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Steve's Blog: Solo Bass & Beyond



2008 in review II – Nokia OpenLab blogging and my writing elsewhere…

January 9th, 2009 · Comments Off on 2008 in review II – Nokia OpenLab blogging and my writing elsewhere…

Nokia Open Lab attendees photoOne of the highlights of my year was the great weekend I got to spend in Helsinki as part of the Nokia Open Lab 08. It was a weekend in which social media practitioners – most with an emphasis on mobile usage – brought together for a series of discussions, workshops and presentations on the future of mobile social media, with a focus on Nokia’s hardware, obviously.

I met some amazing people there, many of whom have become really good friends over the ensuing months (particularly Phil Campbell and Ilicco Elia).

When I got back, I wrote a series of blog posts, encapsulating a lot of the things that the weekend covered, and my thoughts on them. Looking back on them now, I’m really grateful for the brain-food I got over the weekend.

Here they are:

There were a couple of other big writing things I got up to online (as well as my column in Bass Guitar Magazine, which ended this year after a couple of years…) – I was invited to write for a blog on a government website called Creative Choices which aside from being an appallingly badly designed site (front and back end), was a great project to be a part of given that I had the remit to write about the creative life, and got paid for it! Here’s a link to all my posts there.

The other site I’ve been writing for is an ongoing project, writing for MusicThinkTank.com – as you’ll see if you look at the list of my co-authors over there, I’m in insanely good company writing for them, sharing the web space with some of the best thinkers I’ve ever come across.

I’ve posted a couple of articles to MTT in the last few weeks – this one I posted today:

And this one was in December:

The rest of my writing there can be found here.

It was an amazing year for me, geek-wise. Will come back to that in more detail soon!

Tags: Geek · journalism · New Music Strategies · tips for musicians

Solobassteve's Social Media Surgery

October 17th, 2008 · Comments Off on Solobassteve's Social Media Surgery

I’ve finally got round to writing a page on this site about social media consulting – helping out other artists, labels, students etc. with understanding how having a conversation with your audience is preferable to shouting at them.

I’ve been doing this kind of work for years – over the last 7 or 8 years, I’ve had various musicians come to me asking for help with releasing their own music, both the logistics of getting CDs pressed etc. and then how to make their music available and talk to their audience. A lot of people confused new tools with old media, and spent ages trying to rack up as many 10s of thousands of Myspace friends as they could before realising that all of those friends were using them in the way they themselves were being used – as someone to try and broadcast at.

So after the disappointment of trying that, a fair few musicians – from singer-songwriters to fellow solo bassists came to me for some help.

More recently, I’ve been talking about this stuff in Universities, writing about it here and on sites like MusicThinkTank and Creative Choices, and running informal sessions with groups of musicians, as well as continuing to consult with individuals.

And then this week I’ve been helping out on a PR job with a new digital download service, finding bloggers and social media enthusiasts with a connection to the subject who might want to check it out. Having the huge range of connections I’ve made through the disparate bits of my career – all the way back to my days writing for Bassist, Guitarist, Total Guitar etc – has really come into its own. 🙂

So I’ve written a page, bringing all that stuff together – if you or someone you know needs some help and advice on such things, read the page, then drop me a line!

Tags: Uncategorized

New posts up on Creative Choices…

August 29th, 2008 · Comments Off on New posts up on Creative Choices…

The Creative Choices blogging job is producing some really excellent articles. Christian Payne and Lloyd Davis both posted things today about the more spiritual/metaphysical side of creativity –

Christian’s post is here and Lloyd’s is here

My own latest couple of posts have been fairly disparate in their inspiration – last week I wrote about Creative Copying – the way that channeling influences creatively can be a vital part in us learning the craft of what we do, and circumventing the ruts we get stuck in.

Then today I added a post about The Joy Of Fragmentation – contrasting old media broadcast models for the arts and media (whether that’s releasing records, writing newspapers or telling a story) and the new model that involves breaking things up into chunks that can be discussed and shared. So for me, whether it’s comments on the blog (every one of which I treasure – it’s always so good to hear from you lovely readers) or people sharing links to my tunes on last.fm or reverbnation, I benefit greatly and cherish the discussion around what I put out.

There’s a whole load of great stuff on the Creative Choices blog. Read it all here and if you want to find the archive of my posts on there, click here

More coming soon. (and yes, I still owe y’all a proper round-up of Greenbelt – it’s on the way)

Tags: Geek · Random Catchup · tips for musicians

Working-class musicians…

August 8th, 2008 · Comments Off on Working-class musicians…

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about just who gets affected by decisions made about how music gets from performer/writer to audience – so much of the discussion on this stuff revolves around the wishes and careers of record company execs and ‘rock stars’ – those handful of the world’s musicians who are selling albums in their hundreds of thousands or millions, who for some reason seem to be the focus of talk about the music industry.

Only that’s bollocks. As with almost any industry, the interesting stuff isn’t in the top 2%, it’s in the long-tail, the 95% of musicians that are just about making a living, on the kind of wages they make as assistant manager in Cost-cutter. Working-class musicians, often reliant on a partner’s good paying job to make up the deficit in their earned contribution to the family income.

