'One Minute With Dec' 04 July 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-]

"There is no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes"


    What a few weeks? [awesome Festivals]
    Iron Maiden do me proud [Nicko looked after me well]
    Wow!! Scotland you were AWESOME!! [£10,000+ from Frankie [Ian] on charity tour]
    Subscriber's Section [ how to learn to make records ]
    The gags: ..... [Fried eggs]

What a few weeks? [awesome Festivals]

I am so lucky to get invited to various Festivals throughout the country ... and even get asked to play in them.

My son, Oliver, is one of the main organisers of Guilfest ... one of the biggest in the country ... this year headlined by Status Quo [more about that later] ... they also featured Level 42 ... amazing showmanship and playing by Mark King .... in fact, quite awesome bass playing ... and a stunning sound mix.

Oliver presented Tiny Tempah headlining at his venue ‘The Funky End’ tent.... he works a lot with my daughter. Quite a coupe for Oliver ... and boy did he have crowds?

This year I have noticed the move away from that G*d awful ‘Festival Kick Drum’ mix .... my pet hate in life. You know the mix where the kick drum is low and muddy, no definition and it covers all the low frequencies from the other band members .... there is normally no bass evident as it is totally covered up .... usually looks like the bass player is not plugged in.

This year, however, I have noted a marked change from this sound ... most mixes had good definition and stereo placing of all instruments ... “sounds like a CD only much louder” is the modern mantra of the speaker companies ... and the mix engineers are at last cottoning on.

Guilfest also had ‘10 CC’ .... in fact, they all but stole the show .... the harmonies were simply amazing ... “I’m Not In Love’ certainly made the hairs stand on the back of the neck ... the use of an ‘added instruments’ track was exactly what I advise any serious band to adopt.

Guitar players would do well to study the production of the Status Quo guitars .... quite the biggest sound I have ever heard ... perfectly presented ... their staging and presentation was perfection .... all the tricks that I suggest to the members of Serious Writers Guild.

Check out the guitar set up of Francis Rossi and Rick Parfitt at http://www.performing-musician.com/pm/aug08/articles/gtrtech.htm

“Why is "bra" singular and "panties" plural?”

Iron Maiden do me proud [Nicko looked after me well]

I am always proud to say that Nicko McBrain, the drummer genius of Iron Maiden, is a dear personal friend of mine.

He invited me to Knebworth where they were headlining this year’s Festival. What a welcome he put on.

The band’s hospitality tent was as big as a normal Circus Tent ... the catering was done by Nicko’s company “Nicko’s Rock ‘n Roll ribs” ... all the way from Florida ... all totally free with the band’s compliments.

We were ushered into the bull pit ... right in front of the stage just before the show ... it was electric! When the band hit the stage the 55,000 exploded ... it was actually quite terrifying to be enclosed in the cordoned off area immediately in front of the stage ... boy, do those security guys work hard? .... dragging people out of the crowd who were unwell, fainting, p*ssed ... a new experience for me .... but what a show?

Derek Martin [Charlie Slater in 'Eastenders'

"Is this really music?"

See funny pics at http://www.makehits.co.uk/onemin150810.htm

Again, like Status Quo [and my band, for instance], the stage craft was delightful, delicious and very demanding of the band members. It is all about making ‘pictures’ .... a talent that most novice bands do not know about and, in fact, usually, don’t want to know about ... and that is why they always remain novices ... for their entire lives!

When Nicko saw me before the show he grabbed me, hugged me ... his pal and founder of ‘Maiden’, Steve Harris, insisted on having photos with the legends [my band!] ... his Mum was a huge fan of ‘The Bachelors’ and insisted I have loads of pics taken ....

The sound mix was astonishing ... total perfection .... again, great definition ... huge volume ... but as always, a perfect mix when presented correctly can be played at enormous volume and not hurt anyone ... true! Only bad mixes offend ... not volume.

Check out http://www.guitar-stuff.net/2006/10/16/guitar-gear-adrian-smith-of-iron-maiden-guitar-amp-setup/for a clue into the Maiden guitar sounds ....

