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About JohnStacy

  • Rank
    Goomba (+100)
  • Birthday 12/09/1992

Profile Information

  • Gender
  • Location
    Clarendon, Texas

Contact Methods

  • Website URL

Artist Settings

  • Collaboration Status
    3. Very Interested
  • Software - Digital Audio Workstation (DAW)
  • Software - Preferred Plugins/Libraries
    Cinesamples, Default Logic Plugins, Fluid GM3
  • Composition & Production Skills
    Arrangement & Orchestration
    Mixing & Mastering
  • Instrumental & Vocal Skills (List)
    French Horn
    Saxophone: Alto
    Saxophone: Baritone
    Saxophone: Tenor
    Vocals: Male
  • Instrumental & Vocal Skills (Other)
    Jazz Improvization


  • Real Name
    John Stacy
  • Occupation
    Teacher/Freelance Jazz Performer
  • Facebook ID

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2,105 profile views
  1. Let's say there's an album to be released that you're excited for. You're excited to pay $9.99 or right around there for this album, or even a pay what you want setup. Barring absurd things like three 5 second tracks or a 9 hour mega production, what do you think a good amount of content is for this format? Share your opinion in this thread and go.
  2. Here's an updated link I have continued to work, this is actually from July 29, but it was a significant update. I'm hoping to finish this by September, and progress to recording over the course of the next few months.
  3. I use a pink noise generator. I set it to -12db, then mix relative to that. One track at a time I level them so that they can barely be heard over the pink noise. This makes the levels consistent, and most of the time it ends up putting the mix at between -9 and -6 depending on the project. 9/10 times that is actually a decent volume that isn't obnoxiously loud, but it also leaves a lot of headroom if for whatever reason the mix needs to be made louder.
  4. Here's a thing I've been working on lately. The music is completely original composition. You could call this a silent film score project. Ensemble is expanded big band (as I call it "Bigger Band") - 5 saxes, 4 trumpets, 4 horns, 4 trombones, tuba, guitar, piano, bass, drums. The audio is exported from Sibelius through the Noteperformer soundset. The video is the world record speed run of the Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Depending on the timing rules chosen, the time of the run is between 15 and 18 minutes. The video of the run on is about 30 minutes long. I truncated some of the content from the beginning and end, notably the system booting up and title screen/menu, and the credits. The middle of the run has a game reset, but I left that in because it was part of the run. Currently, I have about 15 minutes of the run done, out of the 23 minutes of video. I'm going to keep working on this, but am proud of the progress so far. Piece: How to Save the World in 20 Minutes or Less Composer: JohnStacy Youtube link to video
  5. TBH Two things tend to scare people away - .mid and sheet music I would listen to it but at the moment can't load midi files in a way that will actually sound good. I'll come back to it when I can, but that may be the reason that people pass over. If you can get a render of the midi, even just directly converting it to mp3/wav and upload it to like soundcloud that would help a lot.
  6. JohnStacy

