Remixing Techniques: Time Stretching

Posted in Uncategorized on July 2, 2012 by joshharris

Remixing Techniques: Time Stretching

Attention All Remixers!  My new course from Lynda.Com, called ‘Remixing Techniques: Time Stretching’ is up on the Lynda.Com website.  For those of you out there who might not be familiar with Lynda.Com, you should check out the site and sign up.  Lynda.Com specialize in online training for over 1,100 different software titles.  My new course focuses on the most important part of a remix, time-stretching vocals.

Thanks for your support and here’s the link:





Got Passion?

Posted in Uncategorized on June 21, 2009 by joshharris

So, you say you want to be in the music business.  You claim that you want to ‘make it’ and be a huge star.  But at the end of the day, why are you in this business?  Do you have a passion for creating music?  I find that I meet more and more people who talk a big game, and then can’t handle the heat when they actually have to do some work.  This is a 7 day/week job that requires most of us to wear multilpe hats.  Is your passion a true passion for creating the art, or is it more of a passion for being famous?  I was interviewed this past Friday night for an ‘on air’ DJ set that I did for a small New Hampshire radio station, WXGR.  Rob Connelly asked me when I first realized that I wanted to pursue music as a career.  I was 15 and attending a 5-week summer session at Berklee in Boston.  Somehow, after those 5 weeks were up, I knew.  I had pictures of synthesizers up on my wall during highschool.  It took me until I was almost 30 to start making what I would call ‘real money’, and within the last year, I wound down several months with under $10 in my bank account.  This is what you deal with when you throw your hat in the ring to do this for a living.  The hustle never ends, no matter who you are.  But, if you have a true passion for something, you just keep pushing and grinding it out.

If I only had a manager…

Posted in Uncategorized on April 21, 2009 by joshharris

‘If I only had a manager…’  No, I’ve never heard an artist utter those words before.  It’s funny and sad how artists think that once they get a manager, their career will go to another level, and all will be proper for them professionally.  Or, they think that a manager is the difference between having a career and not having one.  It couldn’t be further from the truth.  First of all, I do not mean to offend anyone out there who is a manager, but I have met very few people in my 10+ years in the business who I feel are ‘real deal’ managers.

Most artists believe that a manager will get them work, gigs, and basically do all the hustle that the artist should be doing themselves.  If you’re not hustling on your own, then you don’t deserve management.  I know a handful of people out there who are doing everything on their own, and making it work on some level.  As an artist, you have bring something to the table that will make it worth a manager’s time.  15-20% of a career that is going nowhere is still $0.  It boils down to this: how badly do you want it?  When your career is at a point where you truly can’t handle everything on your own, then it’s time to look for management.  And don’t expect to let up your hustle once you bring a manager on board.

Singers, Take Control

Posted in Uncategorized on April 14, 2009 by joshharris

I have always been a fan of singers who understand the recording process, and especially those singers who have some amount of ability with home recording.  Why?  Because, a vocalist who has a project studio or bedroom setup (and actually knows how to use it) can really make the recording process seamless.  They can experiment with phrasing and harmonies ahead of time, and make no mistake about it, pre-production is invaluable.  In some cases, I have worked with singers who can do all of their own vocals on their own setup, although that is rare, and it requires a certain type of vocalist who can self-produce at a high level.

In this era of D.I.Y., a vocalist who can record at home will create more music and have many more outlets to collaborate with co-creators.  Plus, there are some producers who just don’t have the skills to handle a ‘real deal’ vocal session.  Quite a few of the electronic music producers have only dealt with vocals in remix situations, and would not have any idea how to ‘comp’ a vocal, let alone use melodyne or auto-tune properly.

