Working at Red Bull Studios Amsterdam as Assistant Audio Engineer

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Working at Red Bull Studios Amsterdam as Assistant Audio Engineer

Proud to announce that I am now interning as Assistant Audio Engineer at Red Bull Studios in Amsterdam! (Although in this photo pretending to be the Head Engineer... oh how I wish I could brag that it was me who patched that spaghetti mess of patch cables on the SSL analog console in the background of the photo!). 

So far I have worked on an audio recording for Paa Kofi, livestream for Arp Frique, and "uncut" videos for Full Crate and Yung Nnelg. Stay tuned for my blog posts of each session, where I will give insights to which microphones we used and microphone recording techniques. 

And as a side story, how cool is this: after I posted about my internship on Instagram, @the_wimn (The Women's International Music Network) Instagram account reposted my picture on their Instagram story to congratulate me! I thought that was pretty encouraging. They are a network who promote females in the music industry because women are a minority in the business. I would be happy to inspire more younger girls to follow a career in music!

 

 

 

More about Red Bull Studios Amsterdam:
Website: http://www.redbullstudios.com/amsterdam/studio
Address: Q-Factory Atlantisplein 1, 1093 NE Amsterdam

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Recording Full Crate for Red Bull Music uncut

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Recording Full Crate for Red Bull Music uncut

Life is full of such weird coincidences! For my latest recording session at Red Bull Studios, we recorded producer/DJ Full Crate, who coincidentally I had been in contact with in 2011 to collaborate, but eventually never met up. 7 years later, (a social media marketing career behind me and on my way to becoming a music producer) I was to be the assistant recording engineer at his session! 

He brought his band, with whom he performed for the first time live with, and two soloists Gaidaa on latest single 'A Storm On A Summers Day' and Luke Burr from the UK on currently unreleased track 'A Fool Getting Older'. Such a vibe, and the video shows it. Everything was done to perfection, from getting the piano tuned during rehearsal, to the smoke machine, to recording as many (one-take) takes until everyone was satisfied! And the result is amazing. Crate cited Disclosure as inspiration for his live set and the addition of the live instruments and sample pads were definitely a key to the epic performance. 

See the photo gallery below for a close up of the beautiful microphones I set up ;-) Here's a quick rundown of which ones we used:

Lead vocal: Peluso P-12 tube
Full Crate vocal: Shure SM58
Backing vocals: Shure SM7B
Room choir: AKG 414 Gold
Piano back: Neumann U-87 (not shown in the photos)
Piano stereo pair: Coles 4028 ribbon
Overhead L: AKG 414
Overhead R: AKG 414
Kick in: Shure Beta 52
Kick out: AGK 414
Snare top: AKG C 451 B
Snare bottom: Sennheiser 421
High-hat: AKG C 451 B
Tom: Sennheiser 421
Floor tom: Electro-Voice RE-20
Drum room: Neumann TLM 103

Luke was filming some footage for his fans and I found myself in his YouTube video checking the headphones before the recording session! Watch the full video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQEgSSTVEkw

Full Crate's band:
Full Crate: vocals, electric bass, SPD sample pad
Piano & synths (Juno 60 & Prophet) - Alexander Klement
Drums - BangBang Sharona
Backing vocals: Aïcha Gill, Kaydee, Saïda en Ella Alexander

For the full article on Red Bull Studios and photos (by Arenda de Hoop) see: https://www.redbull.com/nl-nl/full-crate-live-sessie-red-bull-music

Recording & mix engineer: Thomas van Opstal
Video production: Keanu Haumahu  
Studio manager: Jasper Djosa

Red Bull Studios Amsterdam
Official website: http://www.redbullstudios.com/amsterdam/studio
Address: Atlantisplein 1, 1093 NE Amsterdam

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REVIEW: ADAM Audio T7V vs. AX7 studio monitors

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REVIEW: ADAM Audio T7V vs. AX7 studio monitors

I had been eyeing ADAM Audio speakers for a while now, but still holding off until I got more impressions from others, knowledge about the competition and generally waiting until I saved up enough money! Let's face it, ADAM speakers are not the cheapest out there. I had been considering the AX range, which are considered crossover of high end home studio recordings and pro audio. But to pay €1098 for a pair of AX7, €778 for a pair of the 5-inch AX5 or a whopping €518 for a pair of the smallest of the range, AX3 was enough to make (an aspiring music producer in the making like) me feel sick! 

