We’ve all heard the cliche many times: life is full of surprises. This was never more true for us than during our experience that eventually led us to remix both versions of the track “After the Ball” and “Its Too Late” for Minefield in 2003.
When we finished recording The Electric Haze in 2001, I had decided that I would make the album available online rather than follow the traditional music label route that many bands were still clamoring for, which was to get an A & R guy from a label to notice your band and sell their music label on offering you a deal. Raven and I both knew from experiences of friends and family who had worked in the music industry that this was really not the best way to put out an album, particularly an album that was likely to fit into such a small niche of music. So we explored online, and eventually we settled on mp3.com and CDbaby.
Mp3.com had this wonderful music community. Even cooler, they offered on-demand distribution, which would allow you to upload your songs and artwork, and they would manage the dirty details of manufacturing the CDs. In 2001 this was a novel idea that was only really beginning to pick up steam. Prior to that, it was nearly impossible for a musician (or an author for that matter) to have short runs (of fewer than 3,000 or more copies) of your work produced. Now, its just a matter of burning your own discs and/or uploading your music to any number of social networks, peer to peer, and musical services who make distribution much easier.
While mp3.com handled manufacturing, they weren’t that great at selling the music of independent artists. We had heard that there was this new site around called CDBaby. The buzz among musicians was that this venture, created and operated by Derek Sivers in Portland, Oregon was really the next best way to have your CD online after CDnow and Amazon.com.
We setup an account with them, and sent them a batch of CDs for which to stock their warehouse. When someone purchased our album from their site, they would go ahead and ship it out themselves and credit our account with the sale, rather than wait for us to fill the order, as Amazon.com does.
Unbeknown to us, when our albums arrived at CDBaby, they were met and handled by a volunteer named Jett Black (not the porn star, BTW) who had just moved to the area. He was passionately involved in the Portland, Oregon underground gothic,electronic, and punk scene. Jett was taken with our (as he put it) “fresh sound and went about trying to contact us” via email and phone. Initially we didn’t know what to make of his highly complimentary emails. One reason for our suspicion with Jett originated with experiences we had heard about with other musicians who were encouraged to send their albums to retailers in foreign countries, only to discover that the recipients were not legitimate resalers, but rather enterprising pirateers who used the albums as masters for which to rip their master tracks for their production process. Eventually I spoke in person with Jett by phone and realized that his motives were quite innocent. Anyone who has met Jett, will tell that he is one the most friendly people you’ve ever met. Jett was big on introducing artists to one another, and before we knew it we had been invited to a dinner at the Kennedy School that featured a bunch of people from the goth scene. Steven Holiday, publisher of Gothic Beauty was there, as well as Portland and Seattle bands Written In Ashes, Abney Park, The Sins,and Haunted House.
One of the perks at these dinners were the goodie bags that Jett and his wife Sonya would assemble. In each goodie bag were tons of stickers, free CDs, usb keys, marketing materials, and show flyers for everyone involved in the Portland and Seattle music scene, as well as a few other bands that were well known across the U.S. (The Strand, Razed in Black, and The Cruxshadows among them) In our goodie bag was the “After the Ball” EP, a debut album by a budding young Tamara Kent who hailed from Toronto.
About a year later, Jett, who had heard our Depeche Mode and Madonna remixes, informed us that he had recommended our services to Tamara, who really wanted to hear what other people could create with her material. We accepted, and before we knew it we’d received these very nice and organized discs that contained all of the master tracks from the After the Ball EP.
The remixes were due in short order, so Raven and I broke up the work among us. She took on “After the Ball” and I ended up with “Its Too Late”.
My version was to incorporate Tamara’s original darkwave/cabaret feeling but with a shading of industrial. I hope you enjoy it.
Dead Poets Society