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New Musicreviews

SUNFLOWER | ANGEL

Lo-fi is on the rise these days, but it doesn’t mean that it all has to sound the same. Enter Aussie artist SUNFLOWER who recently joined our artist roaster, full of soulful, hip-hop and smooth beats. Lo-fi has become an aesthetic these days, much like how Vaperwave first hit the scene in years past. Each song on ANGEL is somehow tied to itself, and at same point vocal interludes, looped samples of various rhythms and chilled jazzy beats fill your lonely soul. The album ANGEL takes us on a journey from long ago, with 70’s club hits, sax and urban music, usually composed on controllers such as MPC, though let your mind wander a bit. With the likes of Marvin Gaye and other soulful writers of yesterday, these days, artists can take from the past and write a new score for the mind to pick apart. I can compare some of this to St. Pepsi and other Vaperwave that is still considered quite obscure to the listener. Looping and interludes, 808 beats, kicks that fill the room or your car stereo and straightaway each song fades out and into the next, with a new idea, a new form. Vocal-driven songs such as Witchcrash, “You said you would…” sung in low key, mystery and sensual mystery.” Music like this you hear on the hi-fi record player, better yet record the music straight to your MiniDisc and place it on loop.

#WEATNU Digital Magazine – Dec 2019

Follow SUNFLOWER on Twitter @B0TULISM

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FeaturedInterviews

Interview with: City Cowboy

This month Swedish artist, City Cowboy spoke to us on his music process, influences and future work he wishes to accomplish, it was a pleasure speaking to him

How are you today, City Cowboy? 

CC: Great, thanks!

Would you mind telling us your story of how you entered music? 

CC: Sure thing! Growing up we had a piano in our home and my older sister took lessons. I used to sit by the piano too (when she wasn’t there) and just play around and gradually found that I could play too – without lessons! It turns out I have a pretty good ear when it comes to identifying notes and chords, but not perfect pitch. As a teen I bought my first synth, a Roland D5. I remember making my first multitimbral tracks with Steinberg pro 12 and 24 on an Atari ST. The excitement of first recording a bassline for instance and then adding strings, then drums and so on was great. Such a creative joy. Then I tried to add some vocals along with the background. The lyrics for my first songs were really pathetic. One early track was a real “bohoohoo-story” called “Turned down again”! My music making “career” had thus begun. Many years later, I started making music with a Yamaha Motif workstation that I still use today and under the name City Cowboy. And here we are!

How long have you been writing music?

CC: Since 1989

What types of music do you write? 

CC: I guess I would call it pop or synth pop. I solely use a workstation synth so I don’t include any other instruments, even though I do play the guitar and bass for instance. I like EDM and sometimes I do more electronic stuff, like the two Kraftwerk covers I have done so far. 

What processes do you use to create music? 

CC: I start with an idea for a song, it could be that I start with a chorus for instance. I play it on a keyboard and try to come up with words too. If I like it enough I try to compose a whole song with verses, bridge etc. When I know how I want the song to be, roughly at least, I do the sequencing on my workstation. I then record it onto my Tascam multitracker. Last, I work on the vocals and mix and master.

How are you involved in the Indie scene? 

CC: I try to make myself heard through diverse channels, my music can be found in various places on the net. I have also done some local “publicity stunts” here in my home town. (Even as a Santa…) As part of WEATNU records, I agree with Almark’s vision that everyone deserves to be heard. If there’s any quality there, it should eventually be discovered, one hopes.

What is happening in the music scene around your area of Sweden? 

CC: Well… I think the best place to be here in Sweden is probably Stockholm, our capital, or another of the major cities. That is not the case for me, I like country living so I try my best from here… Cowboy style…Yeeehaw!

Are you playing live or do you wish to online, perhaps through our label? 

CC: So far, City Cowboy hasn’t done any live performances at all. That would take some practical arrangements so to speak. But who knows in the future?

You just released new music, would you like to talk about that or something you might be working at the moment?

CC: My latest release is called “Down the Aisle” and it’s a bouncy, happy track celebrating love and marriage. As a Christian, I do believe that marriage is the highest form of union between two people. Something to cherish these days. For this Christmas I plan to make my version of the medieval song Veni Immanuel available to my fans. It’s an absolutely delightful song and I chose to do the lyrics all in Latin. So beautiful. I hope folks will appreciate it and that they won’t think my interpretation of it is too modern.

Are you working professionally or for the love of music? 

CC: Well, this “ol’ cowboy” has a regular day job and does his musical cowboying in his freetime! What I would really like is for the whole world to listen to my music. To really have people’s attention! The best thing is when I get a personal message or mail from someone who has been touched by one of my songs. It happens now and then.

You said you began with Atari ST, that’s interesting. 