The first time I went to Bax Shop in Amsterdam to check studio monitors, there was a DJ who gave me a tip to buy the ADAM Audio speakers. I don't know who he was, but I definitely kept it in mind. I listened to all speakers and the AX range were definitely the ones that stood out to me in terms of amount and smoothness of the detail, however there was something really off-putting about the bass of the AX5. It was boomy and I predicted that I would fatigue after some time of listening. 

So I left it and a couple months later I returned to Bax to listen again with a fresh ear and new impressions. Since the last time, I had spoken to several other musicians and producers and more often than not, ADAM speakers had a good reputation. This time they had the new T series on showcase, which is the entry-level affordable consumer speaker to compete with the likes of Yamaha HS series, JBL LSR305, KRK RP series to name a few. 

Anyway, with my heart set on one of the ADAM AX series, I decided anyway to do a blind test and listen to all the speakers in the room and rank them. To my surprise, I actually discarded the AX5! WHAT! Incredible. So when the shop assistant came by, I asked him to check the boost settings on the back because I remembered from last time that I felt something was off with the bass. He checked the right monitor and indeed, it was boosted in the bass, and in the treble! WOW, I was so proud of my own ears and glad that I could now make a more honest comparison. 

In the end, it all came down to the ADAM AX and T. They both had such an honest and detailed sound, rich and never harsh. Some of the competitors were harsh in the treble (Yamaha HS), or overall muffled (KRK), or just not as exciting (Focal Alpha, HEDD). 

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN T7V and AX7

  • The most obvious being the sound quality.. of course AX being cleaner, and more detailed in every way (stereo image and frequency response) than the T. 
  • AX has stereo link.
  • AX has the bass port at the front (not back like on the T), along with the volume control. 
  • AX has High/Low Shelf options (boost and attenuate) and T has High/Low Pass Filter, so no boost.
  • Price. A pair of 2 x T7Vs is already 150 Euros cheaper than 1 x AX7. No more needs to be said. 

Besides that (and I won't go into technical specs, as you can compare on the ADAM Audio website), there are few differences. I think for the price/quality is absolutely unbeatable, and for that reason alone, I went for the T7V. 

After taking them home, I listened to some CDs and the sound was brilliant! The bass was really rich and I was glad to finally have some nice woofers in the house, rather than bass-less desktop computer speakers! (TIP: listen to CDs or vinyls when possible! Even Premium Spotify streaming will not give you the listening pleasure in good speakers)

I only have 3 concerns about the T7V and they are as follows:

1. On the back there is a dB level control but there is no groove on the pot at 0 dB so you don't know can't know if you're exactly on 0 and no stereo link so you can't be sure if both speakers are the same level. 

2. I heard some popping sounds from the speakers, which decreased when I bought new RCA cables, but I have a feeling it is the dirty electricity in my apartment. I need to verify it another time using new XLR cables and in another place! 

3. The woofer cone is not made with very very much attention as you can see the sloppy glueing. Not a deal breaker, I'm just being picky. (see photos below)

In summary, go for the AX7 if you have the money! If money is no issue, T7V is absolutely the best entry-level near-field studio monitors on the market. 

[As a side note, for a higher price bracket, the Focal Alpha 65 and HEDD Type 05 came a close second and third in the blind test after the AX7, for their detailed and flat frequency response, but I felt that compared to the ADAM speakers they were slightly 'dull'. Not a bad thing, but I think I would like to be inspired when making music and if I don't feel warm listening to even my favourite songs, then something is wrong.]

