On The Road

A friend of mine shared the post below with me a few days ago.

It is called “Roadies – Unlikely Survivors In The Music Industry” and was originally published in the Wall Street Journal, not your average rock ‘n’ roll publication!

Although it’s not strictly about musicians, it is about a part of the music industry that even more people may be able to get into, maybe without realising it?

Roadies are often thought of as a bit of a figure of fun, but reading this post may make you see them in a different light, especially when you see how much they can earn per year. Yes, these may be figures from the USA, but road crew are used across the world and in ever increasing numbers too.

As mentioned in the post, touring is now an even more important part of any bands career than in the past, mainly because it’s often the best way for an act to make any money. After all record/CD and even download sales don’t exactly set any musicians bank manager wild with delight these days do they?

Another often missed aspect of a roadies world is that it’s not all about humping amps and drum kits from a truck to a stage anymore. Technology and stage shows have moved on and the skills needed and careers available are now a world away from what they were in the 1960′s and 70′s.

So, even if you’re not a musician, but quite fancy a life on the road with a band, take a look at this post. Maybe you are missing your vocation in life, or maybe you have skills that can be used to help get that show on the road, but you just never realised it?

http://www.wsj.com/articles/roadies-unlikely-survivors-in-the-music-business-1426780184

Photo by tgraham on Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Local Musical Meet Up?

Part of the recent Hastings Fat Tuesday celebrations was a two day music seminar/conference called Un-Convention, which was held over two days at St Mary In The Castle.

This was the 73rd Un-Convention event and the first to be held in the South East of the UK, that’s quite a coup. Musicians, promoters, writers, movers and shakers travelled from as far as Manchester to take part and share their own personal stories, experiences and wisdom to an engaged audience.

You can still see the aganda for the two days here, just in case you want to know what you may have missed: http://www.hastingsfattuesday.co.uk/2015/un-convention/

One of the panels was titled ‘Local Scenes – Collaboration, Co-Operations and Making It Happen’, which I chaired, and was focussed on the current music scene in Hastings, with the panellists sharing their observations of local music scenes across the UK, all with a view to attempting to see how Hastings can learn from those towns and cities and move forward itself.

One idea that came out of that session was the setting up an informal regular meet up of interested parties, whether they be musicians, promoters, venue owners, producers etc etc…

Past Un-Convention events have encouraged this idea, as getting all those people together in a room, in an informal way, can help cement and grow a local music scene. Something that Pierless Music, Fat Tuesday and The Stinger magazine are very keen to do.

On the day, people in the audience thought that a regular meet up was a good idea and that they would support it. But what about you?

Is this something that you would want to get involved with and how should we go about it? The initial suggestions is for a monthly meeting, maybe on a quieter Monday evening, in a local hostelry.

If that sounds like something you would go to, please let us know by sending an email, and any suggestions, to: contact@pierlessmusic.co.uk

As some of you may already be aware, Hastings Borough Council hosted a meeting recently all about the local music scene here in Hastings, as a part of their cultural policy.

Although this was very well attended, and the suggestion of a regular meeting was raised, many in the audience felt that any such meet up should be independent of any ‘official’ involvement. Hence why we are suggesting this idea of our own now.

Here’s your chance to get involved with the local music scene in Hastings, put your suggestions and ideas forward and maybe help make that scene even bigger and better than what it already is.

After all a collective voice is far better and more effective than a lone one.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Off Axis – Fat Tuesday

(Updated 12.02.2015)

This years Hastings Fat Tuesday celebrations have several new additions to the already hectic schedule and Off Axis is just one of them.

But what is Off Axis and what can you expect to see and hear?

We have mentioned the Off Axis idea on Pierless Music before, as you can read here:

http://pierlessmusic.co.uk/off-axis-with-dorey-the-wise/

The aims of Off Axis are to “help bands to connect together and build audiences and networks across the UK”. That’s something that appeals to us here at Pierless Music and the Fat Tuesday team as well, hence getting them involved with this years festival.

You can out more and get involved here: http://offaxisnetwork.com/

This year there will be a dedicated Off Axis event at The Carlisle, on Sunday 15th February. A total of 12 bands will be playing 20 minute sets, upstairs and downstairs.

The acts are coming from as far afield as Bristol, Kent, Brighton and even Rouen in France. There will also be some local favourites to see too.

