Interview Thursday: Jacky Stoneygate

Thanks to W.Wang’s World Commentary for interviewing me! I thought it would be cool to share it on my blog, too 🙂

W. Wang's World Commentary

Interview Thursday is back, and this week I’m featuring electronic artist and producer Jacky Stoneygate from East Midlands, UK! Here below is the interview:

W.: Please tell us an introduction of yourself!

Jacky Stoneygate: I grew up in Leicestershire, England and was fascinated by music and musicians from a very early age. My first proper musical instrument was a guitar, when I was 8, which was very exciting but I can still remember doing the homework after the first lesson with painful fingers, frustration and tears! Thankfully it got easier! Later, I dabbled with sequencing software and a 4 track tape machine, dreaming of making an album of my own songs.  It took a long time, but now I make music which aims to give the listener some head-space to stop, unwind and think more deeply about life and the world around them.

W.: What makes you start your music career?

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Ghettoblaster

Playlist of the Week (2018/21)

This week’s POTW is KevOz’s Pianoscapes, on Spotify, which features (wait for it…) piano-centred music.

KevOz is an independent musician that has been heard by millions of people, because some of his music is used at Tokyo’s Disneyland. His music is difficult to categorise – it has a quirky mixture of styles and influences, but it is based around synths and keyboards and there is an 80s influence evident in many of his tracks, but always with a twist. KevOz’s music is not synthwave, but it’s clear he has dipped into that particular pool of inspiration.  Style-wise, there is a fair overlap with my own Stoneygate music, but with his own very individual stamp.

The Pianoscapes playlist features a range of artists, and KevOz has been very kind and included my Spiralesque track amongst the tracks featured. This one should be a good one for playing whilst you get your work done if you use music to help you focus.

Survival – New Album!

With Dad doing a lot better and dropping hints that I have my own life to get back to, I’ve felt able to concentrate a lot more on finishing my started music – punctuated by a few medical appointments that I’ve provided transport for and just keeping an eye out to make sure things are as OK as possible.

A couple of days ago, I submitted my second album to the distributor after a very intense few weeks, fixing the odd issue with the mixes and mastering the tracks. The next stage of ‘inspection’ has been done by the distributor and I’m writing this whilst I proof-listen to the tracks in order to give my final permission for them to go ahead and release it EVERYWHERE – i.e. the point of no return. The official release date when it will start becoming available to the general public is this coming Friday, 18th May.

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This is the first time that I’ve released a project I mastered completely by myself. I can tell you categorically, having gone through it, that doing your first ‘official’ mastering on a 15-track album is nothing short of stupid!  I had thought I might release a self-mastered EP first, as that’s what I was learning on, but ended up concentrating on the bigger project because I thought I had, ahem, mastered it enough. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?

Mastering a single track is relatively simple – you don’t need to think about how the sound relates to anything else apart from reference tracks that you’re using as a guide. You just make sure it sounds as good as those, adding a bit of polish, and ensuring that it is at the right volume level.*   With every additional track in a project, however, you are adding a layer of complication, because they all need to sound right together.  That meant that I had significantly more attempts at mastering each track than I would have had if I’d been releasing 15 singles separately.  There was also an element of still being on the uphill part of the learning curve, which would have been fine if I was releasing a 4-track EP, but it made releasing an hour-long album more ‘interesting’ when working to a deadline I’d by now committed to.  Perseverance and overcoming stress is really important for releasing music!

And just to prove it, before I get all the way through proof-listening to the whole album, there is some kind of technical fault – the distributor website suddenly can’t load my audio files. Maybe they have a server down or the site is overloaded at present – tracks I already listened to won’t load either, but the internet hasn’t gone down (this time! it’s been really wonky for a couple of days).  I’ll need to come back later and have another go, by the look of things.  At least it’s fallen over on the most appropriately-named track, Ominous Hopeful!

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*OK, so it’s a bit more technical than that, but that’s the short version and it all boils down to using your ears and a few meters to get the best possible outcome.

Ghettoblaster

Playlist of the Week (2018/20)

This week’s POTW is a bit different from previous ones, which have all so far been Spotify playlists. This one is a Musicoin playlist, run by artist Juxta via the Atom Collector Records website, with a little help from another artist, Self Suffice, aka Rapoet.  Musicoin doesn’t have playlist features built into its website just yet, so Rapoet took the initiative to work out how to do it from his own website, and passed the information on – a great example of indie musicians working together to help each other out!

The other unusual, if not unique, thing about this playlist, is that when you listen to it, the independent musicians you hear will directly receive a small amount of cryptocurrency for every track you play.   (Check out my article  What alternatives are there to Soundcloud? (Pt 5: Musicoin) to find out more about Musicoin and how it works).  It is very difficult to make a living as an independent musician, therefore many of us have been experimenting with different outlets such as this, to see if we can make it work for us.

To listen to this week’s playlist of the week, click here and follow the instructions on screen.

Ghettoblaster

Playlist of the Week (2018/19)

This week’s POTW is compiled by the obscurely named ‘The X Reposts‘. This is actually a selection of tracks that this Spotify user found via the Atom Collector Records site, which I’ve already mentioned in a couple of posts, but is not one of their playlists.

A quick look at The X Reposts’ website shows that they have made the playlist to promote independent artists – just one of a number of ways that they are doing this. As you’ve probably gathered if you’ve been following this series, indie musicians are pretty passionate about supporting each other and getting the word out about each others’ work. It’s no surprise then that The X Reposts is run by an independent artist, Newen X, who produces mainly electronic dance tracks, including some pretty powerful dubstep. His own music hits the nail right on the head for the club scene, with big anthemic tunes and classic drops. It’s the polar opposite mood-wise to many of the tracks on this list, however, including my own Silver Bird.