home news reviews diary fun + games guestbook project 75 search shop samples mail list
music about gallery contact links extra discography sitemap interview pro forum articles

 

My Personal History of Music Making
Article originally written for the official eJay website and can be found
here

Well, it all started for me back in September '99 when I was in Tescos in Goole. I was looking at the magazines and saw PC Format magazine on the shelf with its usual free demo CD. One of the demos was for a music making package called Total eJay. I'd never heard of eJay before but it looked pretty good from the demo. After messing about with it for a bit, and making the obligatory "Calling for your love" song which impressed me totally at the time, I decided to keep it on my hard drive and moved on to the next demo.

I didn't use it an awful lot for the next few weeks, just started it up every now and then for a bit of fun. However, I was sitting in the pub with my friends one night, when some dance music started playing on the jukebox. One of my friends commented that it must be so easy to make that kind of music, which got me thinking. Later that week I fired up Total eJay and made approximately 5 or 6 tracks with it. I was fortunate enough to have a CD writer, so I made my first ever CD of my own music. I was amazed! Me on a CD? Woohoo! I can still remember that feeling today when I heard tracks I had made myself coming out of my CD player

My first ever CD

The cover of my first CD - I scanned a picture of my head and made this "Andy Warhol" type cover. So if anyone saw a copy, they would recognise it was by me. Excuse the artist name!

I passed the CD to a few of my friends, who listened to it, and told me that it was pretty good so I thought to myself, If they like it, maybe others will as well. One day I gave a copy to the landlord of my local pub who listened and told me he also liked it. As I was a little tipsy at the time, I asked him if it was possible for his DJ to play it at the karaoke night he had on Sundays. The landlord agreed so I left my copy with him.

Sunday came around and I went to the karaoke night. I was getting quite nervous sitting at the bar watching the DJ set up his disco. Questions and doubts were filling my head. What if people didn't like my track? What if everyone came off the dancefloor? That wouldn't make me popular with the DJ, the landlord or the customers. Maybe everyone would start laughing at my pathetic attempt to make music. Some of these were people who I didn't know, so they wouldn't be bothered about saying what they thought, especially as some had already had a skinful of ale. The DJ started playing his set and getting people up for karaoke with about 30 people in the pub. I sat quiet at the bar drinking my pint half hoping that the landlord would remember to ask him to play a track from my CD and half hoping he would have forgotten I'd asked.  

He came from downstairs, with the CD I gave him, straight to me and asked me which song I wanted playing. I told him and he went over to the DJ and gave him my CD. After about 15 minutes the DJ came on the microphone and said that the next song was called "Your Love" by Steve at the bar as he pointed me out. People looked round at me, and my stomach filled with butterflies. This was my big chance.
My track started to play and it sounded OK through his speakers as I recognised the first "Myth" layers playing. Samples kicked in and the track was rolling. When the drums came in, I noticed people tapping their feet, which I felt was a good sign. The bass started and more people started nodding their heads and tapping their fingers. A few even got up to dance when the vocals started "We are all living in a dance machieeene yeeeaaeeah!!, your luuuurve ooooooh!!!".

People came up to me to say how good it was. Some were saying how it was a lot better than they had expected when they had heard I'd made a dance tune. When my track had finished the DJ said on the mic that he liked it, mentioned it was by Steve at the bar again and people started clapping. It was a great feeling, as you can imagine, to watch and hear people who I didn't know applauding my song.

That was my first taste of fame, albeit a small one and I wanted more!

I made a few more tracks and asked the DJs of Goole to play them. I persuaded the landlord to put my CD on his jukebox and managed to get some played in a local nightclub. Over a fairly long period of time, as I bought the more advanced eJay packages, I grew in confidence with my music and learned little tricks I could do with eJay that added to my music. I started using fruityloops music software programs and was pleasantly suprised that it worked well with eJay.

In September 2001 I found the joys of the internet and started a page at www.mp3.com. They hosted my music for me and anyone on the internet could listen to it, which brought me a few "fan" mails. This was a big buzz for me at the time. I also found a few websites and message boards with like-minded people who made music, with whom I could discuss the software packages I was using, listen to tracks others had made and get feedback on my own.

