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Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond



How Best To Describe Variable Pricing For Music?

October 24th, 2011 · 19 Comments

Words matter. The way we describe things are a huge part of how people think of them, even if those descriptions aren’t definitive or in any way concretely imposing on the thing we’re describing.

An example is the language around variable pricing for digital music. The most widely used variant is ‘pay what you want’ and its acronym PWYW. For some reason that grates. It feels dismissive. It feels off-hand. I’m not sure why.

Bandcampmy digital music sales platform of choice – uses the more neutral ‘name your price’. [Read more →]

Tags: New Music Strategies

Why I Won’t be Installing the CDBaby Facebook Music Store

October 13th, 2011 · 2 Comments

A few days ago, CDBaby launched a Facebook Music Store, that integrates with Facebook pages, so you can sell your music there (assuming it’s also on CDBaby).

The store has its own tab and is basically an embedded version of your music page at CD baby. So people can buy CDs and downloads, with just a few quick clicks.

I’m not going to add it.

I’ll stick with Bandcamp.

Here’s why: [Read more →]

Tags: Musing on Music

Video Of Improv with Shlomo in Edinburgh.

October 5th, 2011 · Comments Off on Video Of Improv with Shlomo in Edinburgh.

You may remember that back in August, a trip to Edinburgh to do some work with the Arts Council happened to coincide with the opportunity to guest with beatboxing genius Shlomo on his Edinburgh Fringe show.

I’d seen Shlo play a few times, and love his music – he’s one of the most musical and versatile beatboxers I’ve ever come across, and as meeting him confirmed, always seemed like a really lovely bloke too. [Read more →]

Tags: Music News

Improvised Duet With Cleveland Watkiss From 2005

October 3rd, 2011 · 2 Comments

Over the last week or so I’ve been thinking about the best way to bring the Recycle Collective back into effect.

A lil’ bit of history – the early part of my ‘solo’ career actually involved a fair bit of collaboration – I did two duet albums – with Jez Carr on piano and Theo Travis on sax/flute, and then in 2005 spent much of the year focused on exploring the collaborative potential of all this looping stuff.

A big part of that was getting together with other musicians, in particular Cleveland Watkiss and BJ Cole, to experiment, try things out, record. It became apparent fairly quickly that what we were doing really ought to be happening in front of an audience, so I put together the first idea for the Recycle Collective – a series of improvised music nights in London, with no prior stylistic constraint.

after a couple of events that were based around solo and duo playing, mostly, I settled on a format of 3 musicians, 3 sets, each set progression solo > duo > trio. So you had each musician playing solo, all 3 possible duo combinations, and 3 loosely curated trio sets… It resulted in some remarkable music and quite a fabulous underground reputation for providing some of the loveliest improvised music in London.

Now that we’re in Birmingham and a little more settled, I’m going to see about bringing it back up here. So here’s a lil’ taster of the kind of thing that happened – it’s an improv duet of Cleveland Watkiss and I, from April 2005 – one of those sessions that inspired me to start the collective:

Gregorian (Steve Lawson and Cleveland Watkiss) by solobasssteve

Tags: Music News

First Anniversary Of Slow Food with Trip Wamsley

September 16th, 2011 · Comments Off on First Anniversary Of Slow Food with Trip Wamsley

This week sees the first anniversary of the release of ‘Slow Food’ – my half of the ‘two albums in two days’ project that Trip Wamsley and I recorded when Lobelia and I visited Louisiana in the summer of 2010. Listen and download/buy here: [Read more →]

Tags: Music News

A Skype Chat with Brad McCarty of TheNextWeb – Musicians And Money

September 4th, 2011 · 2 Comments

A few weeks back, I was interviewed by Brad McCarty of TheNextWeb, for this article on how musicians are making money online. Brad asked a lot of excellent questions, and naturally, there was no room for it all in his article. So with his permission, I’m making a (slightly edited) version of our conversation available here. We range through quite a few bits of the new music economy, so I hope it’s useful to you:

Brad ::
I’m trying to piece together a story about how both large and indie artists are finding ways to make money in the age of somewhat rampant piracy.
I’ve seen you talk, at length at times, about your thoughts on the subject. I wondered if you could tell me what you’re doing to grow your audience and career.

Steve ::
What am I doing? making music and inviting people to listen to it, then pay what they think it’s worth. I’m also asking those who are listening to tell their friends. I still send out some info to magazines/radio, but rarely bother. And I focus on making sure that the rest of the stuff I do is interesting, so people who are drawn in by the conversation or the commentary have a reason to investigate the music, cos ‘hey, check out my shit!’ isn’t interesting when 500,000 people are saying it. [Read more →]

Tags: New Music Strategies

BBC 6Music And Improv With Shlomo – 2 Things To Listen To

August 31st, 2011 · 1 Comment

I’m just back from a fabulous weekend at Greenbelt – where I’ve spent my August Bank Holiday for all but 3 of the last 22years (and one of those was only because Greenbelt was moved to an earlier slot in the year, so I’ve actually only missed 2 in 22 years – this being my 20th GB).

Anyway, time to catch up on two interesting things that have happened. Firstly, I was interviewed last week by the wonderful Tom Robinson for his ‘Fresh On The Net’ BBC Introducing show on BBC 6Music click here to go and listen to it (the listen again runs out in about 3 days, but I’ll chop the audio and get it uploaded somewhere 🙂 ) It’s a wonderfully succinct, pithy interview – sadly not because I’ve discovered how not to waffle, but more because they edited it rather well – my bit is 33 minutes into the recording, but the rest is worth listening to for some great new music… [Read more →]

Tags: Music News

Live So Far and Beautifully Undone now on CD!

August 25th, 2011 · Comments Off on Live So Far and Beautifully Undone now on CD!

FINALLY – you asked for it, so it’s here. Live So Far on CD! It’s our live album from our US tour in 2010 – a mix of solo tunes from Lobelia and I, plus two VERY special guests in the from of Todd Reynolds on violin and Neil Alexander on keyboards.

It was a really special tour for us – if you’ve not heard the album yet, here it is. Click the picture to order the CD.

and if that’s not enough, Lobelia’s new album, Beautifully Undone, which I mixed and mastered, and play bass on one tune of (and took the photo on the cover of!) is also out on limited edition CD. Listen to that here too:

Tags: Music News

The Internet – Fundamentally A Force For Good

August 22nd, 2011 · 12 Comments

OK, this post has come about through a few things. It’s a topic that comes to mind every time some numbnuts in government starts talking about how the internet causes riots, or the massive liars at the RIAA/BPI start ranting again about the evils of piracy and how the internet needs to be taxed or shut down, or whatever bullshit they’re peddling this month.

I tweeted a coupla thoughts over the last few days:

[Read more →]

Tags: New Music Strategies

New Improv Video With Lobelia and Tiger Darrow

August 16th, 2011 · Comments Off on New Improv Video With Lobelia and Tiger Darrow

Here’s something lovely that has just been posted to Vimeo – it’s from a house concert that Lobelia and I played in Plano, TX earlier in the year. Brian, who expertly hosts the gig for us and filmed it so beautifully, had seen Tiger Darrow play a few weeks earlier opening for Zoe Keating, so asked her to come and open the show. She did, was brilliant, and thus we had to play together at the end. Here it is: [Read more →]

Tags: Music News