one unsolicited marketing call too many…

Right, finally I got sick of all the marketing calls I’ve been getting – none of which are for me! Who on earth is Mr Claire??? I’m guessing he must’ve had my number before me…

Anyway, I just registered with the Telephone Preference Service, to get taken off all of these lists. I’m slightly skeptical given that ‘Mr Claire’ hasn’t had this number for over five years and was obviously at a different address, so they aren’t updating their records all that often…


Anyway, well over 700 plays on MySpace yesterday, and loads of great feedback on the new tune… Just need to get the artwork finished and sent off to be pressed, get the CD back from Mastering, and I can set a release date and put it up for sale… Yay!

New track on MySpace…

Just added a new track to my MySpace page. It’s a track called ‘Scott Peck’, which features the truly marvellous BJ Cole on pedal steel. He’s great, he is.

The bio on the page has been updated as well, to include the info about the new album, and this quote –

“Steve Lawson is a brilliant musician. I’ve known about him and listened to him for many years. He may not be one of the most famous bassists but he is definitely one of the most talented.” – Victor Wooten

Which is nice.

Enjoy the track…

Some MySpace Props…

as they say in the hood.

A few MySpace links to various coconspirators –

BJ Cole – genius of the pedal steel, plays on one track on my new album.
Cleveland Watkiss – Recycle Collective regular, one of the greatest singers I’ve ever heard, let alone worked with.
Calamateur – Scottish singer/songwriter and found-sound experimentalist. Writes really beautiful songs, and we’ve got a duet album coming out some time in the next few months.
Theo Travis – Saxophonist… you know who Theo is by now, right?
Leo Abrahams – guitarist at the last Recycle Collective gig. Bloomin’ marvellous.
Orphy Robinson – vibes/percussion/trumpet/weirdness. An amazing musician and composer.
Trip Wamsley – solo bassist, composer, player and writer of gorgeous music. New album coming out soon.
Jeff Taylor – played at the first Recycle Collective gig. Great singer/songwriter.

There you go, I’ll add some more soon. Click on those, have a listen, if you’re on myspace already then leave a comment, buy the CDs of the stuff you like, and check out their gig lists!

Learning the songs…

This is the fun bit – learning the stuff that came out all improv-y and naturally on the recording so that I can play it live!

A couple of the tunes should be fairly easy, given that I’ve had them written for a while – ‘Deeper Still’ (that’s the tune for Eric Roche, it now has a name, write it down so you know what I’m talking about in future) is easy enough to remember, just a bitch to try and play in tune! Scott Peck is fine, cos I know it, though it’ll be odd going back to playing it solo now that I’ve been listening to it for a few days with BJ Cole‘s pedal steel part on it. HappyHappy I can remember, fairly well, as it’s very easy and fairly short.

I’ve just learnt ‘Nobody Wins Unless Everybody Wins’ – a fun little tune with lots of multiply of sync’d loops to get thing to come back a long time in the future. I can play that.

Now I’m just checking out the title track on the album, trying to remember how it goes! Am listening to it at the moment. And have just remembered what happens in the middle. G2 no. 1 routed through G2 no. 2, both of them recorded into the looperlative… the hardest thing to remember is how to set it all up before the tune begins, which aux sends to route to where, which buttons to push to make sure the right things are being recorded into the Looperlative.

In other news, loads of people have been checking out the tunes on my MySpace page – major amounts of plays! MySpace is, indeed, as Imogen Heap’s manager mentioned to me a couple of weeks ago ‘the new radio’.

Right, back to learning these songs!

At last, some new tunes to listen to!

Well, thanks very much for your patience, you shall now be rewarded with not one but two new exclusives from ‘Behind Every Word’ on my MySpace page – the first of them is Jimmy James, a new recording of a tune known to those of you who’ve got Not Dancing For Chicken – the tune’s always been one of my favourites of mine, but the recording just didn’t do it justice. this time it does!

