Last Monday, I told you about how Sterling Void, whose first wave lasted for 32 depressing years, and how he’s decided he’s the next Ernest Hemingway. “The Void Inside Of Me” is coming out at a date to be announced – or as the modern day Leo Tolstoy put it, “soon my book will be release”.
His way with words isn’t exactly up there with William Shakespeare, but I digress. Since writing that post, I got to wondering what’s going to be inside this book. I’ve yet to decide whether to approach the publishers with a $24 offer for rights to publish extracts from this literary tomb. Perhaps this exercise will help.
For starters, it almost certainly won’t mention much about the time he lived with Marshall Jefferson in the 1980s. That didn’t end well. The two worked on some tracks together – by which I mean Marshall did the track and Void scratched his arse. After being caught smoking crack in the flat, Jefferson threw him out. Shortly afterwards, Void robbed the place – pretending that Jefferson was moving out and getting help to do it. He even took the carpets.
No, he won’t mention that, will he?
Okay, let’s try this one. There was the time that he collaborated with a British producer called Neil Hipkiss on a sample pack for Loopmasters, and… oh, that didn’t end well either. It turns out Hipkiss did all the work and Void took the entire £2000 payment for himself. To this day, he still has not paid back what he stole.
His drug habit will probably be referenced briefly, if even that, and he certainly won’t explain why so many producers refuse to work with him more than once.
Come to think of it, what on earth is actually going to be in it? When you edit out all the bad stuff from Void’s life – and yeah, that includes the many times he’s been in trouble with the law – there’s not really much left.
Perhaps I shall bid for the serialisation rights. I might even be prepared to go up to $48. That’ll give you a really nice Uber car to pretend to get home in, Duane…
Today and tomorrow, I’m running a two-part series on this site telling you about my experiences with remix contests. I’ll tell you about what went wrong with all the ones I didn’t win, and what possibly went right with the one I recently won for Russian label Mask Sexy Records.
In today’s first part, I go through what definitely didn’t work for me and, chances are, probably won’t work for you either…
If you have come across this article through my social media, you probably know roughly what to expect. You probably know my sense of humour and what comes with it. So you’ll know to take anything written over the next two days for what it is. I simply speak of personal experience.
If, on the other hand, you have found me in the future from a Google search, I imagine this title hasn’t filled you with the utmost of confidence. Nor should it, frankly. I have no idea if what I’m about to write has any lessons in it whatsoever. I’m just going to tell you about my experience with remix contests and you can take what you’re going to take from that.
So I’ll start by declaring that I don’t know exactly how many of these I’ve entered. My first one was on Beatport many years ago – it was for a song called “Funk Dat” by Sagat, which originally came out in 1993. I entered it simply because I could and because I wanted to try remixing something. I was learning exactly how my DAW of choice – Cockos Reaper – worked, and I thought the best way of doing that was to work on something where the ideas were already partially there. I think this was the right strategy for me, it might not be the best strategy for everyone.
I never won anything for any of these. And let’s be frank about the reasons for this. Most remix contests are commissioned by record labels who don’t fancy paying someone to do a remix. Back in the 1990s, remixes cost a lot of money. If you wanted the likes of David Morales, Marc Kinchen, Todd Terry, Masters At Work or whomever to do a remix of your track, it was going to cost you big bucks. It wasn’t remotely unusual for them to charge £15,000 and above.
Labels were more than happy to pay in those days because the money was there to do it. Vinyl sales often counted towards the ultimate chart position of a song, so a decent remix pack on the 12” could help swing it in favour of a particular release. The remixers knew this, and charged accordingly.
Those days are long gone. Budgets at most labels are far thinner than they used to be and remixes have been particularly badly hit in this regard. So remix contests are a useful way of getting a remix without paying for it. They also usually – especially in the case of the major labels – are looking for a particular sound. They want what’s hot. They want what’s going to do well on the streaming sites, because that’s where their listeners are these days.
And who could blame them? That’s their job. If you want to enter a remix contest for a major label, my advice is to be acutely aware of these facts. There’s absolutely no point anyone going into this without both eyes open. Unless your remix becomes an absolutely huge global smash hit, there’s simply no way you’re going to make much from it. Just do it for the fun. It’s not like you’ll be able to do anything with it if you don’t win, anyway…
If you don’t know the face above, get familiar with this lady. Her name is Venessa Jackson and she is insanely talented. If her vocals appear anywhere, you should immediately have a listen – she’s that good, and there’s not many I’d say that about these days.