I paid €395 for a pair of T7Vs at Bax Shop: https://www.bax-shop.nl/studio-monitors/adam-t7v-actieve-studiomonitor-set-van-twee

Official ADAM Audio website: https://www.adam-audio.com/en/

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VIDEO: Paul Freeman - Closer Still (live in Sint Nicolaaskapel)

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VIDEO: Paul Freeman - Closer Still (live in Sint Nicolaaskapel)

It was my first time meeting Welsh singer Paul Freeman, and from the first greeting he was so lovely! I also met Marlous (Revanche Records) and Paul's manager Tommy (Merrill Artists Group) and they were just as lovely! It's so lovely to work with people so lovely! 

Our goal today was to film two songs, Closer Still and Heroes in the beautiful Sint Nicolaaskapel in Nijmegen (also known as Valkhofkapel). It was so much fun! The film crew even used a drone to capture the footage and that was so cool. 

Thanks a lot to Jordy and Marjolein from We Blend It for the amazing footage and the recording engineer whose name has unfortunately escaped me (but it was a woman and I was proud!). 

Photos above by Marjolein van Veldhuizen.

Check out more about Paul Freeman:
Official website: http://thepaulfreeman.com/

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Performing at King's Night Festival 2018 at HOMOMONUMENT

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Performing at King's Night Festival 2018 at HOMOMONUMENT

I was honoured to be invited to perform electric cello at the King's Night Festival 2018 at the iconic HOMOMONUMENT in Amsterdam!

Check out the short movie I made below:

Songs: Testify - Hifi Sean feat. Crystal Waters (Rhythm Masters Vocal Mix), Bromance - Avicii (Greco NYC Tribute Mix)

What an amazing crowd and energy on stage with:

★ THE YARRR DJS ★ Aka. DJ T + Nata Babaju + Goldie Chatsworth

And Additional Featured Artists:

★ JOSHUA SERRAO ★ (Sax man Live Jam Session) ★ ANNIKA ★ (MC Special Guest) ★ MR ROSE ★ (Stage Dancer) ★ AL ' THIRSTY ' STRACHAN ★ (Stage Dancer) ★ FOEF ★ (Stage Dancers) 

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GIG REVIEW: Pete Philly at Ekko, Utrecht

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GIG REVIEW: Pete Philly at Ekko, Utrecht

The first (and last) time I saw Pete Philly perform was 8 (!) years ago! After that, he stopped his collaboration with Perquisite and kind of disappeared. I spotted him recently on the Red Bull Music Netherlands Instagram channel where he announced new material and his comeback tour.. woah! I was really curious what he was up to and how his sound had evolved! He was playing quite small venues and they sold out really quickly, but since I follow him on Instagram, I saw that he was promoting a secret 'trial' gig at Ekko in Utrecht on his Instagram stories. The ticket was something like 8 euros so it was a no brainer! I bought tickets straight away. 

Something that had evolved about Pete Philly was his overall swag. His clothes and moves were full of cool and charisma. He had his producer set up on a laptop behind and his 4 b(l)ack up singers, 2 girls and 2 guys who each had their own dance style which was funny to see. 

He sang his latest singles Favorite Song and Come Together and for a small venue, really got the crowd going! Everyone was really dancing along. It was really great to see such a great reaction to an artist who needs to present himself again after so long.  

Check out more about Pete Philly:

Official website: https://www.petephilly.com/ and below his Red Bull Music Live Session. 

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Performing with Paul Freeman on NPO Radio 2's Roodshow

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Performing with Paul Freeman on NPO Radio 2's Roodshow

I had the privilege of performing with Welshman Paul Freeman on national Dutch radio! It was the NPO Radio 2's late night Roodshow with Jan-Willem Roodbeen where we performed in the iconic living room of the studio in front of the brown leather couch with pillows with "meatloaf" and "keane" written on them. 

