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BTS was founded in 2001, Recording Music in Wellington with issues from Song-Writing, Busking and Stop the By-pass, later to Affordable Housing, Begging, Poverty & the Blues.



inside bus tunnel studios

BTS TagFeature Section

Feature Post:

13 April 2016 Council Meeting on Begging [with Video]

 While making a submission Wellington City Council, we shot video of the meeting. WCC is very good about the media and my Blogging with the following video [being Transparent] . Begging is a complex subject and everyone has a strong opinion about the subject, from ‘Leave the Poor Folk Alone’ to ‘It should not be be allowed at all.’
I think there should be the same kind of Time Limit for Beggers as there are for Buskers, so hard working entertainers can get a chance at using the best paying locations on the street. Hogging the best spots all day every day is not fair. The explosion in the numbers of people Begging, is killing it for the buskers.
[ Video of the Council Meeting about Begging ]

Feature Music Video:

Just a Disguise

A folk song by Mark G. Hayes. Composed in the late 1980’s on a Yamaha 12 String acoustic Guitar. The bass ‘E’ string, is tuned down to the note ‘D’ to make a droning bass, get into a zone with it. Video 1 was in the old Indigo Bar on Cuba St (acoustic Lounge gig), blended with video 2 on Kaikoura Beach, in the South Island.
[ Just a Disguise – Music Video ]

BTS TagPosts Section

Starting with new Posts, below each outline is a link to the full post

Fixing Guitars

All four guitars got a clean up his week but the Bass and a 335 Electric Guitar required some repairs and a lot of adjustment to get them working real well.
[ Guitar Adjustments ]


The Joys of Maintenance

The day-to-day running of a music-recording studio, as with any small start-up, is all about keeping the thing going without constantly blowing out a very tight budget. There is a whole different way of looking at it, if you can’t just throw money at it when issues with equipment happen.
So I am glad that I know how to do basic soldering and how to build a computer from a pile of parts and a few disks. How to use the new box though, a Noise Gate with Compressor / Limiter to get the best possible sound out of a microphone, is another learning curve all together.
[ Geeks at Work ]


 New Album –  2017 Release:

There is a new CD Release by Mark and the Mp3’s (my virtual backing band). Each song is recorded one track at a time into a Multi-track Sound Recording Program. After the sound mixing and effects are added, all the tracks are rendered into 1 new stereo track.rocking-the-footpath

To make a backing band song, just mute the lead vocal and one of the guitar tracks. Most of these songs I have been busking with for a few years. There are two songs I recorded from scratch to update live shows with, ‘Story of the Hurricane‘ by Bob Dylan, and Star Man by David Bowie.
[ New CD Album, progress report ]


 December 2016 Busking:

This post is a quick run down on so many things that are happening at this flat out time of year. The month started with Earthquakes and Floods, then I had to replace a 12 volt amplifier and some other sound rig repairs. Another last minute rush to produce a CD for sale in two weeks.  Noting changes, this time of year is going flat out. A variety of little tasks and a few detailed tasks.
[ A very active Month of the year ]


 Equipment Challenges:

upgrade10About a week ago my slave amplifier blew up, so last Thursday I got a replacement amplifier. The first time I took it out there was a problem getting it going, so through the following storm the next day I spent soldering the wires and stopped it from cutting out. Today I took it out again. All that rig is working perfectly. But then a big gust of wind blew over the microphone stand. The attachment bracket holding the boom to the mic stand broke. It has taken quite a bit to set up the busking amplifier rig this summer.
[ Replaced the 12-volt Busking Amplifier ]


 Re-Vamp the Pre-Amp

preamp-01While the Busking Rig is down as I save up for a new slave amplifier, I decided to do while saving up to replace the amplifier, is to do a bit of an upgrade for the rest of my busking equipment, in particular the power switch on the pre-amp.
[ Pre-Amp modifications ]


