Why Musicians from all over the world are attending Gearfest

If you’ve ever driven through the mid-west, you know there’s not a lot happening in between the cities that you encounter during the ride.  That is, unless, you happen to be driving just north of Fort Wayne, IN during the early summer month of June.  In this case, you are sure to find your way to one of the fastest growing music events in the country – Gearfest!

Cakewalk had the privilege to take part in Gearfest again this year, and I was fortunate enough to make my first trip to what is quickly becoming known as a mini Namm in the mid-west. The event is put on by a great company called Sweetwater which is basically the end-all-be-all of anything you need for gear in the cyber world.  If you can’t find it in a store, or you simply just want more choices for purchasing, you can bet that you will find it at www.sweetwater.com.  Sweetwater is also known for having one of the most knowledgeable staffs in the industry, and if you just give them a call with a question you are sure to have an answer quickly by someone at their facility.

The first thing notable about Gearfest is the size of the event.  What started out  not to long ago as an idea to bring local people together for the community, has turned into a 10,000+ strong conference which now spans over 2 days and includes an interesting and unpretentious concoction of artists, industry professionals, music fans and gear-head-musicians from literally all over the globe.  The second thing to note is that it has its own vibe and culture very unique to itself.  Many music oriented conferences and/or festivals for that matter sometimes turn into promotional spectacles for those trying to gain an edge on their profile; Gearfest is the opposite. (more…)

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Cakewalk at Gearfest 2015 with iLan Bluestone

On Friday/Saturday June 12th and 13th, Cakewalk and Gibson will be part of a great music event in Fort Wayne, IN called “Gearfest 2015.”  What once started out as a smaller “musician’s conference,” has now transformed into a collective gear-fanatic affair where music equipment enthusiasts from all over the U.S. and beyond converge upon this mid-sized mid-west town.  It’s certainly impressive and appreciated by many that Sweetwater has put this much care and effort into bringing together over 400 manufactures along with hundreds of presenters to this world-class event.

On Friday June 12th 11:15am at Gearfest, Cakewalk will be presenting a very interesting panel with U.K. based SONAR Platinum user iLan Bluestone.  In the last year, Bluestone has gone from newcomer, to one of the most in-demand new acts on the international dance music scene.  This presentation will be an exclusive interview geared [no pun intended] towards a day in the life of a successful touring electronic musician/DJ in today’s industry.  The interview will be followed by a demonstration of iLan’s approach to music production on SONAR Platinum.

Also presenting on 2 panels at Gearfest will be Gibson’s own Craig Anderton.

Friday, June 12th, 11:30am – Everything You Need to Know About Dynamics (Craig Anderton) [Conference Hall 2, Room A]
Saturday, June 13th, 9:45am – How to Master in Your DAW (Craig Anderton) [Conference Hall 2, Room A]
Saturday, June 13th, 11:15am – A Conversation with EDM Producer iLan Bluestone (Jimmy Landry/iLan Bluestone) [Conference Hall 2 Room A]

Details:
Sweetwater Gearfest 2015

Sweetwater Campus
5501 US Hwy 30W
Fort Wayne, IN 46818

We hope to see you there!

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A Letter From Cakewalk’s President On SONAR “Everett”

Last week we launched the SONAR “Everett,” Release which includes our new Drum Replacer tool. Everyone at Cakewalk is still buzzing about how it can transform a simple loop, or drum tracks recorded in less ideal conditions, into amazing sounding drums. Additionally, we have improved the overall SONAR experience with 40 fixes, the new Sizzle Bus FX Chain for mixing and mastering, and have included some awesome drum content to complement Drum Replacer. And to help everyone get the most of this powerful new tool, we have posted four free Drum Replacer video tutorials.

This release also has a deeper meaning to me. It’s now June, five months after we launched the New SONAR. Drum Replacer is not a minor update.  Third party equivalent plug-ins cost hundreds of dollars, but SONAR Platinum customers receive it at no additional cost. In the annual upgrade model (SONAR X3 or earlier), people wouldn’t have seen this feature until next January. But since we have introduced “membership,” we can bring this to you today, almost 8 months sooner.

