May 21, 2020

Isanna Guides Us Through Her New Ethereal Music Video

We caught up with the talented American-German producer, Isanna, ahead of her newest release 'Moshpit of Emotions'. After creating the entire music video from her living room under self-isolation and with limited resources, we discussed how she and her team went about producing the unique and dramatic visuals to her new track during these unprecedented conditions.

Introduce yourself!

Hey I’m Isanna, a German/American songwriter and producer currently based in London.

What was the inspiration behind the music video for Moshpit of Emotions?

We really wanted to capture the feelings of isolation, wonder, and awe that I felt while writing the track. The character I play in the video is floating through space, and through life in general, to mirror that. She’s lost in the middle of nowhere, but still refusing to lose her sense of wonder.

Did you have any assistance creating the film? If so, who?

My amazing brother Alex co-directed the video with our wildly talented VFX editor Harry Lindley. I did my own makeup and styling, and my mom did my hair haha. It was a family effort, to say the least.

Can you explain the process behind the production?

Alex and I filmed the video in front of a green screen in our living room during lockdown. It was the most chilled process ever. It was honestly just like hanging out at home, but every 5 minutes my mom was running around, touching up my flyaways and decreasing the green screen. She’s such a legend, shout out mom!! Then we handed the shots off to Harry to create a whole CGI world on earth, in space, and somewhere in between :’)

How long did the entire filming process take?

The filming took approx. one and a half days as we didn’t have much to work with, so we wanted to make sure all of my performance shots were as good as they could be. The editing and VFX process happened over the span of four weeks, with Alex and Harry collaborating remotely to make the whole thing as fantastical and wild as it could be.

Were there any major obstacles that you encountered?

Our living room is teeny tiny, and the green screen wasn’t massive, so we kept having to re-film scenes where my arms and legs would have disappeared off screen once we put in a background. Also, we were working with really limited lighting, which makes a green screen edit super difficult. We had to get creative with ways to bounce light off of my face, like using a small plastic card as a reflector. 

How did it feel to create a music video under the conditions of quarantine?

It was difficult, but if there’s one thing my team loves, it’s a challenge. 

How did being in lockdown affect the final result?

I think filming during self-isolation was beneficial for my performance. It really helped me get into character because I was running through the gamut of emotions in real life as well, as I’m sure many people are during this time.

What's next for you?

I’m writing/producing towards my debut EP at the moment, so I’m still in a place of exploring what I really want to say with my first bigger body of work. We’re releasing my next single at the start of summer as well, so I’m really psyched for that! Sadly the festivals that I was meant to play at this summer got cancelled, but on the bright side, it allows more time for writing and introspection.

Follow Isanna on Instagram for more.

May 19, 2020

Harry Styles’ New Music Video Is A Quarantine Dream

The newly released music video for the track 'Watermelon Sugar' is a juicy ode to 'touching', and a tease for life before and after lockdown.

Harry Styles has returned with a deliciously succulent new visual part of his Fine Line album, giving us fans a more traditional 70s sepia-toned energy and a celebration of summer. Whilst most of us are still in lockdown mode, this new video transports us to warmer climates and is a big ol' tease to traveling and touching. "DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. Practice social distancing," Styles pranked on Twitter.

Fuelled by shots of tanned bodies swimming under sand, fruit being seductively eaten, and plenty of watermelons, this video is a tortuous gift that has been blessed to us by the prince of pop himself. Thank you Harry -we love you.

May 18, 2020

Music-related Podcasts You Need in Your Life

Lets get real, podcasts are underrated. Sometimes a great podcast can be the catalyst to new ideas, the ideal remedy after a stressful day or even just the perfect accompaniment when you need some 'you' time. We've rounded up some essential music-related podcasts to add to your daily routines 😌🙌

#When you just want to know more

Named 'Best podcast of 2018' by The New York Times, Dissect is a podcast dedicated to breaking down the meaning of various albums from pivotal figures in the music industry. From The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill to the mystery of Frank Ocean, each season looks to dissect and forensically examine the music, lyrics and the backstory behind one song. Hosted by Cole Cuchna, Dissect is every music nerd's dream come true 😎 Listen here.