 Blew up my Busking Amplifier

Well it has been quite a week, starting with the greatest earthquake in ages and all the aftershocks. The next days Wellington also had some quite bad flooding (cutting off the city for a while) so I was jokingly saying well we are just waiting for a plague of Locusts.

dead-amp Teach me for tempting the gods. The next day I went to go busking and my amplifier died. Yes I checked both of the fuses and used a multi-meter to test my power leads and battery. Next I unscrewed the back of it to look for burned out components. The problem is that if a Chip goes you can not tell with a visual inspection. I need to replace it.
[ Broken Amplifier ]


 Music Video – Smash the State by Dead Vicious 1 May 2003

Blast From the Past. After all the recent debate about New Zealand marking Labor Day at the end of October, so I decided to show you an old video I shot and Edited back in the early days of underground music at Bus Tunnel Studios.
[ Blast From the Past ]


State House Action Incorporated is taking the government to court to try and stop the sale of state houses in Tauranga.

This decision to sell to IHC (through its subsidiary Accessable Housing) is abandoning the core government responsibility of providing quality, affordable homes to families who need them in Tauranga. Over time the government wants to abandon this responsibility for the rest of the country as well. It is already eyeing up state houses in other areas to sell in their thousands. The Challenge will he heard in the Wellington High Court on Wednesday 9th November.
[ High Court Action – flyer ]
[ Bay of Plenty Times – report ]
[ John Minto – statement ]


Latest Web Site – Atrist e-Gallery

Evan Baracough is one of the local artists with a mighty lot of paintings he created all over his house, on the walls and stacked against the walls. So I took a camera and lighting stuff up to his place. There was over 50 images in the photo-shoot.
[ Evan’s Paintings Gallery ]


Creating 2 different Video Tutorials

After taking some time off for a few other small projects, I have now re-started recording and capture of the Video music lessons. I am also starting another video tutorial on how to record music on a computer. So I am managing two tutorials at once.
[ Back to the Video Tutorials ]


Minimum Wage Doesn’t Really Cut It

Employers are being recognised for paying staff the ‘living wage’ including one who had in the past struggled on the minimum wage.

The Living Wage Movement has released a list of 58 companies and groups it says are committed to paying employees an hourly rate of $19.80 or more, which it says is enough to afford a decent standard of living.
[ Living Wage ]


Making BTS Video Tutorials

Over the years I have had people asking me for guitar lessons. My firstcover attempts were a bit unpolished, decades later I developed a strategy ideas that have been refined in the latests and lesson. One of the first things that got me into computers was the ability to print homework. If a picture paints a thousand words, than video has to be the way to go.

This post is not quite at the start of the process, but it describes a lot of the early challenges of bringing a one on one session into the video format. Re-writing the narration is now a regular process that the editing process has had to learn to cope with. With every re-write I impart more information using less words.
[ Making Video Tutorials (01) ]


Battery Powered Busking – Sound Systems

12 volt Rig SetupTo get a big fat sound like that in 1 box would be nice, but I do not have a spare $3,000, so it takes a while to plug all these bits together. Much music equipment is expensive but it is built to last constant Setup and pack down.
[ Busking Rig ]


Recording Your Music DEMO at BTS

Promotional Material. This is the info about this low budget CD Quality multi track music production. There are a few new pix of Studio ONE. While low budget, experience and reliable systems ensure a high quality standards. This is a great tool for singer songwriters.
[ Recording Music at BTS ]


13 April Council Meeting [with Video]

 While making a submission at city Hall, I also shot video of the meeting. WCC is very good about the media and my Blogging with the following video. Begging is a complex subject and everyone has a strong opinion or 3 about the subject, from ‘Leave the Poor Folk Alone’ to ‘It should not be Be allowed at all.’ There is a Local Body Election coming up in a few months.
[ Video of the Council Meeting about Begging ]


What to do about all the Beggers?

