Individual Projects

MD4220 - The Music Business, Semester 2, Year 1

Forming Down Not Out – I decided to form a cover band in 2018 under the name “New Kinda Tension” with Ryan Stewart as the drummer and myself on rhythm guitar with two other members. It was a band to cover pop-punk bands such as Green Day, All Time Low and Fall Out Boy. Our original lineup gradually changed due to commitment issues and I took Jo Oliver on temporarily as a stand in whilst we found a new member. The whole band ended up with such chemistry that we stayed together permanently which lead to us writing and playing our own songs which then lead to us changing our name to Down Not Out. We then rearranged members and had a switch around so that Jo took over lead guitar which she had never done before, however, Jo and I have always played guitar well together so this change worked well for us, shortly after James Maxwell joined the band as our bass player. In December of 2019 both the band and James mutually agreed that he would leave and in January we took on our newest member of the band Amy Penny who has been with us since. I believe we now have the strongest line up we have had so far when it comes to goals as we’re all driven to wanting the same thing.

Playing Instruments –  the first instrument I began playing was the drums. I was doing this for fun from around the age of 11 and then I got properly in to it at the age of 15 when my dad brought me an electric drum kit. I was completely self-taught and used to play drum covers before joining my first band as their drummer, I remained in this band for just over a year before leaving when I joined sixth form. Although I have continued to play drums throughout the years I have become more proficient across other instruments and so started to play drums less.

From here I moved on to bass guitar at the age of 17 and took a few pointers from Jo as we met in sixth form and Jo could already play bass. It was here that Jo and I formed our first band with a fellow classmate and began performing music together in school shows and events under the name “The Full Moon Theory” this continued throughout sixth form however never became a serious venture for us. Around six months after learning how to play bass guitar I made the transition to acoustic and electric guitar and I found myself picking this up the fastest of all the instruments I have learnt. I was self-taught across all instruments and I have always been fast at learning patterns which made guitar easier.  Since starting guitar in 2012 this has been my main instrument since and I have been working on progressing my skill level on this over the last 8 years. I have been posting guitar covers on my YouTube channel throughout the last 5 years and recently began posting small clips such as guitar solos and parts of covers on my Instagram page.

Recording Instruments – I began gaining experience with recording studios in 2012 with our recording studio in sixth form, whilst in sixth form I recorded drums, vocals, podcasts and guitars along with a wide range of other instruments. After joining university in 2019 I’ve since had experience with recording with a range of different mics across all three categories of dynamic, condenser and ribbon, I’ve also used USB microphones for streaming and home recording. I’ve recorded two full band covers in university which consisted of guitars, vocals, drums and bass and I want to progress further with recording over my next remaining years of university.

Projects with Down Not Out

MD4220 - The Music Business, Semester 2, Year 1

EP – Down Not Out released a debut EP with the original lineup of the band – we began recording in July of 2019, This was recorded with a company called Sound Shack Studios in Cheltenham and distributed through Cygnus Music. The line up at the time consisted of Jo Oliver [lead vocals and lead guitar], myself, Charlotte Lewis [rhythm guitar], Ryan Stewart [drums and backing vocals] and James Maxwell [bass guitar]. This EP was released in November of 2019 across all major streaming sites as well as physical copies, we did a limited version of these as signed and each physical EP is printed with a doughnut on it.

Merch – When we first started out we decided to create some merchandise, this started with our original print logo, we later began developing these in to different designs. I had the idea of creating a dinosaur logo as a pun with our name ‘dinot out’ and we have future designs to release as well as looking at other designs aside from t-shirts and stickers such as caps and we want to do retro designs such as pogs alongside more up to date merchandise such as pop sockets and caps etc..

Livestreams and Vlogs – I created a Twitch channel for Down Not Out in order to stream games to our social media as well as playing with friends and fans trying to get people involved. It is mostly Ryan and myself who stream games such as Dead by Daylight with a few friends but recently we’ve been trying to play full games with the band and get fans involved. Whilst in isolation we all also collectively came up with the idea to begin doing vlogs called “DNO isolation diaries” each week we speak about what we can do a video about and record it through zoom. We give fans the option to suggest topic for us to discuss or do. We want to keep putting content out so we are able to keep fans engaged during this time. we also take the time to ensure we thank our fans when partaking in interviews and put our links where to find us. We want to ensure we’re easy to find and be in contact with.

