Posts Tagged ‘Songwriting’

Hype

June 5, 2016

We might be rolling into the dead of Winter (since we’re talking about Australia that might not exactly evoke massive swells of pity), but it’s as good a time as any (read: very, very dumb) to climb into our tour wagon and head out there to hawk our latest wares that no one asked for.

In this case, we’ve joined forces with our favourite Sydney band Wasters and released a split 7″ on vinyl for all those people who still care to listen to their music the same way their grandparents did.  The good news is that since we only pressed 50 copies total we stand at least even odds to sell out and then never do this again.  If my time in the music industry has taught me anything, it’s to keep one’s expectations incredibly low and to call it a victory as soon as possible before your fortune has a chance to reverse itself.

So now we’re headed out the on the road, with a local show in Port Macquarie on Wednesday followed a trip up to the slightly warmer climes on Brisbane on Friday to take the stage at The Bearded Lady, with Wasters, The Bear Hunt, and Mudshadows. An awesome line-up to be sure, but what made my heart glow was waking up to find that Mudshadows had done a up a cool DIY promo video for the night, which made me very, very ashamed. For all of my DIY ramblings and rah-rah cheering from the sidelines (or underlines, really), there are times when I take shows for granted and forget that this is, as it always has been, a shit-ton of fun and should not to be taken so lightly (as backwards as that sounds). Yup, you have to work & care to have such fun.

People don’t just magically appear at your show because you hope they do. They need a good reason, any reason, and if making a cool & funny video is what it takes then I need to be out there on the front lines with my handycam streaking in traffic to get my point across. Luckily for me, Mudshadows have done the heavy lifting for me this time, but consider it a lesson well-learned: don’t take the good stuff for granted. Even when it’s fun, it’s still work.

In other self-promoting news, we reached out to Ted’s Records when we read they were looking for bands who would be interested in doing an acoustic session to be filmed.  They responded by letting us know that they had completely forgot that they had done that, which is how all awesome independent projects should start: ambition mixed with equal parts amnesia.

We got to the top of a beautiful spot in Sydney and did three numbers, one of which didn’t turn out because of the wind, but we still got two other numbers that made the cut, so all in all it was the start of a good week of productivity (for us). The first was for “I Can’t Make It On My Own”…

Followed by a stripped back version of “Dick Move”

Sadly, “Sight For Sore Eyes” was the one that got mangled by mother nature, but that only makes sense because of course that’s the one we used for our side of the split 7. I like how fate kind of keeps our expectations in check.

Anyways, if you are in Brisbane on Friday you should come out, and if you’re anywhere else in the world you should have a poke around the Ted’s Records site and check out all the cool snaps and vids and write-ups that are very much a part of Sydney’s mal-nourished-yet-still-amazing underground music scene.

Believe the hype xoxo

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Dick Moves: A Musical Collection

January 31, 2016

As some of you might know from my various FB posts, tweets, & Instagram shots, I host the local Open Mic Night here in sleepy Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia every Tuesday night at a lovely little (dive) bar. It is not everyone’s cup of tea, but the longer I am there the more I can feel it turning into my kind of place. Things have settled into a nice groove of sorts (pun intended), but of course, like any job, it is not without it’s own perks and particulars.

For starters, there was….the start.

I was riding my bike out to school one fine sunny morning, perhaps last April, maybe May, when I get a phone call from a person whom I had never received a call from before. It was the owner of the venue. My mind immediately went into a state of worry, and anxiety took over as I waited for the inevitable. You see, a few days prior I had actually been at the venue, and somehow on my ride home I must have crashed into something, because I woke up the next day with a fairly dinged bicycle and a shoulder injury that still isn’t quite right.

Mark, you blew it. You are in trouble for sure.

I assumed he was calling to tell me that I had crashed into a car in the street or something like that, and that I’d have to pay for damages and that I would be banned for a year or…you get the idea.  You can imagine my relief when he merely wanted to talk about Open Mic Night. That was all. No need for panic.

So, yada yada yada, he gets to the point which is this: “We’re looking for someone young, who’s talented, who’s got the personality, who’s going to help bring all the hot girls in on Tuesday nights, and I was thinking…”

Yes? Go On.

-“That you could help us find someone?”

