Friday, January 21, 2022

A quick war story 2

I randomly remembered another pretty funny war story yesterday, so thought I'd share. 

This one was at, IIRC, a pretty big gig for satan - a launch maybe, or at the very least, a big gig in front of a lot of the band's friends and peers. It had started badly anyway, with the line-up being out of satan's control and having to shunt a friend of ours off the line-up in favour of this other band, who didn't exactly fit our sound at that point. We didn't really know them either, so it just made things a little awkward.

Anyway, on the night of the gig, they start playing and it's all very inoffensive folksy post-rock sort of stuff, and people seem to be ok with it, but as it goes on, the energy sort of goes out of the room - this was Arrivals-era satan, and it was all clicks and micro-techno with huge atmospheric guitar stuff, and here we all were, checking watches and going to the bar for a pint. I stayed in the room and watched the whole thing, as I was a bit antsy and also thought it rude not to - they were here as guests of ours after all.

After what felt like an eternity, the band ask the promoter if they can play another - I'd checked the time, and it was getting really tight, even with our customary very quick turnover between bands, so assumed the promoter would say no, but to mine (and everyone else's) surprise, he gave the go ahead for another TWO songs. This almost had them cracking on for an hour's set, at a gig that was supposed to be a celebration of our music. In the end, I think we had to cut our set short and managed about 30 minutes before the venue came up to turn the lights off.

Just before they launched into their encore however, the bass player went down in satan legend as he got on the mic and started talking about how much he liked the Leeds scene at the time. We thought 'finally! some recognition!' and as he waxed lyrical about every other band in the city apart from us, he dedicated the last two songs of the night to his favourite Leeds band... Bilge Pump. Our faces were a picture. Imagine being invited to play a band's big hometown show, only to turn up, insult them and then praise another band, who weren't even there. Absolutely superb. 

Never spoke to them again funnily enough.

Monday, January 10, 2022

Tour!

For the first time since early 2019, there'll be a satan show in your town this March. Well, only if you live in Shipley, Leeds, Glasgow or London anyway.

Yes, I'm hitting the road for a few shows, and all being well, it should prove to be a lot of fun. It'll be the first time you've ever seen satan as just me, so the sound and general look of the thing will be pretty different to what you've seen in tours gone by. Obviously, with the onstage headcount being halved since last time, I'm having to do everything myself, and I've had to work out how to translate bits of the satan catalogue into a live setting. It's not been easy lol.

Anyway, tickets are available here https://dice.fm/artist/worriedaboutsatan-vvxnl

Shipley is a free show, so there aren't any tickets for that. 

There's no laptop, no fancy visuals, just me and a bunch of pedals, surrounded by little boxes. 

Obviously, I'm hoping I won't have to cancel these gigs, so if we could all be vaxxed as much as possible, that'd be class. Get your mask on and let's all be sensible about it all so we can all have some safe fun. 



Thursday, December 16, 2021

2021 favourites

As I did this last year, I thought I might as well list a few of my favourite musical things from this year too. So here we go, my favourite records from this year:

Murcof - The Alias Sessions

Andy Stott - Never The Right Time

Dean McPhee - Witch's Ladder


Can - Live In Stuttgart 1975

Veins Full of Static - Contours


Charlie Coxedge - Big Top


 

Halsey - If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power

HTRK - Rhinestones

Yvette - How the Garden Grows


Space Afrika - Honest Labour


 

The Armed - Ultrapop

Don Broco - Amazing Things

Tinashe - 333

Pye Corner Audio - Entangled Routes

Snail Mail - Valentine



Also, my favourite music video of the year:


And the award for 'definitely not a very good album, but good to have you back anyway' goes to:

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Team satan

There's a new album of mine on the horizon, so it's got me thinking about how to try and make the release of it a success. Very much easier said than done, especially these days, but I wondered out loud this morning - well, what can you do?

Back in the old days of the band, there'd be humongous free-for-all when you put something out - journalists, blogs, websites, writers, magazines- they were all there and they were all fairly approachable. It's how satan used to end up on stuff like Perrier's website, or doing instores for Umbro. Random, made no sense, but we weren't complaining. Coverage is coverage!

Now though, and perhaps this is my age speaking, it's a lot less likely that something I make will get any kind of coverage at all, let alone the type of mad shit you used to wangle. Lots of reasons why this is to be honest - the death of blogging, the rise of streaming, me just getting older and all my journo friends growing up and being adults, etc.

So, it's with this in mind, that I wanted to consolidate and focus on what I do have, and that's a fairly healthy Bandcamp following. Instead of trying to get their editorial team to listen to anything I've made for like the 5,000th time, I thought 'well, why am I trying to get their attention? I already have people here'. So I've sort of decided to focus on that. 

It would also help me to be a little more prolific with stuff, as I could just release music quickly and easily, without having to rely on label schedules and pressing plant delays. Where I’m at personally these days, I like the idea of being able to release things as quickly as I make them. I can only really do that if I have you guys all in one place to get news to you easily enough. 

You can join Team satan by signing up to my Bandcamp mailing list here: https://worriedaboutsatan.bandcamp.com/follow_me

I don't message loads, and when I do, I try to make it as entertaining as possible, so you won't end up with 17,000 emails from me screaming at you to buy my stuff, but it is probably the best way to keep in touch with new releases, tours, discount codes, freebies, etc.  Sort of like a patreon/ subscription thing, but one you don't have to pay for. Just come join the team.



Friday, December 3, 2021

2021 release roundup

As I don't think any more satan is coming out this year, although various labels still have various things of mine in various pipelines, I don't think they'll be seeing the light of day before the end of December. It's the annual 'satan clears his schedule for the end of the year, but nothing happens' curse that afflicted me last year too. Oh well. Sometimes these things can't be helped.

