Facebook is both a blessing and a curse for musicians. A blessing in that it lets you reach potential fans from all over the world, but a curse because there’s so much competition for eyes and ears. It’s a format that really rewards solid shareable content, and if you’re in a band who wants to live-stream a performance you’re going to find that whacking an iPhone in the corner of the room isn’t going to cut it. Crash Symphony Productions in Sydney has come up with the perfect way to get your music in front of the Facebook and YouTube masses.
“Basically, what we are doing is live streaming of bands to their Facebook and YouTube accounts,” James Englund from Crash says. “These are live gigs from our recording studio in Neutral Bay and they're kind of virtual gigs so we've called them ‘vigs.’ The idea is that Crash Symphony can take the super high-quality audio from the controlled environment of the recording studio and combine that with a multi-camera setup to live-stream your performance with proper, engaging production on both the audio and visual side. Cameras are set up on dollys and booms for dynamic presentation, and can be switched on the fly to give an almost music video-like vibe.
“This is cool because most of the live streaming that is happening at the moment from amateur bands is from their iPhones and the audio is crap and you only get one angle. This way we're able to get an amazing sound and combine it with multiple camera angles. We feel that this is going to be a big thing for bands when it comes to reaching a large audience. They can sell merchandise during the vig and present links to iTunes et cetera.”
Crash Symphony Productions has strayed a little off the traditional course in the past few years and moved towards a less conventional recording studio model. “We now incorporate video as a big part of the service we provide,” Englund says. “The reason for this is because YouTube is fast becoming one of the most used search engines on the internet. Pretty soon most of the content on the net will be video. So for musicians to truly reach their audience they need to have video content as well as great music. It's more demanding now but there are more possibilities available to the artists. From a business perspective, this has meant that I've also strayed from the traditional model where a producer has a recording studio and collects as much gear as possible and only does one thing – recording. Instead, I've looked to create a critical mass of talented creatives under the one umbrella who can work together to help Sydney's artists get out there and get noticed. CD design, video, recording engineers, producers, etc. I have found that most of the artists that approach us want this kind of full service. The concept of the vig is just another addition on this train of thought.”
Crash Symphony also does a lot of work in the film world, particularly running ADR sessions. “Often, high profile actors will travel through Sydney for various reasons and the studios in the UK, US and other parts of the world will need to get these actors to record lines in the film. Sometimes it's only a few lines. We load up the movie on our end and use a system called source connect to stream the audio to the studio overseas. They can see the picture on their end and hear the voice being tracked to the movie.”
Englund has a heck of an industry pedigree as a producer and engineer. He’s worked with industry greats such as John Butler, Michael Bolton and 10cc as well as working closely with engineers and artists like Michael Brauer (four-time Grammy winner and mixer of Coldplay, John Mayer, Jeff Buckley, and more), Mike Stavrou (Sting, Elton John), Deni Hines, Erika Heynatz, Will Ackerman (multi-Grammy award winning producer of Windham Hill, USA), Cookie Marenco, and more. He also works as an audio professional and composer for screen music projects including film, documentary, TVC, Web Series and corporate promo, and in 2012 he released an iPhone App called Audio Engineer, which enjoyed success being the world’s first app textbook for audio engineers, producers and home recording musicians. So he’s perfectly placed to consider ways to blend old and new technologies.
“You can see that the trend in the modern recording studio is being governed largely by the internet and what we can do with it,” he says. “The old model of a large studio with hundreds of faders and a big desk isn't as relevant as it used to be. It has its place but I think small, in-the-box, highly capable internet savvy studio is the way to go. In saying all that, one of my hobbies is to build my own outboard gear. I've built some great sounding LA2A compressors, I have two more on the way and I'm currently building a Pultec EQ. For those who want to have their music mixed on outboard gear we still offer that. Furthermore, I find that building our own units is far better because we can choose the components that go inside and we don't cut corners on engineering costs. So our units have sounded better that the off the shelf LA2As.”
Visit crashsymphony.com.au for more info.