cosmo moose

I have long wanted to do an interview for the blog, so when the opportunity arose to interview a great electronic musician I jumped at the chance. Here is the interview I had with CosmoMoose:

1. What got you into creating music?

Once, when I was at school (late 1980s), our music lesson homework was to compose some music. I found this strangely easy and enjoyable, with pleasing results. Eventually this turned into a composition project towards a music qualification. Two pieces on my latest album, ‘SunRise’ and ‘Organic Manoeuvre’, originate from this project. I’ve always had music in my head since I was young and as I’m answering this question there is some tune lurking in the background. I often feel that I do not compose music but I receive it from somewhere as if I am faintly listening to some radio station in my brain. It is my job to replicate what I hear in my head, which is the hard part! I am a Christian and feel very blessed that God has given me such a gift of creating music so naturally. Over the years I have written in many different music genres, including musical theatre, rock and children songs but instrumental electronic music is my first love!

2. Who are your Musical Influences?

My electronic music is mostly influenced by Jean-Michel Jarre and Vangelis. I like the way they paint sonic pictures and create moods and emotions with synthesizers which can, by nature, be cold clinical instruments. My upbeat music is also heavily influenced by 90s / ‘classic era’ dance/trance music. I also like the thematic concept of Daft Punk (two robots making music) and Kraftwerk who influenced my more robotic sounding songs such as ‘RoboDrama’ (which is like a dystopian response to Kraftwerk’s ‘The Robots‘). Outside electronics, I really like later romantic-era ‘classical’ music, particularly Russian composers such as Tchaikovsky, Prokofiev, Borodin and Rimsky-Korsakov. They use the orchestra to the full to paint tonal pictures and that’s the reason why my music often strays away from pure electronic instrumentation.

Vangelis electronic music
Vangelis
jean michel jarre electronic music
Jean Michel Jarre

3. Do you use real instruments or just samples?

My CosmoMoose music is so far created using software synthesizers, loops and samples. My studio is my laptop which I often take on train journeys to and from my day job to create and edit music. You can see me on the early train with headphones on! On Cosmic Invasion, I used a lot of Theremin and Mellotron sounds but have never touched those instruments – nor Moog Synthesizers! My Moosetopia album uses African choirs but these are samples played on a keyboard as were the bird sounds, rainsticks and a bamboo flute on ‘Bamboo Forest’. The track ‘JiGiToN’ has an accordion lead melody but this is reworked from a sample library. Most interestingly, the female singer on ‘My Beautiful Day’ is actually software called Vocaloid Avanna. I type in the words and notes, add vibrato and expression and the software sings those note with those words. That really makes a train journey more fun! However, I am not adverse to real instruments. I recorded an album of kids songs in the past where I strummed guitar, played panpipes…and kazoo,,,,and even recorded a toilet flushing, as well as singing (in the loose sense of the word!)

Cosmo Moose Chris Medway
Chris working hard on his latest track

4.What is your Favourite song and why?

My favourite is probably ‘Distant Longing’ (from Memories of Moosetopia) because it is pure expression; a song without words, from the heart. The song originated on the train on the way to work one day when I opened up my laptop (my portable studio) and I didn’t know what music to work on. So I thought I would just express how I felt at that time using a tiny 2-octave MIDI keyboard (connected via USB to the laptop). The piano line just came out naturally: simple, beautiful and melancholy. The English horn and strings just fell into place and the piece was complete relatively quickly, which is unusual as it can take weeks or months to complete a piece sometimes. Therefore, although there are more popular, groovier pieces like ‘Shooting Stars’ and ‘Get Funky’ it is this simple music of the heart that appeals most to me personally.

5. How do you release your music?

The simple answer is ‘badly’! I put so much effort into creating the music and artwork that by the time I come to release and promote it, I’m too exhausted to do it properly. So far, as CosmoMoose, I have released 2 albums and a single on iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp and my own website. I intend to release singles from the new album throughout 2016.