Oh.

Long story short, I did help them find someone young, talented, & good looking, but he was kind of boring so they eventually asked me to take over and here we are.

Of course, I have a habit of overdoing things, and this is no exception. Instead of simply bringing a guitar and setting up the PA and making sure the night runs smoothly, I’ve started bringing in more gear like drums, a bass amp, & a guitar amp in the hope of fostering more of a musical community and generally just trying to make things a little better. After all, if someone is blowing chunks on guitar and destroying a song on stage, it can make things a little better if they’ve at least got a steady beat behind them.  Not a lot better, mind you, but better nonetheless.

With that in mind, I’ve compiled a list of Dick Moves that appear from time to time…

1. Don’t ask to go up again: you’ve already played once. You’re not going to get any better. I’m sorry there are more people here now than there were before. Life is very unfair. You should know that by now.

2. Don’t hop on the drums and tune them up and change everything around. This is not a “gig”, you are not a superstar, and none of this shit matters. If you can’t make music on what is already there, you can’t make music period.

[As a rule of thumb, the more uptight and wanky someone is about their gear, the more likely they are to suck as a musician.]

3. Don’t try and bring your own drums in either. No one cares. It’s a beat. Play it.

4. Don’t murder well known songs. Seriously, this is not practice time. This is a chance to show the world a new song you’ve been working on, or show off an old favourite. Whatever, just don’t turn someone’s delight at hearing the first chords of “oh, this is a song I like” into “What the fuck is he doing?!?!”

5. This is not art, but it can be. If you don’t know how to walk that fine line, best not to try. [Trust us: you probably don’t know how to walk that fine line.]

6. Don’t sit in the front row and sing along to shit you don’t know. Best not to sing along at all, really, but some forms are acceptable.

7. Wonderwall: Just. Don’t. Do. It.

I bet there’s more than I’ve drunkenly scribbled down somewhere and lost, but all of this is really just a lead-up into posting a video that we did for the latest Royal Chant LP and forgot to post it for you all to see.

It’s called “Dick Move”, of course, and was created, filmed, and edited by my very good friend Matt Clements who is a film-maker living in NYC. I’ll spare you the details on how we managed to appear in the video without leaving Australia, but you can probably figure it out on your own (if you haven’t already).

[FYI: this video was banned from ABC Television here in Australia because “it contains excessive commercial branding.

As stated in the ABC Editorial Policies:

11.7 Product Placement must not be unduly frequent or prominent

12.2 Commercial references must not be unduly frequent or unduly prominent]

Seeing as how we’re a broke-ass indie band, all we can think is A) give us a break. No one cares, and B) what else we were supposed to use? Geez….

Anyway, if you like the video please show the director some love, because in a cruel twist in the ways of the world, the band always gets credit for a film clip, even though all they did was write the song and then stand around for a bit in front of the cameras. I’m not saying that writing a song is no big deal, but in terms of man-hours that go into a music clip, the people involved behind the camera are the only ones doing any actual work.

Here’s the album, if this is your kind of thing. It’s free, because of course.

That’s all from here. It’s Sunday AM. The cat is awake. I’m on my third cup of tea already. I’m going surfing.

xoxo

 

 

Shocked & Shaking

May 2, 2015

I don’t know if it happens to everyone, but do you ever get those phases of sheer music fatigue? It’s not as if you’ve fallen out of love with your favourite music, but it’s just those rare times when everything loved & familiar suddenly become too familiar? It may only last an hour or a few days, (although I do recall one friend who seemed struck by the apathy virus for a few months), but either way it both a sign and symptom of weakened spirits that only compounds the problem.  If music is your bedrock, best friend, & bible, how cruel is it to be unable to turn to it when you need it most.

Of course I am well aware that “there is a world of music out there at your fingertips”, and this is certainly not a post about how “there just isn’t any good music out there!”. That’s complete rubbish, as anyone involved with music in any way, shape, or form can attest. The problem is simply that sometimes you don’t have it right here and now. Sometimes we find music, sometimes it finds you, and sometimes those paths are circuitous and meandering since we all don’t have access to an amazing radio station or a best friend or an older sibling to guide us in this wide world of musical thorns and wilderness.

