lmao, just fuck off.
Please, for the love of god, if you want to listen to music, use anything but Spotify.
I swear to god, Bandcamp getting sold to Songtradr has made people lose their fucking minds.
We don't know what will happen to Bandcamp, because it's too early to make an assesment.
Yes, things look bad. I mean, just look at what that stupid company (put that E back in your name and grow up ffs) does to anything it comes into contact with. It's not good. Tangent, but they weirdly now own one of my old favourite online music stores, and whilst it sits almost abandoned (the landing page hasn't been updated since 2019), it is still operational somehow.
I, like many DIY artists, need Bandcamp. We need it to be operational, we need it to keep doing what it's been doing for the past decade+. We need the community, the freedom, the tools... hell, we need the money.
But we're not stupid - we know that slashing 50% of your workforce never leads to good things (even though that was actually the brainchild of previous owners Epic Games), and a lot of us have been around the block a fair few times now - we know we're not allowed nice things because of myriad factors (rich people being twats being the main), and so I know we're all keeping an eye out on potential successors to Bandcamp's throne.
It's dominated the DIY space for years now, and in that time, perhaps we've been a bit too optimistic that it would never go away - after all, it was profitable and sustainable before Epic bought it, so why would anyone ever want to fuck that up? Yeah, rich people.
Whilst it's true that you can frankenstein all the best bits of Bandcamp into one whole, that would take an ungodly amount of time, money and effort - all three things that are in short supply for us having to make ends meet elsewhere. For example, you could sell a CD/ vinyl/ shirt whatever on something like Bigcartel, then have a mailing list on Mailchimp, digital items via distrokid/ your own hosting, gig listings on Songkick, etc. etc. but to do all that misses the point of what Bandcamp was - it let you do all that for free all at the same time, so when someone bought a shirt, they were added to the mailing list, which in turn let you market at them with a spam resistant email for future stuff, and you could also let them have a download with the purchase. To do that without Bandcamp, I'd need the customer to buy from Bigcartel, get them to allow me to add them to my mailing list (which is now £32.75 a month with no guarantee it won't get caught in a spam filter), and then also somehow email a download of whatever it is they've just bought the physical item of, using my own hosting. Each way round someone interacts with this mad network of misery, it gets infinitely worse - someone buys my album via itunes, but I can't get any of that information for myself for future marketing, and also they don't know I have t-shirts with that album cover on there that they might like, or that I have a remix of it for free somewhere. It's a fucking nightmare.
You can write an entire essay about the community aspect of Bandcamp - the feeds, the solidarity, the feeling that you were finally doing something good for artists and labels, all of that. It's much more than just a storefront (although it's great at that too), and it remains to be seen if this new lot of vulture capital stock guzzlers understand that enough. I'm betting they won't, but (and here's the kicker) until something else comes along that can replace whatever it becomes, WE ARE STUCK.
You can leave twitter and go join bluesky or threads or insta or whatever, and you can leave spotify and go to tidal, apple music, deezer or whereever too. But Bandcamp... man, it's one in a million and an absolute lifeline to a lot of us, so please - please, for the love of god, don't lose your fucking mind and start advocating for piracy, streaming, or any other shit we battled so hard to try and swerve people away from.
We spent the best part of 10 years trying to get smug little shithead pirates to buy something off us, however small, under the not-so-hard-to-understand principle of 'it cost us money to make this thing, so if you could pay just a little bit for it, that'd be cool. we are not metallica. we are not rich lol'. To advocate to going back to those dark days is ill-advised at best and actual, cultural vandalism at worst.
Streaming pays nothing, and now it pays less than nothing, and we'd only just started making in-roads to getting people to understand that - buying something off me on Bandcamp is 99.9999999% better than streaming anything, and getting that swedish berk to pay me less than a fraction of a penny for the privilege.
Look, it's a shit sandwich, there's no denying that. But for now at least, we're just gonna have to dance with this devil, because your DIY favourites are still DIY. Sure, shoot them a few quid on ko-fi or whatever - make an extra effort to go see them live, or pick up a shirt, but just know that, for now at least, Bandcamp is still the main source of income for a lot of us.
Don't lose your head and start preaching for some mad techno-dysopia, because it's a road that leads nowhere. If someone comes out with Bandcamp 2 tomorrow, fucking great -sign me up, but that's not here just yet. These things invariably take time to grow too, which is something not a lot of us have either, so it's this or bust. The system's fucked, but we're still here.
