Category Archives: Epiphanies

My new year’s resolution

I’m on the train back home to Berlin. It’s still dark outside as I’m writing this on my iPad. I’m not a fan of new year’s resolutions because most of the time you end up giving up trying after a couple of weeks. Yet, this time I’ve got one. One I’m intending to stick with because it’s nothing to do with the new year, but with a necessity.

I’ve actually sat down and made a yearly plan. I want to release an EP and an album. Considering that I already work part time in tech support at Ableton and how many things an independent musician has to do these days… I dearly need a plan or I’ll forget stuff or don’t manage deadlines. And I want to do it right.

I’ve been looking into different project management softwares, but they all seem to lack one thing or another. I tried iProcrastinate, but it gets cluttered too fast and lacks an overview. Projector looked the most promising, but there’s no recurring tasks available. So Wunderlist will have to be my guide in keeping all the small pieces of the puzzle held firmly together.

I must admit that seeing all the work laid out in front of me was pretty daunting at first. Yet I know not planning ahead doesn’t work too well. The toughest part is keeping the rule of scheduling things in a way that you only plan out 50% of the time as there’s always unexpected extra things to take care of or things simply take longer. I always have so many ideas I want to get done as much as possible and end up overwhelmed or overworked.

So Janunary is the test month where I’ll see how good I’m planning things timewise. It will serve as the blueprint for the other months. The most important thing with it is to be honest. To admit that if I tried to achieve too much in too little time I need to make adjustments.

x,
Mads

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Don’t sell yourself short

or: Why I canceled the gigs this week

The concert on Tuesday was an absolute disaster for me. Instead of being able to focus on the performance I was battling serious feedback issues. And why? Because the one (!) speaker was behind me on stage pointing directly to my mic. It was not to be moved so their solution was to turn the mic almost all the way down. I asked the guy if the mix was alright and he nodded vaguely and vanished with the words ‘If it needs any more adjusting you can do that yourself.’

I introduced myself and beckoned the audience to get closer as they had spread out during change over. They ignored me because the mic was so low in volume they couldn’t hear me. I didn’t realise that and was slightly irritated by it. So I got started with my first song ‘A Little’ which is all looping. After I finished I asked the few who had come back to the front if the mix was alright. The vocals were barely audible, was their reply.

I use in ear monitoring to hear everything well while looping. This means I wear headphones and don’t hear much of the outside. On top of that when there’s feedback it goes straight into my ears. I bought this last year because a lot of venues don’t have a monitor and looping vocal harmonies is very difficult when you can’t hear yourself properly.

Off stage upping the volume, back up, instant feedback, back down, turning it low again. In the end, turning the speaker away helped somewhat, but the vocals were still too low in the mix. Also, each time I turned towards my MIDI controller – which was positioned too low – it produced new feedback. I tried to be professional and just grin and bear it, but the whole thing left me rattled and shaken which translated directly into my performance.

I had sent the booker my tech rider and enquired about the setup of the speakers and the availability of one bigger or two small tables. I was assured everything would be as requested. Yet, it wasn’t. Putting the speakers behind you usually results in feedback because the microphones used on stage are facing them. Especially when you’re looping with a mic. This is Audio Engineering 101. It’s the speakers that feed back, by the way, not the mic. I had perfected my setup as best as I could, spent money on in ear monitoring and other gear, but the one thing I still need is the speakers in front of the stage. Otherwise looping is impossible and I don’t want to stop doing it as it’s an integral part of my live show and I enjoy doing it.

Already last year I had come to this conclusion and so rather booked select shows ahead of time. Because there are decent venues out there, but you have to be early when booking. This mini tour through Berlin was in tandem with Vibeke Falden and it was pretty short-run. I had voiced my concerns about booking so late and my gut feeling told me no. Yet, I went along because I promised. I shouldn’t have. That was my mistake.

I walked home with all my gear. Devastated. Back home I talked to my friend who booked the concerts for me in Sicily. She reminded me, I had played a show while still recovering from a bronchitis and unable to sing. I did an improvised set instead and people enjoyed it a lot. I don’t cancel that quickly. If I think I can deliver a decent performance. Yet, this last show was awful. The conditions were awful which rendered the performance subpar. The audience went home with the memory of me as the woman with all that feedback. The rest of the tour would have had similar conditions.

I don’t cancel lightly, but the last show was good for no one. Not the audience, not me. Well, the venue made a quick buck by selling liquor.

The cautionary tale: Don’t sell yourself short. If you need certain conditions to perform well, only agree to gigs that meet your minimum requirements.

And speakers in front and keyboard stands or tables at the same height is not too much to ask, now is it? I don’t even ask for a monitor or a sound guy. This can’t be too much to ask.

Don’t sell yourself short! … and trust your gut feeling!

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Remixed

This blog entry is all about remixes.

FiXT Remix Vs Madeleine Bloom

Tomorrow (Friday, July 16) the remix contest for Zero Tolerance will commence. The stems and all the info can be found at FiXT Remix.

I will handpick the winners who will have their remixes released in the FiXT store on a (mini)album. There’s no other prize from FiXT Remix, but I’ll throw in a download of my live album ‘Live at the Watertower’ that will be released on September 3. You can find more info on it here.

Mingle

The Minutia Remix Project has been pretty quiet lately. Things have taken longer again on my part so the deadline I’ve set for Mingle is void.

The new one is now: September 9… 8 more weeks from today!

I’m still awaiting some back. So if you’re one the people who wanted to do a remix could you please get in touch with me to let me know if you’re still gonna do it? Or if you’d like to give it try, but hadn’t chosen a song yet read the Mingle post and get in touch with me. The more the merrier. ­čÖé

I’m sitting here outside an old mansion outside of Berlin (actually right now I’m at the hospital cafeteria for the free wifi). It’s quiet but for the wind, birds, crickets and the occassional car sound from far away. It’s sunny/cloudy and windy. The perfect summer residence. I still can’t believe my luck. One day I’m melting in the heat in my flat unable to do any work because my brain hot way too slow, the next I’m in a stranger’s huge house at my free disposal. It’s got everything but hot water and who needs that in summer. Guess I’ll stay here for a week and except for the occassional city guest I’ll be on my own writing new songs. Got a mobile recording studio here with me (Hurray for technology!) and a video camera. I’m only here since last night and I’m already feeling inspired.

x,
Mads

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Destination Mingle

Heya,

I started the Minutia Remix Project already in October, that’s over half a year ago (where did the time go?) So I decided it might be time to set a deadline for it. Don’t fret… it’s not tomorrow.

Deadline: July 31, 2010.

That’s 12 weeks from now. It should give you plenty of time to work on the remixes and/or the artwork, methinks. Of course the project is still open until then. So if you’d like to contribute to it with a remix or artwork, you can read up on it and get in touch with me.

I want to give a big shoutout to all the contributors. You’ve done an amazing job. Thank you so so much! You have no idea how often you’ve saved my day when I was feeling down.

The remixes that are finished at this point can be downloaded at bandcamp. The artwork contributions are up on flickr.

Wanna have a listen first?

Mingle by Madeleine Bloom

Have a look at the artwork contributions:

x,
Mads

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#1: Minutia Remix Project – Mingle

I haven’t been feeling much like blogging for some time, because tweeting seemed the perfect form for what I wanted to express. Lately I’ve gotten a lot of very positive and uplifting tweets, emails and facebook posts. They’ve given me so much to think about as well as new ideas I feel the need to share in a longer format again. Thanks to all you guys (you know who you are I hope!) for that! You’re the fuel that keeps me going.

It seems most of the people that have discovered my music are very creative in various ways and art forms.
I’ve recently received the first remix of one of my songs. Bobby Starrr made his little dub version of ‘A Little’. I’ll let you hear it in a little while (Puns intended). There’s a couple of people working on remixes and more and more seem to get interested. So why not start a proper remix project?

Care for a sample of some originals?

Minutia by Madeleine Bloom

Mingle – Minutia Remixes & Reinterpretations

Anyone can participate and I’m gonna choose my favourites (6-20?) and offer them as a free download on bandcamp. I’m gonna design a nice PDF booklet to go with it. Maybe with artwork contributions from as many (hobby)designers/artists as remixers. How about that?

So if you would like to join in… drop me an email… to be found on my website. You can listen to 6 of the 12 songs that will be on my debut album ‘Minutia. on myspace or my website.Choose a song and tell me if you only want vocal tracks or also bits from the instruments, beats, sounds. If you can’t wait till November 27 to hear the rest and don’t mind spoiling the surprise… then go ahead and listen to it on last.fm (spoiler alert).
Or if you would like to contribute something visual for the artwork, drop me a line, too. I’ve opened a group on flickr where you can post your stuff after joining it. If it’s photos, sketches, drawings, paintings, graphic design… just get inspired!

Back soon,
Madeleine

*Update March 8, 2010*

By now I’ve received 5 finished remixes and roughly about as many are in the making. So I thought it was time to give the baby a proper name. I’ve decided to call – what’s now shaping up to be an album – Mingle. Mingle because my musical ideas are getting remixed or mixed up with those of other people’s and I also closeness to Minutia letterwise. Today another remix will come out and so forth each Monday when I’ve got a new one waiting to be released.

Mingle by Madeleine Bloom

I’ve also made a cover design because sadly no one seems to be interested in providing visuals of any kind for the project. In case you are interested it’s not too late. The same goes for remixes.┬áVisual entries are open indefintely for now. The files should preferably be best quality JPEGs of at least 12 x 12cm at 300 dpi… that’s 1417 x 1417 pixels.

Mingle Cover

Songs not yet remixed:

Hearts First
Unspoken
Paperheart
Breathing Underwater
Scaredy Cat’s Lullaby

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