A while ago, we stumbled upon a video on Emusician.com in which producer Aaron Albano talks about using SoundCloud to send and receive files during the production process of Youth Group’s upcoming album. Remote collaboration, NYC-Sydney-style, united by the Cloud.
Wanting to know more, we reached out to Aaron with a couple of questions about how he uses SoundCloud. Here you go:
Ming, you’re a SoundCloud Pro Plus user: how did you get to know SoundCloud, when and why did you join? How have you been enjoying so far?
I noticed these really cool SoundCloud audio players appearing on other people’s sites. After learning about all the features that SoundCloud had to offer, I thought it would be a perfect addition to my music production process as well as a traceable means of sharing my music.
Tell us a little bit more about you, what you do, what your background is and how you use our service in your daily work? In your opinion what are the features that are the most useful to you?
From 1996-2006 I was one half of the hip hop/drum & bass duo Ming+FS. We released four full-length albums and toured up to150 dates a year. In the summer of 2006, I left Ming+FS to open my own studio and label, Hood Famous Music. At Hood Famous Music I’m focused on writing songs and producing music for new and established artists such as 33Hz, Toby Lightman, Bazaar Royale, and many other artists from a wide range of genres.
In April of 2009 I opened a commercial music company with two other composers, Harold Stephan and Chad North called Habitat Music. We focus on scoring music for film, television, and commercials.
In terms of what features are useful to me on a daily basis, SoundCloud gives me the ability to post sets privately that only the client or those with permissions can view, which is quite valuable. With SoundCloud I can keep all of the versions of a specific piece of music in one player and the client can comment right on the track instead of having to send me separate notes. This is very helpful because as the versions of a track multiply, the client often mistakes the current version for an older version. The private sets allow me to see when a client has listened to the new version and make sure they are commenting on the correct version of that piece of music.
In this Emusician video, you talk about the remote collaboration with Toby Martin from the Aussie band Youth Group. How did this work out for both you? How did you end up working with him and what can we expect?
We’re still in the process of writing this record. He’s in Sydney and I’m in NYC, so we’re working on this record using Skype and SoundCloud. Once or twice a week we schedule a writing session over Skype. We share ideas and when we have a song that excites both of us, I demo out the music in my studio. Then I’ll upload the new instrumental to our private set on SoundCloud. Toby works on lyrics and any alternate parts, demos them out and then we upload that version to the Cloud as well. Our plan is to demo enough songs for full-length album and when Toby is back in NYC, we’ll record the record together. So far, the record is amazing and I’m really enjoying this process. It’s a mix of indie rock and electronica and fans of both styles of music are going to love this record
Dealing with music and the web every day, what are the main services you use and are you still missing some killer applications to improve your work?
I have tremendous catalog of music – around 900 titles – and it can get very hard to keep track of everything. I’d love to be able to store the music in multiple formats (aiff, mp3, etc) in the Cloud, tag it with key words, and be able to create public and private sets for my clients and fans. I do a lot of pitching for film and television so I’d like to be able to search my catalog for let’s say, down-tempo, happy, instrumentals, etc., and create a set using those search terms. I could then send a link to the set to a client or post the set to a web page. I’d also love for the set to be able to be downloaded with a single click instead of each track having to be downloaded separately.
We’ve seen the music business change in the recent years. In your opinion, what does it take for an artist to get out there and become successful. What are the key things you look when working with an artist, what are no-go’s?
First and foremost, artists must have a creative vision and a true desire to get their music out to the public. Its not enough to write great songs, you have to want to share those songs or you’ll just be a bedroom composer.
It’s so incredibly hard to get noticed that you need to be firing on all pistons. You need to link the whole picture together – touring information, your latest press, radio, blogs, websites, and all your social media sites. Fans need a place to connect with you and you need to keep connected with your fans or they’ll pulled toward musicians who make it easier for their fans to stay informed. I’m looking for artists who create great music but also understand how important touring and promotion are to the artist’s success. Labels are your partners and you need to keep working on your career constantly and not depend on a label to make you a star. If you’re not willing to tour, I’m not interested.
With recent technology helping music creators, how important is the location for an artist?
Digital technology helps make your brand global but nothing can replace the face-to-face connections and interactions like doing a press tour or live shows. If you’re from a tiny town and want to have a large audience then your only hope is to spread your music through all available means. I can’t stress enough how important touring is for getting the word out about your music. I’ve been based in NYC for my whole musical career but I also had record deal with OM records in San Francisco. Having a base in NYC and San Fran helped us connect the dots throughout the US. As you tour, you’ll have more places to call home and if you’re lucky and really work hard (meaning all the fucking time!!), soon the rest of the country will know how great your music is as well.
At the end of 2009 I signed with Stephanie Laferra at Little Empire Music for management. I’ll be launching my Hood Famous Music label in a few months and I’m going to be coming back out as a solo artist in 2010 as well. I’ll be doing more indie rock/electro house music as an artist but fans of my old work with Ming+FS can expect the same quality and attention to detail. I’ll be launching my artist site soon but in the meantime you can check my monthly video blog on emusician.com and my artists blog at my label site http://www.hoodfamousmusic.com. Look for records from 33Hz, Toby Martin, and First Movement soon.
I’ve also just posted a new electro house DJ mix to my SoundCloud account and remixes I did for Lady Gaga, plus I’ll be posting a number of new tracks soon, so start following me on http://soundcloud.com/ming check hoodfamousmusic.com or on Twitter @MingsMusic to see what’s coming next.
Lady Gaga remix of Telephone: