Running a record label and other musical activities…

I’m more of an academic person than an “entrepreneur” or “music producer”; However, I do try to engage with as much music industry practice as I can. This post outlines the activities I do around my Uni course, that are related to the subject I study – Cultural Studies. Uni life is not all essays and presentations (although I like doing essays and presentations 🙂 ) !

2014-01-15 17.21.12
Me outside the EHU Creative Edge building – in there are two recording studios for music students like me to use.

My record label

I was inspired to set up my own record label when I heard two music technology students set one up as a final year project, and that label was seriously well done in my opinion (shame it’s no longer active but the inspiration is still there). Mine is called Melted Leather Records (I’m not putting in a link as I’m not self advertising) which pushes niche genres (ie music you’ve probably never heard of like chiptune, breakcore, dark pop ect) to a wider audience – the idea is that a genre goes from invisible to visible, so if listeners like that music then they can seek out more of it which (in theory) encourages sustainability in the music world. This year I finish organising the label’s debut release compilation which saw me building rapport with artists I have never met before (one was overseas), handling budgets and encouraging everyone to pull their weight. Bear in mind this is way easier said than done. While I’m not a big fan of the law and finance aspects of enterprise (like negotiating funding & fees, working out contracts ect.), I really like the relationship management and creative marketing aspects. Problems are regularly occurring, but it’s awesome when I find ways to solve those problems. I have no idea how long my label will last, but even if it does fade after one or two releases at least I have some business experience to impress future employers.

Uni record label

Speaking of record labels, the University finally has there own! It’s called The Label Recordings, and it’s managed by EHU lecturers and marketing staff, and run by students. From what I know, they are scouting for an artist to sign – preferably a band so they can organise live tours and recordings. I’m more of an observer than an actual participant as of course I am busy with my own label, however I am positive that the label can bring great music to audiences and good experience to it’s contributors.

Music production

I am also trying to be more active in the field of music production. I think production work is one of those things where everything is difficult and trap filled, but when all the knowledge is gained then everything is more straight forward. I am working on an EP for my course but I hope to make two more before the end of the semester. I want to try a little live performance as well as apparently it’s great… but we’ll see about that…

So I hope this gives some inspiration to participate in other projects around your Uni course – hopefully those activities will complement your CV and really impress potential graduate employers.

Exam Stress

Tomorrow I have an exam for my Writing the Supernatural module so it’s been a pretty stressful week. Exams are always so daunting and scary. However, for whatever reason, I find them a lot less frightening now that I’m at university. This one especially isn’t as terrifying because it’s a seen examination (which means I already know which questions I’m going to be asked), so all I need to is figure out what I’m going to write. This is reassuring, but I still can’t help but panic a tad.

The set texts for my exam are Affinity by Sarah Waters (those of you who read my last blog will know that this is my favourite book I studied last semester so yay!) and The Shadow in the Corner by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. I have to compare them in relation to their spatial locations and use of inanimate objects. This is a really different topic to the kind I’d usually write about so I think it’s definitely going to be a challenge, but both texts are really interesting so I’m excited to write on them.

The other part of my exam involves writing a comparative essay of any two other texts of my choosing that I’ve previously studied on the module. I’ve chosen The Woman in Black by Susan Hill and The Weir by Conor McPherson.  For this question, I have to compare the importance of endings in these texts. Endings is a pretty broad topic, so I’ve got to be careful that I include the necessary depth to get me good marks rather than just making lots of different points.

By the time you get to university, everyone is pretty much an expert at examinations. I think it’s pretty hard to have gone through so much education and have never sat a single one. Of course, every subject and module will require something slightly different from you when it comes to exams. For English Literature, I think the focus is on demonstrating your ability to analyse a text in great depth. In my opinion, it is much less about remembering great chunks of information (something I felt very much that I was being asked to do for my A Levels) and more about reading a text and really seeing how deep you can dig in understanding what’s written.

To anyone that has any exams coming up:  I wish you the best of luck! All the hard work will be worth it in the end.

Procrastination

I was going to write a blog… but then I found a Facebook page called ‘Cats Wearing Tights’.

