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On the career of an underground DJ and producer, music industry, and professional growth.

advice series  DJing  production  marketing  releases  podcast  gigs  behind the scenes  tools  and more topics

Follow me on social media

Facebook is my main news hub where I share upcoming releases, gigs, photos, videos, and blogs. Typically, I post 3–5 times a week.

Telegram and Twitter duplicate what I post on Facebook, with occasional extra content.

On Vkontakte, I write in the Russian language for my fans out of from Russia and CIS.

I also upload vlogs and gigs videos on YouTube and share travel photos, selfies, and studio routine on Instagram.

Rave Podcast 127

The July edition of the podcast is already available on Soundcloud, iTunes, YouTube, Spotify and Patreon.

There is a lot of melodics, driving basslines, atmospheric techno trance, as well as a few unreleased tracks, among the others.

Tracklist:

00:00 Quivver — I’m Bob (Original Mix) Bedrock Records
04:51 F-Act — Access All Areas (Original Mix) JOOF Aura
09:26 John 00 Fleming — Spirit Awakening (Fuenka Remix) JOOF Recordings
13:15 Rick Pier O’Neil — Onix Beat (Part 1) Suffused Music
16:48 Facade — Razor Crest (Original Mix) Forescape Digital
22:29 Chris Oblivion, Robert Vadney — Lost Language (Stripped Mix) JOOF Recordings
26:28 Heerhorst — Rave Factor (Original Mix) Codex Recordings
30:33 Layton Giordani — Feel A Vibe (Original Mix) Drumcode
33:59 Jay Lumen — Contact (Original Mix) Octopus Records
39:22 The Archer — Lonely Dream (Drunken Kong Remix) There Is A Light
44:45 Alex Stein — Rise (Original Mix) Terminal M
47:59 Alex Stein — The Phoenix (Original Mix) Terminal M
52:36 Setaoc Mass — Exrela (Original Mix) SK Eleven
54:46 Airod, Amelie Lens — Escape (Original Mix) Lenske
56:21 Interactive — The Techno Wave (Sisko Electrofanatik 2020 Remix) Studio3000 Records
58:43 Eric Sneo, Virgil Enzinger — Metric (Original Mix) Patterns

Rave Podcast 126

June 2021

The June edition of the podcast is already available on Soundcloud, iTunes, YouTube, Spotify and Patreon.

If the previous episode was pretty dark and hypnotic, this one is the exact opposite: mostly melodic and groovy with tech-house and an oldschool vibe at the end. Enjoy!

Tracklist:

00:00 Quivver — That Is Correct (Original Mix) Sudbeat Music
05:11 Max Freegrant, Ivan Aliaga — The Space Girl (Original Mix) Freegrant Music
08:51 Basil O’Glue — A Forest Fable (Slavlotski Remix) Forescape Digital
12:09 Sinan Celik — Dance Of The Dark (Original Mix) Set About
15:19 Transcode — Inception (Original Mix) Terminal M
20:05 The Advent, Industrialyzer — Up Close (Original Mix) CodeWorks
22:35 Ronnie Spiteri — Reactive (Original Mix) Tronic
26:04 Pagano — Desire (Original Mix) Tronic
30:03 Transcode — Downfall (Original Mix) Terminal M
33:17 Emmanuel Top — Acid Phase (Timmo Rework) Not On Label
36:16 Dok & Martin — Temptation (Original Mix) We Are The Brave
41:12 Ronnie Spiteri — What You Got For Me (Original Mix) Tronic
45:22 2nd Phase — Agenda 21 (Dualitik & Pedro Delgardo Remix) Techburst Records
49:17 Stu McNally — Namarunu (Original Mix) Forescape Digital
52:01 Gaetano Parisio — Outset (Deetron Remix) Conform Records
54:53 Keith Carnal — Endless (Original Mix) Second Degree
57:02 Probspot — 1997 (Original Mix) Lost Language

Working on a course

When things are pretty quiet here, it may seem that nothing happens from my end, but it’s actually the opposite.

Those who have been following me for a while know that I’m passionate not only about music but also about education in the music industry and my blog with over a hundred articles is a testament to this.

Now I’m working on a full-fledged training course for DJs and producers. There won’t be recipes for quick success, promises of world fame after the first release, or abstractions from theorists. Instead, it will be a consistent system of learning and practical advice from personal experience.

I can’t tell you yet when the course will be available, but if you’re interested — leave your email and I’ll let you know when it launches: dsokolovskiy.com/education/.

 No comments    128   2 mo   Courses   Photo

Rave Podcast 125

May 2021

The May edition of the podcast is already available on Soundcloud, iTunes, YouTube, Spotify and Patreon.

