Tuesday, October 20, 2009

An unexpected email leads to a course correction.

After working on one of the Marqui Adora songs all day I read this email message from Danny Ashe:

Subject:Hey Guys

I've been giving this a lot of thought and have come to a big decision. My days with Marqui Adora are over.
The fact that it doesn't bother me that we haven't done anything in months, tells me my heart is not in it anymore. For months I've been debating whether or not I should do this and I guess certain things have happened lately that have made me realize there's too many things I sacrificed for music. It was fine to sacrifice them at the time, but now I feel I need to move on.

I got a job in Spain, so I'm leaving right after Christmas and will be there for most of, if not all of 2010. Not sure if I'll be coming back to the States though... at least for a while.

It's been great working with you guys but after 20 years of playing music I'm officially ready to concentrate on a new career, new experiences and new goals.
I wish you both the best with the music and if at any point you want vocals done for the songs we haven't finished, let me know.

Take care,

This is Danny Ashe signing off...



So there you go. Joe and I hope Danny does well in everything he chooses to do in his life. (For my part I hope he falls back into making music someday since he is one of the most talented musicians I've ever worked with.)

Thanks for all the good times and good tunes Danny.

-John Tooker
Marqui Adora

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Where is Art & Entertainment heading?

John sent me these two links last night...

http://blog.amandapalmer.net/post/200582690/why-i-am-not-afraid-to-take-your-money-by-amanda

http://www.wbur.org/2009/08/20/basement-musician

Here are some thoughts after reading them:


I agree with Amanda Palmer. She totally has the right idea. Why the hell should you not be compensated for the art you create? The idea of every artist or band being a street a street performer and saying "Yo, give me some money!" might be a bit hard for some to adjust to, but it does make a lot of sense.
Marqui Adora (http://www.marquiadora.com) rarely played shows for this exact reason. We quickly got tired of haggling Promoters to get paid at the end of the night after playing with 10 other bands on a tiny stage not large enough for a drum kit let alone a 4 piece band and a shit PA. We knew we were never going to be singing with a record label and endless touring when no one knows who you are wasn't really appealing either. John and I continually said there has to be a better way. We went the music licensing route and even though we had some successes, when the well ran dry on placement opportunities, we quickly realized we had no real fan base, not one large enough to support us, and it was time to get day jobs. And although the music industry is in flux, some really awesome things are happening as a result. For one, John and I know a shit ton about how to fix and troubleshoot an Apple Computer and Danny knows how to expertly make your mouth water while preparing food in the kitchen. Howard can make a new tooth for ya.

With the basement musician guy... he is just as silly to me as Jonathan Coulton, but he has good ideas, just like Jonathan. And for that matter so did Radiohead with their Thumbs Down webcast videos during In Rainbows.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8GKRb-INFE

These videos got me excited to go see them live. And many bought the Box Sets. I paid five bucks for the record, even after getting the whole thing free a week or two before it's "Official" release.

The key here is both artists are taking chances and go about their business in ways that make the most sense to them. Neither of their approaches will work for everyone but they will work for those who put in the time and energy to build relationships with the fans/customers.

"Bob Lefsetz says it's all about the live show, what about recorded music and all the money I spent buying recording gear and the time I spent learning how to do it on my own? Does recorded music have value any more?"

Good question. I ask my self that question whenever I go into my office and see 10's of thousands of dollars worth of recording equipment, instruments, computers and shelves full of 12" records and CD's. I ask myself that question whenever I think of how many times I listened to "The Downward Spiral", "Broken" and "The Slip"; or the number of times I walked to school listening to "Disintegration", "Pornography" and that Ethyl Meatplow record; or the time I spent dissecting "Fook", and the many drives to anywhere just to listen to "Either/Or" and "XO"; Or how about the trips to Orlando with "Ruby Vroom" or "The Bends" as the soundtrack or the number of times I just sat down with headphones to take in "In Rainbows" or even most recently "xx". Of course these recordings have value! Look at how much use I got out of them! I see the music landscape becoming more interesting everyday and I think the value of recorded music is still there and is expanding in the form of royalties through services like Spotify. Not that Spotify is the end of the line, but it's a big step in the right direction when it comes to this topic.