Check out our live performance of Closer Still above. 

The song Closer Still he wrote for Netflix series Marvel's Jessica Jones. He is featured performing this song on Season 2 Episode 5 (see screenshot below). 

Check out more about Paul Freeman:
http://thepaulfreeman.com/

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Performing with Paul Freeman at Countdown Cafe

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Performing with Paul Freeman at Countdown Cafe

It was full evening of radio appearances with Welshman Paul Freeman! First we performed Closer Still, Loneliness and Heroes at NH Radio's Countdown Café and then we rushed off to NPO Radio 2's Late Night Roodshow. I loved performing at Countdown Café because I had my Abbey Road family there supporting me (thanks guys!)! The Countdown Café is recorded in the Q factory where I study. I worked a couple times as a mixing engineer for the radio broadcast for Kees Baars. 

Even though it was the first time performing with Paul with an audience, it went really smoothly and it was so much fun! Thank you Paul for taking me on! 

See us performing Closer Still below. Closer still is a song written by Paul and is featured in Marvel's Jessica Jones season 2 episode 5. 

See us performing Heroes below:

Photos by Jasper Derksen 

Check out Paul Freeman's official website: http://thepaulfreeman.com/

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Performing at Yarrr's Girl Drop at Cut Throat

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Performing at Yarrr's Girl Drop at Cut Throat

A couple months ago I got in contact with a couple electric violinists based in Amsterdam who inspired me to try playing electric cello with a DJ.. so after buying some effects pedals (Micro POG & Big Sky) I got my first gig, playing at the alternative Girl Drop bar hangout at Cut Throat organised by the lovely ladies at Yarrr. Although it was not my first time playing with DJ Nata Babaju. I'd jammed years ago with her back then when they had live jam nights at The House of Rising. It took me a few years to get back on track, but this time I was introduced as electric cellist The Wong Janice and played for a very attentive audience for a good part of an hour! It was so much fun!

Big love and ups to Willa, Nata and Tessa for this opportunity! 

P.S. Here I am playing my 5-string electric cello by NS Design, the CR5P from CR Series

I played to a set of Tribal House with artists like Be Svendsen, Dole & Kom, Mollono.Bass, Oceanvs Orientalis and others.. Listen below or click here to follow the playlist

I just had to laugh at someone who commented on the Facebook photo album after the photos were uploaded. 

More about the amazing venue Cut Throat Barber Brunch & Bar (really, you have to check this place out): 
Address: Beursplein 5, 1012 JW Amsterdam
Website: http://www.cutthroatbarber.nl/

I am performing on the NS Design CR5 5 string electric cello by Ned Steinberger

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GIG REVIEW: Camille at Ancienne Belgique, Brussels

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GIG REVIEW: Camille at Ancienne Belgique, Brussels

I first saw Camille in 2009 in Melbourne when she toured with the album Music Hole, and without exaggeration it was one of the top 2 concerts I have ever seen in my life. Knowing this, and also listening to the latest album OUI, I was a bit skeptical that seeing her ever again would be ever as great as the first time (in my experience this is the case and now I don't tend to re-see artists). But I decided to hunt down a show anyway and see for myself. She was not touring anywhere in The Netherlands so I started looking at shows in France and Belgium. Finally I decided on a long weekend away with Bianca to Brussels including a concert to see Camille! 

Firstly, the venue, Ancienne Belgique was really clean and caters for everyone. There were around 20 rows of theatre seats at the back (mostly filled with people with white hair!), then 2 or 3 balcony levels which were for the smaller members of the audience (like us and children!) and also place for disabled. I was actually very surprised to see how age-diverse the crowd was. Although if you asked me, I couldn't pin-point what kind of crowd Camille appeals to. 

