January 3rd, 2010 · Comments Off on Lawson/Dodds/Wood Album Available On Bandcamp.com
I’ve got loads of End of year/start of a new decade type blogging to do over the next week, but for now, here’s the Lawson/Dodds/Wood album, freshly uploaded to Bandcamp.com, for download sale, pay-what-you-like.
If you weren’t around here when it came out, feel free to watch the documentary on the making of the album that’s on Youtube – I’ll embed part 1 below, then click through the links. (the sound on the first one’s a bit rough, but it gets much better as they go on!)
That’s by far the best way to get in touch. It comes straight to me, no intermediaries, and I can then email or call you back when I’ve got my diary in front of me!
For gigs, it’s probably cheaper and easier than you’d think to organise, and I’d love to come and play, so please do drop me a line. I’m sure we’ll work something out. For house concerts, I can put you in touch with people who’ve organised them before so you can get the low-down on what works best, if you so wish.
For now, listening links are over there on the left, blog stuff on the right, everything else is worth a look… stick around
As I mentioned in my previous post about LDW photos, as well as Helena, Richard Kaby was taking pictures at the gig. They usually work as a team, and between them provide such an amazing document of the gigs they photograph.
December 10th, 2008 · Comments Off on Photos from the Lawson/Dodds/Wood album launch
I don’t think it’s too much of an overstatement to say that one of the really lovely things about playing jazz gigs in London is that more often that not, Helena Dornellas and Richard Kaby turn up and take amazing photos. Their flickr pages (click on their names) are about as good a visual document of what’s happening in Jazz in London as you’ll find.
So I’m extra chuffed that they came to the LDW launch gig and took yet more amazing pics. Here are Helena’s:
And if you want to come and see us we’re at The Monk Club in Richmond on Thursday (probably today as you read this!)
November 29th, 2008 · Comments Off on House Concert photos…
this last week featured two amazing gigs for me. First one was Monday night, the Lawson/Dodds/Wood album launch. Second one was last night with Lobelia, a house concert in Camberley, hosted by the exceedingly lovely Ben and Caalie Ellis. I’ll post more about both v. soon, but for now, here’s a slide show of some lovely pictures by Andy Teo:
November 19th, 2008 · Comments Off on Lawson/Dodds/Wood album launch gig next Monday!
Right, wireless is now working on Das Boot – will be back to full blogging speed before too long. But first, some news you really need to know
Hopefully you’re already planning on coming to the Lawson/Dodds/Wood launch gig next week at the Vortex in Dalston. If you’re not, there’s still time to postpone whatever it was you had planned and come and see us do our thing. It’ll be fab, I promise.
If you’re VERY new to this ‘ere blog and are wondering who Lawson/Dodds/Wood are, you can go and listen to (then buy if, as you probably will, you decide it’s the most wonderful thing you’ve heard in a long time, and indie loveliness such as this deserves some investment ) – head over to stevelawson.net/ldw – there’s a player embedded there so you can listen to the album, which is out on the day of the gig.
Alternatively, also embedded in that page, are videos and links to a load of other videos about the making of the album. Which is pretty amazing, as the main bulk of the material was improvised live in the studio.
It’s fab, honest, and we’d LOVE to see you at the gig – you can book tickets for it at http://www.vortexjazz.co.uk – please come along and hear us. The CD will be launched on the night, and if you’ve ordered the CD in advance, you’ll be able to pick up your CD on the night.
As you’ll know if you’ve read anything about the gear I use for music-making, I’m a HUGE fan of the Looperlative. It’s something I’m very proud of that it was after a gig of mine that Bob Amstadt who invented it decided to build it, and that he asked me to be the first tester and co-developer of the software (I didn’t write any of the code, I was just sent an ’empty’ box and asked him for the features I wanted. He’d code them, I’d test them, and thus it was born, a looping device that did pretty much everything I could ever imagine wanting from a looping device!
It really is the most fully-featured hardware looper around. I’m not a fan of doing these things on a laptop (I know some amazing musicians who do, it just doesn’t work for me on a practical level, or a latency level).
Quite a few of my musical friends have bought them since, and others have expressed an interest in getting on, so I thought I’d point you to this post on the Looperlative forum, where Bob offers a pretty hefty (but undisclosed due to commercial sensitivity, I guess) discount…
If you’ve been considering getting one, now’s a good time. If you don’t know what the looperlative is, watch any of the videos I’ve posted in the last 3 years on Youtube – that’s the Looperlative that lets me do all the layering. All the stuff on Behind Every Word is done with the looperlative. All the layers of bass on the Lawson/Dodds/Wood album are done with the looperlative. It’s proper amazing.
