Lately I’ve had quite a hard time finding new songs for this project. Partly this might be due to my diplomathesis I’m about to write and partly due to musicians who de-license their CC-BY licensed songs to CC-BY-NC-ND as soon as they’ve read my question to introduce one of their songs here in the freemusicpodcast. Another reason is, that I started to make some music by myself and so the last song will be one by me.
If someone feels like going on with filling this freemusicpodcast with introducing free licensed music, drop me a mail. ed.xmg@ppilihpnetsrot is my reversed adress. And now have fun with the song:
The song is under the CC-Zero, which means that everybody can do anything with it. In case the video stutters in your browser you can download the Song as MP3 (6 MB) here with “right mouse button -> Save link under … ” or the whole video here as FLV (18 MB).
Recording the song and making the video took me about one week and some cheap equipment (digicam from the hardware store). It was much fun.
Torsten Philipp – Treffen wir uns bei meinem Psychiater
If you listen to this song right now and if you were lucky enough to grow up in the 90ies and to own an Amiga or a C64 computer, then I guess, your ears will flap happily melancholicaly in the wind of the 8 bit that your speakers will blow onto you. That’s because James Curran – aka Rhinostrich – makes music that sounds a bit as if Blur on ecstasy had composed the score for the second level of Turrican.
If you need a name for this kind of music, just look for Chiptune and you will find more.
I asked James why he publishes some of his songs under a rather permissive licence as CC-BY and others under a rather restrictive licence like CC-BY-NC-SA.
Jamie: One reason my songs have different licensing schemes is because on different websites you are at the mercy of their terms and conditions,
and the licensing scheme they use. The other reason for this is purely a lack of attention/dilligence on my part. As long as my music is protected from theft while remaining free for download, I am ok with pretty much any licensing scheme.
What equipment do you use for creating your tracks?
Jamie: All the software I use to create my music is either homebrew, or FOSS. It seems only logical that the distribution of my music would follow the same spirit.
For the most part, I use LGPT (aka Piggy Tracker) running a GP2X, which is linux-based korean handheld videogame console. The software, created by Marc Nostromo, is multiplatform and is available for free. Other tools I use to create music include LSDJ running on a gameboy and the Milkytracker.
Will you publish future songs also under a free licence?
Jamie: I will continue to release my music for free. For new and unknown artists, the exposure of letting people download your songs for free outweighs the monetary gain lost by not selling it. It used to be that people learned about music and heard music for free on the radio. Free downloads, streaming music, and podcasts are now taking the place of radio for many people. With most radio stations owned by the same company and only playing major artists, there is little room for new and unknown artists to be discovered. I would rather give away 1000 downloads than sell 1.
Do you sometimes do live gigs?
Jamie: I have been playing shows for a couple years now along the eastern part of North America. Places like New York, Philly, Florida, Montreal, etc.
What? There is only an inaginary band here today on the freemusicpodcast? – What a load of rhubarb and codswallop!
Well, you can’t get everything what you want, at least not always. And you have to admit, that Ben’s imaginary band sounds pretty real, dosn’t it? At least “Life in a Cave” from Ben’s album “Nocturnal Fables and Illusions” which is about a person who becomes pretty nervous and insecure in the presence of one certain other person and then consequently decides to move to a cave.
Because Ben’s Imaginary Band sounds so wonderful I asked Ben if I could write something about him and his music in the freemusicpodcast.
Ben: I’d be very happy to be on your blog! You’re welcome to upload my songs there. I’ll try and answer your questions as best as I can.
Ben: The reason I give my music away for free, and plan to continue doing so, is because I personally don’t look at it as something I should be trying to make money with; I am much more interested in affecting people, especially those close to me.
My main concern about giving music away for free is that most of us have been brainwashed at this point to believe that whenever something is given to us for free, it is because of lack of integrity, like the little toys found in cereal boxes.
Aren’t you afraid of freeriders who exploit your music without leaving any benefit for you?
Ben: I’m not sure what a freerider is? Would this be a band covering my song and taking credit? To be honest, I’m kind of interested in the idea of someone else becoming known for songs I’ve written. I’m very fond of a musician named Harry Nilsson, and most people know his music but have never heard of him – he wrote “One (is the loneliest numer)”, and a few other songs I can’t think of right now.
Will you publish future songs under the same free licence?
Ben: I do plan to always release my music under this same license.
What where your economical experiences as musician so far?
Ben: Well, people have been buying the CD’s from my website at a steady rate, and I’ve had a few donations from Jamendo users.
Do you play all the instruments by yourself? And what instruments do you use at all?
