© 2021 by Damon Broussard

How can story help our artwork?

Tsunami Sounds

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At Tsunami, stories mean a lot to us.

Stories are the oldest form of communication and by far the most effective way to get a person to feel something. Without a story being the root of an artistic project it's hard for us to get really invested into the work and for it to have any recall power. Most often artists don't put too much thought into this, especially in newly-commercialized and easily accessible industries like lofi production; the art can get lost in a saturated graveyard of projects that are identical in content and empty in personal meaning.

How do we make more thoughtful, personal projects? How do we pour more emotion into our work? Is that even required? Personally I feel like 

 

We would write an ebook, make a website, create a small community, start a label type of thing for young producers to get a feel of how the music business works. We actually started writing the ebook, but one evening we watched a YouTube video where a guy was talking about how a record label can work as a vehicle for your music. This basically changed everything and we started Aviary Bridge Records.

 

We released some of our own music through Aviary and not long after that we signed our first artist, a young producer from Romania, sar.casm. He's still with us today having a track together with Behind Clouds on the LoFi Beats playlists with more then 6 million streams already. Soon we started looking for talented producers with little to no following on Soundcloud that we thought we could be of value to. We figured that if we would build a small family with talented producers we would build a solid foundation that will lift everyone up as the label grows and vice versa. We knew that 'slow but steady' was the best way to go forward for us, so everyone would be able to keep up and learn along the way. Although that ebook will probably never get written, we never let go of our goal to be mentors, share knowledge and help young artists with all aspects of the music business.
 

Just a select few of the many artists working with Aviary

Damon:

It's funny you mentioned that having a record label can be a great vehicle for your own music. That's what initially prompted the idea with Tsunami as well. Getting the exposure I needed seemed too inconsistent and in the hands of too many hard to reach people, so creating my own team / collective seemed to be the best option for long term sustainability and growth.

When you’re searching for artists to sign with, or work with on a deeper level, what are some qualities that make or break the deal? How can an artist hope to develop these relationships with label owners?

Leon:

Part of the question has already been answered earlier, but when it comes down to adding artists to our family we mostly we look for talent. Raw and undeveloped talent and preferably lacking marketing skills. The kind of artists that would benefit from being with us. A perfect example would be one of our latest signings is Swagger Thief, a duo from the US. Amazing talent! But with already multiple albums out they barely had songs in their discography with more then 1000 streams. The guys are really enthousiastic and very eager to learn. Together we looked at their past, what they could've done differently and what they want for the future. We had some long but exhilarating chats! Together we managed to get 10k streams on their first single released with Aviary. They have seriously improved their music productions and their social media strategy. Next month we will release their 4th single as a promotional single for their album which will drop a month later.

 

We've seen many labels and collectives come and go in the past few years. Some of those have become very succesful in a short period of time. Sometimes it makes me wonder if we should've done things differently from the start, but then I look at our catalog, and more importantly the warm and caring family we've build here and I know we did the right thingMost of our early artists are still on the roster and form the core of our family!

Leon:

Part of the question has already been answered earlier, but when it comes down to adding artists to our family we mostly we look for talent. Raw and undeveloped talent and preferably lacking marketing skills The kind of artists that would benefit from being with us. A perfect example would be one of our latest signings is Swagger Thief, a duo from the US. Amazing talent! But with already multiple albums out they barely had songs in their discography with more then 1000 streams. The guys are really enthousiastic and very eager to learn. Together we looked at their past, what they could've done differently and what they want for the future. We had some long but exhilarating chats! Together we managed to get 10k streams on their first single released with Aviary. They have seriously improved their music productions and their social media strategy. Next month we will release their 4th single as a promotional single for their album which will drop a month later.

 

Damon:

What you mentioned above was crucial; to use the proper channels of contact unless you know the person yourself. Personally I only accept submissions for our own playlists via our specific page for music submissions. It gets too hectic trying to manage DM's from IG, messenger, email at the same time. You greatly increase your chances of being included by simply making the label owners lives easier

 

Damon:

I like what you said about thinking of it as like reading a recipe; and while not deviating from the plan you've got to bring some of your own ingredients in the mix.

 

Whenever I listen to artists who have a definite style that is unique from the rest, i find that quite often their music is much more simple than those who generally haven't found their signature "sound" yet. Why? I wondered.

It reminded me of the saying that "subtraction is better than addition" in music. Anyone can add several layers to a beat, yet subtraction is where the true artistry is; knowing where to cut and what to leave out requires more than just curiosity, but also experience. Lots of it.

 

This is not only true in music but in most art forms. Generally the more concise you can get in your message- the more focused and clear the overall result is. And usually those who can accomplish that are the ones who have an emerging style. 

I feel like the "spiritual" side of skill development in music is really overlooked, Perhaps because it's so abstract, but in my own life it seems my progression actually came from using music to tell the story of my life at that moment, rather than asking myself "What kind of beat should i make". 

Q: How has your environments and life circumstances shaped the evolution in your style? Do you feel like producers tap into this abstract part of creation enough?

Santpoort:

I agree totally! It seems a lot of musicians, composers and producers are very focussed on the technical side of creating music, which is of course important as well. I just think it’s important to put yourself in the perspective of the listener as they want to emerge themselves in your world. Its the same with books and films, so why not music?

I highly take my own experience and life in my music in an abstract way. Every release I’ve done describes a part of my life. "Picturebook" is a nostalgic snapshot of me as a child. Mudflat Hikers is the sense of adventure and the environment where I grew up. Cloudstreet is the longing and isolated homesick feel of returning to my own country after staying in Australia for more than three years. Santpoort is a homesick project but also a project for new adventure and exploration and I want to bring my fans on an imaginary train through this landscape.

Damon:

Great points; I can totally hear what you mean, especially In your beat "Wading through wetlands", which i linked above. You mentioned that album was a sense of adventure, and the beat perfectly reflects this emotion. The bass-line makes you feel like you're floating in air while the super busy hi-hats give off that playful and explorative feel. The piano chords gives me a movement feeling; a constant pulling towards the part where the bass melody switches and those flutes come in.

You seamlessly transition back to the main theme while fading out. No verses, no hooks, no distinguishable structure yet it portrayed the scene super vividly.

Thanks again Santpoort for sharing your thoughts behind this topic!

 

 

TL;DR

 

If there's anything I've learned from Santpoort and this conversation; it is to embrace your life journey and to think more abstractly about music rather than so practically. Music is best created as a narrative and glimpse into the creators life; and when it is faked, or non-existent, it just doesn't have that soul. Developing a style and signature sound is more about good old fashioned practice towards fluency of translating your ideas and emotions into a scene that flows perfectly from start to end. 

But it's something we can all do! 

I've included a few additional links below from a youtuber named Chris Punsalon; he's great at simply explaining melodic tips and tricks and will definitely give you some thoughts to work with;

But first,

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