Category Archives: Leisure

Pop Danthology 2013

dan·thol·o·gy

/danˈTHäləjē/

noun
an anthology of various creative works arranged by Daniel Kim.

Finally, after a total of 180 hours of work, I have finished the 2013 edition of my annual “Pop Danthology” music mix series.

SONG LIST

(In alphabetical order by artist)

  1. Anna Kendrick – “Cups (When I’m Gone)”
  2. Armin van Buuren feat. Trevor Guthrie – “This Is What It Feels Like”
  3. A$AP Rocky feat. Skrillex, Birdy Nam Nam – “Wild For The Night”
  4. Avicii – “Wake Me Up”
  5. Avril Lavigne – “Here’s To Never Growing Up”
  6. Bastille – “Pompeii”
  7. Bauuer – “Harlem Shake”
  8. Bingo Players feat. Far East Movement – “Get Up (Rattle)”
  9. Britney Spears – “Ooh La La”
  10. Britney Spears – “Work B**ch”
  11. Bruno Mars – “Locked Out Of Heaven”
  12. Bruno Mars – “Treasure”
  13. Bruno Mars – “When I Was Your Man”
  14. Calvin Harris feat. Ayah Marar – “Thinking About You”
  15. Calvin Harris feat. Ellie Goulding – “I Need Your Love”
  16. Capital Cities – “Safe And Sound”
  17. Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams – “Get Lucky”
  18. Demi Lovato – “Heart Attack”
  19. Drake feat. Majid Jordan – “Hold On, We’re Going Home”
  20. Drake – “Started From The Bottom”
  21. Ellie Goulding – “Burn”
  22. Icona Pop feat. Charli XCX – “I Love It (I Don’t Care)”
  23. Imagine Dragons – Demons
  24. Jason Derulo – “The Other Side”
  25. Jay-Z feat. Justin Timberlake – “Holy Grail”
  26. Justin Timberlake – “Mirrors”
  27. Justin Timberlake feat. Jay-Z – “Suit & Tie”
  28. Katy Perry – “Roar”
  29. Kelly Clarkson – “Catch My Breath”
  30. Ke$ha – “C’mon”
  31. Ke$ha feat. will.i.am – “Crazy Kids”
  32. Krewella – “Alive”
  33. Lady Gaga – “Applause”
  34. Lana Del Rey – “Summertime Sadness (Cedric Gervais Remix)”
  35. Lorde – “Royals”
  36. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Mary Lambert – “Same Love”
  37. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis feat. Ray Dalton – “Can’t Hold Us”
  38. Maroon 5 – “Daylight”
  39. Maroon 5 – “Love Somebody”
  40. Martin Garrix – “Animals”
  41. Martin Solveig & The Cataracs feat. Kyle – “Hey Now”
  42. Miley Cyrus – “We Can’t Stop”
  43. Miley Cyrus – “Wrecking Ball”
  44. Naughty Boy feat. Sam Smith – “La La La”
  45. One Direction – “Best Song Ever”
  46. One Direction – “Story Of My Life”
  47. OneRepublic – “Counting Stars”
  48. OneRepublic – “If I Lose Myself”
  49. Passenger – “Let Her Go”
  50. P!nk feat. Nate Ruess – “Just Give Me A Reason”
  51. Pitbull feat. Christina Aguilera – “Feel This Moment”
  52. Pitbull feat. Ke$ha – “Timber”
  53. Pitbull feat. TJR – “Don’t Stop The Party”
  54. PSY – “Gentleman”
  55. Rihanna – “Pour It Up”
  56. Rihanna feat. David Guetta – “Right Now”
  57. Rihanna feat. Mikky Ekko – “Stay”
  58. Robin Thicke feat. Kendrick Lamar – “Give It 2 U”
  59. Robin Thicke feat. T.I., Pharrell Williams – “Blurred Lines”
  60. Selena Gomez – “Come & Get It”
  61. Selena Gomez – “Slow Down”
  62. Taylor Swift – “22”
  63. Taylor Swift – “I Knew You Were Trouble”
  64. will.i.am feat. Britney Spears – “Scream & Shout”
  65. will.i.am feat. Justin Bieber – “#thatPOWER”
  66. Ylvis – “The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)”
  67. Zedd feat. Foxes – “Clarity”
  68. Zedd feat. Hayley Williams – “Stay The Night”

LYRICS & SONG TITLES

(In order of appearance)

THE MAKING OF POP DANTHOLOGY 2013

There is so much that goes into the production of Pop Danthologies. Below is a pie chart that shows the breakdown of all the work I did for Pop Danthology 2013.

