Archive for July, 2011

One Song, One Blog, One Thought: Monday, July 18 2011

July 18, 2011

...because I can...COLLLLLIIIEEEES!

Howdy folks!  Whaddup?  Any weird dreams last night?  Is there such a thing as a ‘normal’ dream?  Am I asking too many questions?  Would you like me to stop now?

SONG: John Butler – Ocean

For those who follow me on Twitter you probably saw that I checked something off my bucket list: I saw John Butler perform Ocean live!  For the uninitiated, John Butler is a folk artist who plays the guitar like the guitar is his bitch.  Mad finger picking skillz, busker turned world tourer, all around awesome music.  Ocean is his ‘Ode to Joy,’ the amazing instrumental piece that any fan is obsessed with.  I should also note…it’s about ten minutes long if not longer…yet he had the crowd cheering and jumping and hollering the whole time.

Thanks to Jay Moon of That’s Funky Awesome blog for bringing me there!

Blog: Mashable

I can’t believe I haven’t noted this one yet!  It’s the first thing I suggest interns check in the morning when coming into work.  It’s the first thing I check when I’m feeling uncreative or out of touch.  It’s the first blog I read when I’m wondering “What’s going on…right now?”

A tech/social media/entertainment blog, Mashable doesn’t really have any loyalties and reports everything with equal vigour.  It’s a great way to find out what you can get up to online, or how to use your favourite online sites better.  It even has special suggestions for bands and their online presence!

(note…the site seems to be down at the time of this blog post, but it should be up soonish!!)

Thought:

If you like something…do it!

I’m a semi-procrastinator.  I’m really bad for skipping doing things I know I like to do for one reason or another: it’ll get in someone else’s way, it’ll take time away from ‘important’ work, it’ll result in me getting tired and sleepy and sore.

Don’t matter…do it!  I love biking, I’ve been biking more recently, feels good!  Almost biked 100 km last week!  Want to beat that record this week!

I love guitar playing and performing…haven’t done it in a long time.  I should start doing it again, eh?

Make a list!  Three things you love doing!  Do ’em this week!  It’ll do you good!

…sleep…I also like sleep…I should get me some of that.

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Musician? Here…meet Musician!

July 13, 2011

I’m shocked at how many musicians and artists live in a bubble!  I understand that being a musician is ‘lonely and tortured’ and your best friend is your guitar/drums/bass/self.  But one sure-fire way to improve your chances at getting shows, fans, and potentially ‘paid’ for your art involves breaking that bubble…

…and meeting other artists.

When you meet other artists you open the possibility of getting a show…maybe opening for them, or even playing with them if they’re short an instrument.  You are exposed to different approaches to songwriting or performing.  You may learn a new production technique if the artist is also technologically inclined.  Perhaps you can co-write a song together.

And that’s just creative collaboration…

…you can tap into their fan base!  You can have them share a video of you playing on their Facebook Fan Page and encourage their fans to click ‘Like’ for you too!

…if they get signed, perhaps you can feature on a song (especially if you’re in the urban community) and ride on the coattails of their success!

Or vice versa…you get big, now you have a circle of musical friends to help you get even bigger, and you can offer your coattails to them!

The long and the short of it is…you can’t pay a company to make you famous, and you can’t make money off your music if you’re only playing for friends.  Fans can be shared without very much likelihood of hurting each other…that is, if you steal a client from a company, that company no longer has the client…however, two musicians can have the same fan.

It’s simple math…if you make friends with five musicians in your community, and maybe try to be friends with one or two musicians in surrounding communities…then you just ‘may’ also make friends with their fanbase.  And when you make friends with a fanbase…you start earning that fanbase.

Working with several up-and-coming artists, it’s something I’ve noticed is severely lacking.  But connecting and working with other musicians is probably the most important step a musician can take.

Does this apply to you, even if you aren’t a musician?  How does ‘connecting with likeminded individuals’ improve or hinder your creative process?  Lemme know!!

Miscellany

July 12, 2011

The Edge before The Edge!

I realized this morning that, back in high school…when I was but 14 years old…I told a friend that ‘CFNY used to be a lot better.’  I’m referring to a local station, now known better as The Edge, which plays modern rock and alternative music.  I should also note…it’s the station I listen to most…so clearly I wasn’t that turned off by the station’s musical choices.