CC: True. With a built-in midi interface, the ST was launched as more of a professional musician’s computer than the Commodore Amiga I believe. I played my fair share of games on it too of course! But that’s how I started sequencing songs.Delightful stuff.

What kinds of music are you passionate about when you listen in your quiet space? 

CC: If someone really had me in a stranglehold and FORCED me to choose just ONE favourite group, I think it would have to be Pet Shop Boys. Just for the sheer quality of their output through so many years. Their songs are really atmospheric I believe, and they always pay attention to lyrics. There’s often a melancholy touch there. Having said that, I do also give ample credit to Depeche Mode, Erasure, Jarre, Kraftwerk and Jay-jay Johansson for instance. That’s just within the synth genre. I do like other genres too and know quite a lot about classical. Bach is a favourite of course, Mozart too, but also romantic era stuff like Grieg. Early Music is also interesting. I dig jazz as well and hiphop. Some genres don’t interest me very much, including country, blues, soul and R&B.

How does the music begin, in your mind or outside? 

CC: In my mind I would say. Or by playing around on some kind of keyboard. It doesn’t have to be a synth of course, it could be an acoustic piano too. I’m quite a skilled player if I may say so myself! 😉 I never, EVER use any “ready made” beats or grooves or anything, I do everything on my own. If I do stuff that’s hard to play right, I might slow things down while recording of course. This kind of music does take some quantization. Other genres don’t need to be so rhythmically correct. 

Music theory or by ear? 

CC: I play by ear exclusively, although I have an understanding about score and musical theory like intervals, chords, rythm, your dominants and subdominant parallels and stuff…

How did you come up with the name “City Cowboy”?

CC: Well…first off, you need an artist name, right? Although I find that at least here in Sweden, a surprising amount of people actually use their real names as artist names. That definitey doesn’t suit me, as the person behind City Cowboy is very private and secretive… So…the cowboy is one of the most iconic male “figures” in the western world, right? And I thought the contradiction of a cowboy in the city was quite interesting. What does he really do there? He can’t work with his live stock, now can he? He probably wears a hat, but he can’t strap on his gun belt. Does he go to bars and drink? I don’t know, I just liked the name.

This is our 5th year: where do you see weatnu records going for 2020?

CC: In 2020 I think WEATNU Records might be ready to lift itself from the shades of relative obscurity and become an important player, really becoming the voice of smaller, upcoming artists.

How is #WEATNU helping artists from your point of view?

CC: WEATNU helps artists by being a fair label, a radio and now also a Digital Magazine. Great with this threefold power.

Marmite or Nutella? – Trick question.

CC: I never eat Nutella. The other I don’t know what it is! Not sure it’s available in Sweden. Try to eat healthy stuff mostly!

Thank you City Cowboy for doing this interview with us, good luck to you and your music. May your Christmas be well and Happy New Year!

CC: Many thanks for interviewing me!

#WEATNU Digital Magazine – Dec 2019

Follow City Cowboy on Twitter: @CityCowboooy



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FeaturedInterviews

Interview: Jason M Norwood

‘This month: Jason M Norwood, native to London, ON, Canada and long-time veteran here – was kind enough to give us his words about #WEATNU, his former artist name, Minutes After, and his latest release under the Berlin School music he creates.’

Interview by: Almark

Hello Jason, please tell in your own words what #WEATNU has done for you. Tell us a story of your own?

JN: I like to search for new music a lot, and I can’t remember for the life of me how I discovered her, but I discovered an artist named Adryelle, and reached out via Twitter to mention I was a fan.  Almark and I got talking through Twitter threads, and I discovered that he ran this enterprise called WEATNU.  Running a tiny little label myself, we got talking on that score, and at the same time I was looking for a home for Minutes After, a techno-based solo project of mine that didn’t fit with my label’s aesthetic.  The rest is fairly normal—I sent Almark some music, he liked it and asked about releasing it, and I signed on.  I liked the concept of WEATNU being an artist-helping-artists collective, which is something I’ve always strongly believed in.

It’s funny, because I’ve since devolved my label into an artist collective.  Minutes After is shelved, but for the first time I get to release my 25-year-long solo project (stuff under my own name) with WEATNU—no talk of “I want another Minutes After” album, just support for the broader sense of what I do.

I get to talk to a like-minded label head, I get to support an idea that I agree with, and I get to be a part of a community where I can offer my skills and bounce ideas off of others.  What’s not to like?

How did you first find out about #WEATNU and what were your thoughts initially?

JN: I think I got drawn into #WEATNU because I saw a kindred spirit in this unwieldy thing called the music business.  I’d been running my own thing, Hope Mansion Recordings, for a while, and it was nice to see something in operation that was designed to help artists.  At the same time, I had a rare side project called Minutes After, which was heavily techno-based and didn’t sit right on my own label, so I decided to give it a home I liked and respected, where it would be a little cozier.