Pop Danthology 2013 Pie Chart

MUSIC

GATHERING

The first and least exciting part of making Pop Danthology is gathering all the different instrumental and acapella tracks, audio stems, and full songs. I search all over the internet like a determined chef searches different markets and grocery stores for his ingredients. Mashup artists such as myself, however, are “chefs” who live in a world of many deceitful grocery stores that mislabel their produce as “fresh” and “organic” when they really are far from those descriptions. I am one “chef” who will not be deceived. I instead take the time to visit every “grocery store” in order to get ingredients of the highest quality. This year, I felt that there was a shortage of high quality audio parts compared to previous years. Nevertheless, after 33 hours, I was able to compile a ready-to-mix list of 179 (73 vocal, 41 instrumental, 65 complete with both) music files.

Pop Danthology 2013 Song List

PLANNING AND ORGANIZING

A lot of planning is required in the making of Pop Danthology because not all songs fit nicely into one stationary tempo and key (many other mashup artists do this but it distorts the sound quality and timbre of the original audio parts too much for my liking). In order to determine what keys to use in Pop Danthology, I draw up a chart like the one below.

Pop Danthology 2013 Key Chart[ the numbers above refer to the number of songs in that key ]

This key chart shows me that this year’s music, like many of the previous years’ music, is all over the place; there is no one key being predominantly used. I, therefore, had no choice but to use multiple key changes in this year’s Pop Danthology. The tempos of all the music this year were all over the place too. I had to use a total of 11 tempo changes in Pop Danthology 2013.

Pop Danthology 2013 Tempo[ This is Pop Danthology 2013's tempo graph showing all the fluctuations in tempo from the beginning (left side) to the very end (right side) of the mix ]

I spent a total of 9 hours planning and organizing Pop Danthology 2013.

ARRANGING AND MIXING

The fun part began only after investing 42 hours into this epic project (talk about delayed gratification, huh?). This is the part I get to combine all the different sounds together to make new sounds. I spent a total of 114 hours arranging and mixing Pop Danthology 2013. A lot of that time, though, was spent just listening to my progress at full volume and dancing as if I was hearing it at a DJ concert. It is also during this part of the mashup making process that the only music I listen to, on loop, is my work in progress. Even while driving my car from one place to another, I examine all the volumes and frequencies of each individual audio part with a critical ear.

Pop Danthology 2013 Arrangement

[ Arranging my music on Logic Pro X ]

VIDEO

GATHERING

Unlike the music portion of the mashup making process, it is so much easier to find the official music videos to all the songs used in Pop Danthology. All it took was 1 hour of simple YouTube searches.

EDITING

Editing the music video was so easy as well. All I really had to do was find the video clips matching the audio parts featured in Pop Danthology 2013 and then stretch or compress them by the same percentage that the audio parts were stretched/compressed. I do spend the extra time, though, to carefully select video clips that are appropriate for all ages. I spent 23 hours editing Pop Danthology 2013.

POP… DAN… THOLOGY INTRO

Van Damme VS Dan

This year I decided to make a parody of Jean-Claude Van Damme’s viral Volvo commercial as my video intro. I could not have done this part without the help of:

Justin Lam (Lighting, Equipment)

Steve Tan (Editor/Compositor)

Website: threesixtyphoto.com Website: stevetan.net
Facebook: ThreeSixtyPhotography Instagram: @stevetan
Twitter: @threesixtyphoto Twitter: @stevetan
Vimeo: threesixtyphoto Vimeo: stevetan

Click here to read more about how Steve was able to make my floating head move so perfectly along with Jean-Claude Van Damme’s body.

DOWNLOAD

Pop Danthology 2013

Pop Danthology 2012

Pop Danthology 2011

Pop Danthology 2010

TITLE ART

(Click to enlarge)

Pop Danthology 2013 CoverPop Danthology 2013 Black TitlePop Danthology 2013 White Title

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Guilt from Being Unproductive

It has been a while since I last wrote an update about my life. In fact, it has been a while since I last wrote anything on this blog. I have been mostly busy with going out and enjoying my city’s beautiful summer weather (Vancouver’s weather is pretty depressing all other times of the year). I have been spending so much time outside with others that I have found no time to read, research, study, write, work on music, or hit the gym. I don’t feel it as intensely as I did before when I used to be very OCPD, but I still do feel some guilt over not being super productive and not making the very best use of my time.

Gifted individuals and people with OCPD tend to feel extra guilty about not being productive.

Work on Vacation

So where does this guilt come from?

Well, first of all, emotionally sensitive people experience the emotion of guilt much more intensely than normal, average, boring people do (haha just kidding about the “boring” part). A stronger sense of responsibility comes with the territory of being highly emotionally sensitive. Because of their natural ability to see, imagine, envision, strategize, and produce excellence, gifted individuals and people with OCPD feel a very strong sense of responsibility to contribute excellence to the world. But excellence takes a lot of time and effort, no matter who you are, no matter how much talent you have. When this time and effort is not being invested, gifted individuals and people with OCPD feel guilty.

