robot dream music

Conversation with Broadtube Music Channel

I had fun chatting with BroadTube Music Channel about my single "Straight A" the other day, here's the interview: 

 

What are some of the artists that have influenced you so far? 

As a skateboarder, I listened to a lot of punk and ska, but what I really loved was Jazz.  Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, these saxophonists speak to my soul.   I lived in London in the late 90s and was awakened to a world of electronic music in the clubs there, I loved chart toppers Daft Punk and the Prodigy to more underground artists.  The grimy London sound really gets me.   

 

Who do you regard as the “Greatest Artist Of All Time”?

Perhaps Mozart?  I used to listen to the “Amadeus” soundtrack on a walkman cassette tape player all day long.

 

Tell us what you know about composition and how you normally go about it.  

Composition is all about making choices.  These days it all begins with the laptop computer.  I arrange some chords using a midi keyboard then find interesting instruments.  The key to composition in my opinion is a discerning ear, listening to a lot of music and trying to figure out why certain songs resonate to find your own style.  

To learn more about how I incorporate dreams into my DJ mixes, read my story here: https://www.robotdream.com/mystory

 

 

Who is your management team? 

I have an assistant but other than that I do it all myself!  I’m a full time musician, and perform for many private events and clubs.   We live in a time that artists have access to the tools to manage their own career.  I make a decent living doing music full time, down the road I’m sure I will add more players to my process but for now I prefer to handle things myself.   I feel lucky that I can do what I love full time.

 

What do you think about “Straight A”?  

In this song I wanted to explore the combination of organic and electronic elements: traditional acoustic horns, live drums, raw un-effected vocals, with electronic elements.  As a cyborg I am fascinated by live instruments as well as electronic sounds.  

I have always loved African-influenced music, from afro-cuban 6/8 syncopations in latin rhythm to the triplet in jazz.  In Western music, traditionally time signatures stick to either a 2 or 3 based rhythm, but African rhythm juxtaposes and interchanges the 3 and 2 giving it an infectious groove you can’t but move to.   As I hold a residency in a club and am DJing every week either there or in a private event, I’ve loved how mainstream the soca/reggaeton/dancehall vibe has become, because I can mix the beat with Hip-hop, R&B, pop, electronic music, and people love it.  

 

Which social media platform that works best for you in promoting your music?

I use instagram mostly to promote my music as I can do short remixes set to interesting video.  I also use Youtube and Snapchat.  Facebook is lame and full of dinosaur trolls.

 

What areas could be improved in the music industry?

I think that there’s always hope in the youth.  Young people are turned off by corporate B.S. so easily.  Just look at the recent downtick in Snapchat, after they revised it to mingle corporate sponsors with your chats.  Bleah.  We see this with every underground music movement as it becomes mainstream. 

I love the age we live in, where we are connected to people all across the globe.  Gone are the days of needing a publishing deal to release music, I could record a song right now and have it on iTunes tomorrow.  This explosion in creativity and near universal access means a few things, but I see them as positive. 

I think that the negative aspects of our current music industry correlate with the negative aspects of our general corporate culture, namely that decisions are driven by short term profits over long term growth and stability, people are seen as numbers on a graph rather than human beings.  This translates IMO to underground music trends rising to the mainstream and burning out at a much faster rate than in the past as there are extensive algorithms in place to identify and exploit trends.  But again, I see this as positive as there are so many creative people out there who have a voice due to our current tech’s (more) level playing field. 

 

How are you getting your songs to stores and fans?

I use Distrokid to distribute my music across streaming platforms.  Gone are the days of me making much from sales, my money comes from live performance.  With so much direct and indirect competition for people to go out, I feel lucky to be DJing clubs and venues each weekend.

Sometimes I just walk around a busy city, people ask me who I am and what I’m about.  I love their reactions as they see me.  I used to hate my appearance and I  shut myself inside all day, only going out to raves or skateboarding under the cover of night.  

 

How do you prepare yourself for a live performance?

I spend many hours each week listening to new music and downloading/remixing songs for my DJ sets.   This week I performed for a private “back to school” event in San Francisco, so I prepped a lot of 80s and 90s music to fit the demographic, and mixed it with current hits and my go-to beats.  I mix in key and have a mashup style so often make combinations that the audience hasn’t heard before. 

Because I am performing on average 4x a week year round, live performance usually happens after a long day of working on music, generating leads for new performance opportunities, creating contracts, booking travel and lodging, communicating with planners and venue staff, and getting new music.  I wish I could sip tea and meditate for hours before each show, but the truth is I have a very busy schedule where I often get up early and go to bed late.  Often I DJ a club Friday night till 2am then get on a 6am flight.  I sleep where I can and work incessantly.  

 

Would you rather release singles frequently or just an album once in a while?

As I mentioned before, so little revenue comes from a release or original work compared to the many performances that often original music composition is on back burner as I am just keeping up with a rigorous performance schedule.  

That said, ideally I would like to be releasing a single every month.  I don’t feel a great benefit in waiting to release an entire album or E.P., but would rather work on a single and video (youtube is king) one at a time.   If you release a single without a video, you are missing on a huge potential.  So much of my performance is visual, that I make sure to release small remixes with videos multiple times a week.  

 

Which artist would you like to see live? 