I can’t say there was anything specific I wanted out of #WEATNU going into that.  Out of head-to-head conversations between two people trying to do something different in music, the whole conversation seemed to develop naturally.  I also liked the idea of supporting something whose ideals I agreed with.

Fast forward to now, and although Minutes After has ended, we’re talking about releasing the Berlin-school electronic music I release under my own name.  It’ll be the first time in 25 years I’ve put that project out under a different label, which gives you an idea of how I get along with #WEATNU.

What do you feel #WEATNU is doing for the modern indie artist, how is it serving them, because now we have our magazine once again?

JN:  I think the word “flexibility” is the first thing that comes to mind.  In a world where artists can be independent and make good quality albums in the comfort of their own personal studios, sacrificing things like artistic control isn’t really necessary.  Also, technology has led to a lot of possibilities as to how a label can operate.  So, #WEATNU doesn’t look to sign people to take control, I think it’s about asking the artists “What do you need?”  It’s all there, but you have the freedom to operate on a loose alliance or a full signing, and everything in between.

I’ve always felt the most interesting independent labels are the ones where you like one artist, you get curious and start crate-digging through the label roster, and #WEATNU has that in spades, but also it uses what’s there to give artists a platform to talk about what they do—hence, the magazine.  Not only putting out music, but providing the story behind it in a way that fans want more of now than they ever did.

Where do you see #weatnurecords going, now that we are nearing our 5th year?

JN: I think the label will continue to do good things!  I think the fact that its different approach is what gives it prominence—this idea that artists and labels can make the goals a common drive rather than have an employer/employee relationship is healthier, and it will allow the artists on #WEATNU the chance to show what they can do without having to change themselves or their art.

Almark – #WEATNU Digital Magazine – Nov 2019
Proofing: Jason M Norwood

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New Musicreviews

Jazzykat – Never Stop… The Music

I have a soft spot for retro eighties synth wave music, and tonight, Jazzykat delivers in thumping fours on the floor percussion with all the right flavors of pads and leads. The electronic strings, cut with precise lines of evilness bass arpeggio bring about another level of high energy aural entertainment. I am very fond of the transitions in this album.

I feel a strong sense of passion in the keys and melodies used, but it’s not overkill. It’s enough to keep a party going until morning, rather. The use of octave differences makes for a potent melodic impact that keeps the vibe going through phases and songs that compliment each other perfectly, to weave a wordless narrative that will keep the listener engaged and then some.

The contrasts and sweeps build into quite the anticipation a few songs in, as the changes in leads keep things ethereal enough to relax, but the implementation of break beats keep things rhythmically satisfying enough to make the album appropriate for various contexts. The Low Frequency Oscillator is done justice in a subtle uplifting correctness of dance floor notoriety.

I am even pleased with the use of vintage electric toms (a rarity for your humble author!) . I am really enjoying the ebbs and flows of this work. The melodies are tight, and nothing is left to the imagination. Every patch makes a statement. If the mood strikes for something that is not overly emotive, but still potent enough to pull those neon heart strings, look no further.

Jazzykat is definitely an artist worth checking out. I am psyched to hear what will come next, as for with each song, boundaries are subtly and amiably pushed!

JC Luff#WEATNU Digital Magazine – November 2019

<iframe style=”border: 0; width: 100%; height: 120px;” src=”https://bandcamp.com/EmbeddedPlayer/album=2145557815/size=large/bgcol=333333/linkcol=0f91ff/tracklist=false/artwork=small/transparent=true/” seamless><a href=”http://jazzykatweatnurecords.bandcamp.com/album/never-stop-the-music”>Never Stop … the Music by Jazzykat</a></iframe>

<iframe width=”300″ height=”250″ frameborder=”0″ src=”https://ffm.to/praa625/widget?width=300&height=250&note=”></iframe>

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Gears

Free VSTs – synths for your laptop!

I’m a student so I only dream of owning vintage analog synths. However, if you dig deep, you can find all sorts of alternatives on the internet, free of charge! As soon as I earn some proper money, I’ll be donating to these sites but in the mean time, let me share some of the synths I always wanted but couldn’t afford (except now I do have them! In a way…) 

I’m not going to delve into the technicalities of every synth since, if you’re looking for some of these, you probably know a fair amount about how the originals worked. Therefore, I’ll just point out some extras which are offered and concentrate on the ease of use and the sound. 

First a little background; because I’m a poor student, I have a setup which cost a minimal amount of money! I already had a laptop (HP WIndows 10) and I went out and bought myself a Roland UM-ONE so I could get it to talk to my VSTs (my advice is DON’T go looking for cheaper MIDI/USB converters, for the sake of about 40 dollars you can have the real deal and it’ll work with anything). 