Which leads me to my next topic...

Ownership vs. Access.


As for Art and Entertainment as a whole, I feel really comfortable with the idea of owning very little but having access to everything. I've been doing that for years with Movies (The Theatre, Netflix, iTunes etc.) and now with Spotify I'll be doing it more so with music (don't worry eMusic, I still love you). The People who really want the access will pay for it via subscription or buy the Album/Song/Movie out right, those who don't will tolerate the Ad's because really, they don't care that much anyway, otherwise they would own the record/movie themselves. I feel the same applies with Books, TV, Radio and all forms of art that can be digitized. When on demand services mature and every play/stream/download is accurately accounted for and reported to the rights holders and collections services, the amount of revenue generated as whole will be insane, even at fractions of a penny per download. And of course Labels, Publishers and Movie Studios will find their place again by delivering prominence and front page placement. It will all level out

You can't buy the Statue of Liberty, but you can pay admission and see it in person... while you're there you can buy a print, a postcard, a t-shirt, go home and download the screen saver or desktop img, etc. This applies to the Album and seeing a band live. You can't own the band (well, ok maybe you can), but you can own a copy of the album digitally, a t-shirt, a poster, blah blah blah. And there will always be diehards who want a collectable, like a CD, Vinyl or A Super Duper Blue Ray ultra amazing 5.1 more real than real Audio/Video 3D DVD 128 Page Full Color (to big for your book shelf and takes up so much space on your coffee table that you can't actually place a cup of coffee on it) Enhanced Box Set Thingy.

We (bands this means you) just have to stick around long enough to capitalize off of all the changes ahead of us.

-Joe

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Music you should see! The Holy Rave Party

Holy Rave Party



I wish every Drum N' Bass party I went to 10 years ago was like this. I will need a lot more of this kind of video remix. It made me happy in a way I can only express like this...

REWIND!!!!!!!

-John Tooker
Marqui Adora

Monday, June 22, 2009

The postmodern death of pop music as an art.

So I stumbled on this today...

Lady Gaga Live at Much Music Awards 2009



I found it from here.

When I read Lady Gaga performs two songs “Love Game”/”Poker Face” I thought "okay I have to know if Poker Face means what I think it does." At this point the only exposure to Lady Gaga I have is seeing her with a lot of make up on various music magazines and websites and a brief listen to a few songs in the iTunes store. I checked out the songs because I had hoped for something along the lines of Lady Saw (a female reggae artist). Instead my ears started to bleed from auto-tune overdoses so I dismissed her as more of a recorded company/industry creation.

As I watch the usual overly-dramatic-awards-show-dance-routine I notice that "hey she is actually singing a few lines live!" Then I realize something odd. The whole dance performance makes no sense unless you've seen Madonna or Brittany or Janet or some other female lip-sync artist performing on an awards show. Then, as if to prove my point, it ends with two female dancers grabbing her chest before doing a costume switch where she has a cone shaped bra shooting off fireworks from her breasts. I feel pretty sure she would've done it nude just for the shock value. Madonna would be proud.

The awards show itself reminded me of a cargo cult type of behavior where certain rituals are performed in the hope of receiving certain rewards. The catch is the behavior has nothing to do with gaining the desired rewards. Getting an award doesn't make the music good. Doing a shocking(!) performance doesn't make you a pop star. Wearing almost no cloths doesn't make you sexy.

I can only conclude that the music industry has no idea what it is doing and is thrashing around and using every kind of trick that might've once worked for them to brainwash the publics ears one last time.

Someone should tell them John Frum is not coming...

-Tooker
Marqui Adora

P.S. While the song "Poker Face" seems to refer the singer being unreadable, after the exploding tits moment it was definitely ment to reference "poke her face" with a snicker snicker... Or maybe I'm just being cynical?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Music you should hear: Theresa Andersson

Interesting pop music made with one woman and a lot of delay pedals. Her Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/theresaanderssonmusic





iTunes Link

-John

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A quick update: Chefs and Rough Drafts

Hello folks,

While Danny studies to be a Chef, Howard plays with a few other bands and Joe and I continue our individual paths to ultimate Mac Geekery not much has been happening in the world of Marqui Adora. Fact is you won't see very much from us in the near future unless one of us finds that million dollars we misplaced the other day. (Let us know if you find it.) We still plan on eventually releasing some new music and one day (when the economy recovers) even playing a few shows again.

