#FTC2014 Week 13 – “Terra EP” Candidate (20140329)

Not a happy week for me. Took a break from the melodies and went straight for the dinosaur sounds.

Timeline: March 29th, 2014
Rules: Must have wubs!
Software: Ableton Live 9 Suite

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Espresso Shots 0007: Mathew Collings and John Hilhorst from Community Tree Music


My love for soundtracks is no secret. Have you ever watched a movie on mute? The high-speed chases, the tender embraces, and all the moments in between – they lose their gravity without audio. Sound and music are integral parts of the visual media experience, and it’s a great pleasure to feature two gentlemen who feel the exact same way.  Mathew Collings and John Hilhorst  join me today to talk about and their new venture, Community Tree Music.

Mathew Collings and John Hilhorst from Community Tree Music

Mathew, John, thank you so much for joining me! Loving the marlin, by the way. So, before we dive into your latest venture, who are you guys? What do you do?

We are long time friends, born and raised from the Comox Valley, a small Canadian town smack down in the centre of Vancouver Island. Our friendship began by organizing street hockey games, pretty much every day, you can’t get more Canadian then that. We then started making films together for fun which quickly turned into a full blown passion and before we knew it we found ourselves running a production company in Vancouver. It’s been a wild and exciting ride and we have loved every second of it! We love telling stories that are honest, real, and matter. It’s what pushes us every day to be better filmmakers! Music has always been a huge part of our lives and hugely important part of all our films. It’s this passion that inspired us to find more amazing music, and what inspired our newest venture, “Community Tree Music”.

What’s that?

Community Tree Music is a resource for filmmakers to find great soundtracks for their films. The artists are all Canadian and we are so proud to be able to share their amazing talent with the filmmaking public.

Sounds like my kind of jam!  How did it all begin?

As filmmakers ourselves we can totally relate to how hard it can be to find the perfect song, not only that but we can also relate to how frustrating it can be to license a song for a film. We wanted to create something that made it easier for people like us, filmmakers, to find great music and license it easily for their films. We realized this was something we needed to create when we had a meeting with a commercial client who specifically requested Canadian music in their commercial spot. When we started looking into licensing quality Canadian music we realized that there were not a lot of places were you could find quality Canadian music to license. When we looked a bit deeper we started finding all sorts of incredibly talented Canadian artists, so we created something that would help give them exposure while at the same time provide a solid resource for filmmakers that need great music.

That was one of the big draws for me as well, that you guys are running a purely Canadian resource.

Canadians have great stories to tell, it’s reflected in so much of what we do as a culture. There are so many fantastic Canadian musicians out there, and so many songs that we felt would fit perfectly in films. The opportunity for Canadian musicians to collaborate with Canadian filmmakers is really exciting. Adding to this, a filmmaker buys a license from one of our artists, the artist makes money and when you are trying to survive as an indie Canadian musician every loony or townie counts! Hopefully this will help them financially and allow them to focus more on making great music.

So Community Tree Music focuses on independent music?  Would you say indie music better than mainstream material?

We get asked this a lot. It’s not that it is better, it’s just that independent music is more honest and personal and we feel tells a better story. When you hear a top 40 song on the radio a thousand times a day it starts to lose its personality. If you use that song in your film it can take away from the honesty of the story. We are starting to see independent music becoming more of a popular choice in web videos, films, commercials and television and often we ask ourselves “what is that song?” Which not only makes us remember that particular piece of work but also makes us discover new music!

I get that. For me, oftentimes, the songs I find in films and games have more meaning; I think it’s because I saw them in context of something bigger.  When I hear them, they’re grounded in that experience.  On the visual end, who’s the perfect user for you?  What can filmmakers expect to take away from the site?

What we want is filmmakers to come to Community Tree Music and not only find music to enjoy listening to but start to build connections with artists. From our experience, finding artists that you can connect with as a filmmaker is so important and often music can inspire so much in filmmaking. If you come to Community Tree Music and listen to some of your favorite artists it can really help the creative process plus those filmmakers will keep listening to the same artists, license from them again and again and spread the word about how great that particular band from Canada is!