Chris Medway Cosmo Moose
Chris in his home studio

6. How do you create your album artwork?

My wife is a prolific photographer and I trawl through her photographs to find the right images and feel for my album artwork. Most of the photographs I chose were taken in my hometown of Dawlish, Devon, UK. I add graphics and logos, such as the light beam on the front of Cosmic Invasion (no, Dawlish didn’t really have a bright cosmic encounter!!) and I designed the moose-in-a-spacesuit character which appears on artwork.

7. Why Call yourself CosmoMoose?

I could have used my own name but this electronic music is soooo different from my previous work (kids songs, stage musicals etc)that it needed something new. So, I like mooses with their big noses and big antlers and “cosmo” is rather spacey like some of my music, so “CosmoMoose” was born. Also my initials are “CM”!

Here are some samples of Cosmo’s music found on Youtube.

 

antiques business tv shows misconceptions about the antiques business

After watching hundreds of television shows like Bargain Hunt, Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, and Antiques Road Trip, I assumed I knew all about the antiques and collectables business before I got into it around 6 months ago. Let me tell you however, these programmes are quite misleading. In this post I will point out some things that are commonly thought of about the trade, compared to what really happens in the antiques business.

Negotiations and Large Discounts

In the popular telly shows you often see the presenters and contestants negotiating the best prices on items. They would see an item they liked and badger the poor owner down until they more or less gave it to them. The seller may start at £50 and eventually go down as far as £15 just to get rid of the people. These negotiations are often drawn out and bounce back and forth between the buyer and seller.

Within the Antiques business, sellers will often give deals to others in the trade, especially if they know the person and what they sell.  Most of the time, however, sellers will only give buyers 10% maximum discount on most items. The only way of really getting a good discount is if you know the seller well, you regularly buy off them, or you are buying a lot of their items at once. Negotiations never go like they are on T.V. Often a seller will say their price, to which the buyer will agree or disagree, and ask for their best price. Sometimes it is possible to squeeze out a little bit more from the price, but it rarely happens. The negotiations are never really like Bargain Hunt’s style of back and forth until you hit the right price. Remember the people on these programmes are aiming to win, so they are willing to really annoy the seller for that extra pound or two off. Also remember, the sellers are more than happy to “give” some of their items away for the free advertising on primetime BBC. If they don’t sell an item on their stall or in their shop, they won’t be featured on television.

Bargain Hunt Negotiation Misconceptions About the Antiques Business
A Bargain Hunt Negotiation

Auctions

Bargain Hunt in particular, often like to portray an auction as the best places to sell them. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Auctions are good to sell at if you have a high end item and use a posh auction house that sells to private buyers. If you go to the average auction you will find it teeming with dealers who are trying to get the items as cheap as possible to sell on for a profit. This is the problem with most auctions; people buy  items cheaply from auctions to sell on in their own shops, stalls, or online, not the opposite. People should not buy from a shop to sell at auction unless you want to make a loss, or the item you have was underpriced by the shop. Although most auction houses on T.V. won’t go any lower than around a fiver, most lower-class auctions will go down as low as £1. This is a great place to pick up bargains, but not a great place to sell. You are much better off buying from auction, than selling at one. Bargain Hunt chooses to sell the items at auction for a few reasons:

    • Buying from a shop and selling at an auction is far quicker than buying from an auction and selling at a shop. Remember time is money.
    • BBC get better deals from auctions because they advertise them when they attend.
    • An auction is more exciting to watch.
    • Bidders might just bid on items to get on T.V.

 

Another thing Bargain Hunt doesn’t show (although others will) is the amount of commission each auction house charges. Commission is the percentage of the price that the auction takes to make money. Most auctions offer commissions from around 10% (if you are really lucky) to 20%. They take this commission from the sale price of the item. The buyer will have to pay commission on the item, but the seller will also pay commission too. So on some items the auction house gains back just under half the hammer price, plus the 15% V.A.T. charged on the commission. If Bargain Hunt decided to take the commission into consideration people would be even less likely to make profits. It is also harder for those at home to play along at home and tally up. Antiques Road Trip, Flog It!, and Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is, do include the commission in their profits.