I often find myself discovering gems like this when I have work to do. Staying focused is something that I struggle with and throughout my years in education I’ve become a master of procrastination. I’ve had a lot of work to do over the Christmas Holidays, so I’ve had to be strict with my time management and exercising self-control when I can psychically sense notifications piling up on my Facebook has been difficult.

Often my work ends up looking like this...
Often my work ends up looking like this…

The biggest helper for me is rewarding myself breaks based on word count, as opposed to specific time slots. If I decide to take a break after an hour’s time I could easily only write about 20 words. If I decide to take a break once I’ve written 500 words I can usually have them done to a good standard in an hour.

Another common mistake that I’ve been known to make is taking three hours of break to every one hour of work that I do. Unfortunately, there are just not enough hours in the day, and before I know it the deadline’s looming and it’s not looking promising.

While my habit of procrastinating was quite bad in school and college, I have been a lot more disciplined since I’ve started at Edge Hill. I put this down to my realisation of the importance for me to do well and to, in a way, redeem myself of all the past low mark assignments that I should have done better at.

The work-load is a lot heavier at Uni, and I’m finding that the key to staying on top of it is stamina. I know it sounds obvious, but the more hours that I put in the easier it is to do well, and it helps me to bare that in mind when I have work to do.

And now it’s time for me to return to my stack of work. Wish me luck!

Oh, and just in case you were wondering...
Oh, and just in case you were wondering…

Back to Uni Life!

Heya guys,

So I’m still at home working my way through the holiday work, as well as the chocolate from Christmas! Guess I better start my diet soon…

I’m looking forward to coming back to the university this week – I’ve missed my friends and even my lessons! My timetable for this semester has changed so I now have lessons on a Monday and not Tuesday, which will be different and kind of exciting to break up my week a bit!

I also hope everyone did well in their exams, but luckily for me – this year is all coursework based! I prefer having coursework for this year, however there is a lot of work to do! One of the major things I found with university life is that I don’t find the work incredibly difficult and challenging in the way that I struggle a lot, but I do find that there is a lot of work to do. This does keep me busy though! I suppose it’s good – I wouldn’t like to be on a course where I’m only in for one day a week – I’d be bored!

When I come back to uni this week, I am mainly looking forward to being a bit more individual again – as much as I like people cooking and washing my clothes for me, I have found myself being incredibly lazy and not doing much – so I’m ready to get back into a routine and get going again!

Hopefully the snow doesn’t cause any problems for anyone, and I’ll see you all next week when I’m back on campus!! 😀

Places to eat in Ormskirk

This post marks my last one as a teenager because on Tuesday 14th January I’m turning 20. Yep, I’m going to be two decades old and to celebrate me and my flat mates are going to Disraeli’s pub in Ormskirk. I’ve mentioned this pub before in my Christmas themed entry (See “Christmas 2013”) as that’s where we went to have our Christmas dinner. Aside from their annual festive menu, Disraeli’s also does all your usual great pub grub at great affordable prices.

It isn’t however the only place I recommend dining out at in Ormskirk. Two other great places to eat are “The Fat Olive” (which just so happens to be directly opposite where I’m living now) and “Piri Piri”. The Fat Olive is an Italian restaurant which has recently launched a new look menu where classic Pastas and Pizzas are only £5 at lunchtimes and selected evenings during the week. They serve other foods too like Steaks and Salads if you’re trying to be a bit healthier in your diet 😉 I highly recommend eating here as students get money off the bill when they present to a valid NUS Discount Card (more on this in a later blog on budgeting) so it’s a win, win situation for your appetite and your bank account. Piri Piri meanwhile is a family run Portuguese restaurant which is very similar to the restaurant chain: Nandos. Located at the side of ‘B & M Bargains’ my family and I have eaten here twice now and will definitely be going back in the near future.

I hope this blog hasn’t made you too hungry and if you do want to check out any of above mentioned restaurants then the links to their websites are below.

