Nicky Woolf goes behind the scenes to find out what it’s like to bring a single to release
So you’ve got your tunes. You’ve got a product. You are a group of talented musicians. What do you do next? How do you take your product to the market? If you want to make it big in the music business, it’s no longer good enough just having talent, you have to have in roads, you have to have a foot in the door.
Mike Fenna, a DJ and producer who left York last year, has set up The True Ingredients, a 33-piece hip-hop and jazz group made up of musicians and artists from around the world. He hopes that by sticking together, doing collaborative tracks and helping each other out on solo projects, they will have a better chance of success in a musical world increasingly dominated by the giants of record production. This tactic has already been fairly successful. Performing at a special Oxjam gig in 93 Feet East in Brick Lane, with friends Asian Dub Foundation, Lisa Mafia, Kele Le Roc, and a whole host of London Hip-Hop royalty, Fenna tells me about where the project will go next.
“The first single, ‘Space and Time’, is out at the end of this month, and the next album, Prepare and Assemble, is out later this Summer,” he tells me in a break between his own DJ set and the next act. “We’ve also got a track featured in Skins season two, and in Gumball3000, and lots of other stuff, and BBC 1Xtra are interested in an exclusive on the single.”
The set at the concert goes down a storm. The crowd love the True Ingredients sound. But Fenna’s plan is much more ambitious than just writing and performing the music. He wants the True Ingredients group to support each other in every aspect of music production, from writing, through to recording, producing, mixing, and promoting everything that anyone in the group produces.
“The new single will be released entirely online, but sold as other objects with stickers on. These stickers will link straight to a track download” Josh Wah, guitarist and a founder member of the True Ingredients told me. “So you’ll get a lighter with a sticker on, or… a vegetable maybe, and download the track with the code on the sticker.”
Of course, there is an awful lot of practicing, and writing music involved in the production of a new album, as I?see when I go to a rehearsal before the 93 Feet East gig at a flat near St. Pauls in London.
However, most surprising is how much of bringing out a new record depends on finding a foothold in the industry, whether it be a slot on BBC 1Xtra or a play in a major TV?show.
You can check out the True Ingredients at www.trueingredients.com, or keep an ear open for the new single.