I put on some shows over the last few days, and to say I've been a bit more worried about them than usual is an understatement. I've made peace with the fact that satan being satan, it's basically the norm rather than the exception to book gigs myself these days. And by 'book gigs' it's not the find-a-promoter type that replaces the work a booking agent does, but put the whole thing on myself: being a promoter and agent rolled into one. To indulge a little tangent here, but as shit as it is to have to do this, it does give you a well rounded view of the music industry as a whole: you see first-hand the numbers on your ticket list become faces that show up to the room you've had to hire. If you put the effort it, in *can* be a decent exersise in DIY scene-building, and I think more bands should give it a try.
Anyway, I digress.
Promoting stuff in the UK has taken quite the pounding from various factors: austerity, cost of living, post-pandemic caution, a stuttering ever changing music industry, etc. I could sit and list a vague tapestry of misery all day, but safe to say, it's changed a lot since the first days of the band, where you'd not really think twice about playing different venues every weekend. In fact, here's what my spring 2007 schedule looked like (thanks to archive.org capturing the old satan myspace page)
I'd be lucky to do that many gigs in an entire calendar year now, and it's no surprise that quite a few of those venues have long since disappeared and not replaced. The Mixing Tin (as regular viewers of my Instagram page will know) is literally just a wall these days:
Anyway, this is perhaps a long winded way of saying 'promoting things is hard now I'm old and the country/ music biz has changed over the last 15ish years'. But yes, it has, and the one thing that made life a lot easier was social media. Not to sound too 'old man yells at cloud', but I do remember a time before Facebook, Spotify, Twitter, Insta, etc. and it was tough. Building a community and fanbase online was a good thing. A very good thing. Because it meant people knew what you were up to, and got excited for new things.
Over the years, I've seen so many come and go - I remember when Soundcloud was a proper thing, and not just a place to host demos and the occasional DJ mix. It was fun! The last few years have seen a dramatic drop off in all that though. What was once a fairly interesting, fun way to communicate with people who spent their time and money on your silly little songs, became a slog, became impossible, and is now becoming redundant.
Twitter was great. Shouldn't need saying in this day and age, but when rich people get involved in anything, it usually means your time is going to stop being fun and start being shit. Just look at Facebook. I gave up posting to the satan account a few years ago, and then got rid of my personal account, and it was fine. The walls failed to fall in, and weirdly enough - I still have friends. It became a slog - having to do battle with an algorithm that meant no-one saw anything you posted, unless you paid big bucks for no real reason, and even then it wasn't perfect. Sort of defeated the idea of trying to get people to follow your page, as the more fans you had, the more money you had to pay. Fuck that, that's insane.
So I left it to the bots.
Twitter, though, was great. A free, handy tool to shoot off random thoughts, news, new tracks, videos, memes, conversations, etc. Man. Looking back at it before that dickhead bought it... fuck.
Anyway, much like I gave up on Facebook, I've long since given up on Twitter/ X/ whatever. Aside from the moral and ethical implications of lining acutal, literal n*zis' pockets by being on there, it was actually a useless piece of shit when it came to trying to reach people with news of tours, new music, etc. too.
So these two shows over the past few days have been the first of the post-X world for me. I was scared, for sure. Imagine not being able to use one of the biggest tools at your disposal. At numerous times I thought I was making a huge mistake, and toyed with the idea of tweeing about the gigs in the vain hope of attracting some more bodies to the gig. I'm glad I didn't though, because it made fuck all difference.
I pressed up posters like I usually do, and got them in windows like I've always done, I added the shows to aggregators like Songkick, I got posts up on Instagram, on the other socials I have, on my website, I used my Bandcamp mailing list, and so on. The only difference was this time I wouldn't be using twitter. It helps that the venues I used (and the support I drafted in - the excellent Field Lines Cartographer) were active on socials too, and helped push the shows. These are considerations I always tend to think about these days too - The Triangle and Nan Moor's both did an excellent job of keeping up with posts I was making, and helped re-blog posts. Sounds silly, but I'll always remember that venue in Bristol that didn't even add me to their website, let alone refuse to do even the slightest bit of social stuff around it. Needless to say, that gig there was a fucking nightmare - and that was in the days of using twitter too.