What I really liked about the concert was that it was a full show, with details on the lights, colours, clothes, and performance of all singers and musicians, not just the musicality. And this was really impressive. The percussionist had a drum with a light shining on it which looked like the moon. The percussionist had a whole kit with electronic drums with different samples. At one point, the whole band turned into a marching band and walked through the whole crowd. Then Camille asked the audience to come up and sing with her. Everything about the whole show was engaging and Camille herself was so crazy, but perfectly controlled. She is really a genius and true performer. 

What added even more to the buzz was that the crowd was so amazing. They were respectful (not talking like the Dutch) and cheered SO loudly that the reverberation of the hall echoed everywhere and gave so much energy to the band and Camille herself. 

I have to say, although I already kind of had an expectation about the concert, I was definitely NOT disappointed. In fact, very happily surprised, and next time I know not to ever ever doubt Camille..

With a strike of luck, I even picked up the set list :-)

More about Camille:

Official website: http://www.camilleofficiel.fr/

If you are on a phone, watch the below (the song is called Je ne mâche pas) with headphones. It's shot so you can see 360 degrees and it is absolutely brilliant.

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Best octave pedal for electric cello: Electro Harmonix Micro POG vs. tc electronic Sub 'n' Up

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Best octave pedal for electric cello: Electro Harmonix Micro POG vs. tc electronic Sub 'n' Up

I had so much fun comparing these two octave pedals with my 5-string electric cello by NS Design! After I give my review, I will reveal which pedal I ended up going with (sadly I couldn't keep both and the Sub 'n' up was borrowed from my classmate and bass player Fabian, thanks Fab!). 

Build: the Micro POG is definitely bigger and also slightly sturdier (better for gigs and no worries getting scuffed on the edges). I really liked the size of the Sub 'n' Up and it was not really cheaply built or anything but because it has the paint around the whole pedal, it looks prettier, but then there is more paint to scratch off. Micro POG wins. 

Foot switch: the Micro POG (and also other Electro Harmonix pedals) have a very stiff foot switch. It has a big click and needs quite some force to click it. Sub 'n' Up just feels more friendly and sensitive. Sub 'n' up wins. 

Tracking: both are fine, with a slight delay, but expected I suppose. So it's a tie. 

Sound: Sub 'n' Up in general is a smooth-sounding octave pedal has issues with gain. Micro POG octave up sounds a bit bright, but it tracks very well and you have a lot of gain to play with. The octave up also sounds a bit organ-like on both, so I think there is no winner for the upper octave. Sub 'n' Up has a more rounded sound but doesn't really help the sound to stand out. Overall sound-wise: Micro POG wins. 

Modes: Sub 'n' Up has a few modes, but I kept it in polyphonic, since the monophonic option tracks really slowly and doesn't suit the electric cello. The TonePrint function I didn't even try, so I can't say if it is really good or not. Sub 'n' up also has an option for a sub 2 octaves down, which is a very cool option, but wouldn't say it was a deal breaker if my octave pedal didn't have one. The cello plays very low already (and I have an extra lower bass string) so I don't really need it. I prefer having one octave up and one octave down for the cello. Sub 'n' up wins for extra functionality. 

The charger: I wouldn't usually need to mention such a trivial thing but one big 'con' about the Micro POG is that it uses a very big and heavy adapter with a very thin cord which is 220V and not recommended to be used with a 9V daisy chain. It's really something I hate about the Micro POG. 

Overall: in the end I chose the Micro POG because of the sound. It felt more raw, and analogue, and consistently loud on both sub and octave up. Sub 'n' up sounded more digital, smooth, safe, and the sub was loud but not defined, and the octave up was not loud at all even at the highest gain. 

https://www.ehx.com/

https://www.tcelectronic.com

The cello in the photo is the NS Design CR5 5 string electric cello by Ned Steinberger

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GIG REVIEW: Henrik Schwarz and Metropole Orkest | TivoliVredenburg

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GIG REVIEW: Henrik Schwarz and Metropole Orkest | TivoliVredenburg

I heard about Henrik Schwarz performing with Metropole Orkest a couple of years ago because they were the opening act for ADE 2016 (Amsterdam Dance Event) but back then I didn't manage to see them. Finally, together with a small gang of girls, I went on a little road trip to Utrecht. First stop: frites inside the very nice and new Hoog Catharijne mall! 