#When you need inspiration

Hosted by Musicologist Nate Sloan and songwriter Charlie Harding, 'Switched on Pop' is the necessary podcast tackling the latest trends in popular music. The podcast is there to convince that maybe 'the worst song you've ever listened to' still has had huge time and effort poured into it. From Justin Bieber to Lady Gaga, the podcast is a refreshingly open and an energised way of viewing the music industry 💕 Listen here.

#When you need a self-care day

Okay so this isn't exactly a *podcast* more of a playlist but nonetheless the wonderfully addictive NPR Tiny Desk Concerts (which has recently revealed to be not so tiny after all) have kindly transformed their originally video based series into a podcast so that you can listen to live music on-the-go. A perfect accompaniment to your 'you' days 🤩 Listen here.

#When you need new music

Recorded in NYC, Not97 is the podcast you've been needing your whole life. Three hosts and a guest industry-expert meet to discuss music from talented, under-the-radar artists around the world, with each of them presenting two recently released tracks and breaking down the reason behind their choosing. The podcast is the perfect solution for when you're in need of some new music to switch up your playlists 🔥Listen here.

#When you need that 'Gurls Talk'

The Gurls Talk Podcast is here for your every need. Whilst it's not directly a music-related podcast, its a collation of stories and discussions from strong independent womxn, making moves in life and unravelling the truths of what it means to be a 'woman' today. Hosted by it's creator, activist and model, Adwoa Aboah and featuring the likes of Dua Lipa and Jorja Smith, this podcast is one to inspire. Send to your sister, mother, grandmother, girlfriend, partner and anyone in-between that you think could connect with these open and honest conversations 💁Listen here.

May 11, 2020

7 Must-See Music Videos of All Time

We've curated a selection of music videos we believe are amongst the best ever have been made. There are so many fantastic pieces of art out there - new magical videos are created every year! From Childish Gambino to Björk, we've got you covered with some of the must-see videos on the web👌

#1 This Is America - Childish Gambino (2018)

This never ending journey of horrific surprises won a Grammy for Best Music Video in 2018. Directed by Hiro Murai, this genius body of work is filled with symbols and metaphors about race and gun violence in the US. The four-minute long one-shot video will sure hit you hard - be aware that there is graphic violence.

#2 Nothing Compares 2U - Sinéad O'Connor (1990)

Originally written by Prince, Sinéad O'Connor made this song a huge hit with this cutting, exceptional video. The focus on just her face, exposed while going through the stages of anger and sadness that comes with losing someone loved. It feels so real, so raw and so, so beautiful - probably because all the emotions in the video are real. Sinéad O'Connor thought about the death of her mother while recording it - and wow - it sure worked. In 1990, the video won three VMA’s - amongst others ‘Video of the Year’.

#3 It’s Oh So Quiet - Björk (1995)

This iconic video for Björks remake of Betty Hutton’s It’s Oh So Quiet, made in collaboration with the Hollywood director Spike Jonze, has become one of her most famous releases. The playful choreography, each shot looking like a real-life Disney movie, sure is something special. The delicate slo-mo during the verses makes the chorus feel like a trip on sugar. The video received six nominations for the MTV Video Music Awards in 1996.

#4 Humble - Kendrick Lamar (2017)

This gorgeously-shot music video, directed by Dave Meyers, took Kendrick Lamar’s track Humble to a whole new level. Bursting with symbolism - the video brings an edge to the song since it fearless shows the opposite of humbleness. The way Lamar looks into the camera, with such power in his eyes, makes it impossible to look away. Nominated for eight VMAs in 2018, it took home six - of course including Video of the Year.

