Friday, 19 December 2008

Is This Thing On Music Quiz Podcast

Here is your answer sheet if you want to take part in this years music quiz.

I'm sure you can work out how to copy and paste. Email the answers to me at info@nicktann.co.uk and I'll add your score to the blog.
I'll try and think of a prize.
You will find the podcast in question here. 
http://nicktann.podbean.com or if you are a decent human bean and have the iTunes click here
I'll only give you the answers if you enter.
HA!

The maximum you can get is 87 points.
So far the best score is 56.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Podcast Number 4

Just finished Podcast number four.

Much easier using Garageband as opposed to Logic
I know I did bang on about it a bit but it was a real joy. I'm thinking that I may put a little "bed" underneath my ramblings next time. Perhaps some nice rain-forest effects?
Don't make the mistake I made and visit this guy fuck knows what he's about!
I'll be out at The Railway in Winchester on  Monday the 5th. I'm planning to play That Woman and Pale Moonlight. Should be fun. If I do you will be able to watch me live on the interweb.
I'm planing to play at Unplugged in Brighton at the Dome on Sunday the 22nd if all goes to plan.
So, podcast number 4. How was it for you?
If you haven't heard it then you need to click here for the iTunes version or if you don't have iTunes click  here for the podbean one.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Outside the Box




I have 6 tracks that I recorded at an acoustic gig I played last week. I used my lovely Rhode NT1 plugged into my portable minidisc and the quality is stunning. Therefore after a little tweaking I will release them for digital download by Xmas on good old iTunes as I did with "Life is a River"


It's about a year since I released "Life is a River" and to be honest I made about £150 profit from it and I'm pretty chuffed considering I wrote and played all the songs myself and recorded them in my spare room. 

Now you are all smart creative folk (aren't you?) what I would appreciate are your ideas to help publicise this album. Interesting viral marketing type ideas and publicity stunts.
If you know me then you will know that I'm pretty shameless when it comes to whoring myself round this great web of ours so I'm not going to whimp out of anything due to any shyness.

I did a special mix a few years ago of old People tracks preceded by a snatch of dialogue from Pulp Fiction. It sounded pretty natty and as I didn't inflict it on the world there were no messy copyright issues. I could go down a similar road this time and use some other spoken word. I could even hang the copyright stuff and hope for some publicity. There is no such thing as bad publicity eh Charlie?
I'm a bit handy at editing video so I could make a film for the tube of you

I did want to put up a witty and pertinent youtube vid but decided to treat you all to probably one of the best vids I've ever seen.

So throw me a bone, you've had great ideas before, share a few. 
I don't have a name for this album yet nor any ideas for the cover.
So let your imagine fly and aid me in giving up my day job.




Friday, 28 November 2008

Podcast number 3

Listening back to the first 2 podcasts I did that cringe thing that one does when one hears ones voice recorded. I'm used to hearing my singing voice. After spending hours, no really hours, listening back to it adjusting the reverb or bits of eq I 've got used to it. My spoken voice is another matter add to that the idea that I am spouting the most boring monotonous garbage we have a nice little jumble of fresh neurosis. 


So on to podcast number 3. In a nutshell I was too tired to do it properly but I did it anyway.
Listening to it now with Mrs Nick it sounds slightly better as she smiles reassuringly in that way that she does. 
Ok it is rambling, messy and a little confused, I know I forgot to mention things I said I was going to mention but that's what I'm like so deal with it. 
There will be better ones and I'm sure there will be worse but I do love doing it.
If there is something that you think would make these podcasts sound better, more interesting or if there is something you want to know then make a comment.
Ta

Saturday, 15 November 2008

It Could Have All Gone Horribly Wrong



But, fortunately it didn't.

A chap called Nick dropped me a line to tell me about a new weekly event he was starting called Natural Jam, an acoustic night at The Havana Bar in Southsea. I quite like Southsea, I have some friends there and vaguely remembered going to this bar once last year. I had been drunk but remembered the table football and great murals. I digress...
It was agreed that I would play the opening night last Tuesday 12th Nov.  I Googled the other people on the bill and checked out some of the people attending.  Shit they were young. Teenagers and early twenties types, not my usual audience of 30-40 somethings. I was a little apprehensive.
It could all go horribly wrong. 
My last gig being Chaplins I still felt a little shellshocked but I turned up optimistic anyway.
Nick had decided that all the acts (there were 3 including me) would play without mics, amps and all that shenanigans and play pure acoustic. 

The stage is pretty big, set up for bands and the like.  Plenty of comfy couches and sinking chairs.  The first act, I would guess, are more used to electric guitars and P.A.s but did a pretty good job and the djembe sounded great.  Next came a duo who also accounted well for themselves.  They even had a bash at Hotel California which shows some balls!

I did pretty good! I had re-written "Don't Make Me Wait" putting in a key change and changing the chorus.  I had a ball, I love this pure acoustic stylie.  Unfortunately, the fucking minidisk player didn't work so I don't have a record of it but i enjoyed myself no end and can't wait to play there again. I think that this could be a great success this pure acoustic stuff and I hope Nick realises the potential this place has got.

If I had one niggle it would be that no-one was introduced. We all kind of shambled on and started.
What about a "Welcome to Natural Jam at The Havana. We do this every week. Lets all give it up for Blah Blah Blah?"
Come on Nick, pull your finger out eh?


Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Celebrity Cum




As a result of not being able to locate my remote and my extreme sloth, I caught an episode of Strictly Come Dancing last Sunday. I had never seen it before but I was aware of its existence.
It's a known format of contestants, judges and humiliation but I find the content very curious.
"Celebrities" pair up with professional ballroom dancers, compete against other couples every week and erm... well that's it really. It's a knock out competition with lesser couples being booted off weekly. I must admit I don't know how as this was the Sunday night "results show" and I wasn't paying that much attention.
What puzzles me is that folk can still make a profession out of dancing the Fox trot etc.
The judges are a rag tag mixture of has-beens and wannabes.
First is Len Goodman who sums up the phrase "Old School" beautifully. A teacher of ballroom for years and Stanley Holloway lookalike.
Arlene Philips who used to tell Hot Gossip what to do and now seems to be an aficionado on the Cha Cha Cha
Bruno Tolioni who, supposedly has been on TV a lot and is totally unintelligible
and Craig Revel Horwood a sour bitter Australian.

The bemused and confused Sir Bruce Forsyth and blond eye candy Tess Daly remind me of clowns at a rodeo, protecting the fragile celebs from the humiliation the judges relish in dishing out.

