Scruffy, Indie folk-rock from Transylvania

On How Things Have Their Own Way Of Happening

Posted by admin On October - 7 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

I spend a ridiculous amount of time promoting the sh*t out of my material, I think of all the most unlikely things that I try and then I always expect them to work right away, in the way I imagined it. Of course, I should have learned by now that this is seldom the case. However, the response is not that bad after all.
Not so long ago I had an idea of making the “Work @ It Together” a common project with anyone interested, not expecting too much really, I just thought I could end up with some cool amateur footage to use and it will be fun.

For those who haven’t been following this video project I will explain it in a few words: The main idea was to make you, anyone out there, come up with the story and ways of making the video happen in a way that is cheap, fun and entertaining. The response to this was just great. I had many good ideas sent in, both technical as well as story-wise. But the way things turned out was really unexpected.

<a href="" >Work @ It Together by Indie Folker</a>

As it happens, we are now filming with professional actors, camera men and we have two really cool people in the director’s chair, overseeing things. I have much confidence in this video, it ended up costing not very much, but it is very promising in it’s every detail. I can’t tell you very much about what exactly we’ll be doing, but I will be posting the end result here on the site, as well as YouTube and Vimeo once we’re done. I expect that to be in November, right before my second UK tour.

So I originally started out talking about promotion. Let’s get back to that for a moment. A lot of my time gets spent on promoting my material as well as the Indie Folker project and the responses I get differ in so, so many ways. Every blogger is different. Every reviewer is different. Every radio show host is different. And you can’t know this until you make a connection, really get them to listen to you so you can understand what they are about. I find it very easy connecting to anyone who loves music, so I don’t find any difficulties communicating what I have to say beyond the point of that first phone call or email. Most of the times I ask for features. Be that on a radio show, a publication or a really cool blog. What ends up happening is that sometimes my music is put up for free download (which is great!), but no article, and other times there is a full feature with really kind words about my work. This is also great. Sometimes things happen that I don’t even consider, like in the case of Mojophenia, where I ended up sponsoring a competition that the editor himself suggested. That was just awesome. These things really have broadened my view about how things tend to work, and how every person involved in music has it’s own perceptions and way of doing things. You’d think these are logical things, but when you are dealing with literally hundreds of people that you don’t know, you really end up generalizing everything, taking the same approach over and over and expecting the same results. Which is a bit weird, but I guess it’s the way we function.

Licensing Changes For My Music

Posted by admin On September - 9 - 2010 6 COMMENTS

Some of you might have noticed, I recently changed the licensing on both my “Monsters In Rome” record as well as the “Jabulani” song – from the Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike to the more restrictive Attribution Non-Commercial license. I have tried for a long time to figure out which option would be best for me, and at the time I did choose the Attribution Share-Alike license over the Non-Commercial one for a good reason, I am now faced with no choice in the matter, but to restrict some aspects of licensing terms. I would like to explain myself in this post.

Before I continue, I would like to point out that ongoing projects will not be affected by the new licensing terms. These terms only apply after September 1st 2010.

Creative Commons is a wonderful thing. I think it’s a great, it’s the perfect tool for the times we live in. Anyway, the CC Attribution Share-Alike license, under which my songs were originally licensed, allowed free distribution and adaptation of the work under the condition of attributing it in the manner specified by me and re-distributing any resulting works under a similar license.
What this means is: you could copy or distribute the work in any way, you could adapt (build upon) the work any way you saw fit as long as you attributed the original author (moi) and you made your resulting works public under the same conditions. This included commercial use as well. I didn’t think this would be a bad idea, because the medium in which all recorded music is tossed around these days is very unclear about some things.
For example: if an mp3 blog were to post one of my tracks, who can decide if that constitutes a commercial or non-commercial use of the song? Truth is, the online medium is constantly evolving. More and more free content is made available while websites and blogs try to find new and more intuitive ways of monetizing their efforts. One can easily see why this gets complicated with a restrictive license, like the Non-commercial one. I didn’t want to get in the way of my music being promoted, it was as simple as that.
So why change licenses now?
Along with the world wide web the music industry – especially the indie music scene – is also rapidly changing. Let’s face it, music is free on the internet. I am sure anyone can download all of my songs without paying for them if they so choose. I am totally clear with that. But there still are some means of making money with your music, asides from selling it to whoever is willing to pay.
That money tree has two major branches – licensing and mechanical rights. While licensing (for use in TV Shows, ads, documentaries, background music for events, websites or whatever) can still be achieved with a non-restrictive CC license, I can’t collect any mechanical royalties, because with all CC licenses that allow commercial use of the work I’d have to waive any such rights. Now if someone would plug one of my songs to a hit TV show (like Grey’s Anatomy or something :P) I would be missing out on a lot of revenue. This is because when a performance rights organization collects mechanical royalties on your behalf, that would count as a super bonus on top of the licensing fee you would get for that feature.
You see, I would have to miss out on all that. Which I wouldn’t really mind… if I could do the licensing work myself. Unfortunately, for this I would have to become an agent – and I’d rather stay a musician – and the people who will be trying to land me such opportunities from now on, will be taking half of my cut. So I decided to keep collecting the mechanical royalties, just to stay afloat. Hope you understand and won’t hold it against me.