And really, this has been one long introduction when all I really meant to say is that I stumbled across a song that has shaken me to the core and made all of the above somewhat irrelevant. I don’t know how long I’ll feel this buzz, but it’s wonderful while it lasts, and it’s amazing that when your spirit gets shaken out of its slumber that the rediscovered rosy glow is cast over your entire world, INCLUDING YOUR RECORD COLLECTION THAT YOU WERE JUST MOANING ABOUT.  Like a music rebirth or sonic baptism, all is right with the world.  All it took was the right kick and you were away and running.

I was wasting time over at Grantland, which would seem somewhat odd since I don’t much like Sports and have little idea about what constitutes Pop Culture, but….they seem to write about it so well.  Writer Steven Hyden had a piece on Titus Andronicus which I initially didn’t click because I’m a jerk (and probably jealous in some irrational way even though I’d not heard much of the band aside from the name), but once I had read anything that looked like it might interest me, and then everything else, I eventually got hit over the head with this:

What does one say to that? I wanted to hug the band. I wanted hug Steve Hyden.  I wound up hugging the cat instead, and then just sat there in awe, reeling in the beauty and steeped in envy. A simple (but amazingly clever) song, a simple  (But cleverly amazing) video that brings the brilliant verbal barrage to the front, and a voice that punches and aches at the same time.  The second verse killed me to the point that I felt like a helpless fraud. I don’t want to dissect it much more than that, because it’s enough that it just is. 

It’s hard to say why this song made me so happy, not just because of the thing itself, but I suspect it’s because I find comfort in knowing that people are still writing songs like this and are unafraid to say it in such a straightforward manner.  Instead of couching ourselves in modesty and self-deprecation (whether real or not), it would be nice to simply say Yes: this is me and this is it.

On a final note, I felt like a complete tool for not knowing what the term “Dimed Out” meant, but thankfully by the end of the song they had explained it so easily and obviously that even I managed to get it. That’s rare.

Old Skool

November 24, 2014

Sometimes it just hits.

Not inspiration, but that something even better….someone else making/doing/singing/being something that strikes you.

This is “Love Shows” by a band/artist/entity called The Gaze. As of right now, she/they have 86 FB likes. That means nothing good nor bad, it just is.  I stumbled upon this piece of perfection on the new Spring Fling 2014 Compilation put out by the fledgling Sydney label Electric Sun Records. [FULL DISCLOSURE: RC’s “I Remember Crescent City” is track #7 on the CD, and “Love Shows” is #8.  It’s not a stretch how I might have found it….coz yeah, I have an ego and get drunk and listen to my own music.]

So there I am, driving along in my usual disgruntled skin, and then this comes on.  I have probably listened to this track 50 times already in a very short period of time, in skies sunny and drear, hours early and late, and I don’t care. I love it. It is 2 minutes and 18 seconds of right on.

I can sing along to every line of this song, but if you asked me to repeat a lyric at random I don’t think I could spit a single syllable. I only know it when it’s on.

In one of my weird moods, I decided to write down the lyrics. That’s what I used to do (and still do, in fact), when I wanted to learn a song.  Rather than look up the chords &/or lyrics on the google machine I used to listen to a song over and over and over and transcribe the chords and lyrics as best I could.  Sometimes I got very close.  Sometimes I got things very, very wrong.  No matter what, I always got closer to the song.

Love Shows
by The Gaze

Heartbreak answers to so many different names
I’d love you if you’d only stayed the same
I studied you until I learnt the game
and sometimes a flame is just a flame
I knew just what it took to make you smile
I haven’t felt that urge for quite a while
I pushed coz I needed to see you cry
I pushed just to see if you’d push me back

Hope grows, only love shows
Love grows, only hope shows

In the end, somebody always pays
It can come out in so many different ways
I was looking for somebody new to blame
When it all falls down it’s such a shame

Hope grows, only love shows
Love grows, only hope shows

I can feel that I’m pushing you away
Though I made up my mind to try and stay
Heartbreak lingers love can creep away
I’m not sure I remember you anyway

Hope grows, only love shows
Love grows, only hope shows

That is all. I found this song and I like it rather much. Let me know what you think, but even more, let them know if it moves you too.