Ben: On this album I do play all the instruments myself, and the girl singing on “A Reason Why”, the 4th track of the album, is Kassandra Trajkowich. The reason for my playing all the instruments wasn’t a stunt or anything, I simply couldn’t find musicians who wanted to play with me at the time. Most of the drums on the album where made with Fruity Loops, which was ok, but I’m working on an album now with a real drummer (remotely actually, sending songs through emails), and it’s much more exciting that way.
Do you sometimes play concerts?
Ben: No, I’ve been strictly a recording musician so far. I think after I finish the album I’m working, on I will try to play a few concerts, and if I like that I’ll try for a small tour. It’s an experience, I’m sure.
Apart from the CD’s you sell via your website and the donations you get from Jamendo users – what do you do to make a living?
Ben: I’m a part-time freelance web designer, well actually, I’m more like a flash programmer, but I do other bits as well. My father has a web design company, and I’ve been taking part in that, pretty much since I was 15.
Lena Selyanina is from Russia, lives right now in Helsinki, Finland and actually she is known for making calm music with reminiscences to classical compositions together with Doc, a finnish producer of ambient music. Besides Lena has a long experience as classical piano player. At the age of five she started to play the piano – a skill she refined at the conservatorium in Saratov and with which she rejoices the world, as can be heard on her myspace page.
“Oi Da Ne Vecher” is the first single that sees Lena featuring as a singer. This song is a beautiful adaption of an old cossack song. I used to have Russian lessons for eight years during DDR-times, but luck of Russians and hence of conversation made it that my knowledge of this beautiful language is too small now to understand the headline of this song. Lena has kindly explained what “Oi Da Ne Vecher” means:
Lena: “Oi da ne vecher” is a poetic Russian saying meaning approximately “On one evening…” Many folk songs start with “Oi da…”, it’s an old style way to start a story.
Lena: I make my music above all because I love music and art. It is perfectly fine for me if other people use my music in their videos or movies, and I am only glad if they share it further to their friends and other listeners. We are all free riders on the long tradition of classical music, we get so much for free from old masters, so why not to give out something good out of gratitude for what we have received.
Will you publish future songs under the same free licence?
Lena: I don’t rule out composing music for payment for e.g. movies if somebody wants me to do so. But all this music that is born out of sheer inspiration and joy (and sometimes suffering!) of creation I am likely to release under CC licenses also in the future. Appreciation and interesting feedback from listeners and fans is my best reward.
What where your economical experiences as musician so far? If not from your music how do you make a living?
Lena: I haven’t made any money as a recording or performing musician so far and don’t expect to do so in the near future at least. Instead I made my living in recent years as a music teacher. The teacher salaries in Russia must sound like a joke for westerners, about 100 euros a month for a full time job outside the big cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg with western price levels for food. But we Russians are masters of survival, and I survived like anybody else with my salary. A year ago I moved over to Finland, and here even as a ‘hausfrau’ I am much richer than what e.g. Franz Schubert was, so all is well in the material sense. The real luxury is that we have a good home studio where I can record as much music as I wish without making any artistic compromises and then release it immediately for the whole world.
Do you do all the instruments by yourself? And what instruments do you use at all?
Lena: I play all instruments (read: keyboards) myself apart from programmed percussion and sound effects and such which are handled by my producer and musical partner Doc. My present instruments are Yamaha C6 grand piano, Yamaha Clavinova CVP-208 and Roland Juno-G synthesizer. I am also learning accordion and violin but it will take time until I am ready to record with those.
How did you manage to make your voice sound like a chorus?
Lena: My conservatory education and several years of singing in a church choir gave me a fairly good skills to sing and develop vocal harmonies. On ‘Oi Da Ne vecher’ I sing up to five different voices at some points, and I did them as a straightforward multitrack job voice by voice. Some voices I doubled and some even tripled to build a larger and richer chorus sound. I think there were over 120 audio tracks total on the workfiles of the song – luckily I did not have to worry about the technical side at all but could focus on singing and playing instead! :-)
Chris: Ethics and realism. First, it seems unethical to me to charge for a good like digital music, which can be reproduced at zero marginal cost and can be enjoyed by everyone without depriving anyone else of enjoyment.
Second, from a realist perspective, I don’t think I’d gain anything by having a more restrictive license. Any person listening to my crummy home-recorded music is probably not the type of person who would let a license restrict how they listen to and share music. Which is how it should be.
Aren’t you afraid of freeriders who use your music for commercial purposes?
Chris: I’d be blown away if that ever happened, though I probably would like to get paid if my song were used commercially—if only because it seems like easy money. That said, I’d like to see the day when artists couldn’t do anything to stop commercial uses of their music, any more than they could stop a newspaper from quoting them.
Will you continue to make music and can you imagine to publish any future songs under free licences as well?
Chris: Yes, probably.
What where your economical experiences as a musician so far?