I then looked around for free VST players, not full DAWs, just so I could experience the vintage sounds without paying a fortune for loads of stuff I wouldn’t use. I tried a few but settled on Cantabile Lite – I could do a whole review just on this one piece of software (which I may actually do in the near future) but suffice it to say that there’s next to no latency, everything you would expect to assign via MIDI is assignable and it’s laid out logically. If you’re interested, you can find it here: 

https://www.cantabilesoftware.com/free-vst-host 

OK, so I’ve plugged my UM-ONE into my Roland XP-10 which is going to be my master keyboard, I’ve plugged the other end into my laptop and I’ve got Cantabile Lite up and running. Let’s find some synths! 

I looked around many sites and some looked OK, some looked “well dodgy” as we say in Liverpool (!) and one looked perfect:

http://vst4free.com 

There are so many free synths on this site that you’ll probably be online for the next week non-stop if you’re anything like me! I have experience of playing a Yamaha CS-60 (there’s one in the studio I work in) and as a result I can kind of figure out how I’d use a CS-80. If you’re in a similar situation, you’ll love “80-vox” – it looks like the real deal, it SOUNDS like the real deal and it does what it says on the tin. It’s laid out more or less the same as a CS-80 so if you’ve used any of the CS analog polysynths by Yamaha, you’ll be at home here. 


There are two interesting additions – chorus speed and depth which wasn’t on the CS-50 or CS-60, and a mono/poly switch (going into sustain II mode on the original synths put all the oscillators onto one note so it sounded fat but remained in poly mode). If you’d like to have a go yourself, here’s the link: 

http://www.vst4free.com/get_plug.php?win32=KB-80-vox_IL_AL.zip 

If you’re not worried that the VST doesn’t look like the original synth, try the Arminator – it’s got everything a CS-80 has got but it’s more like a modular synth because many of the routings are assignable, including multiple LFOs and effects. 

There’s a preset on there which is instant Vangelis “China” and through the studio speakers, it sounds like Vesuvius erupting! If you’re tempted, click here: 

http://www.vst4free.com/get_plug.php?win32=Arminator2.zip 

Next up is a synth I’ve always wanted to own but never found one, not even in a dedicated keyboard store – The MiniMoog Model D! The VST I like best is the MiniMogue va, simply because it sounds the best. I tried some of the other free VSTs and they just didn’t have that overdriven Moog filter sound, This one does and, not only that, but you can control the amount of filter overdrive too! One great addition is a mono/poly switch, which converts your MiniMoog instantly into a 5-voice MemoryMoog – brilliant idea!

If you think you might like to add this to your virtual studio, here’s the link: 

http://www.vst4free.com/get_plug.php?win32=MinimogueVA.zip 

There are so many synths on this site, I could go on for month! I’ll just mention one more for now though and it’s a synth I’m in total awe of – the Korg PS-3300. I saw ONE of these once in a keyboard store in London but it was snapped up very quickly. Never been near one since. I would personally bow down and worship the ground under one of these! No need any more, I have one on my 42″ screen (which I got off ebay for $15!) and it looks like the original and sounds like the original, even down to the red LEDs winking away at me in sync! 

LFOs (Modulation generators in Korg language) are fully assignable across sections, e.g. you can get MG2 on Block A to modulate the resonators on Block C if you wanted or any combination thereof. There are assignable release modes and times for each block (because this series of Korg didn’t have release as part of the envelope generators) which you’ll find along the bottom of the panel. It’s created by “Full Bucket” and it’s amazing. If you don’t download any other synth all year, get yourself this one – it’ll take you a year to exhaust all the routing combinations! If I’ve gotten you interested, click here: 

http://www.vst4free.com/get_plug.php?win32=fb3300.zip 

That’s it for now, I look forward to bringing you some more freebies real soon!

Hannah Bayne#WEATNU Digital Magazine – November 2019

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FeaturedHistory

The Story of #WEATNU

“It takes years for an idea to culminate and become something more than mindless thinking. Every diamond is created due to a great amount of pressure. I’m a musician, I write Electronic / Avant-garde, Left-field music. It is certainly in its own category.”

Coming from the roots of Industrial / Experimental and EBM, Ambient, Dub, and eventually those roots became an urge to write my own music, and I didn’t know what I was doing or how to go about doing it electronically.

I had been writing guitar music prior to that from 1992–1998, then getting into writing Electronic music that summer. Music has been with me since 1983, when my Mother first put on, Wham or Hall & Oats, H2O record, or when I heard the album, The Ghostbusters on tape, and being captivated by The Thompson Twins — In the Name of Love. When the Internet had its start in 1997 for me, I found myself seeking out music that moved me differently than terrestrial radio, as during this time, radio was dying out and becoming something of a mainstream money maker. MTV was still going strong in its post-grunge era.

