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Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond



Entries Tagged as 'Music News'

BBC 6Music Radio Airplay on The Freakier Zone

July 13th, 2015 · Comments Off on BBC 6Music Radio Airplay on The Freakier Zone

So here’s something lovely – The Freakier Zone: Stuart Maconie’s late night sister show to The Freakzone, did a special on improvising duos on Saturday night. Stuart interviewed the oracle of all things interesting in music, Fiona Talkington, and she picked a handful of tracks to play and there are little interview segments with Food (Iain Ballamy and Thomas Stronen) and… me, talking about working with Daniel Berkman! 🙂

The show link is here – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b061xxhq – have a listen to the whole hour, it’s fascinating.

My interview segment was recorded over the phone and as usual I was talking too fast, so here it is transcribed:

“…you have to trust each other, you have to have the belief that what the other person is going to bring to the music is better than what you would do on your own. Otherwise you’re just going to resent them. I mean, that would be terrible, improvising with someone who was messing your music up! So you have to have that feeling – and commit to that feeling – that what they’re going to bring is better than what you would do on your own… and then leave room for that.

“So there’s this sort of transaction that goes on where you leave space, allow someone to fill it and then they do the same, so it’s sort of like a game of consequences, where you’re folding over and each writing a sentence – he said, she said…

“and so one of us might start… I mean, sometimes we’ll just sit there and giggle at each other for a minute before we start because neither of us want to, and both of us want the other to lead us into something new.

“But you’re also trying not to tread the same ground again, you’re trying to take it in new directions, so you don’t end up performing ‘pieces’.  So it’s not that you can’t draw on the same language again, but you don’t want to actually try and copy an earlier piece, because that’s a very different skill set and a very different mental approach.”

It’s an inspired bit of radio programming, given what a massive influence on me both Bill Frisell and Arild Anderson have been, and what an influence Toumani Diabate has been on Daniel… Top work, Fiona!

The track played is an excerpt from Accidentally (On Purpose) – the title track of the 2nd show Daniel and I played together, and the first thing we released:

And given that the track that followed ours was by Ballaké Sissoko and Toumani Diabate, it’d be fitting to link here to Daniel’s amazing acoustic Kora work too.

…and you know you can buy all 10 of the shows for £10, right? 🙂

Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone and Freakier Zone are chock full of amazing and surprising music. Fiona’s regular musical home on the web is Late Junction on Radio 3 – I’ve discovered SO much amazing music through her over the years: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006tp52

Tags: Music News

Crowd-Funding My Next Solo Album (But Not How You’d Think…)

July 5th, 2015 · 2 Comments

So, I’m starting work on my next solo album. I’m not absolutely sure which direction I’m going in – musically – at this stage, I’m most interested in trying some bass and drums stuff with Andy Edwards… What I really need is time to experiment.

Which is where the ‘funding’ bit comes in, right? Because the time required to experiment (and through experimenting make more amazing music for you to hear) is time that would otherwise be spent doing things to pay the bills…

So, the modern thing to do is crowd-fund, right? Give you, the beautiful music listeners of SteveWorld the chance to pre-pay for it.

Guess what? That option already exists. Like Richard Marx, whatever you do, wherever you go, it’ll still be right here waiting for you…

I’m talking about my Bandcamp Subscription. The multi-tiered bit that you get with any other crowd funding thing is entirely optional. The start point is £20 – for that (or however much more you choose to contribute) you get:

  • all 10 of my solo albums,
  • 4 other subscriber-exclusive releases that have come out in the last 6 months or so
  • AND *everything* I put out in the next year.

So not just the new solo album – you get everything else as well. Including the 4 or 5 projects that are currently in development. (in the next couple of weeks, two of those will come out for subscribers only…) I can also send you news of what I’m up to (in a status-update kind of way, rather than a massive-long-newsletter kind of way) and will upload previews of tracks as the new album takes shape…

It feels like a friendlier model, it doesn’t require me to ‘hit a target’ before it becomes meaningful for you (your generosity is not only valid if enough other people are generous) and you also get LOADS of music straight away – under the old economic model, this would be thought of as hundreds of pounds worth of music. That’s not very meaningful right now, but there are certainly many, many hours of listening pleasure waiting for anyone who a) likes what I do and b) decides to subscribe… (and if that music isn’t enough, you can get my complete works USB stick for just £13 once you’ve subscribed!!)