Good fun pics at http://www.facebook.com/michael.cluskey#!/album.php?aid=197415&id=633342390

My big cuddly nephew Michael’s page.

You can always see what my band is up to at http://www.thebachelors.co.uk/2010.htm


“If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from

vegetables, what is baby oil made from?”

Wow!! Scotland you were AWESOME!! [£10,000+ from Frankie (Ian) on charity tour]

“Thank you all so very much...from the mad Scotsman who brought a pint of best to my van at 9.30am on the shores of Loch Ness as a thank you, to the folks at the Fleet in Eyemouth who let me do a show at literally 5 mins notice.

Many thanks to the British Legion in Arbroath for a wonderful reception and also letting STV film me there.

Thanks to Dundee for letting me play 3 shows in 3 clubs in 1 day...crazy!

A mention to the Black Abbot Montrose for £1001.00 donated in one night.

To all the venues who "rounded up" or added to collections...to all the staff members who gave up their tips for the day...to the suppliers of all the great raffle prizes...to karaoke Paul in Kirkcudbright who gave up his fee for the following day for the cause...for the hospitality, the laughs, the kindnesses and the stunning, stunning, scenery...I cannot thank you enough.

Back into England now and the generosity continues. Passed £25,000 and over £600 in first 2 days back over the border...

Tomorrow is day 100!!!...already!!! And I'm back on air with Ted Robbins at Radio Lancashire about 9.30am.

If I haven't met you yet...I can't wait. If I have... I can't wait until we meet again!

To be continued...


Ian Campbell, BND Music Co., 104 Park Gate, Upper College St, Nottingham NG1 5AP

UK at the moment ....”

“If electricity comes from electrons, does morality come from morons?”


“Thank you very much for your help in getting me this far..... Your advice has been invaluable.

Our main job at the moment is making sure we pick the hit song. We've been sent so many from Warner + various other hit producers.......the problem is they ALL sound amazing!

Have you been in this situation? ...If they all sound great and catchy what's the best way of knowing which one is the hit......?

David Nickerson (Love Management, Brighton)”


"Do the Alphabet song and Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star have the same tune?”

Why did you just try singing the two songs above?

Subscriber's Section [ how to learn to make records ]

“Hi Dec,

On the technical side, do I make a rough sketch of a song with the Triton, make a few cuts from it for sampling on the S2000, then when all .......


In other words .... how do I record my toon?


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]


Forget about returning duplicated items ... just let us know which is missing and we will Email immediately.

As regards writing on computer............

I feel you have not got a grasp of the relationship between each piece of equipment ...

When I write I get a sketch of the intro... verse .... chorus ... mid 8 ... finish ... on music manuscript paper with chord symbols and odd cues and pencil notes of phrases etc.

Then I make a simple rough of the drum pattern at the right tempo ... on the ProTools programme ...

Personally, I then record a pad [continuous chord sequence] of each section ... then cut and paste each section into place to make the sequence for the whole track. This gives me a good basis to work on. I make marks in the toolbar in mix mode to remind me what section is which.

I then start cleaning up to make a basic, good, complete track to add vocals to ...

I record a guide main vocal .... then add the vocal arrangement .... probably 30-40 tracks of vocals.

Then, I get extra musicians in [if required] to add the finishing touches to the main backing instrumentation. Add guitars [usually essential]. I Clean up the drum track, spending a lot of time on the drum and percussion detail - make samples and add those using the mother keyboard and samplers. All this is done in midi [some record the midi information using the sound modules to create a live audio track].

Finally, I might bounce the vocal arrangement down to individual stereo tracks on the desktop ... I usually end up with main back vocal stereo, 2nd back vocal stereo, additional ad lib vocals and noises etc. stereo and live guitars stereo. I then import them back into the session.

When I have a pretty awesome result, I re record the main vocal [that is where the ‘hit’ is]

When mixing, I usually get the levels right for the above tracks - I then feed them to 8 tracks on the mixing desk. I may use some of the plug in’s on Protools [usually the long echo, so popular among producers]. I use a separate compressor for each twin stereo tracks.

I also have 6 Effects units available on each track from outboard units running into the auxiliaries on each channel.

