Tuesday, August 31, 2010

"I'll make ya famous.."

So says Billy the kid (Emilio Estevez) before gunning down his latest victim in one of my favourite movies as a teenager, 'Young guns'. Kick ass soundtrack by Jon Bon Jovi too!

Anyway, as I slooooooowwwly make my way towards achieving everything I want in music (which are pretty lofty goals by the way, I actually want to win a Grammy. If the Conchords can do it..) it does bring up the issue of fame & putting yourself in the public eye. Obviously there's no way I can achieve the things I want without gaining some sort of notoriety along the way.
It's always been in the back of my mind & to be perfectly honest it terrifies me. Whether this has contributed to the length of time it's taking me to achieve anything at all is debatable but I have been pontificating on the nature of fame & why I want these things in the first place.

The way I see it as long as I'm pursuing these goals for the right reasons & with the right intentions, I should be able to avoid the various pitfalls & roadblocks that seem to derail so many talented artists. So why do I want this? What are my intentions with wanting to become a succesful musician? I've thought about this & I can only answer it's the realisation of my potential as a human being. I feel like God gave me a big chunk of talent & left me do with it what I will. You often hear the term "everyone is great at something" well, this is the thing that I'm great at. Achieving my goals is like the realisation of the purpose I was born. I don't feel I will ever be able to rest until I put all those little pieces inside me together that complete the puzzle that is my talent.

Secondly, & this is probably even more important than the first point, is the example that I am able to present for other people to see & replicate. By fully realising my own potential I'm able to show through my actions what is possible for other people to achieve by pursuing their own goals & dreams. It's not serving anyone for me to sit at a desk for 8 hours then go home to watch TV & have dinner, but if I can write an album that's still being listened to in 50, 100 years, then that's making a contribution.
I think this quote says it best:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mojo - 13 Aug 2010

Was it something I said?
These falling leaves
Kia tatari mou
I told you brother
The old man and the sea
City streets
Oh my
Not my best show. Some good high points still, 'City Streets' went well, funnily enough it was the song I was most worried about beforehand as it has such a high verse & I can usually hide behind the band. However the song's strong enough to cope with no backing & once I got in the swing of things the uniqueness of the song makes it part of it's appeal. The other song that went over well was 'I told you brother', I was completely relaxed by the time I played it so smoked the slide parts. It was gratifying to play it the way I know it can be played. Otherwise there were a couple of cringe moments, 'these falling leaves', a new track about environmental disaster that I haven't put lyrics to yet & therefore played as an instrumental & 'oh my' both lost me listeners. I knew as soon as I started playing them that I'd made the wrong song choice but it was too late so I soldiered through & finished them both. Overall I'd give the gig a 5/10. I've been replaying it in my head ever since & keep coming back to what a wasted opportunity a gig is if you're not winning new fans. I was talking to Ange about it & if you're not impressing people you're losing them & that's definately how I feel about this show. Some things I learnt:
  • If I need to stop a gig to get equipment, just do it. After opening with 'Was it something I said?', I felt 'Portrait' would be a good second song, with the harmonica part, but I'd forgotten to get it out of my bag before I started so would've needed to stop everything to get it. In hindsight I should've because as I suspected 'these falling leaves' just didn't keep peoples interest.
  • I need more world class songs. I've decided to forget about Pisces for now & completely focus on my solo performance. I believe I can still put on memorable & engaging performances as a solo act but I need about 5 more great songs. World class songs that are able to silence a loud crowd. It can be done, here's two basic acoustic tracks which show what can be done with just an acoustic guitar & a great song. This is my challenge for the rest of the year, to write 5 great songs. Simplicity, that's what I'm going for.

My goals from here to the end of the year are: Finish the Pisces album & develop my solo show's to a very high level, which means great songs.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Battle of the bands!!

I played a battle of the bands last night with 8 other acts at Molly Malones, unfortunately I didn't make the top three & go through to the final but it was a fun night & I'm not too disappointed. I didn't really feel like I belonged there so I don't mind not to get through. One of the young solo guys did make it through & just seeing the shock on his face when his name was called out was worth missing out for.
I played Kia tatari mou, Trouble & Hear the train a comin'. With only 20 minutes and three songs each I figured I should try to make my songs as distinctive & memorable as possible & each of those songs has a unique factor. Kia tatari mou becomes more enjoyable to play as I'm getting used to the phrasing in te reo. I'm starting to understand the dynamics of the song and so am able to turn it up or dial it back as the song dictates whereas before I was just trying to get the words out & the actual song suffered. I also switched to english for the final verse & chorus which worked a treat. Trouble was good, I tried to slow it down a bit & not rush so much as I've done in the past. I found the rhythm of the song at moments but it never really took off like I know it can, but that'll come. Hear the train a comin' I wasn't happy with, the guitar sounded tinny to me & I couldn't find the individual strings to accentuate each note. When you're playing slide quickly the challenge is to not just smash two or three strings and turn the whole thing into a mashed up mess. To be able to pick the single string you're after is the skill in playing an upbeat song & last night I just couldn't find the songs mojo. It's there & the more I play the song the better it'll sound but last night to my ears it just sounded like a mashed up mess. What's worse is I forgot the structure of the song so got lost & had to improvise an ending. Lack of practice!
Still, everytime you play you learn & there were plenty of postives:
  1. I made a couple of contacts, one of the boys there (who did a really nice loop effect a la KT Tunstill) asked if I'd be keen to do a gig with him & Leigh bought a friend who's keen to try-out as a drummer for us.
  2. I had some good feedback, particularly for Trouble. The uniqeness of an acapella song seems to really intrigue people.
  3. I can't really afford not to practice before a show, even if it is only three songs long.
  4. I was happy with my voice even though it's been a couple of months since I sang. It feels like my voice is just itching to be used more & once I'm gigging regularly it's really going to develop & come on.

So that was that, a good fun night & definately worth the effort.

Next up, finish my parts on the record & have a jam with the new drummer.