There’s been a lot of fuss and confusion about SONAR’s new membership program, and why we created it. It’s NOT a subscription scheme, because you can still own (not rent) SONAR, and never need to make a monthly payment if you don’t want to. SONAR “Everett” is what SONAR membership is really all about. Our ability to develop, test, refine, and release exciting SONAR features to users throughout the year. It’s about continuous innovation. It’s about helping you make better music every day.

Enjoy!
Michael

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Month-end Artist Wrap-up: How Pro Sonar Users Made the Spotlight in May

Murder FM:         Congratulations to SONAR Platinum artist Norman Matthew and his band Murder FM for finalizing their record deal with Famous Records/Sony Red.  After turning down deals in the past from even bigger major labels, Norman and company found the right fit for the band.  In a recent press release circulated to the music industry, Famous Records stated, “We here at the label are super excited and can’t wait to share our new find. These guys have the ‘IT’ factor.  In a short period of time these guys can/will be the hottest new mainstream rock radio sensation that will get heads moving and feet stomping.

The single “We the Evil” will be promoted at rock radio this month, and another version of the song remixed by Tommy Lee of Motley Crue will be released simultaneously as well. The record which was mixed by Beau Hill (also the Executive Producer of the record) is slated to be released August 7th 2015.  Drummer Will Hunt of the band Evanescence also performed on the track Happily Never After which ended up as the title track to the record.  The band will be touring upon the release of the record and have signed on with the M7 Agency Group who has already started to place them on some large shows and festivals such as Dirtfest at Birch Run Expo Center, MI.

For more information visit: http://www.murderfmmusic.com/

 Javier Colon:       Another Congratulations is also in order to SONAR Platinum user Javier Colon who has signed a new record deal with Concord Music Group.  Javier, who won the inaugural season of “NBC’s The Voice,” has continued to stay connected with his fans since winning the show.  Javier is currently using SONAR Platinum in his home production studio as he finishes up the record in between show dates.  The record was recorded at his home as well as various studios in New York City and Los Angeles.

Javier has been no stranger to major label record deals, and one can only assume that his talent, spirit and songwriting keeps carrying him into new ventures.  In a recent press release circulated within the music industry Javier said, “I am so happy to have a new home at Concord. They truly understand who I am as an artist and I’m looking forward to making the album I want to make. To be on a roster with the likes of James Taylor and Paul McCartney is an absolute honor and I’m excited to start this journey and get new music out to my fans.”

Most recently coming off tour with Maroon 5 as well as solo performances, Javier has also performed with artists such as Stevie Wonder, Brian McKnight, Colbie Caillat, Michael McDonald, India Arie, Adam Levine, Stevie Nicks, Anthony Hamilton and Joss Stone to name a few.  From a recent conversation with Javier, it’s evident that touring is going to be a big part of this next record and new territories such as Asia will be in the fold as well.

For more information visit: http://javiercolon.com/

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Act of Defiance: How Chris Broderick is using SONAR after Megadeth

Starting from the early age of 11, Chris Broderick started on a journey that eventually brought him to every corner of our world.  Little did he know at that time that he would accomplish what most musicians only dream about.  As a multi-genre / multi-instrumentalist/vocalist, he got his chops like many others, long hours and hard work.

From his early days he could be found practicing guitar, piano and violin for upwards of 14 hours a day as a teenager. This eventually led him into an extraordinary path of education at the University of Denver’s Lamont School of Music where he was just as well known in the Denver music scene playing in local, yet highly regarded bands.  As time, fate and his esteemed career moved forward, Chris eventually moved into a greater role of guitar taking over for Joey Tafolla in the critically acclaimed band Jag Panzer.  Besides his professionalism, Chris landed this job partly due to the fact that he was the only one that could handle the duties laid out by Tafolla.

For nearly a decade of performing and touring on 4 records, Chris enjoyed playing with Jag Panzer while also taking part in live performances by the band Nevermore. In late 2007, Chis got a call from Shawn Drover, the drummer of Megadeth who had put forth his name in the hat of replacements for Glen Drover who had recently left the band.  After Dave Mustaine saw a video of Chris playing guitar, on February 4th 2008 Chris made his debut appearance as the new guitarist for Megadeth.  Dave Mustaine had commented that he thought Chris was the greatest guitarist Megadeth had ever seen, and that his collaboration with Chris reminded him of when Ozzy met Randy.

