Monday, 20 September 2010

I have moved

I have now moved this blog to a better wordpress one

I perhaps should have mentioned this sooner...

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Are you better than Jedward?

You may not have heard of Jedward and if you haven't just watch the video. There are other videos of them live, playing the 02 which I think is the biggest arenas in the UK.
I'll leave you with that bit of information for now and move on to my main point.

Yes, it's that hoary old subject of getting paid and people paying for music, my music, our music, music that I and you, perhaps produce.

I know I covered this in my last post but I've had more time to get this right in my head and it's quite astounding. I'm not saying that I've come up with a brand new idea or that I've found a new way of marketing my music. Perhaps I should just give you, dear reader, a little info about me.
I am a singer songwriter, I've been playing guitar since I was about six, I've been writing, performing and recording these songs for the past 13 years or so. I also produce a weekly podcast full of unsigned music that other artists from all over the world send me. Just so you know where I'm coming from.

Most of the gigs I have played have paid me nothing, yup not even a drink. Most of the songs I have recorded, produced and promoted have been downloaded for nothing. The weekly podcast I compile, produce and promote I do for nothing.

Some might say that these activities are my hobby. Some have and that hurts, yes actually hurts my feelings! Crazy eh? I put a great deal of time and effort into what I do, I'm very passionate about it all and yet I just give it away.

I would love to get paid for it, I do actually value what I do BUT I also want people to hear it, that's the whole point isn't it?

There are many "bedroom players" who are content to play in their bedrooms and never let anyone hear what they do and that is fine, nothing wrong with that at all, my wife plays the piano for fun and has no desire to perform.

But I digress.

I'll let you in to a secret, a personal private secret. I think I'm really very good at playing guitar, writing songs and singing. Crazy eh? I pretty much have to think that otherwise I wouldn't do some of the things I do like play at an open mic night, play gigs miles away in front of people I don't know. I also would love to do it for a living. Just recording and playing music. Yet I still do it now for nothing. WHY? 

My podcast takes about an hour to ninety minutes to actually produce. There is a lot of admin type stuff that goes with it. Emails, databases and blogs are written and added to pretty much every day. I get a real kick out of making it as I have a real passion for unsigned music. i do think it sounds better, has more soul, feeling and passion than the signed stuff. I feel a glow of pride when other podcasters ask me for a track that I have played or if I see a review of one of the tunes that I featured, knowing that the reviewer first heard the tune on my podcast. I would love to spend more time on it, develop some of the ideas I have for it, do more interviews and write more about the artists but I just don't have the time. 

In an ideal world I would be able to earn money from selling my songs online and get some cash for making the podcast. Is that too much to ask? 

NO it bloody isn't!

Over the last month or so I have had a bit of a revelation, a change of heart. Some of it has to do with people like Jedward (remember them?). Lovely lads I'm sure but singers they 'aint. They played the 02 and they're getting paid for doing what I want to do and I know that I do it better than them. I may feel all self righteous about it as I go and play my open mic for fuck all but I have to go to work on Tuesday!!


"Give away and then they will pay" is the mantra isn't it. I did cover this in my previous post
but just a thought. When we give stuff away on Bandcamp we DO get peoples email addresses. Yes, yes we do. When we sell things on Bandcamp we also get peoples email addresses. Now I would prefer to have a mailing list that contains email addresses of  people that have paid money for my tracks rather than a list of email addresses of a group of people that just took the tracks for nothing, didn't even pay a pound for a whole album of my songs.

To be taken seriously for what I do, I /we have to charge for what I/we do. This elevates us above the people that DO just do it for a hobby or are, and I'm sorry to say this, just aren't very good. They are out there. I get sent plenty of tracks by people that just aren't very good or SHIT. They also give their tracks away and people download it.

There are also many podcasts out there, bloody thousands. Some are great and some are rubbish. They are pretty much all free. If you had to pay for a podcast you would expect it to be good eh? Of course you would. So lets charge for podcasts, micropayments say £2 a month like The Vobes Show does. That way people, the public, would know that they are getting a quality product
We can all "get our music heard" even on iTunes people can listen for free, on bandcamp and myspace people can hear for free. You van give your tracks to Amazing Radio and they will play it for free, grated they won't introduce it so that people know who you are but hey will still "get it out there".

So, in closing, if you want to posses any of my songs, the songs that I have crafted and recorded and uploaded you will have to pay because Jedward get paid and


Thursday, 8 July 2010

What DO I do?

When people ask me what I have been up to I'm often a bit stuck, so I thought it would be a good idea to highlight some of the things that I do aside from strum around Hampshire. Some of it may appeal some may not.

My website has pretty much all the info in it but I'll break down some things here.