This episode is groovy, hypnotic in places, and very fast towards the end. It’s been a while since I’ve played tracks with a tempo over 140 BPM, so if you been waiting for such a powerful mix, this is the one for you.

Tracklist:

00:00 Elfsong — Tesseract (Christopher Vassilakis Remix) Saturate Audio
05:17 Hackler & Kuch — Duck & Cover (Original Mix) The Zone Records
09:00 Klaudia Gawlas, Linus Quick — Brain Drain (Original Mix) Masters Of Disaster
11:27 Linus Quick, Pappenheimer — Soundcheck (Original Mix) Italo Business
15:24 Slavlotski — Terminate (Original Mix) Forescape Digital
20:18 Miniminds — Outlaw (Original Mix) Harthouse
24:13 Jan Fleck — Ronin (Original Mix) Black Circus
27:52 Filterheadz, Atroxx — Black Box (Original Mix) Unrilis
31:56 Shaun Mauren — The Right Time (Original Mix) Distorted Audio Records
36:00 Marco Bailey — Scorpia (Obscure Shape & Shdw Remix) Suara Records
37:28 NTBR — Warped Sense (Original Mix) SBMRN Records
40:38 Narciss — Fuel To The Fire (Original Mix) 10 Pills Mate
45:06 Pablo Gargano — Tension (Original Mix) Technosis
47:34 Narciss — Fragments Of A Language Of Love (Original Mix) Lobster Theremin
52:15 Grindvik, Sylvie Maziarz — Circles (Original Mix) Second State
53:36 Jorg — Facing The Truth (Original Mix) Jahanam
57:09 Fractions — What Doesn’t Kill Me (Original Mix) TBA
 No comments    154   2 mo   Rave Podcast   Tech House   Techno   Trance

The Guest Mix @ Amplify Sessions

Kev from Amplify Events asked me to do a guest mix, and I delivered this dark, trippy, and pounding mix.

This guest mix is quite special, with a strong theme running through. You know, that feeling when you look at the person dancing next to you, you smile, and then that person smiles you back without saying a word. That moment you realise why you love the music and the club nights like this, and you just lose yourself in this euphoria under the strobe lights and a hard pounding kick. That’s what I had in my mind when mixing it.

To be honest, the tracklist below can’t event reflect everything because there are just so many things going on constantly, sometimes 3-4 tracks playing at the same time, with extra loops, synths; around 30 tracks played in total I guess. It a bit crazy, but I absolutely enjoyed doing this mix.

Let me know what do you think of this mix?

00:00 Kerry Leva, Matt Lange — In Me (Original Mix) mau5trap
05:21 Gregor Tresher, Pig&Dan — Granular (Original Mix) Truesoul
09:23 Ronny Vergara — Emancipation (Original Mix) Elektrax Recordings
12:53 Rick Pier O’Neil — Swim Deep (Original Mix) Bonzai
17:21 Roberto Capuano — Wilford (Original Mix) Drumcode
19:04 Radu Dracul — Came Out Of You (Original Mix) Tronic
23:26 Luminesce, Miika Kuisma — Wave Of Life (Mark Greene Remix) JOOF Recordings
26:34 Timewave — Overdrive (Shaun Mauren Remix) JOOF Recordings
29:14 Wehbba — Framework (Original Mix) Drumcode
31:25 Hermann Hesse — All About Your Mind (Original Mix) Renesanz
35:45 Coyu — Desert Seas (Original Mix) Suara Records
37:41 Trudge — Страсть (Original Mix) 100 Pills Mate
41:03 John 00 Fleming — Tik Tok (Part 2) JOOF Recordings
44:11 A-Brothers — Against Nuclear Power (Original Mix) Elektrax Music
46:21 Cetera — Bacon & Chips (Roby M Rage Remix) JOOF Recordings
51:34 Anne Clark — Our Darkness (Charly Schaller Edit) The Techno’s Children
56:03 Chris Liberator, Dave The Drummer — Twinkle Toes (Original Mix) Hydraulix

Music listening routine

Tell me how you organize the process of listening to music: demos coming to the label and just new releases in different genres. Do you listen on the speakers or on headphones? Do you multitask it with other things (like replying to emails and do social media stuff)? Do people around you complain about the constant “boom-boom”? How do you manage to stay focused on the music to listen to all the tracks thoroughly?

Nikolay Glazyrin

Thanks for asking. I honestly don’t know how it could be helpful to anyone, but I’d be happy to share.