This show reminds me of a "Come Dancing" which ran in the sixties and seventies and died due to lack of interest. It has been reborn thanks to the addition of the magic ingredient "Celebrities"
Which begs the question, which dead tv prog could be reanimated by adding the life giving celebrity.
The Black and White Minstrel show?
One man and his dog?
Rentaghost?
Please note that video has nothing to do with this post but they are my friends and genius's
and can be found HERE

video

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Simpering Twats

What a ridiculous and shameful event this whole Sachs, Ross and Brand balls up is.

The gutless and cowardly BBC instead of sticking up for "their guys" decide to kowtow to the gutter press and a has been actor famous for being in 13 episodes of a sitcom.
The BBC SHOULD have said

"We wholeheartedly support Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross in their defense of the pointless complaint from Mr Sachs"

"Furthermore the Daily Mail can just fuck off!" or somesuch.

He was supposed to be giving an interview to messieurs Ross and Brand regarding a documentary he was appearing in and he couldn't even be arsed to be in to do it!

Is there anything else that Mister Sachs objects to?

Perhaps the credit is a tad too crunchy for you?
Should suspected terrorists be held for 87 days without charge?
What do you think Mr Sachs?

Shall we all hit ourselves on the forehead with spoons?
Would you like me to keep a hamster called Basil?


The Beeb will now have lost millions of "yoof" from Radio 2 who would have tuned in on saturday night to hear what old Russ would have had to say about all this.

I tried to leave a comment on the BBC website earlier and after being asked to remove my offensive language, 1 bloody and 1 sod, and was confronted with the message that informed me that my 99 words would have to be moderated before it would be deamed fit to appear on it's hallowed pages. No doubt incase I happened to offend Mr Sachs any further.

You may be wondering what I am on about and why there is nothing about me and/or my music and what relevance this has to me,well dear reader here it is.

Independence.

Ok I don't get paid a fortune for what I do but I can do what I want, when I want and how I want. Whether it be a podcast, a blog or a song.

So I pity Russell and Jonathan. I felt sorry for them as they struggled, like frightened rabbits, to get out of a situation that should never have happened. I suspect that they felt let down by the beeb for turning on them. I admire Russell for quitting and hope that Jonathan will do the same, stick two fingers up to the BBC and fuck off to Channel 4.
But he, unlike Brand whose own company Vanity make his radio show, is under exclusive contract to the BBC and will probably want to hang around.
So who is the loser?
Millions will now watch The Bill documentary (on ITV for christs sake)
Millions will watch Russell Brand's Ponderlandstarting a new series this week.
Kazillions will watch wossy's friday night show.
Well the losers will be the people who listened to Russell Brands Saturday night show on BBC Radio 2. I've been listening to the podcast of it since he was with Radio 6!
So the loser is me, thanks!

Shame on you Mr Sachs and shame on you BBC, shame on you..




Saturday, 25 October 2008

Podcasting

I have always wanted to do this.
Actually I have always wanted my own radio show.
I love the radio and always have. As a 7 year old I used to tune in my tiny radio (with the single earpiece!) late at night and listen to Radio Caroline, The World Service and a plethora of crazy European foreign language stations. When I got to about 15 I fell in love with Radio 4. I thought it was cool to listen to The Archers, a kind of rebellion in a sea of punk and Bay City Rollers. 

So now to the podcast (I could talk about the 70's for hours LITERALLY ). 
After spying on fellow reverbnationer (yes that is a proper word...now) Matt Stevens, I noticed that he had a podcast available on iTunes. 

I am a big fan of the podcast having been given a "pod" by Mrs Nick some 2 years ago although one doesn't need one to listen to a podcast, oh no.
So on emailing him he directed me to www.podbean.com and I signed up.
I got all profiled up and then went about making my fist podcast. I had an idea of what I wanted to do. I had recorded some of the Chaplins gig and wanted to play some of the songs from that plus a little chat. After much faffing I decided on a format. 
1) Scripted intro......I tried to do it straight "off the mic" but found myself drowning in a sea of "ahh's" and "ums" and hitherto unknown habit of smacking my gums before each sentence. 
2) The tune
3) An unscripted conversational chat with "The Secret Guest".

 "The Secret Guest" has to remain secret as they get enough publicity as it is and don't want anymore so best keep mum eh?
So after a little editing and tweaking here and there, I loaded it up. I'm still waiting for the beautiful monster that is iTunes to show it but it's only a matter of time.
If you've never heard of podcasts and aren't sure what the are, the Wikipedia definition is the best
So if you have ten minutes to spare click on the purple widget (yes I know I just can't help myself!) on the right
Here is my Top Ten Podcast list
3) The Archers. See higher above
4) Jonathan Ross. Much better than tv Ross
9) Radiohead "In Rainbows" podcast. You didn't know? Shame. Thank me later.
Do you podcast?
What do you listen to?
Have I whetted your appetite?
Any other business?

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Chaplins....I should have known, all the signs were there.

I should have done this gig a month or 2 ago but the person that ran it had a great tragedy and decided she couldn't carry on, so I got cancelled.


Bugger!
Shame, it was a nice place to play.
Then I got an email telling me that Jase was now promoting and after a few back and forth email he booked me.
We arrived (Mrs Nick and me) a little early only to find that there had been a flood and that the gig would now take plae in the cellar bar underneath Chaplins. I did think "Food upstairs yet downstairs is dry?" but carried on regardless.

Jase is a friendly soul, he runs other venues in Bournmouth and has a gentle relaxed way of working so I felt at ease and pretty chipper.

The place did have an odd feel to it, the crowd all seamed to be hidden away round the corner and no one around the "stage" (read balconey see pic).

It felt a little wierd to be plugging in and it was cramped fitting the mic stand and leads aropund the chair etc etc etc you get the picture.

Well finaly it was time to begin, Mrs Nick had been joined by 2 hairy student types who sat alone at a table next to Jase.