OK, let’s jump straight into part 2 with a few of the fears musicians have when making ourselves available to talk directly with our audience.
We’ll look at 3 areas we often get wrong when interacting with our audience, which are:
How to treat your audience like friends rather than your ‘target market’. (notice I keep using the more neutral term ‘audience’ rather than ‘fans’ – I’ve never been all that comfortable with the word ‘fans’, seems a little patronising in some contexts, but substitute it if you wish…).
allowing people to comment on what you do doesn’t mean you have to put up with insults and slander.
don’t confuse inviting comment with asking for advice.
These three are biggies in terms of HOW we actually treat our audience.
If You Treat Them Like Friends, They’ll Stick Around Longer. I was going through some old letters earlier today (we’re moving house) and found one from a guy I knew when I was a kid. It was the first letter I’d got from him in almost 2 years, and he was trying to sell me insurance! No introductory message, no catch-up, no context. Just ‘I’ve got a new job selling insurance; want some?’ It all came flooding back to me how used I felt when I got the letter, how insane it seemed, even back in those pre-spam days.The parallels with talking to your audience like friends are obvious. If all you ever say is ‘buy my shit!’, there’s no level of which it’s a friendship. Think about it in terms of ‘how would you feel if everyone you talk to on social media started behaving like you back at you?’ – if you’d be getting hundreds of adverts a day, it’s time to change your approach
Allowing People To Comment On What You Do Doesn’t Mean You Have To Put Up With Insults And Slander – this is probably a bigger issue for Americans than Brits, given that you guys have a much stronger attachment to the notion of ‘freedom of speech’.I was chatting with Ben Walker last night over curry, about all the things that happened around the viral explosion of his Twitter Song video. One of the things that he got that seems to be endemic on Youtube was the hateful, nasty comments. Hundreds of them. From people who hadn’t even watched the video, but just spend their time posting hateful comments for absolutely no reason. Fortunately Ben found it funny. His girlfriend, less so. I never allow insulting comments to stay on any site that I moderate. Disagreement is fine, but politeness is a must.My rule is, if someone said it to me in a pub, would I walk out? I’ve stopped posting on a couple of bass-related forums because I was being insulted by a handful of posters. It’s not that I get upset by it, but it does become a waste of my time. I’m not one to court negativity or ‘controversy’ by getting into arguments with internet trolls. I’m happy to chat with people who don’t ‘get’ my music, but insult me and I leave the conversation – as the person in the conversation who has a reputation of sorts, you’ll never win. So the lesson is, keep such discussions to places you can moderate – Myspace, twitter, facebook fan-page, Ning pages, reverbnation comments, self-hosted forums : all of those are places you can keep the atmosphere at a level you’re socially comfortable with. Don’t feel like you owe airtime to people with a grievance. Deleting insulting posts isn’t censorship, it’s selection – censorship suggests you’re denying them a voice, when actually you’re just choosing not to allow them to hijack YOUR audience. Anyone can set up a blog posting about how much they dislike whoever, they just can’t do it in my forum. Simple as.
Don’t Confuse Inviting Comment With Asking For Advice – a lot of musicians, in order to stimulate conversation, ask their audience for their opinion on their work, be it released work or ‘works in progress’. It’s a good way to start a discussion, but there is a fine line between inviting people to pick their favourites, and getting completely unqualified criticism of your work from people with no idea what you’re actually trying to do.
Crowd-sourcing advice for your music is a sure way of
a) confusing yourself, and
b) losing any sense of a coherent narrative to what you do.
I make it as plain as I can without sounding stuck-up that I don’t make music FOR anyone except me. Not because I don’t care what they think, but because I can’t. I can only soundtrack the world as I see it, as best I can. Someone else telling me what I could do differently to best suit their aesthetic, their view of the world is completely futile.
That’s not to say that I don’t have people whose opinion I trust who can comment and critique what I do – I have a whole list of them – it just that each of them have earned that place over years of listening and conversation. It has context. It’s also certainly not to say that I don’t like hearing what people like and don’t like about what I do. It’s fascinating to hear, and hugely encouraging when people ‘get it’, on whatever level. But as an example, we recently had a letter back from a record label about the Lawson/Dodds/Wood album (have you bought it yet? ) The guy said he really like it, but threw in ‘maybe it needs a female vocal?’ – why? Why would it ‘need’ anything? Why do we need telling that? because we don’t know any female vocalists? The last few gigs we’ve done as a trio have featured one of the finest female vocalists I’ve ever worked with, and if we felt like we needed to add her voice to the album, we’d have done it. I’ve no idea who this dude is, I’m glad he likes the record, but have no real interest in whether or not the album sounds like it needs samples of dogs barking or clowns being kicked squarely in the nuts on it, in his estimations. It’s not that his opinions aren’t valid to him, they just lack context in relation to how and why WE made OUR record.