And on the musician side?

We are looking for passionate story tellers, artists that write from the heart. Artist’s that create music as a way to express who they are. We are always looking for story in music. Is this a song that takes us on a journey? Does it make us think, dance, feel? They say sound is fifty percent of the movie going experience so music really is am important element of film.

I totally agree!  In closing, any big news or projects coming up?

Yes! We are currently getting ready to send out some really cool Community Tree playlist discs which we will be mailing out to our subscribers and production companies. We want people to be able to enjoy the music and make a real connection with these awesome artists. With these discs we will be including a promotional discount off all licensing options. Other than that, we are always adding new artists, having contests and putting together some genre specific playlists to make finding the perfect soundtrack that much easier.

I’d love to get my hands on one! Gents, thanks so much again for joining me!

Thanks for having us!

Filmmakers and musicians – if you’re looking for your next soundtrack or if your music would be perfect for visuals, hop on over to Community Tree Music and give Mathew and John a shout!

Going West Coast Road Tripping with TripleSpot – and I Need Your Advice!

Last September, I was invited to the launch of TripleSpot, a mobile app that’s all about finding and sharing the greatest experiences in your own backyard and abroad. Rather than centre around reviews, TripleSpot is all about activities. The entire experience is broken down into twelve categories, including “Do Good”, “Make Something”, “Get Some Culture”, “Go Out Tonight”, and of course, “Eat & Drink”.

Jumping ahead to November, TripleSpot ran a contest to crowdsource the best weekend adventures from around the world. At the end, five winners took home $2,000 to go travel and TripleSpot their experiences – including yours truly!

Deciding where to go was hard. For a long while, I hovered between Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, and Iceland, but each location came with its own concerns, largely around resources and planning. My visit to Singapore and Japan last year was WONDERFUL, but very intense. For this trip, I want to unwind (and not worry about language barriers), so I’m going to explore my own backyard; down the US west coast I go!

This is where I need your help. At this time, Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco are the major stopping points, but I know very little about what’s around them and between them. If you have any favourite experiences along the US west coast that might fit into “Get Some Culture”, “See the Sights”, “Get Outside”, “Learn Something”, “Get Sporty”, “Hear Music”, and “Eat & Drink”, I’d love to hear about them and their stories! The less common the better, though if you know a unique twist to a common experience, that’s awesome too.

Thanks, guys! I really appreciate the help!

Disclaimer: To be totally clear, by accepting the contest disbursement, I’m obligated to post a specific amount of content to their network. For full details, see TripleSpot’s Weekend Adventure contest terms and conditions.

#FTC2014 Week 07 – “Mizu EP” Candidate (20140214)

This plagiarism thing really got to me. I’m getting more and more nervous about posting material online; I’m either rushing projects to market or not posting them at all. This week, I’m trying something new: (soft) audio watermarking. It’s annoying, but it keeps fiftytwocreatives moving so I can deal with it for now.

A candidate for my next EP “Mizu”, this track’s a blend of my old downtempo material and my recent fascination with future bass.

Timeline: February 14th, 2014
Rules: N/A
Software: Ableton Live 9 Suite

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#FTC2014 Week 06 – First Breath (The Artist Within Mix)

Scoring your own story is weird.

Last month, I had the honour of joining Justin Lam of Three Sixty Photography for the inaugural episode of his interview series, “The Artist Within Project”. I talk in brief about what music means to me and where things go from here.

For my piece, he went for a theme of discovery and inspiration. Charged with scoring the short, I created an extended version of “First Time” that dovetailed into a blend of “Uncharted” and “Know You (Voices Remix)” – two tracks where I really found my sound. Early in, it was going to crescendo into an original, strings-heavy section, but when everything clicked, it made sense to end with a beginning.

