I know, it’s about 4 months late, but we’ve finally finished the double best-of compilation from all the ‘FingerPainting’ shows. Choosing the right sequence of tracks was really hard, and even once I’d chosen it, it took a LONG time for me to believe it was the right order… If it’d been a digital-only release, I’d have put it out and changed it, but when you’re pressing CDs, you really don’t want to screw that up…
So here it is – the digital version is available for streaming/buying/sharing right now, and the CD version will be out next week. So if you buy it now, it’ll get to you within the next 10-15 days.
So where are we up to with the FingerPainting releases? We’ve got
- all 10 shows out on USB stick/Download
- 5 of them up as individual albums on Bandcamp
- this double album set up for download, out on CD next week
- also out next week, Artemis is releasing a compilation of all the vocal tracks from the tour!
That’s an EPIC amount of music from one tour. It’s probably the music I’m most proud of in my life. I hope that the double best-of acts as a ‘TL:DR‘ version for those of you who looked at me like I’d pissed on your shoes when I told you I was releasing a 10 album set.
So, it’s probably worth addressing a couple of questions here that relate to this project. Namely:
“Steve, why do you release SO much music? Surely it waters down the visibility/success of all of them?”
“Why is it SO cheap? your ENTIRE back catalog is £25??”
OK, so first one – why so much music? – is pretty simple: This is how much music I make.
Contrary to what bafflingly appears to be popular opinion, I haven’t really got much clue about promo/marketing. If I’m ‘successful’ at it, it’s accidental, and I’m grateful for that, and I am certainly aware of trying to maximise the value in any story, but I just don’t have it in me to be all that crafty about how to make the most money off my music. Making music is the thing that matters, and my version of ‘sustainability’ is being able to keep making music. If I suddenly struck on a project that was viable and was going to take me 3 years to make, I wouldn’t mind doing that, but those aren’t the kind of things that ever present themselves to me, and I don’t have anything like the infrastructure to support that. So I make the kind of music that I know I can keep making, and that in and of itself is the soundtrack to the world as I wander through my tiny bit of it.
It’s pretty much certain that releasing this much music dents the headline gross earnings of each album. the longer the gap between albums, the more each one makes. But as most of these projects have zero start-up cost (I don’t have ANY capital at all to invest in the process of making music, nothing for studio time, for hiring other musicians, for artwork… Never have…) putting out more music is a better way to make music-making viable across the year than investing time and energy in marketing a particular album is.
I’m a solo bass player, the chances of me ever having anything like mainstream ‘success‘ is infinitesimally small. The cost of that gamble is not one I can bear, and I’m not sure that even the ‘success’ would be worth it if I had it.
I like making lots of music, with lots of people. I’m hugely grateful to the musicians who enter my musical orbit for a time and then spiral off to make music of their own again. I’ve been blessed to work with some of the most incredible musicians I could ever hope to meet, in situations that allowed us to make music that would never have existed had we had the idea then chased a record label for funding. With Theo Travis, Jez Carr, Mike Outram, Daniel Berkman and others, I been able to make a career doing things that are significantly more fun than a holiday could ever possibly be. With Lobelia I’ve managed to combine making some of the most beautiful music I can imagine with travelling across the world with the love of my life. that’s slowed down a LOT since we had Baby Flapjack (who’s FOUR this week!) but it’s still the best fun in the world.
So I make lots of music, I don’t expect everyone to find it as soon as I put it out, and I’m MASSIVELY reliant on, and therefor grateful to, the people who choose to tell their friends about it, share the music with their friends, bring them to gigs, host house concerts and generally get excited about this life that sounds more like the plot to an implausible b-movie than actual life, just without the big pay-off at the end where we have a massive hit and live in luxury for the rest of our lives…
Which brings me to Question 2 – why so cheap? Actually, I’m going to answer that in another post later in the week, cos only about 3 people will have got this far… If you have, well done, you have a way longer attention span than the average buzzfeed-reading, upworthy-sharing Facebook-addicted, listicle-obsessing, internet potato. Good work.by