I’d like to see Janelle Monae, I have a crush on her for sure.  Do you think she could ever love a Robot?  She often has robotic themes in her visuals.   If she’s reading this . . . . let’s get coffee, message me on snapchat: robot_dream

 

What is the theme of most of your songs? 

Most of my songs are about love.  My career makes sense, work makes sense, love and emotions are another story.   So difficult to navigate.  It’s something I’ve never really understood and am always trying to figure out through music.    

 

 

Tell us about your recording process.   

I’m a DIY type person with a home studio and I typically work with others who have a similar setup to record their parts on their own.  I use Logic X, sequence the basic structure, send it to my collaborators, then record my individual woodwind parts and ultimately mix in vocals, live drums.  I have a go to guy for mixing as I don’t feel super confident in my mixing and mastering skills yet.  I have also recorded in local studios, sometimes tracking live instruments on top of pre recorded or sequenced. 

 

Sometimes a career in music can be boring, sometimes exciting, do you agree? 

Last weekend I DJed a Friday and Saturday back to back at the same club.  Friday night was so dead, I tried to maintain professionalism and did my best to mix a good set but it could definitely be called boring.  Saturday night the club was bumping, packed.  It was so much fun, I was on my game and worked with the crowd to make sure everyone had a good night.   

 

Where can our readers find your music?

https://www.robotdream.com/

iTunes: https://goo.gl/AckdG1

Google Play: https://goo.gl/DCdBoV

Spotify: https://goo.gl/9QaGbS

Amazon: https://goo.gl/pMYpBn

 

And how can people keep up on what you’re up to?

https://www.robotdream.com/

https://www.instagram.com/robotdream/

snapchat:  robot_dream

https://www.facebook.com/RobotDreamMusic/

 

Why are you called Robot Dream? 

I am half man half machine, a cyborg as you can see from my pictures.  I was given the name by a good friend of mine  . . . you can read about my origin story (in graphic novel format) here: https://www.robotdream.com/mystory

 

What is the meaning of “Straight A”? 

“Straight A” refers to the teacher-student metaphor explored in this love song.  I think many times people judge someone based on their appearance and don’t give love a chance, they give it an “F” before even trying.  Why not try something new?  You might like it.

Dreaming of Snowboarding

I love snowboarding.  I remember the first time I went I broke my wrist.  We were hiking, not at an actual resort.  I'd been skateboarding for quite some time but hadn't really ever snowboarded before moving to Utah.  I loved going off kickers (small wooden jumps) on my skateboard and so when I first tried going off a jump on a snowboard, and could get many times higher and farther than a wooden skateboard kicker, I went too big and snapped my wrist.  It just so happened that my friend's old car got stuck in the snow so everyone pushed while I drove the car, with a broken wrist.  It wouldn't have been so bad except that it was a stick shift so I had to use my elbow to steer since my wrist was broken and I needed to shift with the good hand.   

Utah is home to some amazing snow, the locals say "Greatest Snow on Earth" because the snow here is light, fluffy, dry and soft.   Also tourists love Utah because unlike other famous ski areas like Vail or Tahoe, resorts are only 1/2 hour from the airport.  This year we haven't gotten much snow but I'm dreaming of heavy snowfalls this holiday season.  

Elon Musk says Artificial Intelligence will lead to WW3 . . .

Last week Elon Musk tweeted that "competition for AI superiority at national lelvel most likely cause of WW3" in response to Vladamir Putin's recent statements that the country with the best AI will rule the world.

No one really knows what AI could evolve into or how it may look, and in our age of clickbait and sensationalism, public figures are increasingly speculating about doom and gloom outcomes from AI.  I think AI will make our lives more comfortable and rewarding, allow tech and science to reach new heights, and further explore the wonders of our universe.  

But it seems many people think this is where we're headed:  

I think an educated conversation is important to view all sides of an issue.   With China's rush to acquire robots ahead of any other country in the world,  and prominent social media and public figures sounding the alarm that killer robots are going to be on the loose,  it's no wonder why people are interested and perhaps afraid of robots and AI.  

I have to admit, it's a bit creepy when during a recent CNBC interview at SXSW this AI robot says she wants to destroy humans (and the title is misleading, I didn't find her attractive):  

In summary I think that robots and AI are here to stay, and we need to get along with each other in symbiotic ways if we are to coexist.   Will we see inter-species couples between AI and humans, like in the movie Her? I think so, I went on 3 dates last week and each date seemed open to the idea of dating me as I am.  More on that later . . . 

My first blog

robotdream

Hello World!

 

I'm new to blogging but have been meaning to try it for a while.  I don't know if anyone will ever read this, I've heard that writing about your past can help you get through difficult things, so I'm going to try it out.  I even read in a study that journaling can help recover lost memories . . . Other memory recovery techniques include hypnosis (haven't tried that) and dream interpretation (more on that later!!!).

 

Let me back up a bit . . . I have no memory prior to January 1997.  I'm not sure if my memories were suppressed due to incidents of trauma or high stress, or if they are gone due to some sort of dementia,  or perhaps it could have been drug or alcohol related, or some sort of accident (I woke up in a hospital after all), regardless I have been trying to find my lost memories ever since.

 

This picture is from last night. I thought I'd check out this small local music venue, Velour in Provo, about an hour South of where I live in Salt Lake City, Utah.  I hear that if you are trying to get your start in music you can play there.

 

The band is Coral Bones, a friend of mine.   Here's his website.