I also – crucially – won’t have to bombard the world of social media with requests for money over a two month period. There are people who do this very well, I don’t think I’d be one of them. I love posting all the random stuff that has nothing to do with my music on FB, Twitter and Instagram, and don’t want that to get lost in a stream of begging notices…

SuperMarket vs Farmers Market:

While large parts of the music world are squabbling over Spotify and Apple Music royalty rates, those of us who will NEVER make sustainable art with the royalties from streaming (even if they end up at ten times the current rate) are quietly getting on with what we do, knowing that you, the listeners, can tell the difference between Walmart (Apple/Spotify) and your local farmers market (Bandcamp/the CD table at a gig). Supermarket efficiency and blandness vs Fairtrade from local makers of beautiful things.

You get it, we get it, we don’t really need Apple and Spotify to help us understand it (and like food or anything else you’d buy in both places, you also don’t have to choose between them, though don’t expect iCloud or Google Music to recognise the files you upload 😉 )

So, if you want to help take the sting out of making the new album, get a massive load of my already-existing music, and be part of the journey towards the new one, as well as a year’s worth of my creative output, for as little as £20 (or whatever you can afford and think is meaningful), I’d LOVE for you to subscribe and be part of our little sustainability revolution. OK? 

Tags: Music News · New Music Strategies

Two New Solo Videos!

April 17th, 2015 · 1 Comment

This is the first of two posts today – the 2nd one will have gig news and some recording news, but first here are two videos that have gone live in the last week.

Yesterday I posted this one, that was recorded as a video test, and turned out rather nice… Was checking whether I could do video and multitrack audio at the same time on my laptop. Turns out I can, as evidenced here.

Lots of lovely pedals are featured – MXR bass preamp (on the floor out of shot), Dunlop Volume Pedal, Markbass MiniDist, Darkglass VMT, MXR Bass Fuzz, MXR Bass Chorus Deluxe, MXR Bass Overdrive, TC Electronic HOF mini, MXR Bass Envelope Filter: [Read more →]

Tags: Music News

2014 – A Year In Music

December 21st, 2014 · Comments Off on 2014 – A Year In Music

2014 has been another fun-packed year of musicking – solo gigs, collaborations, recordings and launching a subscription service to help people keep track of my rather accelerated release schedule 🙂 . In the UK and abroad, so much has been going on. So let’s grab a few highlights, eh?

The year started in traditional fashion, with a trip to California and a run of shows with Daniel Berkman and Artemis. After releasing the 10 album FingerPainting set in 2013, we’ve held off on releasing any of the 14 shows we did this year, but there’s some magic in there, and it’s in the queue for future release (though not all 14 shows of it, I learned my lesson last time 😉 )

I also did a duo show with bassist Steve Uccello while in California, that resulted in a couple of wonderful duets that will see the light of day very soon.

Oh and on the eve of my trip to California, I released What The Mind Thinks The Heart Transmits – my first ‘proper‘ ambient recording, which has proved very popular this year:

[Read more →]

Tags: Music News

The Future Is Here: Bandcamp Steve Lawson Subscription Launched!

October 23rd, 2014 · 2 Comments

This is some SERIOUSLY exciting news. Partly because it’s just an amazing bit of news, but also because of the half a million or so artists on Bandcamp, I’m one of the first 2 or 3 to get to try this out.

Which means that YOU get to be part of this experiment in the future of music. In keeping music alive, in turning back the (quite possibly non-existent and hugely missplaced) tide of despair about ‘the way things are going’.

Here it is – £20 a year, and you get my 10 solo albums for free when you sign up!

 

This model works SO perfectly for me – since I started releasing almost everything as ‘digital only’ the ‘per album’ model was a compromise at best. It didn’t make sense for things to have a ‘unit value’ like that.

What this allows me to do if focus on making as many varied and wonderful musical projects as I can. You get more music, don’t have to worry about having ‘already spent enough’… you pay for it all in one lot, ahead of time, and get as much as I can make.

Subscribing becomes a club of sorts:

  • there’ll be access to cheaper gig tickets wherever possible
  • other subscriber only releases
  • merch
  • snacks*

(*probably not snacks)

At the moment I’m putting together a subscriber only album of things that are currently only streamable on Soundcloud or Youtube. I get asked ALL the time about releasing them, and this is where they’ll go. If you want them, subscribe.

This Is The Future

This Is Sustainability

This Is Exciting

You Get To Partner With Me

More Music Will Happen.

Sign up here: http://stevelawson.bandcamp.com/subscribe

Tags: Music News · New Music Strategies

First recording by me, Jem Godfrey, Andy Edwards…

August 14th, 2014 · 3 Comments

So, our new as-yet-unnamed trio had its debut gig last Sunday, as you know. And it went very well. Here’s the proof – this is the entire first set, starting out with me solo, joined by Jem then Andy. This is mixed and mastered but wholly unedited:

More soon!