I was very curious to see how the orchestra would combine with Henrik Schwarz's techno music. There were some very interesting parts of the show: the cello solos! They were lovely, and played by Annie Tangberg who was unfortunately sitting at the back so she was nowhere to be seen from where I was sitting. Another interesting element was the use of a Dutch city bike as an extra percussion. The percussionist turned the wheel and his brushes rattled against the spokes. 

In terms of combining orchestral and techno, it was not the case, until closer to the end of the show, where you could hear some beats that got the crowd moving in their seats. The first half of the concert was mostly orchestral, and it was a wonder what Henrik was actually doing on the stage. Even if he was the composer of the whole set, it was not clear what his role was in a lot of the songs. Was he a live mixer for the orchestra or playing something? It was a pity that there were not more electronic elements, even though I don't think it was the point. I had listened to Henrik's 2015 album "instruments" and it was exactly what we were watching live i.e. his compositions without his traditional electronic elements. However, he somehow lost himself by not being the star of the show.. 

Anyway, still a very inspiring and fitting concert in my journey to combine the cello and electronic music myself! 

See below a full live set from ADE 2016 by Boiler Room: 

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Best reverb pedal for electric cello: Eventide Space vs. Strymon Big Sky

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Best reverb pedal for electric cello: Eventide Space vs. Strymon Big Sky

A few weeks ago, I met an electric violinist who told me about the Eventide Space reverb pedal she was using for live performances. Immediately I was curious and bought one to try with my NS Design 5-string electric cello. The first impression was pretty good, but after some research online, I discovered that there were more people who were raving on about Strymon Big Sky and other websites doing head to head reviews on these two top-class reverbs. So I bought the Big Sky as well, just to see what the fuss is about and not to miss out on something potentially better! 

Here is my (humble) take on both: 

Build: Eventide Space is built with rugged edges and knobs, fit for on the go and on the stage. Big Sky doesn't have rubber feet, corners or knobs and feels more like a studio pedal than for the stage. The knobs on the Big Sky are more delicate and unnecessarily raised a few millimetres above the pedal, which adds to it feeling. Space wins. 

Look: The display on the Space is big and red, very 80s, while the display on Big Sky is much smaller and has less characters. Space wins. 

Ease of use: Navigation on the Space seems easy, using presets from 1-100. Each time you land on a preset, it flashes momentarily the reverb type that it is based on. On the Big Sky, you can see what reverb the preset is based on because of the green light. Each reverb is named on the pedal with a light. Both are equal. 

Sound: Now, sound-wise, this is where it becomes most interesting. For experimental and ambient digital reverb sounds, the Space wins, but for the sound of a real-life reverb, Big Sky is clearly the winner. The sound is just so pure. I can imagine that the Space sounds amazing as an effect for synths, and for specific studio recordings, but I think Big Sky is just an amplified musician's dream to play live with. 

Conclusion: overall the Eventide Space is more user-friendly, better built and better all-rounder, but purely from a sound perspective, Big Sky is the ultimate top class reverb pedal and cannot be surpassed. 

Eventide Space is selling for € 531,- and Strymon Big Sky for € 520,- at https://www.bax-shop.nl

The cello in the photo is the NS Design CR5 5 string electric cello by Ned Steinberger

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VIDEO: Lady Gaga's Just Dance with midi keyboard

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VIDEO: Lady Gaga's Just Dance with midi keyboard

Since seeing Lady Gaga in concert last week and being so incredibly inspired combined with wanting to do something cool with my new Arturia Keystep midi keyboard.. I decided to do a short cover of Just Dance! 

For the lead synth I watched at a YouTube tutorial (eh sorry I can't find the link to it anymore) and the rest I just used basic presets in Logic Pro X. 