On a final note: I am still a reasonable person so don’t fret to drop me a line if you have anything at all to say about this. Would be happy to hear from you. 🙂

Let’s Work @ It Together!

Posted by admin On September - 2 - 2010 1 COMMENT

Time to get back to business – now that school is about to start again – and I am off the tour wagon for a while. (Not for very long though, I will be going to Italy and back to the UK again very shortly :)). Until then, however…
Some of you might know the song “Work @ It Together” off my “Monsters In Rome” record. If not, it’s the one below. Listen, and read on…

<a href="" >Work @ It Together by Indie Folker</a>

I need a video made for this. It needs to be real indie, we will be using budget DSLR cameras with video capability to record and produce. No moneys, just people. What we need is ideas, scripts, decorations, whatever you can think of to make this happen. Animations, web technology, anything goes, any idea, no matter how unlikely it is to work. If you think you can help, send us an email, let us know what you had in mind or how you could contribute. It can be a live take, it can be a studio vid, anything, anything at all is perfect. Just let us know!
So come on, let’s work @ this together, yeah?

First tour of the UK

Posted by admin On August - 26 - 2010 1 COMMENT

Dear connoisseurs. Indie folk is a reviving art. And there is no better place for it – in Europe, at least – than the United Kingdom. So that’s where I went to meet the people of my taste, spirit and ambition. And, wow, did I ever?
As in most cultures, Friday the 13th is not necessarily a good day for flying. But that’s when I went and that is also the date I had my first experience with the London public. I am still to meet a promoter more enthusiastic about music than Carl Chamberlain, the guy running the event at The Ship on that date. Personally, I was a bit exhausted (and very very ill for the first couple of days in London) so most of that good vibe had a hard time rubbing off on me. But it did nevertheless. By the end of the night I almost wished I could play with these people every night of the tour. First musician I met on that particular night was James Cordell, probably the biggest Stevie Ray Vaughan fan in the London area. And he had some good chops too!
Adam Tunji played after James, then Claire from Australia, then Some Random Homeboy and Tony TSR. It was a real treat hearing everybody play.

I haven’t really done much on Saturday, I had no gig, so I was just looking around London for things to do, drank beers, met good musicians in all the unlikely places. Like Stefano and Pask, who play in The Turning, an Oasis tribute band in Italy. They sound really good, I think.
On Sunday I went to The George in Fulham. I think it’s in Fulham. Anyway, it is a really nice place and after all the beer I had that day, I only needed a couple more to get me in the perfect mood – in spite of my worsening cold. I’ve met Andy there and we played in that relaxed atmosphere until what felt like really really late. I played songs I didn’t even know I remember, so that is always a good thing. I went home feeling really well about my trip so far, not worried at all that the next day I had my biggest challenge of performing at the Hope & Anchor. To me that place is legendary, so you can imagine how I felt.

