Friday, March 27th – Day 3
Back to the convention, I attended the Remixing & Editing Workshop led by the legendary Eric Kupper (writer of house music classic “The Whistle Song.”) Panelists also included Richie Jones (producer of “Waiting for Tonight” by Jennifer Lopez as wells Celine Dion and Anastacia) and Scott Wozniak (producer of Pink,Toni Braxton and C&C Music Factory.)
Protools vs Logic
Eric Kupper recently did a dance mix for Usher’s “Love In This Club.” He’s a big ProTools guy so we launched right into his session file and we examined all his work on the mix right on the big projection screen. Being a Mac guy like me, he spoke of how there are basically two programs the big guys are using now for remixing: ProTools and Logic Pro. Eric’s a big ProTools guy but says Logic is still one amazing piece of software. I do agree with his opinion of ProTools being more user friendly as he illustrated in his demo of ProTools. As an AVID video guy, I’ve been exposed to ProTools longer myself. Even at work, my audio colleagues/faculty and curriculum at The Art Institute tend to be more toward ProTools. Having had several discussions with dance music producer, Josh Harris, over the last year who is Mr. Logic, it was interesting to see ProTools used in the house music format. I tended to think of it more as a tool for other genres and Logic as a house music remixer’s tool of choice. Eric Kupper proved in his subsequent two hour class that I should look into this more as I get more into remixing my own tracks.
Highlights of the class included tips on trying to get the cleanest acapellas you can get your hands on, but realizing that even with the one he did for Usher the record labels often times don’t want to spend time giving the remixer everything they need. Ideally it’s best to obtain separate tracks with lead vocals, chorus and instrumental main mix (as reference) but in the case with Usher’s track, Eric got a merged stereo acapella with even some headphone leakage in it. He illustrated the tool in ProTools where you can draw out a part in the audio waveform and proceeded to remove a click in the background that was barely audible. He went over tempo adjustments (time expansion) to get the vocals from a 68 BPM original rate to 136 BPM. Panelists Richie Jones and Scott Wozniak added their input along the way with suggestions like using “sidechaining” methods (grouping of EQ parameters) when dealing with mixdowns and how house music producers try their best to make records “DJ friendly” with a steady intro. Eric Kupper’s signature sound always allows for a 64 beat intro and outro which he prefers. All and all it was a great demo and insight into house remixing and gave me what I’d hoped I’d get from it: to motivate me more in this direction of producing my own remixes.
Working and Networking
The next panel was called “Networking For Success” hosted by long time house music vocalist, Barbara Tucker with panelists Georgie Porgie (vocalist/DJ/producer) and 3 A&R reps from Ministry of Sound’s record label. The focus of this panel was geared toward the DJ and the new music producer who is trying to jump start his career and wonders what they should be doing to accomplish this. They emphasized “knowing what your goal is” as an artist or DJ and “fake it till you make it.” Get working on your “brand” (what makes you unique). If you see yourself as successful and act like it then people will see you that way. If you aren’t “an in your face” personality and have trouble promoting yourself then work on creating a buzz, get a website going, keep your Facebook and Myspace pages up to date. Go to the bars and clubs you want to play in. Get out there and mingle.
After hearing some Barbara Tucker inspirational wisdom, I made a quick stop by the Rehab Pool Party at The Shelbourne. This party was a 12 hour marathon set by Jonathan Peters directly across the street at the hotel I was staying at. Beyond crowded and full of high energy not typical of an afternoon Tea Dance vibe, I decided not to stay and pay the huge cover charge to gain entry into the main area and instead opted to soak it up from the side patio for a little while. I knew I only had a short while before trying to make a stop at The Remix Hotel to check out Dennis Ferrer’s Defected In The House set. There was a long line and some drama at the door created by security that weren’t recognizing WMC badges like mine so I chilled outside in the lobby and listened to about 3 of his songs before heading on toward my next destination: a chilled out poolside performance by Georgie Porgie, Barbara Tucker and Dawn Tallman. By the time I arrived, I missed Georgie’s number but wound up shaking Barbara Tucker’s hand and chatting with her for a moment about my friend and singer, Robbie Russell. She motioned to have Georgie Porgie come over and I was blown away that she was asking him over to meet me. He must’ve thought I was somebody special by his hand shake. LOL. Thanks, Barbara for the big introduction. Barbara and Dawn Tallman went on shortly thereafter and wound up doing a number with Kathy Brown before a beautiful sunset on the beach.