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Airtone Interview

permalink   Wed, Mar 29, 2023 @ 6:48 AM

Spinningmerkaba interviews Airtone about the new ccMixter Logo.

Airtone, what was your process for creating the new ccMixter Logo?

I’ve been involved in helping to redesign ccMixter since last year, this is ongoing but part of that process has been to redesign the logo, it’s been mainly in collaboration with Emily and Kara with feedback from other members of the team. I received some mockups from them and I sent some ideas back based on the mockups and it’s been backwards and forwards for a few months until we all collectively decided on the final design. A lot of the direction and ideas came from Emily and Kara and so it was a very collaborative process throughout.

In your mind how does the new logo represent the community of artists that ccMixter represents?

We wanted to incorporate the two Cs and also the X in mixter, and also represent some of the values of the site which were reflected in the tagline which was probably going to be Collaborative Community.

I tried some ideas using the two Cs in various forms. An idea that seemed to be working well was using the Cs as two halves of a circle. A circle can represent lots of things like continuation, loops, records, cells, planets etc. It’s a very simple and effective symbol. The X can represent two paths crossing and creating something new, an intersection or centre.

The font I ended up using was Ubuntu which as well being the font for free open source software, Ubuntu is also a philosophy that recognises the importance of interdependence, sharing and inclusivity.

I think the green colour works well and has connotations of nature and ecology.

I think the site is about collaboration, community, play, experimentation, exploration and sharing. Hopefully the logo can represent this without being corporate or generic or taking itself too seriously.

How many different versions did you create?

I initially created about 4 pages of quick ideas, maybe 20 or 30 altogether, this was then whittled down to 3 or 4 possibilities which were then refined until we got to one that everyone was happy with.

What design programs do you use?

I used Adobe XD, it has a very simple interface and it’s very quick and easy to use so the focus can be on the design.

When did you join ccMixter as a remix artist?

Before ccMixter I used a site called Reasonstation under the name of barracuda. I was using some music software called Reason and the site allowed you to upload tracks made in Reason and download other peoples tracks, not just the audio but in a format where you could open it in Reason and see how it was made, and if the artist allowed, you could also edit and turn it into something new or a remix. It’s good to see music in a way that you can interact with instead of just being a passive consumer. There were also reviews and an active forum and it was a great way to learn and collaborate and I think something like this would have flourished if it wasn’t for concerns over copyright etc.

From here I got more into remix culture and finding alternatives to copyright which I didn’t think was compatible with digital technology and I still don’t in its current form.

I started using Ableton Live more and a website called Splicemusic, using the name airtone. It allowed you to create music in the web browser and use samples that other people had uploaded. And any track you post could be remixed into something new, the sequencer was very limited compared to a desktop app but we weren’t trying to make music that was professional or commercially viable but it was very creative and a lot of fun.

Even though the site was using Creative Commons I think it was more commercially oriented with investors keen on getting a return, it started to incorporate advertising which I wasn’t keen on. Eventually when it wasn’t making enough money it was sold and subsequently shutdown taking all the sounds and all the music with it.

I think I probably saw something about ccMixter on a blog somewhere. I was happy to find a website that was more community oriented and listens to and respects the users.

I first uploaded a track to ccMixter in 2007 but it was in 2009 when I started using it more, I was a bit stuck creatively so I looked on ccMixter for some sounds and inspiration, I found a vocal that I tried something with and it seemed to work well so I uploaded and got an edpick from Loveshadow.

What are your takeaways from being involved with collaborative remix culture?

Music has existed for tens of thousands of years, most of that time it has been shared freely and allowed to evolve, mix and take on new forms that reflect and communicate different cultures and values. I think our current system seems to want to lock music down and turn it into a commodity that benefits the rights holders and platform owners, takes advantage of artists and turns listeners into passive consumers. At the moment people are getting sued even if music is influenced by another track.

I’m hoping platforms like ccMixter can continue to be an alternative to the usual business models and enable a direct relationship, with mutual trust and respect, between artist and listener and encourage participation, learning, exploration and sharing.

I think there is a lot of potential with digital technology and creativity, but there needs to be rethink about ownership, if I create some music or art and share it, I don’t want it to be a finished permanent thing that I own and control, I would rather it be in the public domain or commons so it can be copied, evolve and mix into new forms.

A quote by Brian Eno –

“Stop thinking about artworks as objects and start thinking about them as triggers for experiences. What makes a work of art good for you is not something that’s already inside it but something that happens inside you.”


Visit airtone’s ccMixter page here.

Become a ccMixter Patreon member and get merch with our new logo!

Watch the New Logo Livestream

Press release about new trademark agreement w CC

permalink   Wed, Mar 29, 2023 @ 10:27 AM
Great to get to know you more airtone and I completely agree with you on my letting my music be free.
permalink   Wed, Mar 29, 2023 @ 1:15 PM
Here are a few highlights from the evolution of Airtone’s design of our new logo.

permalink   Darkroom Wed, Mar 29, 2023 @ 1:36 PM
These are all flipping great but I think the best one was chosen.
permalink   Snowflake Wed, Mar 29, 2023 @ 7:49 PM
So glad you feel that way!
permalink   texasradiofish Sat, Apr 1, 2023 @ 1:39 AM
En la cima del mundo
Siobhan Dakay
permalink   Wed, Mar 29, 2023 @ 1:53 PM
The new logo rocks !!
permalink   Snowflake Wed, Mar 29, 2023 @ 7:49 PM
Yay so glad you dig it!
permalink   Thu, Mar 30, 2023 @ 12:43 AM
Great job on the redesign and interesting interview!
permalink   Fri, Mar 31, 2023 @ 5:38 AM
Quote: airtone
The font I ended up using was Ubuntu which as well being the font for free open source software, Ubuntu is also a philosophy that recognises the importance of interdependence, sharing and inclusivity.

I know airtone uses the Ubuntu Linux distribution, and so do I. It’s a word from the Bantu family of African languages, and I always remember it being paraphrased “I am who I am because of who we all are”

If there’s a font-name that better summarizes the ccMixterverse, I sure as hell don’t know what it is.

Most of the alternate translations are perfect as well:

Quote: wikipedia
Ubuntu (Zulu is a Nguni Bantu term meaning “humanity”. It is sometimes translated as “I am because we are” (also “I am because you are”),[2] or “humanity towards others” (Zulu umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu). In Xhosa, the latter term is used, but is often meant in a more philosophical sense to mean “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”.
permalink   Mr_Yesterday Sun, Apr 2, 2023 @ 8:51 PM
Nice. Thanks.