#5 Cranes in the sky - Solange (2016)

This magical piece of art is something truly unique. Solange way of acting in front of the camera is somehow meditative. Art directed by Carlota Guerrero and co-directed by herself and her then husband Alan Ferguson, it was shot in 42 (!) different setups, all between New Orleans and New Mexico’s mountains through the deserts of Texas. It took them two, completely dedicated, weeks to film everything - impressive!

#6 Yellow Submarine - The Beatles (1968)

This classic, groundbreaking film was revolutionary when it came out in 1969. This video is a short part of the full movie - 87 minute long - that changed the animation industry. John Lassester (Toy Story etc) and Josh Weinstein (The Simpsons) have both claimed that the film gave birth to modern animation and that without it, we probably wouldn’t have either Family Guy, Frozen or Shrek.

#7 Bad Girls - M.I.A (2012)

M.I.A has always been controversial - it’s her thing. This video was no exception. Bad Girls is a middle finger to Saudi Arabia’s ban on women driving, which is now legal since 2018 - this badass video took the world by storm when it was released in 2012. Women armed with machine guns, racing in the beautiful deserts of Morocco, dragging their feet alongside the car at 60 miles/hour - this video is as much of a political stand as it is visually mind blowing.

May 7, 2020

5 Iconic Albums Made in Isolation

It's coming up to week...who knows at this point...in lockdown and most of us are starting to adjust to this temporary life of forced solitude. Whilst isolation is associated with negative connotations, it can be a great opportunity for us to invest time and patience into our masterpieces. We've selected 5 albums that were created in total isolation to show that great work can come from moments of self-reflection.

#1 Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

Released in 2008, 'For Emma, Forever ago' was created by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. Created in complete solitude after a depressing phase of his life, with him being bedridden from catching pneumonia and the dissolution of his band mates. Vernon impulsively chose to move to his fathers hunting cabin in rural Wisconsin during his recovery and chose abandon his usual life for a moment of self-reflection. The album later went on to being one of the greatest indie folk albums of all time.

#2 Grimes - Visions

Described by Grimes' Claire Boucher as an 'equally enjoyable and tortuous' experience. Visions is one the most extreme cases of self isolation dated in the music industry. Created in a three week concoction of amphetamine-binging and a nine-day record of no sleep and food, the album went on to be a breakthrough for Grimes and the catalyst to her fame. Perhaps not a great way to live but credits to Boucher for her dedication.

#3 ABRA - Rose

ABRA is a genius in creating music in an isolated environment, in which the self-taught artist has recorded all of her so-far released tracks from either her parents closet or the laundry room in her apartment. Her DIY settings have given her low quality recordings compared to a big flashy studio but the unfocused, hazy nature of her music has become a statement within her material. Her work is often a product of 'not belonging', with her moving between New York, London and Atlanta from a young age - ABRA indulged in these feelings and has since became a well known character in the R&B scene.

#4 Radiohead - OK Computer

Radiohead's OK Computer (released in 1997) was created in two halves of isolations, the first in a converted shed based in Oxfordshire and the second in a backwoods mansion in Somerset. The five band members would split into different rooms of the mansion to work individually and then come together to fuse their pieces into one. Both weren't ideal studio set ups but this unconventional approach worked in their favour and album went on to labelling the band as geniuses in the rock scene.

#5 Kanye - Ye

Released in the summer of 2018, Kanye's album Ye is an ode to self-isolation. After slashing tour dates and spending time hospitalised in psychiatric care, Kanye created this comeback album after much time away from the limelight. Recorded in his unnecessarily huge Wyoming ranch, standing a six thousand acres, the album went on to be a controversial mixtape with his brutally infamous lyrics "I said slavery is a choice/ they said ‘how Ye?".

April 30, 2020

Amuse presents ‘Alone Together: a Collaborative Album Breaking the Boundaries of Self-Isolation

We caught up with the artists behind the project to talk about the record, the collab process, and the future of independent music in a post-pandemic era. 

