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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Finally.... Progress Is Made: Run With It!

Well well well, progress is finally being made. I know, it's been a while and I really do need to concentrate on writing in here a lot more often! Definitely working on that one :)

Ok, we have a new bass player!! **woot!!** He's really awesome, fantastic personality, great contacts and an all round good guy - the best part - he loves the music!!! That is just everything we needed rolled into one! Perfect! So the band have all been practicing... and it's sounding fantastic! I think when they play live will be awesome to watch.

So, the new bass player has some great contacts - as he works in one of the major music stores here in NZ. He has access to some great gear and he is BIG on production of shows!! That to us is a massive bonus (his thoughts on production, I mean), because that tells me that he takes this seriously. You see, it's all about putting on a show. Not just getting up and playing - but really putting on a show, creating an atmosphere.... that is what hooks people in. And it just so happens that our bass player has access to all that big production stuff - catwalk, PA (if needed), LED lighting, fog machine etc.... !

So.. not only have we got the band together and working and sounding great, but we also have a gig coming up - it's about 7 weeks away, but it's a start. I'm working on getting a lot more before then as well as after... but now that we have the band sorted, I feel like I can start doing MY job as manager. Bout time huh! lol

Also, I have that one-on-one with a music industry pro on Tuesday - am really looking forward to that, and just working on the list of questions and things I want to discuss. I have had a read about the person I am meeting with - a very accomplished lady who has managed some of the biggest bands in NZ! Awesome! What better than learning from the best! Will let you know how I go....

Monday, January 5, 2009

Getting Back On Track...

I look back at the last post and think 'gosh, how simple this could be if people got their acts together and their priorities right'. But that is ok, it's how we deal with these things that matter.

So after a lot of mulling over and thinking about it all, the lead singer (who is the leader of the band) and I have decided that we will keep the drummer on at this stage, and are currently looking at a couple of bassists. Hopefully by the end of the week, or early next week, I will know if we have found one. There's a couple of guys interested so it's just a matter of seeing how they go and making sure we get the right "fit".

As for the drummer, the singer will be having a chat to him as he needs to practice, and it drives me up the wall to see someone involved in this with no drive. He claims he really does want this - but no practice says something else. So at this stage, we will keep him on - get the name out there on the local scene, and if he continues the way he is, it will be alot easier to replace him when the band is well known.

This may sound callous, but at the end of the day - right now, all that's important is that the band is out playing asap. Once that is happening, once they build up a fanbase, get known in the area as well as round New Zealand.... then I know it won't be hard to find someone that is willing to put in the hard yards and get along with everybody else.

So... in summary, we'll check out these bass players later in the week, get the band out to play live asap, and build their following! Their self titled debut album is due out early this year, so that will be awesome to get it out there!

I have joined the MMF (Music Manager's Forum) here in New Zealand. Upon registration, you are entitled to a one on one meeting with an industry professional - so that should be a great help in seeking direction with whereto from here!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Brand New Start Perhaps?

Ok so what happens when you have the product (i.e the songs/album), but no band to play them? It's such a frustrating situation right now and to be honest I'm not entirely sure what to do here. I manage a band and have one hell of a lead singer/guitarist who is committed. I see that he lives it and breathes it. He practices every day. The commitment is awesome.

However, we have a drummer that insists he's committed to this yet doesn't practice. In fact, just yesterday him and the lead singer had a practice - which lasted all of 20 mins because the drummer didn't know half of the songs and they then had a disagreement about the way the song is to sound (singer wrote the song and wants a wimpy crash cymbol in the background - the drummer is saying that he can't do that, and it's the sound man's job to make it quieter. The singer has shown him how he wants it done... but the drummer refuses, saying it's not his "style").

On top of all that, the bass player lives 7 hours away from the rest of the band! I had the opportunity for them to play a few gigs early in January (10th and 17th) but the bass player can't get down here. In saying that - I don't expect him to drive 7 hours, play a set or two, then drive back home... then do that again the following weekend. So... the only solution we could come to is that our bass player needs to be local (or the current one to relocate - at least for the first 6 mths until we established the band name locally). When that suggestion was made to him, sounds like he wants to do it, but needs "proof" that this is going to work!

