Welcome to episode 2 of my Creative Spaces series!
I met Ryan Hamilton online recently after his album release plan went very wrong…and I thought to balance out the industry kerfuffle we should have a deep chat about creativity, music recording and how your space can affect your work. So we did!
We talk about how easy it is to record your own music, which three things Ryan considers essential for recording, where songs come from and the magic word to use in your lyrics to bump up your streaming numbers 🤣.
Ryan also talks about Death Cab For Cutie’s Ben Gibbard, and the story behind “I Will Follow You Into The Dark”…and there’s even a cameo from Justin Hawkins!
I’ve never understood why artists shy away from setting up an email list. Musicians, photographers, visual artists, writers – if you’re serious about sharing your work online, it’s WAY more effective to set up a website and an email list than posting on social media.
If I hadn’t set up my mailing list in 2009 and invited people onto it regularly ever since, I simply wouldn’t have a full-time job making my own music. It’s that life-changing.
Seth Werkheiser and I met online a while ago, and I immediately knew we were on the same page with this stuff. His HEAVY METAL EMAIL is always useful and fun to read, so I invited him to nerd out / share exasperated facial expressions about email marketing with me.
Enjoy – and please ask any questions in the comments section. I’d be very happy to go deeper into how I do things in future videos so let me know what you’d like to see xo
Rat and I talked to the very lovely Diamond Dave from TotalRock about how the pandemic affected the emotional core of our album “One In A Thousand”, as well as how we recorded it, I talk about why I’m SO super DIY and Dave quizzes us on our touring plans…
All physical orders made in my shop before 2pm TODAY will be counted, and any digital orders made up until 11.59pm tonight will also be eligible. iTunes / Bandcamp / etc digital sales also count – only if you actually download the download – and 1000 streams counts as one album sale for the charts.
After our midweek result of #5 (!!!!!!) we are in with a chance of a Top 20 album – maybe even Top 10 – which would be a huge win for independent artists and independently-minded music fans everywhere.
This is when the big record label machine starts kicking in and our DIY release has to contend with all sorts of tactics, from price-drops to “buy-again” pleas. Two things that I feel disrespects the people who have so generously ordered and pre-ordered already.
Someone asked me this on Facebook and I thought it was worth sharing an expanded version of my answer here:
What do the charts matter, when we’re all perfectly capable of deciding what music we like ourselves?
A great question! Being in with the chance of a high chart position with a truly DIY release is a reminder that we all have more power than we might think in this world of corporations running the show. I’m a big fan of defining my goals, to be in with any chance of achieving them, but it never even occurred to me to write this sort of thing down.
I didn’t think this sort of thing could happen for someone like me – someone who has funded all my work from saving up money from jobs to becoming fan-funded through crowdfunding and pre-orders, not label / publishing advances, family money or anything else.
Rat went through the major label system with Ned’s and came away with great music and great memories, but that way of working just doesn’t work for most people these days. I’d elaborate, but then this post would be VERY long. Something for a future video, I think…
This week I’ve been hearing from people who usually stream music, who have been choosing to buy vinyl, CD or a download to be part of this incredible team effort. Streaming has its place, but having compared the audio quality of various streaming services against a high-quality download, I’m very happy that these people will get a much more satisfying listening experience. Who knows, they might even be encouraged to buy music from other artists, which means more music can be made in future.
The connection between music supporter and music maker is that direct.
From the artist side of things, having an exciting chart result helps with future album making (both from sales paying us back for production costs, and opening doors for expanding the operation slightly beyond the walls of my bedroom studio), and potentially gig-getting, which all then comes back to offer more things to this wonderful community.
It’s certainly not about impressing the major labels…if anything, it’s to spite them. It’s a message: don’t get too comfortable, and don’t underestimate music fans.
Someone asked me yesterday what I’d do if the major labels came knocking. My answer: charge them a consultation fee.
Let me be one in a thousand Live my life and fall asleep Give me peace – not pushing forever I’d rather be one in a thousand
It’s really happening. Thanks to generous, supportive music fans our album is now gunning for the UK Top 20. Even writing that makes me feel…funny. Based on sales to date, “One In A Thousand” is possibly headed for the dizzy heights of the Official UK Albums Chart, a real pie in the eye for all people who have ever told Rat and I we couldn’t/shouldn’t.
The music manager who told me “I don’t see people lining up to work with you”…the teacher who said I should focus on the violin, because playing bass was a waste of time…the ex-boyfriend who told me I couldn’t – and shouldn’t – sing.
There will always be someone around to rain on your parade, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend time on the things that make you happy.
Our labour of love is having an effect on the people listening and watching – and sharing the music we’re so proud of is all that really matters…but I can’t deny it would be very exciting to see this independent release jostling with the big labels purely down to people power!