So yes, let this be a tiny bit of anecdotal evidence, but not using twitter was fine. The shows did as well as all my other ones, and despite a bit of slow going sales wise intially, they both got there in the end. You're kidding yourself if you think that arsehole cares about you, your band, or your tour. It's useless, so get off it and start building elsewhere. I'm on Threads and Bluesky, and although neither are perfect, they do provide some of the good stuff, so get on with building elsewhere, because that fucking X place isn't going to last much longer anyway, and you're wasting time trying to prop it up. Get on with it!
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.
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:
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.
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]
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?
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: www.patreon.com/worriedaboutsatan
I never really thought about it until now, but seeing as how I'm imminently losing my day job, I've started to think about it a lot more.
And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense: I make music a lot faster than even I can keep up with sometimes, let alone the labels that agree to put some of this stuff out. Which leaves records of mine stranded for (up to) years at a time, which is never good.
The old fashioned label system has been on my mind for a little while now. Not that it's inherently bad, or anything like that - just that it doesn't really suit me most of the time. Labels and agents and managers and PR and stuff like that. It's been getting me down quite a bit, because the way the system works is that you constantly doubt yourself and wonder why you can't get what other people have, or what you think you deserve. It tends not to reward work based on anything than either sheer luck or a monstrous amount of connections, so it's expected that you feel like shit on a constant basis.
Whilst a satan Patreon won't solve those things, it will mitigate them and make it easier for me to operate within it. For example, I spent close to 3 months preparing The Pivot for release, only to have a grand total of one review (in fairness, it was a brilliant one, by Ron at Textura), which was a gigantic waste of my time and a huge kick in the pants for my general mental wellbeing. If I could cut-out the middleman, and just deliver things direct to the people that helped fund it in the first place: wow, that would be great, and I could ease up on the constant nagging anxiety that comes with putting any piece of art out into the world.
"how many reviews did you get, gavin?"
I sort of do this already, via my Bandcamp, and I treasure each and every follower sign up as much as anyone can, but in those off days, those off months, those off years, when I don't get around to releasing anything, I'm sort of stuck. I'll think I should be releasing something, which impacts on the time I get to actually make things, and dilutes the eventual release when it does come out as you're all fed up of yet another album, or another EP hastily bundled together for Bandcamp Friday, etc.
In lieu of that, I can flex my muscles outside of just being 'a dude who releases a lot of music'. I want to offer things that Bandcamp won't really let me do very well, like regular sample packs, or remix stems, or advice on your productions, etc. I want to offer you all a look into the process, make videos and do livestreams, give away bits of the (rather vast) unreleased satan archive to people who actually care, not just lob it up on Bandcamp and see what happens. It's a different way of working, and I think it could be really good.
I'm not going to charge the earth, either. You can chip in a quid a month, a fiver or a tenner, depending on what you want to get out of it, and I won't begrudge anyone not having the money or the time or the desire to do any of this - you can absolutely just pick up a CD once a year, or grab a shirt or just stream something somewhere, that's all absolutely fine. I just wanted to open up the option for anyone curious as to how it all works. It's always shit talking about money though isn't it? When on tour recently, everytime I sold some merch I prefaced it with "is that alright?" as I hated taking people's money, despite the fact they'd gone to the merch table to actually buy things I'd spent money on making up. It still sucks though, so consider this me trying to turn something crap into something lovely.
Anyway, I'm just putting the finishing touches to it all now, so will launch fairly soon.
|Bristol again, 07/05|
|Coventry soundcheck, 06/05|
|Another one of Bristol, 07/05|
|The day after Glasgow, in Helensburgh having a pint in the sun|
|Enjoying the pier in Helensburgh|
|Sophie thought my hat was funny because I was trying to keep the sun (which was setting at an angle) out of my face|
|Shipley 05/05, in the world's reddest room (which meant all the pictures looked like this lol)|
Well, here we are again my friends. Album time. This is no.3 for the year, and no.13 overall, which is quite a feat really isn't it? 13 albums. Although that's stretched over 17 years, so you'd probably assume I'd made a whole bunch more in that time, but I suppose if you include my solo stuff, Marta Mist, Ghosting Season, etc. it's probably closer to about 2.7m albums in that time, but you get what I mean. I fucking love making albums.
It's sort of what inspired The Pivot, weirdly enough.
No, it's not a dedication to defensive midfielders, or that bit in Friends where they move the sofa, or anything else, no, it was more a note on myself and how I really just fucking love making music and releasing it.