I can't prove or make guarantees that this is going to work out. I can do my damndest though to make it happen. What I need is for the band members to create a united front, believe in this, believe in themselves and do their damndest as well. They need that commitment.

But at this stage - I just don't see it. When I first started this blog I said to you that if you are going to get anywhere in life - you need to leave the 'nay-sayers' behind. With a drummer that won't practice - and when he does, he doesn't listen and a bassist that want's 'proof' this is going to work.... well... I am now sitting back and thinking - maybe the worst part is that the nay-sayers are in this band!!!

Is it time for a new drummer? A new bassist? Is that what we need to do? We don't want just any bass player or drummer.... they need to be on the same page as us. They need to see what we see. They need to have the wicked skills - but not only that - they need the emotional strength to do this ... and that is probably just as important as having the skills. Emotional strength is what will help keep the band together - support each other etc. There's always going to be tough times when starting out..... is a whole new lineup what we need??

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I'm Back Baby!! Summary...

Well, it has certainly been a while... what... a whole 6 months since I have updated this blog!! Those readers that remain - thank you for your patience ;) I have since been inspired to continue. Thank you to one reader, Austin, for his lovely emails.

Ok, there's not a lot to summarise over the last 6 months. Suffice to say we have since moved to the capital city, Wellington - which has one of the most vibrant music scenes in New Zealand. We moved here a couple of months ago as I knew it was going to go nowhere if we stayed in Hamilton. It's way too small for starters and a lot of negative vibes, if you've read this blog since I started it, then you'll know exactly what I mean. If not, have a gander over the previous posts - I'm sure you'll find it interesting.

Now as for the last post - regarding funding - we put in that song as advised, and what do you know! Declined! Interesting... to say the least. "Charlie" seemed to think funding wouldn't be a problem now.

Well I guess I have come to realise that there is the 'music scene' and then there's the 'music industry'. The music scene is playing live, making fans, getting your music out there and meeting other musicians. The music industry is more getting to those 'in the know', catching the eye of the movers and shakers in the industry, coming across as serious about what you are doing and where you are going.

So, since moving down to Wellington, I have decided that it's imperative to get into the music industry. I have taken some time to meet with a few key people to help us on our path, and been given some great help and advice.

At one of these meetings, I was told that people think it's hard to break into the New Zealand music industry, but in fact, it really is quite simple. So I will be using the contacts I was given at that meeting as soon as I can.

Unfortunately, it's too late to get into the summer festivals this time round. Summer in NZ runs from December to March - so it's usually all organised prior to December. However, our plan is to get the band playing some gigs live (there are some wicked venues here in Wellington for live bands) build up the following - and in 6 months time, the organisers of festivals will be coming to us! :)

At the end of the day, it's all about having a damn good product. If you have the product, and it's that good, you will get noticed. It's inevitable. Oh sure, you can get by and 'make it' on other quirks (be it the look you have, the show you put on, or simply an amazingly charismatic stage presence), but if you want a surefire way - make sure you have damn good songs!

Oh, and suffice to say: practice, practice, practice.
No good having damn good songs but your drummer misses a beat, your bass player gets it wrong, or your vocalist forgets a line.

More on that tomorrow ;)

This band has the product. It has a great vocalist and lead guitarist, but alas, I don't see the level of commitment needed from the other musicians. But I'll talk about that shortly :)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Next Step: Funding

I must admit, here in New Zealand, we are pretty lucky. I'm not sure if other countries have anything similar (would love to hear if you do). We have this government department in New Zealand called 'New Zealand On Air' (NZOA) where musicians and bands can apply for funding for creating music videos (and other things including new recordings, albums etc). The whole point is to fund music videos for broadcast on music television shows and music television channels and in turn increase the number of local songs played on commercial radio. So to be eligible for Music Video Funding, the submitted song must exhibit potential for radio and television airplay.

Up until now, whenever we applied to NZOA for funding, we always got turned down - saying the music wasn't "commercial enough". Well, after the 'showcase' for 'Charlie' a month ago, Charlie told me that we should find it easier to get funding now. Apparently he had a word with the top guy there who was very impressed with what he had to say and also with the amount of views the band have received on YouTube.

So now, applications for funding for a music video close in about 2 weeks time, so I will be getting that off first thing Monday morning - will let you know how we get on with that!