Until such a time we've decided on a more open approach to the recording process we fight with so much. You'll notice the main site has a new Drafts section that will let you hear some of our less finished recordings. We make no guaranty as to the quality of the recordings but we do think at least a few have a genuine sparkle that you might enjoy.

-John Tooker
Marqui Adora

P.S. twitter.com/marquiadora

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Music you should hear! Playing for Change...

I'm pretty sure Bob Marley would love this.



More info here: http://www.playingforchange.com/






-John

Monday, April 20, 2009

Where the web is broken Part 1: Why the Twitter is more betterer than Facebook

A million trees falling in a million forests and no one is listening because it's so damn loud!



I can say with some experience that all of the social networking sites are big messy piles of stuff that barely works or mostly irritates the users. The only thing I feel these sites do well is connect you to people you may have lost touch with. However they all do so behind a "walled garden" so you must first join the site to know if it's worth your time to join the site. The number of sites I've tried out is in the dozens and without a doubt most are useless unless people you know are on them.

I think that their might be a better way. I think most people would be better served dividing their attention between two main tools, a personal Blog and Twitter (until it dies or something better comes along.) I'll make the case for my point of view with an exploration of my experiences with the social sites most people use.

Let's start with MySpace.



When MySpace was a new and interesting place to find people who shared common interests and old friends you'd lost touch with it served a very useful purpose. The members of my band, Marqui Adora, joined MySpace in the early days of the site and MySpace is partially responsible for connecting the members of the band to one another. We even have had our music placed in a Toyota advertising campaign through some of the connections we made on the site. We interacted with people all over the world and made some of their days a little better with a few rock tunes, which is more then I could've hoped for as a musician playing in a band in Florida.

Now the bad news. By the time we reached 10,000 MySpace friends we had largely lost touch with those who gave a damn about the band. We had to turn on every spam blocking tool on the site to stop the flood of band and business friend requests. Anyone who was genuinely interested could not be separated from the users who just wanted to let us know about a brilliant business opportunity. Our time on the page became triage and delivered none of the creative inspiration that it did when we'd get a ringing endorsement from one of our MySpace friends. It stopped being a communication tool and became a shitty neighborhood where everyone has bars on the windows. It went from open and wild to closed and regulated with no one searching for new music or new friends. I deleted almost every friend on the band page in an attempt to re-boot the site to something more useful. At the moment most of our "friends" have not even noticed we are gone from their friend lists.

The problem with MySpace is that if you are interested in a person or band they have to add you per your request and when they create that link you have equal claim to their attention in a 1 to 1 relationship even if they have 10,000 followers. It's as if everyone watching a play could talk to the actors all at once while they are on stage in the middle of the play. As you might imagine your attention gets further removed from the creative work that attracted the new friends in your efforts to keep them happy. A cycle is created in which the more people you connect with the less you will create the thing they liked in the first place the more they introduce you to their friends. (I'll come back to this idea when I get to Twitter so keep it in mind.)

MySpace to Facebook is a step down not a step up.



Around the same time Facebook was becoming a new place that people started to flock to. So we each created profiles and searched for friends again. At the time I thought, and still do think, that Facebook is one of the worst designed websites ever. If Jonathan Ives or Steve Jobs ever created a social website it would look nothing like the unorganized clutter that Facebook represents. Your Facebook page has crap on the left. crap on the right, crap at the top, stuff on the bottom left, stuff on the bottom right and some other junk in the middle with no sense of what is and what is not important. It's user interface is embarrassingly childlike and should be taken out back and shot.

On MySpace you would encounter the problem of pictures, gifs and animated videos being put on your page at random by friends. On Facebook they added the ability for poking-snowball-vampire-mafia apps. FUCK YOU! It's as if they decided to make the internet a place where otherwise intelligent and thoughtful people would behave like idiots!

