FYF 2014: Stray Observations

FYF Arena Disco Balls

Stray observations from FYF 2014:

      • There were some production hiccups on the first day. This was the first time it was hosted in the LA Coliseum complex just south of USC. It was difficult to get into the dance stage, as it filled to capacity, and some people experienced long waits to get in. This was basically solved by the second day, but, on the first day, I got into the dance arena and basically stayed there until the end. Too afraid to leave and not get re-entry.
      • From the lighting to the smoke machine to the 50 disco ball diorama to the glittering cosmic backdrop, the Sports Arena felt like Space Mountain.
      • Speaking of the Sports Arena, the last time I saw a show here was for the kickoff show of the Alive 2007 tour.
      • DJ Harvey’s fashion was inspired by Freddie Mercury. He opened with this. Played this. Also this. And ended with this, a nod to the Todd.

 

     

  • Caribou’s set was great. The new album is sounding great. The perfect mix of rock show and dance party. I met Nathan Fielder there, which was bizarre. We spoke about magic, misdirection, and the subconscious for most of the set.
  • Terje’s set was also a treat. He delivered many of the expected hits and closed with Eurodans with bonus Whitney Houston acapella over top. Godt djort.
  • Supposedly, several hundred teenage Strokes fans entered at opening gates (around 1p.m.), camped out at the front of the Main Stage, and sat there all day until the Strokes went on around 10:30. Many of these young Strokes fans suffered from dehydration and heat stroke and were carried away during the Strokes’ performance.
  • With Interpol and Strokes headlining, it conjured images of stepped on charlie in a post 9/11 New York. There’s an idea that doesn’t need a revival.
  • Darkside – whether you like their recorded output or not – puts on a fantastic show. It was like if Pink Floyd was filtered through a New Beat kaleidoscope. At the end of the set, Dave Harrington broke that evil-looking spotlight. Rock and roll, bruh.
     
    fyf-settimes-2014
  • Pound for pound, one of the best booked festivals I’ve been to or even seen.
  • Total acts I saw: Caribou, Todd Terje, Darkside, Caribou, DJ Harvey, Daniel Avery, Tanlines, John Talabot, Future Islands, The Strokes, Presidents of the United States of America
  • I regretted missing: Run the Jewels, Haim (caught a few songs in the distance), Slowdive, Kelela, Blood Orange, Kindness, bands I’m too ignorant to even know I’m missing out on
  • I did not regret missing: Phoenix
  • Number of bacon dogs eaten: only 1
  • Number of whiny people on social media: All
  • Number of attendees at the festival: roughly 45,000
  • Number of free Bud Light Apple-Ahhh-Ritas that can fit in my pockets: 6
  • Number of ‘mystery bags’ filled with white powder found on ground: 2
  • Number of Strokes t-shirts: a Billion
  • Days of recovery time: 2-3
  • Number of fucks given: ∅

People We Love #2: Alcoholics

Robin Williams - PersonPeople

While assembling our fourth ‘Aural History’ mix (and second for the UK’s reliably dreamy AORDisco), we stumbled upon a quite-serious-yet-still-groovy song called “In Your Own Backyard” by Dion DiMucci (he of “Runaround Sue” fame) which rather specifically details his struggles with drinking and drugging and his subsequent sobriety. Lyrically, it was so much more specific than the rest of our selections that we considered eliminating it, but in the end, after much debate, decided instead to base the entire mix around it and thus AAOR was born.

As we often do after choosing a concept and a person/people as our ‘dedicatee,’ we reevaluated our playlist and only chose songs that seemed to fit that theme in terms of mood, feel, lyrics or title. We opened with some prescient words from Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill W. and peppered it throughout with quotes from different notable people discussing their experiences with drugs and alcohol. Two of those were from Robin Williams, who always spoke more-than-honestly about his own struggles with substances, whether he was opining for when he still did them, or even what he happened to be on at that very moment. We pulled them from his most recent HBO stand-up special, although for my money his very first special from 1982, ‘An Evening With Robin Williams’ (on YouTube in its entirety), is one of my all-time favorite stand-up set and something the 12-year-old me had almost completely memorized.

aaor

In light of recent events and the ongoing national conversation about addiction and mental illness, we thought it might be a good time to revisit the mix, which treats the subject always respectfully and even occasionally playfully. My father, whose own struggle inspired the mix (and is pictured on the bottom right of our cover above), gave us an epic, rambling ‘share’ about his long-gone hard-partying days, awash in a literal and proverbial sea of narcotics. We obviously recommend listening to the whole thing (especially if you happen to find yourself on a boat…or in 1979) but if you’d like to find the RW quotes (disguised under heavy FX) the first shows up around the ten and a half minute mark over DeBarge’s “I Like It” . He then reappears at the tail end to give a closing coda to the mix.

If you need help with alcohol, drugs, or depression or know someone who does, you can find more information or a meeting anywhere in the world at Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, or can speak with someone at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Please get the help you need…there’s so much more music left to enjoy.

16 Unanswered Questions for DJ Harvey: A Wildest Dreams Non-Review

DJ Harvey and the Wigged Ladies

                                              Harvey Bassett has a posse

The act of reviewing music in 2014 feels like an exercise in pastiche. A twee cultural artifact whose existence defies its lack of necessity. Like vintage typewriter fetishists and pork pie hats.

I’ve done some music reviews in the past but have basically stopped in the past couple of years as I ask myself,“What’s the point, honestly?” In the past, reviewing music was a practical tool for describing music to a reader that probably could not access the music being reviewed. These days, with the glut of streaming, do we even need the middlemen music journalists to tell us what a piece of music sounds like? Music reviewing has evolved from describing what the thing is to instructing us how we should feel about it. Or, readers often just focus on the score, a wildly inflammatory clickbait tool that for some reason just won’t die. Why do we rate music numerically? It feels uncivilized. Even worse, a review can be something people read in lieu of actually listening to the music, which smacks of classic poseurism, rendering the music review nothing more than a disposable cheatsheet for opinion and cachet.

I was thinking of writing about this newly released DJ Harvey project Wildest Dreams, but I feel like I’ve seen the same review of this record 5 times already. You might find that Harvey seems to repeat himself in interviews, but I think that’s more of a byproduct of mimetic journalism. He’s often asked the same harmless-but-superficial questions when he goes on a press run. The echo chamber is set to wet; the delay is at 11. If you’re reading this and don’t know who Harvey is, you can google to find various publications calling him the Keith Richards of disco or the line about playing the blues and group sex on ecstasy or the time he brought Larry Levan to the UK, yadda yadda yadda. He’s the Zelig of music that rotates on tables, and his personality is the product on sale. His over-documented reverence and backlash have only helped cement his mystique, and his international visibility seems to be at an all time high.

With Randy California cast as spirit animal, the Wildest Dream LP was recorded several years ago with three members of Orgone. I would assume the delay in release was either not to compete with the Locussolus rollout or that there was a problem with the label. Or both. It’s psychy-rock or rocky-psych and a bit less jokey than Map of Africa. Ultimately, a very listenable release, suited for balearic barbecues and California convertibles. It feels loose, raw, and intentionally unpolished. Blah Blah Blah.

As usual, the rumors and specter of Harvey’s persona supersede the music itself, and I’m left with more questions than anything:

1-Why did it take so long for the record to come out?
2-Where are the recordings from the other rumored Map of Africa sessions?
3-What ever happened to Whatever We Want Records?
4-Why don’t other DJs take a tip from Harvey and stay off the social media?
5-Don’t they know that mystique is in short supply?
6-Why haven’t Quentin Tarantino and DJ Harvey ever collaborated?
7-How do I know they haven’t tried, and it just didn’t work out?
8-Could it be that thing when you get too similar personalities together and they repel?
9-Are Harvey’s feet just too ugly even for Tarantino?
10-When is the next beer bust?

harvey-weatherall

11-When is Andrew Weatherall going to play in California again and can it be an 8 hour back-to-back with Harvey?
12-Please?
13-Who’s going to give Harvey his own Jonesy’s Jukebox or John Peel style radio show to muck about and be generally charming for the rest of his career?
14-Can Harvey go dormant for a while so that the heat can cool down and we can have a proper Sarcastic in the near future?
15-Or should he decamp back to England and then return to in 2024?
16-Who the fuck reads record reviews anyway?

 

harvey-top-hat

 

Wildest Dreams is out now on Smalltown Supersound. You can buy or stream this record wherever albums are bought and streamed.

Ø out of Ø stars.

Music Resources for Low Budget to No Budget Projects

money-problems

“The picture is locked. We didn’t budget enough for music. Now I’ll never get into Sundance!”

 

We’ve been getting a good amount of queries recently along the lines of…”I’m working on this project (short film, no budget feature, webseries) and have no money. Can I still get music?” So we thought it wouldn’t be a bad idea to consolidate a bunch of our answers here as a general resource to our filmmaker friends out there.