Anyway, here's a big ol' list of the records and remixes I had out this year:

Releases

An Tiaracht (track, taken from a split with Charlie Coxedge on This Is It Forever) [here]

Providence (album, Box Records) [here]

Circles I (mini-album, Shimmering Moods) [here]

Live From The Studio, 2021 (live recording, self-released) [here]

Circles II (mini-album, Shimmering Moods) [here]

Der Hammer (track, taken from Hawk Moon Records' charity compilation) [here]

You Care Because I Do (track, taken from the end of year compilation on This Is It Forever) [here]

Remixes

The Anchoress - Show Your Face (Kscope) [here]

Christina Giannone - Telepathy (Past Inside The Present) [here]

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

A bit on socials

A few weeks ago, my football team played a game that was so unbelievably bad, that I immediately swore off football for the foreseeable. I sat down and muttered "right, I'm done" and logged into twitter. I unfollowed the team, the players I was following, the accounts that I liked who talked football, everything. I'd had it. After that, the team had another game the following Friday. I was on holiday at the time (in Scotland - very nice it was too), and thought to myself that if I log in and see this game unfold, on literally the first day of this 3 day break, I'll be bloody miserable. It'll make me angry, sad, and it'll fuck up my holiday. So, with all my might, I stayed off twitter. After the match, and then the holiday, I just kept it up - I didn't want to know the score, or how badly the game went, even when I was back home. Once I'd done a day or so of staying off it, it was easy to just keep off it. So I did.

I'd logged off and not come back in for like 2 weeks - only occasionally popping in for some band related admin to do, but not sticking around. I didn't post, didn't look at the trending topics, nothing. And it felt good. Really, really good. I mean, I'm not naive - I know part of my job as a musician now (sadly) revolves around cesspits like twitter, and trying to get the best out of it, but for that brief period, it just felt nice. No screencaps of the Jeremy Vine show talking about whatever he and his cabal of gammon faced lunatics whinge on about day to day, no Daily Mail headlines, no snarky bullshit from dead-behind-the-eyes irony accounts, no nothing. I missed so many culture war flashpoints that when I logged back in, I couldn't believe people were seriously mad at fucking Big Bird, or a bridge, or whatever it was that had people frothing at the mouth. What a load of bollocks.

But, then, sadly, came the realisation: the music 'biz', no matter how small my little part of it is, still requires me to be there. It's just a fact of life now. I'm old enough to remember life in the biz before twitter, before facebook, spotify, etc. It wasn't much better tbh, but at least didn't require you to strap yourself to a seething, toxic messageboard 24/7. I guess that's the pay-off for having things a little easier these days.

Yet for all the talk of 'democratizing the industry' - yes, it's easy to just release on Bandcamp yourself - the cogs of the biz still prefer everything the old fashioned way - release schedules, booking agents, crunching numbers, etc. etc. plus ca change.

If you want to aim a bit higher than self-releasing CD-rs, or spending ungodly amounts on vinyl pressing from your own back pocket and then trying to shift copies any way you can, then you have to play the game a little - followers, plays, clicks, buzz - it's all still looked at, and you're still judged by it. Now all the blogs have died off, trying to get any kind of press attention for anything is akin to a Battle Royale style fight to the death - you've no chance of getting the serious heavy hitters like Pitchfork (which makes it even more strange that satan did indeed get a p4k review in 2009), so you have to scrabble for anything - and does it matter? Sort of, maybe, I don't know? I suppose you have to try something.

I remember an old manager of a band I was in once who said that a booking agent wouldn't look at us unless we had 10k fans on Facebook. I knew it was bollocks, even then, but I realised that's what you're dealing with - these people are obsessed with this stuff. It's not enough that you make the music, and you tour it, and do everything else, we've now also got to come up with a way of getting TEN THOUSAND people to sign up to our stupid FB page.

Socials aren't neccesarily bad, it's just our way of using them has devolved into such a mess that I don't know how anyone does it for a living. I'm not exactly a massive name, but I have my little corner of the biz and I'm happy to have it. I understand people will want to interact, and they understand I'll have to spam new records, new tours, etc. and that's fine. But sometimes you just have to cut this stuff out of your life and do something, literally anything, else.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

EP02 CD

Not to sound too much like a myspace blog or a livejournal entry from 2004, but a strange thing happened to me today... I went for a quick look at the CDs in my local charity shop, and came across this:


A still sealed, perfectly pristine copy of 2007's EP02

Which is weird, as I've not seen a copy of this for a long, long, loooong time, let alone one in such good condition! Anyway, I bought it (obviously) and I'll add it to the merch desk for next year's tour.

It's all very odd. 

Those CDs were great btw - 3 panel digifile, artwork on both sides by Cam Steward, and a professionally duplicated CD to boot. Doesn't sound like much in 2021, but back in 2007 it was a pretty cool thing to have, especially for a band that didn't have anything like a label or a manager, etc. 

It was our first foray into pressing something up properly, as EP1 was just a digital download (although I did press up handmade CDr versions of it to give away at gigs), but I think it came out looking really pretty nice. Back in those days, there wasn't a Bandcamp, or Soundcloud or Spotify, so physical pressings were what you did a lot of - I think we got a few hundred of these IIRC, which looking back was probably too many, but you could barely get on the few digital stores there were at the time, so a lot of people just gave away their mp3s via netlabels or p2p sharing sites, and sold CDs at gigs, or by having a Paypal donate button with the price listed next to it haha!

Anyway, if I discover any more old back catalogue CDs in local charity shops, I'll add them to the merch desk too ;)