Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Make your own band website part 2

  As some of you know, we had to hold back a little bit in the past few months due to some health issues. But now it looks like it’s going to be a full steam a head :-) We are trying to put a bit of a dent in to our 100 concert challenge before the years end, so few more gigs booked. JPKALLIO.COM will be taking part in the Battle of the bands organized by the Fibber Magees on 7th of October, again another Friday night gig for those of you working 9 to 5. And then we'll be doing the Juke box slot in the Sweeney's basement on 19th of October, I’m still working on some extra dates before the end of the year.

   But now let's bet back to our Build your own band website project. This will be the second part, and if you missed the first part, check out Make your own band website part 1. This week we'll get to the actual design part of your site. Another advantage of the Wordpress site is that you can use almost endless amount of templates available online. You might say here, why would I want to use a ready made template, it will only make our site look like so many other sites. But the thing is that you can customise most templates to certain level, and some you almost have complete freedom. I would look for a simple and functional template. These tend to be easier to customize. So now after last weeks set up you will be able to log on to your dashboard This is where you can do pretty much all the set up work and manage your website. This is something you do not have with normal websites. With them you need web design software and html knowledge. So let’s get started with something simple.

  On the left hand side you have a navigation bar, and there you can find at the very bottom Settings. This is the basic info of your website. For now all you need to worry about are the first two, Title and Tagline. The title should be your bands / websites name. On the tag line put a short description of the site. At the bottom of the page you have Change Settings button, click on it to save the changes. Next click on Appearance in the Navigation bar and a subfolder opens underneath it, select Themes. Wordpress comes with theme called Twenty ten. This is basic but very useful theme. So we are going to work with this. It allows you to do some customizing on it with in the basic tools. And with a little bit of CSS code you can make very nice and individual web page with it. On the Themes page you have two sub pages, the Manage themes and Install themes. On the Install themes you can search online for different themes and install them to your page (Just google wordpress themes and you will find thousands!), and on the Manage themes page you can actually activate the desired theme from the ones you have installed. So under every theme you will have three options: Activate Preview and Delete. Let's just click on the Activate. Now you have the very basics set up, and we will do small bit of customizing. Click on theme options on the Navigation bar. Here you can choose Light or Dark colour scheme, choose the link colour, and the basic layout of your page. The layout options basically puts the main body of your site on one side and small column on the other side, or you can just have the main body. I find the small columns handy as you can put your Soundcloud player, twitter feed or other more permanent stuff here. We'll go through this in a bit. Once you have selected the settings that best suit your site, press Save Changes button at the bottom of the page.

  Click on the Header on the navigation bar here you can select a custom image for your header. This could be a photo of the band or a logo. There is also option to put some text on here, like your band name for example, but I find I have more control if I actually put the text in the header image. To do this you need some sort of image editing software. There is shareware software called Gimp 2 that I use all the time. For a shareware it is very powerful and even just compressing or re-sizing photos for Facebook, Emails etc. it is priceless tool. It will also let you re-size your header image to the required 1000x288 pixels. If you don't know how to do this, don't worry, Wordpress will chop it for you. But if you want the photo to be exactly to your dimensions, then head over to Gimp for some simple photo editing. Again once you have selected the photo you want to use by clicking choose file, select the image from your computer and then click upload, go to bottom of the page and Save Changes. There are other options on this page that are pretty self explanatory, but I think choosing the photo and if your band name/ web site name is on your picture just choose No in Display text.

  So now what you have is a very basic page with a header. Let's put some interactive stuff on your site :-) How about some music? Surely you want to put some music to your band website. We will use an external player. I have used several over the years, Reverbnation makes very nice looking players that have quite lot of customizing options, but Soundcloud is becoming the industry standard and the sound quality is very good. So if you don't have a Soundcloud account head over to and register account, the basic pack is free and you do get up to 2hours of storage page at any quality. I personally like the fact that you can upload WAVs and even let other people download them in full quality. Once you have registered with Soundcloud uploaded some music, you can grab the Embed code from the sound cloud and copy it. Then click on the widgets on the Navigation bar on your Wordpress dashboard. Here lot of stuff pops up, but don't panic. What you have here is Available widgets, Inactive widgets and a Main sidebar on right hand side. In the Inactive widgets you have box called Text. Click and drag this to your Main sidebar. Once it appears here, just click on the downward arrow in the text box to open it. What you have then is a text box. Click on the text area and paste your embed code and save.