Come Monday morning and my sickness was really getting the better of me. I could barely squeeze out a decent sound, and this was the day I had to go on for 30 minutes at the Hope & Anchor. According to my contract I was also supposed to get at least 30 people down for the show if I ever want to work there again. Scared. As hell. The Plan: I was going to play in Hyde park with some posters attached to my guitar case, promoting the show with some 20 minute sets played at 40 minute intervals. I though if enough people hear me play and see the posters, I can get 30 people down, no problem. Unfortunately it rained for a few hours, so I couldn’t really do all my sets, and after the sun came out I was chased away by the police. I went to Upper street, where the club is located to continue my busker sets closer to the venue itself, but after about 30 minutes of playing I was approached by the police again. After they left I went at it again, but the second time they weren’t as nice and promised they’d take my guitar away if I wouldn’t stop – apparently someone complained I was too noisy. As you might realize, I couldn’t get enough people down to the gig. However the Bugbear guys and gals turned out to be real nice people, and I also got to meet two great bands at the gig, so my fears turned out to be based on ridiculous assumptions. It was a superb place to be, was great to hear The Fallows and The Feud. I left the club smiling, it was a real treat being there.
Tuesday morning I had realized I had no voice left. Apparently the air conditioning was too much for me at the Hope & Anchor. Fortunately I have been doing this for a while now, so I do have my tricks to get my body working in these situations, but it wasn’t what I was hoping for on this tour.
The Elixir bar was a perfect venue for acoustic music, the PA system was one of the best so far, Dave was an incredibly friendly host and the band he put on were simply amazing. Chrystina Tomlin has some incredible tunes and voice. I dearly recommend you check her out. Another band I liked was Neon Folklore. Lilly & Nina played an interesting cover version of an Oasis song and some interesting originals too.

Oh, The Silver Bullet was up on Wednesday. This place is incredible. It was packed with singers and songwriters of the greatest caliber. It also featured an extremely entertaining and high energy host, Zeke, who made me forget all about my troubling sickness as soon as I entered the venue. I spent this night savoring the musical delights of all the singers present – I, of course, played as well. I really can’t wait to get back to this venue in the future, it was a real fun place to be. I also met Sicky there, he has some really interesting music that you should check out.
On Thursday I had to find this place in Acton, called The King’s Head. I got lost for a while searching for the venue but when i finally made it, it seemed like another brilliant place for acoustic music. And, know what? It really was! Matt was really good with the PA so it sounded just how it was supposed to. And he is a really cool guy too – I was very pleased to learn how cool promoters were in London btw. (I had feared things would be different in Manchester, but as it turned out, music people are just freaking cool everywhere!) Had a real nice time at The King’s Head, drank some Real Ale with Kurtis and listened to the performers for a while. I couldn’t stay long though, I was leaving for Manchester early the next day. But I do want to come back to the King’s Head, both to play and for the ale.
The Blue Cat Cafe in Manchester was real easy to find, it is located in a suburban area called Stockport, there are several other venues and restaurant on this street, it makes for a real nice experience if you’re on the go. Danny, the owner of The Blue Cat lives just upstairs of the club, and boy, is he a nice guy! The vibe in Manchester was definitely different than in London. So were the people. It is just a different place. A really nice place. Especially for a travelling musician. A band called Jack headlined the night, Ben Dalby and I played 30 minute sets before that. My guitar gave up on me on the very last song, constantly going out of tune for some reason, so I didn’t finish my set the way I usually do, but with a “sorry, my guitar is too tired to play any more”. Jack have a few songs I really got hooked on, I hope they will make those available online or by means of a CD or something, because I intend on steeling every single note. The guys were real cool off-stage as well, Danny even gave me a ride to the coach station, though it was kind of out of his way. Really grateful for that. 🙂
I spent the next couple of days in Stoke-on-trent (birthplace of Robbie Williams and Slash, as Danny from Jack pointed that out for me) and also got to visit Buxton. Had a lovely time, but I had to get ready for my final gig in London, at Dingwalls in Camden Town.

I arrived back in London quite early so I got to visit all the shops and pubs in the area, I really didn’t feel like I was missing out on any of the shopping experience however, as I had carried my hard case for so long in the past 11 days, I really didn’t feel like making my life harder with souvenirs.
Dingwalls was great! Ant was a friendly host, as expected, and the venue had quite a few people show up for the event. The sets and the jam session went on for quite some time – almost made me miss my bus actually. Everything was great. One act in particular has gotten my attention, they are called Cook And The Case. The vocalist had an insane style. Really loved it.
As you can imagine, I really can’t wait for my second tour in the UK. I am sure it will be at least as exciting. Cheers!