 15 Feb 2016, I had a meeting with two council officers to discuss the proposal I gave to the council on how to manage the huge increase in the number of people begging on the streets. At the end of the meeting I was given 5 minutes to speak at a big meeting they are having on the subject in a few months. Below is a copy of the proposal I presented to Wellington City Council.
[ Submission to Council ]


The Magic of 12 String Guitars12 string head

The strings are so close together they are played as one. But most of them are one octave apart, to make it sounds like 2 guitars doing a single note blues solo. Then strumming the beast and you get a solid wall of sound.
[ Tales of 12 Strings ]



Recording a Covers Band Music CD Album

mixer to computerThis 800 word post has 6 photos of the equipment I use to record a CD album and then making the backing band Mp3 files, for doing Live Gigs and Busking performances in the streets of Wellington.
[ Recording Description ]



Name Announced for New CD Album

The second CD Album by Mark and the Mp3’s is to be called The Great Cover Up, a collection of great cover songs.
[ Covers CD album, Recording is well under way ]



There is No Busking Boom in Wellington

A Busker’s Viewpoint on the previous post, about an alleged boom in the number of buskers in Wellington.by Mark G. Hayes
There is no Boom in Buskers, those are Bludgers trying to cover their backs. Begging is Not Entertainment at all. There should be a Pan-Handlers Licence, limiting Beggers to the same time limit on 1 location as for the buskers. WCC should be fair to all buskers. Even those musicians who are not able to defend themselves at the few good watering holes (WCC calls a busking pitch).
[ A Busker’s Viewpoint on the previous post ]



Busking Boom in Wellington

This is a Dominion Post story I found on the stuff.co web site about the pending crack down on Buskers. Some Shopkeepers think buskers not the busses are making all the racket. There is a spike in the number of busking licences issued, but out on the streets, the beggers outnumber the few buskers left at least 4 to 1 and take all the good spots. Busking is in fact in danger. I think The WCC are being taken for fools. But have a read of this. The link to the stuff.co.nz story also has a video. I think many buskers in Wellington are quite highly skilled.
[ Buskers are under threat again ]



$5 Lost Opportunity

I believe that this would have been a great opportunity to phase-out the $5 note and replace it with a coin. The government might do that if most of them are getting worn out too rapidly, but I have another motivation. These changes do not come often.
new $5 note

The issue that I make, is just that a coin is the traditional payment of buskers for many hundreds of years. When was the last time that buskers got a pay rise? Dam, must try again next time, if I’m still above ground.
[ Compare the new and old designs ]



Up-Date December 2015

There has been a lot happening this year, mostly technical, some political. Computers are quite fantastic machines but nothing is perfect. In order to achieve Multi-Track music recording, the computer’s sound card must be what is called Full Duples. That will allow me to hear myself at the same time as I am recording, along with all the tracks recorded so far. For a while this was standard on Motherboard sound cards, but not sine 5.1 sound playback became the standard. Now I had to get a better sound card after my old computer died last week. I have been recording a new album. ‘Impersonating a Covers Band’ the followup album you have when you are not having a follow up album.
[ updating what happened ]



Recording Vocals on 2 Elvis Tribute CD Albums

While recording a CD of a local novice busker, we ended up using the backing tracks from my live Elvis show. For each song, I later mute his vocals and record mine on the next track and a few guitar licks and melodies. Even the Cover design was copied to a new page and then altered. The client’s album was done very quickly with mine about a week later.
[ Making 2 CD Albums at Once ]



Elvis is Busking Outside the Building

With repairs complete, I replaced the speaker and a wheel on the hand truck trolley,  the 12 volt Elvis tribute Show is sounding better than ever, it is time to take it out on the road to the other suburbs of Wellington. The JVC speaker is very powerful and I turn it up loud enough to not get drowned out by the bus at full roar. Yet because there is no distortion at all, people waiting for a bus, can talk to each other without having to shout at all and it does not actually hurt people’s ears, including mine. That also suits this style of 1950’s music. Here is the latest installment of a tribute to the King. Although I have been busking with a guitar since 1979, I have only been doing the Elvis show for less than a year. I find it very exciting, the Elvis reaction from so many people and of all ages.
[ Elvis Busking at the Bus Stop ]




Living Wage -Whanau Day

12 – 3pm Saturday 21 March, Newtown Community & Cultural Centre

A Free event with food, music, speakers, free painting and fun. All warmly welcome to this community opportunity to find out more about the Living Wage movement.

