Cloud And Sun DJ Services Weekly Blog

Hi And Welcome to my regular blog. I will try and keep it humorous which may mean mildly colourful language at times. I hope you enjoy it and won't be offended. In order to protect the guilty; no Customers will be mentioned by name unless it's complementary and even then I may opt for anonymity. This is only because I wanted to impress you by putting in the word "anonymity."  If I can think of any other slightly more pointless and annoying rules, I will let you know in due course.


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    Hi all,

    I was listening to a program on radio 4 today about voice correction software. The most popular brand you will have heard of is called "Auto-tune". I knew about this technology before, as I'm sure you did (They never had it when I was a Producer) but I never knew how widely it was used. Ever wondered why todays chart songs can sound so dull and characterless? Well one could give more than one reason for this: Producers not having a sound musical knowledge anymore? Doing everything too quickly on a laptop? Copying and pasting verses and choruses and ridding the song of character? Or perhaps so many great chord progressions have been written and copywrited, that there's not much fertile ground available anymore for the new blood to "harvest". Maybe it's down to a music business run by materialists and accountants who have an exact formula for making money which precludes individualism and the art that comes with it? One thing seems for sure though; Taking into account what Grace Jones said when quoting Edith Piaf: "Use your faults. They are what make you a star". Well we're in a world now it seems where faults aren't allowed anymore. The golden rule when I was a keyboard player was, if you get it wrong, play it three times and everyone will think it's deliberate (I never tried that one to be honest) Perhaps this is why Miley Cirus and Lady Gaga not only sound so dull to me, but also sound so interchangable. All Variations of vocal are wiped clean...

    To me this is definitely part of the problem. But it's not the entire story. I think it's partly audience driven. We live in a world where the bulk of the audience appears to demand a certain blandness in their product. Would people take to a mega band like Queen or Genesis these days? Would disco take off today? (I doubt it - people are trying all the time and are loudly ignored). What is different about prog rock and disco? Well as an ex musician I can tell you. Those bands and these types of music are arguably epic in comparison to say...Justin Beiber or most anyone else in the charts these days. Why? Simple to those in the know. Most dull samey pop tunes use the same simple "triad" chords like C, D, A, and E. these are chords that have only three notes eg: the chord of C has C (root), E (third) and G (fifth). A power chord in a Who song might include the same chord with a suspended 4th added (F). Super groups of yesteryear like the above plus people like Supertramp, Bowie etc. have songs littered with spiced up chords like this because they extend the illustrative possibilties of the song no end. A song is after all, a snapshot of a persons' mood or thoughts in a given moment right? So why limit the poetic expression to a few bland, easliy digestible, sugarless porridge-like explanation units (chords). The extreme example of chord use is jazz and old skool R&B/soul, who's menu seems to be too rich for the taste of most white people (audience driven see?), but is lapped up by many musicians who understand whats going on and the skill of both writer and player - See it's harder to use big words (chords) especially when education is being forever dumbed down to make a more controllable population - Oops! Going off topic there... But it's harder to play big chords and complex melodies, as it requires a bit of skill and practice with one's instrument even if it's one's voice that's the said item.

    There used to be a band called "Pop will eat itself". I don't know anything about them, but their proficy seems to have come true. Pop music is at the over produced stage where it's so far up it's own unskilled arse that it's becoming blind to what is and isn't good anymore (generally).

    Big producers now don't look for skilled singers. They look for good looking singers. Skill and training isn't needed. Now you know why few artists of this kind last five minutes. They're on a conveyer belt and it's a fast one.

    I know what you're thinking: how do we handle this as DJ's? Simple. If you're a club DJ, you're probably playing stuff most of the night that never gets into the main charts and who gives a crap? Everyone knows dance is dance and screw it, let's get on the club floor like we came to do and do it. Either that or your audience is happy to dance to type stuff all night. I don't know about you, but I can only take so much 128bpm house in one set, even if it is peppered with David guetta and Calvin harris.

    If your a mobile DJ like me, your saving grace is at most gigs (probably not 18ths) you can dip into 5-6 decades of older music to bolster up the new stuff. Works quite well if you read my reviews. Hmm... my heads aching. it must be getting too big again. Well I AM a DJ aren't I?

    I must just add that there are exeptions to the blandness of course. Some originality is allowed through from artists that don't sound like they're on prozac. Check out Disclosure for some of those juicy chords I mentioned earlier. And thankfully, some decent dance music is still making it through to mainsteam. I won't mention who. you know who they are. Then there non dance are artists like Adele, who can put some juice into their material even now and still get a recording deal. You'd think more labels would realise how well good songs sell wouldn't you? Shortage of Adele standard artists? Never! lazy or non existant A & R? Damn sure.

    finally for those that want to hear it and how Auto-tune can be used in an artistic way Here is the link to that radio 4 program

    Well I don't expect everyone to agree with me. Music is very subjective after all, but I'm just saying what I see. I'm not an old fuddy duddy either. Anything but. I'm looking at it from the point of view of an artistic person who is ever hopeful of new and fresh sounds. I hope that comes through in the above.