Listening to demo recordings

First let me tell you about the demos. The demos come in an endless stream of about 30 to 100 emails a week to the label. To reply to all of them at once as they appear in the inbox means to be constantly distracted and waste attention, and I try to work in a concentrated way. Moreover, some tracks are so bad, that I can’t listen to them just in the background :-) That’s why for some time I put emails into a special pile and then answer them all at once – it’s more productive that way.

Read about A&R duties

Speaking of email, I use HEY. There you can literally click Reply Later on emails, and then respond to them all at once in  “Focus & Reply” mode. It really helps. HEY is cool in general, maybe I’ll tell you more about it later.

Listening to music

Now about listening to music in general. I have two listening modes, as I call them: passive and active.

Passive mode is when I just listen to music in the background, doing my own thing. I used to listen to Soundcloud, Apple podcasts, radio stations, and YouTube, but now 95% of my background listening happens in Spotify because everything is more convenient and there’s a better chance of finding something good.

Usually, I turn on some suggested playlist in Spotify or a “Song radio” based on a track I like and go about my business in comfort. I don’t concentrate on the music in any special way, which is exactly why I call this kind of listening mode “passive” – something is playing, and that’s fine.

As soon as I notice something cool playing, I press ⌥+space and <3 – this is the system-wide shortcut I made to automatically “like” tracks, i.e. to save them in my collection. And then it’s also broadcast to the Telegram channel. It’s faster than switching between applications and clicking on the tiny “heart” next to the name of the track.

A heart, kind of. Alfred app

The automation is set up with Alfred app and the Spotify Mini Player script. Alfred is cool, maybe someday I’ll tell you about it too.

This way I listen to music for about ten hours a day, so I happen to find quite a lot of interesting stuff. I usually play background music through my speakers.

Of course, not all music suits the background, especially if you need to work thoughtfully: for example, I find it hard to do with hard techno, but I’m fine with progressive house or chillout.

Active mode is when I’m purposefully looking for something: a track with the right tempo and key, a new release from a particular artist or other releases from a particular label. It’s important to hear the details, so I often listen with headphones when I’m actively searching.

I used to use the Beatport Pro desktop app for this, but since the beginning of 2021, it has been discontinued. Now I use the Beatport website, even though it is much slower and more limited than the app, plus old-good Spotify.

I only need to listen to a track for about five seconds to know if it’s a good fit. This is a very highly concentrated listening mode in terms of the amount of new musical information per unit of time, so I can’t listen like that for a long time – two or three hours at the most. It’s important to take breaks, otherwise, my ears get soaked and I might miss something interesting. During the breaks, I either go back to background listening or get away from the computer altogether and switch to something else: running (also with music, of course), eating or sleeping.

Luckily, I don’t cause any trouble for the surrounding people, not anymore :-)

A new studio!

Fellow readers, where and how do you listen to music?

 No comments    197   3 mo   A&R   Advice   Productivity   Tools

Goal matters. Understanding why are you making music is important

When people ask me how to start making music, I answer with a counter-question: “Why do you want to do that? What is your goal?”.

The answers vary, but more often than not they can be divided into two groups: to make music “for myself” (just for fun, to show my friends etc) and “for a career” (to turn music into a profession, to make a living on it).

It would seem, what is the difference? Here some dude does something at the computer, press buttons and spin knobs. Why anyone should be bothered with this goal question?

But there is a big difference.

Imagine that you like to cook food. You haven’t had any special training, but you love to eat good food and treat your loved ones. You can make ratatouille, chilli con carne, or pad Thai. Or you can not cook anything if there is no necessary products or you just feel lazy today, and just order a pizza. In this sense, you have complete freedom, and your loved ones are likely to enjoy whatever you cook.

It is quite another story if you are a chef. Before you get a job, you have to learn culinary science, the basics of food chemistry, food processing, stock management, delivery, and much more. While cooking, it’s also important to follow the recipe, keep the yield of the product, and watch the serving, because the restaurant has certain standards and the customers have expectations. About fourteen years ago I was thinking about a career as a chef, so I know a little bit about it.

Well, in music, it’s the same.

Making music “for yourself” means being like a free painter: if you want to write it, you write it, if you don’t want to write it, you don’t write it. If you want to write something super unusual, even if it seems like bullshit to others, no problem, you can always say that it was “the author’s idea”. There are no standards. There is no external deadline. In short, do whatever you want.

On music standards

It’s quite different if you aim to be a professional producer. You need to know the production, sound design, acoustics, arrangements, composition, mixing – and that’s just the basics to make a high-quality track. Then there is more: you need to know the industry, know how to market yourself, bring the music to the audience, negotiate, plan the budget, understand the contracts, organize yourself, play DJ-sets and do many, many more things. After years in my music career, I know a little bit about that.