    Advice on Channeling Creativity from Anxiety

    Creatively I have two "sides" - the performer side and the composer/arranger (writer) side. As a result I have the benefit of stepping away from one to the other. Bit of preface: French horn is my primary instrument, and that is a very central part of my identity as a person. If I have to go without the horn for a few days nothing feels right and my life seems to wander. Getting the horn out and doing a daily routine on it seems to put my life on track. I suffer from anxiety, and although it is being managed it causes many problems, especially with performance anxiety. I have almost completely quit classical performance because the anxiety is too debilitating. As a writer, I experience anxiety when my perceived quality of work is challenged. I finish something I'm proud of, come to find out I'm the only one proud of it. This usually triggers about a month of not doing any writing whatsoever. In a professional sense, some clients wont give me any references, just tell me to write, then nothing I do satisfies what they want, "I don't know what I want, but that certainly isn't it." That leads to a slow period of just beating head against wall. What I do to combat the anxiety and the sense of inferiority is to pinpoint what triggers anxiety about what I'm doing and work specifically on that. Some examples: On horn, I was noticing that my fluency and dexterity was causing problems in playing. I would not be producing recorded tracks as quickly and easily as I should. As a result it felt like I was struggling to keep up with other musicians who also recorded. I spent 12 weeks practicing only scales several hours a day, one week per key center. Starting the scales very slow and medium volume, then gradually getting faster and going to more volume extremes. I noticed by doing this I had more ease when playing, which helped a lot. But, my writing productivity also increased. I opened some old files from a long time ago and was able to finish them rather quickly. What was a block was no longer a block. The reverse is also true. Would seem to stagnate on horn, and would focus on weaknesses as a writer. Do short projects with strict limitations to force me to be creative in new ways (write a piece that does not use thirds or triads for example). These would expand my vocabulary and lead to new things I hadn't previously thought of. Basically I focus on my weaknesses that trigger the anxiety and in some cases make those a strength.
  7. JohnStacy

    Hiring of Musicians

    I have a catch-all policy for my rates for things: 1. The project has a sufficient budget and will be profitable which I charge full price for, an undisclosed (higher than $50) amount per recorded minute per track (4 horn parts would be 4 tracks). This is mainly soundtracks, albums and projects that usually have a source of funding. 2. The project has a small budget, and may be profitable but the music is of high quality, well written, and very idiomatic and thoughtfully written. This is small time soundtracks, albums, and projects that are funded by the people working on them exclusively. I charge a very small amount for this, more in the area of $20 or less per piece/track. 3. The project has a small budget, and may be profitable but the music is of questionable or worse quality, poorly written, and not idiomatic or thoughtfully written. This is small time soundtracks, albums, and projects that are funded by the people working on them exclusively. Usually I'll decline these gigs unless it's somebody I know. 4. The project has no budget, and is either limited or not profitable. This includes OCR and some Materia Collective things, as well as passion projects people do because they love it but not to make money. I'll record for free for these, mainly because I really love playing and also helping people realize their dreams who can't or don't care to afford a professional musician. A lot of people at OCR don't care enough to hire professional musicians, since a lot of the music they do is electronic, samples, or they know people who can do what they want already. This community is hella large, but for the most part it's completely recreational or doesn't require live musicians.
  8. JohnStacy

    Music Business

    1. This serves a great purpose because if it gets popular, you can use it as testing grounds to find out what you can and can't get away with. If a remix gets really bad reviews/comments, probably don't dwell on whatever you did. But it isn't good for promoting your own original stuff, maybe it will if you get maximum popularity? 2. I think remaking is a load of crap for people who want to get popular. A lot of people won't even look at it, and most people will just ask why make a copy of the original? It can be great for learning how to do things, but I wouldn't put your name on it as anything other than what it is, a remake. 3. No. 4. Ask about it, but don't count on it. I actually didn't know what you were talking about, having never seen a channel. This doesn't really mean much, other than that that reach of these may or may not be that wide.
  9. JohnStacy

    Music Business

    Yes, you completely missed my point. Because you quoted only the first sentence of that paragraph, you assumed it was going in a direction that it wasn't. Edit 1: I should probably clarify. I really don't like band. The idea of putting only wind instruments in an ensemble is one I really don't like. But, unless you teach at a big school (150+ students per graduating class minimum), band is the only form of secondary music education you have in most places. So The problem I have with the idea that music is what's on the radio is that the students didn't seem to put effort into it. They would sound great, good in tune, good sound, music had energy, on stand tunes of things they knew. Instant there was any other music? They would very clearly not put effort into it. Body language would change. They would make much more basic mistakes and sound like a completely different band. Spend a month or so preparing something for concert contest? It would sound okay, but not nearly as good as the stand tune they spent one day on. I honestly don't care that these kids don't care about classical music, or composition technique. That wasn't my point. I really do care that they don't give literally any value to it unless it's famous. They have openly expressed that musicians who aren't "famous" aren't real musicians and probably have a "real" job that they actually do during the day. That was a struggle that I fought and lost. I wasn't saying, this is good music, you are stupid. I was saying, you're going to be here for a whole semester of not marching band, put some god damned effort into it and maybe it wouldn't be so boring. Edit 2: Plus, you know, it's my job to expose and educate about different types of music they have not been exposed to.
  10. JohnStacy

