The disposability of music.

Recently I had an interesting experience that got me thinking about the disposability of music. Maybe more so about priorities people have when buying music. Really without music what would life be?

What would cheer you up when you were feeling down?
What would you do when you went out and wanted to dance?
How would your commute be to work without it?
How would you tolerate the long border crossings or even the intolerable bus ride to work or school?

Have a think about it for a second perhaps. We all like the classics right? I went past an older guy in my hotel last night proudly wearing a Rolling Stones t-shirt. He said he saw them in some city in Sweden. I mean these guys are still rocking it, mainly based on their classics they wrote 30 years ago.

But we need new music. Fresh music. We need the greatest minds to be employed, creating and pushing the boundaries. But no one wants to pay.

I recently had an experience of showing a lovely young lady, let’s call her Maria, my pre-eminent release. She loved it. Previously she had told me she was a music fan. And a lover of food. Often she would go out to fancy restaurants and blow 60 Euros on a meal for a night. That’s cool here as well, no judgement.

She wanted my song. I said, no worries. I did give it to her, but i also slipped in that she could buy it when it was going to be released. Very, very, quickly she replied, “I don’t buy music” (I was stunned how quickly she said it actually).

I stopped. Something felt uneasy for me. It is the current state the music industry. I challenged her.

“So you will go out and spend 60 euro happily on a meal. I have no problem with this. But you will not pay $1.50 for a song which will support the artist. This process took months and months to complete”.

She paused. Credit to her she saw the logic.

I gave her the song which was not yet mastered (properly.. enter Elton Smith bogon mastering). But it got me thinking.

1. Music is so disposable now. It’s an mp3 on a computer. Remember when you came home with a vinyl or CD. There was artwork and potentially a storyline to it (think Pink Floyd).

2. The mindset of the consumer. Expecting music to be free. Who harboured this expectation?

It’s what we all know already. But an interesting paradox now we have the internet. Should we be ok to say you don’t get paid for the production of music? I don’t think so.

Artists need to eat. Artists need to survive. Artists need to grow and thrive.
The music industry needs artists to stay in the industry, not be working 10 hours at the local supermarket running a checkout.

You are buying a piece of history when you buy a song. A history of the artist, a history in the evolution of the earth’s consciousness.

Next time you like a song, go and buy it. You will feel better and you can be sure that the artist at least gets paid 25 cents.

Till next time.
Elton.

The road to Kazantip. Mini parties galore.

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Well by now you know that Kazantip has been cancelled. But people, and especially Russians, still travelled here to enjoy the Cambodian weather, (relatively) cheap food and accommodation and hospitality of the local authorities.

These people came to party.

There is a stretch of beach called Otres beach. On the 22nd we went to find some parties. There is a special energy riding a bike through the back streets. It is not developed. It’s like searching for a treasure chest.

We arrived at one party just a little too late. It was apparently shut down by an army guy carrying a big machine gun. He took the laptop of the DJ. Party over.

We did meet some people in the know who added us to a closed Facebook group telling us where all the pseudo parties are.

So there was a party that popped up on Victory Beach where most of the party revellers are staying and where I first got on a boat to sail around the bay in Sihaoukville.

The DJ booth setup

The DJ booth setup

Set on the beach, the organisers put a lot of effort into this. There were lights shining on the pier, girls dancing on the beach and in the water. It was a fun vibe.

A lot of beautiful girls were present

A lot of beautiful girls were present

We were able to see the sunset on the backdrop of some beautiful deep house. It was a fun environment to chill and relax.

Sunset.

Sunset.

All in all the vibe was excellent. Whilst there is disappointment about the cancellation, life moves forward with people making the best of the situation. This proves the point.

Peace.
Elton.

The road to Kazantip. Day 2. Kazantip spirit.

So it’s been all over the news. We have all heard it. The entrance to the bridge was blocked by the police to Snake Island. In my last post I was determined to see this for myself. I did get close. And this is what it looked like.

The bridge leading to snake Island, where Kazantip was meant to be held.