Now please consider this, when was the last time you saw a post on Facebook that was a clear and unique perspective or thought? It can happen but I bet that you remember it happening more on MySpace. The reason, MySpace has blogs and blogs are ment to be journals and places for introspection. I would never write something this long for Facebook because the medium gives it no weight or permanence in the eyes of most Facebook users. (Those of you reading this on my Facebook notes page it is really being reposted from my Blog, "A Total Waste of Time" over HERE.) I have a page on Facebook mostly to keep in contact with people I don't otherwise see or talk to. Both Facebook and MySpace are good for that purpose but that is all in my opinion. I'd rather everyone I know have a blog on Blogger or Wordpress and a Twitter account and I'll explain why in another post to follow shortly. (...maybe)

As an aside, to give credit to Facebook, it has one advantage over MySpace in that my status updates come from my Twitter posts not from the site itself because of Facebook's ability to interact with other sites outside of it's walled garden. Having said that some of the functions added by Facebook Apps are useful but the vast majority are very spammy.

What makes Twitter different.



The most obvious differences are that Twitter only allows for 140 character posts and limits the customization of the users page to choosing a background image and a few short notes about who you are. With a sparse homepage your use of Twitter is not about flashing gifs and snowballs but is instead focused on the content of the brief messages you transmit into the electronic landscape of your followers. The 140 character limit has spawned a range of applications like URL shorteners, the Diggbar and music search engines that let you link to a music file. A great many sites now have a letter T that lets you post a story to Twitter in a few clicks. Also the sparse nature of Twitter has inspired truly creative people to come up with Twitter clients like my favorite for the iPhone and Mac OS X, Tweetie.

A less obvious difference is the way that Twitter allows you to follow anyone without requiring them to do anything or follow you back. And to me that is one of the most important differences to the site and it's usefulness.

How Twitter is better from the follower's perspective.



One of the reasons I enjoy Twitter is it fixes the way most of the web is slanted towards those who comment rather than those who create. If Merlin Mann posts something funny and insightful on Twitter I don't have to read or even see the 30 people who feel they must inform the world that it is neither funny nor insightful. I can enjoy his art for what it is in it's own context. Now consider a typical MySpace or Facebook page and how that would differ. First it would be reposted and fill up your entire bulletin list in an attempt to spread it beyond just Merlin's followers. Second it would be reposted with additional commentary like "This is Funny!" so it will lose some of it's subtle surprise. (Side note: if it's funny I'll know it when I laugh.) On Twitter there is no room to comment other then a "RT" or a "via" so it can maintain most of it's original intentions without having additional opinion or commentary. That doesn't mean you can't comment all you like it just means you will not likely interfere with the experience of most of his Twitter followers. And that is why Twitter wins for me, I get to hear from the people I want without having to wade though the commentary from strangers who might put only the effort required to say "sucks" and push a button to pollute my absorption of an idea.

Twitter behaves more like a news program that can occasionally take calls when they want to. The main content is a one way exchange of ideas from the person you follow to you the follower with some interaction between the people that person follows. Interaction only occurs at the choice of each participant and so it becomes more meaningful. (well it could at least, YMMV)


How Twitter is better from the creator's perspective.



For the person doing creative work it also allows the creator to regain control of their interactions with those who consume their creative output. On Twitter following everyone who follows you is not required and is actually the wrong way to do things. When someone becomes a burden on your Twitter timeline you can simply un-follow them either temporarily or permanently and regain control. It allows the artist to communicate to their fans in a way that has no cost on their time beyond what they choose to allow. The 140 character limit encourages them to be brief and get back to making things for their followers to consume and enjoy. An example of this type of use is Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails who has a Twitter account and actively uses it in a way he never has with the multiple NIN.com sites he's had over the years. Another telling example is Amanda Fucking Palmer, who uses Twitter to invite fans to impromptu concerts and also to get song request while onstage at the venue each night while she performs.

If these artist opened their Twitter and saw every comment from the peanut gallery they would likely close the window and never come back again or never have time to go make something new and exciting because they would feel compelled to read all the incoming messages and reply to them. This is one of the major advantages to Twitter. If you are interested in someone they do not need to be interested in you for you to be able to follow what they do. Trent Reznor does not know my name but he can tell me his thoughts on a new synth or an album without him needing to know me as an individual.