One night, I started looking on Yahoo for internet radio stations, Realplayer had its share of the obscure, even at its low bitrate quality, but I didn’t care, the music is what moved me. It wasn’t long until I found a website called Radio Free Underground, they shut down in 2000, sadly. They played many genres I’d not heard, other than the experimental stuff I discovered through MTV’s The AMP. Goth being one of them, including PsyTrance, Techno, Electro, Electronica, Industrial, Darkwave, and more. The days when true discovery felt like you found something, and it was yours, it felt personal.

I remember first hearing Industrial from a NIN tape a friend gave me during school in 1992, then he gave me a recording of Ministry’s Psalm 69. By the time 1997 rolled around, I was hooked on darker underground music. After being subjected to the more obscure underground, including the MOD scene of 1995, given to me through floppy discs from friends, AMIGA-like computer music, Trackers, Fasttracker, iPlay, S3M, FT2 and so forth.

From the collection of all this, I started developing a great love for “The Underground”, and noticed from my experimenting with Electronic music, deeply in 2000 that Electronic wasn’t that huge yet, though, radio and modern music was still very pop-driven, and rock based. It wasn’t until 2003 and 2005 where I started really hearing the Electronic influence in artists, such as Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, Underworld, The Orb and Orbital.

The Severed Heads years…

I was actually heavily influenced from my early days of electronic music writing from Severed Heads, an Aussie artist, named Tom Ellard. For years after 1998 I didn’t have the Internet, I had to go to local university computer labs to use the Internet, usually every night for months on end. During the time of my depth into making electronic in 2000 through tracker software, Fasttracker II, I found myself looking up Severed Heads, who I was introduced to from a boss at my job Eureka Pizza in Springdale, AR.

I no longer felt like mainstream music was important as it once was, I had a drive to do different things. In that computer lab, I came across a website called groovetech.com, and this was my introduction into DnB, Dub, Experimental, Techno, Sampling, from some of the greatest DJs to ever be broadcast through camera, across the world.

Each night I was engrossed in watching these DJs spin for hours. The music was catchy, bouncy and addictive. Even to this day if you look up those podcasts on YouTube, you hear something special just starting to happen. The beginning of what electronic music was, and why it’s so important today.

Years pass…

My love of electronic music continued, in writing it alone, allowing only my family and at the time, during my marriage, my wife and her friends. Also in 2001 I didn’t have the Internet, but I still continued when I could, go to the local library to use it. By the time I got the Internet again, it was around 2010, and I began to think, “what if I upload this music I’ve been doing all these years, and let others listen?” It was through Soundcloud then Bandcamp, and YouTube, I started doing this. Friends on Facebook would tell me I should let others listen, I was reluctant of course, because it was so personal to me.

From venturing forth into various groups online, uploading music and speaking and promoting on twitter, I came to realize that unknown artists were being ignored, or even unheard. That it took a great deal of effort to even get people to listen. Of course during the early days of SoundCloud, people would listen to you more, due to the lack of algorithms.

The power of Social Media.

From the urge to get my own music heard and having a hard time doing it, it started building up in me by 2012–2013 that something needed to be done, something big, a huge idea, and since social media was just getting popular, I thought, “Why not, I want to make waves and create a storm even if I fail doing so. People on social media are making things happen, so why can’t I?” I thought.

During those days, it was hard to find any kind of help to get your music heard. Net-labels were elite and only allowed a certain type of music in, EDM was so big that people were making 200 grand per night when they played; completely ignoring The Underground scene. I wondered, why The Underground and experimental music was no longer around? What happened to it, was it hidden, did it die out? No… From meeting people on Twitter and other places, SoundCloud, YouTube and forums I found it was very much alive.

Great music is hidden.

There were others doing this, there were people like myself with the drive to be heard. Help groups, and Internet radio started popping up, like Bluetown Electronica on Facebook, Revival Synth, one guy who has been running his group well before #WEATNU started. Tracy Perry (Expansion of Presence) who has helped many indie artists for years and years, and continues to do so. Dr. Bones, an avid lover of The Underground scene from Canada, and so and so on. This was during 2013–2014.

I started thinking, “why is it so hard just to belong to a simple label, one without the rules many other mainstream ones cause to you endure? One that we all needed.” I said in my heart, “I will create an organization that will allow others to go up the ladder with me for free, and all of us will be helped.” I wanted to hold everyone on my shoulders; ALL of the indie scene on my back. I must have been crazy for thinking it. Something was burning deep inside of my soul, something I couldn’t stand any longer. I thought, “what if I create a SoundCloud group like others were doing?”, so one day out of the blue I made one called “We are the New Underground“, after having an in-depth conversation with a friend of mine through Facebook, namely, Nessi Holt who writes for a blog called Carpe Carmina. I remember telling her, “you know what! We are the New Underground“, and she said, “Yes!! We are.” Nessi Holt, did an extensive interview with me in 2015 on #WEATNU, she’s helped countless indie artists for many years, including working with RKC Radio.

