Friday, September 17, 2021

how do you go on tour?

Thought I'd share a bit of the process behind the scenes, as I'm currently booking a tour at the moment, and thought it might be of interest to some of you, especially those of you in bands. Personally speaking, I tend to hire venues and promote each show on a tour myself - not ideal, as it's a lot of work, but smaller, DIY promoters aren't always available or musically fitted, so I tend to just avoid that altogether and go it alone where I can.

OK, so first off, you have to have an idea about the general level of the band. For me, this means I can't really approach any venue over 100 capacity, as the demand for tickets past that point just won't be there, which means I'll lose money, the venue won't be very pleased with me (and that will effect any future events I try and organise with them), and I'll end up playing to a half empty venue. Which sucks. So I lean on my knowledge of playing small venues for 15+ years now and pick the ones I think I can probably afford to hire without having a shit time. This is a lot of trial and error, sadly.

Once you've located one of these venues in cities you think you'll have a good time in (trial and error again) you have to pick a week or so in a month where you think you can maximise the availability of your fans. Bank holidays, easter, summer, and general large swathes of the year for no apparent reason, are still sort of no-go's. Satan did a few dates a little too close to Halloween a few years back, and they were dire. About 6 months down the line, we did the same venues just not around any kind of holiday, and they were packed. Lesson learned.

Always at the back of your mind, you'll be thinking 'why do I have to do this? Can't someone else do all this for me?' and the answer, sadly, is no. Without a booking agent (that's a whole other thing), you'll have to work independently. Smaller promoters do exist, and it's always worth saying hello to as many as you can in your particular genre, as they're worth their weight in gold at the moment. The bigger promoters in your city of choice will pretty much only work with bands and artists on rosters of booking agents.

Back in the early days of satan, we'd have a huge database of these DIY guys, and we'd tap them up whenever we wanted to hit the road, to add to gigs we could easily just do ourselves at little sweatbox venues. It's a whole different world these days of course, and my list of familiar faces in the biz gets smaller every year, but it's still worth keeping them close if you can.

Once you've sorted all that out, and paid to hire venues, you need to think about what your night is going to look like. You'll need some posters for example, just so the venue can stick em up and remind everyone you're coming to town soon. Online stuff is great, don't get me wrong, but there's also a lot to be said for just putting a fucking poster up. So you'll need someone to design a poster if you don't want to do it yourself. Plus, you'll need a support act (or two?), so you'll need to think about who's making your type of music in the area, who's good, and who actually plays live. Sounds obvious, but trust me - you'll soon build a community as people who tick all those boxes tend to be few and far between. Anyway, you'll need to rope them in as soon as you can, so you can start to build the night. Make sure to pay em as well, as there's nothing (and I mean *nothing*) worse than doing free shows for people you don't know.

Also, here's one for you - does the venue you like have a soundsystem? Sounds silly, but the amount of times I've turned up and there either isn't one, or it's falling to pieces or has integral bits missing (here's looking at you, sub woofer that's almost always never there), it doesn't bear thinking about. So that's another thing on your tick list: who rents out a PA? and does that come with a sound tech to help out on the night? Otherwise it'll be you pushing up faders and assembling monitor cables. Which is not ideal, trust me. For those nights satan used to do in a church in Leeds way back when, we'd have to hire a PA, sound guy, and the venue all seperately. Not fun.

Then there's all the other irritating stuff: who's going to be sat on the door all night? Have you got a float for the door entry money? Who's sat on the merch desk? Who does the sound tech need to speak to? Chances are it'll be you to all of those. Trust me, I know how that goes from very personal experience. If you're not comfortable doing any of it though, it's more favours you have to call in, or money you have to pay to people.

So there you go, once you've got all that sorted, you only need to worry about rehearsal, transport, budgets, parking, merch, promotion... the list is always growing. Oh, and obviously you have to do this for each show on the tour. For satan, that meant doing all this madness roughly 5 nights on the bounce every time we decided to tour. And it looks like I'll have to do it all again this time round too.

In short, it's a lot of work. But work that's also really rewarding if all goes to plan. Nothing ever does, 100% anyway, so there are a lot of bumps in the road. For every gig you do for no money in Oxford (6+ hour round trip on a school night), there'll be one at the Scala supporting Apparat. Just remember to keep the faith.



Friday, September 3, 2021

Circles II

Today sees the second instalment of Circles available for pre-order via the lovely people at Shimmering Moods.

The first one, rather obviously called Circles I, came out back in May (remember spring?!) and now the second round, Circles II, is up and out there. It was good fun doing something a bit different, so big thanks to Paul at the label for indulging me in this slightly wacky idea - and thank you for listening to it as well!

The record is similar in sound and atmosphere to the first one (they were both recorded at the same time), but I think this one is slightly more electronic? Although, thinking about it, there's plenty of guitar on it anyway. The last track is all guitar - even the rhythm - that's just me hitting the pickup with a plectrum and the sound being reversed via a pedal. 

ANYWAY, here's the pre-order:


You can also pick up a limited edition cassette of both Circles on one tape! That's highly recommended.

