'One Minute With Dec' 18 April 2010

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“3 Minutes on the Radio With Dec” –

"My Emails Are Written With Good Humour And Should Be Read With A Smile"

[-The views of any contributor to 'One Minute with Dec' are not necessarily the views of Dec Cluskey-]

"I get enough exercise just pushing my luck"


    Moscow Music scene. [ not much going on? ]
    New Spalted Series from Fernandes Guitars [tasty or what?]
    Level Playing Field [ promoting your music ‘brand name’ is so important ]
    Subscriber's Section [ Alesis D4 doesn't send all the notes that I play ]
    The gags: ..... [ Golfer and the Hooker … from David ]

Moscow Music scene. [ not much going on? ]

I have always fancied a trip to Moscow and I got the opportunity last week.

A strange place, quiet, non communicating people … no ‘please’ … no ‘thank you’. And certainly no smiles.

And expensive???????

Now the most expensive city in the world … having been, only six years ago, on the brink of devaluing the Rouble. A small 150 glass of wine cost me £13 …. The smallest measure of wine in the UK is 175. A bottle of house wine cost me £35 … around $45. So be careful if you tour out there.

The problem is that no one drinks wine … everybody, including women, drink litres of beer in huge glasses … the legendary Vodka drinking did not exist either. And the music?

It was like taking a trip back 20 years …. Euro dance music everywhere … they simply do not like Hip Hop or R&B. Maybe that has something to do with their policy toward black people …. I only saw two black guys in my time there … in the hotel.

But the food is great and when you find the noisy bars frequented by normal Muscovites, the atmosphere suddenly changes. What a pair of shoes I bought … best place in the world for shoes … the stylish Muscovites love to look expensive … Gucci, Armani, Dolce & Gobbana … just up my street.

"The sun is shining….the weather is sweet.
Make you want to move your dancing feet!” – Bob Marley.

New Spalted Series from Fernandes Guitars [tasty or what?]

I used to own a Hofner Committee acoustic F holed guitar … it had a gorgeous blonde colour with stunning grain. I have always wondered what that type of grain finsh was … now all is revealed with this latest set of three guitars.

Beautiful Spalted Maple is for the first time offered in Fernandes guitars, presented in three of our best-selling body shapes and configurations. Same specs and construction of Deluxe versions, the Ravelle, Monterey and Dragonfly Spalted come up to the stage with gorgeous Spalted Maple tops and matching headstock.

Read on:

"The greatest moment of the race is not the
touch of the wall, or when one swimmer begins
to pull ahead of the pack. The greatest moment
takes place before the pistol even fires; when
for a brief time, no nation is greater or
smaller, stronger or weaker than any other. For
me, that is the Olympic moment." Kofi Annan

Level Playing Field [ promoting your music ‘brand name’ is so important ]

Most of your larger companies have recognized the value of brand recognition. McDonalds has their arches, Goodyear has its blimp and AOL has its distinctive pyramid. Look at Utube, MySpace etc.

While many people maintain that the Internet creates a level playing field with the larger companies, brand recognition is often overlooked. Larger companies do the majority of their advertising offline. Sure, they will reference their web sites in their ads, but are not completely dependent on web advertising.

Net based music guys must also create this brand recognition if they hope to succeed. This can be done in a number of ways.

Many people who have ‘bricks and mortar’ music businesses [publishing, records, band, solo artist], can promote their web site with their web address on their letter head or business card, but these are not the people we're talking about here. To them, the web site is simply an offshoot of their existing "bricks and mortar" business.

We're referring to people trying to compete on the national or international level. There are a number of companies that have done this. Virgin started as a small record shop, for instance.

So what do you do to try to achieve your brand recognition?

First - a consistency of ad copy will go a long way. It is suggested by most advertising gurus that it takes 5 to 7 exposures to an ad before someone may look further. If you change your ad copy every time you post it, people will not identify with your ad.

If you use the same ad in many different places, people will start to identify with your ad, and may ultimately take a further look. But that of course raises a dilemma. How do you know if you have a good ad that will draw, or one that needs to be tweaked? Experimentation is the key here. See which ads immediately get your attention and try to model your ads after them. “Why create mediocrity when you can steal genius?” People will begin to identify with your ad, and after seeing it and number of times, and in different places, will usually investigate further.

