Happy Valentine’s Day!
DJ Kat’s Best of FAWM 2022 (#Mixcloud)
I’ve uploaded a DJ track of my favorite songs I did for FAWM 2022.
I encourage all producers out there to finish their tracks and get them out there because that makes it real. That’s how you get better.
All-Star Cast of the “60SKULLS Gimme15bertha” #FAWM #music #corpse #skirmish
The coolest thing about FAWM is the community of fascinating and talented musicians of multiple genres from all over the world. They’ve generously invited me into their world and I’m honored to be counted as one of them, striving to be worthy.
The most talented, in my mind, goes by the name of “Wolf” and has put together an awesome track that will blow your mind, and I don’t use that phrase loosely. He was our “cruise director” for this mishmash of talent, creating and coordinating the birthday party of the century, Bertha’s 60th. Happy birthday, Bertha!
You might find me sprinkled throughout, but I’m the most proud of being called the “DJ” under the name of SBS2018.
Catch a sneak peek by Wolf, whose vocals I absolutely love (David Bowie, right?, followed by the full track available on Bandcamp.
Please like, share, download, and tell your friends (and I never say that either). But I would love for these people to be recognized for their talent, individually and as collaborators.
Btw, headphones recommended.
Drummer Dottie Dodgion Leads Me To Ableton Live/Push2
So I’m thinking I need to know more about drumming since the drums seem to be my favorite instrument in electronic music. I searched online for “female drummer,” thinking I’d be able to relate even more since the music industry is so heavily male. And who do I find but Dottie Dodgion who drummed with all the greats in her time until she was 91. We’re talking the 50s/60s when a female drummer was unheard of. I also discovered she died just this last September.
And then I discovered her autobiography The Lady Swings: Memoirs of a Jazz Drummer. So, naturally, I snapped that up, and I am completely enthralled with her story. And completely humbled. Her father was a drummer so she internalized all that he knew and did, besides having inherited those genes, and a lifetime of learning and practicing and loving her instrument.
My father said, after I met him later in life, “All my kids play the drums.” In fact, his grandson, my nephew, earned a degree in Jazz Performance at Fresno State. You guessed it – he played drums.
And then my life started to make a lot of sense. My uncle said “Now that you know you’re a Holmes, you’re going to want to pay attention to music.” I’ve always loved music, sang and played the keys, guitar, violin when I was young, but didn’t really do much with it as an adult beyond turning the radio up loud, windows rolled down, racing my black Pontiac down Cornell Road in Portland, Oregon.
Although most of the music I create usually falls into the “House” category of EDM, I love all genres, including Jazz. Naturally (I keep using that word), I desired to know more about it and downloaded the Peter Magadini Jazz Drums tutorial from Groove3.
I’m totally intimidated, realizing that being a traditional drummer is beyond me (or, at least, my interest), but I can learn a lot by knowing as much as I can about the drums by studying different genres.
I also realized that this is where Ableton Live shines over Logic Pro, at least to me, when it comes to programming drums using the drum rack and Push2. I am finally motivated to spend more time learning Ableton and Push.
What Disco, Metal, Rock, and House Music Have in Common
Major influences on today’s music. House Music Godfather Marshall Jefferson said (in Electronic Musician) his early influences were Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. But he moved on to club music because he thought only big, sweaty men went to Zeppelin and Deep Purple and he wanted to meet some women. Ha! Not entirely true, though – lol!
Those were also my influences and my friends and I went to plenty of concerts. And if you read the comments on YouTube, you’ll see that other women were/are fans, too.
It All Started with Earthquake Ethel’s…
Playing around with some different WordPress themes to change it up, I also added “Earthquake Ethel’s Roadhouse” as my header, well, for now. You may be wondering what the heck is Earthquake Ethel’s. That’s really where EDM started for me when I discovered Disco at Earthquake Ethel’s.
The moment I walked through the door and heard that Bass and that Kick Drum, I knew I was home. I’ve written scenes about that time in at least one of my novels, but Raining Men comes to mind.
The truth is, I was late to EDM as most people think of it, the EDM of the 90s and 2000s. I only discovered it when I was taking songwriting and music production classes, searching for a genre I was especially interested in or had a knack for. I tried piano-forward genres, guitar-forward genres, but once I realized it was all about the drums for me (my father said “All my kids play the drums” after I met him), I knew EDM was my genre.
But looking back I see that it all started with Earthquake Ethel’s. And that header reminds me of that, helps keep me on track. Because as much as I’ve enjoyed writing novels, there was a time and place for that. It was therapy for me back then. Now, my therapy is music. Okay, so maybe writing is also therapy. 🙂
How Silicon Valley Prepared Me for Book and Music Production
Reading It’s All About Him, written by Alan Jackson’s wife, Denise, I’m thinking how when I heard “Here in the Real World,” back in 1992, working in book production at a Silicon Valley high-tech firm, I thought he’d really made it. But when the song came out in 1990, he was far from making it at all. Living in a tiny basement apartment in Nashville with a pregnant wife, “Here in the Real World” was the second song his label had released and it was unclear whether they would keep him or drop him.
I started thinking about how successful I felt in Silicon Valley when I moved into technical writing, earning writing and publishing awards from the “Society of Technical Publications.” I sometimes say I got my PhD in that world, and, for the most part, it was a really awesome fit for me: the companies I worked for, the people I worked with (eventually marrying one of my co-workers), and the opportunities it brought me.
I would later grow wearing of that stressful, high-pressure day-to-day life, Las Vegas became my relaxing getaway, wondering what it would be like to be a cocktail waitress – lol! Eventually, my heart would start leading me to more creative pursuits.
I began writing fiction, starting with short stories as part of the well-known “The Writer’s Loft” program in Chicago. I moved into fiction and by the time I wrote my third novel, Real Women Wear Red, at the height of the Chick Lit boom, I got an agent, and was offered a publishing contract.
Long story short, when the Indie author movement started going strong, I was able to use my book production skills to publish as an Indie author. I’ve done better as an Indie than I did when I was with publishers, certainly, the smaller publishers.
But then that market became oversaturated and I kept dreaming of my first love, music. In my youth, I didn’t pursue music as an artist because I knew you had to be spectacular to make it and while I’d sung a bit here and there, I wasn’t spectacular by a long shot. And I didn’t know of any other music path, at least not one I was interested in.
Fast forward to today with the ability to produce your own music in your own studio. Now I see that those same book production skills (with a propensity toward software) I learned in Silicon Valley help me now with continuing to learn new music production skills.
Push2 is the latest instrument I’m learning and with that and my Novation Launchkey keyboard, I’m hoping to advance more in more in creating my own melodies, instead of relying on loops and samples. Recently, a collab partner from FAWM told me he wants to release one of our songs commercially, but the melody was not copyright free so we could not use it. Between his piano skills and my production skills, I think we’ve come up with something we can use instead.
I have no idea where music will take me, even if it’s just the thrill of making it for myself, but I’m excited when I think about how far I’ve come from Silicon Valley production editor to producing my own music.