I filmed this using Acapella App. 

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GIG REVIEW: Lady Gaga at Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam

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GIG REVIEW: Lady Gaga at Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam

I finally saw Lady Gaga live! It was a really long wait. First, I bought the tickets in early 2017, waiting online with a computer, a mobile and multiple browsers to make sure I could get tickets. It was sold out literally within minutes and I was lucky to score a pair of seated tickets in a good spot! Then, I thought I only had to wait 5 or so months until the concert, but unfortunately Lady Gaga has been ill and she had to postpone her European leg of the tour from October until January 2018. So indeed it was a very long wait! 

But lucky us, she came and rocked the stage(s)! There were stages placed in the centre of the floor area and during one part of the show, these bridges came down from the ceiling and Lady Gaga and her dancers came walking over the bridges to the other stages, and finally a stage at the back of the standing area (which was in front of us!) which had her electric grand piano. She laughed at the die hard front row monsters and said that they thought that they were at the front of the stage and now they were at the back! 

Although Joanne the album is quite chill compared to her earlier synth pop hits, she still put on a huge show especially for her old hits. It was like a theatre play, like the Wizard of Oz with dancers and costumes! But my favourite moment of course was when she was with just her and the piano. That's when she really shines. 

The last song Lady Gaga performed was Million Reasons. She put her pink hat on the side and after the song was over, the piano (and her) started to sink down under the stage and she just disappeared without a word, leaving her pink hat behind. Then the stadium lights turned on. It was so sad because we didn't even have a chance to cheer her or say goodbye. And there was no encore either. Wow, it was such a powerful ending and I felt like a piece of me just left! 

Thank you Lady Gaga for putting yourself out there for us, and hope you get well and strong soon. 

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Performing at Sofia Dragt's album release 'Still Here'

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Performing at Sofia Dragt's album release 'Still Here'

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Once again I was honoured to be invited back on stage with Dutch singer-songwriter Sofia Dragt and her band, this time for her album release 'Still Here'. We performed live to a short film by Jonathan Smit called 'Andras' shot in Iceland in a beautiful art-house cinema in Utrecht, the Louis Hartlooper Complex

It was a different experience to perform with a film, as the audience was often fixated on the moving images and I felt less pressure about how I looked. It's always a privilege to perform to a quiet audience but that moment where I played pizzicato on the cello and Sofia sung with me with no other instrument, it's always a nerve-wracking feeling! All ears on me :) 

Sofia's songs are catchy, emotional and well-arranged. I really have fun performing with these guys, so thanks Sofia and band for having me again. 

More about Sofia Dragt:

Official website: http://www.sofiadragt.com/ 
Listen on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6SbjUvOLEYreFr16Gvn8kv

Watch the short film 'Andras' below:

Band members:

Sofia Dragt - lead vocals and piano
Sander Huting - electric guitar
Wouter Vliegen - electric bass & moog
Benjamin Rheinländer - drums/percussion

Live sound: Willem be Bruijn

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Performing with Liloe Rix at Sofar Sounds Amsterdam

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Performing with Liloe Rix at Sofar Sounds Amsterdam

After recording on my good friend Liloe's latest single Breathe, I finally had the chance to perform this with her live! We were invited by Sofar Sounds - the Amsterdam edition. Their concept is to host monthly unplugged gigs in a (living) room. Liloe was first on the line-up, followed by Ray Romijn, and Terra Naomi from the USA who was only in town a few days because her husband is an actor and filming in Amsterdam. 

We performed in the 'living room' of Enterprise Rent-A-Car to a very quiet and respectful audience. What an honour! So nice to play to a crowd that listens intently to the music and doesn't talk. 

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Thank you to Sofar Sounds Amsterdam for organising this lovely opportunity for us to perform and who knows, perhaps one day again! 

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Performing with Left Alive at Grote prijs van de Bollenstreek

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Performing with Left Alive at Grote prijs van de Bollenstreek

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In 2013 a good friend of mine Sjoerd performed with my old band, and finally, 4 years later, I finally had the chance to return the favour (with my 5-string electric cello)! 