    Music Business

    So I posted a rant on here recently about feeling like people who don't really belong get handed jobs while I have to work really hard to get even considered. Mostly it's a political game and the good ole boys from the university get everything in the area, but still felt good to complain about it. This is decently related. A point I bring up occasionally in discussions relates to saturation of the market. I'm going to venture into a subcategory and talk about mainstream vs. niche. I can't remember the thread, but somebody was basically asking how to be successful in the VGM scene, and why they weren't being successful. Asking what they did, they did metal covers of mainly 8-bit music. The discussion was productive, constructive, and a lot of good communication happened. (another thing I'm happy about OCR btw, teacher gatherings can turn into acid raining down form the sky) An example I give is Wily Stage from Megaman 2, and the comically absurd amount of metal covers there are of it. By cover I mean note for note from the original but with guitars. So if you're a metal guitarist, doing covers of Wily Stage, and you basically sound the same as the 1200 other people who have already done it, your youtube channel will have 6 subscribers and 40 total views, because you don't stand out. Very few people want to wade through 1200 virtually identical metal covers of Wily Stage hoping they find a good one. When it comes to mainstream music (here referring to what is produced on a large stream for mass audiences), this both applies and doesn't. It has to be somewhat new and fresh, but also very accessible to the average listener, but even then, no it doesn't. Talking with people about modern Christian worship music, it basically has turned into generic love song, but shaded to fit in a worship context. Why does it sound distinctive from pop music? Because it kind of developed in a musical vacuum. It evolved largely on its own which is why it didn't really follow pop trends as closely. Christian record labels were, and still are somewhat niche. Quick look at a stats site tells me that it makes about half the revenue of country music. I live in Texas. Country music is a BIG deal here. Christian music is a BIGGER deal here. There are a lot of bands that do Christian music but refuse the label so that they aren't put in that box where people won't listen to them. The watering down of the genre is a result of the labels avoiding risks. That doesn't have much grounding in reality, since a lot of the people are buying the music because it's available and it's basically the least bad option. Where to go from here? People are generally a lot more open to unique music than the labels give them credit for. Honestly, if the radio stations and everywhere were to start blaring pop music based on 12 tone music from 1910, eventually people would think that 12 tone influenced pop were the new thing. Exposure makes people tend to enjoy things. A lot of pop music really is very bad. But if you hear it a few times, the familiarity of it makes it not seem that bad. A lot of musicians are trying to do that. They're trying to be the next big thing, and as a result they end up with a sound that resembles the current big thing, but isn't very distinctive. I'm really talking on a large scale. Every musician has something that makes them stand out, if they're doing original works. But really, if there are 20 bands out there trying to be the next big thing, and they are all sounding like Portugal. the Man, but not as high quality, why would anybody listen to them when they could just listen to the real one? When it comes to people talking about a saturated market, they're exactly right. There are too many people trying to go where the money is, and they end up sounding like the other people going where the money is. Personal dig, a lot of guitar players I know that complain about not being successful have absolutely no regard for musicality or style, but still insist on doing their thing that doesn't work. The ones who do something different enough to stand out, but similar enough to blend in are the ones who succeed. I really think a lot of the state of the music industry today, with mainstream music is directly related to the lessening of value of music in the school system. A lot of elementary music education in the US is a joke, and I think it's the reason for a lot of problems in the music industry. In a lot of public schools, which the majority of the population goes to, music education is edutainment that doesn't actually teach music. By the end of 4th or 5th grade, the students might can sing a single line matching pitch, but even that is a stretch sometimes. It's not a fault by the music teachers, a lot of them only see a specific group of kids once a week, the other days of the week are other groups of kids. And there's a lot of red tape, and there's really short class times (~30 minutes), and this and that. Plus, economic issues causing kids to be hard to teach (why should I pay attention in class when I haven't eaten in 3 days and I don't know if I'll ever see my dad again because mom's new boyfriend beat him up again). Then there's secondary education, mostly band, orchestra, or choir, which is optional and being cut more and more as the days go on. The simplification and homogenization of pop music wouldn't be noticed at all because most of the population doesn't actually know anything about music. When I stand in front of students, especially those in rural schools, the students have this idea that music is what they hear on the radio. Music in school is something that vaguely resembles music, but is boring. I can show the trumpet players Maynard Ferguson, Herp Alpert, or the saxophone players Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, and they will be in awe. But the trumpet or saxophone they hold in their hands they insist is a completely different instrument. I can grab their trumpet and play the Gonna Fly Now solo and they will still insist it's a completely different instrument (subconsciously). Beyond that, okay, I played my boring band music, can I got beat the snot out of the drumset now? Marching band is what these kids really like, only for the reason that they get to play the