To summarize, to do something professionally, you have to know more related disciplines, understand the market, and work hard. A lot. And if you generalize even more, for a hobby the process is important, while for a profession the result is important. I think that’s the main difference.

In a hobby it’s the process, in a profession it’s the result

I want to end with an important point: You don’t have to become a professional. Don’t have to build a career. Cooking a meal for loved ones, or making music for yourself is fine. If you enjoy the process, just enjoy it.

 No comments    163   3 mo   Advice   Career   Music production

Distributed income

Cancelled gigs and plans, closed clubs and country borders. Thousands of DJs and producers have lost their jobs. Of course, the coronavirus pandemic has affected all areas of our lives, but I would like to talk specifically about the music industry and the income of artists in particular.

Almost all artists strive for a busy touring schedule. And that’s not surprising, since the main income for artists comes from performances. But here’s the problem: if you put all your resources into one single source of income, you become very vulnerable. The artist had ten confirmed performances, and then, boom, they’re gone. The situation with closed clubs and cancelled airlines seems like something from a science fiction area, and yet it’s happening all over the world right now.

It seems that the main lesson for artists should be the saying “don’t put all eggs in one basket” and striving for a distributed income structure. Ideally, there should be three or five sources of income that generate roughly equal shares.

No Yes
Gigs fee — 90% Gigs fee — 30%
Streaming royalties — 10% Streaming royalties — 20%
  Educational products — 20%
  Soundtracks for films and commercials — 10%
  Mastering services — 10%
  Web graphic services — 10%

The structure in the right column is not ideal either and here just for the illustration, but the main thing it provides is an active reserve and the ability to pay the bills, even when the main source of income is lacking, like many artists all over the world sadly experiencing now. For example, months with no gigs (which by the way can happen even without any coronaviruses) is no big deal if other sources of income can generate 70% of your regular income), so you can pay the bills and use this time to focus on other projects.

In my educational talk back in 2017, I advised aspiring producers to have a financial backup and not be in a hurry to quit their day job. The combination of regular work and music is an example of a distributed income structure.

I don’t have a recipe or advice on how to come to a distributed income, but it seems like a good idea to start by understanding the importance of the concept itself. And, of course, this does not apply only to the music industry.

 No comments    129   3 mo   Career   Money   Music industry

Dark Entity is out now

A collaboration with Enlusion

Today my new single is released on Forescape Digital, a collaboration with Enlusion called Dark Entity. It’s a 130 BPM banger, which has already proven itself in my DJ sets. Be sure to read behind the scenes of the creation process if you missed it.

The release also includes the alternative “Heads-down” version and three remixes from the coolest guys: Fuenka, Facade, and Cosmithex.

Preview:

Rave Podcast 124

April 2021

The April edition of the podcast is already available on Soundcloud, iTunes, YouTube, Spotify and Patreon.

It’s a quite diverse episode, with progressive house, tech house, trance and techno. As a DJ it’s very interesting for me to put together such mixes with a smooth progression and “narration”, I hope it’s also interesting for you to listen to.

And also in this episode premiered an alternative version of my new track, which we made together with Kirill Enlusion, be sure to read about how we made it.

Tracklisting:

00:00 Planisphere — Spectrazoidesign (Original Mix) Green Martian
04:38 Michael & Levan, Stiven Rivic — The Only Way (Rich Curtis Microwave-Safe Remix) Mistique Music
08:14 Dosem — All Locations (Original Mix) Anjunadeep
11:49 Sasha Carassi — Drop Of Soul (Original Mix) Phobiq
14:37 Tkno — Nameless Point (Original Mix) Selected Records
17:40 Matt Lange — Tempi Disarming (Original Mix) mau5trap
21:12 Jel Ford — Backyard (Original Mix) Drumcode
24:58 Fuenka, Paul Thomas — Yang (Extended Mix) FSOE UV
29:13 Cosmic Boys — Justice (Original Mix) Legend
32:58 Drunken Kong — Dark Moon (Original Mix) Terminal M
37:13 Layton Giordani — System Majority (Original Mix) Drumcode
41:28 Relaunch — Air (Original Mix) Bonzai
45:28 Mat Zo — Petrushka (Extended Mix) Anjunabeats
48:28 Gabriel D’Or & Bordoy — Magnitude (Original Mix) AnalyticTrail
50:43 Spektre, Subfractal — Ram Raid (Sasha Carassi Remix) Respekt Recordings
53:42 Daniel Lesden, Enlusion — Dark Entity (Heads-down Mix) Forescape Digital
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