Here is a list of acts and proposed stage times (subject to change):

1.30pm: WAX – (Downstairs)

2pm: Joe Corbin – (Upstairs)

2.30pm: Native People – (Downstairs)

3pm: Follow – (Upstairs)

3.30pm: A Billion Lions – (Downstairs)

4pm: Of Empires – (Upstairs)

4.30pm: Less Than Worse – (Downstairs)

5pm: Dorey The Wise – (Upstairs)

5.30pm: Kid Kapichi – (Downstairs)

6pm: The Scruff – (Upstairs)

6.30pm: Candela – (Downstairs)

7pm: Lascaux – (Upstairs)

For more info about the bands and the event, visit the Fat Tuesday website:

http://www.hastingsfattuesday.co.uk/2015/sunday/#off_axis

I Want Your Music

I’ve just read that the application to enable Hastings Rock radio station to return in 2015 is just about to be sent off. That’s great news.

What that means is that it is now time for me to start collecting together new local music for potential airplay during their broadcast. I already have some good tracks in my database, but there’s always room for more.

Apart from tracks to include on my own Local Music Show, I also sort out the local music that is used on Hastings Rock’s ‘A List’ Playlist. These tracks are played regularly throughout the broadcast, alongside all the new releases and album tracks from more established artists.

So, how can you get your music considered for airplay? Well the usual rules apply:

1 – Music must be original material. No cover versions please, they won’t be played.

2 – All songs must be of broadcastable quality and include NO swearing.

3 – Artists must be from the Hastings Rock broadcast area. That is Rye to Eastbourne and inland as far as approx Hurst Green. I may play music from places as far afield as Brighton, Ashford and Tunbridge Wells etc, if space and time allows.

4 – All songs must be on CD, or mp3. A good biog is also very useful.

5 – Your music doesn’t have to be ‘Rock’. I do push the musical boundaries, within reason, during the Local Music Shows, so other genre’s will be considered.

6 – There is no guarantee that your music will be played.

If you think you fit the bill, email me at: andygunton@hotmail.com

One more thing to add. I can’t do interviews, or live sessions, during the Local Music Shows, so please don’t ask.

By the way, Hastings Rock is pencilled in to run between Saturday 2nd and Friday 29th May 2015. Stay tuned for more news.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Andy

The Stinger – Issue 6

It doesn’t seem possible, but The Stinger is celebrating a year in print with the publishing of its 6th Issue, which hit the streets at the weekend. Happy birthday to them.

As you can see from this cover image, you can’t miss it!

Apart from the now usual features and news items, this bumper 64 page birthday edition contains a full programme to this years Fat Tuesday festivities in Hastings and St Leonards, between 13-17th February.

There are a few new events planned for this year, as well as all the old favourites. So check out The Stinger and also have a look at the official Hastings Fat Tuesday website for more details and updates: http://www.hastingsfattuesday.co.uk/2015/

Let the good times roll.

Local Cultural Regeneration Strategy

Please don’t be put off by the title of this post!

Hastings Borough Council are in the process of reviewing their Cultural Regeneration Strategy and are looking for the input of people involved in the local arts scene.

Obviously our main interest, here at Pierless Music, is with the musical side of things, but opinions are being sought from across the local artistic community.

To that end, HBC have set up a series of informal meetings which are open to all who have an interest in their own artistic sector. Details, dates and times are below.

The Music session is being held at the Stade Hall, on Tuesday 6th January, from 7-9pm.

We have already had discussions with HBC about this idea and we think it sounds very promising and we’ll certainly be going along to, at least, the Music session.

Here are the full details:

“Cultural Sector Conversations – the Remix:

Polly Gifford and Michael Hambridge, the Council’s Cultural Development Team, would like to invite artists, artist groups and organisations, and others working in the cultural sector to some informal meetings to start a conversation about the ongoing development of arts and culture in the town.

In early 2015 we will be reviewing and refreshing our Cultural Regeneration Strategy and we want this to be informed by the aspirations of the sector.

Where are we now?
Where would we like to get to?
How might we get there?

We hope you can join us for one of the sessions below, themed to different sub-groups:

MUSIC – Tuesday 6 January 2015, 7-9pm, Stade Hall, Rock-a-Nore Road, TN34 3FJ

VISUAL ARTS – Wednesday 7 January, 6-8pm, Stade Hall, Rock-a-Nore Road, TN34 3FJ

FILM / DIGITAL – Thursday 8 January, 5-6.30 pm, Electric Palace Cinema, High Street, TN34 3ER

THEATRE / DANCE – Tuesday 13 January, 6-8pm, Baker Mamanova Gallery, Norman Road, TN38 0EG     

WRITERS / PUBLISHERS – Thursday 15 January, 6-8pm, Stade Hall, Rock-a-Nore Road, TN34 3FJ

If you can’t make it, there will be other opportunities to join the conversation, so let us know if you’d like to be kept informed.  Feel free to pass this invitation on to anyone you think might be interested.

