Alesis Nitro Mesh May Be The Best Electronic Drum Kit For Under $500!

I recently picked up an Alesis Nitro Mesh electronic drum set, and am loving it! I have never purchased a new e-drum kit before, and didn’t (couldn’t) spend a lot of money on it. I did a ton of research and watched hundreds of YouTube videos about electronic drums before deciding on the Nitro Mesh.

I want to give a huge shout-out to Justin from 65drums for his incredible and insanely extensive videos on all things electronic drums. Without his channel I don’t think this would have been as easy as a decision.

The nitro mesh gives you a lot for the money. You get full drum kit with two cymbals, hi hats, quality module, pedals and even sticks, for only $350! Putting it together is a bit time consuming, but once together the kit is very solid. There’s absolutely no crosstalk on my set (crosstalk is when wrong drums trigger when hitting other drums). I’ve played more drums in the past two days than I have in months!

Making your own kits is fun and creative on the Nitro module, there’s a lot of settings such as changing pitch, panning, reverb, and volume for each sample, it has standard midi in and out, usb midi, stereo 1/4″ outs, headphone out, and expansion ports for two more triggers. I am very happy with this purchase so far.


 

Who Is Generation X, and Why Don’t People Talk About Them?

Generation X is actually my Generation. I was born in 1975. If anything, I am the perfect example of a Gen X person. I’m a non-conformist, cynical, musician, computer nerd who never really grew up. My parents were never around, and I basically raised myself. I’m damn proud of my generation and we deserve to be recognized. Boomers and Millennials get all the attention, but it’s all pretty bad, so maybe it’s good we’re the forgotten ones.

A lot of people don’t really realize that it was the punk band, “Generation X” who were fronted by a very young Billy Idol (who is actually part of the Boomer generation) were basically the ones responsible for this title. I loved these guys as a kid (still do). Plus Idol was a pretty damn hot sweaty twink in his day, haha.

 

green screen

Using a Green Screen With Kdenlive in Linux

Have you ever wondered how to change the background on your video in Kdenlive? In this tutorial I walk you though how to use Chroma-Key and a green screen in Kdenlive. Don’t forget to like and subscribe 🙂 Get a green screen here https://amzn.to/2WoRkss.


The Struggles of Being an Experimental Freelance Musician

 

That’s me a couple days ago when I was thinking about all the struggles of being a freelance experimental musician (I know, boo hoo, right?) haha. Anyway, this post isn’t for you to feel sorry for me, but rather to reach out to those of you that are in a similar boat as me.

I’ve been making music since I was 10 years old, and started producing my own music when I was 20 when I got my first cassette 4 track recorder back in the 90s. Since then I’ve created my own record label called Anthill Recordings and self-produced over 20 albums. As far as sales, some have done okay, some have had literally no attention at all, but absolutely none of them have done extremely well. At this point it doesn’t bother me that much, but there was a time when it did.

When you pour your heart and soul into something you think is unique, passionate, and extremely well done, and others do not respond to it at all, it can be a disheartening experience. At the same time when you observe others seemingly churning out the same old thoughtless dribble and getting praised for it, can be even more maddening. The problem is with our society is it rewards conformity and punishes uniqueness. This is something we all learned well in grade school. All of the most popular kids were doing whatever was cool. Football, cheerleaders, jocks, whatever music is on TV or the radio they liked, they wore all the same name brand clothes. They’re all good little sheep.

So it really should come as no surprise to me when I craft something as unique as my album Turn of The Scroct that has a measly 4 bandcamp supporters, while vaporwave artists are simply re-releasing slowed down previously released pop music and are getting thousands of downloads. Here we are again, people just following what other people are doing. There’s literally hundreds of thousands of releases like this, none of which have any originality whatsoever. Contrary to what I just wrote, I don’t hate vaporwave, and have dabbled in it myself, but took it as inspiration. I didn’t merely copy what everyone else was already doing and slap some statues in front of a Windows 95 screenshot and call it a day.

I spent time making my music, thought about it, tried to make it different, tried to make it unique. I took time to perfect my playing, as a drummer, and with all the other instruments I put on my recordings. Am I rewarded with sales? No. No I’m not. To me it’s not desirable to fit neatly into a specific genre of music. This is a huge problem with today’s music and marketing. If it doesn’t neatly adhere to a specific hashtag, nobody cares about it. Because hashtags seem to define people’s identities these days.

However, I am rewarded with my own love of creation. When I listen back to what I made, I think about how good it felt to finally be able to play the drum part I struggled with, how I was able to achieve such a strong sounding mix, how I was able to press a vinyl record after playing every single instrument on it, recording it, mixing it, mastering the vinyl, all by myself. And the few that have reached out to me thanking me for my efforts have done so in a very heartfelt manor. One listener even called me on the phone after I released my album “In The Park” and wanted to personally thank me for making it. This was really nice.

But again, this isn’t why I do it. I do it because I love the process of creation. Making something that I am proud of, that my own thoughts, ideas, focus and energy went into. Knowing it came out exactly the way I wanted it, and maybe one day people will find it and enjoy it as much as I do. But even if they don’t I don’t care. In a way, I’m glad I’ve freed myself from needing other’s approval of my music. Now I create for me. But what I do wish I was getting more of is….. money.

Yes that’s right, I said money. I work hard and I would like to be rewarded financially for my work. I don’t care if people are calling me a genius, or if my music becomes the next trendy thing, I want money, lots of it. So over time I’ve found little ways to make a bit… not lots, but I keep trying to learn new ways to make more. Some of which are making gear reviews on YouTube with my music, creating exclusive content for music licensing, as well as offering my mixing and mastering services to others. Do I make as much money as the amount of work I do? No, not at this point, but I’m going to keep trying. To me this is the ultimate struggle, but I will never give up.

-Justin

Sticky Wicket is Becoming My Favorite YouTube Drummer

If you haven’t seen Sticky Wicket yet, you are really missing out. The YouTube Channel, Next Level Chops Has been featuring a series of videos with drummer, Sticky Wicket, who has an amazing collection of real vintage drums, and is a master drum historian.

Their Sticky Wicket Playlist has many great videos of Sticky giving drum history lessons, showing his old timey drums, as well as amazing demonstrations such as the one above. They are a true joy to watch and I highly recommend them!