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Budget, Or No Budget

Updated: Dec 30, 2021

“Hey Uriah, come up with an idea for our electronic beat’s album, we need a name and an idea for the album artwork.”

He responded quickly, and suggested it would be cool to call it “Fresh Vibes,” and we could use a macro photo of some wet iceberg lettuce as the subject for the album artwork. Not a bad idea…

Who is Uriah, you might ask? He’s b.side’s eleven-year old son, and nephew to DJ Havcutz. There’s a valuable lesson here for any musician working on their own. We hit up Uriah, kind of as a joke at first. When he gave us his idea, and we realized it was kind of cool, we realized that we had an untapped resource in the room. We didn’t go with this particular idea, but it did lead us to all the artwork concepts for the album that turned to track-single releases.

The original album cover for the Fresh Vibes EP

The Reality

The benefits of signing with a major record label, and even some independent record labels, for any artist, is considered a massive step in an artist’s career. One of the major reasons why, is because these labels provide artist development, recording, distribution, marketing, branding, licensing deals, partnerships, and a variety of financial incentives that contribute to the exposure and promotion of the artist. An artist signed to a major label specifically, could have up to a team of 25 people focused on ensuring the success of the record, single, music video, etc.! That’s a far cry from where we are.

As an unsigned artist, this is what you are up against in order to have people find and listen to your music, when you don’t have the luxury of a label backing you. So, you have to learn to be resourceful. Hence Uriah. He doesn’t know this yet, but he helped us to come to the realization, that if we are going to take some shots to compete with all the new music that’s out there, we had to ensure the music and the artwork tells a compelling story that we all can relate to as people. Our track “Kick It” provides an example of how this all came together.

The Work-Around

We understood that, putting out a full-length album would not serve our best interests. So, we decided that we would release the songs that made up “Fresh Vibes,” as singles. This meant that we needed album artwork for each track. While we were brainstorming some ideas for the artwork, we started to play each track, and try to understand the vibe of each. The “Kick It” track is kind of playful. We both have sisters that we grew up with, that could be pretty annoying from time to time. Okay, all the time. Since Uriah proved he had some cool ideas, he was now in our minds. Uriah gets to share this sibling experience, as we see this same situation with him and his sister. As we were listening to “Kick It,” we thought it would be funny to have the little sister, pick on the big brother, by kicking him in the butt, and capturing that image. We saw the resources (our kids), and just tried to capture them in a silly way, to illustrate the vibe of a playful beat.

This ended up opening up the idea for the rest of the artwork for the songs that originally made up the Fresh Vibes compilation: Bada Bada, Dizzy, I Never Knew, Alright Alright, and The Nod.

Being Thankful

Budget, or no budget. Either way, learning to be resourceful is what you get out of our music, and the artwork. Being successful when you don’t have a lot of help, makes this a requirement. We don’t have a huge recording studio. We don’t have an A&R department. We don’t have a digital media/content department. We don’t have a marketing and promotions team. But we wouldn’t have it any other way (kind of, lol). Seeing the cool results we’re getting, using what we have available, has been pretty amazing. Sure, we don’t expect to hit the top of the charts with these sorts of background beats, or win any graphics awards for our artwork concepts. But we’re having fun, and the people who dig our stuff, are having fun with us! This has all taught us to be thankful, and trust in God to provide. And that He has! It’s grinding, but we’ve learned to embrace the grind, and Kick It.

#studiolife #musicbusiness #indieartists #makingdue #resourceful #hiphopmusic #beatmaking

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