Cultural Activities

All this reading about culture for my dissertation has actually made me thirsty for culture, and with this possibly being my final year anywhere near the cultural city of Liverpool, I thought I’d made a few notes on what activities to pursue from now until June.

Arts Centre

While not a fan of stage plays, I like to watch films here and there. Thankfully, there is a cinema in Ormskirk in the form of the Edge Hill Arts Centre, and there are a few films that I wouldn’t mind catching that are being shown this season!

Museums

There are many museums around and outside Liverpool. I have already visited the Museum Of Liverpool and the Walker Art Gallery, and there are six main others to visit including the Maritime Museum and World Museum. Outside of Liverpool, The World Of Glass in St Helens sounds interesting – I have gone past it multiple times when I used to work in St Helens from time to time, but maybe I will get a chance to visit it this year…

Conferences

There is a conference on record labels this November, which will hopefully help me with my dissertation on record labels, and I most likely will give Liverpool Sound City a go next May (I think it’s in May…) as I am ready to be exposed to the harsh realities of the music industry (which is healthy in a sense).

I think culture is very important as it makes life that little more interesting. I’ll be sure to make future blog posts on my cultural ‘adventures’, if that’s the right word for it 🙂

Creative Opportunities

I don’t know how I missed these chances before. Ever since I won my High Achievers Scholarship in my first year since my entrance grades were high, I’ve been able to afford a Macbook Pro and music production software for it, hence I can make music. But so far, shockingly, I have only used it for productions for Uni work and some unreleased original demos, and have never really made the most of the other opportunities in terms of music production until now…

Me in the new recording studio in Creative Edge. Here I’m just posing, not singing 🙂

Remix competitions

This shock and horror occurred when I realised that I haven’t made a song in ages because I didn’t have access to singer and that recording vocals (in my experience) is extremely time consuming, but I found out recently that vocals are freely available from remix competitions. While I’m glad that I can now download many fully recorded vocal “stems” and do more or less whatever I want with them (in the name of music production practice), I feel like I should have started participating in remix competitions a long time ago. Oh well. I’ll get over the ‘missed opportunities’ feeling in time, but for now I have many, many remixes to make and so little time.

Instrumentals

Overcoming the barrier of having no vocals to work with, I realise with confidence that now I can create original works minus the need for vocals. With so much electronic dance music around, I suppose I don’t really need to spend ages recording vocals and just go down the instrumentals route for now, and maybe collaborate with singers in the future (never do professional projects on your own). In case you’re wondering, I have performed on my own songs before but it takes about a month to record my own vocals due to the extreme amount of recording takes I insist on. I was hesitant about doing just instrumentals as I really wanted to go down the pop song route, but I must adapt to what I have.

Songwriting contests

Finally, if I get enough contacts (like singers, instrumentalists), ideas and luck, I would like to enter songwriting contests. I have heard amazing winning songs in the past, and I would like to be a part of those creative processes. What has stopped me in the past was mostly the entrance fees but I can afford to pay a few now, so we’ll wait and see. I’m still a little shaky when it comes to music production; arranging I can do, but mixing everything together is a different story so more practice is needed right now.

As you can tell, I am into my music production, although I have to be realistic and not aspire to work in music full time as those opportunities are few and far between. Instead, I would like to see how far I can actually take my practice in terms of creating music and participating in competitions. Not only is it good vocational practice, but it also gives me a feel of the pressure of the competitive nature of the music industry as, let’s face it, it’s all competition. I hope this post helps other creative arts students such as myself realise that there are other opportunities outside of Academia that can provide practice for any skills learned from Uni and cultural enrichment.

Exploring Culture

My 2nd Year of uni is finished, but technically my 3rd year has started because now I’m to research for my dissertation. I didn’t actually know it could be practical and theoretical instead of just a theoretical 8000 or so words, so my initial plan on writing about cultural capital in record labels and how it can sustain their economical capital could be changed, if I do record label project on the side that is. I do run a record label after all, and I know from experience it helps to have primary research with the secondary research. We’ll just have to wait and see…

This post shows some of the ways that I explore Culture, as I feel that it’s still a very important thing in the world.

Liverpool Light Night happened recently… (Photo: ‘Bring the Fire Project: Japanese Fire’ at Wellington’s Column in Liverpool http://www.lightnightliverpool.co.uk/listings/#bring-the-fire-project-japanese-fire )

Cultural Blogging

I recently started an online blog called ‘Cyberpunk Time!’ where I write reviews about various Cyberpunk media (‘high tech and low life’). There are a few films coming out this year which has a place in this culture, as well as cult classics in the anime, feature / short films and series arenas. Film reviewing is a hobby of mine so this blog is a great way for me to analyse media through words to determine why I do or don’t like the final product (as well as be more productive when watching media 🙂 ). My other main blog is where I share my cultural activities, such as the creative stuff I make and comments on culture itself. I guess my record label website counts as cultural blogging too, as I have to consider how to appeal certain audiences whilst getting business messages across. My time as a cultural studies student has really made me think outside the box when it comes to writing in general, as now I’m also taking into consideration philosophy and popular culture which is something I didn’t do before.

Popular Music Research

In preparation for my dissertation, I’m going to research into the Sociological side of the production of popular music. My time running a record label has always been a struggle between trying to be culturally relevant whilst still being economically sustainable. Admittedly because the project is funded through a social enterprise funder (via a partnership the University was working on) I guess money isn’t really a priority, but the experience really has opened my eyes to the issues that the music industry faces. I am interested in music industry innovation and employability (in this case creating a sustainable income) so this dissertation idea is ideal. Main books to get into over the summer include Making Popular Music by Jason Toynbee and Music, Markets and Consumption by Dara O’Reilly et al.

Scriptwriting

Finally, this summer I am planning on writing two feature length screenplays. I’m already half way through writing one based on a popular anime show from the late 80’s, and I’m planning another original romance movie. Yes this is a very time consuming task but it’s a great chance to test my research skills gained from my degree, as my previous screenplays were terrible because I didn’t quite understand the material through and through… It’s my most rewarding hobby by far, and although I don’t have ambitions of becoming a screenwriter, it does help me work out how to channel inspiration into something cool.

So there we have some of the ways I’m exploring culture. I’m sure there’s plenty of other ways to do it without having to spend ages on a computer typing like I do (not that there’s anything wrong with that 🙂 ). There has been some debates recently in Higher Education news about how much worth Arts and Humanities education actually has, but I think it has plenty of worth. Culture enriches lives.