Friday, 16 April 2010

No questions, please

So I thought of a title for the album (I recorded 10 or 11 'produced tracks' in Philadelphia over my four different visits and am sending them out once a month, which will add up to an album by the end of the year). My motto for the tour has been 'No questions, please', because people ask you the same questions everyday. It's great people are interested of course and I am very polite always. The questions are:
1) Where are you from?
2) What kind of music do you play?
3) Is this your first time in America?
4) Where have you been?
5) Where are you going to next?

I've spoken to other musicians about it and they say it's their No.1 pet peeve as well - going to a different place and having the same conversation. So if you get chatting to your favourite band, don't ask them something but tell them something them something interesting, about your town or local goings on.

The album cover
Here's a rough idea for the album cover. Just as I was leaving on the last day and we realised there were enough songs for an album, I thought we'd better shoot a cover. Lou, the studio owner and bass player on the tracks, is a barber, and his shop is downstairs. It's been there a long time and looks as lived in as a barber's shop should be, so we took a few photos there on Kevin's crappy digital camera. The files he sent are only 80k so I hope he has larger versions or I'm screwed. This is what I had in mind.

Making artwork like this I find the most enjoyable thing. I used to make posters for every show, but now it's impossible, and because I'm not in the flow I don't even do one. It's all about being in the flow. People say you must get songwriting ideas on the road, but there isn't the time or space to develop them. Not when you have to have one eye on where you're going to sleep that night. And don't even mention the booking. There isn't even time to pick up a guitar.

I just got interest from one in Canada after sending out The Searcher video. That has got a lot of interest. Videos are really the way to go. I have 10,000 on my mailing list now. 6,000 "fans" and 4,000 venues (incl. a few press contacts) and I've decided to mail them as well with new music and videos.

My attitude has always been to jump into something blindfolded and to be sure that something good will come of it. It's better to just to a scrappy job. I'm not afraid to do things badly. If you think about things too long, the things that can go wrong and all the ways it could be better will stop you ever doing it. Like those Christmas albums. At least now I'm learning.

The touring is an even better example. Most people see the big picture - the big map - and it looks very good. But day-to-day it's empty venues, long drives, cancelled shows. It took 5 tours of Germany to get a decent list of venues together. And that was with a good independent booker. You just have to jump in and do it and then good things will come of it - things you could never have predicted. I only met Kevin the producer in October last year at Dewey Beach, and could never have foreseen finishing an album and two videos by April. Two videos for $200 and an album for $2000 (roughly, I didn't bother to count it - what's the point). And if you did plan it ahead it would be a world of stress. It's better to just go with the flow. It would be better to have more time on the album though. There are a lot more sounds that could go on and it could be more polished. Because we worked with so many different musicians and styles, even over such a short period, to me it almost sounds like a compilation album. On the upside, that will make it an interesting listen.

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