Sometimes getting yourself stuck in the studio can be limiting to your creativity. You stick to the same routine, the same starting points, and often this can restrict how adventurous you are.
It happened again…
Here at GBM Music we love to create background music as varied and interesting as possible, and to keep doing so on a consistent basis means we have to keep adding to our arsenal of music creation gear that we can call on.
At least that’s what we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel better about shelling out on some exciting new gear that we could probably survive without.
The truth is that there’s nothing more inspiring than discovering a new piece of equipment, and new ways to work and create music. Especially if things ever feel a little stale.
We’ve opted to purchase this new piece of gear from Akai as it offers a whole new workflow – combining the best of standalone work with the best of computer-based work.
The Sampler can be used in a completely standalone state and includes a hefty battery. While the cliche of playing and composing on the bus or in the park is even less applicable to this unit than usual, there’s no doubt that being able to leave the studio or the computer and crash on the sofa or bed with a device can be really great.
Equally, being able to throw an entire project in your bag and take it to a different studio or a collaborator is very appealing.
With a massive memory, and what looks like a buttery smooth touch screen interface to boot, the MPC Live is causing a lot of interest for music geeks, and MPC fans.
At £800, this is no small investment, but a device that’s being effectively marketed as a DAW in a box is potentially worth that level of investment, if it’s going to result in an improved workflow that results in more musical output.
We were tempted to hold out for the Elektron Digitakt, which looks like great fun, and perhaps even looks a little more adept at sample mangling, but the sheer workhorse nature of the MPC Live, and the smooth integration of the workflow from head, to MPC Live, to computer, made this device irresistible.
We’ll be sure to let you know how we get on with the new device once it’s arrived, and we’ve had a chance to test it out. But what do you think – did we make the right choice?
Whether you’re a beginner filmmaker, just starting out, or a seasoned professional, you’ll almost certainly know what a GoPro is – essentially a range of tiny action cameras designed to capture a unique perspective of outdoor activities.
As a beginner, it’s easy to consider one of these cameras as the answer to all your problems, but before you run out and buy one, here are some of our thoughts to help you make up your mind.
They’re built like a tank
The GoPro cameras aren’t cheap, but what you definitely do get is a stunningly well built product. I always remember watching this video from Casey Naistat where he attempted to spray his Hero Session a horrible luminous green. The GoPro simply refused to be coated – you don’t need to worry about throwing these things in a bag. I would recommend picking up a cheap lens cap though to prevent any scratches.
They have a fantastically wide lens
One of the things that most attracted me to my GoPro Session was the incredibly wide lens. What this essentially means is that you can fit more of a scene into the footage.
This is both a blessing and a curse, however. You’re unlikely to miss any action, and can often simply plonk the camera down and focus on the action rather than ensuring everything’s perfectly framed – which is great.
As a beginner, however, it’s important to realise that using too much footage that’s filmed with a wide lens like this will be jarring for the audience, and this filming style can detach the audience from your content. GoPros are best used when inserting a few scenes – not for the duration of a project.
Ever so tiny
Another blessing and a curse is the size of the thing. Like I’ve already said, you can simply chuck it in a bag or your pocket, and always have a highly capable camera nearby. On the other hand, they are very easy to lose or misplace, and if you go for the Session (like I did) you’ll spend a lot of time recharging if you’re doing extended filming takes, as the battery isn’t huge and can’t be removed. If you do need a removable battery – so you can take spares out with you, take a look at one of the other models instead.
Great for timelapse
The fact that they are so small and convenient to take out with you means they’re pretty good for timelaspes – you can just pop it down and wander off to do something else while you capture that amazing footage.
The only issue with mine, and some of the others, is that the final footage can look a little washed out and lack vibrant colours. If you want a more colourful final product, then you may need to familarise yourself with colour grading methods.
GoPros are incredible pieces of technology, and they’ve certainly always beaten the cheaper competition whenever we’ve tested them.
Would we recommend a beginner goes out and buy one though?
