Monday, December 21, 2015

What's new at the end of 2015?

It has been 10 months since I last updated this blog.  I can't get to everything but here are three highlights.

State Funding

I did the work, and it worked!  But, I've had a lot of guidance navigating through the strict applications and development of a program that was eligible for state funding.  Many thanks to Ted Malt and Lori Gramer for your help!

This is the best "new" thing with SoundisRed.  The Michigan Center for the Arts and Cultural Affairs provided a grant to cover five SoundisRed STEAM presentations this past spring (2015).  I've also been accepted into the prestigious Michigan Touring Directory.  This directory is distributed state wide and will provide partial funding for any SoundisRed program.  If you're interested in booking a SoundisRed program please review the booking tab on the SoundisRed webpage.

New Studio

Again, many thanks due to friends and family with the construction of a music studio I can call my own.  It took about 6 months but I've never been more productive and happy with a work space.


 "In a Word" music/video blog

Make art with purpose.  If you don't have a purpose, make a purpose.  The purpose of this music/video blog is compose music that captures the definition of a word.  It's simple, yet challenging.  

When working on a track I take a few extra minutes to set a camera for capturing its development.  I always enjoyed that kind of content with other artists so I want to provide that as well.  You can listen and watch all of this content on the Music / Video blog tab on the SIR website.

I have a feeling that this "In a Word" music/video blog will be the beginning of a live show.  Maybe even the SoundisRed live show I've always wanted to create.  Better yet, I'm working on a plan to make it a reality.

Until next time.


Sunday, February 8, 2015

What do you want to do in music?

New Opportunities

"I like plans, but I'm not afraid to change them."

In the last three months, I've had plans change constantly as there are new opportunities arising every week for myself and SoundIsRed.  Word of mouth is spreading and my friends are helping me make the right connections.  This is a very exciting change of pace but I also find this increases the pressure to perform and create better material.  There are several areas I'm currently developing to improve myself and SoundIsRed.


I've been contacting record labels, PR agents, and friends in the music business asking them to review SoundIsRed.  The general feedback I received is that SoundIsRed has very strong visual branding, the music is good (but not great), social media is set up (but not engaging many people), and there is a large quantity of great content on the SoundIsRed website.  I agree with them.

Recently, I had a conversation with a very successful composer/producer, Sheridan Tongue.  During this conversation, he asked me a very simple question that I didn't have an answer for.  "What do you want to do in music?"  Up until this point, I've only wanted to get better at music, improve my ability to create, connect, and collaborate with music and learn the tools and the tricks of music.  I've never really thought about doing a specific thing with music.  I want to learn as much as possible.

What Sheridan said next is true.  "You need to find what you're best at.  What can you build a career off of?"  So far, using SoundIsRed as an educational tool has had the strongest response.  There is a need for music education that focus on science, technology, engineering and math.   I know that I have received consistent positive feedback in my ability to inspire students in general.


The SoundIsRed "STEAM" presentation is an interactive and educational presentation directed at K-12 schools.  This presentation has created many new opportunities for me and SoundIsRed.  Most recently, I have received state funding to cover the cost of these school performances.  Some school systems have even expressed an interest in hiring me to provide Music/Tech Professional Development classes for staff members.  As a result of this focus in education, I am in a constant state of research and development of new projects that will connect with a wide range of audiences.  I really enjoy this challenge.  I'm positive this will be a very successful direction for myself and SoundIsRed.


The most recent SoundIsRed show was held on January 31 at Seven Steps Up at 9 pm for their "Standing Room Only" concert series.  Prior to the dance show, I hosted a "Bucket Drumming" Workshop for all ages at 7 pm. 
The challenge with workshops like this is the range of ages and skill levels.  I'm the kind of person that tries to take care of every single detail before downbeat to avoid stress at the gig.  But in this situation, there is only so much you can prepare for.  The rest is left up to reading the audience. 

I introduced myself and played a short solo on the buckets.  Then I polled my audience to get a read as who what the skill levels were in the audience.  This group was mostly younger kids but there were a handful of adults too.  In short, the workshop went really well.  People enjoyed it and had fun.  Mission accomplished!

Check out this video clip from the "Bucket Drumming" Workshop!

Improving SoundIsRed

As I mentioned earlier, I've been contacting people to review what I've been building with SoundIsRed.  I'm really surprised by the support people are willing to give if I just ask.  Some of the best feedback I've received came from sending a single Facebook message with a few questions.  The amount of resources and information given back to me is overwhelming.  I try to apply as much as I can.  Overall, SoundIsRed has made great progress in the last 6 months.

I've added acoustic drums to the SIR electronic kit.  I was very hesitant to add this for several reasons, the main reason being mixing issues.  If I were on a large stage with the whole kit miced up, playing the acoustic drums over the electronic tracks would be no problem.  When performing in smaller spaces, it is extremely hard to balance the physical presence of live drums with the electronic ones.  I've found some ways to overcome this problem.  The most recent show was the first trial of the new set up with the dual kits.  This concept was accepted well.  I've found that having the option to play the electronic or acoustic kit pumps up the energy at the show.

Upcoming Video Release

There is a new video coming out soon.  After the release of the Deadmau5 - Some Chords remix video shot by AJ Brann, I reconnected with my videographer friend, Jeremy Tremp.  After chatting a bit, he recommended filming something a bit different from everything I've done in the past with SoundIsRed. 

The new video features a live mash up of two of my favorite Daft Punk songs, "Da Funk" and "Robot Rock" on electronic drums followed by drum solo Armageddon on the acrylic kit.  Textures - Event Lighting provided lighting for the shoot.  It's going to be killer!  Follow SoundIsRed on YouTube to catch the release.

Until next time,


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