  Now I think it is time to have looked at the work you have done so far :-) At the top of the dashboard page you have small circular WordPress logo and beside it the name of your WordPress page (band/site name). I find it very useful to have two tabs open at the same time, one for the dashboard and one for your site. So right click on the name and choose open in new tab. Now click on the tab and you should see your basic site :-). There is a basic WordPress message on the main body of your site; we'll change this in minute. But check that the Header looks ok, and your Soundcloud player is in place. If it spills over from the side bar, which it should not do, but different browsers can be funny. So if this is the case, go back to Appearance and widgets. Here again click on the downward arrow in the Text box in the Main side bar. What you see is the HTML code for your Soundcloud player, and the first line looks like this: < object height="81" width="100 %" >. What we want to do here is change the 100% to a set width like 250 so you would have: < object height="81" width="250" >. Now the 100% repeats in the code again in the Embed tag, so towards the end of the code you will have width=”100%” again change the 100% to 250. And again save (what you have done here is go from % to fixed pixel size, this allows you bit more control). Now go back to the tab with your WordPress website and reload, any changes you make only appear on the site after you reload the page. Now the player should be the right size. Also on another note, you can use these text boxes for YouTube embed code as well, or for your twitter feed, pretty much any site that has embed widgets can be placed here.

   I think this is quite lot for this week, but I will just add one more thing. At the moment your website works like a blog. The Header and your side bar stays the same and you can use the main body area as news feed, or posting other stuff, so how you edit this is go to the Posts on the navigation bar. You'll have the WordPress message still here. Under the message you have options of edit, Quick edit, Trash and View. Just click on the Trash and the old message is gone. Now on top of the page there is Add new button, click this and add new post page opens up. You can edit the post in visual (Just write and add photos, links, videos, what ever you want by clicking a button) or in HTML (For the more detailed editing with HTML code). The visual is fine and you can just type some sort of welcome message for your website :-). On the right side you have blue publish button, once you press this your post is live on your website. You can make more posts, and the older ones will move down the page. Or you can trash them the same way we did trash the old WordPress message.

   That’s all for this week. Next week we are going to take a break from the web build, as we have another interesting industry interview coming up :-) But in two weeks time I'll show you how to build more pages for your website :-) Again if you have any trouble with any of the above, don't hesitate to contact me at and I'll do my best to help you out.

   Have a good week and we'll be back for more next week :-)

Glory to the World - Single - J.P. Kallio

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Make your own band website part 1

  The regular readers of this blog know I have gone on about how you should not just rely on Social media as your web presence, but as a band or an artist you need to have a website! So I have been working and testing few ways of making a band website the way that any one with basic computer knowledge could make one. This is little bit larger task to take on, but once you do this yourself, you will be in control of your own band website. I will provide you here with all the basic info you will need to do this and some extra customizing ideas. We will separate this in to few blogs over the next few weeks. I am hoping you could build your bands website with me as we go through this and during the next few weeks I will do my best to help you in any problems you might have with the build. Also if we get some cool band sites done, I would like to feature them here on the blog as well. During the build you can Email me at and please write Web build in the subject line, so I will get back to you as fast as possible. There are loads of guides on the net on similar subject, but I'll try to keep mine simple. So let’s get straight to it:

   First of all, there are few things you will need for this: a computer and an internet connection, a credit card for registering domain name and server space, little bit of imagination (optional), coffee (not optional) and time. Making a website can make you loose the track of time completely, so don’t start this on a busy day.

   After lots of research and years of experience in running band websites, I decided to use the absolutely wonderful Wordpress platform. As you might know Wordpress is a blogging website, but also at you can download the Wordpress site and software to your computer and then install it to your websites server. The absolute beauty of this system is that once you have uploaded the system to your site, you can edit the site on line. You don't need any web design programs and once the site is up, you don't even need FTP programs (FTP is used to upload material to your website). As a musician on the move all the time, I find this system absolutely brilliant.

   So let’s head over to The current version is WordPress 3.2.1, you can find a Blue download button on just right from the centre of the page - click on this. On the next page the WordPress has a link to their web hosting partners. These are really handy as they have automated Wordpress installation. If you decide to go this rout, just follow the provider’s instructions and once your site is installed just come back here and skip to the design part. But as not all provide this option, I will walk you through the manual installation. I've decided to change JPKALLIO.COM over to Wordpress site in the next few months, so you can follow this process with me and at the same time build your own website. So next we click the Blue “Download WordPress 3.2.1” button on right hand side of the screen. It will download the zip file in to your computers download folder (on PC, on Mac I would assume it would do something similar, but I haven't tested this on Mac). Now go to your download folder and locate the folder - click on this. It will open in its own window, and on the top of the window there is a “Extract all files” button.

 Once you click on this button, new window will appear where you can choose a location in your computer to store your website. It looks like this:

 Click on the Browse button. Go to your documents and create a folder for your WordPress site. Once you have created new folder, click extract. Now the files are in your folder.

   The next step is to acquire a domain name and some web space. I know many of you might think at this stage, that spending money on this can be a big commitment, so did I while back, but you need to start from somewhere, so why not make it today? The domain name is the name of your website, for example ours is I would recommend you to go for .com as it is reasonably priced and recognised world wide. Good company I use and can recommend for registering a domain name is Registering a name should cost you less than €10 a year. Their set up is well explained step by step, just search and choose your domain. They also offer specialised hosting package for WordPress websites between €50 and €60 a year. These tend to be the price you will be paying for web hosting anyway. You can make the payment once a year or separate it to several smaller payments. Also if you buy both services from Godaddy, they set the name and the server space for you, so just to make this as easy as possible, I will recommend you do this. They also have the free one click setup for word press.

   But once again, let's just assume you already have hosting provider that does not offer the one click setup. This is where it gets bit complicated (and that's why I recommend the above one click option for people who have not worked with websites before). You need to create a database in your web server and a MySQL that has all privileges accessing and modifying it. This is basically where you give the WordPress permission to edit the site. Log in to your web providers site and in your website management section, or control panel. Good web provider will have help page that will tell you how to create a Database and MySQL, but basically it goes along these lines: in your site tools and settings you should have a MySQL database button or icon, click this. This should give you an option to create a new database and name it. Once you have named it, you choose a username and password. Write the database name, username and password down on a piece of paper, as you will need these shortly. Click submit (or save) your MySQL username. I did check the above information in several hosting providers, but I'm sure there are some where the process is more complicated. In this case you need to contact your host provider on advice how this is done. Once the database is created click on it, or if there is edit database option click on it. This will give you further option to add a user. Username and password are required, then click add user or save. That should be it.

   Now open the folder in your computer where you unzipped the word press files. Here you have a file called wp-config-sample, or wp-config-sample.php. Right click on it and rename it to wp-config.php . Then open this file in basic text editor, like word pad. Find the following section in the code:

 // ** MySQL settings - You can get this info from your web host ** //
/** The name of the database for WordPress */
define('DB_NAME', 'putyourdbnamehere');

 /** MySQL database username */
define('DB_USER', 'usernamehere');

 /** MySQL database password */
define('DB_PASSWORD', 'yourpasswordhere');

 /** MySQL hostname */ define('DB_HOST', 'localhost');

  You need to edit the bold sections (they won’t be bold in word pad; I’ve just made them bold here to make things easier). Here is where you need the Database information I asked you to write down earlier. The name of your database you created, replace the putyourdbnamehere with the database name, replace the usernamehere with your username, and for the yourpasswordhere, yep you guessed, the password you gave for your database :-). As to the localhost, there is a big chance you don't need to change this, but this depends on your hosting provider. To save time, I would Email them and ask. I had a small trouble with this with, and they actually had few variations, that I could not have figured out by myself. There is an article in the WordPress database on the subject for further help at: Save the document and you are done with this step. If you are doing this web set up with me and you have trouble with it, contact me at during the week, and I can try to help you before we start the actual design in next weeks blog.

   Now for the upload of the WordPress to your server you need FTP software. There are loads of free ones on the net, I use WinFtp, and lots of people prefer File Zilla, but just Google FTP and see what you like. Your FTP program should come with instructions how to connect to your server, but as a rough guide, when you acquired your web hosting they would asked you to choose a user name and password. Also your FTP address is as your website address, except you replace the www with ftp, for example ours would be The FTP software will ask you for the FTP address, user name and password. Once you are connected, on most FTP programs you will have two folders open, one on your computer and one on your web server. Go to the main body folder in your server, usually this is called “web”. And on your computer locate the WordPress folder we downloaded earlier. Now you can usually just drag and drop, so drag the WordPress folder to your web server. It usually asks you if you want to copy the file to the location, just click YES. The actual upload can take some time depending on your internet connection, so here is a good opportunity to go make a sandwich and fresh pot of coffee when the computer do all the upload.

   So now, provided your MySQL database was set up correctly, your upload was successful (no interruptions in the connection) and the changes to wp-config.php are correct, you should be good to go. The next step is to log on to an address on your website, so replase “Yourwebsite” in the following address with whatever your domain name is, followed by the name of the folder where the WordPress files are in your server. For example if your folder in your computer was called WordPress and you transferred the folder to your server, the address would be: This will run the WordPress installation script. From here on, it is like installing any social media site, but with lot more flexibility and design options. If for some reason you get an error message of some sort, then there has been an error somewhere in the steps above. So carefully check your MySQL database details, and make sure they match your details in your wp-config.php. If you still have trouble, then contact your web host and ask them to check your database info and let them know you are trying to set up WordPress site. As I mentioned above I had problem with with the set up, and the database info ended up being completely random address, so I could not have figure it out without their customer services help. But if you still have trouble, you can Email me and I can try to help you as well. However if all is going well, you should have the following screen on your site:

 So just fill in the site title, for example your bands name, your username, password twice and your email. Also do tick the box for your site to appear in search engines.

   So that's it, you have installed WordPress. Don't mind at this point that the address is at the moment is we will fix this later when your site is ready to go live.

   This is all we are going to do this week. Next week we'll get in to the fun stuff that is designing your site and adding content to it.

   This Friday the 23rd of September JPKALLIO.COM will be rocking the Purpleroom in Drogheda. It’s a late gig, doors at 11pm and the 24 Broken Amps will be with us as well! It sure will be a great night :-)”
   So that's all for now, next week we'll continue with the website project, so be sure to check back.

Glory to the World - Single - J.P. Kallio

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Studio tips from Trackmix Studio

Part 55

 It has been mental few weeks. The Punk rock mayhem show was a great success:-) All the bands delivered rocking sets. It is so much easier running show like this when you get to work with professional bands. Also a massive thank you once again to every one who came in, without you guys we could not do this. After having a few days time to reflect on the night, I have already decided to run the show next year at same time. But that is still long way a head, and we'll be running lot more gigs between now and then:-)
  Ok so this week I have something really special for you. I have been talking a lot about recording in the past, so I decided to ask for some tips from a professional studio engineer. Me and Qra headed to Trackmix studio in Blanchards town, that we had our eye on for a while now and many of our friends have recorded some killer tracks in there:-) So I sat down over a coffee with Michael Richards in the studio and picked his brain for some tips on recording and studio work for up and coming bands. Michael is also a guitarist himself, so we couldn't help but to squeeze in some guitar tips as well. So over to our chat:
J.P.  What's your background in music and as a sound engineer?
Michael I played (guitar) in loads of bands and got pissed off getting crap sound every where, so initially I did three years in the Bolton street (college) so I am qualified building services engineer, but never worked at that and never will at this stage. It was basically my back up plan before I did what I wanted to do. So I had a plan B, then I did year in the Sound Training Center in Temple bar.
J.P. How did you find that course?
Michael Well it's completely different now. When I did it, it was all cutting tape, tape editing, the birth of MIDI, that would have been 1991 so it was all AKAI sound players, MIDI cables and CV gates and stuff. So that was what the course was about back then. Then I worked in the Sun studios in Temple bar for a while. When you finished the course it was like get your own bands and bring them in to the studio. In 1995 myself and another guy opened the Trackmix studios. We were thinking of going to UK to to do the SAE School of audio engineering degree over there, but the cost involved in that basically allowed us set up our own studio instead. Got busy straightaway really. We got very good sound compared to other studios around at the time. It was 24 track reel to reel and 48 channel Soundtracks console, Alesis and Lexicon external reverb units, all gone now.
J.P. Do you ever miss the tape machine?
Michael No, it was one inch with Dolby S, so it was decent, but nothing like Studer or Otari. In 1998 we opened a guitar shop Instrumental on Bachelors walk with my business partner at a time. We were there for 10 years. We also opened a live music venue at the top of a Frazers pub on O'Connell Street in 2001. We rented the top floor off them, got good bands in and had Phantom doing Friday nights there, so we got good crowds in. At the point the venue got busy the studio was busy as well. We had arrangement that I would run the studio and my business partner would run the Venue and then we both worked in the shop. After while he lost interest in the studio and I just didn't have time for the venue, so we decided to split those parts of the business and I got the studio. In 2008 my daughter was born and between the studio and the shop I was working six to seven days a week, so at that point I decided to get out of the shop and concentrate on the studio.
J.P. So the studio has been in business since 1995, have you seen the changes in the Dublin music scene in the past 16 years?
Michael Oh god yeah, when we opened it was lot of Indie rock, Oasis sort of stuff. Then it went through big pop punk boom for a long time. That lasted probably five or six years, everyone wanted to be Blink 182. The problem with that is you get lot of drummers who tried to copy Travis Barker, who is very good drummer, and not being able to do it and ruining the songs in the process. But at the same time, lot of them were young bands, so Blink 182 made lot of young kids start bands, so fare play to them. Then that died down and now it's all gone metal. Metal is huge in Ireland at the moment.
J.P. What would you say is the divide between young bands or bands through record labels coming in to your studio?
Michael Well it depends. For example last year I had four Albums between September and Christmas eve. So unfortunately that meant that any younger bands had to go somewhere else or come back in January. It is nice to work with professionals, but having said that, I don't mind working with young bands either. For example I had a young band here who did not expect to get an album sounding product as they have been gigging and knew their limitations, but then with little bit of studio magic, drum editing and good choruses you get really good product, which all their friends and fans were blown away.
J.P. So could you give some advice on how a band with no studio experience could prepare them selves for the studio?
Michael Number one: Learn to play to a click track. Very important. When you play in rehearsals, you might not notice that you are speeding up or slowing down, but basically since the popularity of dance music  general public's timing has got lot better. So when the Stones brought out Exile on main street they got away with it, but now up and coming band wont get away with starting at 100ppm and finishing at 125ppm. People notice it now. So that would be the really big one. You also get band insisting using their unintonated out of tune guitars (Trackmix has has a selection of 10 really nice guitars with top notch set ups). They have their Epiphone Les Paul that is their baby, but after tuning it when you go past fifth fret, everything is out of tune. Or you get bass players with three month old strings... And here is a tip for bass players: put your strings in to a pot with vinegar and boil for a half an hour, you will lose bit of elasticity, but you get all the gunk out of them. You'll get away doing this three times.
  Another good tip, a band that comes here regularly, their singer, few days before coming in to the studio goes to a singing lesson in Waltons and learns the song they are about to record with the teacher. Then when they come in to the studio, all the pitching is already worked out. So usually it ends up being two warm ups and then a take.
J.P. I'm sure few guitar players could do something similar :-D
Michael Another common mistake that young bands make is over play riffs. You might feel great playing the riff, but it tends to go on too long, it would not be as interesting to listen to. Big intros as well. If it's a demo that you hope people will listen to and like, get the vocals in there as quick as possible. Take it easy on the intros.
J.P. Would you get in many young bands that would not understand the recording process yet?
Michael Oh yeah.
J.P. Would you recommend them to learn the process before?
Michael Just from my experience I can deal with bands that are inexperienced. Sometimes you get a phone call from a band, saying they want to record three songs, and you tell them it would probably take two days to do them properly. "Ah but its only 10mins, sure we can do them in an hour?" You do get that. Generally though if it is an inexperienced band I let them do it live, and then over dub. So when they are actually putting the takes down, I keep the drums, possibly bass if its in. So instead getting a guide guitar and vox, let them play as a band. Or sometimes if the guitar takes are good, I keep the D.I. and re-amp them after. I think the technology to re-amping has made a big difference.
J.P. That was actually one of the points that brought us to here in the first place. I find it so refreshing to hear from studio engineer ideas on how bands can save money.
Michael Yeah, it might sound like I'm shooting my self in the foot there, but not really. If I get a young band That can't afford four days in the studio that want to do five or six songs,  if they can get everything prepared, D.I. guitar and bass to a click or guide drums and the come in to record the real drums and re-amp everything. Definitely the way to do it.
J.P.  When people come to studio, what separates the pros from amateurs?
Michael The pros gets stuff down quicker. And you find that experienced drummers mix the kit them selves. If you were to put just overheads on the drum kit, it would sound like drum kit, when with inexperienced drummers you find all you get is hi-hat. The proper way to play the drums, in studio at least is beat the crap out of the shells and hit the cymbals lightly, where as the younger bands tend to lash the hi-hats and crashes while tapping the snare. One of the best examples is if you watch Keith Moon, he's like spider flying around the place but Cymbals are just shimmering. He looks like he is all over the place, but he is very controlled, hitting the shells hard and cymbals lightly.
J.P. What about bass players?
Michael Inexperienced bass players tend to follow the guitar rather than the drums. I always put the guitars down before the bass as well, it's easier to fit bass in to the guitars than other way around. Most rock music, no offence to bass players, but guitar sound is more important than bass sound. The bass is very important to the low end and over all mix, where as the guitar sound can define a band. So if you get the guitars down the way you want them first and then get the bass to cut in the low mid, rather than doing it the other way around. So as mentioned you get sometimes bass following the guitar, if that is the case, we separate the song in to sections and work out a bass line that follows the kick drum and works with the guitar, but not follow them.
  If you prepare for the studio and there is a band you like, don't only listen, analyze what every instrument is doing. You do find if you get bands that also play in cover bands in weekends, their own songs tend to be better constructed.
  Also good example on sound is AC/DC. Massive drum sound, but fairly thin guitars. If AC/DC were to use (Mesa Boogie)Triple Rectifier on full gain the mix would not sound as big. People think more gain sounds bigger, put not at all, less gain actually sounds bigger.
J.P. Totally, I find myself turning down the gain and getting away from the pedals.
Michael Tube screamer, drive at zero. Tightens up the bottom end and emphasize the attack. It's used more as filter driving the middle range. It emphasizes the pick attack and pushes the mid range. I use it all the time.
J.P. Now on the subject of money, we're going to use JPKALLIO.COM as an example here, what would you think would be a reasonable budget for recording an album?
Michael Well it depends on type of music. For example metal album, you are looking at spending lot of time on drum editing. Three days tracking, six days editing drums. It's all Lamb of Gods fault I am a fried. They were the first band to have absolutely metronomic timing and everybody just expects that since then. There's no away around it if you want a good modern metal record you have to edit. Where as straight up rock or punk record you might get drums down in two days, guitars down in two days, bass a day, vocals two days, so normaly depending on the type of the music, straight up rock band kind of live feel down in eight days, proper finished modern metal album maybe 14 to15 days. So it really depends on the music.
And when band leaves my studio they will be leaving with mastered album ready for print.
J.P. So you master as well?
Michael  Yeah, if you talk to a mastering engineer, they make them selves sound like some sort of alchemist, but its all about having a good ears and good monitors. Lot of mastering EQ would be what you call seek and destroy EQ, what is high boost sweep to find resonant frequencies and then cut them.So you need very good monitors, which we have here in the studio. Like normally you cut around 2 and 7K to get rid of some fiziness, and then low mids around 400-500hz, that's the low end woofiness that kills headroom.
You get once and a while some saying they want it sounding great and not worried about the volume, and thats like Christmas, you get to be creative with the EQ. When mastering you are subtracting frequencies to get the desired level. People just expect stuff to be loud these days. You just have to deal with it. If studio put out mixes that are not loud enough, they just don't get work.
J.P. Do you feel sometimes inexperienced bands underestimate the importance of mixing?
Michael To a certain extent. Lot of guys don't see the big picture, so you might get a band in with low tuning with a kind of piccolo snare sound, so the snare is on top of everything else in the mix, or you might get guitar players wanting too much gain and cutting all the mids out so the guitar is actually scooped in the frequency it's supposed to be in. So sometimes you spend time convincing inexperienced bands that this is the correct way of doing it. Tracking is mixing. Every time you hit the record you are mixing. You have to get the sounds that will fit later in the final mix.
J.P. Lot of young bands can find studio bit intimidating, do you think degree in psychology would come handy?
Michael No... It's just experience. You get engineers that would be very good, but would not have the people skills. Its as, if not even more important than knowing what you do really. Keeping the band comfortable and you always need to keep an atmosphere, tell jokes, slag the drummer ;-) But you have to keep an atmosphere in the studio that is comfortable. I would always try to make sure the band has a positive experience. Sometimes I do get bands that are not ready for recording, and I always ask for Myspace, facebook or youtube link, and I would advice them not to spend their money on the studio yet. But what I tell them to do is go to Soundtraining centers student session, for a fraction of a price, and they will get more experience and see where they need to improve before they do spend their money on professional studio.
J.P. How much, or little do you get involved in the projects?
Michael Well, every recording that comes out of here is an advertisement for the studio, so I do try to make every recording the best I can. Sometimes for example drummer would not like if I tell them that the drum roll on the chorus is not great. You do need to think which is the focal point in particular part of the song and prioritize. Everything can't be a lead instrument all the time and drummers can be big offenders on that. If you listen to professional drummers, they might be playing amazing stuff, but not over the vocal line. I do tend to do production as well as recording. Never would I just sit back and record. It's a case of trying to improve the parts. And as I said sometimes some members of the band wont be very happy about it, but generally they are happy when they hear the result.
J.P. Do you still get exited about any bands coming in?
Michael For sure! If I didn't I'd be in the wrong job. I do get exited about recording. Especially if it's a band I do want to record. Like last year I did the Cruachan album for Candellight records for world wide release, when I heard I got to record them, I was delighted, high as a kite.
J.P. So to wrap up this interview, I know many people feel like studio is bit like solicitors office, as soon as you get in from the door it's costing you money. Any encouraging words that might ease their mind a bit?
Michael Well I work very very fast. Any one who's been to other studios and then come to me, always say I work very fast. If you're recording with me and use the studio kit, which you probably should as it is very good kit, you'll be tracking drums by 11am. Normally it would be three releasable quality tracks in two days. So just give ma a call.

  Big thank you to Michael for his time and hospitality. I must say even we we're not recording, we did feel very relaxed in his studio while doing this interview. And JPKALLIO.COM will be doing some recording in the Trackmix studio in the near future. You can contact Michael through the studios Facebook page:
  So that's lot for you to chew on this week, back for more next week:-)

Glory to the World - Single - J.P. Kallio

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Changes to Irish copy right law

Part 54

   The week of our birthday bash Punk Rock Mayhem Show is here! Friday is going to be almost like a mini festival! For a nominal €5 you will be getting nearly four hours of live music. There will also be drink promotions: pints and shots from €3 and pitchers from €10. After the show we'll have the D.J play out the night with some punk rock until 2am! The doors will open at 8pm and the show will kick off 9pm sharp, so we really hope to see you all in there:-)
   Now to the meat and veg part of this blog. During the week an email popped up in my mailbox from IMRO about some suggested changes to the Copyright and Related rights act 2000. I do believe the revision is urgently needed and long over due. Lets look at some of the points to be reviewed, but before this let me just say I have been a member of IMRO for roughly about 13 years so far and before this I was a member of TEOSTO, the Finish equivalent organisation. One point has been brought out in the past few years, is the “Fair use”. This is something that is already in practice in USA and other countries. IMRO thinks that "due to the current act's clear unambigious Language has meant that there are few, if any, cases in the area of fair dealing Ireland." First of all, I think this is an area where IMRO is about ten years in the past. Music business has evolved and it is very important for the artist that they can have the option to give permission to post, or play their music on blogs, independent internet radio, or on some similar circumstances. I thought that IMRO was collecting royalties on my behalf, not deciding and restricting the control I have over material that I own the copyright to... Correct me if I am wrong here, but I think they are working against the music on this particular matter. Also with my understanding if the government is looking to amend the law, surely the language in question can be looked at as well. The Email explained the some of the changes that IMRO have suggested. They did not ask members opinion on the matter, or encourage any feedback. I did Email them to ask for some sort of an opportunity for the members to have their say on the matter, still waiting to hear back. There is no point collecting royalties if it is risking the live music, or promotion of new music. I have been at several IMROs annual meetings and every year people rise the question about radio play of Irish bands etc. IMRO can't force radio stations to play your music, nor is it really their job. But in my mind they should not stop bloggers posting my tracks, if I give them my permission. This was not the only point I am worried about.
    Publication requirements of licencing bodies under the act. by the current law IMRO needs to publish the tariffs they charge pubs, clubs, restaurants, shops etc. for playing either background music or live music. These tariffs are posted on their website. IMRO is requesting this publication requirement to be abolished as soon as possible. In their own words: “In IMRO’s experience, publishing tariffs – especially individually negotiated license terms – is causing difficulties in concluding licensing arrangements with companies.“ They also point out that EU law does not require the publication of these fees and they are not aware of any other collection society in Europe required by law to disclose commercially negotiated licencing terms. As a matter of interest I did check out the Finish collection society TEOSTO's website, and they have very detailed tariffs posted on their website, now whether this is by law or not, that I do not know. Just a quick question: am I the only one who smells smoke here? I mean, does it not sound like some one has something to hide? IMRO, or any other similar collection agency abroad for that matter do important work and contribute to the survival of the musician, but some of their policies needs to be looked at.
  Also according to their tariffs on their website IMRO charge Bars (let's face it, most of us play in bars) between €9.25 and €58.62 depending on the annual turnover of the venue. I know a venue in the south side of Dublin who had to limit the amount of live music due to these charges. And how much of these charges actually end up in the hands of the bands? Based on numerous phone calls we have made to them in the past ten years, the “pool” has been getting smaller every year... I can tell you that the venue in question is paying out to IMRO nearly 3 times more than what the artist is getting per gig. I do understand that if a venue has a covers band that just plays other peoples music all night, of course the song writers deserve to get payed, but we all know how hard it is to get gigs for bands playing original material. That's the messed up part, these fees hit hardest the up and coming original artist and most of us don't even know this. I think on this particular case the law would need some kind of claw, where band who only plays material that they own the copyright to, should be able to sign a waver for individual concerts, if they wish to do so. I do understand this could lead to a serious abuse, but with bit of thought and input from all sides, including the musicians, there could be law that would favor live original music, instead scaring the bars from booking live bands.
  We can all sit here and say as an artist we deserve to get payed. And rightly so, but at what cost? The business is evolving and needs to do so, but we need to open our eyes to the fact that if we make the copyright laws overly strict, this will only scare away people. Music is powerful thing, and especially live music. There are publicans out there who know this and we should encourage them to book more bands, not scare them away. Same goes with promoters, rental venues etc. If I would resign IMRO today and play a concert tomorrow, they would still charge the venue a fee... So I am not telling you to work against them, but work with them.
  OK, I could go on here much longer, but it is a heavy subject and this is already much more stirring I was planning to do... Let me know your thoughts on all of the above, I'm sure some of you have completely different view an it all:-) So we'll come back for more next week and hope to see you all on Friday!

Glory to the World - Single - J.P. Kallio