Read more about the obsessive-compulsive preoccupation with the efficient use of time here.

This guilt is a big-time joy killer. It removes you from your present moment that might be filled with so many amazing things that you can enjoy and wonderful people that you can laugh with. Many people attempt to eliminate this guilt by keeping themselves very busy. Being busy, however, does not always lead to excellence. Busy-ness that is driven by guilt can actually do a lot of damage to the joy that you derive from participating in your area of excellence. During my workaholic years living in Korea, I lost a lot of my joy in producing music because I had spent so much time dutifully working on musical projects that I had very little interest in. Although being productive controls this pervasive feeling of guilt, it never gets rid of it.

The way I now respond to this kind of guilt is much healthier. I now let myself feel the guilt and let the emotion take its course in and out of my system. I remind myself in my head that it is NOT my responsibility to bring excellence into this world – being born with all the right tools does not automatically sign me up for a life of duty. My faith also helps me deal with this difficult emotion. I trust that this world is in the good hands of an omnipotent God who loves to share His unrivaled excellence with the rest of the world. I think of all the imperfect people in the Bible that God partnered up with to do this. God didn’t need them to be constantly busy. It was the condition of their heart that mattered much more to Him. I then tell myself that everything will be just fine and turn my focus back onto the present moment.

Another step that really helps to lessen the intensity of this kind of guilt is putting an end to judging others negatively. Many people with OCPD fall into judging others for their “laziness.” After judging others in this way, people with OCPD grow to be very unforgiving toward themselves.

So yeah… I am going to continue to enjoy my summer! I hope all of you are enjoying whatever season it is in your part of the world :)

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The Making of Pop Danthology

Pop Danthology 2012Once a year, I try to make a seamless musical mix (“mash-up”) of the year’s top pop songs. This is not a quick and easy thing to do. Making a mash-up is like completing a huge puzzle (not every piece goes together). Fortunately, my brain was made for these kinds of puzzles. The whole process takes me about three whole months.

FIRST MONTH (GATHERING)

This is my least favourite part of the process because it feels so unproductive. All I do for one month is gather my ingredients (vocal parts, instrumental parts, video clips, etc.). Like Jiro, the master sushi chef I wrote about in my last blog post, I sacrifice my efficiency to get the best ingredients. I search all over the internet and use my sensitivity to compare all the different versions of the same puzzle pieces. If good quality audio parts are not available on the internet, I will then make my own audio parts (using audio engineering techniques like phase cancellation) as a last resort. I then start compiling an organized list of the best puzzle pieces.

This is what my list looks like from A to C

Mashup List

[ Song Title (Part) - Key - Tempo ]

SECOND MONTH (PLANNING)

Once I have all my audio parts, I then start planning out a way to fit them together. Audio parts must be in the same key AND in the same tempo in order to fit together. But it is not as simple as digitally manipulating all the tracks to one key and tempo (though many other mash-up artists do this). If vocal parts are pitched more than one semi-tone from its original key, the vocalists no longer sound human (they either sound like chipmunks or like king Xerxes from “300”). The tempo of instrumentals cannot be changed too much either. In order to find the perfect key to work with, I make a key chart.

Pop Danthology Key Chart

[ the numbers above refer to the number of songs in that key ]

Looking at this chart, I can tell that C minor is a great key to work with and F# minor is a terrible key to work with. In the end, I decided to use four different keys and three tempo changes.

THIRD MONTH (ARRANGING AND MIXING)

In the third month, I finally get to work on my favourite part of the mash-up making process, arrangement! This is the part when I get to have fun putting my puzzle pieces together. The part that feels like work, however, is the very technical part of mixing. I must adjust the volume and EQ of about 150 individual audio parts. I get very OCPD about mixing because everything just sounds so imperfect and messy to me. This is the part when I listen to Rihanna sing the line “Shine bright like a diamond” on loop, over and over again, as I make my changes.

Hope you enjoy it! It was a lot of work! For an entire month, I went to sleep every night with ringing in my ears :p

FAQs

Q: Is it easier to make a mash-up of pop music because it all sounds the same?
A: No. I can just as easily mix the Beatles and other “more complex” music. Different time signature does not make a song less easy to mix. All you have to do is find another song that is in the same time signature. Mixing live classical music can be a little bit more challenging only because of its inconsistent tempo (those inconsistent conductors!). Quantizing can easily fix this obstacle (I use “flex view” in “Logic Pro” and manually compress and stretch the audio for classical music). The biggest challenge I can think of would be mixing songs that are using completely different scales. So mixing western music with something like classical Arabic music or Gregorian chant would be challenging. But even those can be mixed after changing the pitch of some of the notes using tuning software. Mixing pop music the way I do is not all that simple either. I mixed together the music of “We Are Young” and “Brokenhearted” between 2:29 and 3:00. After putting them in the same tempo and key, “We Are Young” has the chord progression F, Dm7, Gm7, A#, C while “Brokenhearted” has the chord progression F, Dm, A#, C, F. Do you notice how only the first two chords work together? I had to find the parts of “Brokenhearted” that played the bass notes without too many other sounds, copy that sound to all the down beats of the instrumental of “We Are Young,” and then use a professional tuning software called “Melodyne” to change the individual notes of the bass to match the chord progression of “We Are Young.”