    Have a good one,


  2. Hey there people! It's Christmas!!!! well Almost. Busy sesaon this year. Busiest ever I'm glad to say. Saw a headline on the front of the sun paper the other day as I went into a garage to pay my weekly mortgage for diesel: "Cold snap" or some such thing. basically they're predicting a white Chistmas (Remember that saying in the 90's: "it must be true - I read it in the Sun"). Yay! Oh hang on...I've got to get to all those gigs....Well I still recall the feeling of coming back from a gig in Chichester on Christmas Eve a few years ago with the A27 (UK South coast east to west Main route) covered in snow at 2am in the morning and the wonderful quietness of the journey, as I padded over it and home for Christmas day. I don't think I've felt that festive since i was knee high to a JLS doll. I recall looking out of the window of the hotel and saying to the punters: "Hey its snowing!"and seeing them run like school children over to the window! Ha ha! Still makes me smile.....

    Well, I've just finished downloading the last songs before the big season starts. So many processes to get your songs sounding perfect. Normalising the volume to a set level. Analysing the Beats per minute, key signiture, Adding a second file format for my other DJ software, Putting it on a flash drive. Loading it up onto the two main console drives, re-analysing the key for console search, and finally posting the updated website song catalogue. And you think this job is easy? Pah! So much back office work, you wouldn't believe it! Sometimes I think it helps to be single in this job, as there's so much time spent behind a desk of some sort.


    Some interesting Songs out at the moment. My tip for the number one at Christmas? well this one has to be in with a chance, all be it adult themed (what isnt these days?)

    Different, Soulful, Slow, romantic. You never know.

    Ok, enjoy your company party and remember: if you get taken out on a stretcher; don't get carried away!


    Have a good one!


    Hi all. Well after going away to do voluntary work late last summer (never to be repeated) the resultant lack of bookings combined with a real all round lull in everyone's bookings this year has meant that this summer has been the quietest ever!

    Having several weekends off has been quite a novelty and has helped me slightly with my house hunting, not to mention my love life!

    Now I know how most of you folks out there manage to make it all work. Still, I and others have been going too long between gigs and this can lead to forgetting at least some of what songs you've got. Not the most optimum state to be in!

    So with this in mind I need all of you to flood me with bookings now since according to the media, we are now in a recovery and hoarding your cash won't help the situation improve. Come on now, you know you want to do your bit!

    Good news is, it enabled me to comfortably do the illuminations this year for charity in Bognor Regis. I've filmed this event before, but this I have to admit is the first time I've DJ'd on a moving stage ie: a forty foot trailor. It wasn't too bad, but could have been better say about three years ago or more. Why? well three years or more ago HGV's didn't have so many automatic gear boxes. As a qualified HGV and sometimes temp driver myself I can inform you that usually when driving one of these trucks you press the pedal to the floor and around 2.5 seconds later you get a response. Usually a lurch forward unless you have exceptional experience of the vehicles charactoristics, which the driver on the night alas didn't. Not to take anything away from him, he did his best, but he wasn't the regular driver so there cosequently were a fair number of lurches as we went through the town centre. This made for an interesting gig I have to say since there is nothing quite like trying to mix tracks when your decks are a moving target in more ways than the usual circular motion that every turntable-ist is familiar with. I had to give up pretty quickly and use the laptop on autopilot. A shame as it's not quite so visual, but when you're trying to hang onto your PA system (which I found surprisingly hard to strap down due to the shape of it in relation to the position of the trailor anchor points) and stop it from doing the highland fling....well compromises must be made! I got Dee to film it on my HD phone but forgot to tell her that if she held it perpendicular to the target we'd get sideways video. My fault entirely. So I had limited footage to edit after the event. On the up side, those of you who have a short attention span will love it! Have a look here:

    However, that being said, we won first prize! after winning at last month's pub quiz with my new girlfriend and team, I've got to say this summer's not been without it's high points.

    Also as I type this, my site is being updated, so expect a slightly snazzier look soon. I built this site entirely myself and I'll be sad to see it go, but of course you don't move with the times by staying still so I've got a man in now who's already proved his worth in other areas of website promotion. It feels good to hand some of this work over after all these years of doing it myself, since it can suck your entire life away without too much thought...

    Bookings for 2014 are starting to come in now, so please feel free to reserve your spot before it goes bye bye..

    talking of which,

    See you next time.

    As is tradition, here's some comedy from Jimmy Carr: Warning: Absolute filth and bad language!