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« Submitting to a Mr. Hyde comp »

(by Loren Jan Wilson)

"How do I submit to a Mr. Hyde comp?"

Deliver a .wav or .aiff or .sd2 file to me personally. It must be uncompressed (tracks which have been mp3 encoded and then converted back to wave will not be accepted), 24-bit if you can get it mixed down that way (mixing down as 16-bit and then resaving it as 24-bit doesn't help), and it must be unmastered (no peak limited or "loudened" tracks are accepted).

Please don't EQ, over-compress (unless that's part of your sound), or peak-limit your final mix before giving it to me, and don't resample down to 16-bit from an original 24-bit mixdown. If you don't know what this all means, ask the person who helped you produce your track.

Don't try to email it to me; it'll be way too big for email. You can put it on the web somewhere if you have a lot of web space, in which case I can just download it, or you can send or hand-deliver a cd to me:

Loren Jan Wilson
1155 E. 60th St.
Chicago, IL 60637

If you're hand-delivering, I'm in office 327.

"What can I submit?"

I accept most anything for consideration. I personally listen to pop, soul, modern r&b, classic rock, new rock, punk, hardcore, metal, folk, country, blues, classical, neo-classical, techno, house, garage, experimental, noise, and ESPECIALLY hip-hop/rap. Swear words are totally acceptable. Pornographic lyrics? Even better.

One thing I can't accept: cover songs. Sorry, but unless you hold the copyright to something, you can't submit it to a comp.

"When should I submit my track?"

Submit early, submit often. Just because I'm not doing a comp right now doesn't mean you shouldn't submit a track. If you're not sure whether you've made something good enough for a comp, or if you need some constructive criticism, send your track to me and I'll listen and try to be helpful.

If you can't decide between a couple of different tracks, you may send them both, but don't be mad when I choose the one you don't like as much. Also, if I dislike your song but not your recording, I might ask for something else instead. Don't be scared to send your whole cd and mark the track or tracks you're submitting, but keep in mind that anything you submit will end up in my "HP music archive box" until the end of time.

"How do you decide which tracks make it onto a Mr. Hyde comp?"

I decide to put tracks on the comps based on the following things, in no order:

1. Is this artist from Hyde Park? The closer the HP connection, the more likely I'll favor the track. There are no hard & fast rules about this, but the point is to document the neighborhood's music scene, and I try to use my own best judgment.

2. Does the track sound good? Is the recording quality acceptable? Can I get it to sound right alongside the other tracks on the upcoming comp? If the drums sound questionable, or if your track is obviously mixed on a boom box or nasty home stereo, your track likely won't make it. (Lo-fi music, of course, has its own merits, and exceptions have been made in the past.) If I dislike the vocals, your track is very likely not going to make it on a comp that I'm producing. I'm trying to make comps that stand the test of time, and bad vocalists & shoddy productions are available everywhere else on the internet. Please expect that I have high standards, and don't get too bothered if I don't accept your tracks at first...keep trying (or find a new singer...heh).

3. Is your track too long? 5 minutes is the upper limit of what could possibly appear on a comp, and after 4 minutes, I start asking myself whether it's really worth it. I understand why bands have long songs, but this isn't the place for it...I always choose more tracks by more bands over longer tracks by fewer bands, and I believe that long songs on various artists comps don't usually fit well. If you want to send me an edited version of your track, or tell me places where I can fade in or out if I choose, that works.

4. Are you a nice person? This matters to me a great deal. If you and the rest of your band are friendly, you'll go far...that's true with me, and it's true most other places, too.

5. Are you helpful to the label and to the rest of the scene? Will you help out at the comp release parties where we assemble the packaging? Everybody who's on a comp is expected to help. If you don't come around when it's time to help out with things, I remember that and treat you accordingly. Is your band known for ditching out and not carrying equipment at shows, or for never inviting other HP bands to play out with you? Don't expect to get on comps if you aren't willing to help out the rest of the scene.

6. Do you play shows in Hyde Park? Do you play outside of Hyde Park? Does your band have a website? Does your band have a band bio with photos of your band that I can use for promotional purposes? All of these things matter, and if you aren't trying to establish your presence as an artist, then you'll be less likely to get on a comp. (Of course, if your tracks are bangin', none of this matters. See #2 above.)

Please notice that "length of time in the scene" and "status in the scene" have nothing to do with whether or not I use your track. This isn't a popularity contest, and it's not an exclusive club or friends network. Give me two tracks, one that's made by an established HP group but doesn't sound all that great, and another that's made by a brand new band that sounds totally fabulous, and the latter track will get chosen over the former every time.

"If I submit to you, does that mean that you get the copyrights to my songs?"

No. Even if I use a song of yours, you retain the copyright. It is understood that if you submit it, then you're giving me permission to use it on a comp. The label holds the copyright to the compilation itself.

"Why do you want an unmastered track? What if I get my tracks mastered at an expensive mastering house?"

I master the tracks. It's what I do. I like mastering things. I do a good job. If you have a really good mastered version, give me both the mastered and the unmastered versions, and I'll try to make sure that your preferred sonic signature gets conveyed on the comp. Don't EQ your final mix. Don't over-compress your final mix. Don't peak-limit your final mix. Please.

"What if I can't get my own songs recorded in time for a comp?"

Occasionally, local engineers and producers will offer to record HP bands for free or for a small fee. Keep in touch with me about the fact that you're ready and willing to record, and post a thread on the board that you're looking for somebody to record you. We can get it worked out.

Booking time in a real studio can be anywhere from $250 to $800 a day, so I understand if you can't afford it, but maybe you have some friends who have some recording equipment? Brainstorm. And post to the board.

"What if I've moved out of Hyde Park but I still want to contribute?"

In the immortal words of Matt Solberg of Streganona and now of From Monument to Masses, "You can take the boy out of HP, but you can't take the HP out of the boy." Moving out of Hyde Park does not remove you from the HP music scene, of course, unless you want it to. You're more than welcome to submit tracks.

"Will my band get paid for our track?"

No. This label has never made a profit, but if we did, we would reinvest it in future releases, promotion, and better-quality pressings and artwork. When we need funding, it comes out of my own pocket or out of grants that people help us get. It's a non-profit kind of thing.