I was a little unsure about about playing a ballad first but I cracked in to "I just Can't Get Happy" nevertheless. I was a bit unsteady and didn't as good a job as I had hoped but it picked up towards the end. As I played the last chord I looked up to see the reaction form the "crowd" and was greeted by the sound of.....well fuck all really. Mrs Nick just kind of looked at me with a "er?" look on her face. 
I wasn't expecting rapturous applause but I though a little clap and a cough wouldn't go amiss.
This non reaction continued for the next 4 or 5 tunes, I sort of zoned out into my own little world. I made the decision to play the best gig I could despite the flat reaction. To be fair Jase, hairy students (2) made the right faces whilst I was playing, Jase giving me the occasional reassuring nod and Mrs Nick smiled in a "What the fuck?" kind of way.
Then came the pissed women. 
Now 90% of the audience where hidden round the corner of the bar and couldn't see let alone hear me, but as the night (it seemed a very long night) progressed the odd drunk woman leered around one of the pillars to see what that noise was (me). Eventually one of them employed the same "Kestrel" principle as the drunk in the Eclipse 
and tried to focus on me as I ripped into "That Woman" the results of wich you canhear on the video cunningly inserted below.
I finished the set early, I couldn't see much point in carrying on, I'm no prima donna (anonymous, take note you shit!) but I had travelled 30 miles and was doing this gig for no money to an audience of 4 one of them being my wife, so.....
Jase seemed pleased regardless and offered me some more gigs at the other venues that he runs in and around Bournmouth, so not a total waste of time. I would like to just mention tat Jase was a star throughout and was totally unfazed by the lack of audience.
On the drive home Mrs Nick and I reran the gig as we usually do and decided that no one would have roused that crowd and that we put it down to a one off odd one. Mrs Nick commented that, ironically, I had given one of my best ever performances (bless her) and if people weren't into it fuck 'em!
So there it was....
No 
Not at all.
Those shits.
What then followed was 6 days of depression and self doubt.
Yes, I had played well (had I?). Yes the songs are great (are they?) How did the second band get on? We hadn't stayed for them. Did they bomb too? Who knows?
It's tough sometimes, you sit and write and craft the songs you try and believe that you're worth it. You rock up to a strange place full of people that you don't know and you sit there and push these tunes out and hope ...........

It's the self belief that's what you (I) have to have otherwise you (me again!) may as well stay at 
home and strum on your own.
So I lost it at Chaplins, but I got it back. 
I WILL lose it again and again I know I will, that's the way I am.

In other news I have become a great fan of Matt Stevens
of whom I will talk about next time. Check him out.
Now enjoy the video.....dum dum dum......






video

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Catch Up

The Edge of the Wedge Southsea.....is a nice little bar. I played there before earlier this year and loved the place. It's situated on the main drag in the seaside bit of Portsmouth next to The Wedgewood Rooms. It had changed a bit since I had last played there. It had more sofas and it was dark outside. Not the bars fault obviously just the time of year. I was given the choice of when to go one and decided on the second slot. There were 3 acts on (supposedly, I'll get to that) so the second slot was the obvious choice. The first guy could soften them up (the audience), I come on and blow their minds and then the poor sap coming last has to "follow that!". Yes, cold and calculating, that's me.

The first guy came on and did a good fluffing job for me. Then I hauled myself out of one of the many sofas ( they really are very comfy) plugged in and was good to go. I was a little apprehensive as I had decided to do my quiet, ballad rip your heart out songs and the place was pretty noisy. It was a youngish audience and there were a few characters at the bar who looked like they might not take to songs about unrequited love, prostitutes the odd Jeff Buckley cover.
Also, just as I was about to start the entire bar erupts into a cheer as a be-spectacled figure walks in with a guitar case nodding, exchanging back slaps and pleasantries with pretty much everyone in the place. It then dawned on me (quick see that's me) that these were ALL his friends. They had ALL come to see him. He soon collected a little posse of smokers who would, en masse, troupe outside for a smoke and more backslaps throughout my set. 
However, they loved it or rather they loved me. They were quiet and attentive throughout my set, applauded and cheered in the right places  and were more than happy as I pimped my cards and cds after my set.
I then realised that my decision to go second was a good one. Mr Popular came on and played a short (15 mins or so) set of tunes on his Uke  that he had written 20 years since and were known by the entire bar, as they were all his friends (remember? Hope you're keeping up).  Funny, witty and not too far away from the great George Formby whose wife Beryl is a bit of a hero of mine. Next up was another friend of the audience who, guitar in hand, went on to please the audience. All this, coupled with the comfy sofas, had the feeling that we were at a house party thrown in a strangers house.
By the time yet another "mate" had taken the mic we thought it was time to leave. It was all very good but yet another private joke laden set was too much for us by then and we (Mrs Nick, Bill & Lisa ) disappeared into the night
This was just before all my Winchester gigs so a nice little warm up it was. 

Not like Chaplins last sunday, oh christ no.......

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Remiss

I have been a little slack and have not yet told you of my gig at The Edge of the Wedge and my triumphant (not) return to Chaplins in Boscombe as well as the demise of The Dolphin and Original106. I will put this to rights very soon so don't lose heart. 


Whilst you are waiting why not click on the new clicky things on the right.

Everytime you do an angel gets its wings or sumink....

Thursday, 2 October 2008

Pure Acoustic

So last Friday I thought I'd try something new. I really enjoyed the whole Froggies bar experience from the week before. I did email the Frog about playing there again but methinks I may have been a bit too pricey for him. He's probably found a cheap covers merchant by now but I'm not bitter. 

But I digress 
I decided that for the gig at The Eclipse I would play totally acoustic, no amp and no mic. Just me, a stool and a guitar. Despite it being only 6.30 there was a fair share of drunk types about as well as some BLIND DRUNK people staggering about. 
It was fantastic, the feeling of just sitting in the middle of this pub "naked" was one of the most liberating feelings I've ever had and I've had a few. The sense of freedom was overwhelming . Yes, people did speak when I was playing and I fell into that same "adding to the atmosphere of the place" feeling that I had experienced the week before but the reaction after each song was just amazing. During the second half hour one of the afore mentioned drunks hovered in front of me agog. He had the look of a young kestrel, head still and eyes fixed whilst his body gyrated trying to steady itself against the torrents of alcohol pulsating through his system. Now normally this would have been a little disconcerting. You never know what your average drunk will do. Will he (why is it always a he, I despair of my gender sometimes I really do) get nasty, friendly, emotional or just vomit over you and pass out? The thing is is that one feels a little trapped, guitar plugged in and mic and stand holding one in. But this feeling that at any time I could just get up and run gave me the kind of confidence usually reserved for super-heroes. So I turned and looked at him, he was about 3 feet away carefully (kind of) balanced on a table, and sang "How Can it be Wrong When it Feels so Right?" straight at him with feeling and passion. 
I doubt if he would have remembered much about that night, seriously he was so wasted that he fell into a table later and pretty much passed out. I wanted him to wake up in the morning, try and piece the night before together and then remember this big guy with a guitar singing love songs to him. Nevertheless it was a great evening culminating with food and wine and good company

I'm at Chaplins in sunny Boscombe on Sunday and possibly shooting a promo video if I can get my act together.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Whoop De Fucking Do....