Also, I roped in my old friend Gregory Hoepffner to come up with a video for a section of the record called Tunnels: 


It's pretty crazy, right? When I sent him the track, he said he got all these visions of optical illusions and wanted to incorporate them somehow, and as the track was so short, it meant he didn't have to do a more narrative focused video, and he could really experiment. Perfect! We even hatched a plan to have the illusions get increasingly more intense over the course of the video, and even to have some fake ones in there to really mess with your head. See if you can spot any...

Anyway, go and buy the CD & tape, and watch the fuck out of that video. Seriously, it's ace.


Thursday, August 19, 2021

worriedaboutsatan FC shirt 2021-22

Yes, it's that time of year again when I slightly lose my mind and get it into my head that spending ridiculous amounts of money pressing up 1 (one) solitary football shirt, and filming a really over the top parody kit reveal video, is a worthwhile use of my time. Well, it's nice to take a break from music sometimes isn't it?

Anyway, this year (season?) I've opted for an away shirt, which looks really rather nice doesn't it? Took fucking ages to get it sorted as well, as there were all manner of holdups with getting it made up. Here's the silly reveal video, as shot by my lovely girlfriend Sophie, on a football pitch in Saltaire, just down the road from me:


And I suppose whilst we're talking these ridiculous things, here's last year's inagural video:



and the first shirt I made up, all the way back when (I didn't do a video for this one, sadly)



Monday, August 16, 2021

Deep Breakfast mix

Been a while since I did a mix, so thought I'd try something a bit different. 

When Francesco from the brilliant Deep Breakfast series asked me to do a mix, I couldn't stop thinking about the phrase deep breakfast. I love a nice relaxing breakfast time, and although it sounds odd me saying it now, it properly sets you up for the day doesn't it? So I thought instead of doing the sort-of regular mix thing of putting some ambient things together, I'd try and soundtrack a really nice breakfast time.

I thought of those really nice hotel breakfast buffet things you get when you're on holiday - sun out, French doors open onto the balcony, massive bowl of cereal in one hand and a tiny European coffee in the other. I sort of went on holiday in my mind and wanted to put something together that would be ideal to play over the stereo as you sat down with your alpen and croissants.

So out went all the very good, but quite dark or melancholy stuff, and in came all the laid back, groovy bangers. See what you think anyway:

Monday, August 9, 2021

Anchoress remix

When The Anchoress calls, you er... answer, I guess?

Anyway, here's a remix I did for The Anchoress, which popped up on streaming sites over the weekend!


It actually started life ages ago as a Gavin Miller remix, but then when the band became just me again, I decided to open it back up and add a sprinkling of satan magic to it to turn it into a worriedaboutsatan remix instead. Think it came out pretty well in the end.

I've done plenty of remixes for Catherine in the past (this one a personal favourite), so it's always good to get to play with her stems and whip them into something new. Everything's always so well put together that it makes it nice and easy!

Anyway, enjoy!

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Facebook

I discovered over the weekend that there was a conversation going on about royalty money and stuff, via a FB messenger group I was once in. I didn't get any of the messages, as I deactivated my account about 2 years ago now, and very rarely update the satan page on there.

It reminded me that although my personal FB page is dead, apparently my messenger isn't - so please, and this is mostly to people who've messaged me before I binned off my profile, please don't message me on there. I don't check it, I haven't logged into it for a good 2 years, and I'm on practically every other social media platform going (although mainly twitter these days) - although if truth be told, I do like a good email, so please use email. Facebook is genuinely the least appealing social media platform to update as a band, which is probably the main reason I decided to give up on it. Not that any others are perfect, but I resent having to pay to reach people who've expressed an interest in the band, especially when Bandcamp does an email to all your fans for free.

So yes, fuck that.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

T-shirts! Live album!

Two quick bits here, but just in case you don't follow me on either Bandcamp or twitter (erm, get on it here: https://worriedaboutsatan.bandcamp.com/follow_me & https://twitter.com/teamsatan) there were two big developments yesterday...

First off, after about 5 million years, the 'rings' shirt is back in stock. The band has only had a few shirt designs over the years - there've been trees, album artwork, and a modernist logo type thing, but the one that everyone always wants re-pressing, and by far the most synonymous with the band itself is the 'rings' one. It was designed way back in something like 2009 by my buddy Cameron Steward. He did the art for EP02, and a few flyers for the band back in the day, including that amazing one for the Ólafur Arnalds show we put on in 2008 that went down in Leeds legend.

Anyway, the rings are back, and you can go buy one here:

https://worriedaboutsatan.bandcamp.com/merch/rings-shirt-2021-edition

Stock is pretty low as over half have already gone! (fantastic effort there though, guys- nice one!)

On top of that, I also smartened up the audio from my live show I've been slowly uploading one piece at a time over on my youtube channel, and put it on Bandcamp. It was really easy to record, and despite a few fluctuations in volume (looking at you, Butterfly Effect), it came out pretty nicely! It's straight from the desk, so nothing is on there that I didn't do on the video. 

A few of you asked for the audio, so thought I'd oblige! It's pay-what-you-want, and it's here:


Oh, and you can watch the entire thing here too:


ENJOY!