The bridge leading to snake Island, where Kazantip was meant to be held.

By an off chance I stopped into a restaurant past the bridge. I was still unable to find it. There were a lot of Russians around. We got talking to one and he mentioned there may be a boat to take us somewhere. We thought this might be actually going to the Island as an anterior route to the road. No one knew anything as always.

We went down to the pier. There was a big boat pumping out some dance music. Well it was more like funk. What a strike of luck. Without planning I had stumbled upon a Kazantip inspired, Russian dominated, boat party.

The "unofficial" Kazantip boat party.

The “unofficial” Kazantip boat party.

Waiting for the boat to depart.

Waiting for the boat to depart.

I asked the lady how much to entry was. Free. Boom! A boat similar to this cost me $200 in Miami. I was thinking there was money here, but I was not asking from where. I just got on the boat. We departed.

Snake Island where the Kazantip festival was supposed to be held.

Snake Island where the Kazantip festival was supposed to be held.

There was dancing, there was fun. We stopped a number of times. The only problem was everything was in Russian. The music stopped for announcements. Everyone cheered. I was just a bit confused.

The thing is I thought the boat was going to turn around and return to it’s departure point. It seems not. We moored at Otres Beach and by the time I had been on the boat for 7 hours I was ready to go home. And I was a dam long way from where I parked my motorbike. Yes one of those situations.

A longboat came and took everyone onto shore. I was convinced it was going to sink as it started to take on water. We made it safely. Most were too drunk to worry or laughing too hard to care. I thought it was funny too. And very Asia. It would have made some good Go Pro video if we were forced to swim.

The after party was great. I did get some video of that. I had forgotten how much I value good music and how long it had been since I heard some quality. This was good. House, progressive. I can’t remember. It was a long day.

I was speaking to a French journalist covering Kazantip. Whilst the festival is not running, the people are still here.

That means they are here for good music.
And to enjoy themselves and bring the spirit of the festival to wherever they roam.

Peace.
Elton.

The road to Kazantip. Day 1. Wtf?

Well I am nestled here in Snoukey Ville in a cloud of mystique and intrigue regarding the famous (or infamous it is now regarded by the authorities) Kazantip festival.

The day started (and ended mind you) well. I find that I hit a city and want to find a few things first. A good place for food, a cool place to hang and some cool people. So today was that day. In full recognition that the festival would start and I would get there today.

I hung out and had myself be reacquainted with the sights (see picture). Ate and chilled by the beach. Wrote a blog post. Ate again and read. I was still finding it hard to get and type of real information on Kazantip. Even getting to the island was going to prove difficult as I didn’t exactly know how to get there and almost all of the drivers here just nod and say “yes yes”. Once you are in, it is in the lap of the gods where you end up (see story below). But it’s a fun adventure.

Sihanoukville's sights. It's clear why I want Kazantip to be on.

Sihanoukville’s sights. It’s clear why I want Kazantip to be on.

I had made it through the heat of the day and decided myself I would go to the so called “Russian Bridge”. A bridge connecting the mainland to the private island the party was being held. For this I would need a motorbike. I have already seen 2 motorbike accidents during my time here (1 day). Add to the one I had myself in Kho Samui. I am wary. But it’s the only way.

In itself this was a struggle. No one had them. I finally got one but had to go to another shop with another young guy on the back of his bike. As we wheeled out, I saw three guys, two of which carried yellow hard briefcases which doubled as stereos. They had writing on them “Kazantip”. The first signs of life. I hurriedly asked the guy to stop.

I talked to these young Russians. They said the party was starting tomorrow. “Why?” I said. They just shrugged their shoulders. I didn’t argue. At least someone else had come to the festival and knew a little more than me.

So I ditched the motorbike idea. And felt a sense of frustration. What was I to do now? Should I have gone to see for myself? There aint much to do in Snoukey.

I met a tuk tuk driver the night before who told me of some boxing gym in the town. I went to the same place he told me to meet him. His mate called him. He was pissed. Chinese new year apparently.