Streaming Stats – We use the Spotify for artist’s app and website so check our stats and see where our music is most popular around the world. From this, we plan to use it in order to create a tour when we release our album. We planned to release our album this year, however, due to COVID 19 we have had to push it back to next year. Currently, our top 5 countries for plays are the UK, USA, Brazil, Canada and Spain. The top cities/towns from these include Gloucester, Cheltenham, London, Swindon and Chicago. In order to expand our listening countries, we often reach out to playlists with our songs and asked to be featured on them. We have gained many fans through this and we’re constantly growing as a band. I have created listening maps of most listened areas and I have attached these below. By collecting this information, we can use it to find out where we’re most popular worldwide and use this to target the correct people and get in to contact in the areas we could eventually play shows.

Surrounding area – listening map last 28 days – 22/05/2020
London – listening map last 28 days – 22/05/2020
UK – listening map last 28 days – 22/05/2020
International – listening map last 28 days – 22/05/2020

MD4355 Assessment 001: AV portfolio

MD4220 - The Music Business, MD4355 - Audiovisual, Year 1

The goal of my final piece for this assignment was to create a music video for one of the songs my band released last year as part of our debut EP. The first step was to decide which song I wanted to create the video for, to do this, I formed a questionnaire and subtly dropped in questions to find out our audience’s favourite songs. I had the idea that I wanted to use some form of coloured smoke so I knew I wanted the song to have a skateboard/punk vibe. After receiving the results from the questionnaire and discussing it with the band we agreed the best song to do would be “Arm Wrestling”.

I wanted this to become an official video for the band so I ensured that we were able to use decent equipment when recording. My boyfriend works in a data centre so we were able to use the warehouse attached to his building to film the video. We did this over a weekend in March with the band, Charlie Dillon a friend of mine who is on a television and film course and a friend of his from the same course. Between them, they brought two JVC 650s and Charlie used his own handheld Canon G7X Mark II. I found the issue with these came down to lighting which had to have some adjustments in post. The JVC’s were a lot darker than the Canon and you can still see this in the final video despite doing my best to adjust the lighting, however, part of me does like this charm as it does give it the feel of the genre we play.

Other issues we faced whilst recording included people in the shot at the wrong time such as Charlie being in the JVC shot when recording with the Canon. This did work well for behind the scenes footage however which is some I also wanted to include in the video. I wanted to give a real sense of who the band are as individuals and not a polished perfected staged video. There is some level of seriousness, however, the bits of us messing about is something I wanted to capture, and a lot of the times we didn’t know the camera was rolling so it’s all very natural. One of the best camera shots, in my opinion, was done by Alex going back and forth on a skateboard which gives a panning shot to the video and I love the way this was done.

There was also the worry of how to get the smoke to work. Due to the budget, I managed to get in contact with an airsoft company who gave me a 10% discount. I brought six in total, two of each colour which was designed to be the colour of our logo, Pink, Green, and Purple. To get the most out of these grenades I had Charlie film them whilst we were setting them off at the same time my boyfriend was taking photos (I have attached the photos to the bottom of this overview so you can see how these turned out). We used the purple smoke for the group shots of the band and the first attempt we released it behind the drummer, however, this just caused the smoke to rise. On our second attempt we had a friend of mine, Alex, run around with the grenade to spread the smoke and had the cameras rolling wide scenes and to have Charlie come in for the close-up shots. Due to releasing the smoke inside of the warehouse we had to be careful and ensure the area was well ventilated as despite them being photography grenades, the grenade burns for 30 seconds and the smoke spreads quickly.

The video was edited in premiere pro and after receiving all of the files, I realised there was no sound from the JVC mounted cameras, luckily as a band, we know the song inside out so we had the timings correct but it meant I had to ensure that the lip-syncing was perfect as I knew people were going to be looking at when watching the video and I asked other people to watch it to make sure it all lined up, there were a few sections where I had to make minor adjustments to the speed but this was not in many scenes at all. The biggest challenge I faced was going through each scene and ensuring the lighting was smooth enough to transition and I’m pleased with how it turned out. I also changed the title font to fit the style of the bands’ genre more and added transition scenes to make the video ran more fluidly. I really enjoyed shooting and editing this and would love to do more in the future, I have also mashed up some music videos with film trailers but using footage that I filmed myself with other people made it so much more satisfying to see the outcome and have other ways to edit it.

Smoke headshot photos –

Future Goals and Aspirations

MD4220 - The Music Business

Future goals with Down Not Out

Ideally with Down Not Out we would eventually be in a position where we were able to play bigger venues as previously mentioned such as O2 academies as a support act and gradually work up to becoming more established to the point where a few years down the line we would be able to perform as a headline act. Whilst in isolation we have been coming up with ideas to keep fans engaged such as Spotify roulette where we take our artist inspiration playlists and put them on shuffle during a video call and explain to why we added these songs and why we are inspired by them. We are also working on doing some quizzes on members such as who is most likely to do *blank* and have the band vote on this. On top of this, we have also and do continue to live stream game plays with the band and give watchers the opportunity to join us and play. We are also giving fans the opportunity to get to know more about each individual member of the band by popping comments down to suggest what they would like to see us do next. I have also suggested a Down Not Out member takeover of Instagram during the isolation period where each member takes over the Instagram story page for a day and monitors what they have been doing to give a bit of an insight into our lives outside of the band.

Future goals as myself.

I have found that since working in an escape room an interest in atmospheric music and I think it would be interesting to begin creating music for escape rooms to immerse people rather than using stock music, I believe creating something with a unique feel would really impact the room and experience you’re in. I am going to look into developing this over the next few years as I really believe this could change a lot of immersive experiences. Aside from Down Not Out as an individual, I have been playing the guitar for 8 years in total as an independent musician. I am also able to play the Bass and Drums however guitar is my main instrument. I mostly play rhythm, however, recently I have been trying to learn more lead guitar to expand my range as I would eventually love to expand my style and go into playing with musicals across the country as a member of the band/orchestra. My main inspiration for this and the reason I would love to go into performing is the Beetlejuice Musical which has recently been evicted from its home at Winter Garden in New York on Broadway. Since this has happened and they are looking for a new home they have had a large rise in people suggesting that they bring the musical to the west end and put it in London. If this was able to happen over the next few years, I would be extremely enthusiastic of being in a position where I could to put myself forward as a musician for these live performances. I am however aware that this does cost theatres a lot of money and they are moving to a digital platform. I would also love to do sound engineering for west end shows as it would combine both my love for live music and theatre and being able to be part of the crew who transport people away from the real world for a short period of time and fully immerse them in what they’re watching. Alternatively, if this was not a possibility my other strength would be to become an audiovisual technician as I love recreating film trailers to music as well as new music videos and I could definitely see myself doing it in the long run aside from performing and I have been keeping copies of the videos I have created over the past few months since learning how to use video editing software(s).

Next Rung On The Ladder and Target Audience.

MD4220 - The Music Business, Semester 2, Year 1

What’s your ‘next rung on the ladder’?

The next rung on the ladder would be to move the band into a position to gain a manager who is able to network and begin to get us playing bigger venues with fans and audience members that we have not brought ourselves in places further afield to what we are playing at the moment such as Birmingham, London as well as festivals across the UK. Over the next 2 – 3 years we will ideally be performing in venues such as O2 academies as support acts.  Every individual in the creative industry always has individual goals as well as long term. In the future, obviously, we would hopefully eventually be headlining shows and also being able to tour, but one step at a time and the next step as I previously addressed would be to get managed and begin playing shows further afield to build up our gigging portfolio. The aim is to make this band a career and not just a hobby.

Who will be your target audience and what do they want to see?

The aim of our target audience is to find someone who is able to manage us who already has contacts or has the ability to make contacts with people across different industries and venues. This could even be someone in the music business classes across the 3 years so long as they were serious about helping the band progress to reach the goals we’re working towards. We would, of course, need to provide an extensive collection of what we have achieved since starting with the band including all the shows we’ve performed, the music we’ve released, the merchandise we have available and our social media logs and posts as well as how active we are across over platforms such as twitch game streaming and how we interact with fans, etc.

Final Track Evaluation & Production statement

MD4352 - Making Tracks, Semester 1, Year 1

My final track is based on the song Kids in The Dark by All Time Low. I am extremely inspired by pop-punk and stylistically it’s where the genre of my music tends to naturally fall. Artists who I’m inspired by include All Time Low, Green Day, Panic! At The Disco and Set It Off. A lot of these artists have and continue to use samples in their songs and build their own songs around them. This is what I have made an attempt to do in my final track.

 I tried to create a different style of a remix to break out of my comfort zone. I did this by using samples of different parts throughout the song and transposing these, as well as using them to create splice instruments in order to play different rhythms and change the song to make a new one, as well as including instruments around this such as synths and bass jabs to try and build this song more.   

Having only been using Ableton for a short period of time I believe I have done what I can to the best of my skill set. This is completely new to me as I have only use logic pro previously and it has taken a little while for me to get my head around using Ableton. At the start of this course I hated using it and I’m proud how far I have come in the last few months using this. I have already broken down a lot of mental barriers and listening to what I have created overall I’m proud of this.

I do believe there are some improvements that could be made in terms of sounds and using different techniques to expand my track further and learning how to create around other sounds rather than relying on just one singular track and sound to create a song. I believe once I had this ability I would be able to create more in-depth songs and this is a personal goal I want to strive towards with my future of creating tracks. Once I can do this I would like to look into creating more complicated and interesting tracks.