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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.

Later Ctrl + ↑

DJ collection cleanup

I made a big thing: I cleaned up my music collection, reducing the number of tracks from 11084 to 7559. Minus three and a half thousand tracks and about two hundred gigabytes. Some tracks I moved to some remote storage, and some tracks I deleted completely. This is the most ruthless music cleanup I’ve ever done.

The point is simple: to have in my media library only those tracks that I can and want to potentially play at gigs or at least on a podcast. All the tracks that I haven’t played once in years (and some I haven’t even really listened to) or that stopped resonating with me have gone down the drain. It seems logical that this is the only way it should be, but when you have been actively searching for new music everyday for over a decade, then as time passes, you inevitably end up with some morally outdated and non-working tracks in your collection.

The whole process took me almost two months. Phew!

 No comments    105   3 mo   DJing

The truth about music sales (video)

A career as a producer seems very attractive: you release a track → it hits the Beatport charts and big playlists on Spotify → that’s it, you’re a superstar. At least the combination of the non-transparent nature of the music industry and the social media exposure of other artists’ success can create exactly that kind of expectation.

But what does releasing music really do? How much income can be earned from a track on a large curated playlist? What should one expect, including financially, when signing a release on a label?

All of this I’m talking about in a new video on my YouTube channel:

P.S. This is the video version of my advice written in 2016. If you prefer text over video, read the article: the details are slightly different, but the main message is the same.

DJ set from Skazka Festival @ Outdoor, 13.08.2022

My DJ set, recorded at the summer outdoor edition of Skazka Festival, is now available for listening.

The set has a slow-paced and trippy start, a groovy and melodic second half, and at the very end a track by Luttrell which worked perfectly for the beautiful dawn in the morning forest.

Enjoy!

0:00:00 Eric Sneo — From Place To Place (Original Mix) Tronic
0:01:11 John 00 Fleming — Chemical Equilibrium (Original Mix) JOOF Aura
0:06:44 Nicole Moudaber — Old Soul ‘Young But Not New’ (Original Mix) Intec
0:11:46 Max Graham — Redemption (Original Mix) Cycles
0:14:18 Gregor Tresher, Pig&Dan — Granular (Original Mix) Truesoul
0:18:18 Eric Sneo — Go (Original Mix) Beatdisaster
0:21:40 John 00 Fleming — The Beast From The East (The Darkside) JOOF Recordings
0:30:14 Dualitik — Xtrem (Joe Mesmar Remix) Minds Of Sin Records
0:32:14 Chus & Ceballos, Richie Santana — Low Frequencies (Drunken Kong Remix) Stereo Productions
0:36:01 Pig&Dan — Trauma (Original Mix) Cocoon Recordings
0:41:14 Drunken Kong, Teenage Mutants — Tokyo (Original Mix) Tronic
0:46:12 D&D, Kalden Bess — Heighten Altitude (DJ Jock Remix) Ground Factory Records
0:49:21 Matt Minimal — Krank 13 (Skober Remix) Yellow Recordings
0:53:04 Coredata — Petrichor (Dulcet Remix) JOOF Recordings
0:58:32 Oscar L — Under My Skin (Original Mix) Truesoul
1:02:43 Marco Bailey — Kanai (Original Mix) Cocoon Recordings
1:06:54 Skober — Give And Take (Medhat & Dekkstrum Remix) Electrovino Records
1:11:26 Paride Saraceni — Cold Summer (Original Mix) Truesoul
1:14:56 Andressa Parra, Nuta Cookier — The Ocean (Axel Karakasis Remix) Future Scope Recordings
1:20:29 Timmo — Canvas (Original Mix) Drumcode
1:24:03 Luttrell — Snoop Dawk (Extended Mix) Anjunadeep

I’m starting a new video series!

I have a short but exciting announcement today: I’m starting a video blog!

The plan is the following: every two weeks or so I will record videos with my thoughts and advice on DJing, production, labels, and other topics related to music and beyond. It’s like advice series but in video format. It aims toward DJs and producers mainly, although it might be interesting for regular listeners and everyone who enjoys electronic dance music in general as well, you know, like behind the scenes.

I will be uploading these videos on YouTube, so the key message of this post is to subscribe to my channel, and there will be some useful content soon.

Here’s a teaser:

Yes, the videos will be in English. To be honest, my English is not so good, but I want the videos to be helpful to a wider audience. YouTube is pretty good at translating subtitles, so you can watch it even if you don’t know English.