Most recently, Chris Broderick made the heartfelt decision to leave the band Megadeth. We got a chance to sit down with Chris and the most interesting part to this story is that the departure is really Uninteresting.  Unlike your usual big-drama band-break, it was simply Chris’s time to move on to something new… Act of Defiance with former band mate Shawn Drover: (more…)

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SONAR and Rapture Pro at the International Music Summit Ibiza, Spain

One thing is certainly clear.  Ibiza is a very creative island in terms of music. Besides the infamous “foam parties” and club-scene, there are locals here that write, record, promote, produce, live and breathe electronic music on a world-class level. Bringing all these creative people together yearly is a festival known as the International Music Summit, where professionals and music fans converge from all over the world to celebrate and discuss the industry.

This year The International Music Summit is being held at the Hard Rock Hotel in Ibiza, and the Gibson Brands family is here supporting all the great artists. One component to the partnership is the Gibson tour bus which unbelievably came here on a boat and is serving as a meeting spot for many exclusive artists. Parked out in front of the Hard Rock Hotel, the Gibson tour bus has made its appearance in a big way including a SONAR/Tascam / KRK / Surface Pro 3 mobile recording setup inside.

Many of us have been having fun creating some great music here on the bus, but one major highlight today was an appearance by the legendary Arthur Baker who just happened to be sporting his trusty TR-808. Within about 20 minutes, we had a substantial piece of music combining Arthur’s 808 skills, the new Rapture Pro, and some cutting edge loops from Loopmasters. We started with Arthur creating a beat on the 808 at 128bpm and sparingly added in some other loop elements from Loopmasters which created an interesting combination of modern and vintage sounds. After that, we added a lot of color with the large array of sounds from the new Rapture Pro library. Later today we will be adding some vocals to the composition so hopefully we will have something to post by the end of the conference.

On a technical note, I had the good fortune to test out SONAR on the new Surface Pro 3 and what I have to report is good news – the Surface Pro 3 is the real-deal for music creators. The one that was (thankfully) sent to Cakewalk from Intel boasted an Intel Core I7 along with 8 gigs of ram, and this machine flinched at nothing I threw at it. In fact on the contrary, I found it very quick and snappy on every level. I also found the touch responsiveness to be nothing less than spectacular. I highly recommend this machine, but along with that recommendation is the key element of obtaining one with a Core I7. Also be advised that these only have one USB port, so a USB3 powered port expansion is the ticket. Also noteworthy is to make sure your interface is not a power-hog (Class A components usually are). (more…)

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Why Award Winning Jazz Artists Are Choosing SONAR

When you think of SONAR Platinum, you might not think of Jazz. In the last few years, we have had the pleasure of seeing various SONAR-using Jazz artists enjoy some well-deserved and large-scale success. What is success these days? Well depending on whom you ask, you will certainly get many different answers.

Bobbi “Funkee Boy” Tamarro will tell you first hand that success doesn’t come easy. As an international recording artist, songwriter and producer, he’s amassed an impressive amount of credits throughout his music career including chart hits across multiple music genres. Besides several top Billboard chart hits including his presence as a Top 5 Smooth Jazz artist, he has also penned licensing deals on television networks such as ABC, FOX, NBC, CBS, SHOWTIME,  and VH1 to name a few.

In 2014 Tamarro released his 3rd CD “Soul Purpose,” where the keyboardist/producer combined his talents with assembling a stellar line up of A-List recording artists. Soul Purpose featured guest appearances from Warren Hill, Najee, Bob Baldwin, Cindy Bradley, Nick Colionne, LEILA, Surface, Lamone, Timmy Maia, Tevin Michael and more. With the success of this release, he found himself up on a podium accepting a prestigious SESAC award for his efforts.

Recently with all his sales and charting success, Tamarro has respectfully turned down approaching major labels in the recent past as he has simply cracked the code as an indie artist competing in the big leagues. Bobbi tells us, “the number one thing is to do things right the first time, and be prepared to ‘invest’ and financially support your record. As an independent artist your record has to look, sound, and feel every bit as good as any major artist in your genre.”

SONAR feature you can’t live without?

The SONAR features I can’t live without are “everything!!” From the ease of workflow, editing, & visual representation to the ProChannel, Eq’s, Vintage Channel, and the Virtual Instruments included. They are all extremely valuable to me when making a record.