"Hi Everyone
Thanks to all the people who turned up for the open auditions onSaturday – over a thousand of you attended and we're glad wemanaged to see everybody who came.
The quality on the day was very high and you made it tough for usto decide who to put through. Unfortunately, if you haven't heard from us yet then you didn't get through to the next stage, but wereally appreciate all the effort you made to come along.
We've plenty more things to entertain you coming up on the site –so make sure you stick with us. There'll be a gig zone to promoteyour music and increase your exposure, competitions to win mobilephones and other prizes, exclusive previews of the show and behindthe scenes content, Alex Zane's blog and Alex James' photo diary.
Check out the website later today for photos and a full report ofthe day.
Orange unsignedAct"



I think I'll leave it now eh?

Saturday, 20 September 2008

Lighting up Winchester!

Yes, Lighting up Winchester. That's what I have been doing this week and it's been quite jolly!

On Thursday I played at The Slug and Lettuce. It's one of those big airy bar chains. I needed to bring my own amps and stuff so it was a little tricky as I only have my Bass rig. Nevertheless I managed to cobble something together. Last night I played La Place and Froggies Bar, a very small French bar with an eatery upstairs.

These gigs are a bit different as they are not music venues, they're restaurants.

Now when I play music venues and I'm pouring out my soul I want the audience to shut the fuck up and listen, if/when they don't i tend to get a little techy. I have developed a few tricks to quieten them, generally I tend to play quieter and sing a little lower, that normally does the trick. But these restaurants are a different kettle of fish. Folk are there to eat not to have some bod spill his soul over their sole (geddit?) So I have approached these gig with a different attitude. It's been interesting, very interesting.

At the Slug, people were eating, occasionally glancing over at me in the corner and clapping every now and then. I played ok, not fantastic but that was because I was deliberately holding back. I played about an hour, all quietly, not too intrusive but you'd know I was there.

Last night however, I tried something new.
It's a small bar with about 20 people, many of them your actual French, very animated and loud. Very loud. I put myself into the mindset of a struggling tortured artist playing in a bar in the 30s and sang my soul out. Plenty of singing off the mic, using my highest vocal register a' la Monsieur Buckley (I'll speak more of that at a later date). I blocked out everyone and just concentrated on playing, straight from the soul, not competing against the Gallic hubbub but adding to it. I hadn't thought that people had actually heard me , but they had. They applauded enthusiastically after every tune. Some even recognised my cover of Mojo Pin. I may be playing there again on a regular basis but we shall see? Vivre La France!
Next Friday I am going to experiment further. I'm playing in a tiny pub The Eclipse. I'v decided to dispense with any amplification. No amps, no mics just me and guitar.
I like taking a few risks. I'll let you know how I get on eh?

I haven't told you about the Edge of the Wedge gig I did yet have I?
Another time....

By the by I have developed a widget for this blog. It's just a little bit of code. You can paste it into many little places so feel free to share (please?) I have also made it into a Facebook application but I'm not a geek right?

Monday, 15 September 2008

I did a bad bad thing UPDATE

I, perhaps recklessly, pasted my blog about the Orangeunsigned competition into my blog on the Orangeunsigned website.

This morning I recieved this email

"Hi

Your recent blog post titled "I did a bad bad thing" had to be taken down.

It was either inappropriate or offensive

Thank you
The unsignedAct moderation team"

Guess I won't get to meet Jo Whiley now.

I did receive ANOTHER email later informing me that they will be holding open auditions for
folk in the singer/songwriter category...

So what was the point of all this voting bollocks?

Needless to say, I will not be attending.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

The Candle Club!


At last I can say that I have played The Candle Club !

This is a great club based at the Back of The Talking Heads pub in Portswood Southampton.
I have been checking it out for a few months but, for reasons I will tell you later, had not played.
the idea is that you turn up and book a 10 minute slot, hang around until that time, then play. There are a set of traffic lights to the left of the stage. They stay on green for 7 minutes, then 2 on amber. When they switch to red you stop playing. The stage is huge, the place is a bit of a barn, the p.a. is top class as is the lighting. The audience is great and will get bigger when the uni students return. The atmosphere is very very friendly and professional. There are a few regulars that come along every week, I think. One of which is Kim Tecno who I missed last week but have seen before. A performance poet of the stoned, pissed off, reflective kind. His ranty observational funny verses are complemented by what I can only describe as "kick ass techno" which he plays himself on a small silver keyboard. His shambling disorganised persona is original and very funny. I highly suspect that this is not an "act" and he is like this. I bloody hope so!

"So why haven't you played before?" I hear you ask.

You'd forgotten that bit hadn't you? Do try and pay a little attention!

I think it was a mixture of confidence (lack thereof) actually it was just confidence. 
The act of turning up asking "Please sir, can I play?" was just a bit scary.
It's just ridiculous I know, I've done so many gigs played to hundreds but this "please" was just stopping me. I had been putting of playing for months but had finally ditched that weedy little wanky voice in my head and just thought "Fuck it!" and did it.

I now swagger, yes swagger, now that I've done it. It may sound like a small thing to you and it wasn't a huge thing for me but big enough for me to think of it as a fear faced and defeated. 

I did play well, if you give a tinker's cuss, and I sang like a dirty angel. Just two tunes; How Do You Sleep (with the new very high notes!) and All I Think About Is You (which I am in the process of recording and will be releasing as a single....kind of)

I will be there tomorrow, oh yes.....

Thursday, 28 August 2008

I did a bad bad thing.....

I have a confession to make.


In a moment of weakness, I have entered a competition....


To make it worse it has “Unsigned” in the title.


Yes, yes I know but it looked so pretty and Jo Whiley is involved!!

It’s the “Orange Unsigned Act” competition, Mrs Nick and I sat and watched it last year, it was part of our Sunday mornings dammit! This year they are opening it up to singer/songwriters. I may rant later about That tag!


The prize being, I feel as ashamed as Fern Britain munching a hob nob, a record contract a fucking record contract!!

I don’t even want a fucking record contract, honest I don’t.


Ok, cards on the table. I am a middle aged white male. I write songs, good songs. I play guitar, pretty well ok pretty fucking well. I sing, I have been told I have a great voice, I KNOW I have a great voice, if I didn’t I wouldn’t be able to stand up in front of a room full of strangers and perform. The only way I will ever bother the charts is if someone else sings one of my songs. I’m very ok with that as the idea of fame and celebrity appals me. I DO want to make a living out of music don’t get me wrong, but on my terms. I want to write for other people, play on people’s songs, and produce other people. I do not want a record contract so it is pure folly to enter the competition.

However

However, what I did think was that it wouldn’t do me any harm to get a little publicity. If I made it through to the TV stage I may sell a few cds, perhaps get asked to do a session or two, get some nice paid gigs, so don’t judge me as harshly as I do.


It all seamed so simple, create a little profile, load up some songs, get through the voting stage, audition and then THEN appear on television TELEVISION I TELLS YA!!!