The Fat Olive: 

http://www.fatoliverestaurant-ormskirk.co.uk/

Disraeli’s

http://www.disraelis1pub.co.uk/

Piri-Piri

http://www.piripiriormskirk.co.uk/

Return to the Uni

I’m back

 

Yes, I know it is not Thursday, and by the time this comes out, it will barely scrape by as friday, but I have been on my famed 250 miles trip back to university from home!

And now, I have returned. I did have a rather wonderful weekend at Chislehurst caves at the weekend, where I went LARPing. I may explain more in other Blogs, but for now I shall sum up saying it’s roleplaying in real life. I myself became an Earth Elf Wizard.

But, I am now back sitting in the comfort of my Room, my rent has been paid for for this semester, and I can start budgeting my student finance for the rest of this semester. It’s a fair bit, and I need to make sure I have sufficient money to last me till april, and to get home.
That includes food, clothing, washing and course items.
All these things are important to consider when budgeting.

I shall get more onto Budgeting on another blog, but for now, I shall simply leave you with two lovely video’s I have taken part in for other students course work.

 

— Thursday Thoughts —

There’s no point in being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes

–Friday Thoughts —
“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, or you wouldn’t have come here.”

The importance of Open Days (and Course Titles)!

I have just remembered the biggest ever mistake I have ever made in my academic career. This was a long time ago (and I have gotten passed it) but I just want my readers to be aware of what that mistake was so that they don’t make it themselves if they have not already. I don’t regret choosing Edge Hill, but I look back to when I applied to my Uni courses and wish I went to more Open Days BEFORE applying!

The EHU Open Day that I went to saw me visit a University for the first time. I had discovered the course on the internet and liked the title so, even though it was in uncharted territory (very far away from my home) I decided to see what it’s like. It was scarily bigger than I imagined, but I liked how pretty the campus was and the presentation on the course interested me. Notably, during the presentation, the tutor also talked about a related course and that interested me also! And so, two of the five choices were made before I applied and I knew that the two were right for me. I can’t say the same about my other choices – The titles sounded cool, the descriptions sounded cool, but when I went to the open days (or more specifically Applicant Visit days) for those courses they were COMPLETELY different to what I imagined (good for some, but not for me), which was really bad considering I already applied to them and received offers from those courses ([ultra dismayed face])…

I know it’s a weird mistake (judging books by covers) but I’m not ashamed of telling my readers because I have learned from it. I’m currently sorting out visits to Open Days for my postgraduate studies of which I think applications for opens in late November this year – I now refuse to apply to any course without going to an Open Day first for I realise now that courses (and most other things, I suppose) are very different in real life compared to what it is on paper. And be careful of course titles as well – degrees can be quite broad (especially mine – yes it’s “Media, Music and Sound”, but it’s also a bunch of other things like Sociology, History and Psychology – which I’m cool with) and hopefully presentations about the course from course tutors will truly open your eyes to what you could be investing a LOT of time of money into. Don’t waste course choices! (The same goes for accommodation – view as many places as you can before choosing which one is right for you 🙂 )

EHU Open Days – http://www.edgehill.ac.uk/study/opendays

Campus Tours – http://www.edgehill.ac.uk/undergraduate/events/campustours

 

My Top 3 Books from Semester One

I’ve compiled a list of my favourite three books from the English Literature reading list from the first semester of my second year. Enjoy!

3. I Am Legend by Richard Matheson

Robert Neville is the sole survivor of a disease that has infected the entire human race, leaving them with symptoms resembling vampirism.

With very scientific terminology, this definitely wasn’t my usual kind of book but I was actually enthralled by it, so much so that I read it within a day. The graphic depictions of the disease made me feel physically ill, so I can’t deny that the novel had an effect. If you’ve seen the Will Smith film, I definitely recommend reading this book  because it is vastly different but, as you so often find with books, immensely better than the film.

2.  Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

The story of a female vampire, Carmilla, and her relationship with an unsuspecting and innocent young girl, Laura.

Carmilla was everything a Victorian woman shouldn’t be – and I loved it! It was so delightfully refreshing to finally read about a female vampire. The very obvious sexual tension between Carmilla and Laura was both seductive and repulsive, which is something very characteristic of the figure of the vampire, and there was definitely a lot of Freudian content. Laura particularly fascinated me though; I wasn’t entirely convinced of her innocence. Please let me know what you think if you read it.