In general, I usually pay a lot of attention to the quality: how the picture looks, how you can hear the audio, what’s in the frame, what’s with my facial expression, and, of course, what accent I pronounce it all. Some of you may even remember my first attempt at a video blog in 2017, but back then it was too big of a challenge for a perfectionist introvert person like me. I mean, the idea of a video blog is not new to me, but there was no way to turn it into action. And now I realized that I just need to start doing it anyway: sometimes something that is not so perfect is better than nothing.

Anyway, please subscribe to the channel, hit the notification bell, and all that. I’ll be glad to have your support.

P.S. Those who are supporting me on Patreon will be able to watch my videos one week before the general audience on YouTube.

 No comments    108   3 mo   Advice video series   Patreon   YouTube

Patreon tiers and rewards update!

First of all, I want to thank everyone who still supports me on Patreon despite the fact I haven’t posted much lately. It’s pretty tough times so I appreciate your support more than ever. Thank you.

Now I’m coming back, and so is my regular podcast and all-new video format (which I’ll talk more about very soon), so I’ve decided to update the tiers and rewards to offer you some more.

So here is what’s new:

All tiers

  • Now you can listen to new Rave Podcast episodes one week before the premiere on Digitally Imported radio. And just as before, this version of the podcast has no audio jingles, no voiceovers, and has a better quality compared to SoundCloud.

Middle tier

  • Same as with the podcast, you can watch my YouTube videos one week before the premiere. Also, the videos themselves are slightly different than on YouTube, straight to the point without the intros and call to action.
  • You can now download all of my DJ sets and studio mixes that I have ever recorded, including many that I haven’t shared anywhere else. That is more than 70 mixes in high-quality MP3 files that you can listen to anywhere (great for listening offline, on a car etc.)
  • I want to create a chatroom we can share music and discuss things. This will unlocks once we reach 50 active patrons.
  • The price of this tier has gone up a little bit from $5 to $6.

Top tier

  • You can download my entire discography, including early unreleased tracks from the 2000s :-)
  • In addition to everything above, you can now add your suggestions on what topics you would like me to talk about in the next videos, and even suggest some tracks for the podcast. Impact the community!
  • The price of this tier has gone down significantly from $20 to $12, and I’ve also removed the limitation of just two slots as it was before.

Feel free to see all changes and compare the full rewards list at a glance. You can also make a custom pledge if you want to support me for a different amount, you can find that option at the bottom of this page.

Let me know what you think about the changes!

 No comments    97   3 mo   Patreon

Rave Podcast is coming back in September!

My monthly radio show Rave Podcast has been on hold since February 2022. That break was necessary for me to breathe, go through some internal processes, and adapt to the new reality that we live in now. Thank you for your patience and for still being with me.

Now I realize it’s time for me to move on, and the show must go on.

So the usual place, the usual time: second Friday of a month on Digitally Imported radio and all other platforms. See you on September 9th :-)

 No comments    105   4 mo   Rave Podcast

How to record a DJ set with crowd noise

Recording one of my DJ sets on that tiny little box. Photo © Schneider Family

During my shows, I try to record my sets so I can listen to them later. It’s also great content that’s nice to share.

But I especially like it when the music is supported by the crowd cheering from the dancefloor: it gives a much better sense that it’s actually a real live recording and not just another studio mix. Just to give you an example, listen to my set from Skazka Rave to see what I mean.

Here is how I do it.

The recorder

Just recording a set is usually not a problem: some models of DJ equipment have this feature built-in, and if you play with software like Rekordbox or Traktor, it is even a matter of pressing a button. However, to record a set with crowd noise, you’ll need a special device – an external recorder.

Tascam DR-40X recorder, Joby GorillaPod and 2×RCA-2×Jack cable

I use the Tascam DR-40X. It’s a four-channel recorder, in other words with two pairs of stereo channels: one pair of channels records clean audio directly from the DJ mixer through the line input, and the second pair records the dance floor sounds through the built-in microphones.

The recorder uses an SD card as the media. I bought a SanDisk Ultra with 80MB/s and 16GB capacity, and it’s enough to record about ten hours of audio. It powers from AA batteries, as well as via micro-USB. There is a 1/4” screw jack on the bottom, so you can put the recorder on a tripod.

Connectivity

The recorder is connected to the mixer this way: from the mixer via Rec Out or Master 2 using RCA connectors, to the recorder via Line In using XLR or 1/4-inch jack connectors. A cable like this would work, for example.

Schematic connection of the recorder to the mixer, scale is approximate

The main difference between the Rec Out and Master 2 outputs is that Rec Out ignores volume changes on the mixer’s master channel. It means that if you change the master volume during the set (I usually do not advise to do so, but sometimes you need to), it will not affect the recording in any way: the audio will remain even, without volume dips. Therefore, if possible, it is better to use Rec Out.

Settings

This recorder has a hundred different settings, but in this context, only three are important: the selection of an external source, the type of recording mode, and the volume level adjustment.

The external source is switched on the side using the slider: Ext In → Line. This way the recorder will know that the incoming signal is line level (and the output from the DJ mixer is exactly that), so no distortion will occur.

The recording mode is selected by a dedicated button of the same name: Rec Mode → 4CH. In our case, we need to use all four channels, as I explained above, so we select 4CH. The corresponding indicator to the left should light up.

The volume level is adjusted in the main menu: Menu → Rec Settings → Level: -48dB. This means that the incoming signal will be recorded very quietly, but this is not a problem since we can increase the volume afterward during processing. This way it is guaranteed that there will be no clipping and the recording will be clean.

Obviously, if you have a different recorder, these settings may be somewhere else, have some other name or be not present at all. But you need all three for quality set recording, which is why I chose the Tascam DR-40X.

Processing

After the recording, there will be two audio files on the SD card: the first is a clean recording from the mixer, and the second is a recording of the dancefloor from the microphone.

It’s worth understanding that the microphone can’t record people’s screaming only, instead it records everything, including music from the dancefloor usually with overloaded low frequencies. So don’t be surprised if you hear a muffled “boomy” audio in this file, it’s okay.

Then it’s just a matter of increasing the volume of the mixer recording (since we recorded it at -48dB), lowering the volume of the microphone recording, removing unnecessary low frequencies with a filter, and stacking the two audio tracks. All this I do in Ableton Live.

Processing and mixing in Ableton Live

Here’s how these audio tracks sound individually and together:

Well, and that’s about it. From there just hit export and upload it to Soundcloud to make your fans happy :-)

 No comments    285   4 mo   Advice   Behind the scenes   DJing

Open To Close 2022

🇷🇺 Moscow, October 1, 2022

This fall I’ll turn 35, and it will also be my 10-year anniversary since the beginning of my musical career. So I thought the best way to celebrate these two events would be to come together and dance heartily to our favourite grooves. Of course, with me as DJ for the whole night!

Open To Close is my personal favourite type of DJ sets. First of all, it’s unusual: not many DJs play six-hour sets. Secondly, here the DJ is not limited by anything but his own music collection. Thirdly, it creates a completely indescribable vibe during such a set: just look at what a blast it was at Open To Close in 2020 and 2019! (There was no event in 2021 because of the covid lockdowns, so this year we’re having double the fun.)

Speaking of vibe: this time the promoter and I decided to put the DJ table and equipment right in the middle of the dance floor, like in the best traditions of the legendary Boiler Room series. This means that not only we will be experiencing emotions from the music together, but we’ll be literally on the dancefloor together rocking side by side all night long. Particularly curious ones will be able to peep what exactly I do behind the equipment :-) See what it could look like, only on a more chamber scale though. Despite the fact that I am a hardened introvert, I found this idea very exciting, so I accepted the challenge.

We’ve made a special event page at raveppl.ru where you can find music examples of what you can expect from me on this night, as well as other useful information, so please be sure to listen and read.

October 1, Moscow, Gorod Club, 6-hour Open To Close set. Limited edition of early birds tickets is available now:

Summer Skazka Festival 2022

🇷🇺 August 11–14, 2022

I’m happy to announce that I will be performing at Skazka Festival in August. In case you don’t know, it’s one of the best summer festivals with underground electronic music, a variety of music stages and a wonderful community.

Check out and listen to the pictures and DJ sets from my past gigs at Winter Skazka, it’s a blast. I’m sure this time will be great, too. I look forward to seeing everyone.

Official website of the event with details and tickets: skazkafestival.ru.

A hint

A screenshot of my Spotify playlists contains a hint of this year’s plans. Watch this space 👀🤫

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© Daniel Sokolovskiy, 2022
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