It’s time for bed, so I will catch you all laterzzzzzzz…..

-M

Torture Diary

September 9, 2014

It is week 9 of the current school term. One week to go. The sun is shining, it’s a nice day out, and there is nothing especially wrong in my little corner of the world.  Just my usual litany of envy, first-world complaints, and generic disgruntlement.

With that in mind, I’ve decided that today I will torture my students, one by one, by making them learn beats and then playing along to the worst recorded examples of them. First up…

Period 1: Too-Much-Basketball Kid

Despite the fact that he spends too much time on the basketball court and doesn’t really practice all that much, I rather like this student.  A nice kid with good manners who usually pays his tuition fees on time is A-OK in my books.  He’s got a decent enough dose of musical ability to kinda be OK at anything he tries his hand at, so overall we have enjoyable lessons.  But I can’t let my emotions get in the way of my objective. I give him a two-fer, starting off with “Word Up”, by Cameo.

That’s 4:39 of pain.

Just to make sure he never forgets who is in charge, I make him play “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. I have never heard this song in its entirety nor seen the music clip, but sometimes we all have to make sacrifices to inflict a little pain.

Neither his feet nor his hands can keep up, but I make him keep trying and failing just for the sake of it.

Period 2: Cool Afro Kid

We usually work on snare drum technique or mallets or something else that will sound like nonsense to your ears, but since most of our equipment is currently being used at another school we were forced to work on congas today. Other than “Oye Como Va”, there wasn’t anything especially tortuous about this lesson.  I let my guard down. Am I getting soft?

Here’s a clip of of the late, great Tito Puente acting like a total goofball in his later years. Of course, he was making gazillions of dollars at this point of his career, so I’d probably be smiling like that too. Bless him.

We finished our lesson by checking out the insane solos on “Ti Mon Bo”. The bongo solo is my favourite (that’s the first one), but the conga solo (second), and Tito’s beautiful phrasing in the final solo are all something special.

I need to recalibrate and find my focus, but there’s no time before….

Period 3: Sucky-Know-It-All-In-Year-7 Kid

Like most know-it-alls, this kid know doesn’t know his ass from his elbow, which means that he’s playing random definitely not-in-time shit while a metronome blasts away to seemingly no avail. I spend today’s lesson banging out the correct rhythms on a cowbell while he keeps shaking his head and acting like he doesn’t know how to FUCKING. COUNT. TO. 4.

Pure torture. For me. This is all going downhill. I take some consolation in knowing that he’s not enjoying himself and is just starting to realize how much he really doesn’t know.  Convinced I see the beginnings of tears welling in his eyes before the bell goes, I give myself a bonus point.

RECESS: I go to the teacher’s lounge and just hate everyone for no good reason.  They are all very nice. I get a cup of tea. I scurry back to my room. Here’s “Teenager Of The Year” by Lo-Tel, also for no good reason.

Period 4: The Metal Kid

Alright, I know I’ve got to turn this ship around, but he comes out firing and catches me off guard with “The Beast and the Harlot” by Avenge Sevenfold.

At no point in my life have I ever felt my existence was hollow due to a lack of metal. Do you have any idea what’s it’s like trying to explain a shitty drum transcription of a shitty song to a kid who has shitty reading skills? It sucks, but only gets worse because I’m dumb enough to put on the video so not only do I have to hear this shite I now get visual proof that this goth-pop is made by wankers who should have stopped shopping at Hot topic a long, long time ago.  I double-down by listening to the lyrics and that’s when I really start to lose it.  Right before the bell goes I cue up this tasty 4-on-the-floor number, but he is out the door before he feels anything.

I’m getting discouraged but enjoy the song anyway.

Period 5: Why-Are-You-Asking-Me-Questions-I-Can’t-Possibly-Know-The-Answer-To Kid

I got my beating stick ready, just in case….

photo

But alas, it was not to be. We instead worked on drum line exercises, which although a noble cause left me feeling defeated, alone, & confused. What is happening to me?

Here’s “You Don’t Know How It Feels” by Tom Petty.  I use this one for the really hopeless kids.  It’s slow, it’s repetitive, it grooves, and I don’t want to blow my brains out. Kind of missing my objective, but what can I do by this point?