After identifying a "killer ad", the smart merchant then carries that same theme through to their web site. Again, consistency is the key here.

While you may not have your arches, or own a blimp, your brand recognition is no less important than it is to the "big guys". A great picture? Used over and over again? My band will stick with the same picture for advertising and album/web artwork for about three years.

Unquestionably, it is one of the more important things you should be trying to attain if you hope to compete on a level playing field.

"If you want to catch a trout, don't fish
in a herring barrel.”


“Hi Dec,

Thanks man my music is doing good. Thanks for the help. Jamar Palmore”



"Endurance is the crowning quality, and
patience all the passion of great hearts." James Russell Lowell

Subscriber's Section [ Alesis D4 doesn't send all the notes that I play ]

“Hi Dec

Got your address by the guitar player in my band Steve (Humanizer), who knows Tim.

Anyway, I would be very grateful if you could give me a tip on how to get the sensitivity working on my D4 Alesis module as I'm going mad trying to get it working for the last two months.

It's working at the moment but doesn't send all the notes that I play, very frustrating...

Thank you very much for any info you could give me if you don't mind.




My Reply:

Our rules are "one short reply to ONE question on music FOR NON-MEMBERS, Members of 'The Serious Writers Guild' have unlimited personal access to Dec by direct telephone, Fax and Email, apply at https://secure.mistral.co.uk/makehits/swgappsecure.htm ".

[Any advice given here shall not be deemed as financial or legal advice under any existing or future laws of any country]


Tim? I know many Tim’s [grin!]. Tim who?

I can do no more than point you toward the D4 manual.


Google is a wonderful invention [grin!] Although you probably have the manual already and do not understand th Microsoft mantra : “RTFM”

Read The F**king Manual. Sorry about that Mary [grin!]

The trigger settings are available simply by pressing EXT Trigger button on the front panel. Each button press gives a next page.

From memory you will see the trigger number and the note assigned to each number …. This can be changed to any number/note you wish but the normal convention is:

Trigger # 1 : C1 [C1 on the drum set selected should be Kik]
Trigger # 2 : D1 [D1 on the drum set selected should be Snare]
Trigger # 3 : C2 [C2 on the drum set selected should be Hi Tom]
Trigger # 4 : B1 [B1 on the drum set selected should be Mid tom]
Trigger # 5 : A1 [A1 on the drum set selected should be Lo tom]

This would be the normal set up for a 5 piece drum kit excluding High Hat – which you would set up similarly using a trigger High Hat unit. This entails using two notes [open and closed] … the snare can be set up similarly [rimshot, normal]. You can use 13 triggers in all.

J*** … you will find it impossible to set up a D4 by touch …. The manual is the only way. When I got mine first I sent it back by courier to the suppliers 4 times in three days from the studio ….. saying it did not work … it was my fault … it is not an obvious method they use … but once you learn it it is stunning and fast.

The sensitivity depends on the triggers used and the D4 settings for the triggers. I designed my own triggers … now at Version IV and stunning … vastly superior to shop bought ones.

The sensitivity has to be adjusted to give the maximum signal without picking up the hits from the other drums and also not over triggering [makes a stuttering, overloaded effect].

You can see the bargraph for the sensitivity … this should be adjusted as high and constant as possible without picking up from other drums and stage noise.

The gating system is a weird one and has to be familiarised. Basically, the higher the number [up to 20] the more the trigger will block out other signals] … but it is not as easy and simple as that …. My setting is normally between 15-20 … but, for instance, in the concert on Saturday night we readjusted all the snare and tom settings …. A frustrating job and boring …. You have to have a patient drummer who will play defined strokes and roll at differing tempos. Our set up is stunning.

Properly set up, the system is highly touch sensitive. Although you may set up individual drums correctly, you will find that the triggers will react differently when the whole kit is played and differently again when the band is playing …. Very frustrating … but worth setting up properly. By the way, it is impossible to set up your drum kit with someone else playing !!!!!!! All drummers hit at differing strengths.