It begs the question…has anything ‘ever’ been good?  It always seems to have once been better!  I love 80s movies, and 80s music, yet I’m constantly told that the 80s were a dead period in entertainment.  I love 90s rock, and am also often informed that nothing good came from the 90s.  CFNY is just one in a long stream of ‘once beens’ in the entertainment industry.

I’m sure when the Beatles broke, the majority of people were lamenting the days of Nat King Cole.

What I ‘missed’ was a show I remember listening to (but can’t even remember the name of) that played truly ‘Alternative’ music, including the Jazz Butcher, Tom Waits, and other crazy artists I listened to as a child when everyone else was buying Hi Tek 3 and Young MC albums. (substitute GnR, Randy Travis, or the soundtrack to Cats if you must!)

I now wonder if that show even existed!  I remember listening to it, but it seems so out of sorts for CFNY that I can’t even picture it being aired.

Which begs the question I pose to you: how much of our ‘It used to be much better!’ is wholly imagined and, really, just a comparison to the modern state of entertainment?  CFNY was great in high school…and I still like it now…so why do I feel so compelled every few years to say that a few years ago it was superior to now?!

PODCAST SUGGESTION:

Remember when I said it pays to listen to podcasts and read blogs that aren’t necessarily ‘music based’ to get a whole picture?  Here’s an example why!

Planet Money discusses ‘The Song of the Summer’ and all that goes into creating a pop hit!  Worth a listen!

There you have it!  …I should really divide these kinds of blogs up and spread them out over days, but sometimes…I just want to give you two cherries on your sundae!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Song, One Blog, One Thought: Monday, July 11 2011

July 11, 2011

ALERT AND AWAKE ROO!

Missed a week!  Hungover!  No excuse!  Wait…that was an excuse…no matter!

SONG: The Sky Drops – Truth Is

One of the great ironies…at least, if we can believe Wikipedia.  Apparently, ‘shoegaze’ as a genre of music peaked in 90-91, and was killed by grunge.  So…why not merge the two?  Granted, My Bloody Valentine and other bands that are ‘shoegazey’ also were pretty grungy, but The Sky Drops actually marries the sounds.   They maintain the etherial distortion while incorporating more audible melodies and chord progressions.

Although I love the texture-based sound of shoegaze, it’s neat to hear it taken to a more focused level.  Or maybe I’m talking out my ass.  You tell me!!

Blog: That’s Funky Awesome

One of my old favourite blogs, Moon Vs. The World, closed down a short while back.  Unlike most blogs that end, however, it’s creator has come back with a new blog and That’s Funky Awesome! With the trademark silliness, plus a new focus on independent artists and interviews, I predict it’ll be one of those great music blogs you’ll want to come back to again and again!  Bookmark it, fools!

Thought:

Sleep is good.  Like, crazy good.  I decided sleep was an enemy this summer…and I tend to do on occasion, and trimmed what seemed like a manageable piece out: two hours…maybe three on a good night.  Well…after a month or two of that, I was in BAAAAD shape.

I know sleep is good now because I’ve started thinking about things like my own music again.  Up until getting several good night’s sleeps in a row I was more concerned with just getting through the day so I could go home and laze.  Because that’s what I had energy to do.  Laze.

I know, right?

So…if you’re a musician…and serious about your craft…remember this random rhyme I just made up:

I highly suggest you try your best to get some rest!

SEE! Creativity abounds in the well rested!

Weird Weird World

July 7, 2011

(ps…somehow my WordPress design got…screwed up! Apologies for the lamelame look, I’ll fix it once I find the time!!)

I was at a meeting yesterday for work (belated apologies for my absence in the blog world this week!) and ended up observing just how strange the music world is.  What do the following have in common?

Can’t guess?  Here’s a clue…both artists were at the same meeting, both artists chatted about music and the industry…both artists exchanged ideas about how to make it in this crazy crazy world.

I can’t figure out what was more strange – the world we were discussing, or the world I was observing.

Music isn’t as cut and dry, black and white, genre specific as we make it out to be.  How else can a pop-songwriter from the late 60s, and a hip hop star from the early 90s who has been working hard on his career for two decades, talk shop?  How else can a festival with Neil Young and Eminem work?  How else can the strange collaborations of the years ever have happened?

We sometimes forget that music is a creative process and not a business, and ironically it took a moment in a meeting ‘about’ business to remind me.  Not that I’ve forgotten…just sometimes it’s the picture in front of you that helps make the gallery clearer.

My picture was of Saukrates and Andy Kim chatting about the future of music.

What moments, pictures, or experiences have shocked you into a clearer idea of the industry you work in?