Probably not – unless you’re specifically wanting to film action and sports from the unique perspective offered by a GoPro. While it’s fantatsic to be able to hit a button and just film without thinking too much, for most beginners, the money could be better spent elsewhere.
Chances are you’ve got a phone with a decent camera in your pocket, and the truth is you’re probably better served getting to grips with the basics using that camera, which will offer a more natural picture than a GoPro for most shots.
Of course, rules are made to be broken though, and anything that actually gets you out and about filming is alright by us!
Whether you love it or loathe it, Valentine’s Day has rolled around once again. As specialists in background music, we always get asked at this time of year – what’s the perfect background music for a memorable Valentine’s evening?
If you’ve been out for a nice meal, drunk some nice wine and enjoyed some romantic chat, then you’ll want to close off the evening in a nice relaxed atmosphere, perhaps back at home.
Our top tip is to set up your Valentine’s playlist beforehand. No-one wants to be sat around twiddling their thumbs while their partner clumsily attempts to put on the right music, or draws up a playlist from scratch.
If you’ve got Spotify, set up a playlist ahead of time with some smooth tunes that you enjoy – but also make sure they’re songs that your partner likes. As ever, the background music you choose will have a large influence on the environment you create, and the ambiance in the room. Beware of going too cheesey or gooey.
Even if you’ve been together a long time, it can often be the little things that make a big difference on Valentine’s Day. Win your partner’s heart all over again by taking the time to craft a personalised playlist of your partner’s favourite songs, or even of tracks that mean a lot to you both – such as your first wedding dance, or a song that reminds you of a specific time or place.
Or, if you’re feeling brave and play an instrument, why not turn off the stereo altogether, and break out the guitar to serenade your loved one, and complete the perfect Valentine’s evening. Again beware of going too cringey – but a little sentimentality can go down extremely well.
Another idea could be to roll back the years, dig around in the loft and bring down the cassette player. Nothing’s more romantic than an old mix tape, lovingly created.
Whether you’re head over heels for Valentine’s Day, or whether the celebration turns your heart cold, one thing we can all agree on is it’s never a bad time to be extra nice to your partner, and make them feel special.
And one great way to do this is to use music to enhance the situation.
Nottingham’s an incredibly musical city, so we’re always happy to see new businesses and companies arrive in the city and invest in its potential.
One business, which has recently arrived in Nottingham, is Pirate Studios. With rehearsal spaces in Liverpool, London, Sheffield and many more, it was surely about time that Nottingham got in on the act.
Whether you’re a band, a duo or a solo artist, having somewhere where you can do your thing, without enraging your neighbours, is always useful – and regular rehearsals are hugely important if you’re going to put on a great show.
One of the first things you’ll notice about Pirate is the price – it’s pretty low. And that’s not because they’re cutting corners – amp, microphone and drum hire are all included in the price.
There are a number of room options available from small spaces, ideal for soloists or bands on a budget, right through to fully equipped rehearsal spaces for larger or more established bands. With sound treated rooms, mixers and PA system included, you can sound as loud as you like, without worrying about disturbing anyone.
Even the smaller rooms come equipped with drum kits, although you’ll need to upgrade to get cymbals and high hats included.
With a slick online booking service, choosing your preferred time slot is pretty effortless, and you can see easily see when the rooms are booked out and free, before committing to your slot. The rooms understandably tend to be a little more expensive during peak times, but if you don’t mind rehearsing early – you can grab a room for just £4 an hour!
Once you’ve paid you’re given codes to access the building – which is located opposite Radford Recreation Ground – as well as a code for the room you’ve chosen.
On arriving, simply punch in the code, find your room and get going!
The rooms sound great, and are equipped with enough gear to mean you only really need your instrument and your band mates to get going. This means you spend less time setting up and putting things away, and more time honing your sound.
The studio offers a great space to forget about the rest of the world for a little while, and focus entirely on your music creation and rehearsal. Even better, specifically dedicating some time to your music on a regular basis will help to ensure you keep improving, and can practice in a distraction-free environment.
This is a fantastic new facility for Nottingham and one that we hope the musical community here gets behind – because this is a fantastic space for any band practice.