OK – What’s the deal?
This is the new home of Shotty.co.uk and 4HF Records! And as I now proceed with the artist name comprised of the two, “Shotty 4HF”, this website has been put together to list almost everything I ever made.
I started out with drums, guitars, writing songs and performing in a band. We were listening to, and doing covers of, Oasis, The Verve, The Beatles, and others. Although, at that time, I still had and listened to my Happy Hardcore, Techno and Jungle tape packs! I was very much a ‘Junglist’ as the nineties progressed, and the word “Teens” still brings back to me Roni Size “Reprazent”, and where I was when I first heard the Andy C remix of “Ready or Not”. I made my first album in 1998 with the help of “Far Heath Recording Studios”. I auditioned each section myself, including keyboard, bass guitar, lead guitar, and vocals. It was at that point I was introduced to the world of multiple audio track recording. This led to the introduction of the Roland 303, thanks to the advice of a few friends and the producer at Far Heath (thanks Angus)! The small Roland midi sequencer allowed me to create my own drum beats, loop bass lines, over lay strings and piano, and it didn’t sound too far out if I increased the tempo and made electronic dance music!
And so it started:
There was an instrument patch on the Roland 303, which sounded very much like a track I’d heard on an album at the time, therefore I believed it was possible to make a piece of music on the midi sequencer that would be to a standard that an audience could enjoy. Over the course of a few months I had figured out every function key and shift combination on the 303 to be able to create music… Electronic Music. I was forever making tapes and handing them out. I still hadn’t turned my back on the guitar and vocals! It wasn’t long until I started recording into a mixer and then (at first) into a Yamaha CD recorder! So I could include the guitar and vocals as well.
In 2001 I made my first album writing and recording music with the new set up (which by that time included a rack mount FX processor and improved midi keyboard). The album was called “Totally Harmless Creation”. I made some artwork on an old PC which took ages! I put about 15 tracks on the album, and as it was my first, and as I had made it entirely in my own space and with little help, I couldn’t wait to hand it out! And so I did… Most people that I knew at the time had a copy at some point (and I’ve been amazed to find out that some people still have it more than ten years later). I was caught in the buzz of making music and releasing it. I made another album, and another album. Listening to pirate radio stations, going to Dance events and trying to simulate the latest sounds that were generating attention. I started selling albums to pay for the blank CDs, and always putting the change to one side to make a new album. Every time hoping to make the next album an improvement and more professional.
Selling CDs and distributing music… Onto the creation of “4hedfones Records”.
Every CD, album, printed cover, compilation and single was tagged with 4hedfones from there on. Why 4hedfones? It had something to do with the fact that 90% of the music I made at the time I produced through headphones! Certainly when creating music from a small 1 bedroom flat in Birmingham! Why did I use such appalling English and fail miserably to spell two very simple words? I have no idea. Possibly because the arrangement of the letters resembled a brand with the promise of a logo that could easily be seen in lights, inside my head, at the time. Or it could relate to the emergence of the Nokia 3310 and the growing acceptance to abbreviate almost every word when sending a message, digitally, to anyone, way before the human brain could adapt to the routines of predictive text… and all this with the disastrous mixture of laziness and trendiness perpetuated by regular users of MSN and AIM such as myself! Or a small portion of it could possibly stem from the fact that I was a bit of juvenile degenerate at that time and had no love or consideration for the English language?
It would seem to be somewhat justifiably a concoction of all three. Which is why I never mention it much.
Since the start a great deal has been learnt, decided and deciphered up to now, from the use of audio signals and samples, to the varying items of hardware and PC based programs essential for arranging them. And then unstoppably through to the establishment of 4HF Records.
And this is exactly where it’s at…
(Originally Shotty, AKA Shotty or Michael, or even Shot, Shot Man, and Shot Bags (You know who you are)!
This website lists many of my old tracks, performances and productions. They are listed and distributed as is, and as they were. I made a rule to never go back and adjust old tunes! Largely because year on a slightly different way of producing has been adopted, hardware has changed and plug-ins lost! I uploaded an old tune once, convinced I could revamp it! I spent an hour making adjustments to the mix, by which time I had changed it completely. I don’t go back to old tunes, but occasionally hear one and think “I still like this track, I’d love for people to hear this tune”, which is my reason for listing.
Yes. I made a rule to never go back to old tunes and subsequently broke it.
“Twilight Zone”, is one track from 2006 which I have gone back to many a times and reproduced.
There are many more in the player list that are re-works or re-spawns and not the original version.
Sometimes it works, and sometimes the tracks are worth going back to. But the mass of these old tracks at Shotty.co.uk remain in the state they emerged. For this, and because when I listen to the quality of the overall mix downs from way back, the old tracks from anything before 2012 are listed at a much lower price. The ideas are there and many of the old tracks are easy listening rather than Dance Floor Club Music. Still, they’re there to be shared and enjoyed, they are also milestones that demonstrate the progression over the years.
The newer tracks are the result of upgraded hardware, producing at higher sample rates and summing audio to produce quality high end sounds that will compliment most hifi systems. Be sure to check the year and price when downloading music from Shotty.co.uk, look out for the latest tunes, as new music will be added to the player all the time.
In 2015 I am now working from a sample collection that has forced me into having more than 10 terrabytes of file storage, even still I have a handful of favoured kick drums and snares that I will regularly use over a number of productions. The ability to produce tracks quickly and keep ideas spontaneous through the use of templates and hard wiring is a valuable faculty, but still, even after more than a decade of engineering and creating sound, I am still learning new things and acquiring fresh inspiration all the time. Vary rarely a dull moment when producing. And dull moments can only include bleeping out words prior to radio play, productions that have took 6 months to being finalised, or data loss from unexpected system crashes in the early days.
I am a supporter and follower of almost all genres of music with few exceptions to the fact. Every track I produce I create for the purpose of being heard. I think music is an amazing phenomenon that is beneficial in every way to the emotional structure of the human being, I have experienced playing tracks to people that have made them laugh, cry, dance uncontrollably and even bring people back together. It really is a powerful thing and I think all music should be heard by everybody all across the world and I believe music should be free. So why am I selling it? I started as most, with nothing, drum kit and electric guitars, even my keyboard when I was 8 years old, were mostly gifts for Christmas and such like. I sold my guitars (all but one) and used the money to buy effects peddles and amplifiers. And in fact attained my first credit card debt buying a piece of MIDI hardware. Since then every upgrade has been a financial outlay and, as many producers will probably know, improving the sound often means looking at the higher price tags. The studio, from the carpet tiles on the wall, to the monitor speakers, software VSTs, keyboards and microphones were very far from free. Not to mention the electricity it uses! The website hosting all this text and audio has been another financial output, and will continue to take money from the pocket as long as it remains in existence. And I am not even in the hope of getting any of it back, but I do very much want to carry on making music, not only carry on but also improve, progress and develop, which may possibly mean upgrading! And I want to keep sharing my music on the website so people can hear it. So from a different perspective, I’m not selling my tracks to make money from nothing, I’m looking for support. It costs money to make music, even down to simply the food you eat and the clothes you wear while you do it! If you happen to like any of the tracks listed on this website, then consider purchasing it as support, for the sound and for the website. Keeping the website live and the delivery of new tracks constant. Any help towards the production and sharing of 4HF Records Music is very much appreciated. Thanks.