Here, my dears, is the rub.

Here is where everything is stacked in the teen bands favour although the website, nay Jo Whiley herself, is very keen to include singer songwriters.


This is how it SHOULD work. Punters, that is you dear dear people, go on to my page on the Orange Unsigned webpage and vote for me, in an easy and stress free way. Click on a little box or sum such. Then, all the votes are counted up and the ones that have the most go through to the next round. Yeah?


No.


Before Peter Punter can do anything he has to create a profile of his own.

To expedite this he has to supply his email address to where a confirmation email is sent. He then has to activate his profile by clicking on the link in the email.

With me so far?

Next, he browses some of the 600 or so acts on the website. He can go straight to mine but no body is going to do that unless they know me.

Once he finds an artist that he likes he then selects of their tunes and clicks on a button that adds that track to his “mixtape”.

Yes “mixtape”

Punters as well as acts build up a mixtape of different artists and the artists that appear in the majority of mixtapes would seam to make it through to the next round.


Innovative?


Clever?


Well


What I have found is that there are many punters types with their mixtapes but they all tend to feature one artist i.e. the band that they are in.



Acts like me, there are many, don’t generally have hoards of fans/friends that are web savvy enough to jump through the hoops one has to jump through to be able to vote on this shit heap of a site. Most of my friends don’t have myspace, read blogs (bastards!), and subscribe to anything other than the local newspaper every week. They don’t like giving their email addresses (if they even have one and even if they do never check them, bastards!) for fear of some anonymous hacker stealing their soul. So the chances of me registering more than one vote (thanks Mrs Nick) are pretty slim to nothing.




I will post a linky badge thing so you can go and have a look but I won’t blame you if you don’t bother, honest I won’t


And I promise I won’t do anything so foolish again…..honest…



Monday, 11 August 2008

Get Out Of London!!

Seriously, if you’re an artist trying to garner any kind of success then get out GET OUT!!.

 

Let me start at the beginning. Assume that you are a singer/songwriter type. You want to play in a nice place, sell cds to strangers, get people you don’t know to come to your other gigs and possibly have sex with beautiful women.

 

My experience is that unless you have connections you will play empty dives in the middle of housing estates, obscure expensive bars no one goes to,  acoustic nights in noisy bars that empty as the previous acts and their many friends depart after their “stint”.

For this London rock en Roll experience you will be paid fuck all.

“Promoters” of such events will not publicise you nor will anyone ANYONE wander in hungry for live original music except drunks and junkies who wouldn’t get served anywhere else.

 

You will not sell any cds and beautiful women will definitely not lay you. 

 

So my advice would be get out of London.

Come and play out here in the country.

Come and play at great places like Chaplins in Boscombe.

Lovely, enthusiastic women like Fiona will great you, shake you by the hand and be pleased to see you.

James the pianist and sometime sound guy will make a point of coming over and asking what you need and offer you a free drink.

Other performers will be talented and passionate and friendly, swapping places to play and being generally “chummy”

Ok, you won’t get paid as it is a free venue but you will play to a respectful, appreciative and enthusiastic audience that you didn’t have to bring yourself.

You will get your photograph taken and even a video of your songs to be put on the venue website.

Hopefully they will ask you back to play a longer set eh Fi?

You may take a beautiful woman home.

You may even be already married to them!

 

 

 

By the way, if you continue to thrash that dead horse that is ‘The Londin”you may as well busk, you’d play to more people possibly sell a few cds. You might even get laid!

Sunday, 27 July 2008

The Beggars Fair 2008

I wasn’t filled with optimism when I first entered The William IV.

There was a 5-piece covers band in full swing, well a kind of swing, playing in a neutral oblong room with an audience of about 15.

Do I have anything against cover bands,  I do as it goes.

Not cover bands per say. Some would argue that the London Philharmonic play covers. It’s the “pop” or what was once pop/rock/country/fridaynightdownthepubhighhosilverlining type cover bands.

I’ve played in them. It’s a soulless occupation and you go home with your £50 hating yourself. Well ….. I did.

It wasn’t my past shaming me, well perhaps a bit, but the fact that I was on straight after.

If one has been enjoying the regurgitation of old Cliff tunes or tapping ones foot to singsong Beatles classics, then this git with the guitar with too many strings, singing you his stories of old loves lost, sexually predators ect is just going to irritate you.

But, I could not have been more wrong!

The scary guy who owned the PA (think the replacement drummer in The Commitments) was very helpful. He sorted me out sound wise, well I plugged everything in and twiddled a few knobs optimistically until Debs gave me an “OK” nod , but he was friendly non the less.

 

Now for this gig I had moved away from the usual set list idea. I had listed all the songs I was happy playing live, but I had used illustrator to cunningly put them haphazardly on the page. This way I could just chose whatever song I felt at the time would work. It was a great idea and one that I’m going to continue using.

 

I stayed away from some of the slower songs and kept it bluesesqe.

I went down pretty well with a few folk poking their heads round the door from the garden/smoking area from time to time. I even played my new cover “little sister” which went down a treat.

 

On to The British Legion, yes I shit you not! As already mentioned, in my tawdry past I have played the odd ‘Legion/Conservative club (ha!) etc so even with the memories gently emerging, I kept optimistic and decided I was going to , as our ‘Merican friends call it “Kick Ass”.

The British legion in Romsey is a little like what I imaging a cruise liner to be, big bar, plush carpets, nice toilets and full of old people.

A lot of old people, wall to wall. Suits and ties and flowery dresses.

There were a few younger types but they stayed mostly in the patio/garden area.

And then THEN there was my audience. Loverly they were. Sitting close and tapping tables and clapping at the right places. I had only just played the ‘William” so I was good to go. I had considered dropping a few of the more risqué songs: One Night Stand, Pale Moonlight (“turn me over ‘cos I like it like that!) but then as most of the oldies couldn’t hear anyway, I played them.

I could see a couple sitting straight in front of me where very into me. they looked oddly familiar but I let that pass. After my set, (I must say I was pretty good) the lady, well I would say girl as she looked about 19 but the guy she was with looked about 30 but who am I etc…..WELL she came up and asked if I had a cd for sale?

“Me? A cd? Of course I have a cd, I have one just here along with about 10 others that I’ve never sold ever before at a gig, yes NEVER SOLD A CD AT A GIG BEFORE!

I did feel a little pang as I handed over one of the cds that had, over the last few months, has become a friend and a comfort to me in times of stress.

“ A special festival price of £5” I spluttered.

Ha!


So, my chest bursting with pride and a spring in my step, we ventured forth to see the wonderful Louche Manouche down at The Melting pot stage. 