The start of a new era…

After making the group, 100s poured in, during the first two weeks, it was so hard to help them all that I had to get others to help filter artists into the group. It was a phenomenon, I was hooked from the rush of helping these artists be heard. Starting to post each one who got in, onto Twitter, with their twitter @names attached so others could find that artist, making sure the legwork had been done. The platform and machine of #WEATNU had begun.

It came to me that we needed more than just a group on SoundCloud and during this time, summer of 2014, We are the New Underground was just a name. Before long, the acronym #WEATNU was born. I noticed that a lot of hash tags brought attention to a brand or groups. December of that year, WEATNU Records was born, where the artists who found us were offered a means to be part of a label, where their music mattered, and where people would appreciate them with good results.

People felt the need to be heard.

Most of all, they would at least be heard. Sometime around Summer of 2014 WEATNU [OUR] Online Underground Radio was born, and a machine was created to help the underground. People started contacting me, wanting to make a difference. Soon DJCJ of RadioCoolio, an Internet radio personality in Canada, who also helps indie artists be heard, contacted my E-mail and Facebook, and wanted to promo and spread the word.

Roofy, another artist, who spent an entire year spreading the word about #WEATNU caused others to find us as well. Including Ivan of AMNIOTIC — By 2015, in the same year, Brian Diamond who at the time was just starting Shadows & Mirrors, and is now a label owner of Electric Dream Records, also came our way to help spread the word, as he and AMNIOTIC both wanted to help the community find our artists. During this era, UK artist Craig Manga, of Manga Bros, who later went on to form (Black Box Recordings) befriended our movement and spoke highly to many of those whom he followed, which helped further our cause. His friend, Mark Forster, was a force unmatched, as he loved the underground and its artists and #WEATNU, by helping them on ArtistSignal, he will be greatly missed as he passed away some years ago.

A publication was created.

Our magazine was helping artists be heard, shows on Mixcloud were uploaded from interviews I conducted with new artists weekly, live radio with artists and new songs, showcasing them weekly as well. Special shows on our Internet radio and many other things would happen to become what #WEATNU was developing into. A driving force, a movement that was needed, that wouldn’t stop. By 2016, over 400 artists from all over the world had graced their presence with us.

A new chapter begins

The rush was intense, and it was exhausting. It was time to stop working so hard, but I still had the drive. Our magazine went away that year, radio shut down in the Summer, but the label continued pumping out new music, but slowly. It wasn’t until 2018 where I had a conversation with a new friend, who joined us that year, and she told me “you get what you put in.” So taking that advice, I ran with it, pushing hard once again but, using what I learned before and pushed the label to become what I had envisioned years ago.

2018 – 2019

Our label started releasing finally to streaming platforms, including our already releasing music through Bandcamp since 2014. WEANTU Records was being noticed, once again, restored and still a great passion of mine, even after all these challenges. The radio also returned in November of 2018. Streaming of course helped greatly, but newer artists by 2018 started finding us, and The Underground was still being served. With a dream, a vision and a little fire, anything can be accomplished. Artists who have been helped and brought to the light from this effort , are as follows, and these are just a handful – AMNIOTIC, Bleepeater, Whettman Chelmets, Adryelle, Lie Craze, Dead Scrimshaw, Amattik, AR89, Belial Pelegrim, Bufinjer, Jazzykat, DigitalSlumberParty, Jessica Grant, Fluffytails, B. Hasemeyer, Bedtime for Robots, Lemonade Kid, Meter Bridge, Nurse Predator, The Aircrash Bureau!, Sound Engraver.

The magazine returns

One night, as I was going through old site snapshots on waybackmachine, I looked up our old magazine, which use to be at weatnu-magazine.com and a flood of nostalgia filled me. Reading the articles, reviews, and interviews that many people had written, including myself, I thought it was time to bring the magazine back. I started working on a new magazine website, the one you are reading now. The artist needed a voice, not just their music to be heard, but why they do what they do. Publications are important to fans as well as artists. I was pleased to have this final part of the #WEATNU machine return, and this time, it would remain, just like its radio. With all parts together once more, Radio, label and magazine, things felt complete and it is my hope they all further the cause of the Independent artist.

The label itself has signed over 100 artists since 2014, many of which are still with us. With the radio returning, WEATNU [OUR] continues to help artists outside the label as well, be heard. With its 24/7 streaming radio, 365 days a year, and free to join. Showcasing many of these types of genres, while encompassing the electronic array.