music they hear on the radio in band. All other music they play is just sound that resembles music and is just filler, and as a result they just affirm that they aren't musicians and just listen to the popular music. This creates a demand that affirms that the labels and other sources should just be conservative with what they sell. They have the marketing money, so they win. Wow. This went on for a while. I haven't tried to really succeed in the music industry proper, mainly because all my performance experience is in live gigs, and small time studio work. I'm not trying to market JohnStacy the artist to try to sell music to whoever. I'm happy doing that, and doing the teaching thing. But, I'm getting more and more of those gigs because I'm similar (a brass player who can play both classical and jazz, and can work in any musical setting) but different (I'm a french horn player who can do this, and do this well, in a lot of cases better and more reliable than the trumpet and trombone players). I'm also observing people around me, both in person and on the internet. A lot of the ones doing well are doing something unique, but accessible and know how to market themselves.
  11. This happens all the time for many different people, so you're not alone by any means. A thing to remember is the amount of exposure you have. Find a recording you didn't have anything to do with. Listen to it 100 times, and tell me you still like the sound of it as much as you did the first time. With the best made recordings, you will to some extent, but most likely not. Also, you know what your shortcomings are, so when you hear them over and over again it just kind of solidifies the idea that you have those shortcomings. People who have not heard them over and over may not even notice. For the most part, nobody will put a recording on as many times as you did making it, regardless of quality. It's also important to take into account that your tastes evolve. Sometimes you'll love something, then come back to it in a few months and hate everything about it (I can't stand to listen to my earlier work, or performances because of how much I've grown as a musician since producing them). This just means what you see as good or ideal is changing constantly as is normal. This one can be remedied by doing more listening. Music isn't as original as people think it is, and you can use this to your advantage. When working on a track, if you struggle to find out where to go next to finish a track, find somebody else who expressed the same sentiment you want to. I work with big band arrangements quite a lot, and most of the time I do more listening to others' writing than actually working on the track. There are tropes and idiomatic ways of writing that are common because of how solid they are. Don't steal them note for note, but do think critically about why they work or don't work, and see how you can apply that to what you're working on. You mentioned piano solo, I actually have the scores of all of Debussy's solo piano works handy for whenever I need to write a solo piano piece. "I want this musical idea, how could I express that? How did Debussy express a similar thought, and what textures, harmonies, etc did he use to do it?" In a jazz style I'll usually defer to solo performances mostly by Makoto Ozone and similar pianists. Don't think of it like you're piggybacking off of other musicians. When learning to talk for the first time, you didn't learn to talk in a vacuum did you? All you're doing is listening for musical vocabulary to enrich your own. I get this one entirely. I only use the default sounds that came with Logic, mainly because I can't be bothered to get anything else that isn't free. As a result I do as much with live instruments I can, which is why my music typically uses so much french horn and other brass (I'm a professional french horn player, and I have access to a good recording setup for that). I also do a lot of jazz, which samples do not do well. That said, there are all kinds of really good free sounds. An example is the Sennheiser drum library (Drummic'a) that was released for free as an advertisement for their microphones. It's definitely a solid drum sound that works for many things. You can find these things if you look hard enough. A lot of music composition and arranging is knowing how sounds work together, and the limitations of having bad sounds can spur creativity of how to work around them. More easily said than done, I know. But in college there were several times where we would have assignments like "this is a saxophone player who only has an octave of range that sounds good. Write a solid piece that takes advantage of that. Production concepts are universal. Generally basic things like compression, EQ, and reverb, and even non plugin things like musicality, balance, and arrangement used correctly can do a lot for a track. If you get solid with these fundamentals, you'll notice your sound will get better just because the sounds you have will work together better. So a really easy way to find out where to go next is just focusing on one shortcoming that you have, and learning about it. If you have a mix that sounds very loud, muddy, and noisy, look at balance and separation. If you have a mix that sounds very stale and robotic, look at humanization. If the mix lacks energy and seems very static, look up textures and orchestration techniques that can add variety to a mix. Alternatively you can sit down and say "I'm going to really nail this style in this track." Let's say you wanted to write a solo piano mix in the style of Joe Hisaishi. Do a lot of listening and transcribing solo piano works he's written (there are a lot of them because he's Joe Hisaishi). Then when you sit down to write a thing, basically take note of what characteristics he uses in his writing, and see if you can use those in your writing so that your track will sound right at home among other Hisaishi tracks. Listen, analyze, apply. Then, once you have that one, move on to something else. This applies to any style or genre. Gradually, as you do this more, you will get better and better at it and will notice that learning comes much more naturally based on what you're interested in.
  12. May I have Ruby Sunrise?
  13. JohnStacy