Please RSVP to lbolch@hastings.gov.uk, saying which session you’d like to come to.

Refreshments provided.

All venues, except the Electric Palace, are wheelchair accessible.”

This sounds like a great opportunity to get involved and maybe influence how Hastings Borough Council promotes and supports the local arts scene over the coming years.

So if you’re a local musician, venue owner, promoter, event organiser, or just have a keen interest in the local music scene and its future, why not go along and add your voice.

Maybe we’ll see you there?

It’s That Time Of Year Again

I’m sure it hasn’t escaped your notice that Christmas is just around the corner.

So, we’d like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and may all your musical resolutions come to fruition.

Thanks for being there over the past year and don’t forget to keep sending in your gigs for the Pierless Music Gig Guide. Just email details to: gigs@pierlessmusic.co.uk

See you on the other side, or maybe at a gig.

 

Calling All Local Acts.

Our colleagues over at The Stinger magazine have just announced a great opportunity for two separate local acts.

This involves grants they have been given by the Hastings Foreshore Trust which will enable The Stinger to help two lucky applicants.

Here’s what they told us:

One of the primary aspirations of The Stinger Magazine is to help deserving, hard-working local acts, by mentoring fledgling music projects through the initial development and recording process and promoting more established acts outside of the region and across the UK and Europe.
We are therefore delighted to announce that The Hastings Foreshore Trust have kindly awarded us a grant in order to support two unsigned local music acts. This fund will be split into equal parts in order to support two separate acts at different stages of development.

Core Development Fund: The exact nature of the support to be provided will depend on the needs of the act that is chosen, but in principle this will include: the recording, mixing and mastering of at least one song under the guidance of a professional producer; assistance in producing a music video in order to promote the song(s); the production of an EPK (Electronic Press Kit) and general support and advice with branding, website and social media development.

Concert & Touring Fund: The second half of the fund will be used to support a more established local act with a proven track record in live performance. The chosen band will be helped to coordinate and promote a series of UK and possibly (northern) Europe live dates. We will assist with the scheduling, promotion and logistic costs (travel, accommodation and general expenses), and provide an experienced tour manager.

In order to be chosen, you will need to prove that as well as being talented, you are ambitious and determined, which will need to be fully demonstrated during the application process, in order to satisfy the Submissions Panel and The Hastings Foreshore Trust, that the money has been wisely spent.

Applications for the grants close at midnight on 6th January 2015 and the ‘winners’ will be announced in the next issue of The Stinger magazine, due in mid January

Full details about the grants and how you can apply can be found here:

http://www.thestinger.org.uk/mentoring

Best of luck with your application.

The Sound of the Crowd

As many of you will no doubt already know, making music can be an expensive business and in these times of austerity, cut backs and the general decline of the record industry, it has become ever harder to raise the money to produce a decent recording.

Yes, music can now be made on just about any PC, laptop, or phone using various apps and computer programs, but there is still no real substitute for a decent recording studio, a good mixing desk, a producer/engineer and then the mastering of a finished product.

All of that costs money, which is one thing usually in short supply, especially for unsigned acts, or those on the lower rungs of the musical ladder. But never fear, hope is at hand.

Crowdfunding is increasingly coming to the rescue and is helping many acts get their music recorded and released.

For the uninitiated this works by friends, family, fans, or anyone else for that matter, pledging money to a particular project, via a website. There is always a funding target to be met and a closing date for giving pledges. Pledgers are then given various levels of funding options, all of which usually come with their own ‘reward’.

Services such as Kickstarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/) and Pledge Music (http://www.pledgemusic.com/) are even being used now by local bands. For example, local rockers Hornet have used Pledge Music to help with the costs of recording their debut album and their upcoming EP.

Now two more local acts are turning to crowdfunding to raise funds for future projects.

First we have Edd Blakeley, who is probably best known for his work with The Tabs and his father, Garry Blakeley. But he is now turning his attention away from Folk and towards something more Classical/Orchestral, ‘The Rosetta Suite’.

As Edd explained to Pierless Music, “The Rosetta Suite will be a full length album of orchestral music inspired by the Rosetta comet mission success.