Things progressed fairly slowly for a couple of years, with a small fan base steadily building up, a good contact list of fellow producers and a catalogue of tracks being made. I even ended up getting played on a Swedish real world radio station BMU91.6MHz based in Stockholm after they had heard some of my tracks on the internet. Then in January 1st 2003, it all started to go a little crazy for me.

The beautiful and talented Yana Kay from Latvia.

Yana Kay - The vocalist on my track "Run Away", my biggest success to date.

In December of the previous year, I had made a track called "Run Away" with a Latvian singer called Yana Kay. It was a very commercial, vocal trance track similar in style to DJ Sammy or Ian Van Dahl. All my friends loved this track and suggested I send it off to some record labels. I wasn't sure myself, but I uploaded it to my website and didn't really think much more about it, until on January 1st I was contacted by a company called Sound Assault Music who offered to sell the track to record labels. I was lost for words, but in the past I had received a lot of emails from various sources offering to sell my music, so I treated it with a pinch of salt. I decided to reply to them, but I didn't hold out much hope and in fact, I never heard anything more from them to this day.

What I did hear though, on January 3rd was from a representative of a record label in London Home City Records, who had heard an older track of mine called "Firestorm". He enjoyed the track and said that the people at his record company were looking to sign a few tracks for a trance compilation album. Whether this was anything to do with Sound Assault Music, I still don't know, but I mailed him a CD containing six of what I thought were my best tracks. When they heard "Run Away", the Vice President of Home City Records (Michael Family) telephoned me asking to sign the track for a possible vinyl release. I said I was interested and contacted Yana (my vocalist) to ask if she wanted me to release the track. Luckily, she said yes and, after reading thoroughly the contract I had been sent, with the help of my solicitor friend at work, I signed and returned it back.

The next few weeks were taken up with me creating an extended harder version of Run Away, suitable for club play and also working on a trance remix of a track that Home City had already signed from an R&B group. It had been confirmed that "Run Away", "Firestorm" and "NRGeneration" (a remix of one of my older tracks by fellow producer Davian) were to appear on a club vinyl record along with a track by a Swedish producer called DreamZone DJ. The record was to be titled "Jupiter Rose feat. Square Bear and DreamZone DJ".
The label kept me very well informed with the progress of the vinyl and mailed me with updates as to when it was being mastered, when it was being pressed, test plays etc.

My first record release. WOOOHOOOO!!!! :-)

Jupiter Rose - My first vinyl release. Available to buy in all good independent record shops in the UK and beyond.

You can only imagine my feelings when one day I arrived home from work to be greeted by 3 copies of the finished record all ready and waiting for release!! Little old me on a proper vinyl record.
I rushed straight upstairs to my record player and put it on. I could hardly believe my ears when my songs started coming out of the speakers. That moment was the highlight of my musical career so far by a long way. To think that what is basically a hobby for me had turned into an official club released record.
That night I took one of the copies out to show my mates. I thought I may as well pose with it for a while. (It also shut those up who thought I was making it all up hehe!)

Home City Records have worked fantastically hard with promoting the record. It is currently being played on loads of radio stations. See the news page for all the radio stations you can hear it on. I am being played in clubs up and down the UK and beyond. I've also seen it for sale in online shops on the net as well as real world shops.

I'm just waiting for a bit more publicity and slowly, as people get to know the songs hopefully, they will become more popular and sell more copies and who knows what may happen.....

At the moment, I'm currently working remixes of some of my older tracks, ready for submission to the record company and have also been included on a forthcoming compilation CD. I found a great new singer called Cami from Los Angeles and we're working on a couple of new tracks. So hopefully, the future is looking bright for Square Bear.

To anyone who aspires to being signed to a record label, I offer this advice:

Don't think things will happen overnight. I've been doing this since 1999 and only now have I got any label attention.
Keep learning and practising. Your tracks can never be too good. I'm still learning little tricks even today.
Be confident in your music. I nearly backed out of giving my CD to the landlord. If I hadn't been brave I might not have made another track.
Get your music out on the internet and message boards. The more people hear your music, the more listeners will keep coming back. You will also make great contacts that will last you a lifetime, who can offer help and advice.

If it wasn't for the copy of Total eJay all those years ago, I wouldn't be in the happy situation I am today. The software will always have a special place on my hard drive and in my heart. 

- Steve Worswick (Square Bear)
September 2003.

Back To Top