Recently, I discovered the Tao Network, an artist-centric blockchain platform for music distribution. This left me with the desire to know it better, especially because it benefits indie artists like ourselves. The best I could do was to interview, its founder, Mr. Bryce Weiner. Read everything below! You’ll learn a lot about this interesting project.
1 – Are you a musician, or just a business man?
I’m not a musician, but my friends are musicians or in the business of music. I’m surrounded by it. What I do was born from conversations with my friends about how the technology I work with, blockchains, could help them in their work.
2 – What do you like and dislike about today’s music industry?
I like that people feel passionate about how the business of music works. Artists are artists. Not all of them are business savvy and not all of them want to be, and that’s okay. Art is about following you passions. We set out to build those systems that artists desperately want and need to help them do what they love. We designed a system that could satisfy the needs of artists like Taylor Swift and Aloe Blocc, as well as those yet undiscovered artists still honing their craft.
3 – In short words, what is the Tao Network?
The Tao Network is a way for artists to establish provenance for their creations no matter at what level of the game they are playing. If you wrote a song, sang on a track, or engineered an album, you’ll be able to prove it if it’s imported into the Tao Network.
4 – How the idea of the Tao Network came about?
The idea came about from listening to musicians and those in the business of music complain about their jobs, quite frankly. I recognized that blockchain technology was the right solution for everything they were talking about and decided I wanted to help in a very real way.
5 – Are you a big fan of Chinese philosophies?
I am. I have several Chinese tattoos and I follow the advice of a Zen master who lives in Uruguay. He watches what I do and sends me riddles to unfold as I go through my work. He is as much of this network as those of us who are developing it.
6 – Why is this project the best option for indie artists?
We level the playing field. If an indie artist gets discovered their whole catalog of masters can easily be imported into the publishing administration systems used by the majors, including all of their downloads, streams, and metadata. When fully developed it will be a set of tools to establish provenance and authenticity of your art, all the way down to the split sheets.
7 – What major challenges and problems did you face when starting the project?
Music catalogs are like gold. The hardest thing we had to do was build those relationships where someone would trust us with their gold. Blockchain technology is born from cryptography, which is at the heart of current DRM systems. It took over a year of getting to know and trust each other before we arrived at this point.
8 – How many artists have joined the Tao Network nowaday?
To be honest, I haven’t stopped to count. The response has been a little overwhelming and our team is starting to build that infrastructure to be able to make ourselves accessible to everyone.
9 – How can you describe the meaning of “blockchain”?
A blockchain is a unique way to store data based on special cryptographic operations. It has three components that make it a unique. The first is that the data is transactional, meaning that it is stored in a specific order in time. One can move the data in a blockchain in a linear fashion, forwards and backwards, as one would shuttle a music track.
The second is that it is immutable, which means that the data itself can be governed by the software to be cryptographically secured and verified. The third is that the data can be tokenized, which means that a large amount of data can be connected together and then assigned to an individual. That individual may then “trade” that data with others, potentially on an open market. For the music industry, this means entirely new aftermarkets for digital content that have never before been possible without getting sued. ReDigi is a great service, but it is inherently flawed. The Tao Network allows for services like ReDigi to operate within the law.
10 – Have you ever witnessed a serious corrupt case in the music industry?
Not in the music industry, but I have in the financial industry which is where I have been for the last few years. I have served as an expert witness in a prosecution for theft using the Bitcoin blockchain which lead to an arrest and conviction. That individual was also subsequently found guilty of raping several women and will be spending the next 11 years in prison. The power of this technology to provide transparency should not be underestimated.
11 – Do you support the use of bitcoins? Why is it so polemic?
Bitcoin is to play a vital role in royalty settlements for the Tao Network. Tao is a protocol which is designed to serve the needs of the music industry, but does so in a way which that information generated may then be monetized. Bitcoin is the way that the network is monetized because it’s not priced directly in US dollars or another fiat currency. Artists don’t want Tao or Bitcoin… they want cash. We are working with businesses in the Bitcoin industry to be able to provide those services on a global scale. It’s taking a lot of coordination but the end result will be amazing.
12 – Do you think music should be shared for free?
I think a creator has the right to determine how their creation is perceived by others. I don’t believe an artist owns their work like one might own a car, but because they created it they have inherent rights to that creation. If they want to then exercise those rights to provide their work for free they certainly can. Likewise if you’re an artist that thinks a $0.99 single should only be played 99 times before a consumer must renew it, that is also possible with the Tao protocol.
13 – Do you have plans or ideas for future crowdfunding projects?
There’s a whole new set of cottage businesses which are possible to serve the Tao Network and provide services to artists. I’m very excited to see what people come up with and am looking forward to supporting those efforts as much as possible.
14 – What do you see as the future of the Tao Network?
The Tao Network is a protocol. It can be copied and duplicated an infinite number of times and those copies can be made to interact with one another. It’s my vision to utilize the Tao protocols to create an Internet of Music, where creators have the ability to make their voice heard and do so in the way that they desire.
15 – What does music mean to you?