Talk to your audience like friends
don’t patronise them
don’t shout at them
listen to them but don’t pretend they’re your producers
share things of value with them
invite them into your creative pathway
give away information and ideas that have currency
help them and they’ll help you.
I’ve said before on a number of occasions, my audience is almost always entirely made up of people I’d love to go out for a curry with after the gig and chat to for hours. Demographically, my favourite people in the world are the ones that go to Steve Lawson gigs. If I wasn’t Steve Lawson, I’d be hanging out at his gigs to meet cool people. Somewhere along the line the approach to drawing an audience into your world that I’ve outlined above has worked pretty much perfectly for me.
Take the principles and examples, think about them, discuss them, adapt them, play with them, jump in and try chatting to your fans. See what happens. Please post and thoughts, comments or questions below.
Part 3 I’ll look at some of the software and hardware tools that work best.
October 8th, 2008 · Comments Off on Listen to the Lawson/Dodds/Wood album now (if you want to :) )
First up, a HUGE thanks to everyone who’s bought the album already – thanks for the feedback, and thanks for investing in the music. It means that (if sales continue as they are) we’ll be able to pay for the pressing of the CD without going into any kind of debt… makes the whole process of being a musician who releases the kind of music that takes more than an hour to record MUCH more viable.
So, yeah, thanks. You all rule.
For those of you who, understandably, have been waiting to hear the album before dropping your money on it, your wait is over! Hurrah!
Via the wonders of last.fm, you can now listen to the album in its entirety before choosing whether to buy it. Just click on each track in turn in the player below –
We really hope you enjoy it.
I love the way releasing new music can inspire all kinds of other stuff around it – one of the nice things it does is it causes an upsurge in sales of back catalogue albums (sold more of my solo CDs in the last week than in the previous 2 months of online sales – and it means that Grace And Gratitude is now properly out of print on CD, but still available as a download ), but it also gets me to do the things I should’ve done ages ago. Like uploading the Steve Lawson and Lobelia Live In Nebraska EP to Last.fm as well. It’s uploaded, and as I write is ‘processing’, but should be there before you read this…
Also, in more geeky news, for those of you that want to point friends to where they can get the album, the short URL www.stevelawson.net/ldw now goes to the shop page (which has the player embedded, and links to all the youtube videos too…)
A – an immediate digital download of the album – encoded at 256kbps (VBR*), beautifully and lovingly mixed, mastered and sounding amazing. PLUS an extra 45 minutes (give or take 2) of extra material: There are 3 of the raw improv tracks that Roy, Patrick and I recorded in the studio, exactly as we recorded them before they got mixed and mastered, and one completely exclusive track from the improv sessions, that’s not on the album (I’ll talk about that in a video later on today).
AND, of course, you get the CD, including world-wide postage, which will be sent out on or before November 24th 2008. It’ll be in the usual Pillow Mountain Records deluxe gatefold all-cardboard packaging, designed by the genius that is Kenny Laurenson
Q – and how much will all this cost me
A – £12.00 (as I said, including postage)
Right, so why should you order it now? Well, obviously, it’s not available anywhere else yet, so if you’re dying to hear it, this is the only place you’ll be able to get it for now – it won’t be up on iTunes/eMusic/whichever other digital store you usually use for months. Srsly. And the extras aren’t available anywhere. And won’t be for a very long time. Certainly not for ‘free’.
But more than that, it’s about future investment. If you order it now, we can cover the cost of pressing the CDs before we even put the record out. No debts, no loans, just sending the music to the people who want to hear it without any record companies or distribution companies getting in the way. We get to make the music we love, you get to hear the music we make, and no-one has to go without food to make it happen.
Think of it as arts patronage if you like, only you’re not giving ‘a donation’, you’re just buying direct from the artist to make your arts-money go further.
We’re also happy to sign any advance order CDs that you want signing, so feel free to indicate that in with your order (once the CDs out, it’ll be much harder for us to make sure we’re in a position to do that, given that we don’t live in some Monkees-esque fun-palace of gorgeous improv. We do lead normal lives… so consider it another added bonus)
Thanks so much! We’re REALLY excited about the album, as it seems is pretty much everyone who’s heard it.
And don’t forget that I will be carrying a digital copy with me, so should you have any kind of laptop or whatever with you, I can drag a copy onto your computer if you want to buy it there and then, and I’ll take your address and send you the CD when it comes out, same as if you ordered it online.