Quarter review: Q1/2018 a.k.a Holy sh*t, I did f**k up a lot

The first quarter, where I planned to take things seriously with Dark Beauty, is gone. TL;DR: Boy, did things go sideways! 

What I promised

In Q1, I wanted to mostly catch up on the release pipeline. “Timeless”, “Juno”, and “Carol” were planned to be released in February, March, and early April. I had a couple of artists I wanted to talk to about building DBA, being a platform for artist development. Last but not least, I wanted to bring at least one product to the market. Nope, didn’t happen.

What happened

All was going extremely well in regards to Dark Beauty up until January 20th. The quarter review would have been full of high fives, if I didn’t interview in one awesome company. Everything went pretty smoothly and I joined them… full time. At the moment of writing, I’m Chief Technology Officer of an InsureTech project. And I’m really passionate about what I do. I was never happier at work. Problem: The amount of time I spend with Dark Beauty is almost non existing.

Also, Burning Man happened. After 4 years of trying to gamble the system, I decided to not look for shortcuts in getting there anymore. Seems like my intentions to participate in the rough, artsy, inspiring, and dusty temporary city became pure enough… and I got tickets. I’m going to the Playa in August/September, which means two things: Preparations are cutting into the spare time I don’t have; and I’m possibly not going to make it to ADE 2018.

Releases

Yes, the Russians are still spamming demos to 400+ labels on CC, like they did back in 2015. But now they use Mailchimp, and apparently not well enough. It should have told them clearly, that I did open their mail, but never clicked a link. So why do they bother to send the same tracks over 3-4 times?

While demos were not the best channel to scout, there was one exception. Simon and  Fabio, a.k.a. Pindura. They originally sent their self released single for repost consideration. As I don’t do this anymore, I politely responded and thanked them for the effort. Well, then I listened to the track, and was blown away. After couple of e-mails, we agreed to try a remix EP. As unbelievably as it sounds, we got 4 remixes out of 6 people I’ve asked. 4 really great remixes, coming out later in May.

I’ve mentioned the new place where i work now. Well, the world is small. One day, I’m scouting the german scene to find nothing groundbreaking. The other day, I come to work for my first work day to meet Marvin and sign the EP together with his longterm collaborator Patrick. Space EP is currently being distributed for promo.

With that said, I will fit “Timeless”, “Juno” and “Carol” into the upcoming schedule, as I didn’t make it in Q1.

The good stuff that happened

In Ultima and Space EP are my Q1 highlights in terms of music. The Proton contracts have been a huge relief from bureaucracy. Other than that, there wasn’t that much going on. Except…

It was just before Christmas in 2017. I got a message from a girl, named Anastasia (It’s not my Prague DJ in crime partner Anastasia Lova). Our conversations got long and deep ever since. She is an aspiring DJane, now successfully played a club debut, an open air event debut, and gets recognized in her local scene more and more. She has a vision for herself. She is excited. She is curious. She’s the prototype of a person I’d love to work with in DBA. She taught me a lot by simply asking questions I’d never ask myself. It’s really very simple lessons for any aspiring artist: Be young. Be pure. Be curious. Be like Anastasia, a.k.a. Mierri. Thank you so much!

What needs to change

Mastering. I used to do mastering myself up until the point I couldn’t do it reliably due to hearing loss. After trying out few mastering services, I finally found a reliable and affordable mastering engineer. It’s none other, but Cid Inc. What I find as a bottleneck though: the label placing orders for mastering. I mentioned it’s affordable, and it really is. But if you’re a label, you cannot just pay it straight from the pocket – you need to do contracts, accounting, budgets, taxes. This stuff takes an awful lot of time. So for the sake of not waiting three months to get a release out, I’ll expect artists to arrange mastering themselves from now on.

Time. I need to put Dark Beauty time back to my calendar. Past Saturday’s three hours made a huge leap forward, so this is possibly going to continue.

Products. There was none released, but there are two in the works. A book, and a series of video tutorials. Book first, tutorials later. No more multitasking on both.

Goals. I set bold goals for Dark Beauty this year. But strayed away. I need to focus more. And I’ll be actively looking for an intern. Yes, I’m going to pay that intern for work.

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