‘Alone Together‘ was initiated just a few weeks ago by London-based musician, writer and mix engineer Adam Lee and LA-based singer-songwriter Jessica Louise, and leads with an inspiring cover of The Beatles’ classic ‘Come Together’ as well as 13 completely new, original songs.

The record has been created collaboratively in teams over the past three weeks from the homes of an impressive list of talent from across the world, including musicians like UK based Zack Knight and Daley, New Zealander Emily Browning and producer and keyboardist Anomalie from Montreal, along with Victoria Canal, Nikki Flores, and David Ryan Harris from the U.S.

Collaborating together to create an album of music to document this unique point in history, ‘Alone Together’ is released in collaboration with Amuse, with our team providing free subscriptions to our upgraded Amuse Pro tier to the artists participating in the project, helping facilitate the album making process with tools like automatic royalty splits and team accounts.

We caught up with Adam Lee and Jessica Louise to find out more about the project and the future of independent music in the post-pandemic era.

How did you come up with all of this?

It honestly started with a PayPal note. Adam was doing a mix for me in exchange for me letting him stay in my living room on his most recent visit to LA to go to NAMM. I ended up paying him his full rate and I had attached a note saying “I knew you wouldn’t have accepted this payment if I had told you about it before, but please accept it now. I have it that this exchange will bring the both of us great fortune.” 

And immediately after receiving the note, he called me and said “let’s make an album” and I said “OK!”. So here we are now with a project that has over 40 artists and 14 songs, in total! I still can’t believe it.

Tell us about the collab process - how did you coordinate the artists? 

Jessica: We realized shortly after bringing everyone together that what we were doing was something that had never been done before. We had artists creating teams with people they had met for the very first time over Zoom and FaceTime! It was remarkable and still blows my mind. 

Adam: Artists did everything from building entire backing tracks for people to write to, through to building entire tracks - including harmonic arrangements - out of WhatsApp voice notes! I think, perhaps, this was the beauty of the project, for me. To see how creative people were about working together. 

Why did you choose ‘Come Together’ by The Beatles as the main track? 

Jessica: This idea came from the genius mind of Juan Ariza. He approached Adam with this idea and I remember thinking, “can we do that?” and Adam saying “Juan’s got it,” and then we were all on board. I love the song “Come Together” because it speaks directly to the mission of this project which is to encourage and inspire unity, community, creativity and staying at home during uncertain times. 

Adam: He threw together the most incredibly inventive arrangement in just one day, and by the following day, we had a track to send to artists. Over hours of calls, we mapped out the song, assigned artists to particular lines, verses and time stamps, and I began the mission of contacting each individual - with a tailored text message - outlining exactly what we required from them, together with a landscape phone video to collate and edit together into a music video - picked up generously by my talented friend, Eastwood Allen. The 394-track behemoth of a Logic session he handed to mix engineer Jon Rezin was truly a work of art.

What do you think this crisis means for the future of independent music, do you think that independent artists actually have more power now? 

Jessica: I think the crisis has shifted the entire music industry, honestly. Ever since the inception of streaming platforms and distribution channels like Amuse, independent artists have had every tool that they needed to succeed. I think the difference is the focus. People are looking to artists and musicians more than ever now, to give them a sense of comfort, joy, entertainment, community and freedom. With the ability to put up a song and have people stream it from anywhere in the world at any time, the power is definitely in the hands of the independent artist who takes advantage of this opportunity. 

How do you think the pandemic has changed the future of music production? Do you think home studios will be here to stay? 

Adam: The pandemic, for me, was a reminder that investing in a home setup was possibly the best creative decision I ever made. I just needed the time to be locked away and make the most of it - something that the directive of Alone Together preaches from its core.

What’s your favourite Amuse Pro feature and how has it helped you?

Jessica: My favorite Amuse Pro feature is definitely the Team feature. I love how Amuse Pro handles all of the data tracking and then lists everything out to each member on the team. It’s so transparent and makes everything so much easier! 

