Thursday, September 14, 2023

Windows XP

Something that I often think about is release timescales, or windows.

Say, for example, you're a mid-level band, sat on a fairly well known indie label, you have the booking agent, the manager, the label rep, the lot. You might not think you're a big deal, but compared to someone like me, it's a stratospheric difference.

For band x putting out their latest opus, you can expect their schedule to look something like: announcement -> pre-order -> singles, videos, etc. -> press activities like interviews, features, etc. -> reviews -> album release day -> touring. 

From the announcement to the release, there's anything from a few weeks up to something more like 2 months. The touring will take them the best part of a year to complete, depending on what it is. You can expect them on a big-ish support slot, then headline dates, festivals, one-offs, more headline dates (but perhaps in bigger venues this time), more festivals, then back home for writing and recording the next thing. If something presents itself like a US tour, or another big support slot, you can stretch this out for 18 months to 2 years at a push. Someone like Don Broco have only really just finished touring Amazing Things, and that came out in 2021.

For bands and artists like myself, in the best case scenario, you're looking at: announcement & pre-order -> release -> literally any fucking thing you can wrangle. That's pretty much it, and the average time between the announcement & pre-order to the actual release is something like 2 weeks. You might throw in a single to play on streaming, or a video you've knocked up on your phone or using stock footage (ahem) to re-ignite some interest before the album release, but it's slim pickings. Whatever press you do wrangle will be reviews, maybe a mention on a blog or a 'premiere', a bit of airplay on niche/ local programs or something. Very few interviews (if any) and if you're lucky, they might align with the release date. Quite a lot don't lol. Once the album's out, you've probably got the weekend before that's your lot. A 2 day window of engagement is all you're likely to see to be honest, and the 'touring' will be a week at best I should think. And those will be small 50 cap venues, stuff you've booked yourself, a support slot at your local venue, etc.


Have a guess when the tape came out

"well, why can't you get what the big band gets?" quite simply, it's money. But not just cold, hard cash- it's investment too. You need investment in your band from people with the belief that it'll 1) do well, and 2) make them money. Nothing wrong with that, it is a business after all, but if you don't have that investment, well... you get the picture. No splatter variant vinyl for you! It's time, effort, finding the right opportunities, and having those open to you in the first place - that's the kind of investment you're looking at if you want to jump on a bus and play in front of 1,500 people every night. 

There are pros and cons though I suppose - it's not all glitz and glamour, and you'll be away working in fairly shitty conditions for huge stretches of time, but I'd be lying if I said I don't get the ocassional daydream pang of envy whenever I see a big album announcement, or big tour coming up. If only for the dream of someone else doing the work for once.

When people say I'm prolific, or put out too many albums, it's because of these shrinking windows. I can't afford to sit on my arse for 2 years if I can make some more music and put it out in the meantime. I've had 3 albums out this year (4 if you include the recent ambient tape), and it's mainly because the small windows I get for each one neccesitate another release after it, to keep those wheels moving. You can't sit still anymore! That luxury doesn't exist, so you have to just keep going. Whether that's a good or bad thing, is up to you.

Friday, September 1, 2023

Clouds rolling on and nobody remembering anything

Well it's Bandcamp Friday, so I thought I'd celebrate by releasing a new worriedaboutsatan album. It's a little ambient tape I put together, comprised mainly of treated guitars, with the odd synth and piano in there for good measure. It was all made by using the Electro-Harmonix Freeze pedal I use live a lot, and then cutting up the resulting drone using the Boss Slicer SL-2 pedal to make these jittery rhythms. Bass, piano and synth I just played over the top once I'd gotten the bones of each track down.

After a bit of a breakneck 2023, I thought it would be nice to sort of come down a bit and take things a little bit easier with this one. I went back to my roots, and made up 20 tapes, each with unique packaging. There's a different postcard fragment on each cover, and the text is in a different font each time - doesn't sound like a big deal, but it fits in with the overarching theme of time passing and no-one being able to remember quite exactly how something happened. I found some old postcards in a charity shop, then cut them up and burned the edges of each one to make the covers - sounds fun, but very nearly passed out each time I had to burn something, despite me doing it outside as I knew the fumes would be quite intense. Lol.

The 20 tapes in all their glory

It was nice to go back to that old style of releasing - just getting something together and putting it out without thinking too much about it. There's also a video up of a track called 'And All of a Sudden, it was 2004', which is made up of home videos I used to make around that time with a really shitty digital camera I had. The track itself is a real throwback to that old post-rock sound from the early 00s that I used to absolutely love. It was really nice to revisit that sort of stuff and make a little love letter to it, so I hope you enjoy it:


Thursday, August 24, 2023

The table srikes back

I know it's only August, and there's still a fair chunk of 2023 to go, but as far as releases go, I'm all set for the rest of the year now. 

The funny thing was, as a sort of new years resolution I made to myself, I 'put everything back on the table'. This was supposed to steer me away from being a bitter and twisted old fruit that constantly moans and holds grudges against anyone who even remotely inconveniences me. So, I dispensed with all my prior biases, and my old contacts list came back out again - people I'd not spoken to in years, labels and promoters I'd completely given up on - all that was now back on the table. "I'll give them all one more try!" I said, optimistically, back in January.

Well, the funny thing is that they all came back on the table, and the only thing that happened was I slowly realised why they'd left the table in the first place. All I managed to discover this year was why I'd not bothered interacting with any of these people, and how easy it was to just do stuff by myself.

Wednesday, July 26, 2023

End of year mini tour

Did someone say 'gigs'? 

Well, I'm hoping a few of you did, as I'm on the road again towards the end of the year. 

These shows will be a little different though, as the live setup will be back to a two piece for the forseeable. No, no random guest stars, or previous members doing a Spinal Tap and sprinting back onstage to rock out, no - it'll be my lovely significant other, Sophie Green (she played with Her name is Calla, The Anchoress, Maybeshewill, and I'm sure some more I'm forgetting!) joining me onstage to play violin with me.

"But Gavin, isn't your set really banging?" - good question, and one I can answer by saying that no, it's way more ambient now. After the tour in May, I got home and basically scrapped the live set as it was, and built it back up again from scratch, making it focus way more on the drifty, ambient side of things. It'll still have those big ol' bass hits, and those skittering drums, don't you worry about that, but they'll be slotted around everything else. 

I'm well hyped for this, it's honestly the best the set has ever sounded, and can't wait to get out and play. The dates so far are:

16th September: Five Rise Records, Bingley (a free in-store, this one!) [details]

12th October: Nan Moor's, Todmorden (w/ Field Lines Cartographer) [tickets]

14th October: The Triangle, Shipley (w/ Field Lines Cartographer) [tickets]

Monday, July 17, 2023

absolute chaos

Don’t forget to crop your pictures to squares for instagram, and do you want to master the album with an engineer? Do you book a tour yourself or do you get some video content made for youtube? Is it time to look for a label? Do you want to learn how to drive? Can you email the right people at the right time, or do you want to buy a barcode? Do you know photoshop, or can you download your spotify stats into a csv? Do you find a booking agent, or a manager? You can’t find a label without a manager, and don’t forget to look through your instagram archive. PR is essential. It’s time to find a manager, but you can’t find a manager without being on a label. Can you make a radio edit please? Do you want to find a distributor, or do you want a manager to do it? Can’t get a manager without getting good gigs. Can’t believe he’s doing a festival, I should be doing a festival. Do you want to look for an agent? Can you make some merch, or do you want to send an mp3 to a radio station? Are you on mixcloud? Can you think of a song title, or are you on a mental health break? PR company is “not taking on any new clients”. Do you have kids, or do you have a substack? How much publishing would you be willing to give away? Have you thought about getting someone to do your bookings, or do you constantly feel sad? Clip that. Don’t forget to tweet your video (landscape please). And can you email that guy who said he’d write about you last year to see where he is? What’s a UPC? The song is too fast. The algorithm doesn’t like things posted at 2pm. Can you buy an IRSC code, or have you got a big enough car? How much is petrol, and don’t forget to send me those files in CMYK via wetransfer. I’m in the studio. Can I have a wav of that mix, or are you ok being paid in beer? Twitch. Are you vegan, or can you setup a bank account for the royalty payments? I’ve a pdf for the press people. Do you know how much a travelodge is? Can you write a middle 8, or do you want to start a Patreon? Who’s a good singer for this instrumental, or are you good at spreadsheets? Can you do a remix, or are you on a spotify playlist? What time do you finish work, or can you block trolls? Don’t forget to upload the EP to soundcloud. Banner image. That was actually really good. Download this cheat sheet of tariff numbers. Will this be on vinyl, or are you single? Do you know how many copies of the 12” the distro company need? What’s your PayPal login? I’ve whatsapped you. The dimensions for the tape are here. 2 new followers. VAT. The card reader’s broken, or how much do I owe you for the digital distro fee? Put the name of the song in the chorus for the SEO stuff. Kylie Minogue just put her new album out on cassette. Will this be on vinyl? What’s your EORI number? Do you know how tax works, or are you playing guitar on this one? What’s the split and do you want to find a publisher? This would work great on TV, or do you know what Bandcamp’s IOSS number is? Have you thought of teaching? Zoom is good for me, thanks. No-one’s bought tickets. Can you get tote bags? We’re “selling fast”. The room is now twice as expensive. Do your stories before this evening. The shirts came back and look great. I’ve submitted a DMCA takedown on the album. Bandcamp won’t tell me the IOSS number until I upgrade to a pro account. Are you under 40, or can you post a record the cheapest way possible? There’ll be no European tour. Youtube looks good. Bandcamp need a higher res photo. Do you want to stay underground, or have you sorted your iTunes metadata? What time do you need picking up? My laptop just died. Rehearsal is tonight. Don’t forget about instagram. I can’t pay out the money because we haven’t hit £10 yet. Have you heard of Threads? How do you get into writing for TV, or do you want to upgrade to a pro account? Dropbox needs upgrading to a pro account. 7 likes, 2 retweets. The CDs haven’t sold. Number 1 on Bandcamp this morning. Do you know how to fix a guitar cable, or does your passport need renewing? Ever thought about putting this one on vinyl? 2 tapes came back warped. Don’t forget to fill in your customs form, or how much is a burger king? He never received his CD. Check in isn’t til 3. Have you thought of a funny tweet yet? Can you send me your bank details please, or have you done a TikTok? I’ve played there, but can’t remember it. How much is your rent, or can you remember how to get to the venue? I’d delete a tier on your patreon. The venue is now closed. Congratulations on the wedding! Can I borrow your keyboard stand? Load in was supposed to be 45 minutes ago but there’s nowhere to park. Do you want to play a festival, or can you upload this image to your Facebook? I wouldn’t worry about social media. I’d expect 10,000 followers before getting a booking agent. Do you want a booking agent? Are you good under pressure, or have you seen your parents lately? What colour is the 12” insert, or can you make friends with this promoter? My heart keeps skipping beats and this food tastes funny. He thinks I can’t see when he’s logged in to the gmail. Will this be on vinyl, or do you have doubts about where you are in life? The distro company want to pulp 500 CDs. You’ve won an award, or can you fill in this 57 page form for some funding? We need you to book a tour, or can you look over this contract please? I’ve no idea why they won’t write about us- I’ve sent the album to all their editorial team. I’ve sent you £10 for the parking. What’s your PayPal again? This guy won’t leave me alone. Please talk to reception. Can you email your mate, or are you still thinking of a song title? The bluetooth doesn’t work, and the support tour is now no longer happening. That review was nice. We need promotional shots, or can you replace your patch leads? What’s trending. Replace your batteries, and can you get some photos? The bass drum is too loud. The interview is now not going online. Add this tier to your patreon, or do you want to pay £10,000 to support this band on tour? Where’s the van? I’ve lost my bag, or what’s the wi-fi password? The tapes have sold out. Do you have pets, or can you speak German? The t-shirts are all Gildan Heavy. Soundcheck isn’t for another 3 hours. The promoter isn’t responding, so can you get in touch with the label guy? My phone ran out of battery. The visuals are great, or what time is it? I read that piece, very good. Can you join my website, or does your car need it’s MOT? He’s whatsapped again. How much is PA hire, or can you play in a different tuning? No parking. What’s Czech for ‘road’? The bass part needs redoing. My eye hurts, or do you want to headline? Will this be on vinyl? Even if you sign out, Soundcloud very definitely tells you who’s been listening. The publisher is taking the piss, or do you want to sleep on the floor? Can you ring my mum? What’s the postage to America, or do you want to get a manager? Dinner was lovely. What’s a good profit margin, or can you sign up to discord? I’m on Bluesky. They’re only signing indie bands this year, or can you change your name? Mastodon looks good. I definitely know what I’m doing. Will this be on vinyl?

Friday, June 23, 2023

Patreon's up then

It's been up for a week or so, so bear with me whilst I get to grips with it. 

You can punt a quid, £5 or £10 a month, depending on how deep you wanna go.

Up at the moment are a few studio diaries, some remix stems, an exclusive track walkthrough, a Bandcamp discount code, a prize draw and loads of other stuff. Wanted to get a fair bit of stuff up so you're not wasting your dosh.

Coming next month is an exclusive sample pack too, so if you ever wanted me playing guitar on one of your tracks: now you can!

Go have a look here: