Spirit Rose Music Video with Marya Stark and Tiare Tashnick

I have always dreamed of making this exact video. Something provocative, emotional, and meaningful to me. When Marya Stark and Tiare Tashnick reached out to me about collaborating, I was elated. Well, actually I was uncontrollably grinning and dancing around.

I am honored to present this new music video.

To give you a glimps on my creative process, here are some words I write about this video.

Our world is asking us to rise to greatness. We can no longer hide from the shadow or get lost in illusion. We are being asked to shatter the spells, to empower ourselves with love, and make this world a better place. Will you rise to the challenge?

I started to vision with Marya and Tiare Tashnick on how this can grow into an immersive experience. How could we breathe further life into the transformative fire? Beyond elated to work with such a talented creator as Tiare. This video was our first step in an evolving epic of music, visuals, art, ritual, and movement. We will rise to the challenge and hope to stand beside you.

The song is Spirit Rose featuring Khatchadour Khatchadourian on Duduk and Marya Stark on vocals.

Loop 2018 Music Sumit

Coming back from Ableton Loop Event and feeling hella inspired. Just set up my studio again and started making music… because isn’t that the point?

The classes and workshops were really mind-blowing. I took classes on making synths with paper, Artifical Intelligence in music, the art of listening, and so much more.

Here is a video I made of my experience at Loop 2018. You can see how excited I was and pick up some of what I learned. Also… there is a little teaser in there for something amazing.

 

My overall experience was great at Loop. Ableton really goes all out with these events. I got to hang out with other teachers I admire, meet new musicians, pick up new skills, and come out with new ideas to put into my tracks. So yeah… a success for sure.  Next year I hope it’s back in LA, it’s a lot easier of a trip then Berlin, but either way, I hope to make it out.

If you went, I would love to hear in the comments what your favorite part of Loop was.

Music and the Movement of Ecstatic Dance

Over ten years ago I went to my first ecstatic dance in Seattle Wa. The experience changed the trajectory of my life and my music.  So wait… lets back up… what is Ecstatic Dance?

Ecstatic Dance is a freeform of authentic movement. The idea is there is a general formula you can follow to take dancers through a diverse journey, a wave if you will, that brings them from softness to an ecstatic revelatory place and back to stillness.

WHAT IS ECSTATIC DANCE?

Here is the general layout of an ecstatic dance. First of all, it’s drug-free, all ages, and generally a pretty short experience. 2-3 hours total. Think of it as a dance class more than a club.  The event usually starts with a warm-up. People come and stretch, roll on the floor, and get ready to shake it.  After the warm-up, there is an opening circle. Each ecstatic dance is different and I have seen a range from a circle with a 5minute welcoming, to a shared ritual/movement practice.  After the opening, the DJ, it’s usually one DJ for the whole evening, starts there set.

 

The music moves as a wave. From a softer buildup to a peak. At many ecstatic dances, it follows a “wave” where the energy builds to a peak, dips down, builds to another peak, and then lands into a softer place to end. For the past few years, I have been helping with Muse Dance in Portland OR, and the above image is what I made to help communicate that movement to DJ’s at our dance.

THE EXPERIENCE

So what is this all about? Well… this might sound hella woo-woo. One of the best descriptions I have found was from Ecstaticdance.com

Through dance, we believe everyone can discover, explore, unleash, and enhance their individual potential to live a fulfilling and meaningful life. By engaging our senses and listening to our bodies, we connect to others and shape a consciousness that extends beyond our own. – Ecstaticdance.com

When I dance and fully let myself go I find myself in space that lets me process my emotions. Not from a thinking place, but truly feel my emotions in my body. I have had life-changing revelations and moments of discovery.  As a facilitator and musician, I have seen thousands of people experience this same space in Ecstatic Dance. That is why it’s a growing movement. There are hundreds of dances worldwide. Portland alone has 5 dances a week! Some of them have 100-200 people regularly.  You can find a full list of Ecstatic Dances worldwide at Ecstaticdance.org.

THE MUSIC

A unique aspect of Ecstatic Dance is the eclectic music. during one dance you will hear sultry singer-songwriter, Latin funk, throbbing glitch music, and ambient strings.  Since the experience is all about dynamics and diversity, it gives you such a wide pallet as a DJ.  As a musician, this is one of my all time favorite places to perform. I find the dancers are deeply listening and can appreciate a wider range of possibilities.

It’s also been hard sometimes to find just the right kind of music. For instance, I want a soft loving vocal track for the end of my set, but to many times the lyrics are about a co-dependent relationship. To really respect the dance, I want to make sure the message is always one of growth.  You also have to think of music outside of genre but in terms of how it will affect the dancers and where it fits in the story arch.

It’s because of this that I was really excited when Peter Weinstein, aka Baron von Spirit, approached me about a new project.  Together we dreamed up a record label that would help connect the musical world with the dancers of ecstatic dance.  We saw how we could help curate music that holds a space at Ecstatic Dances, as well as introduce new music to the growing number of ecstatic dancers.  Thus, Ecstatic Dance Records was born.

ECSTATIC DANCE RECORDS LAUNCH

Today, well… as I am writing this, we launched the Record Label by releasing four EP’s. We worked with musicians from around the world. Including this amazing lineup: KaminandaDysphemicSubaqueousKR3TURETemple Step ProjectIlluminertiaEvan Fraser MusicSugarBeatsSilk DropEO • Eric OberthalerHigh Step SocietyDJ Taz RashidYogi PrateadoLiving Roots, and Tikki Masala.

Since ecstatic dance is based on a musical journey we wanted to showcase the music based on its placement in the phases of the Ecstatic Dance Journey. Peter has come up with and refined the six phases of the ecstatic dance journey over a decade of performance. The phases go as followed:

Arrival * Buildup * Peak * Cruise * Landing * Integration

The first four EP’s are Arrival, Buildup, Peak, and Cruise. Our concept was to help showcase the different states of the dancers and how music can be used to move people through the journey.



For the last year Peter and I have had weekly calls to discuss the philosophy, build strategic partnerships in the community, and gather an amazing list of musicians. I am elated to finally launch this project. Since Ecstatic Dance has been such a cornerstone of my life, this feels like a natural and beautiful new endeavor.

If your interested in what this project, please join us on our Ecstatic Dance Records facebook page and check out the music.  If you want to get involved in any way, feel free to message us. Now that this has launched, we have all sorts of visions we are working on. Just the beginning of an amazing journey.

Making Meditation Music and Binaural Beats

Binaural beats have greatly affected my life. Not only that, but they were the reason I became an electronic musician.In a Meta full circle, I am excited to release this online course on Binaural Beats. It dives deep into Binarual Beats, Isochronic Tones, Frequencies, and more. Been years in the making, and honored to finally release it.

Fifteen years ago I got into being a psychonaut. It was a strange and wild point of my life. I was doing dream experiments, binaural beats, and exploring consciousness.

That time greatly shaped who I am today. In a strange full circle, I have been revisiting those experiments the last few years. I have been drawn back into my love of Binaural Beats and how to dial in your consciousness.

After a lot of discovery and work, I have created this online course on how to make your own binaural beats and using sound to affect consciousness. It feels pretty amazing to have this thread through my life and find a new way to help others on their own journey. Here is a trailer video for the course:

If you are interested in learning more on how you can affect consciousness with sound, then check out my online course on making binaural beats. 

 

Live Set with Stem Mixing – Setting up your Tracks

So you got some sweet tracks, but you want to load them into Ableton Live’s Session view for live performance. It can be a headache… but I made this video on how to quickly do this for your Stems.  Just drag in the stems you have exported of your song, chop it up, and get it ready to go in Session View. Watch the video below for a walkthrough:

 

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If you don’t know how to bounce down your tracks into Stems to start, check out this article and video. I also included an easy to use PDF / checklist for making stems.

Another tidbit I shared was using the Circle of Fifths I created to color your tracks in Live.  I find this technique to help a lot with Harmonic Mixing. I have even printed these as stickers for my laptops. I used to print and sell them, but it was mainly just paying for shipping… so feel free to print this off at home.

Hopefully, this video has given you some ideas on how to set up your live set. If you would like to learn more in-depth knowledge on my Live Set and building your own, make sure you sign up for the newsletter above in this article.

The Perfect Stand for Novation Launchpad

Novation Launchpad has been a staple piece of gear for me. I have had the MK1, Mini, and now I added the Launchpad Pro. When performing Live I am always looking for a stand… after many tries, here is my list of the perfect stands for Novation Launchpad.

Best Stand for Standing Performance

When performing I prefer to stand and have my MIDI gear face out to the audience. I have found the Quik-Lok TriPod Stand, LPH-001 to be the perfect stand. It’s lightweight (compared to other stands I have had), and it fits all the Launchpads perfectly.  The stand is foldable and works great on the road. My only gripe is it doesn’t lock and just twist tightens… but that shouldn’t matter too much.  This would be my number one choice.

 

 

Push Stand for the Desk

Next up, I have used this adjustable stand for my desk. This stand is adjustable for the angle you need. It makes it a lot easier to set up in your studio or on a table.  This stand is also metal, sturdy, yet a cheap price. Total win for the desktop.  Bonus… it feels pretty stable when pounding on the pads. 

 

Portable Table Stand

Another option is having a portable stand you can put on the DJ table. I found the VEKTOR Laptop stand to be top notch for this. It’s cheaper then some hardcore DJ stands, but has the stability you need. It locks into place and can handle the weight.  I think the Adjustable Amazon Basic on is great for the home studio, but this one is sturdier for the road.

 

DIY Stand

The first stand I used for the Launchpad was a snare stand. I had some laying around and tried it out. This was great in the studio when I needed more space on my desk. I just put it on the Snare Stand and chair height. I now use it for my Push One, but it worked great for Launchpad. A little precarious… but it worked.

I don’t actually suggest buying a snare stand to use with the Launchpad. It works, but if you are going to spend money I think the Samson stand or the Quik-Lok TriPod Stand, LPH-001 would be a better buy. But, if you have one already then this could be a good option for you. There are many different snare stands so finding the right one might be a little tricky if you are going for new. I did use this snare stand for the Launchpad and it worked for my needs. And… it’s a little lower then I would like.

 

Those are my top picks for stands for the Novation Launchpad. They will work great with the regular and Pro. If you got any suggestions or things you think work better, please comment below.