The resounding success of the Rosetta space mission and its emotional impact on the world was truly inspiring. So much so that I picked up my pen, and started writing some orchestral music.

Over the next 6 months, I’ll be finishing this orchestral album of between 30-50 minutes of music. Much of it is already written, and follows the story of the Rosetta mission, its characters, successes and setbacks; all of it painted in vivid orchestral colour.”

You can find out more and listen to the opening movement of the Suite here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1611410447/rosetta-an-orchestral-album

Pledging packages for ‘The Rosetta Suite’ run from just £2, right up to £1,000 which would give you a Producers credit on the finished album and much more besides.

Edd is looking to raise a total of £2,500 and the closing date for pledges is 9th, January 2015. He is nearly 50% there already!

This sounds like a great idea and a very interesting project too and if the opening movement is anything to go by, the full Suite will be well worth listening to.

The second funding campaign is from one of the more recent arrivals to the local musical community, Tom Williams.

Tom’s band, The Boat, are currently taking a break so Tom is intending to release a seven track mini album of more acoustic based songs written on his battered Martin guitar.

Tom explained some of the reasons behind this new project: “Two years ago, just as the band were starting to record Easy Fantastic, I bought a new guitar. At the time I had never bought such an expensive instrument before and it scared the spit out of me. It was a beautiful battered and bruised Martin acoustic from 1971, and as soon as I got it home songs started falling out of it.”

You can find out more and listen to demo’s on Tom’s Pledge Music page here:

http://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/tomwilliamsminialbum

Pledging packages run from £6, which will get you a digital download of the finshed album, right up to £200, which will give you the chance to write and produce a song with Tom himself. He’ll even bring his portable studio to your house to do so!

Tom has already raised 75% of his total and you still have 98 days left to pledge.

Crowdfunding is now being used by all sorts of different enterprises and it’s easy to see why. From a musical point of view one great aspect of all this is that fans of the various acts get to be involved with their favourite artists and help them release new music that might otherwise never see the light of day. It’s also one more way of reinforcing that personal bond between the artist and the fan, which can only be a good thing for all concerned.

Pierless Music wish both Edd and Tom all the best with their own projects and look forward to hearing the finished results.

Why not get involved yourself and help these two exciting new local music projects get off the ground?

Touring – Two Views

One of the main reasons that Pierless Music exists is to try and help local acts get out of the Hastings area and into the wider musical world.

There are, of course, several different ways in which this could happen. It might be via a video posted on YouTube, hence why we’re happy to showcase those videos when we can.

Then there’s the chance of an act’s music being played on a radio station, either local, national or international.

But, another main way by which a band starts to attract new fans is by touring. Many local bands play one off gigs in places such as Brighton, or London. But not that many venture further afield, playing several gigs in a row – a tour. Once again, there are a number of reasons for this.

Some bands are happy to stay local, but others are more ambitious and want to expose their music to a wider audience, hopefully kickstarting a musical career as they go.

Even if you are ambitious, there are still obstacles to overcome, before you can get out ‘on the road’.

We have come across two blog posts that highlight some of those obstacles, both for a band starting out and also one a bit higher up the pecking order, but still taking the DIY approach, which is what you’re likely to be doing.

The first is from a very good UK based website called Sentric Music. They often have very relevant, useful information and blog posts, including this one. It is a part of their ‘Fund Your Future’ series of posts and is called ‘Ask the Tour Manager’.

In it an experienced tour manager answers seven questions about touring, which are especially relevant to a band starting out, taking that DIY approach. It’s well worth a read if your band is thinking of gigging further afield:

http://www.sentricmusic.com/blog/2014/november/26/ask-the-tour-manager/

The second post is by the American band Pomplamoose. In it they explain how they went about booking and playing a recent 28 day tour of the USA.

As mentioned earlier, they are a more established band, playing to 1,100 fans at the Fillmore in San Francisco for example. This is obviously a USA centric post, but we feel it is still very relevant and an interesting, eye-opening read as well.

The post is written by one of the band. See what you think:

https://medium.com/@jackconte/pomplamoose-2014-tour-profits-67435851ba37

If this has whetted your appetite for playing gigs outsdie of Hastings, then we may be able to help you. The Stinger magazine will shortly be announcing some exciting news for both new and more established acts in the Hastings and St Leonards area.

Part of this will involve helping one act to get out ‘on the road’. More details will be revealed shortly, so keep your eyes peeled.