Some of you more eagle eyed readers may have read my Beggars Fair blog from last year ( I think it's further down the page). This year daughter was left at home with the internet baby sitting her and mrs Nick was asked to ignore me, let me get to the gigs in my own time and my own way and not to "whoop" whilst I, the great maestro, is performing. This she did admirably and looked damn sexy all day!

All in all a good day. 

I don't mind this gigging lark, I'm going to do a few more.


 

Apropos nothing, the phrase

 

“God made Adam and Eve, NOT Adam and Steve” appears to indicate that if you can make a bullshit rhyme, then that gives it some kind of truth.

 

“God made Adam and Eve not Julian and Sandy” 

Saturday, 21 June 2008

I think I like this....

So there I was driving along the M27 navigating my way to The Edge Acoustic Club in Portsmouth and i was thinking "Why am I doing this?" "I could be sitting at home relaxing" I think that I am basically lazy, those who know me a chuckling I am sure as this is no news to them.

I've done this loads of times before in London. You make the effort to find the place, spend an age trying to park (if you actually find the dump!) stand around until the often surely yes SURLY pa dude deigns to grunt at you, you argue about where in the lineup you will play, eventually you plugin and address the assembled unwashed who totally ignore your heartfelt efforts. Having finished more gruffness from the now pissed pa dude who scoffs at your ridiculous request for some money and send you off feeling used and abused.

But not at The Edge. Having found the place (it's easy) I managed to park in the road opposite and walk the 50 feet or so to the Edge of the Wedge, it was right next to The Wedgewood Rooms. A lovely bright, airy bar. i got there a bit early but was soon joined by Aide (sorry if I've spelt that wrong) a nice chap who set up the P.A. in about 5 minutes, asked me when I fancied playing and then offered me a beer! I declined as drinking before I play has always been disastrous for me but nonetheless...

I decided to go on second, around 9.30 I think.

I haven't mentioned this but this was my first gig in years that Mrs Nick was not present at. She was away somewhere on a work thing, somewhere.
Our friend Lisa turned up sunny and full of beans as always. She's very close to celebrity status at the BBC now and in time I will have to link to her but I digress. 

I had to play all my loud bluesy numbers as there  was some kind of death metal band playing at The Wedgewood Rooms next door and there was a little, well a lot of thumping bleeding through the door. Anyhoo, it was all good! The sound was great, Aide gave me nice foldback (steady!) and the crowd were attentive and appreciative. I had a chat with a few of them afterwards and I appear to have gone down well.

Aide offered me another beer but as I was driving I declined and then gave me the princely sum of £10!!! I know this may seem to be a paltry sum to some of you dear readers but as some of you artists out there will verify money for acoustic live gigs of this type can be very rare especially for a London boy like myself.

So well done Beefy (he's the promoter) and Aide and the Edge of the Wedge. Thanks for restoring my faith in humanity and whetting my appetite for playing live.




Sunday, 18 May 2008

Ask Elvis.....

So I go to play at my nieces naming ceremony, they asked me to play the piece I wrote and played at their wedding, this is my sisters and brother in laws.
I'm more than happy, there's a break in the ceremony "and now Nick will play...yada yada yada..... Sister in law cries, she always does when I play that piece, all is great.

The ceremony finished we all enjoy the food, drink and company for the next few hours.

We decide it's time to go and I get my guitar ready to pt back in it's case and go home.
"Oh no, please play us a tune before you go Nick" I refuse politely and continue to get my guitar ready to go. It may sound a little rude on my part but I've been here before. I'm not that kind of player. I've been playing for over 30 years, I am pretty good but I don't know a lot of cover songs and the one I do know, no one has heard of them. Jeff Buckley's "So Real" goes down great in a small music bar but at a party with wine filled guests it just annoys people. What they want is Beatles, Oasis songs they know.
However I make the decision to try and change this around. I get out my guitar, retune it and Play "That Woman". It's nice and loud and should be enough to please and get me the hell out. 
I should have known, I'm 4 seconds in and already people are talking over it. Ok, you say, it's a party you say, people talk at parties. BUT YOU ASKED ME TO PLAY!

I carry on after around a minute of intro and manage to get through the song. 
"Play that one I like" " You know the one" Oh fuck, here we go.....
I do my best honest, I play some of my tunes. They're not as loud as That Woman and I'm losing the crowd as they return to their chatting. I stopped when a woman walking past me thought it would be fun to strum her log nails across the strings as I was playing. 
Fuck it, I thought and that was it. I stopped. 
Moans and groans and me explaining that I don't know the songs they want to here. I was being as upbeat and polite as I could but for fucks sake!
Drunk strummy guitar woman had the fucking nerve to come up to me, telling me that she loved my voice and guitar playing and would I play "Love me do" by Elvis as her dad was dying and it was his favourite song. I did try to explain that it was The Beatles but the bitch wouldn't have it.
I've learned my lesson now, I just play at gigs.

I think she meant "Love me tender" but I can't play that either.....

Portsmouth Multi Cultural Festival...... Ole'

I did though. It was the Portsmouth Multi Cultural Festival.

I played it today at around 1pm.
I guessed it was a council run thing, it had that feel even before I got there.
It had no website, that was my first clue.
I was billed as "Nick Tam Spanish Guitarist" Not the best of starts. "It says that on your website" said Junior in his high visability vest. "I sent you a cd" said I "There wasn't any Spanish guitar on that". He obviously hadn't heard the cd or checked out my website that well. I do play Spanish guitar, it's a guitar made in Spain and I do strum some Flamencoesque type doodles but I'm no Paco Penia.
Anyhoo, I was told I would be on around 1.40 but in the end I went on at 1.00 and played for around 30 minutes. As per the sound on stage was great but out front I was told the guitar was to quiet. That's the thing with these non muso type events. I mean how hard is it? One vocal mic and a guitar with a pick up. Two faders, work it out.
I was quite popular with a small group of young mums, one of them kissed my hand later congratulating me on my wonderful voice, bless. Actually I did go down quite well despite my quiet guitar. 
As soon as I came off I was wisked away by the media, eXpress FM, Portsmouth's local radio station to be interviewed by the Country Music presenter. " I also run this website" he said as he thrust some bumf into my hand, something to do with relatives on-line? " I also run a English School in South America!" he enthused. Ok, I get it, this isn't all you do.
After a couple of obvious "What kind of music do you play?" type questions I was brushed away in favour of a lady dog trainer with her alsation to talk about training for your pouch. I left them a few cd's, although I should have kept one for the hand kisser.