Q: Why put in all that time and effort in something that you cannot earn any money from?
A: I do it simply because I can. That is what I believe separates us passionate artists from the rest of the world. That is probably why the term “starving artist” also exists haha.

Q: What did you use to make this mash-up?
A: MacBook Pro (Computer), Logic Pro (DAW), Melodyne Editor (Pitch Correction), Final Cut Pro (Video Editor)

Q: Where can I download the mp3?
A: http://www.facebook.com/danielkimmusic

Q: Can I play this on my radio show, during my DJ set, on my wedding, etc.?
A: Yes, you at least have my permission. But I’m no lawyer. So you might want to check first before playing it on something that you are making money off of :p

Q: Why is Taylor Swift and other big artists of 2012 missing from this mash-up?
A: I extracted some of the audio parts of “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” and really wanted to use it. Unfortunately, the tempo of the song is too different from the tempo of the section of my mash-up that is in G major (the key that Taylor Swift’s song is in). The key is also too different from the key of the section of my mash-up that is roughly around the same tempo. If you did not hear some of 2012’s hit songs, it is simply because I could not find a way to fit them in or the audio parts that I had for them were in such poor quality that it would have compromised the quality of my mash-up to include them. Also, 2012 was not a big year for Britney Spears and Lady Gaga. Please check out Pop Danthology 2011 to listen to them.

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Hunting For Halloween

Halloween is one of those times when my OCPD really acts up.

I want to join in on all the excitement of dressing up, but I want to do so in a cost efficient manner. Having had more of a practical spending style for most of my life when it comes to fashion, I always find nothing out of the ordinary in my closet to wear on this special occasion. I am, therefore, forced to look elsewhere. But I refuse to needlessly spend close to a hundred dollars at a costume store for an outfit that I will only get to wear once. Just the idea of that kind of inefficient use of money gives me anxiety. So I strategically plan and hunt and use my creativity. This year, I got to do all those things for both me and my girlfriend.

I thought it would be a good idea for my girlfriend to go as a leopard and for me to go as a safari guide with matching leopard print.

We saved hundreds of dollars going with this idea than another one because she already happened to own a very nice leopard print dress and a pair of leopard print high heels and I already had a safari hat from my travels through Africa. All she had left to buy were a pair of leopard ears and a tail.

Hunting for my outfit was pretty easy as well. I went to the thrift store and found a beige shirt for $9.60 and a pair of beige shorts for $6.00. I then went to a fabric store and bought more than enough leopard print fabric for only $2.50.

At the costume store, I bought some teeth necklace for $5.00 and a matching teeth bracelet for $3.00. I then got the perfect long socks at a huge discount of $2.50 (originally $10.00 for three pairs of socks) just because I pointed out the problem with the item (half the socks were missing – I only needed one pair anyway) and asked if I could get a discount. In total, I spent $28.60 for my entire outfit.

After getting all my materials, I then had to put everything together. I measured, cut, and sewed my leopard print fabric to my shirt and shorts with OCPD precision. Nothing could distract me because I was so focused. My attention to detail also caused me to take the extra effort to fold the ends of the fabric before sewing it on so that the edges would appear smoother.

[ my leopard print detailing on the back pocket of my shorts ]

I think I did ok for a person who does not sew much. I give credit to my OCPD :)

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Theatre Seat Selection

OCPD causes me to be very picky about where I sit in the movie theatre.

That is why I pre-purchased my advance tickets and reserved my seats for the July 20th release of The Dark Knight Rises.

Here are my wonderful seats!

Sitting right in the center of the theatre, where everything is symmetric, is movie-going paradise for me! It is where I can escape my reality and zero-in all my attention on the film. If I were to sit anywhere else, the combination of my hypersensitivity and orderliness would pick up too many subtleties in my surroundings to distract me from being fully engaged with my movie. If I were to sit off to the side of the theatre, I would get distracted by the uneven distribution of sound as one ear would be picking up more sound than the other. I would also get distracted by my distorted perspective of the image being displayed on the screen.

I have done this for so long that it has become a personal movie-going rule that I follow. If I cannot get seats that are close to the center of the theatre, I rather wait another week to watch the movie.

But with great seats come great responsibilities. I make sure to use the restroom before the start of the movie and avoid drinking liquids during the movie.

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