Adam: For me, having full, accurate control over royalty splits, is a great asset to projects like this one, where precise divisions between artists and our chosen charity are so necessary. This is a great platform, and a great chance for us to focus on the music, while Amuse focuses on getting it to our audience.

‘Alone Together’ is released on Friday May 1 via Amuse. Click here for a pre-save that saves the track to your collection as soon as it drops!

Ready to go pro? Amuse Pro is the set of tools that helps you unlock the next level of your independent music career. Get access to fast lane releases, add team members with royalty splits and put your music on Instagram and TikTok. Sign up for Amuse Pro here

April 28, 2020

REC Philly: Quarantine Checkin

Based in Philadelphia, the co-working space REC Philly has become a second home to a variety of creators. From singers to photographers, this 10,000 square foot space offers equipment, location and opportunities for all members.

We chatted to Will Toms, Chief Creative Officer of REC, and Dave Silver, Chief Executive Officer of REC to see how they've been holding up in these unprecedented times:

A. Introduce yourselves! 

RP: I'm Will Toms, Chief Creative Officer of REC, and this is Dave Silver, Chief Executive Officer of REC. We are the co-founders of REC who help lead the charge with the help of our incredible team.

A: How has your company had to adapt because of corona times? 

RP: We operate a physical space with 14 private studios, a coworking space, Live Nation event space, retail store and more. Once the government ordered that all "non-essential" businesses close their doors, we had to find a way to be valuable to our community members digitally. It felt like shifting an entire business model, overnight.

A: What advice do you have for creatives/artists? 

RP: Just like we learned, it's extremely important to have a digital presence that matches or exceeds the value you offer in the live space. Any business whose revenues are mostly earned in the live events space or through in person services, will be vulnerable in times like these. We're encouraging our creators to tighten up their digital presence and get those digital services, physical products and digital products launched in an effort to keep revenue flowing. Your value proposition is bigger than just your music, photos or whatever your core offering is. Understand what your community truly needs from you and offer that digitally as best you can.

A: What album/track has been getting you through these times?

RP: Philly's own Orion Sun with her new album 'Hold Space For Me'. Great moody vibes for this rollercoaster of a time we're in.

A: Any exciting new projects on the way? 

RP: We're cooking up something special under the code name "REC TV". 

Go follow REC Philly for more news and projects 💕

April 28, 2020

New Tracks For Your Quarantine Playlists

We've curated a selection of recently released music over the last month from some of the top artists. From Peggy Gou to Frank Ocean, we've got you covered with some new tracks to switch up your playlists! 👌

#1 Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean took us all by surprise with the release of his two newest tracks, 'Dear April' and 'Cayendo'. Released within a day of each other at the start of April, both tracks carry his usual dreamlike character, a perfect remedy for when you need some company. Released April 2nd and 3rd.

#2 Drake

Released on April 2nd, Drake returned with another bop that has been the catalyst to yet another dance challenge on TikTok. 'Toosie Slide' is another ode to Drake's OG skills in rap and brings out a more chill vibe to carry you through the coming weeks.

#3 Peggy Gou x Boiler Room

Live from Seoul Tower, Peggy Gou teamed up with Boiler Room to provide another epic performance on the decks. Effortlessly cool and calm, Gou blesses us with the perfect way for anyone to start their mornings...back in the club? Streamed on April 25th.

#4 DVSN

Released on April 17th, DVSN is back with their third studio album, 'A Muse In Her Feelings'. With multiple guest stars, the elegant Canadian R&B duo continue to carry and expand their seductive club energy throughout each track.

#5 Kali Uchis

'To Feel Alive', an eclectic EP from adored Colombian-American singer songwriter, Kali Uchis. Released on April 24th, the mixtape is a four track project intertwined with dreamy melodies and hazy instrumentals. Recorded alone in "her room", the EP seems to be a a statement for the current global state of isolation.

#6 The Strokes

The Strokes have released their newest album, The New Abnormal. After 7 years of waiting, the NYC rock band have returned with their familiar signature sounds and hungover vibes. Released April 10th.