Twitter allows for a creator to speak directly to his audience with no intermediary dulling down or altering his message. It allows for the creator, at their choosing, to respond to something they perceive as an inaccuracy in a reporters story or to let their audience know that they've created something for them.

Twitter is not a replacement for a blog.



It may be called a micro-blogging service but Twitter is not the same as a dedicated blog page. A blog is a place for long form thoughts or a series of thoughts or photos or videos collected together as a record of prior events. It is ment to be a journal and should be used in that way. Not everyone needs a blog or Twitter but I think both provide unique forums for people to express who they are and what interests them.

I have more thoughts on this I'll post next time...
-John
Marqui Adora

P.S.

In the meantime:

twitter.com/marquiadora

marquiadora.blogspot.com

twitter.com/johntooker

www.johntooker.com

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Trent Reznor on Digg Dialog

Great interview with Trent Reznor, I like him more and more as he gets older.



-Joe

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Music you should hear: Kasabian - Vlad The Impaler

Well at least see the video once anyway. It has Impaling! how often do you see that?

New Kasabian Single - "Vlad The Impaler", Album out in June. Grab the MP3 Here: Read more Here


Kasabian - Vlad the Impaler from Kasabian on Vimeo.

Get Loose Baby, It's April Fools Day!

-Joe



Monday, March 30, 2009

The Revolution will be Streamed!

The world is a changing, some links to support that idea:

Another Kicker from Bob Lefsetz:

"If you want to have a fulfilling, enriched life today you don’t start a band, you start a company! Is your desire to date Mariah Carey or have enough money to attract reasonable members of the opposite sex? Do you want to have people tell you what to do or do you want to be in charge of your own destiny? Tech is about innovation. What do they say, "Innovate or die"? Whereas in the music business it’s "I don’t hear a single."

Customer Service is the title of a recent blog entry by Bob Lefsetz, in it he once again draws parallels from the Music & Tech industries, both of which I'm interested in. I really like where Bob is going lately, Since I have my feet in both fields I can relate easily.

*****

TechCrunch: Jason Kincaid takes a First Look at Lala’s iPhone App which will Stream Your Music Library From The Cloud. This is an important step in what is to come for all media. When the dust settles the end result for most users will be on demand cloud stored media. Music, Movies & TV will not be owned by most but streamed and subscribed to on demand. The next couple years will see stepping stones towards this end, but the bottom line will be access to everything everywhere when you want it. But you're saying "Wait this is no good for me, I'm a DJ, I mix and match beats and tempos, I just got use to CD's I can't just stream files and mix them, My Laptop will crash!!!" No worries you'll still be hoarding files, all of your fans however will most likely not. Resistance is Futile.

*****

SMK - 6 Swedes pick up where Kraftwerk left off.



John found this video 1st, which seems to be a really well done fan video. I of course liked the song, dug a little bit deeper and found the 10+ minute live jam version.



The group is called SlagsmÄlsklubben or SMK, according to their MySpace they're from Stockholm and Berlin and they have a new EP out called Sponsored by Destiny, which is also the name of the song in both the video's above.

Here another called Smedby Eyes



Rave!

-Joe



Friday, March 13, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Monday, March 2, 2009

Bad news and good news...

Bad news:
We didn't finish new recordings for the RPM Challenge. Maybe next year!

Good news:
We have some new songs that are real close to finished.

Gooder news:
We seem to have hit upon a method for working on new music even with our widely different schedules. So while we had planned on continuing our break for the next several months, we will more likely have some new recordings for your ears soon. In fact we recorded vocals for And it Begins today which means that song is a few steps from the finished pile. (Several others are almost to that point as well.) We plan on collecting a few of these into an album to be released in the next few months. After that we plan on keeping the momentum we've maintained for the last month and stretching it out further. Like anything else our plans are always subject to change...