The dream continues

WEATNU Records has taken in numerous genres and sub-genres over the years, such as Electronic, Electronica, Experimental, Industrial, Indiepop, Indie rock, Electro-pop, Synth-pop, Vaporwave, Trip-hop, Lo-fi, Instrumental Hip-hop, Synthwave, Darkwave, Ambient, Dark Ambient, Alt-rock, post-rock and so on, and we continue to allow The Underground artist to join. With the driving force of the unknown artist, we still have many people who support us behind the scenes. Many of whom are unnamed, but are greatly appreciated for letting others know what we do.

#WEATNU continues to help artists yearly, and that passion never dies. From 2014 and beyond, We are the New Underground is the heart of The Digital Underground, a beacon of hope for the artist who just wants to be noticed, without needing to sacrifice their hopes and dreams. We continue to help them. I hope this story of how we started influences you, and gives you hope that if you dream it, it will happen. We are the New Underground 10.10.2019 (originally published through Medium.com)

Almark – #WEATNU Digital Magazine – November 2019

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#WEATNU – the next Punk scene

‘punk-wave’ is a term that’s been on my mind for a good while now. “It’s a movement of punk, whereby a group of DIY electronic artists are taking the scene back and presenting their music to a flood of fans and causing the next punk scene, not one that comes from guitar but from synthesizers and the sheer human willpower to be heard. It is against, not for the current music industry. It is empowering artists and allowing them to be creative in all realms. Without hindrance, and without bias.”

When artists come together across the world naturally, then you know something grand is happening. This change is occurring on a virtual global level, and building each day. WEATNU took part in creating this change in August 2014. Without someone opening a door to the creativity of the future artist, a scene could not have been created. Without hindrances or corp rules, you find a beautiful thing happening. WEATNU being a new millennial punk movement, makes it tied to the Internet, but the first wave of punk came from the late 70s, fueled by rebellion toward your parents, anarchy and disregard to rules, including a protest against the music your parents pushed on you, anti-government, anti-propaganda and political issues. Punk was an aesthetic of its time, soon to be adopted by pop culture. Before the decade had ended, that culture became the norm for the music industry in a whole. Punk gave way to Post-punk, batcave, synthpop, New Wave,  Goth, Darkwave, and so on. I did not have the pleasure of taking part of that scene as I was too young in 1983 “though I remember the music well at 6 years of age.” But being the last of Gen-X I can say I’m proud that my mid 90s teenage years were some of the best the world of music has ever encountered. As punk started to fade by the late 90s so did the music that fueled it and another era was born. We are the New Underground screams of punk, with its anti-corp attitude. The idea of #WEATNU was born from the unfairness that every solo electronic and experimental artist faces everyday. It’s a statement, one that is filling the internet slowly with its idea. It came out of a time of big media and major music fads of 2014. Fighting against the very system that pushes down creativity but instead rolls out the next cookie cutter single or album that makes millions. During that time, independent musicians were silently screaming to be heard. It takes only one idea to create a fire in others.

Where do musicians go when they want to be heard? The Internet so #WEATNU being born from social media came to its fruition by 2016. Culture cannot flourish when ideas are hindered, where the socialist attitude in the music industry takes away the spirit of music itself. Punk being the attitude of WEATNU, certainly embraces its past history. Punk is not something that is created for a whim but for the sake of change. WEATNU was that change, it was that idea that had to be created or the DIY / Electronic artist may have been lost to a sea of noise. (This was no accident) Musicians have a vision, they form the next culture, commerical norms come from the Underground. This underground we have created, we have formed and developed comes only from the human spirit and need to be heard, to have their music for once noticed by a sea of like-minded music lovers, not people fed by the machine that feeds the many their endless major chord and assembly-line wonders. Pirate radio and college radio played the underground for many years, void of rules, and ridicule. The music lover is tired of hearing top 40, they are tired of hearing about the next fly-by-night pop facade; which includes poser electronic music. WEATNU appeared suddenly overnight to fight this problem we were all facing, a future of uncertainty for the DIY musician. Music lovers and artists need to belong to a culture, just like each genre of music must have its scene, the next punk movement is born, the next scene is here. It will not go away, it will only get larger everyday, because people want change and they want the music to live forever. Artists are tired of the need to find a greater outlet to be noticed, to be appreciated. The modern electronic and even solo artist does not live off of money, money is the old term for record labels from the 80s, that time is far gone. WEATNU is freedom itself and a chance once again to be part of something that matters, something that is anarchy. Burn your corp flags, break down the walls, bring down the house and pile in with your second-hand gear and synthesizers, this new culture is coming soon to your side of the Internet. The prediction is WEATNU will not only be the symbol it stands for but a staple of life for musicians in the years to come. We all needed this, We.. are the New Underground. We are all one!