And finally, my absolute favourite…

1. Affinity by Sarah Waters

A Neo-Victorian novel centred around the Millbank Prison and its frequent visitor,  Margaret Prior, an upper-class, depressed young woman, struggling with life at home. The main focus of the story is one particular inmate of the prison, Selina Dawes; a spirit medium who captures Margaret’s imagination.

When I was first started reading this novel, I was bored. Victorian fiction is definitely not my favourite and I found the characters of both Margaret and Selina annoying. But it grew on me. It grew on me so much that I became completely entangled in the words on each page. The novel’s worst crime was completely obliterating my heart. When I finished the last sentence at 3am one morning, I threw the book to the floor in complete fury. The ending made me so angry that I couldn’t bear it. But the ability to evoke that kind of passionate reaction only confirms how truly wonderful this novel is. Read it.

My 7 Favourite TV Shows

It’s a cliché that students find themselves getting addicted to TV series when deadlines are looming. Unfortunately it’s a cliché that happens to be pretty accurate. Fortunately, I’m an enabler, so I’ll help you out a bit.

Before I was a student I didn’t really think that I enjoyed television shows. I only realised how much I really did like TV shows when I was sitting at my laptop with a stack of essays to write. Below are my seven favourites, in no particular order:

Breaking-Bad

Everything that you’ve heard about Breaking Bad is true. It’s clever, it’s addictive and it’s the perfect combination of dark and witty. If you haven’t seen it yet make sure that you do!

american-horror-story

You may love it, you may hate it, but you need to watch American Horror Story. Each series is a different story with different characters, set in a different time, but with all the same actors. It’s bizarre and definitely not one to watch with your parents, but it’s definitely entertaining. Just be prepared; the show’s pretty terrifying, and the opening credits are ten times scarier!

dexter

Dexter is just brilliant throughout, although the first few series are the ones to get excited about. Any show that can make an audience empathise with a serial killer is onto something. Each series has a different gripping storyline. My favourite is definitely ‘The Ice Truck Killer’ storyline of the first series.

american-dad

There’s just enough political satire in American Dad to make it count as revision for Politics students (probably). And it’s hilarious.

suits

The same applies to Suits, but for law students. I feel like I’ve learned lots of legal lingo by watching it.

The-Walking-Dead-04-cast_0

The Walking dead. Because… Zombies…

house

Surely a series of House is better than any medical degree? Okay, maybe not, but it’s brilliant, funny, incredibly clever, and in my opinion the best TV series ever to be made.

There’s so much to do during the uni term, but there’s also time to spend relaxing, and what better way to relax than to cuddle up in bed with a cup of coffee and a good TV series?

New Year, New Me?!

Heya everyone,

Happy New Year and welcome to 2014! Hope that you all had a great Christmas and New Year, and that the hard work starts now!

I’m still sitting at home waiting to go back to university next week, and now that my friends are starting to go back to their uni’s this week I am getting a bit bored and lonely stuck at home! Really can’t wait to go back next week and see everyone, especially for a good night out! I have been set a little work over the holidays for my course, which has kept me busy – and in contact with everyone when I struggled with certain aspects!

I can remember that this time last year I was getting ready for my interview at Edge Hill, and I was so nervous! I had to travel up the day before and stay in a hotel, then spend the day at the university (while the snow was ridiculous too!). I did myself proud though, and managed to get in! It was a great experience, even if nerve-racking, and it certainly helped me gain more confidence in myself. I spent the day with tutors in lecture theatres where they informed me of the course, as well as having group interviews and individual ones (of which I found the scarier of the two!).

I had also received all of my offers back this time last year, which I am sure many of you are now at the stage of! Hopefully you are all getting into your first choices and you are happy with your choices, but if not – don’t worry just yet! You still have time to change if you need to, as well as the option of clearing if you don’t meet your grades (which I’m certain you will with enough work!).

I found this picture earlier that summed me up pretty well – hopefully will make you smile!

2014