Tag Archives: music

Jane Meet On SoundCloud Premier Partner POP ETC

We asked Christopher Chu of On SoundCloud Premier Partner POP ETCan indie rock band based out of Brooklyn, a few questions about their evolving sound and fans who keep them motivated to continue creating music.

popetc-premier

Photo by Nina Westervelt

Please introduce yourself to the SoundCloud community.

The name of our band is POP ETC, and it consists of me, my brother Jon, and our drummer Julian. We’ve been living in New York for a few years now, but all of us were raised in California (although I was born in Japan). I’m not really sure what kind of music we make… we’ve been making music for almost 10 years now, and we’ve changed quite a bit over the years. We are the kind of band that always likes to keep moving, and we don’t like to repeat ourselves. Or maybe I should say, we get bored and can’t write songs if we don’t continue trying new things all the time, so we have no choice but to keep changing.

How do you use SoundCloud?

I think the most important part is just making music that you believe in before you even think about putting it up on the internet anywhere. Our audience on SoundCloud has grown very organically, just from posting our songs, and we feel really happy to have them. We do check our stats and comments, as we like to see who the most dedicated fans are, so we can follow them back or message them to tell them how much we appreciate their support- I think that’s really important. There is also a lot of great music on SoundCloud that isn’t available anywhere else. I pretty frequently find cool demos and strange versions of songs that I don’t think I would have ever heard otherwise.

Describe your creative process. What is your set up like?

Pretty much everything we work on starts and ends at home. I have a small Pro Tools setup there–a BAE 1073 pre (Neve imitation), a couple mics, a Juno 106, OP-1, Telecaster and an 1176 compressor. The room isn’t treated and it sounds like shit, but I’ve worked in it long enough to know what the weird low/mid-end frequencies are actually doing. It’s really a blessing to have a home setup because we like to work every day. And because we’re familiar with the setup, we can work really fast.

How have you reached certain goals or steps in your career?

We are kind of control freaks, so honestly, we try to do everything ourselves–whether it’s making/producing our music, videos, art, running social media, etc., we like to do it all! It’s super important to us that when we look back at an album we’ve done or a video we made or whatever it is, that we feel like it’s true to what we wanted to express. That’s why we like recording at home, and even before I had my home setup, I worked at a studio (Different Fur in San Francisco) so I could work on our record there at a natural pace. We have a ton of super talented friends, too, so if we need people to help us out, that’s usually who we turn to.

I think I’ll always make music, just because it brings me so much joy, but it’s really the fans that keep us motivated to be a band. Being in a band is a lot more than just making music–all the promoting, touring, etc., but whenever those parts start to feel like a grind, the love our fans show us always keeps us going. The letters we get from people telling us how much our songs have affected them… it’s really just incredible and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I just feel super lucky to be able to get to do this every day.

What does it feel like to become a Premier Partner? Where do you want to take your career next?

Right now we’re just really excited to be putting out “Running In Circles” and more new music!! As for bigger picture stuff… we just really want to keep moving and trying new things. Whether that’s writing new kinds of songs, or playing in places we’ve never played before, or collaborating with new people… there are so many different things you can do with music and I feel like we’ve just gotten started. As far as the immediate future goes, I’d love to start touring a little more. We’ve been in the studio so much the last year or so, we’re itching to get back out there!!

We are hoping through this relationship, we can continue to do what we love, and that’s make music!

Who or what is inspiring you creatively? Are there people that you’d like to collaborate or work with?

Of course we’re inspired by the music we’re listening to… but lately I’ve felt more inspired by visual stuff. I love everything Ridley Scott does… Someone To Watch Over Me and Blade Runner in particular… we love Louis C.K. and his show… we love Twilight Zone…. everything by Woody Allen…

The past couple years I’ve worked on music in a more collaborative way than I ever have before. I ended up producing and co-writing a handful of records in Japan–some with a rock band from Hokkaido, and I also got the opportunity to work with this amazing composer I’ve loved for years now named Yoko Kanno, on some incredible soundtrack stuff. I just finished working on like 7 or 8 songs with the California band WATERS that I’m super stoked on (there are a couple out now on their SoundCloud that you can hear). I started some rad stuff with RAC that I’m excited about, too!

Hear POP ETC’s newest track, “Running in Circles.” For more information on our creator partner program On SoundCloud, head over to on.soundcloud.com. To read more interviews from On SoundCloud Premier Partners, click here.

Brendan Meet On SoundCloud Premier Partner Cyra Morgan

On SoundCloud Premier Partner Cyra MorganToday we’re checking in with On SoundCloud Premier Partner and longtime community favorite Cyra Morgana folk singer-songwriter based out of New York.