Those are the people who play the vast majority of gigs, who play behind the celebs on the TV shows and on tour… Just regular working people like shop keepers and plumbers, who happen to be plying their trade in front of 10s, 100s or sometimes-but-not-often 1000s of people.

And they are why I just wrote a piece for Creative Choices entitled The Myth Of Success

The whole post is summed up in a GENIUS comment from the ever-illuminating and wonderful Kennan Shaw who said “First Prize is 10 years on a bus.” – the quest for celebrity is clearly BS, and shouldn’t really play much of a part in us thinking about where our industry goes… have a read of the post and let me know what you think…

There’s lots more about this issue on the way very soon, I promise.

Tags: Uncategorized

New Creative Choices post – Creative Sharing

August 4th, 2008 · Comments Off on New Creative Choices post – Creative Sharing

My latest post over on the recently re-named Creative Choices Creative Thinking blog was inspired by the kind of skill swapping and idea sharing that goes on at the Tuttle Club on Friday mornings.

I’m so inspired every week by the wealth of freely-shared ideas, information, skills and support. It’s a model that I see repeated in so many of my friendships with Creative types, so I wrote about it…. Enjoy – just click the link below:

Creative Sharing – click here to read it.

Tags: Geek

Telling Stories (new post on Creative-Choices.co.uk )

July 28th, 2008 · Comments Off on Telling Stories (new post on Creative-Choices.co.uk )

I’ve put another post up at Creative-Choices.co.uk, titled “Telling Stories…”

The premise behind it is that everything we do as musicians has a story attached, and if you’re not telling it, someone else is. It’s a theme I hope to develop more here, or there, but for now, head over to the Creative Choices site to read it. And feel free to comment – you’ll have to log in there, but it doesn’t take long 🙂

Tags: Geek · Musing on Music · tips for musicians

Taking Care of Business (new post on Creative-Choices.co.uk)

July 17th, 2008 · Comments Off on Taking Care of Business (new post on Creative-Choices.co.uk)

I posted a new article up on the Creative Choices site. It’s a few lessons learned from last week’s tour… I’ll write more extensively about the tour here once we’ve debriefed it properly as a band, but the tour just provided the impetus for a post about the need to make creative ventures financially viable if you want to do more of them.

You can read the post by clicking here – and if you sign in once you get there, you can comment. There are a few really interesting comments already.

Also generating loads of great comments is part for of my teaching thoughts series here. Thanks so much for all your comments there!

Enjoy!

Tags: Musing on Music · Random Catchup

Quick catch up… normal blogging will be resumed shortly.

July 15th, 2008 · Comments Off on Quick catch up… normal blogging will be resumed shortly.

Illness+tour+grandad’s funeral= not much blogging from Steve. Sorry ’bout that.

So the last 10 days have involved 3 days mostly in bed ill, 4 gigs, 2 days of rehearsing learning mad prog tunes with multiple time signatures (and in one case, an impossibly difficult line in 7/8 that I just had to ditch and make up as I went along!). The four gigs broke down into two gigs in churches, and two at the Eisteddfod in Llangollen, North Wales, where we were told as we arrived that we couldn’t go over 75db… nice.

Sunday was spent travelling – it took 7.5 hours to get from North Lincolnshire to London, in which time I could’ve got to New York, and yesterday (Monday) was the toughest gig of my life, as I had to speak at my Grandad’s funeral. Did I hold it together? Yeah, right, of course I did.

In the meantime, the illness that had me in bed for 3 days hasn’t really got much better – I just couldn’t stay in bed, so didn’t…

There’s going to be a whole series of posts, I suspect, about the tour, but I’ll debrief with the rest of the musicians, before posting my thoughts on it here, it’s only fair 🙂

So there you have it. More Teaching ideas, more Creative Choices posts, more other stuff coming v. soon.

And of course, Lo. and I have a gig coming up at Darbucka on July 29th, with the magical Roy Dodds on drums and percussion, and a return visit by the amazing Lloyd Davis on ukelele. So put that in your diaries NOW, and we’ll update you further ASAP.

Tags: Random Catchup

Kickstarting Creativity

July 3rd, 2008 · Comments Off on Kickstarting Creativity

My 2nd post is up on the Creative Choices blog.

It’s entitled Kickstarting Creativity, and addresses a misnomer in the way people think about the creative process. Please feel free to comment over there too!

click here to read Kickstarting Creativity

Tags: bass ideas · Geek · tips for musicians

Creative blogging.

June 25th, 2008 · 1 Comment

I was recently invited to contribute to a blog on a site called Creative Choices – the focus of the site is resourcing and encouraging people either in or looking to transition to employment in the creative sector. So a few us social media monkeys have been co-opted to blog about creative things. It’s a fantastic remit, and I rather like the look of the site. I’m also in great company, as the other contributors include some of my favourite thinkers in the social media world – Christian Payne, Lloyd Davis and Mike Atherton, amongst others.

Anyway, it’s just gone live Here, and you can read my first post over there, entitled Employ Yourself. It’s one idea that I’ve used in the past to try and get round the feeling that I’m not up to the job of managing the non-bass-playing part of my career… You may find it useful, and there’s a question at the end you can answer in the comments, if you like 🙂

Tags: Geek · journalism