined as we didn’t need to include attributions to each image that we used either directly or post-editing. The opportunity to create our own media was one that we embraced, with musical and spoken word recordings intended to not only make the experience more interesting overall, but also to provide a level of authenticity that other musicians and content creators in general could relate to.

Due to the story being consequential in nature based on the user’s input, the website was constructed without a way of undoing a choice once it had been made. This allowed us to streamline the narrative experience for the user until they reached the end of a storyline, at which point they would be able to restart and choose a different path. This required replay mechanic served to increase the overall time value of the hypertext story, as well as generate curiosity within the user as they discover what happens throughout the story. As musicians ourselves, we have a natural sense of what topics and music-based clichés our target audience would find either funny or interesting. The Week 10 reading from Mark Bernstein suggests that interest and attention are maintained in hypertexts by combining regularity and irregularity, which is something we strived for by writing storylines that varied greatly depending on which of the multiple pathways the user chose, with unexpected twists, turns, and points of humour within each individual pathway.

On an overall note we feel as a team that roles were equally shared based on both workload and each individual’s strengths and weaknesses, with effective communication employed throughout the creative process.

Bernstein, Mark. “Delightful Vistas: Revisiting the Hypertext Garden.” Travels in Intermediality. Lebanon, US: Dartmouth, 2012. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 8 February 2016. 142-146

Assessment Task 2: Finding My Community

Writing for a particular audience by contributing to specific communities online has allowed me to develop my own ‘voice’ through the language that I use, and what I post about. Through writing a music blog, I can post about music and artists that I like, and allow for some assumed knowledge that those reading the blog have some degree of an idea of who I am talking about, or are interested in finding out who they are. This also comes with the challenge to ensure that the posts that I make interest those in the audience, to ensure that they return to my blog or the contributions that I make elsewhere online.

The platform that I used to make contributions to was a Soundcloud group dedicated to the genre of Pop Punk, where users can post their own songs to an audience of people with similar musical interests. Contributions I made included posting the tracks that were already uploaded to my band’s Soundcloud account, as well as creating and uploading new tracks as well. Along with this, I also commented on other tracks within the group that I listened to and enjoyed. At first, this seemed have little success, as I was mostly gaining attention from spam accounts. From this, I decided to use the band’s Tumblr page and create an Instagram account to be able to create more contributions and a wider variety of media, such as images, as a way to gather more attention to the Soundcloud account.   

I wanted people to interact with the media that was posted, however, it was unrealistic to expect someone to do something for you without first doing something for them. This usually took shape in commenting and liking other people’s music within the group on Soundcloud. While this may not have resulted in the original poster of the track listening to the song in return, it did allow for others who were commenting on the track to see my username and go to my profile, resulting in some listens. This also branched out into the Instagram and Tumblr accounts, where interacting with other users, typically by liking, commenting and following people posting under the ‘#poppunk’ hashtag, which often resulted in them interacting with our posts in return.

This approach was inspired by week 8’s reading, where the author discussed the idea of online communities being similar to cocktail parties, where you should be able to offer something as you join in the conversations. They also discussed who would be the best to approach in order to gain the most, for example, the ‘midfluences’, who have many followers, but are not at the very top in terms of follower count, as they will be more likely to respond (Otway, 2012, p 105). This was done through interacting with people active in the hashtag, often those posting text posts, and fan art and edits of bands, but were not getting thousands of notes or replies, as it would be more likely that my interaction would be noticed. 

Overall I have found that the attention generated by my contributions in the online community has grown slowly. However I believe over a larger scale of time, this method will see more success, as I make more contributions I will gather more recognition throughout the various media platforms I have been using.   

Bibliography:

Oatway, Jay, Apr 26, 2012, Mastering Story, Community and Influence : How to Use Social Media to Become a Socialeader Wiley, Hoboken. 97-109.

Soundcloud Group Update

So, so far on my contribution to the Soundcloud community I haven’t had much interaction aside from what I forced a few friends to comment, as well as a ‘repost’ from a spam account. How reassuring.

To expand on this, I decided to create an Instagram account and use the band’s Tumblr account to interact with more people online, taking inspiration from week 8’s reading, by following others, as well as interacting with their posts by liking and commenting on both platforms. The goal of this is to offer others something, ie attention to their blogs and posts, in return for the same thing on the band’s blog which will hopefully lead to more listens on our Soundcloud account. The plan for this as well is to maybe create memes that make sense within the genre to post among the material that is relevant to the band.