One guy did take me on an adventure through the fields to a gym run by a French Martial Arts guru. It was such a cool space. Badminton, gym, boxing ring and mat area. Really well done. I did MMA for the first time. There was no Thai kickboxing today (funny the wrong information again).

No Kazantip? Lets roll around hugging and grappling men.

No Kazantip? Lets roll around hugging and grappling men.

On the way back the motorbike guy decided that I must have found a hotel in the middle of nowhere. As we kept driving into isolation i told him repeatedly it was not the right way. He smiled pleasantly. It added 20 minutes to the journey. His petrol not mine.

Seng Wei, running Eclesia records who have released a number of my songs, is planning to come to Kazantip. He pointed out an article in the Cambodia daily saying it had been stopped by the police and the bridge to the island blocked. It has also been reported on Inthemix.com (big ups to Benny McCarthy). Lastly, and gloomily, this same information has been posted on kazantip.com.

I am renting a bike and going to the bridge myself.
I need to see.
I need closure.
Wish me luck.

Best,
Elton

The road to Kazantip. Day 0.

Well I am on the road, chasing the beats of electronic music. This time, and seeing this is a music blog (though sometimes philosophical and travelling as well), I thought I would document a little on the process and adventures that I encounter.

I have a feeling I do not know what will happen. I didn’t even know it was still on. I emailed the tour operator and no-one seemingly got back to me. So I just decided to follow my intuition and go to Sihanoukville. To “see what happens” so to speak.

I did not really want to leave Phnom Penh. I had developed some good friends at the guesthouse, at the boxing stadium and felt comfortable in my environment. But all things must come to an end. And I had to keep reminding myself “this is what I came to do, good or bad”. You see our minds are not really ours. They are just a set of programs downloaded from the outside world. And a lot of the time they will try and convince ourselves out of something. I bought a ticket at the bus stop and was prepared. I left at 7:45 am.

One of the last sightings of my hat

It is also funny how we can forget less than ideal circumstances. I remember the bus trip i took 6 months ago as being a long trip through the capital, stopping for seemingly hours to pick up everyone. I realised this again after 2 hours when we went past the airport. Only 15 minutes from my Guesthouse. We then sat in a traffic jam where we literally did not move for an hour. All part of the fun. No-one seemed to mind. Except the westerners.

The bus was packed. There were little plastic seats shoved in the aisles to accommodate the Russians (and others) who paid $4 more than me for the pleasure. I sorta felt sorry for them.

The packed bus no 1.

The packed bus.

The packed bus no 2.

The packed bus.

I felt sorry for them.

The Russians..I felt sorry for them.

It was a 7 hour journey. I felt a sense of deja vu in stopping at the same restaurant as last time along the way. I ordered a chicken curry and did not get sick. I was thankful for that.

Previously at Sihanoukville bus stop I witnessed a fight between 2 Khmer guys with batons. No such luck this time. I did lose my hat though. For which I was quite upset.. I got a ride with an affable guy on a motorcycle to the guest house region. I shacked up. I made it. It was about 3 pm.

Personally there would be other places I would rather be. It has a strange vibe here. But it is by the sea. I keep getting asked for a tuk tuk and dope. It can really get on your nerves especially at 10am in the morning or when you have just come back from the gym.

I am still not sure what this festival will bring, how long I will stay or what will happen. It is shrouded is secrecy in a way. Maybe that is the mystique of it all. No-one seems to know anything here. That’s typical though.

Signing out.
Elton

This Life.. the video.

Hi everyone,

Well for most of you who know me, you realise I have been on a whirlwind adventure in Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia recently. I am still going but this is a little synopsis of what I have been doing.

The music is Jason Caesar, Goose Bumps – This Life (Funkerman remix). Go on and buy it if you like it, fantastic, uplifting song regarding travelling. Can be bought from beatport.com.

Enjoy!
Elton.

Life.. isn’t it interesting?

Hi there,

Do you wake up and ever wonder what the day will bring today?

