'One Minute With Dec' 30 May 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-]

" Why do you have to "put your two cents in"..
but it's only a "penny for your thoughts"?
Where's that extra penny going to?"


    What a success story? [ ‘Maybe Gaga’ sensation]
    Increase hand strength [ should guitar players have strong hands?]
    Change it Back [frustrating Computer fault solved?]
    Subscriber's Section [ a complex set of mixing questions? ]
    The gags: ..... [ A corker …. From Willie ]

What a success story? [ ‘Maybe Gaga’ sensation]

I mentioned before that I had been asked to create the music and audio presentation for a new idea … a super ‘Lady Gaga’ music show.

I must say I had great fun analysing the many tricks and mixing methodology of RedOne, her producer [through Kanye West]. I always, nowadays, advise any serious music guys to do the same … he really is the ‘king’ at the moment.

The show has been a gigantic success … this week performing with Mr. Hudson, Tinie Tempah [‘Pass Out’ in the chart] and earning a fantastic revue and ‘shout out’ from Scott Mills on Radio One [the biggest guy currently on this National station, the most listened to in the UK]

Scott gave her a mighty mention and the pics. are good … see Utube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nQpBaLC95DM

and pics. at http://www.makehits.co.uk/archive5.htm



Scott Mills .... Mr Hudson ..... Edith Bowman


“ Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up
like every two hours?”

Increase hand strength [ should guitar players have strong hands?]

I am often asked by guitar players about what exercises can be done to increase hand strength. Many guitarists believe that in order to play faster, more strength is needed.

When I am asked this question, I usually have to explain to these guys that they are focusing on the wrong things. The reason is because playing guitar is actually less about “strength” than it is about skill and precision.

Trying to become stronger does little for the more important elements of your technique such as: synchronization, finger independence, and the ability to keep unused fingers low to the strings. You will be much better off trying to improve these 3 elements of your playing, than you would be if you tried to do exercises for pure “finger strength”. In other words, the benefit to your playing from improving your synchronization by 5% will be several times greater than the benefit to your playing from improving your finger strength by 10% or even 15%.

Of course you do need “some” strength in your hands to play guitar, but fortunately, you can develop most of the strength you need simply by playing regularly. And the strength exercises that will give you the most benefit should actually be for your PICKING hand and not the fretting hand!

Many of the products that were created to enhance fretting hand’s strength mislead people into thinking that this tool can be a shortcut to becoming a great guitar player. I can tell you with certainty that these gimmicks are not worth your time. If you read interviews with any great guitar players, you will never find them saying that they became great players because of how strong their fingers were, or because they practiced with a certain tool that promised to enhance finger speed/strength.

The only shortcut that is guaranteed to be 100% effective in reducing the time it takes for you to become a great guitarist is learning with a great teacher who can train you and mentor you through the process of learning guitar.

Check out ‘Mach 1 Guitar’ by Serious Writers Guild member Andy Ridgeway [with a little help from Dec!]


"If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?”

Change it Back [frustrating Computer fault solved?]

If you follow a tip [say on the Internet] to modify your computer system and decide to change it back, what should you do?

In most cases, just follow the tip again and put the setting back (if you unchecked a box then re-check it). If you take a file out of a location, then put it back in.

For instance, we are often told to go into Safe Mode to troubleshoot problems by hitting the F8 key at boot up. It never fails that we are faced with the problem of how to get out of Safe Mode. Once again, hit F8 when you turn the computer on but choose "Normal" boot up from the menu when it appears.


“ Why are you IN a movie, but you're ON TV?”


“HI Dec! WOW things are getting exciting. I broke my "duck" and wrote my first proper hit potential song a couple of weeks back, and since then I've written two more, found an girl to front them. Real star potential, great singer, dancer live TV performance experience.. She can break your heart with a ballad or bounce you out of your seat with pure energy..

Peter Olroyd”



" Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in
binoculars to look at things on the ground?”

Subscriber's Section [ a complex set of mixing questions? ]

“Hi Dec

There is something undeniable about HIT music and that is, after the toon has been sculpted, compressors play a great role in making the music a HIT just as you put it in your books. Because of this reason, I have coined a phrase, tho' it partly your phrase which is..."THINK COMPRESSORS, THINK HIT MUSIC". Every 'Number One' song today on the chart has some sense of compression and sometimes to a fault 'abused'...because you can hear the compression if one listens carefully.

Well, one of the reasons I am sending you this message is because I want to know from you, how do you use any of your compressors in your arsenal. Basically, a compressor has 5 major rotary knobs on it and that is (tho' from my experience, I consider them has just 3 rotary knobs) 'Threshold & Ratio', 'Attack & Release' and 'Make-Up Gain'. Tho' it's so easy to say what these knobs do but it can be pretty difficult to nail the right sound (compression)...

Secondly, in my mixes, I divide my channels into 5 different groups which are, foundation tracks, rhythm tracks, pads, fills and lead. The busiest of these channels/groups are foundation and fills...the foundation comprises my drums and bassline while the fills comprises noises and just noises. To cut the long story short, I know you have something similar...my question is how do you handle all these channels 'conveniently' while you mix...do you think acquiring a larger desk with more channels will help.

