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The Smartphones of Austin's Underground Musicians «Smartphones :: Gadget Hacks



Smartphone technology has become as ubiquitous as that of the automobile. In Austin, Texas, a city widely known as the "live music capital of the world," smartphones have been used by the music community not only as a means of documenting and promoting, but also creating music.

A rock guitarist, horn player and solo artist explain.

Guitar Hero

Most rock musicians will tell you that their career plan is pretty simple. They want to play, sign a record deal and become famous. Phoenix Steel Knight says his mission is to become a guitar god and change the face of the music.

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Knight, 18, plays in a rock band called Love Sing Dance (formerly known as Regret Roulette Reload). He founded the band four years ago and has managed to play small venues in and around Austin. Since its foundation, the group has been renamed more than once and has undergone some 40 personnel changes. Knight, which consists mainly of teenage musicians, appreciates the ever-changing cast. "They were high school students and did not know what they wanted to do in life," he says.

The band is usually a quintet, but they were looking for a new drummer. The current members of the group – Knight (guitar, vocals, songwriters, producer, main creator); Jarik Yarbrough (vocals, keyboard); Mundo Soto (bass); and Lance Blue (keyboard, guitar, producer) have been together for about two years. Knight works at South Austin Music and says he's always trying to learn more about his trade and how he can become the best.

Knight's band uses smartphone technology to work with bandmates, which boosts the song-making process. He uses his iPhone X R and the GarageBand app (available for free on iOS) to sketch new material.

"Earlier, when I started playing guitar as a metalhead, I was really I did not like technology at all," he says. "Then I started using my phone to make beats and put the guitar over it, especially in my new band, that's the direction I want to go with it – electronic."

Knight likes to sketch a song by creating a playback on his iPhone. He will then play along with the track and write the guitar parts at will. He then creates an empty track in GarageBand and records it either with his AirPods or via the microphone of his iPhone directly in the app. "It's really great to send demo to your bandmates, I pick up guitar parts and send them to my co-authors, and they can write on them, which also shortens the practice time considerably, and we can do more in a way." shorter time.

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While working with his iPhone has simplified songwriting, it has not launched what he creates on his mobile device Act.

"It's more developmental," says Knight. "I'm still new to this, and Lance is still new to having my insight, so we still need to find a formula to to take her to the stage. But that's the idea of ​​putting them on stage in some way. "[19659003] Once he's comfortable with what he's done, he sends it to Blue by e-mail, which is a more robust version of GarageBand The track is then tidied up and becomes the basis for a new song.

Through guitar and piano lessons, he was able to use GarageBand and equate it with learning a new instrument. "GarageBand has a keyboard, and me had piano lessons before. So I know how to get some of the sounds or how to find the chords here, "explains Knight.

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The 18-year-old is always listening Music on vinyl, if available, as well as on YouTube and Apple Music, he says that Spotify is what he uses the most, and he likes to use Bandcamp (a free download for Android and iOS) and ReverbNation.

Knight has been musically interested since he was a teenager and he says making music with his iPhone came from a need to entertain himself when he had free time before and after school.

"If I have I started making my own songs and singing tunes. I knew how to play the keyboard and thought, & i have to save that somewhere. I will not sing it properly; i need the right grades. & # 39; "he says." I would be bored on the school bus and then beat a drum over it. And that's all in my hands. "

Standing on a small stage in a food truck in South Austin In the park, Roy Pulido plays with his trumpet on an instrumental piece of Santana's" Oye Como Va. "The 32-year-old Pulido hails from Oceanside, California, and moved to Austin in 2010. He was a trombone trombone player in his hometown.

Image by Julian Cordero / GadgetHacks [19659008] Upon his arrival in Austin He was quickly introduced to the music scene and played everything from soul to cumbia, and since then Pulido has become a soloist out of necessity.

After answering some bug listings for buglers, Pulido decided to play his trumpet, one battery-powered 50-watt ION Bluetooth speaker, pick up and push a button Street party on Fat Tuesday. Via YouTube, he chose Carnival and Dixielan d-instruments and played with. He was a hit and found a way back into the music scene. Since then, Pulido has used YouTube instrumental and backing tracks for most of his performances. He can find a wide selection of past and present music to entertain people of all ages.

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Pulido has used his daily phone – a Samsung Galaxy J7 – for all his shows. He prefers Android over iOS just because the majority of his smartphones was Samsung. And in contrast to the iOS counterparts, he is glad that his phone still has the 3.5 mm headphone jack. "There will be times when Bluetooth does not work, and if I have the jack there, I still have the extra option when needed."