When travelling I will always encounter something different. Today I came into Bangkok thinking I would have three days to rest and relax before heading to Cambodia for Kazantip.

I arrived at my hostel. Now before I booked my flight I took due diligence. However I could not find visa stamp. There was a stamp on the departure card with only an arrival date. I even asked locals and my friends to look. So I assumed (expensive assumption), that it was 2 months and I could leave on the 11th February (as I arrived on the 11th December 2014).

So I arrived at the hotel in Bangkok where, as I handed over my passport, the lady miraculously found my visa stamp behind my departure card. I never thought to look there. I was shocked to find out that if I stayed longer I would be overstaying my welcome.

Life has some funny twists and turns.

So I woke up today expecting three days in Bangkok. Now I am going to be in Cambodia. Isn’t that interesting.
I look at it this way. I was lucky to come in on the 8th, and it is something that was lucky to have found out in time.

Life is uncertain. We don’t know what will happen from minute to minute. But that makes it interesting right?

Cheers,
Elton.

Feeling self conscious? People don’t give a f*&^.

Hi all,

A little note as I sit here making a video film clip on a tripod in a cafe in Koh Tao in Thailand.

Now I set my camera up on a tripod and plugged my headphones into my laptop. I put my latest release on and bopped away, arms flailing to the music hoping to capture some magic. Did I? Possibly….

But as with everyone I was self conscious. Who is watching me? What will they think? And you know what. No-one even cared.

A bunch of 4 girls in front of me could not have been less impressed if I had paid them. The staff at the cafe looked like they wanted to join in. And I achieved my aim. Shooting a scene in paradise.

The same yesterday when i was shooting in the street. In fact, two lovely young ladies stopped me and asked to be part of it. I duly obliged and it was fun. I met new people and had a cool experience.

Maybe it is time you took some risks. It’s better to blow out and know than not try at all. The biggest regrets I have had in my life are the things I have not done, rather than what I have.

In essence. People are too worried about themselves to even remotely care about what you are doing. Unless it is office politics. People seem to care when there is money involved.

I hope this helps you.
Take action now.
Elton

A little update. Online wellness centre to be opened soon.

Hi there,

A little update on what i have been up to. I have not been particularly active on this site but i have been keeping busy in music and other areas. My November set was featured on FSEDM radio in Orlando in December and I am in the process of completing an EP or an album. I am not sure how many songs it will turn out to be, but it is a lot more than my recent output in the last couple of years.

So there has not been a lot of time to update blogs and create much new content. In response to demands and to prevent conflicting information, I am also opening an online wellness centre for people wanting to get more out of life. I have often blogged here on productivity and wellness but do not feel it is the right environment for this. I will keep you posted.

What I have noticed is that there are a lot of people struggling. With stress, anxiety, chronic unhappiness and unhealthiness. I am a qualified physiotherapist and have an interest in mind, body and spirit. I have worked a lot with chronic pain and understand physical and psychological pain. I want to help. You may not have pain but feel you are not thriving in life. I believe i can help with my practise of yoga, meditation and the hundreds of self help books i have read. I understand the physical aspect to these problems as well. I have worked in multidisciplinary teams for years, including psychologists.

So I will keep you posted. I am working hard on this. Do you feel like you need a hand with your physical, emotional and spiritual development? Drop me a line at info@eltonsmithmusic.com to arrange an affordable and intimate look at your lifestyle. Consultations will be through Skype at your convenience.

To your health.
And the music.
Elton.

Elton Smith Presents Live @ 125 January 2015. Gettin’ The Prog Back!!

Getting back to the prog!! After a hiatus I have put together a more progressive house mix for you. And what a joy it has been. Featuring tracks from Advent’s Rising, Pryda, Hugo Ibarra, Robert R. Hardy and Mo’ Funk, there is something here for all of you house and progressive fans. As always feel free to leave comments and hunt down your favourite tracks :). Follow me on twitter @ DJeltonsmith and join the fun on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/eltonsmithmusic.

Enjoy.

Elton