Tagged: online marketing

Three Things Digital Creatives Can Learn from Hip Hop Beatmakers

One of my biggest interests over the last couple of years has been building beats. For the uninitiated, “beats” in this context equals instrumental hip hop tracks, focused mostly on texture, juxtaposition and getting a good head nod going. You can hear my take on this art form here, but that’s not really what this post is about.

Damu the Fudgemunk is a musician who has been using YouTube to showcase his approach to making beats for a few years now. He’s garnered a solid reputation and landed production gigs by using YouTube to get his name and style out there. So that’s one reason why he should be interesting to the Fauna Corp faithful – he has brought his art and passion together and built a brand for himself via online video, and people keep tuning in because he’s got skills and charisma.

Damu’s latest video (filmed and edited by JNota) has him playing live drums and talking about his approach to rhythm. I thought this video was especially relevant for Fauna Corp because the production values are solid without being flashy (text overlays in capslock, san-serif fonts, video shot with slight vignette effect, nice saturation, and solid editing), and the subject matter is so particular.

If you are new to the world of beatmaking, the considerations that Damu discusses (poly-rhythms, tone and placement of hi-hats, different producers’ techniques for kick and snare textures, etc.) are the very same ones that beatmakers obsess over every day. For a musical form often referred to as “boom-bap”, It is a style filled with surprising subtlety, and reinterpreting / re-purposing the licks and riffs of  previous masters is part of the art.  So for Fauna Corp readers that means: learn from the best, lift what you can, make it all your own.

So Damu’s latest video is instructional to Digital Creatives in three ways:

  • It shows how being passionate and genuine in online video can be a way to further your craft, reach new audiences and establish your brand;
  • It shows how simple, tasteful production techniques can be used to make engaging videos that resonate with audiences both inside and outside your community;
  • And it shows how the minutiae of any interest or past-time – whether it is beatmaking,  visual art, weird sports, or even political upheaval in Sudan – can be studied and obsessed over so that your own output is a natural (but not unconscious) extension of what you’ve learned, hybridized and interpreted.

Check out Damu’s latest video, and see if you agree that there are things to learn from, regardless of what your digital output is about.

Get into what you are into, and you can get others into it too. And, as always, feel free to leave a comment here on Fauna Corp.

Lessons Learned from Secondhand Sureshots

Dublab released a short video about 2 months ago, called Secondhand Sureshots. It was probably only about 12 to 15 minutes long, but I think it will have a lasting impact.

The concept for the project was to take four well-established (but still largely underground) instrumental hip hop producers, send them to different LA thrift stores with $5 each, and have them shop for records.

The producers would then return to their labs and create a beat (ie: musical piece) using only the records they bought within their $5 cap limit. These beats were pressed to vinyl, and each copy was given a handmade, art-piece album cover. Beautiful. Copies of the finished product were then taken back to the thrift stores and reinserted into the thrift store record bins. I don’t know what that’s supposed to say, but I like the reciprocal symmetry of it all.

The whole art project was documented and Secondhand Sureshots was released online, for free, for about a week. It was then it was pulled down and some trailers remained online to promote the film.

Now Dublab and Stones Throw Records are selling the DVD, a vinyl copy of the finished tracks wrapped in hand-made album covers, and 2 slip mats for $60. I think it is a great deal, and a great way to market what is a wonderful and strange little project. Also, by putting their emphasis on engaging consumers in a full experience, Dublab and Stones Throw are able to sell this larger package (at a higher price) rather than only the CD and DVD of the documentary.

In an age of instant digital downloads, this emphasis on a handcrafted object that music fans understand and engage with at a deeper level could offer another option to the music industry, or possibly, some inspiration to journalists, digital storytellers and other multimedia producers. The value-add has never been more of an added value.

In spite of all the digital marketing speak above, let’s not lose sight of the core cool: this is ultimately a nifty little documentary and album aimed at a niche, dedicated audience. One that includes me.

The producers, Ras G, Nobody, Daedelus, and J-Rocc are all talented weirdos, and I’ve been influenced by their music for a while now. I found it very cool to hear their thought process (or feel process) for diggin’ in the record crates and making beats. And because I didn’t know in advance that the documentary was only going to be online for a week, and was so impressed by the well-crafted final product, I’ve decided to buy the full package.

Maybe you should too. Or release your own multi-format art piece?

The Trailer:

dublab presents…SECONDHAND SURESHOTS (preview) from dublab on Vimeo.

Have some multi-format art pieces to share (of your own or otherwise)?

Let me know in the comments.