Having spent 17 years sort of zipping about the music business, but never really getting too far into it, it gave me an odd vantage point to see other musicians and bands, and how they grow, move, twist, distort, or pivot, into something else entirely. For a while, I was obsessed with it, and the fact I hadn't found my pivot yet. I saw bands break up, or go on hiatus, and members move into film scoring, or become youtubers, or producers, or go into more educational stuff, or just stop altogether and find something else to do. That was their pivot - they started in a band, they made a whole bunch of music, and then they found something else which better suited them. I love that thought, and if you've not read J-Zone's book, I'd advise you give it a spin, as it's sort of what I'm on about - he's a rapper who gets a lot of love, but then his career sort of stagnates when labels and things get in the way, and before he knows it, he's playing shitty dive bars to 3 people again. So he quits - just up and quits, and writes this book, which leads him on to being a teacher, and eventually, the drummer in a low key funk band. He's happy, he's content, and all he had to do was look inside himself and think 'nah' and pivot to something more worthwhile.
For a long time, I was searching my brain for whatever my pivot was. What do I want to do? I'm getting old now, and I can't keep just doing this all the time I kept saying to myself, despite the fact that I really, really want to just keep doing this, so this album sort of became my own pivot - into my own little bubble, my own little cottage industry. I figured I could just make music, release it, and tour it all myself and still be ok. I didn't need anything else, so why would I want to stop doing it?
So yeah, anyway, here's to finding the thing you want to do in life and being happy doing it. Pre-order is open now, and the album releases on May 5th.
Sometimes I use that Blade Runner dialogue from replicant Roy, y'know the one, the 'tears in rain' one, to make a point. Or to have a laugh, depends on my mood.
Thinking about twitter's slow, gradual slide into a sludge of nazis, weirdos and grifters got me thinking about it again. Imagine, if you will, a time before twitter, a time before Facebook, youtube, etc. It was a real wild west, a real 'fuck knows how any of this works, but just press up some CDs and jump in a car and let's go on tour'. It wasn't any better in truth, just different. I was young, life's always fun when you're young because you have youth, you have energy, you have that wide eyed optimism that things will somehow turn around for you at some point. The gigs were shit, and the CDs never sold, but you had fun.
I'll be 40 next month, which scares me shitless, I'll not lie. Only seemed like yesterday that EP02 got a magazine review and I was like 'yes! surely I'll get signed to a label now, right?!' - nearly 20 years later, I'm still waiting lol. But y'know, I had fun. Whatever.
The real kick in the teeth though, is thinking back to all that time, money and effort the whole music industry invested in stuff like twitter and facebook. To watch it all slowly disintegrate, like Myspace before it, would be hilarious if it weren't so depressing. I know managers and labels that spent ungodly sums 'boosting' Facebook posts, and trying silly little angles to get followers on twitter and stuff like that. And for what? Fuck all, it seems like at the moment. What a waste.
I came off Facebook a few years ago, and felt great. Never once felt the urge to return, even for the band. Twitter's impending doom is a little more depressing though - it really was a better network for stuff before you-know-who took over and tanked the whole thing. Was never perfect, obviously, but still. It rankles. Like, what else is gonna go down anytime soon? It's hard enough for DIY musicians at the moment, without these billionaire dorks fucking things up for us. Prick.
Anyway, rant over. I've seen things you people wouldn't believe - managers who said we couldn't get a booking agent until we had 10k fans on Facebook, actual bands spending real money to boost funny videos of pandas to try and game the algorithm. all these things will be lost in time, like tears in rain. Time to die.
Are we sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin...
It's time (already) for album number 12. Considering the band has been going for 17 years, you'd actually probably expect a few more albums in that time, but due to various side projects, doing-things-as-EPs, and just a general slow down some years, the count is currently still at 12.
Anyway, this new one is a bit different. First off, it's coming out on Golden Ratio Frequencies, the sort-of ambient, sort-of new age, sort-of noise label run by Alex of Salford's finest purveyours of slow motion mayhem, Gnod. So, this one will sound different. There are no beats, no synths, no mad samples or post-rock guitar action, it's just 4 tracks of pure, foggy guitar based ambience.
In fact, you can trace the whole record back to this one tweet I did:
Just sat listening to one tone go through a few of my pedals and it's really, really nice. You're all up for an hour long album of just lush tone, right?— worriedaboutsatan (@teamsatan) November 10, 2020
That was me messing about with a new pedal I'd gotten, an Electro Harmonix Freeze - it sort of captures one element of whatever it is you're playing, and stretches it into one continuous tone. Whack that through my reverb and delay pedals, and ho boy, you've got yourself a big ol' washy ambient album.