And the second tune is a track called Me, Myself and I, starts all twiddly, gets all blissed out a mellow in the middle and ends all twiddly again. Much fun


Album deadlines – it's all suddenly very real!

The recording part of the album is just about finished (still might do another version of the tune for Eric… watch this space), and I’m onto mixing now. Not only that, but it’s booked in to be mastered on May 10th. The mastering will be handled by the genius that is Denis Blackham – Denis mastered Grace And Gratitude, and he got that gig because he’d mastered Theo‘s albums, as well as Talk Talk’s Spirit Of Eden. He’s good. Very good. So he gets the repeat gig.

The album now has a name – it’s called Behind Every Word. The title is taken from an interview I heard on Front Row with Guillermo Arriaga. At the moment I’m mixing the title track (which got an airing at the Recycle Collective on Wednesday, but thanks to my having pulled one channel of the Looperlative out, it wasn’t sounding its best…)

It’s amazing to think now that Not Dancing For Chicken was all recorded to stereo! that explains why some of it is rather noisy (so noisy in the case of Jimmy James that I’ve rerecorded it for this album). With being able to separate out the loops from the direct signal from the extra weirdness process is a real treat, and means that I can get better separation between the tracks, less noise, and clearer stereo imaging. I can’t wait to get a production model Looperlative and start doing this stuff with the loops going to 6 separate outs!!! that’s going to be amazing…

Anyway, From today onwards, for the next couple of weeks, there’s going to be a lot of mixing happening. next week I’ll be mixing each morning, and gigging each evening (with a little bit of teaching on Tuesday). All very exciting.

Gimme a day or two, and I’ll get a couple of tracks up on MySpace for you to hear.

MySpace tips for musicians

I’ve been on MySpace now for about 8 months. It seems to be going well for me in terms of finding people who dig what I do. I’m selling a few CDs as a result, and we’ll see if it does well for me when the new album comes out, and in the upcoming run of gigs.

Here are a few tips for musicians on there, to maximise your exposure.

Let’s start with your page – make sure it’s readable. Don’t put loads of video clips and preloading audio nonsense in the rest of the page. The format is confusing enough as it is without you making the page take hours to load. And ditch the background images – they nearly always make all or part of the text impossible to read.

Influences – yes, I know it’s really cool to claim not to have any, and I can see why trying to narrow a lifetime of musical listening down to a short list is tough, but really, it’s worth it. A lot of people search for bands by influence and sounds like. They’ll find you if you have loads of artists listed in those boxes (and you spell their names right!) – put down everyone who has ever influenced you in the influence box. If that means you’ve got 500 names in there, that’s fine, honest. Just go with it. For sounds like, just put all those crazy things that people email to you – you remind me of such and such etc. Stick them in there. Go on, more people will hear you if you do.

Genre – make sure you pick three! Don’t put ‘jazz/jazz/jazz’ or whatever – you don’t get listed three times, you just miss out on more directory places. For people searching by style they aren’t going to find you. Put three that are close enough to what you do.

Bio – make sure you’ve got one! Update it, put a picture in there, format it so that it’s split up into paragraphs, use bold text and hyperlinks to highlight what’s going on. If you don’t know how to do that, ask someone! find out, it’ll make the whole thing work much better for you.

Blog – USE THE BLOG – it’s a great opportunity to communicate with people who dig what you do, even if it’s just to say how excited you are about the upcoming gig dates that are listed. Talk about anything, I don’t mind, just use it, it’ll keep people coming back to your page. (and on the subject of upcoming gigs, I don’t need to remind you that you really need to put your dates in there, and make sure you get the information right, as it’s listed by region and searchable by postcode.

Right, that’s the stuff to do with your own page. Now, the active stuff –

rule no. 1 – don’t use one of those automatic ‘bot’ programs that does it all for you. Apparently MySpace can work out who’s using them and deletes your profile… you’ve been warned.