LUNCH: I eat an apple and make another cup of tea.  Hiding in my room.

Period 6: Really-Nice-Young-Man-Who-I’ve-Perhaps-Overestimated-His-Musical-Abilities Kid

Doesn’t show up. He’s gone for the day. The final opportunity to make one last stand and redeem my day  has evaporated in the afternoon sun. I tried. I failed. It happens.

Here’s “Teenage FBI by Guided By Voices, because this is about as much of the teenage years as I can handle right now.

Holler back if it’s been a while. It gets lonely out here.

-M

 

So you have to get a press shot…

July 21, 2014

Well, we have good news and we have bad news:

If you are in a band, at some point you will have to have a press photo, whether you like it or not.  The good news is that it will all be over soon. [Maybe]. The bad news is that it still sucks and you’ll feel rather dirty & ashamed for a while. So…yeah. Take as long as you need to get comfortable with that.

Depending on your particular band, your style, your philosophy, your audience, and whatever other aesthetic guidelines you have placed on yourself (or have allowed to be placed on you), this may or may not be the start of a long & tumultuous personal debate that often spills over into using actual words to talk to other people about this very personal yet collective aspect of bandom. Essentially: how much am I willing to feel and act like a total knob in order to not look like one?

There are exceptions to this.  In fact, there are heaps of them. For starters, if you play a genre of music that is not afraid to take itself seriously, then congratulations: you can win this game without fretting over your vanity, your ethics, your principles, or any other inane aspect of your precious & fragile artistic ego. Metal bands? Ace! You win hands down.  You’re SUPPOSED to wear black and look straight into the camera with a scowl. Pop Princess? Winner-winner-chicken-dinner! Spending 2 1/2 hours in makeup and prancing around on a set making fish lips is exactly what you’ve been training your whole life for. Happy-go-lucky-acoustic-storyteller? Go on, wear those floral suspenders and have 3 puppies in your lap! Crack a smile! You’ve earned it!

In a band such as Royal Chant, getting a picture taken has, so far, ranked as one of the most impossible and unpleasant experiences we’ve yet had to face. Essentially, if we’re one of those “ego-less” bands (HA!), then how does one go about getting a photo taken, much less contemplating or talking about the idea?  It’s sort of supposed to be anathema to our very existence, but that still doesn’t change the fact that YOU STILL HAVE TO GET IT DONE.

So….we mostly just have shit photos. Seriously. And the best/worst part is: the shittiest ones seem to circulate the longest. If you don’t bother updating and sending out regular new photos with every press release, then the press/the media/some blogger is just going to google your band and find the first one that comes up, which, as luck would have it, happens to make you look like a bloody hayseed wearing ill-chosen, ill-fitting t-shirts.

Want to know what our conversation turns to when we’re in the van or hanging at the airport?

No? Well too bad, I’m going to tell you anyways.

On more than occasion we have wished that we were a heavy rock act or metal band, coz at least then any questions about fashion, countenance, and attitude would be immediately solved by the very nature of the genre, but noooooo….we have to try and become artistically “transparent”, which I guess means trying to look at the camera without looking at it, or maybe we’re supposed to look away without looking like we’re trying to pose for a Daniel Steele cover, or maybe WE DON’T KNOW WHAT THE HELL WE’RE SUPPOSED TO DO WITH OUR HANDS.  It fucking sucks.

I think deep down, we just want to look OK. Asking to look cool is way, way, way out of our league. What you really need is someone who can look at you, understand you, and then tell you to do exactly what is needed in order to best visually represent yourself and your music to the wider world.  So yeah, that means taking yourself seriously and acting consciously for at least a little while, but at least you have someone holding your hand through and essentially whispering, “It’s OK, this will all be over soon.” If you ever have that opportunity: take it.

Artists are often as guilty of undervaluing or underestimating other art forms just as much as the general public.  Lord knows I’ve been guilty of being visually ignorant, just as much as I’ve seen visual artists be completely clueless as to what is involved with writing or recording music.  It’s cool, it happens, but where musicians get into trouble is when we think that getting a decent press shot is just going to happen to happen by accident.  The word “just” should be banished from that conversation, because if you want a good press photo you actually have to dedicate yourself to that very purpose, which means you have to….[gulp]…care.  About what you look like. About how you will be perceived. Just. Bloody. Care.

Is it any wonder we’re stuck with normally shyte photos? At the very beginning of Royal Chant, we paid a photographer friend $60 and actually lucked out with some decent ones, but ever since then we’ve pretty consistently hit the toilet bowl when it comes to photos.  Bad lighting is often the culprit, but on a few occasions there’s been so much tension in the air that the photographer was afraid to say anything. Sometimes we get really really really close, but we either need just a little direction, (coz we’re not photogenic in any way), or else we quit right as we were getting into the groove.  We are our own worst enemy.

We did mange to wind up with a decent crop earlier this year when it was still just James & I all by our lonesome, thanks to the kind & patient hand of Kate Farquharson….

RC 1  RC 2  RC 3  RC 4

 

It wasn’t until we were faced with the prospect of taking new photos that I really began to appreciate the photos she took (or maybe I was just too smitten with the Designer Mutts photos she snapped in the same session)….

 

DM 1 DM 2 DM 3 DM 4 DM 5 DM 6

[As an aside: those Designer Mutts photos were easy as guts, because it’s a joke, and joking around in costumes is easy. Maybe we should just wear them all the time and be done with it.]

In any case, last week we had to get a new photo done, because now we have Ryan in the band and people get confused when the band photo doesn’t match what they see on stage.  So once again….we were in the same situation as we always were.  Three guys, awkwardly standing in front of a camera, with things unraveling fast.  Now this is what we have to live with until we start all over again.

RC 2014

It’ll do.

In case you haven’t heard, our new album is out now, so if you’re feeling like a modern consumer you can head over to iTunes and pick up a copy.  Technically it is a double EP consisting of Small Town Bruises / A Day At The Wauchope Races, but in this digital age the concept of a double EP is hard to convey so they wound up being separate beings.

You can also head over to our bandcamp site and get it that way, like all the young kids these days. Pay what you like, or else you can put in an order for a hardcopy which we will then lovingly send your way courtesy of Australia Post.

It’s starting to get a bit of airplay around Australia, so if you’re ambitious & drunk you can always ring up any random radio station and yell your request into the phone.  Then, after they say “Wait….what?!?!?”, you can politely explain that you’d like to hear our latest.  A few reviews are coming in as well, one good, one shit, plus I sat down with Mess + Noise for a fun interview where I was clearly out of my depth but did my best to fake my way through it.  You know, all the usual jazz….

That’s all from here. Holler back and let us know what’s going on in your world.

xoxo

God Save The Queen

June 9, 2014

Happy Birthday old girl.

Royal Chant
Small Town Bruises/A Day At The Wauchope Races double EP
July 7, 2104
courtesy of Dirty Mab Records

tour dates and other banal minutiae on their way….prepare for lift-off

See you soon xoxo

sincerely,

Your Loyal Subjects

Happy Valentine’s Day, 2014

February 20, 2014

[Of course I forgot to post this in time…]

There’s been a lot I have wanted to write about recently, which of course means that I’m going to write about myself instead. That’s the way it goes sometimes. Laziness is not becoming nor conducive to being a writer, great or small.

Anyways, it has just struck Valentine’s here in Australia and that seems like the perfect time to release something new from the Royal Chant catalog, just to prove to the world that it’s not all about hearts & cupids & sappy poetry.  It’s about garage bands &  tour vans & sappy poetry.

So here is “Shake, Shake”, our new single, complete with our own DIY film clip.

Of course it’s free.  We know everyone is broke these days, so it’s all good.  We’re all just trucking along and thankful for the moments of happiness that we experience, which are actually far more abundant than we’ve led ourselves to believe.  That doesn’t mean that we should be pushovers, and yeah, the world is still seriously screwed up in a lot of ways, but we can sing & shake and forget, and what seems like nonsense is really just an inability to explain.

Image

Bang & Beggar’s Gloves

December 9, 2013

First, a little theme music to keep you company through the course of this short post…

[And now on with the show]

Being in an independent band is rather the worst possible enterprise if one was looking to make money.  Not only is there not much money in music, (nor much music in money, if you think about it), but if you’re doing anything remotely artistic (or making a noble failed attempt), then there is a reasonable chance that the attributes & characteristics of monetary success are the very things repulsive to our sensibilities.  Even if one is a gutter poet reveling in visceral decay of the human soul, there is likely a streak of the romantic that keeps us from being dickhead money-mongers, and thus the problem: how does one survive?  Even further, how does one prosper?  Money itself is one of the many awkward evils that some of us have a hard time reconciling ourselves to, so of course we are often the most hapless & helpless when it comes to making, taking, keeping, and dealing with money.

In a perfect world, we would be so good that we would be free of the need for hawking and handouts, but the world is not perfect, and we are not that good.  With that in mind, James & I finally sucked it up and did the inevitable: we launched a kickstarter campaign.  We have recorded yet another EP, 7 new tracks that will comprise our upcoming Small Town Bruises EP. The problem (because of course there is a problem), is that we can’t afford to actually have them printed up.

We’d prefer not to have to do this at all, but unfortunately when we are playing shows we’re still getting people wanting to buy them from us, which is annoying because I think more than a few independent bands wish the world would make up its mind: ARE YOU GOING TO ACTUALLY GO ALL-DIGITAL OR NOT?!?!? The last thing anyone wants is yet another box of unsold CDs cluttering up our already cluttered flats, but it seems like it’s not time to give up on the physical formats of the world just yet.  We used to have CDs, then we sold them all (or gave them away in various states of drunken magnanimity), and rather than put the money aside like responsible adults we spent it on things like petrol, beer, & matching tuxedo t-shirts.

Small Town Bruises Kickstarter

So there you have it: a garage band with it’s hands out, asking you to have a listen and chip in to help us get our latest project out.  There’s lots of cool rewards, from the small to the mighty, and if you’d like to be the first to get your hands on our latest offering, this is the way to do it.  Of course, we could always be like a metal band or pop group, which has no problem whatsoever in selling themselves.  We actually mean that as a compliment, not necessarily equating selling with “selling out”.  Watch the way their man their merch stands, and the eagerness & enthusiasm with which they talk about their music.  They have just as much pride, conviction, and belief as any football team, and it’s enviable, to say the least.

It’s been a painful exercise, crossing this imaginary fault-line of actively begging for money as opposed to doing it passively like we always do, but not as bad as I would have thought.  It requires one to stand up and acknowledge to the entire world that: yes, this is what I do and I believe in it.  As much as we’d like to pretend our music says that for us, the self-deprecation, whether real or feigned, is just a mask that fools no one but ourselves, if that.

So, for a brief moment, I have stood up and said, loud & proud: I am in Royal Chant and I think we are worth it.

Big hugs & peace xoxo

-M

[lastly, we’ll leave you with the first single of our upcoming Small Town Bruises EP to get you in the mood :)]

Collisions this & that

July 28, 2013

Thank you everyone for your kind words regarding the passing of producer, engineer, & legendary studio owner James Bentley.  As well-known and respected as he already was, I can’t help but think that in another world, set amongst a different musical landscape, his name would have been even more widely recognized.  Yesterday, James Carthew (Royal Chant bassist), came across a very good article on James, written by David Weiss for Sonic Scoop.  At nearly the same time, I came across this home-made video set to a Creeper Lagoon song that I had previously never heard.  In a sad collision of sorts, they seemed to fit together, so I thought I’d present them to you as our own requiem for someone halfway around the world.

Death of a Studio Owner: RIP Jim Bentley of The Fort Brooklyn

My favourite line from the article is from Bones Howell, when he finishes his remarks with, “He was servicing the garage and indie rock community with a high degree of low fidelity, if that makes sense somehow.”

Yes. Yes it does. That was exactly what we’d been searching for by the time we hit Brooklyn, and we walked out with a single was as close as I’ve gotten to the sound in my head.  We had a laugh when only weeks ago, a DJ from one of Australia’s “big” stations (and no, it was not Triple-J), wrote back regarding the track. “Hey ______, had a listen and it’s a good track! It feels like it needs a better mix / master though. Is it a demo?”

No, you sad corporate twat, it’s not a demo. That’s how music actually sounds. A high degree of low fidelity indeed.

Be extra nice to each other this week…let’s see what happens.

-M