Music and blockchain technology are both based on mathematics. I may not play an instrument, but my work is my art. There are so many similarities between music and blockchain technology that we have even begun to use the same words, such as the term “sidechain.” It’s natural harmony that is impossible to ignore. This project has opened my eyes to entirely new possibilities for music and expression and I’m excited to be able to explore them.
Exclusive Interview: Paul Mayson Delves Into His Debut Album ‘One Life’
Paul Mayson‘s first-ever album, ‘One Life,’ is like a special mix of his love for House music, blended with different kinds of sounds and cool collaborations from artists all over the world. You definitely don’t want to miss this interview!
1 — With the release of your debut album ‘One Life,’ what are your expectations for how listeners will connect with the music?
My goal was to showcase my story and my sound. And for it to be an uplifting, positive, and summery album. Hopefully, it feels like that! It’s a collection of songs made at the moment, to make you feel happy and free. It’s about embracing life, the good things and the bad. And about doing what makes you happy.
2 — You’ve teamed up with a diverse range of international artists on this material. Please let us know how these collaborations came to be.
It was really exciting taking elements from different genres, working with a group of great artists who come from very different backgrounds, and bringing all of these sounds and flavors together on one project. A lot of artists I meet myself, reach out to the people I’m interested in. I often travel abroad to work on music together and do sessions in London or LA. Sometimes collabs can also happen through the label or the publisher, but ultimately it’s great to have an artist-to-artist relationship.
3 – What compelled you to emphasize the themes of life, freedom, and diversity in this album?
I’m very passionate about House music culture and the way it started. Which was all about positivity and celebrating life together. I love that message and think the soulful, feel-good element of House music is what always really attracted me to the genre. And to music in general, including other genres like Soul and RnB.
A few of the songs (like “Tell Me How” and “I Want You”) were basically made during one big jam session. It’s me just trying out completely different sounds, textures, and rhythms and experimenting with live drums, guitars, and whatever I feel like. Letting go of any rules connected to dance music allows for a really fresh approach to the album songs.
6 – How does the artwork complement the album’s concept?
It emphasizes the feel-good element and the overall message of the album. Life is in front of you, it’s there for the taking. You’re in the hallway, step into the light and embrace life.
7 – Will there be another amazing music video like “Have It All,” dropping in the near future?
We released a really cool art piece and visualizer for the album which I’m very excited about!
8 – Given your ambition to push boundaries within the Dance genre, do you think the bunch of producers already out there could make it tough for you to really stand out?
I think individuality is key. Doing something you’re passionate about. Telling your own story. If you go into that process, the outcome will be unique. Not following trends and doing my own thing is what helps me stand out and allows me to be ahead and I try to keep pushing myself.
9 – Among your studio essentials, what’s the item that you consider the cornerstone of your setup?
Quite a lot of my work is digital. I carry my laptop around and can produce and write anywhere with it, whether it’s my home studio, the studio in Amsterdam, a hotel, or even an airport. That’s what makes it flexible and international! Just being able to work anywhere and get the creative process going. At home I also love my Adam A77x monitors and I also use a Prophet synth.
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Exploring “My Friends”: Tobtok Talks Creative Process And More!
In this exclusive interview, Swedish producer Tobtok discusses all the details about his latest single as part of the ongoing countdown to the upcoming ‘My Friends’ EP. This is a collaborative effort with farfetch’d that you definitely shouldn’t overlook.
1 — Congratulations on the release of “My Friends.” Please tell us more about the influences and musical style that shaped this cool track.
Thanks! This tune has taken inspiration from bits and pieces of tracks I’ve been into over the last 10 years, everything from Daft Punk to Fred Again. It contains a lot of micro samples and vocal lines that are in a similar vein as old French House records, but we also wanted to experiment with the current UK rave sound, which we think ended up in a pretty unique and interesting way.
2 — How did you and farfetch’d navigate the creative process together, especially when faced with differing ideas or disagreements?
We were kind of on the same page with most things to be fair. Jerry from farfetch’d is a very creative guy and he loves to bash out new ideas, which worked well for me to develop into full songs. We worked on every track together in my studio and finished them off together. Of course, we had some different ideas about certain things but since none of us had a big ego, we just compromised. I think when you like the same kind of music, you usually think quite alike.
3 — What sets this collaboration apart from your previous singles?
I think this is possibly the strongest single from the EP. It feels catchy and is super simple yet not too boring. It also has Jerry’s voice in it which is unique to any other of our tracks.
4 — Can you share any funny anecdotes about specific moments while crafting “My Friends”?
We have hidden a few wacky voice notes in it as a sort of ambiance. It can be heard in the second verse or whatever you wanna call it. You clearly hear Jerry laughing about something, but I can’t remember what it was.
It’s track no.3 from our ‘My Friends’ EP which has a total of 6 tracks. It was released via Perfect Havoc on 29th September.
6 — What are your emotions when your music receives recognition and praise from other producers in the industry?
It’s always so much fun to get praise from your peers and colleagues. These people live and breathe music and probably hear way more stuff than the average listener, so I guess they tend to be less impressed by music.