Timeline: February 5th, 2014 – February 7th, 2014
Rules: See post.
Software: Ableton Live 9 Suite

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#FTC2014 Week 05 – Roots 0004: Hug a Turtle (Future Bass x Jersey Club)

A welcome change from my usual, pumped-up fare, Roots 0004: Hug a Turtle is a short, laidback mix leaning heavily on two new favourites – Huglife and Trippy Turtle. Isosine, Nicholas Cheung, Hippie Sabotage, and LidoLido all make welcome appearances – and I finally get to drop Know You (Voices Remix) in a set.

As always, this mix and the rest of the Roots Mix Series are free to download on Facebook!

Timeline: January 31st, 2014 – February 2nd, 2014
Rules: N/A
Software: Ableton Live 9 Suite

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#FTC2014 Week 04 – Stock Music: House 0001

Another uncomfortable week. I spent my time programming synths and starting new assignments, but nothing was ready for reveal. I arrived at end of my time without a project. Nerve-wracking. Still, that’s never an excuse not to produce quality. There were smaller projects I could complete.

Early in the week, Dee De Los Santos to produce a theme for her site, Gastrofork‘s, video series. She wanted something that represented her team and their work – something upbeat, approachable, timeless, and that would work for a diverse range of videos. In my mind, house seemed the perfect fit. With Gastrofork covering all cuisines, I made sure to avoid cultural inflections. The track finished a straight house groove with electric pianos and strings providing momentum.

Timeline: January 25th, 2014 – January 26th, 2014
Rules: See post.
Software: Ableton Live 9 Suite
Instruments: Ableton Factory Library, Native Instruments Session Strings Pro, Native Instruments Massive, Native Instruments Retro Machines MK2, Scarbee Vintage Keys

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Espresso Shots 0006: Steven Ngo, Executive Director of HUM

Steven Ngo, Founder of HUM

After a three-year hiatus, the Espresso Shots project is back!

Espresso Shots is an interview series covering inspiring people I meet.  Each interview includes coffee, a conversation, and a photograph.

Helping me relaunch the series is someone I’ve admired for a long time, Steven Ngo. A lawyer, musician, social butterfly, and philanthropist, Steven is always making great things happen, and I’m proud to have him here to talk about his non-profit, Healing Using Music (HUM).

Steven, I know you’re always on the go, so thanks for taking the time to join us!  You seem to do everything.

Thanks for the introduction Jeremy!  I’m just as impressed by your accomplishments and feel honoured to be part of your Espresso Shots series.

Thanks!  So, tell us about HUM.  What is it and what do you do?

HUM is a non-profit organization dedicated to using music as a way to bring happiness to the world. We provide free live music performances to schools and care facilities as a way to share our passion for music and to bring happiness into people’s lives. At HUM, we believe that music makes life better and providing live music is our way of improving the lives of people in our community.

You know, that was one of the biggest draws for me – how giving you are.  I think the same goes for your team at HUM as well.  How did it all begin?

Thanks Jeremy!  The idea for HUM started about two years ago.

During the holidays, I noticed that there were a lot of caroling events taking place in the community. Whether it be in schools, care facilities or even at the mall, the carolling music from these events help create such a festive atmosphere and brings people together from all walks of life.

However, once the holidays are over, the number of performances in schools, hospitals and care facilities die down as well. This is unfortunate. There is no reason why live music should only take place during the holiday; it should happen all year long, especially in places where music isn’t nearly as accessible.

I wanted to create an organization that would provide music performances to schools, hospitals and care facilities throughout the year, and hence, the idea for HUM began.  

And for you, where did your mission to help others come from?

I have always been involved with music and charity from a young age. When I realized that I could give back to the community through music, everything just clicked.

To me, there is more to music than simply mastering scales on the piano or learning new guitar rifts. Rather, I want to use music as a way to effect change in our world, and HUM is a perfect avenue for me to fulfill this purpose.

I admire that.  For someone who wants to check HUM out, what can they expect?  What makes a HUM event great?