[ Living Wage web site ]




3 Wellington Summer 2015 Festivals

The Island Bay Festival almost got rained out, Kilbirnie had 2 Festivals and the next week the Newtown Festival was the best ever, rivers of smiling, happy people.
[ Report on the 3 festivals ]




Hoards of Panhandlers

On this post is an abridged part of an e-mail, I just sent to the Mayor and all City Councilors, about the effects on Busking from an explosion in the number of people just Begging, sit down with a sign. This week a fellow busker was bullied off a good location. I do try to look at all situations with regards to regulating rather than banning begging. To limit the time on any single place would at least give the hard working Buskers a chance at for ta coin.

I am calling for the council to review the panhandling situation. In particular I note that Buskers are not permitted to sit on 1 spot all day, almost every day and I ask that begging be also limited in that way. This would level the playing field.
[ Should there be a Panhandlers Permit? ]



Elvis at my Sister’s Birthday – 2nd Gig

Elvis 1st HIRE SUIT[4dweb]The first time I got a hired Elvis costume was to do the Elvis has Left the Building show by Mark & the Mp3’s, 2 short Elvis sets, at my sister Catherine’s 60th birthday party, so a historic theme. In a Hall by the beach.

After this I must make up a costume and buy one of those rubber wigs for doing this sort of thing in future. I have learned something, you don’t have to look like Elvis, in order to look like Elvis. Getting the Moves and to sing like the King takes a little practice.
[ Elvis alive again, at my sister’s Birthday Party ]




 Elvis Has Left the Building – 1st Gig

This all started with a gig at the James Cook Hotel on the Terrace. I managed to locate some excellent backing tracks, for me to sing along with. Since then I have been polishing the show while busking to a street Audience in Kilbirnie.

I do not look at all like Elvis so this is not another Elvis Impersonator Show, it is a tribute show to the King of Rock’n’Roll and features his musical arrangements and vocal styles. Through all my decades of Busking, I have studied how to imitate different Artists and the vocal techniques they employ. I might not look anything like Elvis, but I sure can sing just like him, and then add something unique of myself into the performance.

This performance is available for hire at your next event, corporate, graduations, weddings and big parties. The prices are very reasonable and the sound quality is great.
[ More about starting to do the Elvis show ]




Triple Shot

Gino and I are still looking for a drummer. Yep, most weeks we are still playing at the Monday Jam Nights at Valhalla Bar. As of late, we have dropped playing all those songs we learned. Now we are just making it up as we go along, so I am shooting video of what we do on stage as a song writing tool. Sorry that there is no new video on YouTube yet, just for now we are just using this as a tool. You can not study what you are doing when you are in the moment doing it.

Monday night Jam nights at Valhalla are from 6pm to midnight. Triple Shot most often get there between 8 and 9pm. Chech the clipboard at the bar to find out what time each act goes up on stage. Great atmosphere, loud sound system and a good crowd.



Focus on Cycle Safety

an e-mail sent to the Wellington City Council

Island Bay Parade already has a bicycle lane. Why spend the better part of the $1.3 million budget there at all, yet alone on the most expensive bicycle lane dream option? How much does it cost to lay 1 yard of the green strip?
Bicycle Safety budgets should be spent in places around Wellington, where it is actually quite dangerous to ride a bicycle.