Haha most definitely. I started out with French House which evolved into Nu-Disco. I later jumped on the Tropical House train (quite early on in my defense). Left that and tried something cooler with my track “ABER,” and from there, it’s been more of a mix between UK and Deep House.
8 — Is there any specific music genre you’re eager to explore?
Old School Disco and Soul. I’m a big fan of the 70s as a whole, that’s why I’ve bought a few vintage Roland pieces in my studio and a Rhodes Piano.
9 — Considering the global nature of music today, are there any international artists you’d love to collaborate with?
I love Jungle right now, for reasons made quite obvious in the previous question. They’ve mastered this cool retro 70’s/Motown sound and yet managed to make it sound fresh somehow. I’d love to just hang out in the studio with them and see what they do.
10 — As we conclude, do you feel that there’s a certain formula that artists can follow to produce chart-topping hits?
Nowadays, it’s all about doing something that stands out from what everyone else is doing and probably also adding a sprinkle of nostalgia and familiarity into something. A good example is the new Peggy Gou record which is a massive hit that takes inspiration from ATB but puts it in a new and interesting context. It doesn’t hurt to have a massive TikTok following either lol.
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From Drummer To EDM Producer: Kouss Opens Up About “Can’t Go Back”
You must read this interview with Kouss! He used to rock it as a badass drummer in the Stellar Revival band, but now he’s spilling the beans about how he switched things up and got into making electronic dance music (EDM). The spotlight is now on his latest track, “Can’t Go Back.” Learn more here.
1 — Putting your sound into words, how would you convey the mood and sensations that your music evokes to someone unfamiliar with it?
My music aims to be an uplifting and thoughtful blend of Progressive House and Dance-Pop. Even though the music is very dancefloor-friendly, the songwriting is very Pop-forward. I also love mixing live instrumentation with electronic production to create layered recordings. As a drummer, having live elements mesh with the electronic really brings out a unique texture.
2 — Your transition from Rock music with Stellar Revival to EDM is quite remarkable. Can you tell us more about it?
The transition from Rock to EDM is an exciting and natural creative evolution. I’ve always been passionate about electronic music, so finally being able to fully immerse myself in the genre as a producer and songwriter has been fulfilling. My background as a touring Rock drummer also gives me a unique musical sensibility that I try to incorporate into Kouss Records.
3 — As a drummer, you had to adapt to a different genre. How did you translate your rhythmic background into this new realm?
When approaching any genre, especially Dance music, I’m utilizing my background in percussion to create grooves and drum patterns. The drum parts still come from the same creative place whether I’m sitting behind a drum set or drawing with a MIDI controller. I will say that with EDM I find myself focused more on groove and restraint.
4 — In what ways have Illenium, Zedd, and David Guetta played a role in shaping the sound of your new single “Can’t Go Back”?
Illenium, Zedd, and David Guetta definitely influenced the melodic and atmospheric vibes in “Can’t Go Back.” Their music motivates and challenges me to produce massive soundscapes on the highest level. They’re all melodic magicians, and I continue to be inspired by their work. I also feel like I put my own spin on “Can’t Go Back.” It’s almost like the line between EDM and Pop became blurrier on this track.
5 — What’s the story behind the song title?
“Can’t Go Back” is generally about moving forward and not dwelling on the past. For me personally, it’s about evolving as an artist and person.
I was introduced to Anna soon after starting the Kouss project by “Can’t Go Back” co-producer and dear friend Phil Barnes. The second I heard Anna sing I knew I wanted to work with her. She’s an incredible songwriter and an awesome human. It was an organic collaboration that we’re both stoked about. Definitely be on the lookout for more collaborations with Anna in the future!
7 — How do you aim to connect with listeners on an emotional level through this single?
I aim to connect with listeners on an emotional level through the authenticity and musicality of “Can’t Go Back.” It’s about delivering that special feeling to the listener. We crafted this recording from a place of passion as artists. The lyrics are relatable and cathartic, and Anna’s vocals draw you into this sonic world we created. We also tap into some nostalgia with the Big Room House vibe. But overall the goal was to give listeners an authentic musical experience that resonates with them, regardless of what genre they usually listen to.
Yes, “Can’t Go Back” mixes electronic production with live drumming and live guitars. The live instruments give the song a dynamic texture and human feel. Not every Kouss song will have live instruments, but it’s definitely a major part of the debut EP coming in 2024.
9 — Looking ahead, how do you envision your music style evolving?
I want to continue bridging the gap between organic and electronic. Creatively, I think there’s a lot of meat on that bone. I also don’t want to limit myself to a single genre or style. I love all types of music and ultimately hope to develop a sound that draws from those diverse influences and experiences.
10 — Lastly, reflecting on your journey so far, what’s been the most memorable or rewarding moment of your music career?
Working with talented musicians and creators who are excited about my music has been humbling and inspiring. I didn’t expect it, but the reaction to “Can’t Go Back” has been both unexpected and validating. It’s so cool to see the song played in clubs, gyms, and cars. I’m truly fortunate to share my passion for music and connect with listeners who share the same passion.