The short answer is basically, “Yes, you can!” Your choices are obviously much more limited to what’s out there at any given time. First though, make sure you’re not just searching for public domain music. Public domain means that the publishing has gone into the public domain but that the master is most likely still owned and controlled by someone you’ll have to pay. There is not a lot of music in the public domain, or at least as much as one might expect. Next, you’ll have to define who you are (amateur, professional, student, non-profit) and what rights you are seeking. If you think your work qualifies as Fair Use (US only), then that’s a whole other ball of wax. Here is an interesting primer on “Fair Use Best Practices to investigate if your use might qualify.

This list focuses on internet-based, very low budget (or royalty free) libraries*, but before you start researching, you should try to narrow down the rights you’re looking for. Period, territory, media, etc.

Creative Commons, which basically pioneered the idea of offering/assigning different freedoms on licensable materials, has an excellent resource for various entities offering free music:

  • Free Music Archive is a collaboration between a lot of indie radio entities like WFMU, CASH, dublab, KEXP, and others and has a large library of music, much of which is royalty free.
  • Jamendo - offers many types of amateur and professional licenses for songs in its database. Some tracks are free to use commercially, but many are not.
  • BeatPick has a solid interface to let you break down the type of media, rights, and duration of license for their library. I found rates for independent producers as low as $75 to use a track in perpetuity on an internet-only film (no out-of-context uses).

CC warns that “Most importantly, you need to use music that is not licensed under a No Derivative Works license. This means that the musician doesn’t want you to change, transform, or make a derivative work using their music. Under CC licenses, synching the music to images amounts to transforming the music, so you can’t legally use a song under a CC No Derivative Works license in your video.”

As far as other options, Moby Gratis is a site designed by licensing wunderkind Moby. Unfortunately, it’s limited to non-profit and non-commercial works.

Vimeo has its own music store, where you can find songs at different price points based on usage ($.99/personal use, $1.99/personal ‘premium’ use, $99.00/commercial use) –  and some offered free under Creative Commons attribution licenses.

YouTube also has a music store, where it offers free music and sound effects. The library is quite small, unfortunately.

iLicenseMusic is a subscription service that requires a monthly fee of $89. Their model is interesting; you can use up to ten pieces of music at any time per month for any type of media. You can cancel your subscription any time, but you must be subscribed if your media is being published. Recommended for short-term projects that you would need 5-10 pieces of music for.

Another interesting service is ScoreAScore which is a marketplace where producers can post proposals for work and then different composers can bid on your project. Sign up, post your call for work (and budget), and you’ll have people sending you bids in no time.

Musopen is a non-profit that seems to be heavy on classical composers and recordings . Everything is free, and donations are accepted. They also have a useful FAQ on public domain in music.

Audio Jungle is another database of affordably priced music (many songs between $5-$15).

Premium Beat has a decent selection of music, on average about $30 per track.

Additionally, many pieces of video editing or audio software – like Final Cut X, for example – come with built-in (or purchasable plug-ins) of royalty-free music. And there are still CDs with royalty free music that you could buy when people used to buy physical media, but please read the fine print and make sure the entities that published the CDs still exist.

will rap 4 food

If you still haven’t found what you’re looking for, try convincing a composer or producer to make the song you want. You should consider finding a young/up-and-coming composer from a college/grad level composing program. Many film schools have partnerships with composers’ organizations or schools, and there are a lot of both in cities like LA and New York. Even better, look for people going after a composing for film degree. These are the people you want to talk to. Many of these composers are open to doing a work for hire (for free!), as they, like yourselves, are often more concerned with gaining exposure and experience than upfront cash. If you need some suggestions on where to find these, please let us know.

Whether you’re paying for music or not, you still have to give the proper credits, especially if you’re going the CC route. Some rights holders don’t require you to give credit, but, when in doubt, give a proper credit or contact the rights administrator.

We’re hoping this will be an ongoing series/conversation so if you have any suggestions or ideas or have any firsthand experiences (good or bad) with any services, feel free to shoot an email to paul.fuemana@person-people.com. And as always, feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.

Happy Digging, PP

*We’ll tackle traditional library sources, library-as-reissue, and other related topics in a future post.

People We Love #1: Oliver Boogie

As you may or may not know, we here at PersonPeople are very big fans of the edit. So naturally, we are big fans of the edits and edit-ors over at  Whiskey Disco. The vinyl-only label started by longtime DJ/editor-about-town Sleazy McQueen is a groove treasure trove of ’70s samples, funk originals and ginsu-precision, chopped-and-stewed disco vibes.