Almark#WEATNU Digital Magazine

March 2016

 

 

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Streaming music and the indie artist

It’s now 2016 and a lot of stuff had to happen for us to get where we are. Streaming markets are now the #1 place to find music and pay the artist. Spotify is on top of things with Apple coming close behind. What use to be a way to pay the artist via buy and download through Bandcamp, including iTunes is now being overshadowed with the streaming market. The problem lies in if you are an artist and have little to no fan base, streaming audio does nothing for you as far as revenue is concerned.  Thanks to the digital market making it the normal thing to stream music and only stream, we are stuck with a true issue. The problem is simple, so many can stream, and be done with it. Even allowing someone to download ‘for free’ usually does not yield results. They will go to A: streaming site instead of B: streaming / buy platform. Artists can beat their heads against the wall and still nothing will change. We’re all facing this trying time. The economy is partly to blame and streaming music is fully to blame. Being in my late 30s I remember when CD’s were the way of life, go to the store, buy a 15 dollar CD, come home and hope the rest of the album is as good as its debut single. But that wasn’t always the case through. We’ve seen streaming sites come and go in the last 5 years. When does it end? Is it ever going to help the solo artist, the unknown musician who not only pays to have their music uploaded to be streamed but gets back less than 11 dollars a year from streaming payments? Is this the future of music?

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could find a way to better ourselves? The full feeling of glorification knowing that your music is being downloaded ‘for free’ for sale, whatever. This issue isn’t being ignored either, musicians across the world are speaking out about the streaming war, in how unfair payment we all get. WEATNU Records only sells through weatnu.com and Bandcamp, because of this. Is there a reason to do more? Not really but let’s not be so negative for a moment. Musicians only want one thing, exposure, we’ve gone so low as to say we don’t even want money but money would be a good thing, at least the artist then knows they are being appreciated. We’re in a checkmate these days thanks to the large labels and their near ownership of these streaming services. It was said that some of the biggest players in the music mainstream made only 1000 dollars from 1 million plays through Spotify. Solo artists aren’t just starving to be heard, they are dying… How much longer before many simply give up? If someone doesn’t do something about this, many musicians who you use to know outside the mainstream will eventually fade away. Perhaps in the future someone will do something about this truly unfair advantage that these large corporations have over us. Oddly, you pay to be played, on these services. The truth of the matter is, you get paid peanuts and really what’s the use of any artist paying for a service they get nothing in return? These aren’t new problems, but they are continuing to be a real uphill battle for all of us.

As streaming services continue to tighten their grip on the indie artist, the indie artist continues to lose more money. Seriously.. no one can make it on 11 dollars a year. Some if they are lucky and have a decent fan base will make about 100 dollars a year from streaming. I take you to these problems because a lot of people just aren’t talking about it. An artist needs to sell their music, that’s their worth. Even WEATNU Records suffers from this, and since the label does not utilize streaming services, we in a whole are not part of the bigger picture. Fans do not buy music these days, they don’t have to, as many have said. It’s become an ever increasing battle that people don’t even buy CD’s or Vinyl, unless you release music that everyone likes. These words are dark, they are not sugar coated but they are in fact truthful. What happens when the majority of these talented artists do not tour? They do not sell.. It’s been said that if you are a touring artist, then you can sell your CD’s and tapes at the venue, people buy and go home happy. This abyss we call the Internet is eating us whole. Do you think there is an answer to this ever increasing problem called streaming audio?
Fans can listen forever on Bandcamp but never have to pay one dime. The simple act of charity is just not there, yet the artist needs your dollar to buy more equipment or food.
Soundcloud is now the leading service to change their policy, starting this year they plan to charge. This is just one more nail in the coffin wouldn’t you say? The solo artist or unknown band simply writes music for the love of it, that itself is their livelihood, it’s their dream to release the next album. Thanks to the artists themselves and the passion of their creation, we can at least go on hearing their music, free or not. The show must go on.

Almark#WEATNU Digital Magazine – March 2016.

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Le Clotêt Avec Garcés – Techno Dancing in Hell

This month Spanish artist “Le Clotêt Avec Garcés”, comes to WEATNU with his shoegazesque dark and personal track Techno Dancing In Hell. Recorded during 2010 on an iPhone (the first to record on iPhone so I’ve been told.) What does this track really speak about? First you have to know who the artist is before you judge their work. Le Clotêt Avec Garcés keeps his heart in Seattle, where the Seattle sound was born, SUB-POP Records lies and a rich history of music still remains. Between it’s echo-like Cornell-influenced screams and almost personal mirage played to acoustic overtones and electric guitar, “Techno Dancing in Hell” which brings me back to the heyday of Radiohead’s Karma Police, brings us something new.  This is folkgrunge music, as writer Hussein Garcés most passionately calls it. There is much dissonance in-between the picked timbres and droning chords played over the backing melody. Distorted vocals show the struggle with something deep-seeded and disturbing, muttering something behind it all. Le Clotêt Avec Garcés(LCâG) continues a haunting moment with and without drums and seems to put us under a spell.

Almark – #WEATNU Digital Magazine – Feb 2016

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