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5 things to have thought about before your first gig

Your first gig is booked. This is it, this is the night you will always look back on as where it all began.

So you really want to make sure you get it all right. For example by thinking about:

1. Your image
We understand that for a new musician the idea of image may seem grotesque, but everybody thinks about their image. Obviously for someone like Lady Gaga image is massive but even an artist such as Bon Iver has a distinct look that suits his music. Everybody wears clothes unless they are in private or being arrested, so make sure that what you wear represents you and your music well. Don’t be precious, The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix both did the same.

2. The set list
Make a statement at the start of your set. Perhaps one of your faster, heavier or louder songs, or maybe an a cappella if you have a strong voice. Just make sure the first thing you play grabs people, shuts them up and lets them know you are there. If you have two songs that are in 3/3 or maybe more than one song in the same key try not to play them back to back. Make your set seem as varied as possible. Also end with your best, but you probably already know that.

3. Stage banter
Decide on how you would like to behave in between songs. You have time to change your mind but do be aware, if you have awful stage banter it will make people want to crawl into their shoes with embarrassment and will compromise their enjoyment of your set. Do what feels comfortable but make sure you know what that is before you take to the stage.

4. Your second gig
You have just played your first ever gig in front of real life human people. Oh my lord, they love you. ‘When are you next playing?’ they all ask. Have an answer. A contingency plan for things going well is the most important plan of all.

5. Your internet presence
At the very least have a Facebook page for your music. It is so important that you give people the opportunity to go from people that enjoyed your gig, to fans. If you start from the word go you maximise your fan-base. When people compliment you, respond. Interaction and regular updating will keep you in people’s consciousness. Make sure you’re on top of this and bear in mind you are competing with the rest of the internet.

When you are gigging more regularly it might be worth thinking about Merchandise. Check out Merch – Decoded.

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5 things to avoid when mastering

There’s an old saying that never goes away – you only get one chance to make a first impression – and it never goes away because it’s true.

When your tracks are ready for global distribution through Spinnup you want to make sure they’re going to sound as completely amazing as possible. For that you need to think about how you’re going to master your recordings.

Friends of Spinnup Metropolis are one of Europe’s best professional recording studios and have some of the top mastering engineers in the world. We asked their advice on what NOT to do when using an online mastering service.

1. Do not “master” your tracks yourself before sending them for mastering
If you have been giving people reference files of your mixes with digital limiting to make them louder, remember to supply both your original mixes without limiting as well as your mixes with limiting to your mastering engineer. That way he or she will have an idea of how loud people have been hearing your tracks and it will be a useful guide for where to aim for with respect to loudness with the finished master.

2. Always export your master files at 24bit resolution
Never 16bit.

3. Send all files to your engineer in one batch
If you’re planning to release multiple tracks, for example a four track EP or a 12 track album, it is much easier to ensure track-to-track consistency if you make sure the mastering engineer has everything at the same time. If you send your files for mastering in separate batches it’s impossible to predict track-to-track juxtapositions and can lead to earlier tracks having to be remastered to match later mixes. Make sure they can be done all together.

4. Leave approximately 1/2 to 1db headroom in your files when you mix
Do not go “into the red”. When it comes to mastering that is a bad bad place.

5. Always be wary of over compression
Over compression is the one thing that cannot successfully be undone when you reach the mastering stage. Nobody wants that!

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Jessica Folcker’s latest single – Gone with the wind

Jessica Folcker has released her third single this year “Gone with the wind”, a laid-back catchy pop tune penned by Moh Denebi, who wrote her previous singles.
“I was instantly touched by the song when I heard it,” she says.

Over the summer Jessica has been working on an upcoming EP and has also been travelling. She was in Austria to record a music video and visited Germany for tv and radio appearances.

Jessica has grown in confidence and knows what she wants with her music. She hopes her EP will be well received by existing fans as well as a wider audience, “I want my music to reach new places and I want to carry on performing live, continue growing and working with new people,” adds the singer.

Last week she performed live at Sveriges radio P4. Listen here.

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Sa’ra: about being on stage

People say I look calm and at peace on stage. Truth is, from the moment I set foot on stage to the moment I conclude a set, I am waging internal emotional warfare with myself. I never really know if I will come out of it okay.