Thirdly, can you please recommend a 'cheap' but good reverb unit that I can strap to my desk either has inserts or aux send/return. I need them for drums and percussion, synths and noises.

Talking about electric basslines, I have never been too comfortable taking them down a whole octave because at such fq.'s the electric bass can sound really muddy and there is no amount of eq'ing and filtering that takes out the dirt from it. Tho' for synth basslines, they do very well at very low fq's and they still remain tight...most especially with sinusoid like oscillators.

Lastly, I really don't think the banks in my country is a wonderful place to stash money in the future so I am thinking of stashing it in an overseas account but my fear is, is it possible to open an account overseas while I reside here in Nigeria. Where/which country do I open this account...Swiss Bank or where?. Wouldn't I be considered a money launderer if I do this or don't you think it is against the law...?

KK [Nigeria]

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]


<<<<<<<<< Every 'Number One' song today on the chart has some sense of compression>>>>>>>>

Substitute "has a HUGE sense of compression"

<<<<<<< because you can hear the compression if one listens carefully.>>>>>>>>>>

If you, as a music maker, cannot hear the compression without listening carefully then an untrained ear will not hear it ... therefore it is useless in making a hit record.

Compression should always smack you in the face ... if it is inaudible then it is called transparent ... and therefore useless ... most UK producers use 'transparent' compressors .... I don't. USA use 'in yer face' compression.

<<<<'Threshold & Ratio', 'Attack & Release' and 'Make-Up Gain'. Tho'>>>>>>

The most important knob is the output or 'Make-Up Gain' ... that will imbue the sound with the feel of that particular compressor and will give the vocal a 'hardness' which is commercial. You will hear it working ... which is the object of commercial recording.

<<<<<<<<<, I divide my channels into 5 different groups which are>>>>>>>>

The most important channels to compress are the drum track ... I have a compressor strapped over the drum submix ... that will change for every project and it is important to mix without the compressor and then add the compressor to give the submix an 'edge'.

The main vocal should be CTF ... compressed to F***. With lots of breath a hard edge [which a compressor of choice will give .... TLA Fatman, for instance]

The back vocals and vocal arrangement should similarly have a compressor strapped over them ... that will serve two purposes .... even out the vocal mix so it is all a luscious smooth mix and also give it a pushing out from the speakers hard compression sound... so commercial.

The guitars also should have a compressor strapped over to give the same effect as the vocal arrangement ... it lets the important guitar parts speak at the right time ... guitars benefit hugely from compression.

<<<<<<<<< do you think acquiring a larger desk with more channels will help.>>>>>>>>>>>

I always recommend having the same set up as I use ... two 24 channel mixers linked together each with an insert facility on each channel .... this gives huge convenience in strapping compressors over sub mixes and also gives an insert point on each channel to have a compressor on a specific channel.

The two mixers have six auxiliary sends each so, in all, I can have twelve effects units available at any one time ... six on each mixer channel.

<<<<<<<<< recommend a 'cheap' but good reverb unit>>>>>>>>>>

The reverb units today are stunning ... because most novices go for plug-ins ... the pros use outboard hardware effects units.

Plug-ins use the computer processing unit ... which is limited ... hardware has dedicated chips and are much more easily accessed and adjusted. They are much more powerful.

The Zoom range of rack units are very reasonably priced .. I have 5 units ... 4 no. Zoom Studio 1201 and one Zoom Studio 1204 .... extremely clean with low noise floor and excellent long reverbs for strings etc.

I favour the American Digitech units ... I use Digitech Studio Twin which gives two effects at once ... excellent for a long delay [very 'today'] and a chorus ... good for thick vocal arrangement. I use the 256 for guitar work in the studio and on stage [4 in one unit]

Multiverb units are another USA unit which are very obvious and you certainly hear them working.

The original 4 at once unit was the Alesis Quadraverb ... still stunning but can be noisy if not set up right [I know how to set them up right... from experience]

I Beta tested the new Alesis Midiverb 4 ... a stunning unit with quite the best detached pre-reverb I have ever heard ... it is our main unit for concert work.

All the above are low priced, especially when purchased on Ebay ... mostly sold by guys who do not know their full potential and want the latest craze.

The most rated units are Lexicon ... I have one but I find them too transparent, brittle and not obvious enough.

<<<< overseas banking>>>>>>

There are many overseas banking facilities .... mostly tax free ... Belize, Cayman Islands, Isle of Man.... then Switzerland.

However it will al depend on the particular local laws in Nigeria .... you live in a Government controlled country ... they may not allow you to export money ... particularly dollars ... you will find that the exchange rate for local currency to dollars/UKpound/EU is not very good.


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

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" Why do doctors leave the room while you change? They're going to see
you naked anyway”.

The gags: ..... [ A corker …. From Willie ]

“A man boarded a plane with 6 kids. After they got settled in their seats, a woman sitting across the aisle from him leaned over to him and asked, "Are all of those kids yours?"

He replied, "No. I work for a condom company. These are customer complaints. 


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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