For more information on Bobbi Funkee Boy Tammaro please visit:
http://www.funkeeboy.com
https://www.facebook.com/Funkeeboy

Paul Wertico is internationally known as “one of the most versatile and musical drummers in music today.” As a member of the Pat Metheny Group from 1983 to 2001, he won seven Grammy Awards and several gold records, and toured the world dozens of times.  He has also won many other awards, including being named a Chicago Tribune 2004 “Chicagoan of the Year,” being a recipient of a 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cape Breton International Drum Festival, and winning an Independent Music Award for “Best Live Performance Album” in 2014. Paul is an active drum clinician and session musician, and is currently a member of the Larry Coryell Power Trio, as well as Wertico Cain & Gray. There’s no such thing as spare time for Paul, so he is also an Associate Professor of Jazz Studies at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts.

When it comes to recording, one would be hard pressed to find anyone in the Jazz world with as much experience as Paul as he has played drums and percussion on hundreds of recordings including Paul Winter’s Grammy nominated release, Earth: Voices Of A Planet, and also on four of vocalist Kurt Elling’s Grammy nominated releases to name a few.  To check out more of Paul’s incredible studio work visit his discography here.

SONAR feature you can’t live without?

I have too many favorite reasons for using SONAR to name them all, but versatility, stability, and ease of use, are just a few of them!

For more information on Paul and his exceptional work please visit:
www.paulwertico.com
www.facebook.com/paulwertico1
www.wcg.band

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Why Trance Chart-Topper iLan Bluestone Uses SONAR Platinum to Craft His Unique Sound

There is a new breed of DJ’s emerging, and U.K. native iLan Bluestone is leading the pack. This new insurgence is fueled more by raw talent rather than the button-pushing antics for which some DJ’s have been scrutinized.  Musicianship, song-structure, production, arrangement and mixing are now all part of the game with these super-DJ’s who have the skills to bring it all together. SONAR has been at the heart of iLan’s career for over 10 years now.  Hailing from the town of Borehamwood just north of London, he taught himself guitar and piano at a young age and took his time developing his sound. “I think it takes a while to figure out your sound and what you’re good at,” iLan told us while visiting his home studio in the U.K. “A lot of artists get really close to finding their own sound, but then for one reason or another things don’t seem to connect.  It takes a lot of dedication and patience to really develop as an artists these days, especially in the EDM world.” These words of wisdom seem to have a lot of weight behind them considering iLan’s sonic-trajectory in the last 18 months. On Beatport alone, he has seen the Top Ten Trance chart over 12 times including eight #1 tracks. He has also graced Billboard Charts and is literally the only U.K. artist to go from his bedroom production suite to a recent sold out show at Madison Square Garden (more…)

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Mixing Vocals: Create Depth with a Digital Reverb

by Dan Gonzalez

Depth is a factor of every mix, just like Height and Width. This is a harder concept to grasp because there really is no “Depth” adjust on a mixer. In this article we’ll talk about how to create depth using the Sonitus Reverb.

Creating Depth using the Sonitus Reverb

Digital reverbs are the proverbial swiss-army-knives of the mixing world. They are programmed in a way that emulates every part of a reverb. This includes the pre-delay, decay time, width, diffusion, early reflections etc. Since these emulate spaces like halls, plates, rooms, and other reverberant places – we can use them to create a room sound around our audio tracks for the purpose of creating depth. That’s a fancy way of saying that we can use reverb for depth. Here’s a vocal track that has no effects on it at all. It’s mixed into this track completely dry.

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Mixing Vocals: Easy Dynamic Vocal FX in SONAR

by Dan Gonzalez

A word on Vocal FX

Mixing vocals is a tricky process since it is the most prominent element in any song. Vocals can be processed a very specific way to achieve an effect of sorts – or they can be processed in subtle ways to fit nicely into an overall mix. Most of the time you’ll be dealing with the latter of the two so it’s important to figure out ways to enhance your vocals without overpowering the other instruments.

Critical attention to detail is what makes any track sound like a polished mix and to achieve this a lot of engineers approach each section, instrument, entrance, exit, etc. dynamically. Obviously one way to do this is by mixing with tons of automation, but there are other ways to setup your mix so that you don’t have to write loads of automation data.

Setting up a dynamic vocal effect

Let’s take a pretty dry vocal track and add a dynamic effect to it. Here’s an example of a verse that we can use.

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