Picture of Julian Cordero / GadgetHacks [19659008] When it comes to music discovery, Pulido Deezer's favorite app is (free for iOS and Android).

"Deezer is not as well known as Spotify or Pandora," he says. "It was free on one of the phones I had before, and I liked it so much that I chose Premium." Deezer's premium status for $ 9.99 a month removes advertising, allows for unlimited jumps and is available on almost all devices and wearables.

A big win for Pulido is the music recognition feature built into the app. He enjoys listening to music in his car before going to work, and the music recognition feature is useful when listening to songs on the radio that he may want to add to his performances.

For stage performances where he can connect Up to the power supply, Pulido uses a 500 watt ION brand Bluetooth speaker. At a presentation at Thicket Food Park, a popular food truck venue in South Austin, he was able to deploy and set up his equipment within minutes. That was a good thing because the venue had double booked him with another musician with a lot more equipment. His speaker was high and light, which gave him time to reorganize his setlist for the evening.

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"Once I was married and had children It was hard to get back into music when I started back into the water with my feet To dive to play with other bands, I was busy with work and life itself, "says Pulido. He admits that while he misses the camaraderie associated with playing in a band, he also misses the hauling of heavy equipment, adapting to other people's schedules, and sharing the cash winnings. "I can practice whenever I want, I can play whenever I want, I just have to worry about myself, so at the moment it works for my life."

Classics Never Die

The first thing I can do You notice Honey Son that he is a brilliant multitasker. He hums, pushes buttons, turns knobs, sings and strums seemingly arbitrary with his guitar. Honey Son, whose real name is Mars Wright, says it's all part of the show. Wright's music combines vocal harmonics, guitar and other loop effects to produce a specific, almost dissonant sound.

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Most of his vocal harmonies and drum beats are recorded live in front of the audience before he starts a song. Wright has a lot of equipment with him. His setup consists of a mixer, speakers, guitar and pedals, as well as a home-made mixing table that looks like a robot in the middle of the montage. There are buttons, illuminated buttons, dials and all sorts of cables that turn and turn in all directions. He built it himself to arrange his equipment to his liking. Among the items on the mixing table is mainly an iPad 3, which acts as a routing station for editing the inputs. And not far away stands an iPhone 4 S .

His original setup was different, but one night it was stolen. "I thought I could try to buy another endless pedal or another endless device, or I could just buy an iPad, an iPhone, and use the things I already own and find an interface – it turned out to be cheaper and more robust Solution. "

" I actually have two iPhone 4S in action, "he says. Wright has always liked the 4 S because of its portability and reliability.

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In addition, Wright highlights the 30-pin connector as one of the main reasons why he has the older iOS devices still integrated into his setup , During the life of Apple's 30-pin connector, many music equipment manufacturers offered a number of things that were tailored to people like Wright. Unfortunately, many of these companies have not updated their technology to support the Lightning connector. The device that Wright uses to connect its 30-pin iPad has not been updated for the latest iPad models.

Wright uses an app called Loopy HD ($ 3.99) to record background music or sounds for shows only on iOS). The app is capable of recording various sounds or riffs that repeat themselves (referred to by musicians as loops ) and runs on both iOS devices. Each device can run an instance of Loopy, and the app can consolidate those tracks on the main unit, giving it even more tracks to merge.

He discovers music through Spotify (on iOS and Android), which he prefers over the other music services. Similar to Deezer, Spotify can be found on just about any device, including game consoles and smart TVs. The price is the same as Deezer's for $ 9.99 and with many of the same features, except for music recognition. He tells Spotify to be a "clean social network" that lets you share playlists with other musicians, friends and family members. "Everyone is on Spotify." He says. Wright is also a big fan of the radio algorithm and the customized playlists created by the app.

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Apple is its preferred brand to retain most of its devices on the same ecosystem. His phone is an iPhone SE, which was one of the last phones with a 3.5 mm headphone jack. "I will not upgrade to a phone without a headphone jack," says Wright. He does not care much about Apple's decision to drop the jack. While enjoying headphones to listen to music, he admits his favorite place to listen to music is in his car Listening test is that I get into my car, listen to it in the car and make sure everything sounds – so I can compare it to anything else I hear.

Incidentally, Wright also teaches middle school orchestras and teaches a workshop in an orchestra camp where he wants to teach children electronic music through their smartphones. "I hope they emerge from this by saying," Me Can this make classical music, but I can also easily experiment with this thing that I have constantly in my pocket, rather than with Snapchat or some other waste of time? If there is any kind of advocacy position – I am a big proponent of it.

Image of Julian Cordero / GadgetHacks

This article was produced during Gadget Hacks Special information about streaming, listening to and creating music and podcasts on your smartphone

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