Days in the life of a songwriter 31

Okay, just sat down for about 10 minutes to see if I could come up with a list of things I would like to talk about. Yes, made a list almost all the way down an A4 sheet.

I don’t think it really matters where I start, so let’s just dive in somewhere. Well, musicians usually do gigs once in a while, or all the time if there is no day job to distract them. Some even manage to do both. Now, if you aren’t famous already, and you aren’t playing covers, chances are you aren’t making a lot of money. You might be losing money! By the time you and a couple of other fools (i.e., the band) have rocked up at the venue, you are a few travelcards down, you will be spending money on drinks and you might have had a couple of rehearsal, which means 30-50 quid per rehearsal and a few more travelcards …… yes, you are right, down again. So let’s say 30 people make it to your gig, that means the venue will give you about 30 pounds, or 40 if they are feeling generous. Well, you can see where this is going. You have just made a loss. (At least that’s how it is in London)

Here’s where a new-ish thing is coming to the rescue. Second Life has been around for a number of years, but for people like me who aren’t into gaming or most things virtual, I didn’t even know it existed. Thanks to my friend Jordan (Reyne), I was introduced to it. She has been playing gigs on there for about 2 years I think. Anyway, she invited me to a special morning, where 3 acts from London performed in succession. First Jordan, then me, then Maxdymz (industrial metal). That was back in September 2012. Since then I pretty much started playing my own gigs by the end of October and now have a couple of regular slots in this virtual world. In case you are in the dark about Second Life or SL for short, it is a virtual world that you can explore using an avatar. You can walk, fly, travel and be teleported to places, a bit like in the old Star Trek. So, if I play a gig, people see my avatar on stage and I see their avatars arrive at the venue. They can use local chat to communicate and they can even tip a muso, using SL’s online currency, Lindens. The audience then listens to me singing into a mic in my room and my guitar plugged into my little mixing desk.

I was hooked up with someone who spends a lot of time in SL. And she agreed to be my online booker (I call her my pimp), which is a total blessing, as it is not easy selling yourself. So, if someone else does it, greatttttt. If anyone wants to book a gig, I’ll say, please get in touch with Secret (Rage) as she has all the dates. Well, you can see, you can play gigs without leaving your room or your pyjamas behind!!! You can’t get rich, but you can make a few bob, to help you out a bit and once you are established, even get a fixed fee from the venues. It’s still all pocket-money, but every little helps and people who like what you do will follow you onto other platforms too, like Facebook and so forth. You are spreading the word.

In order to be able to do this, you need: a microphone, an instrument, a small mixing desk, a decent (external) soundcard, headphones. And you need to find someone on SL to let you stream audio into this virtual world. I pay 1500 Lindens a month for it, which is 3.75 pounds. And you need to download a little program that will stream your audio to that person’s server. There are various small ones around. I use something called BUTT.  Image

You can see my avatar (or avi) doing a gig at a venue called Key West in Second Life above. If there is anything you’d like to know, that I left off, or whatever, leave a comment and I’ll add whatever it is, provided I know the answer.

Managed to update the info on Bandcamp as well, where you can buy all the new songs. Put more stuff on Soundcloud as well, and have started doing kitchen sessions, where I play a song in simple acoustic fashion in our kitchen and put it on Youtube. Right, next blog post soon, and if you have a minute have a look at the updated Amphibic website as well.

Next blog post soon.

Amphibic make the ITV evening news!!!

Sorry for a bit of a break (two weeks instead of one) but one, I was dead busy last week, and two, I had the feeling that I was putting out too much!? Let me know what you think please.

One thing that I haven’t mentioned when I mentioned the Ideal Home Show the other day, was that I’m contemplating using stop animation to produce a video. I saw this stand by a company calle Hue Animation who supply you with their software, camera and plasticine to create stop animation videos. I thought it’s great stuff for me or other artists to create videos for their songs. You need 8 frames per second which means you need to create 1680 frames (individual pics) for a 3 and a half minute pop song. I can do that and I bet you can too! That’s my good deed for the day.

Jordan Reyne tipped me off about a bandcamp meet up which took place at the book club 10 days ago and I went. Bandcamp helps bands to sell their wares online and from what I saw and heard they do it better than most. They are very friendly people and even shelled out a couple of drinks and I’m sure you know that it’s almost impossible to get a free drink with a bloody gig in London!! It also had a bit of a ‘camp’ (as in tent) like atmosphere about it, a bit boyscout-y if you like. Anyway, I liked it. I do have a bandcamp profile now (see link on the right) and you’ll see it grow over the coming days.

After a couple more rehearsals we played our 12 Bar Club gig on the 1st of Dec. Just before our sound check an ITV camera crew appeared to do a feature on Denmark Street and its musical history (Sex Pistols, a Rolling Stone album was recorded there, publishers were and are based there, music shops and clubs are still there…). Well they filmed our sound check and did a mini interview with Imogen and myself and we ended up on London tonight, on Saturday evening. I found out on facebook.

The next day I went down to Goldsmith’s as Sam Lee (period folkster) was holding a master class there. He talked about his journey and how he got started. He has been running a folk club for I think 6 years in London, it’s called the Magpie’s Nest. Promoting other people for a few years means that he’s been able to connect with lots of very interesting people and is in a fantastic postition to release his own album. He did some unaccompanied singing of traditional folk songs which he does in a very serene way, I was damn impressed by the man. I had a very brief chat with him before he set off across the country to meet an Irish traveller community to hear their old songs! Great stuff.

Oh yes, our gig went well, apart from trumpeter Joe being off sick, as he’d spent the night bringing his guts up. Well, we still struggled to get 6 of us onto the stage.

Matt Jamison, Charlie Ashcroft and Jim Gellatly at Amazing Radio have all played our songs so far. Thanks lads. And I have to say, after listening to quite a few of their shows now, that they are doing a great job, only using unsigned bands and talent. Tune in sometime if you can. They are on DAB far left on the dial.

Right, last point. Am off to see the lovely Sarah Ward at JazzFM now, we’ll be talking about Christmas markets, catch up on old times and play a song. The show will be broadcast close to Christmas, but I’ll keep you posted. Laters.