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Surfing The Waves Of Creativity

Teahupo’o (Tahiti)… pronounced ‘cho-pu’, ..  I’ve been asked by my good friend, Johan Flapsandwich, to do a guest blog on his website http://flapsandwich.wordpress.com Flaps and I met 20 odd years ago and have grown up together as DJs and more recently, producers. We often get together for regular chitchats in Cardiff and have worked professionally together at various times in the music industry. In a recent drinking session, where I like to philosophize, Flappy heard me tell him a tale of New Zealand All Black rugby captain, Richie McCaw. McCaw is a flanker (wing-forward) and is widely regarded as one of the finest rugby players in the world today. He is an All Black legend and has amassed more international caps than any New Zealand player in history. The icing on the cake of his glistening career was lifting the Webb Ellis Rugby World Cup trophy on home soil in the 2011 World Cup. The All Blacks, if you are unfamiliar with the sport, are at the cutting edge of rugby – They are to the oval-shaped ball what Brasil are to its round cousin.  They determine the whole pace of the international game and are always innovating new styles. In effect they set the pace. McCaw, as an individual is one of the most highly talented sportsmen in the world. Why, you ask, is this relevant to an anarchic Welsh Music producer, most widely known for releasing the terror that is ‘Sicknote’ http://sicknote.tv onto the world?   I wanted to make a point to Flappy – that to reach the dizzying heights of ultimate success, there tends to be a formula. Those people who truly attain greatness in their chosen profession, have hidden secrets, that can be applied across the board. What is relevant to leading sportsmen, international political leaders, top businessmen, bestselling authors etc. can also apply to the world of music. Sure, we could find plenty of examples of success in the world of music itself… What makes Madonna tick? How do the Rolling Stones never cease to stop rolling? How does Brian Wilson imbibe from his muse? I wanted to keep it simple for Flappy and as I’d just read Richie McCaw’s cracking autobiography it was fresh in my mind.   Flaps probably hasn’t exercised since he left his caribou herd behind in the deepest Scandinavian Arctic and headed over to Wales in the first place….

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Rhino Cock Soundsystem – Tease Me 23

Rhino Cock Soundsystem are two of my music mate’s new project. Tommy Tank and Johann Flapsandwich (from Sicknote) are the producers of some mashed out electronic beats. The music is good, but for this track, in particular, the video (made by the legend, Norris Nuvo), is simply astounding. Full of apocalyptic butt-shaking, this vd will have you glued to your screen. I know they’re my mates, but this is simply one of the best music videos out there. Check it out! You’ll love it!

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Getting digitized?

As I’ve clearly stated in the past: I’m a vinyl junkie. An analogue dinosaur. In the field of dance music we have often been the very first genre to embrace new technology. Indeed, more than any other musical variety, dance music and audio technology are intertwined. I have watched all this change and although it interests me a lot, when it comes to performance I am an absolute Luddite. Turning up at clubs to watch my dancefloor heroes play on CD decks makes me want to send the sparkling lights and fancy buttons hurling to the ground. Like a nineteenth century cotton mill, the pioneer CDJs 1000, lying in bits would bring a smile of satisfaction to my face. I’m told they’re sexy. I just feel that CD DJing is cheating – not so much the technology aspect, as in principal it is the same technique as vinyl DJing, but that the audience is cheated. I watch with horror as my favourite record shops close down as everyone turns to the cheaper alternative… Anyway – I have stuck to my guns regarding CDs and remain a vinylist. However, it’s not just CDs that have changed the face of DJing. One of my favourite DJs is Sasha. I remember reading several years ago how he was embracing Ableton for production. I remember picking up a (vinyl) copy of Involver in 2004 and being blown away by the ‘new’ sound. The thick bass, the really electronic feel, floor-friendly loops, perfectly cut vocals… It is an ambition to produce music and I’ve always liked the sound of Ableton. I dabbled with Cubase a few years ago but Ableton seems to be the software daddy. Shock horror – I realised that Ableton could be used for DJing. I was at a gig at the Q bar, Cardiff, and the DJ had a laptop and a complex looking MIDI controller. He was playing an Ableton Live DJ set… I trainspotted for a bit, to check how it all works… DJs are anoraks at heart and get a high watching others at work. It is the quickest way to improve your style, by studying others in action. I started to interrupt the guy by bombarding him with questions. It all looked posh and he seemed a bit snobbish, with all his fancy equipment… He was very vague and seemed to be avoiding my answers. I didn’t…

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