Whoever Tim is … you should tell him the latest, best drum sample software [and hardware] is the ‘Native Drums’ library and the ‘Maschine’ system … as used by all the top guys at the moment. Google it. Around £499.

I only use D4 for live concert drums where an authentic live drum sound is required. Studio is different. D4 tends to be old hat. But the DM5 by Alesis is still tasty.

"In creating, the only hard thing is
to begin: a grass blade's no easier
to make than an oak." James Russell Lowell


Dec [Cluskey] dec@makehits.com

2 Gold discs in 2008! Decca have relaunched their ‘World Of’ series on the back of those hits. Readers Digest are now promoting a triple album set …. Do you think I can help your music career succeed?

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The gags: ..... [ Golfer and the Hooker … from David ]

“Ed and Dorothy met while on a singles cruise and Ed fell head over heels for her. When they discovered they lived in the same city only a few miles apart, Ed was ecstatic. He immediately started asking her out when they got home.

Within a couple of weeks, Ed had taken Dorothy to dance clubs, restaurants, concerts, movies, and museums. Ed became convinced that Dorothy was indeed his soul mate and true love. Every date seemed better than the last.

On the one-month anniversary of their first dinner on the cruise ship, Ed took Dorothy to a fine restaurant. While having cocktails and waiting for their salad, Ed said, "I guess you can tell I'm very much in love with you. I'd like
a little serious talk before our relationship continues to the next stage.

So, before I get a box out of my jacket and ask you a life changing question, it's only fair to warn you, I'm a total golf nut. I play golf, I read about golf, I watch golf on TV. In short, I eat, sleep, and breathe golf. If that's going to be a problem, for us, you'd better say so now!"

Dorothy took a deep breath and responded, "Ed, that certainly won't be a problem. I love you as you are and I love golf too; but, since we're being totally honest with each other, you need to know that for about the last five years I've been a hooker."

"I see," Ed replied thoughtfully. He looked down at the table and was quiet for a moment, deep in serious thought then he added, "You know, it's probably because you're not keeping your wrists straight when you hit the ball."


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  • “Hi Dec £170,000 I've made in the past six months ... so many projects I haven't a minute. Number 4 in Music Week chart ... can't wait for next year ... they are predicting huge chart success for my productions. Unbelievable.
    D**** E****”

  • Enjoy video for a song I co-wrote with extraordinary Dutch singer Jenny Lane.
    I have 2 co-written songs on her great new album Monsters.
    Thanks for all the continued support & advice... Mick Lee.

  • In 2010 film, just budgeted in LA, for full theatrical in the US for $8.7mill with Paul Kay attached.
    Two Liverpool 08 commissions. First with 200 choir Second a major CD Brass Band album with Fairey Brass Band ... Phil Lawrence [UK]

  • I had my first Top Ten Hit in Germany as a songwriter, great things are happening ... I'm on tour all over Europe with the band that I'm producing. We're the official support act for 50 Cent. 15 shows in the greatest countries of Europe. Marcell Brell [Germany]

  • We played The Cavern Club in Liverpool
    Patchwork Grace were the best thing they'd ever seen!!
    Ian - Thanks again Dec! [UK]

  • I was asked to play at the Pepsi Music festival in Buenos Aires. The most important festival held on the whole South American continent. it lasts 10 days every major local star, as well as many international acts like Megadeath, The Wailers, Die Toten Hose, etc. Thanks again Dec ... Emiliano Canal [Argentina]

  • Recently I have finished a score for an independent movie called “Treehouse”. I am now composing tracks for various music libraries for licencing and am also discussing publishing the MUNKIE catalogue with various publishers. Jason Clarke. [N. Ireland]

  • This is Yosi & Ofir Nafkar from Israel member of The Serious Writer Guild Membership No NET0778030W. We wrote music for an Australian Movie By Kerry Bowden. She is a great woman who helps children in need. The movie and the music had a great success. Together we gathered 1million$. [Israel]

  • Hi Dec, some good news regarding my girlfriend Erin's songs, 3 are being used on a new American TV show. Anyway thanks again for your invaluable support, knowing your there makes this leap into the publishing world feel a lot safer ... Roger O'Donnell [The Cure]

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