#7 Tom Misch & Yussef Dayes

Tom Misch and Yussef Dayes perhaps aren't the most obvious combination, but together they've created a smooth yet powerful album, What Kinda Music. The South East London duo have played to their strengths and surprisingly compliment each other. From Misch's playful improvisation on the guitar and with Dayes' sturdy beats, this album is a great example of experimentation in its finest. Released April 24th.

#8 Charli XCX

A tease of Charli XCX's new quarantine inspired album 'How I'm Feeling Now', Claws is one track exploring and perhaps documenting her time in lockdown. The track carries an obvious DIY element with electro-pop narratives. Released April 23rd.

#9 Travis Scott & Kid Cudi

'The Scotts', a collaboration between rappers Kid Cudi and Travis Scott. Dropped during the end of Scott's Astronomical Fortnite Concert, the track went on to overtaking Billie Eilish’s “No Time to Die” and hitting #1 on the Global Spotify Chart. Released April 24th.

#10 Global Citizen - One World: Together at Home

A moment marked in history with artists all over the globe uniting for a live streamed concert on April 18th. From Lady Gaga who was the face of the event to Billie Eilish, the event raised 127.9 million, providing $55.1 million to the  COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and $72.8 million to local and regional responders. Check out their twitter for the live steams!

March 9, 2020

Amuse Pro is live! Distribute Music On TikTok, Royalty Splits & More

Huge news! We are super excited to announce the launch of Amuse Pro, our upgraded distribution tier catering to the growing community of independent artists and their teams.

Our upgraded service includes features like royalty splits, team accounts, multi artist profiles, quicker releases and VIP support, and with Amuse Pro, users are also able to distribute their music to social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. 

“Modern artists have the ability to create their own virtual labels, but they can’t do it alone. Artists and their teams still face so many time consuming administrative tasks and financial pain points,” says Diego Farias, co-founder and CEO at Amuse. “With Pro, we’re giving our users more features to accelerate their careers, at an accessible price. Artists and managers will simply be able to focus on their creativity instead of the admin parts of a music career.”  

Amuse Pro subscriptions start at $7.99 a month, or $59.99 a year, and any artist, producer, manager or label can join. 

We caught up with the boss to find out more about Amuse Pro... 

Hey, Diego! So, where did you get the Amuse Pro idea from? 

The Pro concept has been with us for a while. It is the natural continuation of our services and the result of growing with our user base of artists and creators and their developing needs.

Why do you think the DIY approach is such a big attraction for artists these days? 

This might sound weird but I don't think it has been an option for everyone for that long. The fact that it is possible now gives a lot of artists the confidence to try it out and we are seeing that more and more of those artists can become as successful as they would have become in a more traditional structure but with way more freedom and flexibility.  The second part to that answer is that times have changed, independent artists of today can do a lot of the things that only labels could 10 years ago and that makes them question traditional structures like selling their rights or losing control of their projects. The time of the independent artist is now.

How can these independent artists use Pro to level up their careers?

We tend to think of artists as solo flyers but the truth is that most successful artists build strong teams around them. Amuse Pro is built in a way that allows artists and their teams to focus on their music and spend less time thinking about the admin side.

Which Pro feature will be the most valuable to independent artists? 

The two main features Automatic Royalty Splits and Team Members will be the killer features of course but we are adding VIP support, faster deliveries and access to more stores and social media to make the deal even more compelling to Pro artists and their teams.

What has the response from artists been so far? 

Fantastic. We develop all our services in close dialogue with our artist community but you can never be sure until you get the direct feedback. The key things we are looking out for is if Pro solves pain points in artists and creators lives and so far it is sounding great.

 What’s next for Amuse? 

We are going to continue to build awesome tech that allows independent artists to thrive. Be sure of that.

Ready to level up your music career? Upgrade to Amuse Pro by clicking here

© Amuseio AB. 2020. All Rights Reserved.