Tags: Music News

Photos from Last Night’s Gig with Jem Godfrey and Andy Edwards

August 11th, 2014 · Comments Off on Photos from Last Night’s Gig with Jem Godfrey and Andy Edwards

Thanks SO much to everyone who came out to the show at Tower Of Song with Jem Godfrey and Andy Edwards. We had a great time, and were delighted with the audience reaction.

Recordings will be available soon in some form or other, but for now, here are some gorgeous photos, taken by Rob Groucutt, to give you a flavour of what it was like 🙂

Tags: Music News

A Month of Sundays (3 Gigs in Birmingham)

August 3rd, 2014 · Comments Off on A Month of Sundays (3 Gigs in Birmingham)

Following on from last week’s lovely gig with Julie Slick and Andy Edwards, I’ve got TWO more Sunday night gigs at Tower Of Song in Birmingham coming up:

August 10th : Jem Godfrey, Steve Lawson, Andy Edwards – Jem’s band is Frost* (which Andy used to be in), he’s also played keyboards with Joe Satriani and Steve Vai. If that wasn’t enough, he’s an Ivor Novello award winning songwriter, writing massive hits for Shane Ward, Atomic Kitten, Holly Vallance… He’s very, very good at whatever area of music he turns his hand to, so expect amazingness. [Ticket Link] -0- [Facebook link]

August 17th : Lobelia’s Lazy Sundays presents Briana Corrigan + Steve Lawson – Briana was the original vocalist in the Beautiful South, sang on all the early hits. Since then, she’s released two wonderful solo albums, written and performed in plays and a one woman show called ‘Mum’s The Word’. She’s properly brilliant, and I’m VERY excited to see what we come up with together… the plan is to write/arrange/rehearse/plan a show in 3 days. There’ll definitely be songs, music, maybe some spoken word stuff, story-telling, poetry… who knows. It’s going to be lovely, and you need to be there. [Ticket Link] -0- [Facebook Link]

So, two in a row. Very different, but equally magical, I promise.

And if you’re wondering what you missed last Sunday, here’s some lovely video of the opening 12 minutes of the show (it’s shot in HD so choose the 1080p option and watch it full-screen!) :

See? Loveliness. 🙂

Tags: gig dates · Music News

More. New. Music. (new album With Julie Slick)

July 29th, 2014 · 10 Comments

This is getting silly, right? It’s the summer of new albums for me, that’s for sure.

First Diversion, then Tangents with Murphy and Andy, now this…

What’s this? Well, it’s an album called Marinate by me and Julie Slick. It’s 35 minutes of bass duets, all improvised. A little bit mellow, a little bit odd, generous helpings of melody and niceness…

One track was recorded back in April, and the rest were recorded last Saturday. We’ve been playing together now for about 4 years – it’s taken time for us to find the right place where our sounds meld in the right way, hence Marinate. 🙂

A couple of the tracks are on Soundcloud.

Here’s one:

So how does one get this album? That’s the fun bit. You can’t just buy it. Nope…

It’s only available for free to anyone who has bought my latest album, Diversion, and Julie’s latest album Fourth Dementia.

If you send me a link to your Bandcamp Fan Account with both albums listed, I’ll send you the download code. You can post the link in the comments here, Tweet it to me, stick it on Facebook… Just let me see it, and I’ll send you the code for free.

Sounds good, eh? Go get ’em.

 

Tags: Music News

Tangents by Murphy McCaleb, Steve Lawson and Andy Edwards out Today.

July 14th, 2014 · Comments Off on Tangents by Murphy McCaleb, Steve Lawson and Andy Edwards out Today.

Yup, just as you were thinking “it’s been DAYS since an album came out with Steve on!” the latest one appears…

Those of you who are semi-regular readers here will know that Andy Edwards and I have been playing together a lot over the last year – Andy’s a highly respected prog/rock drummer with a jazzer’s heart – so we’ve set about putting ourselves in numerous improv situations, from just us as a duo, to the upcoming shows with Julie Slick and Jem Godfrey.

One of those improv situations that arose was with Murphy McCaleb.
Or Dr Murphy McCaleb, to afford him the title his PhD in Performance Studies from the Birmingham Conservatoire gives him (“ooh la la!” says Moss…) – Murphy plays bass trombone. Very well, as it happens, and has developed an increasing interest in improvised music and processing the sound of his trombone over the last year.

So we went into the studio at college and recorded a load of music – two trio pieces, one bass/trombone duo and one drums/trombone duo. It’s pretty adventurous stuff, at times achingly beautiful, at others gnarly and scary. Definitely worth putting on decent headphones/speakers.

Of note is that I also mastered it. So it naturally sounds very lush indeed 🙂

Have a listen, and if you like it, you can buy it and tell your friends about. That’s how it works, right?

Tags: Music News