[ Focus on Cycle Safety ]



Mark and the Mp3’s

Live Solo performances have evolved over the years of busking, from acoustic guitar, to amplified and gradually building up a selection of backing music. Some songs also include live electric guitar solos. Different echo and reverberation effects on the vocals, although mostly subtle) are a key element in the sound I create and vocal styles I am able to imitate.
To book a performance of Mark and the Mp3’s and discuss pricing options, please e-mail bustunnel@clear.net.nz
[ Elvis has now left the Building ]


Bicycle Safety – East Wellington

Bicycle ObstructionsThe progress made in planning the Island Bay route, has great ideas that could (over time) be rolled out over the Eastern Suburbs. But Meanwhile there are many inexpensive tasks that should be done, to mitigate the dangerous (council made) bicycle obstructions.
Where is the Shoulder of the Road ? ]




Valhalla – Monday Jam Nights

Valhalla Monday Jam NightFor a small bar on Vivian St (former Hole in the Wall, Valve and Meduca) this venue has one of the best sound systems for a rocking musician to play on. More than just new Viking Theme marketing, there is improved stage equipment and lighting.

Jam Nights are on Monday, starting at 6pm till Midnight. When there are many waiting for a go, you get a 3 song set. Then the next line-up gets a turn. A great variety night out every Monday.

Triple Shot went off to discover more places to jam, still in search for a Drummer. This one in the city has a fantastic PA system and a technician who knows that machine well. It is a lot more fun to play with such a powerful sound. Next time we go back, I will be taking a few video cameras with me. It might take a little longer to put a more quality video together (I will try to finish that in 2 weeks). We had a great time, yacking about Vikings and Valerie.

[ Valerie – They being the hand maidiens of the Norse god Oden, who greet Viking Warriors that die in Battle, with a horn of fine Ale, at a place they call Valhalla ]





The Living Wage

  • It is not Compulsory
  • It is about doing business, with Integrity
  • a living wage is $19.25 per hour

[ Living Wage is Good for Business  ]






Triple Shot –  live at the Turbo Bar, Kilbirnie – Jam Night.

Gino is on Lead Guitar and Vocals and that’s me on Bass. There were two drummers playing musical chairs, and another guitarist who just got up on stage to jam with us. We played about half a dozen songs. So please do be warned, this is not the most highly polished professional set. This video is edited highlights, so it won’t offend those who love these old song.

 Gino and I have only had about 5 or 6 practices so far, Triple Shot is still a very new lineup. So keep on coming back at the end of each month, and you can also watch us improve with practice, just like the locals in Wellington NZ.
[ Video of the band ‘Triple Shot’ ]




Just a Disguise

This song was first recorded on a 12 String acoustic guitar in 1987. This solo performance, was recorded in Indigo, a Cuba Street Caf’e in Wellington in 2004, blended with other video, shot on Kaikaura Beach.
The Video editing wad completed in 2006. This song is complete enough with 1 vocal and a rare 9-string guitar (a modified old Yamaha). To get quality sound, I plugged a mini-disk recorder into the line-out on the stage sound mixing desk. It’s just a nice old folk song about lust. It was shot on my first video camera, a SonyCam TVR
[ View an Original Acoustic Guitar Song ]


BTS TagAbout the BTS Section

a tram coming out of the tunnel

The Mt. Victoria Bus Tunnel was opened in 1907 as a Tram Tunnel

Mark and the Mp3’s

Bus Tunnel Studios

  • Established in 2001 when I finished a multimedia course, a Hobby Research Project.
  • While some would call it just an expensive hobby, for me BTS is a dream come true.
  • Now the cost and power of 2nd hand computers is very inexpensive.
  • I have been recording a few bands and my own compositions with some old equipment.
  • I got my first video camera in 2003 and with a Video Capture Card, a TV on the PC.
  • And so a digital editing adventure began, long before YouTube existed.
  • When YouTube did get big, I began posting my work (with proper copyright titles).


BTS TagBus Tunnel Studios

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