You can download and buy cds of my music here some of it is free but the new stuff is £3 to download & £5 for the physical cd.

I have Facebook page for me and my music

I produce a weekly podcast, it's like a radio show but on the web. You can listen to it by clicking on the iTunes button on the top of the page here I play great music that other independent artists send me, have a bit of a chat, do the odd interview plus some other bits & pieces. If you know someone who might want their stuff, there are instructions on the link.

I run an event called Pure Acoustica, its a thing where artists play in venues without microphones and amps. You can see that here

I have a small consultancy business where I help people including other musicians, promote themselves using the internet

If you are interested in coming to see me play then this is the page that has all my gigs listed

There are a few more projects I'm working on but I don't want to swamp you with info.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Give it away, now?

So the mantra for many independents is "Give it away, because later they'll pay".
If you don't know what I am talking about, let me explain

Many independent artists chose to give their music away free, usually download only, in exchange for the email address of the person that bought it. The thinking behind this is that once you have seduced your fan with free music, they will fall in love with you and purchase your next release.

Lets assume, for a moment, that this is the correct and proper way to go about it. At what point do you start to charge?

Lets now question the giving away of our precious talents. Many of us record at home so the actual cash outlay of producing a track (or podcast for that matter) is nought. Uploading to sites such as the beloved Bandcamp is also, nought. So on a strictly financial basis we are not out of pocket by giving these things away.

To avoid this becoming a discussion just about music, I would extend the "talents" to poets and writers.

Some may mention that old chestnut "Time is money" which, I believe, is balls and not worth clouding this already foggy issue. 

Friday, 25 June 2010

About Bloody Time!!

Been in a slump this week, one of those downer weeks I may have written about before. I've had a permanent frown and a headache for about a week. Not a lot of fun to live with either, but I think I got away with it.

Years ago I used to do this thing called Re-Evaluting Co-Counselling, I think it's listen on a few cult sites and I suppose it is in a weird way. Some people take it too far, just like some Christians of Muslims, but perhaps I'm being too glib AND I digress. The reason I mention RCC is that they believes that if you are bothered by something and you don't know why, the reason is likely to be the first thing you think of. In my experience, they are right, try it sometime.

So, why was I in the grip of the "black eyed dog"? The first thought to come to mind was the Pure Acoustica evening I hosted last week. Two of the acts that had just performed, they where new to the concept and the audience may not have been as attentive as I might have liked so I said a few words explaining that the concept of Pure Acoustica takes a bit of getting used to not only for the audience but also the artists, hoping that this would connect with the artists that where new to this and would reassure them. However, someone in the crowd started to laugh and I ended up mumbling in my embarrassment before introducing the next act.

So, was that it? Not much is it? The rest of the night went well but it was that incident that had got to me. I had planned to chase up some leads in other pubs that had shown interest in hosting Pure Acoustica nights but I just didn't have it in me. As with these confidence thing, it's lifted thankfully..

Silly sod.....

Monday, 14 June 2010

Busy times

I often feel that I neglect this blog. I have others, three others but this one is just for my music. I think the fact that I don't use this one much is rather indicative of the fact that I don't push MY music enough.

I've spent the last few months working on my podcast and have had a great success,  finally finished Tom Caulfields brilliant album for my label Pure Acoustica Records.
I've also been working on Pure Acoustica , that also is starting to pick up and I'm stating it in a new venue this week.

A few weeks ago, after chatting to Matt Stevens, I started push my music and have had some great results especially with podcasters, ironic eh?

Bug cast and Made in the UK played my tracks this last weekend and there are more to come including some play on BBC local radio.

I am also planning an exciting development to the Vinyl project, remember that?

I'm also uploading my latest album plus some other stray tracks on to iTunes this week. I've actually been earning some money from iTunes, something I thought would never happen. It's not a fortune, enough for a few pints and enough to pay to get this new collection of songs up. That will make a total of about 37 tracks up for sale.

So now that Tom's album is finished, the podcast is looking after itself, Pure Acoustica has started again AND I've got plenty of gigs lined up for the summer now is the time to push these tunes of mine.

Come the autumn and winter I shall be writing another album or two and perhaps leave these tunes behind, but then again.......

Friday, 28 May 2010

Why Wait? pt2

Going back to my earlier post "Why Wait?" . Many of my friends waiting for something i.e. a new guitar, camera etc before they actualy do something. I'd like you to look again at this little video I made.
It doesn't look that great because it was shot using an old digital still camera, it doesn't sound great because it's just using the mic on said camera, there is the odd mistake on the playing but I thought "f*** it, I'll put it up anyway"

It's been up less than a week and has attracted just over 80 hits to date. Ok, it's not going to change the world but it has generated some lovely feedback. Perhaps the fact that it's an honest little piece, is why people like it? Who knows?