Most comedy sketches or comics set in auctions portray an auction as though any kind of movement will result in a bid. Although funny, it is incredibly hard to register a bid without knowing it. The auctioneers are professionals, and know a legitimate bid or not. A sneeze, a cough, or a wink, will not catch the auctioneers eye. They only way you can really bid is by raising your hand and making yourself known to the auctioneer. Once they get the first few bids, auctioneers will usually just concentrate on the bidders left in. If you are one of these bidders left in a nod will suffice to let the auctioneer know you want to bid again. It is sometimes hard to get the attention of the auctioneer even if you do raise your hand. In these situations it is okay to shout at the auctioneer to get his attention. If you are thinking about going to auctions and are worried about the etiquette, don’t be. You will never unknowingly buy an item and be surprised at the end.

Auction Bid Misconceptions About the Antiques Business
Pretty Much What You Need to do to Bid (maybe a little less enthusiastic)

Handshakes

On T.V. antique shows, especially Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is and Antiques Road Trip , every deal is sealed with a handshake. The shows even go as far to say a deal isn’t a deal until you have shook on it. In the Antiques business it is common to give a handshake to those you meet, like every other civilised person. But rarely will you ever shake on a deal. A handshake does not mean anything much to a buyer or seller. A buyer could still sell to someone else, and the seller not buy the item even after a handshake. Often most people would honour the sale, but a handshake (if you even get one) does not guarantee anything. In the 6 months or so in the antiques business I can’t remember buying something off someone and giving them a handshake.

handshake Misconceptions About the Antiques Business

Prices

In today’s online world it is very easy to look up the prices of things. This can be very helpful, but it also can give people over the top estimates. There are some names on items that people immediately think are super valuable, but are often able to be bought cheaply; brands like Clarice Cliff, Steiff, and Wedgwood to name but a few. Programmes like Bargain Hunt have made these items household names.

If someone isn’t sure of the price of the item the first place they look is Ebay. Ebay is an invaluable tool for searching the average price of an item and gaining a rough idea of its value, rarity, and popularity. Most people will just type the name of the item into Ebay and just see the items currently for sale. Most likely, you will see a Buy It Now price. This price is not a good representation of the actual price of the item. Those on Ebay who put up a Buy It Now price try to get the most the item is worth often over estimating the value. You will rarely get a bargain from a Buy It Now listing. The thing is most people who say “My item is worth £40 online” have just seen a Buy It Now price, and not the countless other listings of that item that have failed to sell for over a fiver. So remember if someone tells you that their item is worth £60 online and they are giving you a deal at £50 they have probably checked the Ebay Buy It Now price. The best way to find the price of an item on Ebay is by selecting the Complete Listings settings and change the order of the items from Price: Lowest to Highest. This will show you the prices the item has gone for and the items that have sold at all. Green means it sold for that price and red means it didn’t sell. This should give you the most accurate valuation of the item you have.

Ebay Completed Listings Misconceptions About the Antiques Business
Click Completed Listings
Ebay Price Lowest to Highest Misconceptions About the Antiques Business
Click Price Lowest to Highest

 

 

 

Bare in mind these are just a few things I have noticed during the months I have been in the business. You may have had different experiences if you have been in the business longer than me. I may well have different experiences the longer I am in the trade. I hope this post has cleared up some of your questions about the antiques business and shown you that these so called “antique” programmes are not what they seem and tend to play up the trade for the television.


Just a quick note to wish all my readers a very merry Christmas. I have been enjoying my time at home today boardgames and Wii Party with my family. I am visiting some other family members later on this week, so don’t expect any posts until after the new year. On New years day keep your eyes open for an update on how will 2016’s blog will be kicked up a notch. Stay “tuna”ed.