Please introduce yourself to the SoundCloud community.

Hey everyone, I’m Cyra Morgan, a singer songwriter based in NYC. I’ve been singing and writing for as long as I can remember, this self expression is essential to me, my therapy. I describe my style as intimate acoustic folk. Over the past couple of years I’ve been building my career and sharing bits of my soul on SoundCloud and have connected with some incredible artists and some amazing people. This experience has become the beginning of a beautiful journey. My listeners and friends, give me the courage to keep going, to keep writing and allow me to be my most vulnerable, my most authentic self through my music. For this I am forever grateful.

How do you use SoundCloud?

I like to release my music on SoundCloud in it’s most authentic stage, that is, right out of my head and heart. When I write a song, I feel this need to capture the raw emotion of whatever I’m feeling as accurately as possible, there is immense vulnerability in that and SoundCloud is a safe place for me to share. Community connection has always been huge for me on SoundCloud. Listening to other artists, supporting and being supported by them has been incredibly inspiring and encouraging. Engaging with the community has been invaluable, leading to friends, collaborative projects, opening doorways to new music genres… The comments is a feature that I use constantly, responding to listeners is something I try to do regularly, showing my appreciation to those who take the time to listen is really important to me. Spotlight is also such a great tool allowing my more relevant tracks to be heard first. I always post on SoundCloud first, then share to other social networks from my SC page. The visual player looks so beautiful on other platforms. I tend to repost collaborations that I’ve done with other artists as well as songs that really touch me. Also the embedding is priceless, I have the player and playlists on my website, it looks great and can direct listeners right back to my SC profile.

Describe your creative process. What is your set up like?

I’ll have a phrase and a little melody playing over and over in my head until it becomes a song. It’s an organic process for me, coming from a place of necessity more so than creativity. Once I have a solid melody, I pick up my acoustic guitar and work out the chords, usually with an entire string section playing in my head. I record guitar first, a Martin acoustic, using Reason Essentials, a Shure Mic and my Mac. Then I record vocals and harmonies. I tend to use Garage Band sometimes for mixing, because it’s so simple to use. Then I export and upload to SC, after listening to it, arguing with myself over whether it’s good enough to post yet. After I remind myself that it’s all about the authenticity, I’ll take a breath and upload.

How have you reached certain goals or steps in your career?

Four years ago, I couldn’t play an instrument. I picked up the guitar and learned a few chords in order to get my songs out of my head. Joining SoundCloud was a life changer for me, sharing my music here and connecting with this community confirmed my life long belief that singing and writing is what I’ve always been meant to do. Through SoundCloud, I’ve gone on to do projects for companies like Propellerhead software, features for Flipboard, Jivewired America, The Financial Times, The Jimmy Lloyd Songwriter Showcase for NBC, The Guitar Center Singer Songwriter Finals in 2013, I’ve signed a publishing contract with North Star Media. I’ve learned that my fans like when I’m honest, when I stay true to myself and to them. Staying connected and living in a state of gratitude reminds me that I wouldn’t be where I am in my career without them. I think that the best advice that I’ve gotten is “Just keep on doing what you’re doing”. Do what you do because you love it, because it brings you joy, don’t try to be anyone but yourself and be the best possible “you”. My style is a bit unique in a bare bones, imperfect sort of way. But every day I do what I can to be better, I practice playing guitar, I try to learn a bit more piano, I write a little and record snippets of ideas. I play live whenever I get the chance to get comfortable accompanying myself on stage. And I search for future band members so that some day soon, I’ll have an album to share. No matter how many “No’s” you might hear, if you love what you do, you keep going, because one big “yes” can change everything.

What does it feel like to become a Premier Partner? What’s next for you? 

Becoming a Premier Partner has been an amazing opportunity. The monetization of tracks has been such a cool feature, the idea of my music bringing in income is really promising. Making a living doing what I love is the goal, so having that option is wonderful. Also, the exposure from being a Premier Partner has connected me with new fans and listeners which I am always grateful for. For the next phase in my career, I would like to get some musicians together to record a debut album. I’d like to take my music to the next level with placement in film and television and touring around the world. Playing on the tonight show with Jimmy Fallon is on the list too, I mean, how high are we reaching here?

Who or what is inspiring you creatively? Are there people that you’d like to collaborate or work with?