Together with his band Left Alive, a punk rock band based in Den Haag, we competed at a local Dutch band contest Grote Prijs van de Bollenstreek (for the non-Dutchies, it's a region in South Holland in The Netherlands where the tulips or "bulbs" are prolific. 

Last year, the band won the crowd vote and progressed to the semi-final. This year, we weren't as lucky, but we had fun! This year the band decided to play stripped-back without a drummer, with acoustic guitars and a string section (violin and cello) to complement the acoustic vibes. Even though we were unplugged, we still had a lot of energy on stage! Congrats to the band Christopher's Soul who won the Jury vote and will go to the finale, and ScooterRoy and the Hitmachine who won the crowd vote and will go to the semi-final. 

Photos in slideshow by Ruben Verheul and Jeroen Mesman-Vergeer

Thanks to the Left Alive guys for a fun gig! 

More about Left Alive:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/leftaliveband/

Official Website http://www.leftalive.nl/

Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/leftalive

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/128KZvfmYDa6R9uuma8u1A

Band members:

Claire - Vocals
Joris - Guitar
Sjoerd - Bass
Jo - violin

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Visiting Jesse Smit's Godan Handpan workshop

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Visiting Jesse Smit's Godan Handpan workshop

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After visiting Gadung handpan maker in Hilversum, next on my list was to visit Godan handpans, made by Dutchman Jesse Smits in Den Haag. 

One evening, before rehearsal with band Left Alive, I went with Sjoerd (bassist) to visit Jesse and the Godan workshop. Located in the old headquarters of the airforce military defence, the building is home to many creatives, start-ups, music groups, builders, anything goes!

First we went up to his music studio, and wow, what a musician's playground it was! Full of instruments and recording gear. There we were accompanied by his girl and we met Marcel from Di-Rect who shares the studio with Jesse. 

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Then we went to the Godan workshop, where Jesse makes his handpans. He has his oven and tools there (and toy remote control car that he plays with when he's waiting for the handpans in the oven). He said that he is part of a European group of handpan makers who have a cooperative and he uses Shellopan shells from France. 

I got to play some of his exotic scale handpans and in his workshop he even had one with I think 13(?) tones. Jesse loves to experiment and told us he loves to work with musicians who want something different from a handpan, because he gets bored of making the standard ones. He has a "happy" sounding (major scale) handpan for playing between making all the minor scale handpans. 

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Thanks Jesse for a fun tour of where the magic happens! 

More about the Godan handpan: http://www.godan.nl/

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Performing with Sofia Draft at Noorderlijk Film Festival

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Performing with Sofia Draft at Noorderlijk Film Festival

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In October I had a small trip to Iceland with my parents. This country has such incredible landscape; so pure, untouched, and an incredible beauty in ways no other countries can even compare. With this fresh in my mind, I was happily surprised when Dutch singer-songwriter reached out because she wanted a cellist for her next gig at the Noorderlijk Film Festival in Leeuwarden. I took with me my 5-string electric cello

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She was performing with her band to the footage of short film 'Andras' shot in Iceland by Jonathan J Smit. Sofia sings dreamily with her running piano lines (think Agnes Obel). 

Thank you Sofia for having me on stage with you! I look forward to performing at your album launch on September 25 in Utrecht! 

Our show was published in the Nordelijk Film Festival program! (See picture to the right)

To have a sneak peek of the short film, take a look below at 'Andras', featuring Sofia Dragt's single 'Lighter':

More about Sofia Dragt:

Official website: http://www.sofiadragt.com/

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/6SbjUvOLEYreFr16Gvn8kv

Band members:

Sofia Dragt - lead vocals and piano
Sander Huting - electric guitar
Wouter Vliegen - electric bass & moog
Benjamin Rheinländer - drums/percussion

Live sound: Willem be Bruijn

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