I think what it does illustrate is that we shouldn't put stumbling blocks in our way, shouldn't stop ourselves from doing something because we may not do it well. F*** it, just do it anyway. Perhaps you can do a better one next time.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Birthdays and hills

I have allways wanted to do a gig on my birthday and last week I was able to.
I played for Steve Lowis at his even called "Three Monkeys" at The Art House in Southampton.
There were actualy four of us monkeys who sat and played a song each before starting again at the first person. I hope that kind of makes sense.
It was an interesting way of playing and I think an interesting event for the audience who were very responsive. The Art House is a nice intimate space and I'd like to thank Steve for one of my favourite gigs ever. I played my usual fayre and included  my banjo tune "You treat me mean" at the end. As an experiment I handed out the words to the banjo tune and everyone sang along. Not the kind of thing I normally do at all but it was fitting for the night.

Last weekend Mrs Nick and I trecked up to the iron age fort at the top of Old Winchester Hill, fell asleep on a burial mound then I played this little tune that I made up on the spot.
I had in mind that Radiohead video podcast thing they did a while back. They had better equipment but I still think this works ok...  

Saturday, 8 May 2010


I like lists, it concentrates the mind and helps quite the constant chatter in my head "Must do this, remember that, have to call/email/meet up with ....
It is almost endless.

This is a small extract form my master list, there is more so much more...

My Music
Develope my music locally and beyond. Good quality, well attended and regular gigs.

Sell cds and downloads, consistently.

The Vinyl Project.
Use the money that has been donated so far, and record a live album at Pina Studios in London. I will perform this in front of an invited audience who will be present in the studio. They will all pay £10 and will receive a copy of the record that they were present at the recording of. People who have already donated will be invited but will not pay the £10.

Pure Acoustica

I want to expand the number of acts to include poets, story tellers, magicians ect. I think there is a great potential for bookings for niche weddings and parties. I also want to explore the concept of House Concerts. Develope to reflect what is going on eg gigs, Bristol, artists.
Expand the number of regular venues and publisize "The Pure Acoustica Brand" 

I also want to produce and arrange other bands and artists. I have a lot of experience with this, just need to publicize it more.

Pure Acoustica Records (record label)

Expand the number of artists. This simple way of recording is a cheep and effective way of showcasing an artists talent. I think the stripped down style can also be a great blueprint for future recording. Again it's also a niche.
Develope to reflect the label as well ast the artists.

So there is a small extract of a list I made two weeks ago. It has altered somewhat and there have been developments.

I hope to have some concrete news in the next few weeks.

This space? Watch it!

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Why Wait?

I get frustrated by friends and collegues who are waiting, waiting for something to happen before they do something. You know who you are and it's not just you it's all the others too.

Perhaps it's the fact that I'm aware of my own mortality or my mild paranoid fears of contracting a life threatening cancer, that I can't wait. I'm no longer in the first flush of my youth and I feel a sense of urgency driving me, constantly. I still have so much to do, so many songs to write, so many gigs to play, so many albums to record the list goes on.

I can't wait, I WON'T wait.

So I appolgise if I get frustrated by your inaction, I JUST HAVE A LOT ON!

Thursday, 28 January 2010

A little faith...

I played at the Soul Cellar last night. No biggies, I've played there a few times, it's a nice little cellar bar in Southampton.
When I arrived the place was dead apart from a few friends (4)of the guy that was playing at the time.
He was thrashing away, acoustic guitar and mic plugged into an amp, a Marshall I think.
There were about 3 other random chaps hanging about but they buggered off after a while.
Young Jack Martello played next. He played his usual set of covers and original songs.
The previous guy and his mates had pissed off by this time. Solidarity brother!
Around halfway through Jack's set the place started to fill up a bit. The reason being was that the drum and bass club upstairs was due to start and a few enthusiastic D&Bers had turned up early and wher taking advantage of the cheeper drinks downstairs before it all kicked off.
I was standing next to Mrs Nick and remarked that this would be a great opportunity to play Pure Acoustic ie no mic, no amp just me on stage singing with a guitar.
She, understandably, was unsure. "People won't be able to hear" she said. Looking round at the young crowd of around thirty, mainly male average age around 20  I thought she may have a point.

I've been toying with this theory that if you play Pure Acoustic, people will  talk quieter and some will even listen EVEN in a big noisy bar.