Generally, my songs come from a place of intense emotion. Emotions that are almost too much to contain. I feel like if I can capture that feeling as authentically as possible, it helps to carry the emotion, lessens the weight of what I’m holding. Much of my inspiration comes from the tiny details in life, in nature, in the phrasing of how people speak to one another, the thoughts in my head, things I want to say but won’t say out loud, or can’t say out loud. One of my most memorable collaborations on SoundCloud was when I posted a vocal track of a song called “New Day”. I had put it out to the community, asking for folks to add to it. The response was amazing to me, at least fifty Clouders added their magic and each version was so different from the last. The fact that so many took the time to work with my creation was humbling and inspiring. There are so many artists that I admire, number one would have to be Regina Spektor. I also adore Damien Rice, Ingrid Michaelson, Ray LaMontagne, Bon Iver, I also love The Arctic Monkeys, The Black Keys, there really are just so many. I would LOVE to collaborate with Damien Rice at some point in my career, that is my dream collab right there.  

Closing thoughts.

It’s very difficult for me to describe how significantly SoundCloud has changed the course of my life. I was a different person before I became a part of this community. I had thought, at that point in my life, that I had missed the chance to live this dream that my heart had held for as long as I’ve had memories. SoundCloud gave me a second chance to live it. It was a metamorphosis, like I had been sleeping, for years, and then woke up and learned what it feels like to fly.

 

You can hear Cyra’s latest track Solace on her profile or below.

For more about becoming a Premier Partner, visit on.soundcloud.com. To read more interviews from On SoundCloud Premier Partners, click right here.

 

Brendan Meet On SoundCloud Premier Partner Stick Figure

On SoundCloud Premier Partner Stick FigureWelcome to a new blog series – Meet On SoundCloud Premier Partners – where we’ll be interviewing the first SoundCloud creators invited to be a part of the Premier level of On SoundCloud, our creator partner program. Premier partners can choose to monetize their tracks in the U.S. and share revenue generated on SoundCloud. We’ve been expanding the number of artists in the Premier Partner level since we launched On SoundCloud in August.

Our first interview is with California-based Scott Woodruff, a multi-instrumentalist and producer who performs as Stick Figure.

Introduce yourself to the SoundCloud community:

I make dub reggae music, but more than a genre, I make music that makes you feel good. It’s about capturing everything that is beautiful in this world, a special feeling or mood that elevates the mundane into the majestic, and putting that in the form of a song. I try to make music that is both relatable and accessible, that can remind you of a feeling or an experience or even a color, or another song and how that song made you feel at that time in your life. Hopefully that brings a smile to your face or bounce to your step throughout the day.

How do you use SoundCloud?

First and foremost, I use SoundCloud to listen to my favorite bands. It’s also my discovery tool. I have come across artists on SoundCloud and gone on to collaborate with them in the creation of new music. Its also the ideal platform for my music to be accessible to the world, from format to functionality, it just works.

Describe your creative process: 

It all starts with a feeling I draw from my experiences out on the road and in this world. I try to capture that feeling back in my studio at home. I have every instrument in my studio and they all play their role in the finished product. I’ll jump from the keyboard over to the bass and back to the drums until everything is perfect. I feel most in my element when turning these feelings that everyone has into music everyone can experience.

How have you reached certain goals or steps in your career?

Staying consistent with output has been the biggest factor in my growth. The new music allows for fans to be built organically, without any gimmicks. Motivation and passion are also essential. You have to be all in with every part of your being or it is impossible to make a career in music. As you grow your career, the right people will come along to assist the growth and you just have to trust your gut on who to work with as opposed to the glitz or promises. When reaching out, I find it’s best to keep it short and sweet and let the quality of your product speak for itself.

Where do you want to take your career next?

I have been using SoundCloud since day one, so it is a huge honor to be a Premier Partner. I look forward to supporting the platform during its evolution and growth. As long as I am able to keep writing and performing music every day, that’s all I ever wanted for my career.

Are there people that you’d like to collaborate or work with?

I would love to work with Kyle from Slightly Stoopid, Eric from Rebelution, Barrington Levy and Alpha Blondy. I would have given anything to work with Gregory Isaacs, his passing was a huge loss for reggae and music as a whole.

Anything else? 

Big up to [SoundCloud employees] Ted Suh, Jane Shin and Kush Arora for believing in Stick Figure and treating Reggae music as a genre worthy of attention. Reggae has existed on the margins for so long its amazing to see people gravitating towards the good vibes recently, both in support for my music, but also with Chronixx being on Jimmy Fallon, in the Magic! song “Rude” hitting number one in the country with a straight reggae beat, and the support for the live shows we have experienced touring amphitheaters with Rebelution this summer and playing huge reggae-centric events like Cali Roots. Thank you so much for the support!

 

Here’s a recent Stick Figure track, called Livin’ It. For more information on our creator partner program On SoundCloud, head over to on.soundcloud.com. To read more interviews from On SoundCloud Premier Partners, click right here.