With two albums already on the Mama Dance ! Music Library and another two soon to be released we thought it was high time that we found out a bit more about Luka and just exactly what it is that floats his boat…
Tell us a little bit about yourself: where were you born, where did you grow up and what career did you dream of having?
Well I was born in the north-west province, in a small town called Saulspoort. From there I grew up in Mahikeng. In high school I was not really sure what I wanted to do once done with matric. When I got a varsity I did a bridging course which highlighted the aspects of marketing as a career and from there I pursued my marketing degree.
What do you do from Monday to Friday, 8 to 5pm (or thereabouts)?
I’d have to say it’s mostly music. If I’m not researching sound manipulation techniques as well as the effects of frequency on the body in its auric field then I’m probably looking into new production techniques that I can I add to my arsenal. I also produce music for other artists as well as my own production library.
What takes up the rest of your time?
I’d have to say looking into new ways of staying afloat in the music industry is what preoccupies most of my time.
When did the desire to make music first grab you?
The desire to 1st make music came in high school where I first learnt to DJ. It was great to play other people’s music but I always wondered what it would be like to actually make a song myself.
What gear do you use to produce music?
Currently I use Reason to build concepts as well as the basic mixing all my projects and then Cubase to do all the final mixing and mastering. I have a Rhode mic, a UAD-2 satellite mastering unit, Korg MIDI keyboard, a Lexicon Omega soundcard, KRK rocket 8 monitors and a Yamaha MG166cx mixing console. That makes up the core of my production gear.
LET IT SLIDE
Which artists or composers have influenced you over the years?
I’d have to say Charles Webster in terms of the house genre and J Dilla in terms of the hip-hop genre have greatly influenced the way I approach my production process as a whole. Rather than trying to create a specific sound according to the norm I incorporate a fusion of the different aspects of multiple genres in order to achieve a feeling and mood that’s unique to just me.
What are some of the challenges for local composers, artists and musicians and in South Africa?
I’d have to say the biggest challenge is that the industry’s heavily fragmented. Meaning that a composer or artist cannot rely on the conventional avenues of old like CD sales with the advent of digital sales and streaming that have cut earnings greatly for the up-and-coming artist. Even radio play is not guaranteed with a great song as trends dictate what makes it to play listing or not. Now one has to find other ways of adding value to their catalogue by incorporating music into ad and brand campaigns through sync deals and corporate partnerships. Well that’s just one way as you will still need to figure out a couple more.
How did you find out about the production/library music industry?
I initially started composing music on a fellow producer’s record label. He was doing his publishing through another company. The publishing company that was doing his admin inquired as to whether I’d be keen on doing production music and not just commercial. I was unfamiliar with the term production music so I began to do some research and I realized that it was actually a great stream to get into. I’ve been at it since 2013 and haven’t looked back since.
What would you do if you had to stop working in the sound/music industry?
If I had to stop working in the music industry I’d probably be working in advertising or a marketing department for a company I believe in. Well only if I had to.
Composers get as excited as Meghan Markle when you say the word “royalty”, but not me…that word makes me sweat like Eminem’s palms after his mom’s spaghetti.
You see twice a year here at Mama Dance, our composers and us have an amicable divorce. We take everything we have earned together over the last 6 months and split it 50/50. Somehow I ended up as the guy in charge of this process. While that might sound like a simple thing to cope with, we don’t just have a busker’s hat of coins that we count out, our income comes from a whole bunch of different sources and consists of 100’s of 10000’s of individual usages:
CAPASSO Blanket Licences
Our esteemed colleagues at CAPASSO (Composers, Authors & Publishers Association) work very hard to secure blanket licence deals with the major broadcasters in SA (SABC, Multichoice & eTV) who use as much music as they need for an annual fee.
Mama Dance then works equally as hard getting our music onto all those TV shows. Music cue sheets are completed and sent to CAPASSO (and SAMRO). CAPASSO then process those cue sheets by dividing the blanket licence fee by amount of music used and they send us statements listing these usages. We are talking millions of Rands divided into per 30sec chunks…so you do the math as to how many lines in Excel we are talking about. Seriously, do the math, my brain is fried!
SONOTON – Worldwide co-publishing royalties
We are very fortunate to partner with the largest independent music library, Sonoton, in getting Mama Dance to the world. Sonoton has agents in over 50 countries around the world which is why you can hear our music in everything from Samsung ads in the US to the Chinese news. Again, all these usages come back in the form of spreadsheets with thousands of lines of income.
In the UK, all production music licensing must go through the mechanicals society MCPS. So yes, we get statements from them too!
Those annoying copyright notices you get when you are uploading your video with you and your cat dancing to Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” … those are thanks to our partners at AdRev who scan Youtube, Facebook etc for our music and monetize it through ads you can’t wait to skip…and more importantly let us know when music hasn’t been licenced correctly.
No, not the United States or the Unibrow Society. US as in Mama Dance. We help hundreds of production companies, ad agencies, corporate video producers, online marketing agencies and even people making cat videos, to find music that works. And then all these licences also need to be added to the pot.
Fortunately, we now have a wonderful royalty program from a company called Backbeat that makes processing all this income a lot simpler than a few years ago where I captured it line by line. There is still a fair bit of work to do though and it is always on top of the day-to-day music searches, costings, album production etc so I’m am always happy when the royalty statements go out and our bank account is drained (at least until the next royalty run is due)!