Beggars Fair 2007

The Beggars Fair 2007


I have a day job, nothing very remarkable most of us have one.
I have a work persona, it's got aspects of me but it's mostly a developed "work" version of me.
When I get up in front of large groups of strangers and play songs that I've written, I have a "stage" persona. It's nothing special, it just helps me get through the gig without turning into a gibbering wreck and running of in floods of tears if people don't applaud until their hands bleed.
I have a husband person and a Dad persona (stay with me, there is a point to this).

So Dad Nick, husband Nick and singer - rock god Nick have to prepare themselves to play.

It's tough.

"Are you hungry?" "What time are we eating? " Can I have an Ice-cream?"

I bet Jeff Buckley never had this before he went on stage.

I know, I'm not Jeff Buckley 

BUT

To get into the Nick Tann singer-rock god persona (remember him?) I have to believe in some small way I am him.

It's different when you are a performer.

Wifie wants to see other bands and network and do all the great stuff that she does.

I couldn't care less who is playing, it's all about me ME YOU HEAR!

I want to get there, get on stage, play, and go home.

In the past I would descend into a Sex drugs and Rock and Roll pit.
Ok I might smoke a little pot……

I was great though, I know when I'm not. I'm getting to the point where I'm able to sing as well as I do when I'm on my own.

The songs are flowing well, I'm relaxed, my voice is amazing even me and people are starting to get it. 

About bloody time!!

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Shit Shit Shit

This week I have 2 gigs.

I haven’t gigged since sometime last summer.

Last week, about Thursday I realised I was scared.

I ran through a few tunes and came to the terrible realisation that I couldn’t sing, my guitar playing was shit and all my songs were dull and derivative.

This is a bit of a drawback for someone who is aiming to make music their profession.

I wandered around the house wondering how I was going to break this to my lovely wife, the wife that has supported me, built me a website, created the artwork for my last album and believe in me.

I decided I’d leave it for a while and join her on the sofa and watch TV for a bit, Jonathan Ross was on.

I quite like Mr Ross, I also like his taste in music, normally.
This week he had a band called Vampire Weekend to finish of the show.
I sat watching, listening. They were dreadful. Now I’m not one of these middle age men that moan on about “music today blah blah blah” (or maybe I am!). But they were dreadful.

I then turned over to watch Jools on BBC2. Yes, I know you can guess so I won’t go into detail but …. Fratellis = Stereophonics with a great drummer despite the grey tee-shirt, Alison Kraus and Robert Plant – Plant is a god therefore nothing can taint him, Spiritualized-out of tune, Chris Gifford-just embarrassing, Emmylou Harris-ZZzzzz.

I then started to feel better.

There is a mindset (yes I hate that phrase too) amongst us creative types, that we are shit and should go and work down a mine and stop thinking that we can do anything that people will find entertaining.

I get it, I think the simple term for it is self doubt, but I think I’m a creative person so fuck off!

On Sunday we finally got round to watching “Tony & Joan”, the drama doc about Tony Hancock.
There are scenes with him (Tony) having great bouts of self doubt “You’re shit, shit, shit” he says to himself in the mirror.

The penny dropped, rolled around then flew up and smacked me in the face.

Later on Sunday I burned some tunes (from iTunes) on to a cd so that I could do the thing that I love best, sing in the car. I chose all the tunes that I love and know well. So this week I have been singing at the top of my voice on my way home and now feel that I am ready both mentally AND physically for this week.
I just hope that next time, next time…….


See? Look a happy ending!

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Shame, shame on you

A few weeks ago I was listening to a radio interview with Eric Clapton.

I must admit I have never been a fan although I am quiet impressed with some of the stuff he has done with Cream. However, in the course of this interview (drugs, drink, women etc, you know the score) he stated that throughout his career he had never sold out or compromised. He had stayed true to his “I’ll do what I want/Stick it to the man” approach.

 

As the interview came to a close, he explained that his new album was just as exciting and vibrant as all his other work and then a track from it was then played.

 

I was expecting some cutting edge kick ass blues but no, it was a lazy, Travelling Wilburys/Dire Straits piece of pappy lift music.

 

What happens to these people? He’s not the only one. There are plenty of once great writers and performers that, in later life, just gave in.

 

Off the top of my head Elton John, The Stranglers, Genesis, Black Eye Peas, Van Morrison, Stevie Wonder. Yes Stevie fucking Wonder! Possibly one of the funkiest, coolest singers of all time. Superstition, Living for The City, Sir Duke, Ribbon in the Sky I could go on.

In fact I will! I wish, Master Blaster, Happy Birthday, Love’s in need of Love Today possible some of the best tunes of all time. What happened? Ebony and ivory and I just called to say I love you. It breaks your heart. Well it breaks mine.

He did redeem himself a while back and did some great shows of all the old stuff. I have the Abbey Road stuff, it’s great. No Ebony and Ivory.

 

Oasis.

Have you heard the new Oasis single? Again I’ve never been a big fan but it has that air of a comfy armchair and a pair of slippers, then sit down and watch Top Gear.

In short it’s shit.

 

It doesn’t happen to them all thank Christ.

Prince, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Rufus Wainwright and the glorious Radiohead to name but some. They keep the faith.

 

But I wonder for how long. How long will they keep the pap at bay?

The others couldn’t manage it, surrounded by “yes men” and “unit shifters” they gave in to the fate of the others.

 

That brings me to the latest casualty. Away for a couple of years and exposed to the full glare of the media they trumpet their return by releasing one of the most dire, uninspired pieces of dross. Ladies and Gentlemen I give you Coldplay. Shame, shame on you…


I am just about post this when I think that you, dear reader, may want to ask "Nick, why are you so pissed off at this?"  "Why should it bother you?" 

Well, the reason that it sticks in my claw is that whilst these so - called "greats" are pumping out some sad old pap, there are thousand of independent artists that are coming out with stuff that is far superior. If you read my other yap you will see that I don't mean me, well maybe me a bit but that's not the point. 

But perhaps it is........

 

 

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Websites for THE ARTIST

The number of free websites open to the independent artist are many and manifold.

 

They generally promise the same things.

 

You get to design your own profile.

 

Whoopee! You cut and paste the usual yap that you’ve put on all the other websites that promised so much but gave so little. The usual collection of badly lit jpegs showing the variety of haircuts and dodgy fashion choices you’ve made over the years.

 

Get your music heard!

 

I think I’ve covered that haven’t I?

 

 

Tell us about all your live shows.

 

To be honest this CAN be quite useful as one can see where one might go to get gigs for oneself, can’t one?