So I recorded these things, and sent them to GRF, not knowing it was actually Alex from an old band satan had played with waaaaay back in the day - Manatees. The band used to play on much heavier line-ups back then (I'm guessing the metalheads liked our computers), and it was on one of these that we got to know them a little bit. They split up though, and we all went our seperate ways (as these things tend to do), so I was very nicely surprised when Alex piped up on the reply email saying it was him! Small world.
Anyway, due to covid, scheduling difficulties, real life stuff, and a variety of other things getting in the way, it's taken a little while for this one to come out, a little like my January album 'Falling But Not Alone' - that ended up being in limbo for about 2 years - this one has had its own fairly intense backstory too.
But it's here now, and if you'd like to pre-order a tape, you can do so by hopping over to the label's Bandcamp here.
The name, by the way, was just a joke I kept saying to my girlfriend Sophie - back in lockdown, the first football to come back was the German Bundesliga, so I started watching it, and really enjoyed it, so when all football eventually returned, I kept watching the German league, to which I'd exclaim "I hope you like the Bundesliga!" every time there was a match on. My team is St. Pauli btw (although who's isn't it? What a bunch of lads)
Anyway, there you go - I very much hope you like I Hope You Like The Bundesliga.
How on earth is 2013 now 10 years ago?
Well, it is, and with it is a little anniversary of some records I'm very proud of. It marks the first time that I put music out under my own name, which is an important milestone to remember, seeing as how that's how I've ended up doing just that with worriedaboutsatan.
Anyway, back in 2013, I was living in Manchester, and sort of inbetween bands. Ghosting Season was on it's last legs, and plans were afoot to resurrect satan from it's slumber, but before all of that, I started knocking together some music for myself. I made all this in my bedroom in a block of flats in Ancoats (spitting distance from the Etihad), and wanted to do something that wasn't anything much to do with anyone. Over the course of a year, I knocked together 3 EPs (as well as some other stuff for splits and things), and released them on my now also-resurrected This Is It Forever label.
Fotograf was a big, murky ambient thing - I was seeing if I had the chops for this dark ambient lark, so came up with this. Eagle-eared fans might recognise part 2 in a few Adam Curtis films. He liked that one I seemed to remember.
Instruktion was an attempt at kosmische - just synth lines pinging off each other underneath wailing guitars and a steady bass & drum combo. Think I managed it, and part 2 was the basis for my solo live set, that I attempted a few times over the course of 2013-14. I only did it a few times, as I found it super difficult to get gigs. Anyway, I like how floaty these two tracks are.
Manuskript was made out of these weird synth things I'd had floating about on my laptop for a while. They were sort of in-tune with each other, but sort of not. Anyway, I thought of doing a super sterile Raster-Noton sort of thing with them, and having fun cutting up some mad jungle breaks. That's always fun. The front cover btw, is of a cable car in Croatia - me and Sophie were on our last day of a holiday, so did the only thing we hadn't done all trip, which was go up this massive cable car, however the weather was all foggy, so although we could see fuck all, it did give me this excellent photo.
All three EPs are pay-what-you-want, and preceeded an album, Somn, which was released in early 2014.
Yes, I'm hitting the road once more, in an attempt to get you to part with some cash and watch me frantically flail my arms onstage, trying to reproduce various worriedaboutsatan records for your pleasure and amusement.
Anyway... the tour will be announced in full very soon, as I'm just waiting on one or two stragglers to either confirm or deny whether I can come visit with all my various boxes and keyboards.
For now, you have three cast iron opportunities to come see me play:
5th May at The Triangle, Shipley (tickets here)
6th May at Just Dropped In, Coventry (tickets here)
7th May at Cafe Kino, Bristol (tickets here)
- the Bristol show is the latest to be announced, and will be on a bank holiday Sunday, so don't worry if you saw 'sunday' and thought 'good grief, no-one's going to gigs on Sunday you idiot'. It'll also be the farthest south I'm going, as London didn't work out this time, so if you Londoners fancy a road trip, Brizzle is your best bet.
It'll also coincide with a new album as well, which is nice!
Well, after numerous years and a several delays, Falling But Not Alone is out now: