Three weeks ago Rogue caused a stir by offering to give feedback to the first five self-promoters who linked their bizzle to this feature.
The links came in within seconds… Hundreds of them. Some commentators were critical that we were encouraging spam culture. Others were hopeful Rogue would go through more than the first five. Both parties were safe in the knowledge that this talented musician can actually put some of his success down to spamming himself.
Big up Rogue, then: For his honesty and for giving up the time to check out the first five self-promoters. He’s taken some real time out from an ever-demanding schedule to give deep thought and studied critique to five lucky aspiring producers.
“I found it very refreshing to listen to these unheard musicians and hopefully help them out/motivate them in some way. I would’ve loved the same when I first started,” states the UK producer who recently appeared in our Radar series.
“I believe that there are always positives to be found in any creative work when you look at things with an open mind. I love being able to pick them out and give the artists some praise as well as constructive feedback.”
Are YOU one of the five self-promoters who’s just enjoyed Rogue’s praise and constructive feedback? Props to you… Use this opportunity wisely and best of luck with your next steps. For those of you missed out, Rogue recommends other avenues of promotion…
“I would no longer recommend self-promotion in the way that me and my brother did it,” he tells us. “It just wouldn’t work in the same way nowadays. It was a lucky break that I got the reaction I did when I first started, and as soon as I was off the ground with a few thousand fans, I stopped all the self-promotion and let it all grow naturally from there. There are many different ways to get noticed today, just let your drive to be heard find one.”
Here is what Rogue thought about the lucky five self-promoters who hit up our feature…
“You have a uniqueness to your melodies and chord progressions that is apparent throughout your tracks. Hope and Melodic Synths have that same third major chord that breaks the mould and makes you stand out amongst other artists, but be careful not to just put one chord after the next in any order- your orchestral track We Will Thrive is a beautiful piece, but I felt towards the end some of the chords were just there for the sake of having chords. Every new chord should complement the last.
Your production and technique are on their way to being great, but I felt that the tracks were quite squashed in terms of mastering, as if you have a limiter cranked to full gain on the master track: just be careful not to over-squash your track in post-production, or if you have the limiter on from the start, take it off, and only when you have the basic structure of the track down should you then add it. You’ll find that your tracks have a lot more space and depth to them.
In terms of structure, your tracks have different sections, but there need to be more definite points where we as listeners know that the track has changed. This will keep people listening to your music, and they won’t become bored with the same chord progression and melody.
One final thing: I felt like your tracks will need is a main melody/lead melody that people can latch onto. This is what makes most successful songs so successful. You have melodies but nothing prominent, so have a think about that.
Overall, good work, keep going, keep in mind the master track, chords, and structure of your tracks.”
“Your music is very ‘outside the box’. Have You Ever stood out to me as particularly interesting, because I think it’s unique and has great potential as an idea. The high pitched ‘airy’ synth/bells melody and drum pattern behind it present a wonderful break from the leading electric piano sound playing that chord progression, which in itself is so fresh to me.
In other tracks I can hear all sorts of experimentation musically, which is refreshing in an industry where everybody is trying to do the same thing.
Your production needs work but I can hear from going through your tracks that you’re gradually improving which is awesome. I think the most prominent issue is that your drums are generally a little bit quiet in the mix- either that or everything else is pushed so loud that they become less punchy overall. When mixing, try to level everything out so that at least the kick and snare have some power to them before mastering. Side-chaining is an important tool, and when used in a certain way, can affect the whole sound of a track. Not too much but not too little. Also, as a side note, bear in mind that build-ups can benefit from sweeps and snare rolls.
I can see that you haven’t found ‘your sound’ yet. This is quite normal for a developing artist, but in your position I would begin to think about what it is that’s going to make me ‘ME’. What is it that people can only find from Ar!se tracks that makes them go and listen to you?
For me, I would run with the sound you have going on with Have You Ever. Include some of your more tech-house vibes, too, and begin to shape an even more unique sound.”
“The thing I like about your music is that a lot of your tracks are very simple and chilled, which gives them a really clean feel. My favourite tracks are Lost Souls and Bipolar. The chords you use are pleasant and positive and give a kind of summer effect. Most of your mixes aren’t over-crowded with too much going on, instead they’re spacious and ambient, using a nice kick and clap sound to drive the track forward. The progression of the structure of your tracks is subtle but I think that’s your thing.
I would be careful not to let your tracks get too repetitive. In your track Rhythmus für maximalpigmentierte Sprechgesangskünstler’ (which is a crazy looking title to an English guy, by the way- I don’t know how normal that looks to Germans) I love how it sounds to begin with, but by the end it hasn’t really changed and the novelty of the sound has worn off.
Your music could benefit from maybe a lead melody or a vocal part, but it’s all just opinion in the end, and that kind of thing is up to you, depending on where you want to go with your sound.
In terms of production, I can’t really say much except to keep practising because you’re on the right road. Keep aiming for the cleanest mix you’ve ever created. Spend even more time getting your samples to sound just right, so that they can be even more effective when they kick in.”
“Like This is a great track in terms of composition and melody. I love the Daft Punk vibes, and the groove is definitely present. The female vocal that appears in certain sections really makes this track.
The mix, on the other hand, is messy. We lose the clarity of the kick and snare amongst a lot of other things going on at the same time. There is a really harsh-sounding arp in there that distracts from everything that’s happening and would benefit from having much fewer high frequencies or just being turned down a few db. There is also a kind of ‘groaning’ synth in the background that is slightly out of tune with everything, and makes the track sound muddy.
Overall this is a good track and could be made 10 times better by cleaning up the mix. ‘Less is more’ is something I always try to tell myself when working with a lot of instruments. Ask yourself: what could be removed without really affecting the feel of the track?”
“As a regular listener of late night BBC Radio 1, I can only say that your tracks sound like they would be completely at home there, and some of them are even creeping into the daytime radio sound. My favourite tracks of yours are Digital Lust and Colour Burn. The production is great- you sound like you’re achieving the exact sound you’re aiming for. It’s really impressive.
To step it up a notch and really start going somewhere with this stuff, I feel like you’re going to need some catchy vocals and/or lead melodies. At the moment your tracks are primarily drums, bass, and chords, but I think to really start bringing in some outside attention you would have to up your game and widen your audience by adding stuff that people can sing along to.
I’m finding it difficult to really write any other type of criticism without being completely opinionated, because your production is tight, and you’re doing what you want musically. It’s all about where you want to take it from here. You have a professional sound happening, a mature understanding of your style of music, and it’s now completely up to you to create some bangers and start working on your image as an artist. Get a logo, some press shots, and let it happen for you.”