I then run the midi information on Protools live to the sound/drum modules and samplers. Some guys like to record these sounds onto Protools audio tracks ... I tend to do it live as I mix. Whatever the music maker is happy with.

I clean all the live tracks ... ensuring that there is absolute silence when the voice or instrument is not heard ... use the fade tool to ensure perfection at the start and finish of each section you clean up. There is an automatic ‘Stripping’ tool within Protools but I prefer to do it manually ... takes time but the result is perfection ....

I prefer to EQ all the channels on the mixer, not in Protools.

I can tweak the levels of all the live stuff on the Protools screen and usually end up sitting back, making sure the overall level into the CD recorder is as ‘hot’ as possible without digital compression [Protools and the recorder will squash the signal, in a nasty way, if you are not careful]

‘Consolidate’ all the live tracks [ this means that Protools will automatically join all the sections of a track to make an efficient clean continuous audio track ].

I always make a final low level mix recording for safety ... it is only in the mastering suite that you can see whether digital compression has occurred.

Having got the awesome mix, I make a mix with lead vocal missing [for TV, Radio, P.A’s] .... I also make a mix with the lead vocal and drums missing .... I like this mix for live work where the drums can be live and mixed into the Front of House mix.. this is a popular trick with hit bands ... it makes sure that all the identifiable sounds and noises are always in the mix whenever the song is performed.

It is essential to observe these rules:

1. Keep a second copy of each day’s work on a separate hard disc for safety [500Gig only costs £40 today]

2. Never mix after recording

3. Never mix after 10 pm at night [early morning is the best time]

4. Always listen the next day before closing down a mix session.

5. Always have the final mixes mastered at a dedicated mastering suite [not a normal studio!]

6. Always retain the patches in Triton or whatever sound modules you use .. make copious mix note which you keep in a dedicated manila envelope with all the song information.

Finally, delete all the unnecessary takes from ProTools [it automatically retains every take you have made] .... check that you have not deleted anything important.

When the project is finished make safety copies of the session [to separate hard discs ... I make two safety copies on separate hard discs]

Erase the session from the main computer [you should have two safety copies of the session]. This will ensure your computer is running always at superb speed and efficiency.

Ensure you file away the mastered CD copy [I file two for safety]. Make sure the original studio mix is marked as such and the mastered original is again marked as such. Make copious copies for promotion use.

Listen back in three weeks time ... that interval will have cleared all the ‘enthusiasm’ for the track... you will then have a clearer opinion of your own work.

Get ‘57 Secrets of a Hit Record’ so you can automatically appraise you creation or send to http://www.makehits.co.uk/demo.htm to have me do a professional evaluation of your Hit Potential chances.

Then, and only then, start the promotion, if you feel you ‘have one’. Observe the correct method of pitching and promotion in ‘How To Make A $Million From Your Music’.


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?

Check out 'How to Make A £Million From your Music' at http://www.makehits.co.uk. Secure purchase at https://secure.mistral.co.uk/makehits/swgappsecure.htm or fast cred*it card line: +44 1323.728005 or UK 01323.728005

“3 Minutes on the Radio with Dec” …. Available immediately at http://www.myspace.com/makehits

"Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at

you, but when you take him for a car ride; he sticks his head out the window?”

The gags: ..... [Fried eggs]

A wife was making a breakfast of fried eggs for her husband. Suddenly, her husband burst into the kitchen.

'Careful,' he said, 'CAREFUL! Put in some more butter! Oh my gosh! You're cooking too many at once.


We need more butter. Oh my gosh! WHERE are we going to get MORE BUTTER?

They're going to STICK! Careful. CAREFUL! I said be CAREFUL! You NEVER listen to me when you're cooking! Never! Turn them! Hurry up! Are you CRAZY? Have you LOST your mind? Don't forget to salt them You know you always forget to salt them. Use the salt! USE THE SALT! THE SALT!'

The wife stared at him. 'What in the world is wrong with you? You think I don't know how to fry a couple of eggs?'

The husband calmly replied, 'I just wanted to show you what it feels like when I'm driving.’


Now Click here to Join 'One Minute With Dec' Mailing List.... FREE!

  • “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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