The main difference between a HUM event and any other event is the amount of effort that we put into engaging the audience and creating a friendly and open atmosphere. Music is meant to be enjoyed by all without prejudice and without barriers. The musicians who volunteer their time with HUM are typically those who want to use their talents for a greater purpose and want to give back to the community.

Looking ahead, what’s next for you and your team?

Next, HUM is expanding globally to Asia, which is exciting and has kept us quite busy in terms of figuring out the logistics of our global expansion. I am fortunate to have such a strong and talented team working with me. They continue to inspire me every day, and without their support, I know that we wouldn’t have achieved such success at HUM.

And locally, is there anything we can do to help HUM grow?  How do folks get involved?

To get involved, check out our website, sign up for our newsletter and find us on Facebook as well.

We have events every month, and we’re always looking for people to get involved. If you play music and want to give back to the community, come chat with us. You can reach out to us via email or on any of our social media channels.

If you’re involved in the community or know of organizations who may be interested in having us perform, let’s get in touch, and we would be happy to chat further.

Awesome!  In closing, a personal question?  I’m always amazed at how much you get done.  Do you have any advice on how folks can up their game?  What drives you?

A lot of coffee … just kidding.

I love reading and listening to audiobooks. In particular, I remember learning about this one idea in a book called The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy, and it has changed my life ever since.

“Things that are easy to do are also easy not to do … it is the simple positive choices added up over time that will lead to life-changing results.”

For me, this rule applies to everything from taking a few seconds to reply to an email to pumping out an extra rep at the gym. It is the small, daily choices that matter the most and when compounded over time, lead to great success and productivity.

In terms of what drives me, I am continually inspired by friends like you who have achieved so much in life. However, if I were to name just one source, it would be my family. My parents immigrated to Canada with almost nothing to their name, started at the bottom and worked their way up the ladder. They worked day and night to make sure that we would have a better life in Canada, and I’d like to think that they did a pretty good job so far!

They definitely did!  I need that quote on my wall.   Steven, thanks so much again for your time!

Thank you!

For anyone wanting to see HUM in action, they have a fundraiser on February 6th, 2014 at Performance Works here in Vancouver to raise funds for The Lipstick Project.  Performers include Gio Levy, Anna Toth, Dan Heffner, Angelica Poversky, Fat Julia, Nogo, and opening and closing DJ sets from yours truly.

#FTC2014 Week 03 – Time: Third Time

Seven times. I started this track over seven times. Exhausting.

This week was a big press week for me. With television and radio interviews airing, I wanted to make sure I had plenty for visitors to hear. So, to preempt, I released Time early.

In many ways, it was a success. Pre-orders were taken. Folks were asking me about scoring films. First Breath even got radio play. All good things.

But creatively? Not so good. Third Time, the end of the Time trilogy, had a lot riding on it. The first two tracks were received well. The moment I flipped the switch, pre-orders came in. The expectation for quality was set and the pressure was on.

Then, there were the other stipulations I placed on myself. The track had to be in 3/4 time, and to end the series, had to express closure; I interpreted closure as coming home. The scenario spawned lots of ideas, but I went for a somber tone with a hint of optimism. I imagined someone arriving at their home, empty, but after searching, a glimmer of hope. It begins, builds, and ends a little ambiguously. Back to the beginning again.

I’ve learned that sometimes, stopping is the best way to go forward. I wish I had the privilege this week, but when I think of my clients, I better deliver whether or not I’m inspired. Good practice.

Timeline: January 15th, 2014 – January 19th, 2014
Rules: 3/4 time; track must express closure.
Software: Ableton Live 9 Suite
Instruments: Ableton Factory Library, Native Instruments Kontakt 5, Native Instruments The Giant, Output Sounds REV,

Hear more from Jeremy Lim Music on YouTube, Soundcloud, Mixcloud, Spotify, Deezer, iTunes, and Bandcamp.

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