They say the only way to deal with your emotions is by confronting them, and that place of confrontation, for me, is always on stage. There is no escape. And by the end of it, I walk away with a heightened sense of my surroundings and a heightened sense of self.

This video is from my live performance @Stallet in Stockholm on September 11, 2013 – I hope you enjoy it.  I am currently recording my debut EP which, fingers crossed, will be released in October, so please stay tuned for more!

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A night to remember



As the crowd began pouring through the doors, you started to grasp the significance of the FATTA campaign. Spinnup is not only proud to have distributed the new song, entitled FATTA, but also to have sponsored the release party, where so many people took part in debates, poetry readings, art shows and performances.

In contrast to the heavy nature of the subject matter – the FATTA campaign aims to help victims of rape and sexual assault – the mood of the evening was positively light-hearted and the audience was in high spirits, full of hope and optimism. FATTA delivered a powerful set and had the crowd clamouring for more. Spinnup-scouted band flo. took to the stage later. Their energetic performance had the audience joining in and dancing along to “Sinking under my defense”, “Eyes to feel”, “False desires” – a firm favourite – and, finally, upcoming release “Hot air balloon”.

Overall, the evening was a great success: a worthy cause, lively audience, fantastic performers and one very happy Spinnup scout!

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Georgian Waters put on glittering performance at Debaser Medis

On 14 September, Georgian Waters played Debaser Medis in their hometown of Stockholm.

Since I started scouting them in June, I’ve seen them play live three times, but this gig was their biggest to date. With a huge screen in the background, displaying projections of glittering stars and psychedelic patterns, they opened with their brand new singles “Prism” and “Palm Trees”. Both tracks are shimmering pop songs with perfect melodies, but importantly they fit really well into their live set, which also includes some dreamy slow-burners such as “What is in Your Heart” and “Dead in No Time”. Another pop-oriented new song, which might be their next single, was also introduced during the set. It’s really exciting to follow Georgian Waters as they continue to make progress and develop their own identity with each new release. And let’s face it, how many other new bands are releasing this many new songs in such quick succession?

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5 tips for online resources for musicians

You’re visiting Spinnup. Welcome! As an ambitious musician where else would we recommend you check out?

1. BBC Radio 6 – BBC Introducing (www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/introducing/)
Fantastic site full of great advice for unsigned artists by industry professionals and well-known artists. Upload your tracks to get played on BBC 6 Radio.

2. Tom Robinson’s Fresh On The Net (www.freshonthenet.co.uk/)
BBC Introducing (see above) host TomRobinson’s own music blog dedicated to new talent.

3. DIY Musicians (www.diymusicians.com)
Lots of useful directories for the unsigned artist.

4. Music Think Tank (www.musicthinktank.com)
Interesting articles and elaborate case studies on the music business and more.

5. Indie Guide (www.indieguide.com)
American-based DIY musician resource.

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5 tips for band practice

Before you take to the stage to impress and entertain a crowd, you’re going to need to practice. If that comes as news to you or you’re not convinced then please do go and think very very hard about what your ambitions are. Because when you get together with your fellow band members you want to get it right:

1. Be on time
Pretty straight-forward, nonetheless a big one because a) you won’t upset the other band-members who are on time and b) your band will have more time to practice if everyone sets up around the same time.

2. Realise the commitment you have made
In order to reach those moments of creative bliss musicians strive for you will have to make a lot of compromises in your leisure time and – depending on how far you’re going to take this whole music thing – your whole lifestyle. In other words, the band comes first. You will have to stick religiously to your band’s schedule so you’re always there for gigs, tours and, of course, band practice.

3. Don’t play mind-games during rehearsal time
This is a big one. For some reason mind-games can be very common within bands and often lead to break-up. Mind-games are a particularly nasty brand of passive-aggressiveness mostly caused by the sensitivity of each band member about their own skills and tastes. So make sure you don’t hold back with your opinion if you feel offended. Arguing, even to the point of yelling at each other, is better than instead poisoning the atmosphere by quietly sabotaging the band practice.

4. Be equipped
Ideally, your band should use as much of its own equipment as possible as this will help you find and refine your sound. Since you all have different positions in the band, make sure in advance that you’ve gone through the checklist so everything is in order for when you’re going to rehearse. Also, don’t forget a spare set of strings or drum sticks.

5. Wear ear plugs
Self-explanatory. For more info Google ‘pete townshend ear problems’.

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