Clear Channel Killed The Dance Radio Star

Posted in Uncategorized on April 10, 2009 by joshharris

I miss the good old days of eclectic radio programming, and no genre of music has suffered more under the new corporate regime than dance music.  Before Bill Clinton signed the Communications Bill in the 1990’s, there was a limit on how many stations a company could own.  Once the limit was lifted, Clear Channel went to work and ruined terrestrial radio.  Clear Channel’s vision (from what I can tell) was to kill the diversity in radio programming, and have 107.5 in one city play the same music as 107.5 in another city.  The result was that the same 50-60 songs were played over and over, day after day after day.  Slowly, the number of terrestrial radio stations that played dance music in their rotations flipped their formats at the request of ‘The Man’, who now owned them.  Plus, it became a Hip Hop nation.

When Elliot Spitzer went after record labels a few years ago for payola to radio, he really should have gone after the ‘higher ups’ at radio, and terrestrial radio itself.  I always found that whole investigation pretty ironic.  Labels have always kicked something to radio for spins.  It’s been going on for decades.

The demise of quality terrestrial radio has had a huge ripple effect on all of us who work in dance music.  Budgets continue to shrink and the audience (in this country) is so much smaller than 10-12 years ago.  So, where do we go from here?  I’m not really sure, but I do think that mainstream dance music needs to re-discover its community.

The main reason that I have started this blog is that I am a big believer in professionals exchanging ideas.  It’s healthy.  The conferences don’t do anything for me anymore.  It’s the same people griping about the same stuff, and there is nothing ‘fresh’ or ‘forward’ about them anymore.

Artists as the record label?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 9, 2009 by joshharris

Thanks to all of you who have started following my blog.  It is meant to be a healthy exchange of ideas between music industry professionals.  I plan to discuss the music business for how it really is, and I feel a sense of duty to share what I have learned over the last two decades.  Now, on to today’s topic: Artists as the record label.  What you talkin’ bout, Willis?

As most record labels struggle to pay the utility bills, the D.I.Y. movement continues to grow, and artists are taking control over their careers like never before.  But, is this a good thing?  Yes and no.  I will always applaud effort, but running your own label is a bit more involved than most artists realize.  I have never setup my own label but I know plenty of people who have, and if you really want to do it the right way, you better clear your social calendar…and you better learn the business.

The music business is a business where it takes a lot of money to make very little money.  Since dance music is one of the least expensive styles of music to create, it’s become a frenzy of artist-run labels putting out music that usually does nothing to advance their careers.  I encourage those of you ‘running your own show’ to stop and think about the music that you are releasing.  What kind of reactions are you getting when you play it for people?  Are you hiring remixers just because they fit your budget, even if they aren’t that good?  You can’t just throw it out there on MySpace an iTunes, and expect your lives to change.  Sure, people get lucky and maybe you will, but chances are, you won’t.  I don’t think that most people have the drive and the enegery to properly learn this business.  Making the music is the easy part.

Artistry in Dance Music: A Lost Art?

Posted in Uncategorized on April 8, 2009 by joshharris

As 2009 is in full swing, I feel like the true artistry in dance music is dying (or has already died) an ugly death, resulting in dozens of displaced singers and artists, who don’t know where to turn.  What is the answer?  In my opinion, it’s a return to true artistry.  People need to get excited by a live show, as well as the songs for an artist’s career to step up a level.  Do you have your own style as an artist?  What separates you from dance artist B, C, or D?

One thing I love about the underground scene is that people are not afraid to take risks.  Yes, a lot of that music is drug-driven and monotonous, but there are some very cool ideas within some of  the tracks.  I also think that songwriting has suffered, resulting in a lot of people putting out weak records with even weaker remixes.  What does an artist get out of spending 5-6 thousand dollars on something that generates $500?  Debt.  Debt is what you get with that sort of business model, so if you’re ego is that huge and your pockets are that deep, then knock yourself out.

Sadly, I feel that most people are too lazy or uninterested in exploring these avenues.  They want all the amenities of being a star without actually doing the work.  I think the late 1990’s and early 2000’s were a bubble of sorts.  Lots of money was being thrown around in the wrong places and artistry really stopped developing.  It doesn’t help that it’s damn near impossible for anyone to make money on dance music in this country.  I’ll get into radio’s part in all of this in another blog.

stay tuned….