    Madoka Magica cover - "Make a Wish"

    Watched this with Lauren. Her thoughts: The instrument choices pair well with the sentiment. Almost like a music box kind of way. They also complimented the voice well. The style of singing had a lot of movement without being complicated. My thoughts: This reminds me of an album I used to listen to when I was very little (I don't remember who it was or what it was, but I remember listening to it). I am very unfamiliar with the anime (I just don't watch much anime), but it seemed to go very nicely with the video. Overall, the style of playing matches the style of singing quite well.
  14. Actually I got two Paper Mario mixes in the works right now, both from the original. Maybe might have a 3rd down the line, but I just have these two as part of my youtube project. I won't do the entire soundtrack, I'm just picking my favorite tracks, but I hear your request and will answer.
  15. Anytime somebody does an orchestral setting I get a little excited. Orchestration is very nice. There are a lot of good textures in use, both from the original setting, and with your personal choices. The first statement of the ocean theme at :41 I think could have a tiny bit more action in the strings. They're just basically pads in the original, but for an orchestral arrangement, I don't think some added counterpoint would be unwelcome, simple things when the melody is sustaining. Again at about 2:00, there is plenty going on in the brass so you don't need to make it more, but a slightly varied higher string texture. The only reason I bring this up, is that lack of motion in the original bugged me just a little bit. This is a tiny nitpicky thing. The field theme is well done. Transition to the sky theme, that would be breathtaking to hear live. A thing I do in noteperformer is basically do 3 string layers. One layer that is an ensemble, one layer of solo strings playing exactly the same thing, but down a dynamic level, and then a layer of short notes on the attacks, also down a dynamic. I focus on the notes that would be a downbow when performed, and give those a marcato accent. This is not needed in softer passages, just the heavier ones. You can then hide those extra staves in sibelius so that your score doesn't get cluttered. This is a small little thing that works wonders for the sound. If interested, I would enjoy recording horn for this. It would be fun.