-John

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Neat little trick for the iTunes Music Store

Type the url itunes.com with a band name added to the end in your web browser to open the iTunes Store on the artists page:

A few helpful examples:

http://www.itunes.com/marquiadora

http://www.itunes.com/modernage

-John

Friday, February 27, 2009

Some music I think you should hear (and see)

Rob Sheridan shot some video with the Cannon 5D Mark II at some of the Nine Inch Nails shows in Sydney.

New drummer seems to be fitting right in.


1,000,000 Live from on stage, Sydney 2.22.09 [HD] from Nine Inch Nails on Vimeo.



Burn Live from on stage, Melbourne 2.25.09 [HD] from Nine Inch Nails on Vimeo.


-John

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

It don't mean a thing...

Duke Ellington becomes first African-American on U.S. coin

I associate teen sex with teenagers having fully functional sexual organs but maybe music is to blame! Not.

So what happens when the teenage couple listens to music while staring at an album cover?




-John

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Direction

Bad Direction: "This Sucks, Try Something Else."

Good Direction: "When you add parts to it think orchestral arrangement. Some things come in briefly and then don't repeat. Imagine the song is a soundtrack to a montage of cars driving."

Thanks John!

-Joe

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Making Music is Good

MA-RPM02-21-2009


Just finished working on one of John's songs called Almost Better. I added some atmospheric layers to it, a handful of synths and tweaked the drums a bit. Think NIN's hurt meets The Cure's Lullaby. I think it's going to turn out really nice.

This makes 9 songs so far that are arranged and nearing completion that have been started in the month of February. This RPM Challenge is turning our to be pretty cool. We're under the gun now to finish these up and get them mixed be by the 28th. The pressure is on. Woo-Hoo!

-Joe

Friction and Untitled Document Syndrome

I think this is a very good read.

Go read that I'll wait right here 'till you're done.

I've been thinking about this at my day job. Part of the problem new computer users have is they expect every program to work the way iTunes and iPhoto does. They don't even realize that they have just saved a document called untitled into the documents folder and they have no idea how to find it.

Even in a Pro App like Logic I hate having to come up with some bullshit name before I can play a note of music! (Yes sometimes I need to get to those files themselves but maybe if things got handled like they are in Aperture I could keep an "online" and offline version of songs and still export them when needed.) They fixed some of this with hiding the environment part of logic from the average user but I wish they had more input from the kind of thing pointed out in the above article.

On a side note to Joe and Danny I think Friction might make a good title for the RPM Challenge finished work. Eight Days Left!!!

-John

Friday, February 20, 2009

You'll have to give me a copy...

Okay people, DRM is gone from the iTunes store why don't you start buying music again?

XKCD

really

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Some music I think you should listen to.

Music from Amanda Palmers record "Who Killed Amanda Palmer".

A fun one called "Leeds United".

Amanda Palmer "Leeds United" Music Video from Amanda Palmer on Vimeo.

A rockin' tune called "Runs In The Family".

"Who Killed Amanda Palmer" Video Series - Part 4: Runs In The Family from Amanda Palmer on Vimeo.

Mellowish: "The Point of It All"

"Who Killed Amanda Palmer" Video Series - Part 5: The Point Of It All from Amanda Palmer on Vimeo.

Oasis without further comment.

Amanda Palmer "Oasis" Music Video from Amanda Palmer on Vimeo.


Alright so you should just go buy it from iTunes.


Hope you liked,
-John

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Talking is Good

Had a great chat with John last night and a great chat with Danny today. Momentum is building. Slowly, but it's definitely building. Session files are flying back and forth through the internets and songs are starting to emerge. Just about everything else in the world seems to be falling apart, but this seems to be coming together quite nicely.

Now if I could figure this fucking thing out...




;)

Joe

We're Not Dead... I swear!

We're actually working on something that's turning out to be a lot of fun and very challenging! RPM

Monday, February 9, 2009

Monday, February 2, 2009

MA-032 RPM Challenge Day 2

The first update regarding the RPM Challenge. It's a contest we've entered in which you must write an album of 10 songs or 35 minutes in the month of February. One of the tools we are using to work remotely from one another is DropBox. More info here: http://www.getdropbox.com

MA-032 RPM Challenge Day 2