 

I am a member of so many of these sites, the only way I know is that I receive emails from them daily. None of them, except one that I’ll get to in a minute, actually DO anything. I joined one recently after being encouraged to by a friend that works for the site. I had a heady 2 weeks of “so and so wants to be your friend” “So and so made a comment about your song” comments from other hapless fools like myself congratulating me on a “great sound” or a “kicking track” as I believe our American cousins put it. Then nothing…….honestly nothing! I had taken my own advice and had gone and listened to around 20 of the 300 or so people. To be frank, tragic. Not all in their defence but pretty much.

 

So is there a site that DOES do me some good? Well, yes there is and thanks for asking. It’s called Reverbnation.com and it is the dog’s balls. There are a few good artists there as well as some tragic covers duos that are worth a listen for the comedy value alone. They also have widgets, fantastic little devices that you can paste into other website and/or emails that will play your efforts in a nice little player. Widgets that folk can submit their email addresses to become part of ones fanbase. The best thing of all is that you can keep tabs on these tecky little bastards and see how many people have played them.

 

The sharp eyed amongst you will have spotted that there are a couple on this very page.

If you haven't already, give em a click.

 

I’d be interested if any of you (please let there be more than one of you dear god) have had any joy and by joy I mean this “Someone who you don’t know has listen to one of the tunes you have on your profile (and this is important) more than once?”

 

 

I have experienced this joy and it is a joy unconfined!

 

So, what have we learned?

 

Oh just click on a widget………….

Friday, 4 April 2008

If you don't how can you expect.....

So how many independent artists do YOU listen to?

So you’ve got your myspace page, Facebook profile, Ilike perhaps even your own website. You have pictures of your beautiful self, mp3s of your songs, news of where and when you are playing.

Then what do you do?

You email all your friends, then you email people that aren’t your friends, then you email everyone that’s left telling them how wonderful your music is and how great you are and how much you’re looking forward to seeing them at your gigs.

After the initial traffic has dies down, you make a few changes. Some new pictures, MP3s and a few new gigs. Email the world once again. Then wait…….wait …..

Then you learn about Meta tags. These are those little keywords you can attach so that when people do searches, your site will appear.
Now you want to choose something that applies to you yes?

“Original” yes original’s good, what else?

“Independent” OBVIOUSLY

“Funky” “Eclectic” “Indy” I could go on, there are thousands.
You apply all these to your site and then wait.
Nothing happens, honest. You may get a few stray “robots” (whatever they are!) but other than that it’s pretty much Heartbreak Hotel.

So the big question is (here comes the point!) what do YOU use when you search for independent artists? What key words do YOU use when you search for other artists in the same boat as you?

You don’t do you? You don’t look for other artists just like you. So if YOU don’t then you can’t realistically expect anyone else to either can you?

It was only when I started to think about this whole “tag” thing I realised that I didn’t search out any independent talent either.

Do it, I did. There are some gems out there, all fresh and shiny and they haven’t had the corners knocked off yet. They’re still willing to experiment, yes sometimes it doesn’t work but then that’s all part of it. There are a plethora of websites that they (and me) are on and you can search for whatever genre (don’t get me started!) you fancy. There are some horrors but even they can be entertaining in a “car crash” kind of way. I have found some great artists this way and it has made me more optimistic about the music scene as whole.
There are a few nighmares, but that goes with the territory and can even be entertaining in a car crash sort of way.

If you are one of this band of “Indies” you must must must go and search for other artists.
If you are a regular punter then go get out there and discover your own pet band, you can adopt them, buy their music, go and see them and if you do, tell them that you found them on the internet because you did a search and they came up. You listened; you liked and then either went to see them or bought/downloaded their music. I guarantee you will make their day!

Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Unsigned?

Unsigned?

I am often referred to as an “unsigned artist”.
I blame no one, I do it myself. Nick Tann, unsigned artist. I have always hated the tag, it sounds as though I am lacking in a way.

“Are you signed Nick?”

“No” I say, blushing at my shame “I am unsigned”

When putting any of my yap on the web, tags have to be applied to documents to help all those poor folk out there find what they want. “Original” “12 String guitar” “songwriter” etc are all positive then “unsigned”. It should have one of those glum emoticons after it and a big apology “Sorry I’m not signed”

BUT, now I am making a change. I am now going to call myself an “independent artist” This is a better reflection of what I am and a damn sight less glum and apologetic. It’s something to be proud of. I may make myself a badge proclaiming myself an INDEPENDENT ARTIST. You wouldn’t want to walk around wearing an “Unsigned” badge now would you?

This is, however, not without risks when it comes to the getting found by people who are looking for unsigned people. If you Google “unsigned artists” you will get 867,000 pages whereas if you Google “independent artists” 157,000 hits you will find. Nevertheless, it may be better to be part of a smaller, prouder group.

Lets hope it catches on…..

Saturday, 29 March 2008

Radio Radio

So once again the publicity machine that is Debbie and me spring into action.

I recorded a radio interview about two weeks ago and tomorrow it will be broadcast on the illustrious Original106 FM. 
I thought I would start my blog career at this point as I wanted to share what it's like waiting for some kind of recognition for work one has done.
I have put in the hard work, the writing of the music, working out the words or "lyrics" as us songwriters like to refer to them.
I've sat and recorded the songs, playing the same guitar part over and over again until I was finally happy with it. The guitar part for Life is a River took me a whole day, playing the same piece over again. Then, recording finished I work through the millions of effects. Which reverb to use? How much? This can take weeks of fiddling around until I get to the point when I think that I can do no more. Then the mix down, then mastering the song as a whole. The artwork for the album is also a painstaking event.
Which photographs? Which font? Sizing and resizing the images so that it all fits on the paper. Thankfully Debs does this for me. Otherwise the album would have the back of a cereal packet with "NIck TaNNs fing" scrawled in crayon slipped into it.
The album is then sent off (still with me? Good). Emails are sent to radio stations and then after a few months there's a response. There is a radio station that will play a track. let joy be unconfined! The next 2 months, thanks to carefully engineered please and requests, I get asked along to the studio to record an interview and to play a couple of songs.
After running through in my mind answers to possible questions, changing the songs I'm going to play, I finally get to the studio.
After a brief chat with Xan, I go into a tiny studio and play my 2 songs. They go well, I don't usually get nervous about playing thankfully. The interview  begins and I rattle on about transport links in the Southampton area. I kid you not,after all the work that we've put into the album, I start banging on about motor-ways. Still , I get the chance to talk about other stuff. I really need about half an hour but get cut short at around 10 minutes. He didn't ask any of the questions that I had anticipated but at least listeners will get to know how easy it is to get around Southampton. 
I won't tell you what I did say in the interview as I'm sure the majority of my yap will be edited out. But have a listen anyway. If you don't get a chance to listen to it live at www.original106.com it will be available as a pod-cast later.