 

Top 5 Resources

Here is the list of my top 5 resources. Most are these are based in some form of publication like magazines on online news and reviews, as this is where I get most of my information about the music industry.

http://sheshredsmag.com/

Website of a guitarist magazine, it includes links to Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram (they liked one of my pictures once, it was awesome), as well as allowing for comments on their articles they post online.

http://www.altpress.com/

Alternative music magazine website, also links to social media and comments section.

http://fuckyeahpoppunk.com/

A blog for music reviews and news on tumblr, which allows for reblogs with the opportunity to add comments, as well as submit asks to directly communicate with the blog.

http://www.tonedeaf.com.au/

An online music magazine that includes news, reviews and columns. Each article has a comments section where people can interact, as well as an option to share the article to Facebook, where people can interact with the article with the people on their Facebook feed.

Sound cloud group  — https://soundcloud.com/groups/pop-punk

community of people and bands who post tracks that they have made, can like, comment on and repost tracks. These sites are very interactive where there isn’t a hierarchical structure, and all contributors, aside from the moderator or the group creator are at the same level and has the same access as everyone else. This interactivity can be almost selfish in itself, or motivated by personal gain, as liking on commenting on someone else’s track will often mean that they like yours back. I’ve found that the smaller these communities are, the more likely that people will interact with each other. For instance, a group with under 1000 people will have more comments, and more consistent commentors than a group of over 50,000 people, where tracks are burried in the stream before people are able to view and interact with them.

Cultural Materialism

  • explains cultural similarities and differences
  • technology plays a “primary role in shaping society”
  • cultural change comes from innovation and is chosen by society for growth and production
  • “bridges the gap between Marxism and Post-Modernism”
  • “values that are changing and being formed as we live and react to the world around us”

Cultural Materialism is the way in which our culture is formed through our reactions to the world around us, and how, in this sense, how the influence of technology has shaped culture and society.

There are two views of Cultural Materialism — the anthropological, and the literary.

  • Raymond Williams —
    • “bridges the gap between Marxism and Post-Modernism”
  • Mavin Harris

Example:

Internet – changes society to be more interconnected, fills needs of instant connection, information, keeps up with the modern world.

Week 7 Workshop

 

To contribute to one of my top 5 resource sites this week I uploaded an instrumental track from my band, and posted it to one of the Soundcloud Pop Punk groups. Along with this, I also liked and commented on a few of the tracks that were posted in the same group, to contribute more than just the track. On the track that I posted I was able to reply to comments and engage in a conversation.

Week 6 Reading

I found a relevant point in this week’s reading where the author talks about the neutrality of technologies, using the example of a gun, where it may make a situation more dangerous in the hands of a violent person, but the gun itself is somewhat neutral in the situation. I think this relates to a lot of sites and the culture of trolling these days, ie, any Youtube comment section, Twitter replies, reddit and 4chan threads. These sites as technology are not inherently toxic environments, however when people with a particularly unpleasant vendetta against something, or too much time on their hands, decide to use it, they can become verbally abusive, toxic abysses of the absolute worst part of some people’s humanity. How ’bout that.

Assessment Task One

Throughout the last five weeks of the course I have expanded my knowledge of blogging immensely. I have also found that I enjoy many parts of writing online that I hadn’t tried before, such as the informal style of writing, where it does not need to be academic or journalistic, but can instead be whatever you choose it to be. I have also found that I enjoy the freedom of topics that I can choose from to blog about, as it gives me room to explore my interests, and to build on various ideas by linking to other blogs and websites through hypertext.

There are many positives and negatives when it comes to blogging, such as not needing a word limit, unless I set one for myself, allowing me to say what I need or want to say without needed to add sentences, or take away parts of what I wanted to sat to reach a limit. As a writer this can be both a challenge and a blessing, as I feel that my posts are at times too short, however on the other hand, they are free from unnecessary clutter. For me personally, I feel as though I need to set deadlines for myself in order to make sure that posts are not left in the ‘Drafts’ folder while I try to think of concluding sentences for them, which is evident in the order of some of my posts, such as the response to week three’s reading.

This course has also allowed me to write about myself and my own works, rather than reviews someone else, or speaking only about my inspiration. This is something that I have demonstrated in my post where I critique my own draft of a song, and explain what I like and what I would like to improve within it. I have also used it to vocalise any troubles that I have with my music making, as that is what I have chosen the direction of my blog to be about. 

I have found the course material involving hypertext is relevant to my blog, as I can use it to respond to other blog entries or articles that I have read, without needing to give an in-depth summary of what the original article is about. This gives the reader of my blog, as Landow (109, 2006) discusses “…a far more active role” where they can follow the hypertext back to the original article I speak about, following a nonlinear pattern in their reading.

Overall, I have found that this course has challenged me as a writer to write more often, and more freely about a range of subjects that interest me. With more consistent uploading of material, I believe that my blog will be able to reflect the work and progress I have made through Networked Media.

Landow, George P. Hypertext 3.0: Critical Theory and New Media in an Era of Globalization. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 2006. Print. 107-124