However, it is great to invite people to listen to your music. So, go into music search (that’s the red search bar, not the general one) and search for other bands that are similar to what you’re doing, search by influence or sounds like, narrow it down to the region where you’re gigging, and invite them. Have a listen while you’re there, and post a comment if you like what you hear. It all works out well for everyone. You’ll get clicked across to from other people’s comments section. (oh, and while we’re on comments, don’t put images or music in your comments, and it’s probably best to disable HTML in your comments – I think it’s in the privacy option in the edit screen on your home page).

Oh, and make sure if you do contact anyone that it’s clear that’s not just a form response – everyone on myspace is obsesssed with the possibility that they are being spammed. No-one likes getting anonymous messages, so at least stick their name at the top! ‘Hey, thanks for the add, check out my band’ is no way to hold a conversation.

Go to it, it works great – most of the time, I’m the most viewed british jazz artist on an indie label on the entire site. That’s not bad going, is it? :o)

Third musician for the April Recycle Collective!

Well, it’s been an enouraging couple of weeks. I’ve been asking lots of lovely musicians to take part in the Recycle Collective, with a very very positive response. Those who’ve said they want to take part in the future include Seb Rochford, Byron Wallen, Andy Hamill, Rebecca Hollweg and Oroh Angiama. Lots of fantastic musicians, all lovely people too!

And what’s more, the third musician that’s playing with Cleveland Watkiss and I on April 29th is Leo Abrahams, an amazing guitarist and looper that I first saw live playing with Imogen Heap and Nik Kershaw at the Kashmir Klub about 5 years ago, and who played after me at Greenbelt last year. He’s hugely in demand, working recently with Brian Eno, Ed Harcourt, Stairstailor, David Holmes and others, and having worked in the past with Paul Simon and Nick Cave amongst others. I’m so excited about both hearing Leo’s solo set, and what he Cleveland and I will come up with as a trio!

Head over to Leo’s myspace page to hear some of his lovely solo music.

All this means that the Recycle Collective continues to be unmissable.

finally – new tunes!

…no MP3s for you, just yet though!

Been recording these last couple of days, the usual bought of improvs aimed at definining a vibe for the album. I don’t think, on the face of it, this one will be a huge departure from what’s gone before. Though, I am thinking about possibly getting some people in to do overdubs on some of the tracks when I’ve recorded my usual solo bass nonsense. And I am allowing myself some editing for brevity’s sake.

The vibe on the tunes so far is pretty downbeat (apologies to the peoples who’ve emailed saying ‘I really like Shizzle/Channel Surfing/MMFSOG*, which don’t you do a whole album of funky stuff?’ (* – delete as applicable) – sorry peoples, it’s not going to happen.) – I have got ideas for a couple of up-tempo things, but as usual they’ll be the exception rather than the rule. For now, I just have to deal with large scale melodic ambient melancholy tinged with a hopeful, redemptive edge being what I’m best at. And that’s no bad thing, methinks. Will get something up onto my MySpace Page as soon as I can. Suffice to say, the Looperlative is making itself very very useful is ways that won’t be immediately apparent – the three biggies are that all the looping is in stereo, there’s virtually no noise generated by the unit at all (less than most soundcards) and I can have multiple asychronous loops that I can mess with in any order… For the listener, it just means everything sounds a little less linear, and even the linear stuff ends in more interesting ways!

Watch this space…

No laptop for a week :o(

Dropped off the laptop at the Apple store this morning for its repair. No laptop for up to a week! What on earth am I going to do? Probably get some work done, to be honest… we’ll see, I shall report back on whether productivity is up or down. I think the only thing that’s likely to go down is my number of new people added to myspace. And I might even get a proper start on the new album… watch this space.

Don’t forget, Recycle Collective gig tonight – more marvellous music in London’s coolest venue, with me, Bj Cole and Thomas Leeb. you’d be nutz to miss it. :o)

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