So it was no surprise when we heard the newest release on the label from Amsterdam’s own Oliver Boogie. Having already cut up classics from Space, Skyy, and a Staple Singers’ cover of Talking Heads, his new ‘Lost in the Crowd’ EP on WD offers up four fab subtle-but-sexy grooves for darkened boudoir boogie-ing. But the one which immediately caught our attention is ‘Can’t Get Away,’ a fantastic take on 1960s singer/songwriter Rodriguez (himself recently the subject of the semi-controversial Oscar-winning doc Searching for Sugar Man). The track hues very closely to the original version, just with a slightly slower extended groove, perfect for any summer dancefloor. With releases already for Rush Hour, Beat Dimensions, Lumberjacks in Hell, and a semi-regular radio show from a former prostitution window in Amsterdam, O-Boogie is giving the green light to to getting down with one of the best edits we’ve heard in awhile.

BUY it on vinyl here

We’ll be talking more about edits and edit culture – motivations, legality/fair use, and function – in the coming weeks. Check back soon, PPL.

 

Interview with Axel Willner (aka The Field)

Axel Willner for VMan

Early this year, I interviewed Axel Willner for VMan. Axel is the man behind The Field, Loops of Your Heart, and various other small-run aliases like Lars Blek and Hands.

The article was part of the issue titled, “The Outer Limits,” which investigated the human mind and its conscious and subconscious powers.

Click here to read the piece, and get loopy.

PP do NS in BK !!

Taking a break from his patented food-themed DJ scratch routines for which he is know, Chris will be playing all manner of rock/indie/shoegaze records between bands tonight for Brooklyn’s Northside Festival. The event is at Cameo Gallery and is a showcase for White Iris Records and has some pretty great bands playing (see above).

After the rock music ends, he will return to his weirdo beardo disco roots for an all-you-can-eat dance party, apparently under his newly adopted nickname ‘DJ Sessions’. Come by, say hello, and mention this ad to receive one free request with NO sarcastic comments at all. xo

How Not to Talk about Music

"Do you guys like pork pie hats and 'electronica'?"

“Do you guys like pork pie hats and ‘electronica’?”

 

Rick Moody is an author best known for his novel The Ice Storm. He said some things on the internet last week that made me cycle through several different feelings: disbelief, anger, relief, and, ultimately, pity. I found myself caring way too much about this person’s opinions. If some random guy on the street walked up and started saying that “Disco Sucks!”, I’d probably just laugh. But this guy was an Ivy League graduate and professor. He’s supposed to be learned, and the fact that he isn’t is upsetting for some reason.

Moody and a level-headed Dean Warehem (Luna, Galaxie 500) argued on social media about Daft Punk, electronic music, and the myth of ‘authentic’ music in a longread conversation published in Salon. Moody took almost 8,000 words to describe why electronic music is vacuous, disco sucks, Daft Punk sucks to an exponential degree, Kraftwerk is overrated, black musicians are better than white musicians, and so on.

Even though Mr. Wareheim made some very valid counterarguments to Mr. Moody, I wanted to take the time to dissect what Moody said even further, in an effort to understand why it really irked me and why his words echoed in my head. And why what he said is not only silly but not worth tolerating. I’m not really here to discuss whether Random Access Memories is great, terrible, overrated, or even a relevant topic of conversation in 2014. Instead, I want to dig into why this bothered me so much and why opinions like his are detrimental to informed conversations about music and the progression of criticism, music, and culture itself.

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From the Vaults: Tide of Times Mix

The Death of JC

I could be well moved if I were as you.
If I could pray to move, prayers would move me.
But I am constant as the Northern Star,
Of whose true fixed and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament.
The skies are painted with unnumbered sparks;
They are all fire, and every one doth shine;
But there’s but one in all doth hold his place. (III.i.58–65)

We take making mixes pretty seriously over here, perhaps to the point where it interferes with other aspects of our lives. Last year, Chris ran a project called The Expendables Mix of the Month Club with 12 DJs. Each month, a different DJ would take on a different topic. I was assigned March, and I compiled a mix about the life, betrayal, and death of Julius Caesar. I like it so much that I thought the outside world might want to take a listen. Beware the Ides of March, and Protect Ya Neck, cousin.

Download “The Tide of Times” Mix by Diane Keaton

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Hello PersonPeople People!

person-people-700-jonny-and1.jpgWelcome to the new PersonPeople website! We hope you like it and find it more than a little informative about who we are and what we do. In this section you will find us writing about music and music supervision – both our work and the work of others we feel strongly about – as well as giving you updates about various projects under our name. We hope you enjoy it and find it informative and find it less laborious to read then we did to create it. And if you’d like to know the rest, hey, buy the rights…