Saturday, 28 June 2008

Recording drums for Al Ibell, take 1

Al Ibell asked me to play drums on his "almost finished" recording. So basically it means recording over an almost finished song, which is different to the way I'm used to recording (i.e. either alone, or with a band at the same time). It's a pretty different skill, and kinda cool to experiment with adding rhythmic textures to an already basically completed recording.

So today I recorded the first song "Sad Orchestra." Al wanted a vintage-type drum sound, so we recorded my old rogers drum kit with 2 ribbon microphones. Here's some photos.

Pretty cool aye?

Fuck I'm a nerd.

Thanks to Logan for the photography. Truely magic stuff.


Jazz school syndrome #1

So Vibrasics played support for Christchurch-based, jazz school student band "Locean" last night.  It was poorly attended. We agreed to play this show a couple of months ago, when the band got in touch with us over Myspace. Here's a rant.

I started getting wind that it was going to be a "blah" gig early this week, when I realized I hadn't seen any promotion for it... Uh oh - unknown CHCH band plays Friday night gig without decent promo - bad idea.  Ah well, so I get an email midweek from Tim Driver with an attached poster and an open invite for the support bands to help out with posters.  Needless to say I was way too busy and didn't do anything, especially at such late notice.

Anyway on Friday I was openly optimistic about hearing a new band, and meeting some new people.  Vibrasics showed up, played first (the best if your playing support, it means you get to drink the majority of the drinks rider while the other bands are playing), and we met some of the people from Locean.  The ones that introduced themselves to me were really nice, and we had a bit of a chat.

One of the guys even offered to split the cash from the gig 3 ways (RFM also played) - I of course refused.  It is pretty much a given that touring indie (independent) bands should get most, if not all of the door money.  They're on tour, the locals aren't.  This favour is repaid when the situation is reversed.  Anyway I actually don't know for sure what happened with the cash last night - I was too drunk and had to go home by 2am.

Anyways so RFM played their best set i'd seen them play in ages.  Paul MK filled in for Andy on drums and did a really great job.  I even enjoyed Tim's trombone solos (for the wrong reasons of course haha).  Dave Eely Djed in-between the bands, and played a really interested eclectic set of remixed classic funk and hiphop tracks which I enjoyed (don't get me wrong - I used hate that kind of stuff). 

So anyways Locean.  This band is made of a bunch of reasonably talented jazz students.  They can all play their instruments competently, sometimes with flair.  However they look like a bunch of people who want to be playing different music to their "soul, jazz, dub, breaks combo," apart from their lead singer, who seemed pretty into it.

Bass Player - metal.
Guitarist - church music
Drummer - drum and bass?
Horn section - dub

So yeh it kinda just looked a bit awkward onstage, and the songs seemed pretty underdeveloped as well.  Don't get me wrong, they were lovely people, and the music was well played, I just thought that the group of people didn't play together like a solid unit, and I wasn't sold on the songs.  I think that once the songwriting becomes a little more mature, and they fully sort out their lineup - they'll probably be able to hold their own - if Holly Smith hasn't ruined it for them already. But hey, they're booked to play Winterfest tonight in Queenstown for "Jazz night" with other NZ music "greats" such as Tahuna Breaks and Katchafire.

And thus Jazz school syndrome #1.

btw if anyone has photos from the evening flick them through and I'll stick them up.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Digital Distribution 101

Okay so I thought I better let ya'll into a "not so big secret" about digital distribution.

If you want iTunes to "stock" your CD, you have a few options as to how to go about getting your music on there.

Option #1. Directly set yourself up as a music provider with Apple. This involves applying to Apple for distribution as a music label. The most long-winded approach (though you'll make the most money).

Option #2. Get someone in NZ who already has a hookup with Apple to do it for you (this usually involves a fairly hefty commission). Loop does it, and they take 20%.

Option #3 (This is the best one). Get CDBaby to sort it all out. This is the same pretty much as option #2, except they're based in Portland, Oregan. They also distribute your record to shitloads of other online music stores, and only take 9%. They're pretty freakin' awesome, really honest, and really fast. You can sell physical CDs there as well. The Tweeks have had some success with them, and the Julian Temple Band (though probably under the JuJu Crew name) by all accounts have had good success.

I post this because I just checked The Tweeks' digital distro on CDBaby, and we're on all these. Awesome huh?

PayPlay

and of course our own CDBaby page

Friday, 20 June 2008

Most incredible review ever



Okay so my boy in Auckland "Magic" Alex Barker found the Groove Guide review. Is has to be the shittist review I've read in ages. Now don't get me wrong - this is not the forum where I complain about my bands getting negative reviews, but check this out. Even the cover art is incorrect (it's from our first album - You Can Listen Too). Now compare it to the mixed review "Dave Local" (David Ager) wrote about our live show on dunedinmusic.com, which in my opinion was researched much better.

So Andrew Ferguson - you failed. D-

Thursday, 19 June 2008

The saga continues

Haha so I got this email today from Leonie at Groove Guide.

Hi again,
I was just going through some recent issues and your Tweeks review is in the
issue that came out on June 4th, with Liam Finn on the cover.
Chuck me your address and I'll send you a copy if you need it.
Cheers,
Leonie


Decent! I guess things must have been a bit messy with the changeover of editors huh?

Let's hope it's not too scalding!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Groove Guide

Haha so this is the email I got from Groove Guide today, after I emailed them asked when they were going to review my (Tweeks) CD.

Hi there,
It's Leonie here. Kerryanne has moved on and I'm her replacement as editor.
Unfortunately for you that means I have no idea who she gave your CD to, to
review.
I'm really sorry!
I'll let you know as soon as someone submits it.
Best,
Leonie

Ahhhh struth. I also emailed Shayne Gilchrist from the ODT as well, but he didn't reply. So far after the release of our sophmore album, no one has reviewed it. Seriously this is pretty fucked up. I guess it must be really shit!

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Quick tour update, and Vibrasics video shooting

Cool so The Tweeks August tour dates are confirmed. 

Thursday 28th The Dux de Lux CHCH
Friday 29th The Blue Pub Methven
Saturday 30th The Mighty Mighty Wellington.

Cool.  I paid for the plane tickets (640), which is sweet.  All the shows are guarantee shows so I know exactly how much we've got for additional transport and promo. Tight.

So now the others are onto press/posters etc.  Yay.

In other news Vibrasics' video started shooting today! It is the brain-child of Dave.  Here's a sneak pic.

Sunday, 15 June 2008

TFF, Babystock, and The Blue Pub

This weekend was a relatively busy one for me. On Friday I had the pleasure of recording the recent Otago regional rockquest winners TFF (The Fuckin' Fuckers). They were pleasant enough boys, and had some pretty decent musical ideas. They are the unfortunate victims of a current dunedinmusic.com flame war... Ahhh high school.

On Friday night The Tweeks “donated” a reasonably loose and sarcastic set for a charity gig called “Babystock”, run by a local musician/med student by the name of Eamonn Deverall. The gig raised money for a new ultrasound machine in the Philippines. It was well promoted and well run, and apparently they raised enough money to buy the machine! Well done! From The Tweeks' point of view, our onstage sound was shit, and we played a bit crap. Ahhh well the crowd seemed kinda into it.

Speaking of onstage sound, the onstage sound HAY MAN! had in The Blue Pub in Methven was great! In fact, the whole gig was freakin' fantastic. The Blue Pub is right up there with The Redcliff Cafe in Te Anau in terms of an awesome rural gig to play.

Now let me explain to you some things about rural gigs. In many ways they are an oxymoron when compared to “city” gigs. For one, the band almost always gets paid a reasonably good guarantee. They will also get good meal, accommodation, and a generous bar tab. The band will also have to play for about three hours, to a few country bumpkins who want to hear “The Gambler,” “To Be With You” etc. Dragon's “April Sun in Cuba” would probably be considered “edgy”. So yeah, you can imagine what it's like when a bunch of skinny white guys sporting “gay” haircuts jump onstage straight after the rugby in one of these places.

Now the experience of playing a rural gig can be horrific, scary, and plain depressing. It can also freakin' rule. Welcome to The Blue Pub. Every time I played there Luke Piper, the bar manager, has been the most incredible host. We were made to feel totally welcome and comfortable, he wasn't demanding, and put up with our constant demanding for drinks once our tab had run out at about 2am. More importantly, he'd talked up HAY MAN! to all the local's and by about halfway through the night they were up jumping around, doing the twist, pulling the fingers, getting on the microphone, and asking us to play Stereophonics songs.

Now as I said earlier, we had great onstage sound. This is all due to the fact that the Blue Pub is one of the few rural venues to have it's own, fully working, full-range sound-system. They also provide you with Chris, a quiet, likable sound guy. In fact the only venue in New Zealand I can think of that also provides this is Mightymighty in Wellington! Isn't that mental?

So there ya go, ring up Luke at the Blue Pub, and book yourself in – if you can get a spot!

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

media done properly

Remember yesterday's rant about how The Tweeks can't afford to send CDs to the media anymore?

Well check out this guy: "gerd aka dj ottic," from Sinzig, Germany requested a CD. I told him to download it. He replied,

"hello,

thanks for your reply. i´m looking forward to play your music soon.
stay tuned for playlists & feedback.

best regards
gerd aka dj ottic"

Now what a nice guy. For that I'll let his little "plural issue" go. B-nets - take note!

Gig booking update

So after consulting the band last night about what to do about this free date, we've decided to try play another show in Canturbury. So I hit up Luke Piper, the guy who books The Blue Pub in Methven, while Anthony filled out the online booking form for The Wunderbar in Lyttleton.

I haven't heard from Anthony yet about The Wunderbar, but Luke got straight back to me. The deal there is they don't usually do bands on Fridays (the 29th of August is a Friday), but he's pretty keen to get us back and is trying to jiggle things around with another band to let us play that date. What a good cunt!

Anyways we'll see what the dealio is soon!

Also HAY MAN! are playing there this weekend for the "start of the ski season" party. It's going to be outrageous. I'll let you'll know how it goes after!

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

First real rant

Okay so today I was trying to sort out a date for this Tweeks tour that I'm booking. We desperately need a gig on the 29th of August, as we're in CHCH the night before, and Wellington the night after. We wanted to play Auckland of the 29th, but after several reasonably off-putting (though retartedly common) incidents I decided to drop it.

I got my girl Fleur at KiwiFM, and "Magic" Alex to give me lists of venues up there at the moment which are worth performing at. Here's the results (note this is abridged, this is the result of 1 weeks ringing/emailing/begging). Ow, also Andrew Tidbull from cheeseontoast.co.nz was reasonably helpful.

Whammy: Booked
King's Arms: Booked
Coherent: No one answers the phone
The Basement Bar: They have a venue hire fee, and it's booked.
Dog's Bollix: Booked
Backbeat: No reply to email
Masonic: There's no way I'd play there again under normal circumstances.

But what really tipped it off was ringing Simon from The Thirsty Dog. After a few attempts to get in touch, the phone finally rang, he picked up and I said "Hey it's Stu Harwood here from The Tweeks-"
Simon replied "Can you hold please?" and then put down the phone.

I waited for 5 minutes as he had a chat to someone in the bar, with my phone credit rapidly diminishing. At this point I thought to myself "fuck this," and gave up on Auckland for this round.

In good news, us at The Tweeks got a sneak peak at our newest video. It looks awesome. I'll post it up once I'm allowed.

Oh yeah, and Rob Forbes from http://www.leicesterbangs.co.uk/ wants to review The Tweeks' new album. That's kind of nice. No-one in the New Zealand media has reviewed our yet, despite pretty much all the outlets having a copy.

However I went to their site and it says they're not interested in MP3s and stuff. They want to review the actual package. Uh oh!

So what that means is that they want a free copy of the album. Now this sort of practice is actually really common. However when your in a really poor Dunedin band, and you've almost run out of your first run of 100 CDs , and can't afford to press the next 100 cos your still in debt from your last tour things get trickier. Yep, the email I send Rob is gonna be a cracker!

Fuck it, I might just send this guy a real copy, as he's actually asked for it, unlike all these NZ people who got free ones, and haven't done anything with them apart from probably play a "hilarious" round of office Frisbee.

Anyway nighties for now

First real blog

Okay so here goes. My name is Stu Harwood. I play in several bands in Dunedin, New Zealand. This blog will hopefully relieve my frustration at dealing with "players" in New Zealand music "industry." This will include booking gigs/tours, negotiating licensing, organising promotions, playing shows, recording, distributing and marketing albums, and whatever else for The Tweeks, Vibrasics, and The Greatest Rock 'n' Roll Band HAY MAN!

So yeh I'm not fucking around. Noticed how I used my real name? Yep you saw it. That means I'm going to use YOURS in this blog as well. Enjoy.

Testing 123

This is Stuart from Borderline, checking that this shiz works..... Does it?