This theory was borne out last night. At first people didn't notice and probably wondered when I was going to start. Nevertheless they did clap when I had finished so at least they noticed thaty I had stopped.
When I cracked into my second tune, the ones that wanted to listen did and the overall sound level had dropped considerably. I was playing ballads and getting a great reaction and by the time I got to the end of my set the louder funky tunes went down a treat!

So, Pure Acoustica DOES work, people DO listen.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Matt Stevens

If you haven't heard of Matt Stevens then it's not for his lack of trying. just "Google him" and you'll see how how far he has spread himself on the web. He's one of those talented independent singer/songwriter types that I feature on my podcast. I've actually been a champion of Matts for many a moon and  we have become great webfriends to the extent that we have come up with an great idea for a feature on my podcast. I'll say more once we have firmed up how we're going to do it.

Here's the kind of thing he does

  Matt Stevens - Dolls House by mattstevensguitar

His songs are featured on most of my podcasts including the newest.

Click on the links and spread the word

There is a podcast about the blog

Monday, 18 January 2010


I have started new blog that is soley dedicated to my podcasts leaving this one to concentrate on non podcast stuff.

For all your "Is This Thing On Podcast" needs run to

Go on!!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Schemes and Plans explained

A few people have questioned me regarding my Schemes and Plans post.
I may have given the impression that I was going to hand in my notice at my day job and devote all my time to developing my musical career. As tempting as that sounds, that is not the case. If I had no responsibilities, daughters, a wife, a mortgage etc, then that is what I WOULD do.

What I am doing is putting things in motion in PREPARATION for leaving my job.

There is a chance that I might completely lose the plot and quit anyway, but that's ok as I do have other skills I can earn money from.

Keep clicking you beautiful people!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Podcast number last!

At last, number 14! A bit of a shoddy one as it's been a while since my last one, so I'm not properly back in the flow so I thought I'd better play some good music. The fantastic Tom Caulfield from Weymouth and the amazing Matt Stevens from London. I managed to slip a newish one of mine towards the end. Hi if you're a new listener and welcome back if you are a regular. I'll try and keep these a bit more regular. If you have some music that you think I should feature, give me a shout.

Best place to listen is via iTunes, click on the link on the left.

If you don't do the iTunes thing then go direct to or you can listen via
The "Playa" on the right

Pip Pip!

Friday, 1 January 2010

Schemes and Plans

I thought it might be a good idea to lay out my plan for this new year. I spread myself around the internet and I hope that this will answer some of the questions that I get asked regularly.

1) The Vinyl Project is still a going concern. It's a big project and will take time (*something that I do not have enough of) to fully develop but IT WILL HAPPEN. All the money that has been given is sitting in a special bank account and will not be touched until certain milestones have been achieved. By that I mean sufficient funds to start recording and a certain level of publicity to make the whole thing viable. I promise that despite my dwindling personal funds I will not touch the money collect and THIS PROJECT WILL HAPPEN.

2) Pure Acoustica Despite The Dolphin (our main venue) closing Pure Acoustica is far from dead. I have found a great venue to carry on. More details to follow. If you're interested in Pure Acoustica either from an audience point of view or as an artist either pop your email address into the reverbnation widget on the right or if you're a Facebook person click here.

As well as the live element of Pure Acoustica, I have also started a Pure Acoustica label. I have 2 great artists Tom Caulfield and Emmy-Lee signed up already. I am three fifths of the way through Toms album and have yet to start on Emmy's but will do *very soon.
I'm also half way through recording a new album of tunes, NOT THE VINYL PROJECT, that I hope to finish in the next 4 weeks*

3) Is This Thing On pod-cast I'm itching to start again but it's the lack of time* that is once again holding me back. The main thrust will still be independent (ie poor) composers and musicians as well as the usual rants, opinions, crazy ideas and some of the best non signed independent music I can find as well as that I have some interviews lined up.

4) I have promised to do a few live radio spots for some of my friends who have regular shows and will let you know as and when they happen.

I'll also continue to play out in Southampton as well as anywhere else that I can find and will continue to do musical odd-jobs for Watch With Mothers and anyone else who wants me.

*TIME.....All the schemes and projects I have suffer from me not having enough time to commit to them so I have taken the decision to give up my day job later this year and go full time on musical projects. It's a big decision as I have bills, mortgages and daughters to consider. But if I don't do it now, I never will.
I have a few things I can fall back on if I need some part time work (the docks are just up the road sweetie) and a very supportive wife so it should work eh EH EH?

To follow my progress you can follow this blog, to be kept up to date with gigs, radio appearances etc pop your email address into the first reverbnation widget on the right (the Nick Tann one), I also have a facebook group here  or you can come and stalk me at Twitter
If this is your first time here, welcome. Have a listen to some of my tracks and if you like then tell a few people eh?