Friday, 29 August 2014

I'M WITH THE BAND

So you want to be in a band? Well here's a feature you might want to read first. Here's LITTLEBEARWOLF'S guide to being in a band.

GETTING STARTED: So you've got together with your best friends and decided to give being in a band a go. Great! Focus on your music, it doesn't matter what your going to be called yet, it doesn't matter if you haven't got a photograph yet for your Facebook page, first things first, you need some music.

It doesn't matter how good your instrument is, some guitarist's made their first records with the cheapest guitars and drum kits. You can always invest in something pricier once your band is more established. People will want to hear what you can play on a bad instrument over watching someone play badly on a good instrument.

Choices.Choices. Are you going to play covers? In which case are you going to do straight covers or cover songs in your own way, such as a folky cover with double bass and banjo? A metal cover where everything is played to metaaaaaaal? Perhaps you want to write your own songs. This is certainly trickier than learning someone else's tunes but if you get signed and picked up in the industry the rewards can be much bigger.

If you're going to write your own songs, get together with your friends and have a jam. See what works, this will be a good indicator as to how you will get on as a band too. Let people have their say, take other ideas on board too. Head to live shows as a band to see what the local music scene is like, support other local bands. You'll need their support when you start gigging.

GETTING GOING: Okay so you've been working on your songs and you think your just about ready to play them live, you've only been practicing your mates garage so you don't really know what it will feel like when you set up on stage at a venue. BOOK a practice with a local studio or rehearsal space. There will be plenty of them around if you simply Google it.
Once you've had a practice in a professional space, you'll have much more of an idea how your songs sound, how loud to play and by using a local professional space you'll start building relationships with the people running the music scene as well as creating awareness of your band!

Create social media profiles for your bands. It's likely in todays society that you'll all use social media of some variety. So create a profile for the giants like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Soundcloud is particularly good for sharing your music. Create a band email and decide who will run that. If it's easier give one profile to each band member to look after so it's not all falling on one person.

With regard to the social media, don't post photographs of you drunk on a Tuesday morning. No one wants to see that and it only screams unprofessional. Post short updates regularly, post pictures of your band in rehearsing, post about upcoming gigs your heading too but also gigs your going to as a band to support other artists too. (You never know they may just do the same for you!)

Get a demo recorded. NOT IN YOUR NAN'S SPARE BEDROOM. Go to a studio, get an experienced engineer to record and produce the track for you. They'll be able to offer you support through the process, it's an exciting time and gives you something interesting to talk about on your social media sites. At the end of it, you'll have a professional recording to send out to promoters, labels and share on your profiles.

Get promotional photographs and a press kit put together. DON'T ASK YOUR MATE BARRY TO TAKE A PIC ON HIS PHONE. Hire a professional photographer, they'll not only get you great images that can be used on social media sites, press kits and press for the band but they'll be a good standard, clear and give people an idea of what the band is about. Not only that but as a professional photographer, they'll use social media and their sharing of your links will increase your audience.
If you can't take create a press kit yourself, hire a professional to do it for you. You can post on sites like Fiverr and get someone to create it. Alternatively if you have a label, manager or PR rep see if they will or can recommend someone who can do it for you.

ON THE ROAD: So you've got your demo, attached and shared it across your social media with your photographs. You've spent days emailing promoters and hey presto! You've been offered a gig.. Plan your journey, make sure your car has tax, petrol and enough space to fit the band and equipment in safely. If you ring a promoter on the day of the gig and say you can't get petrol or tax they'll never book you again.
If you don't reply with your tech specs any requirements or don't make any effort to promote the event, don't expect to be re-booked and don't even think about making any demands on the day.
If you're a guitarist bring SPARE strings, if you're the keys player, have a backup power cable! If you're the drummer for the love of God bring spare drumsticks. Don't forget ear plugs and above all else be on time!

Even if the sound guy seems more like he should be carrying Brandon Stark around be polite, say thank you and if you need more or less of something on stage ask, don't tell him he's shit. He won't appreciate you and the lighting guy will probably leave you in darkness.

When it comes to heading on stage, be clear when you speak, there's nothing worse than going to see a band and not being able to understand a damn word they're saying because they're grumbling into the microphone and making private jokes with the band. MAKE THE CROWD FEEL LIKE PART OF THE BAND. Take merch with you, even if you think you won't sell any, you can never predict what a crowd might enjoy and they might just want to buy your EP!

Introduce yourselves and let people know the name of a track, I can't count the number of times I've been to a gig, not known the name of a track or been able to ask the band after and then spent hours searching for it.

LASTLY - EVEN IF YOUR ON FIRST AND HAVE A NINE HOUR DRIVE HOME, STAY AND SUPPORT THE OTHER BANDS. When I work at gigs if a band pack straight up and go home, I think they must not care much about the music (this isn't always the case, one band left soon after as a girlfriend of the band had gone into labor, the vocalist and guitarist still stayed on - and no it wasn't one of their girlfriends!) Generally if you pack up and head home, I think okay so you don't have much support of other bands so why should I support you.

Don't let your ego get the better of you. We've all done it, we've all had that 'don't you know who I am' moment but it's not pretty and it's the quickest way to lose friends in the industry.

OTHER HELPFUL ADVICE - Always get some form of a contract or agreement for anything you are doing. That way should you need something to refer to, you have it. If you hire a manager, don't just use Sophie from English because she can create a sentence and you might get lucky after a drunken gig. Use that guy who looks a bit like he belongs in Lord of the Rings but has 25 years experience managing touring bands.
ALWAYS ALWAYS tell people you're a musician. (Unless you're not a musician then probably don't it might get a bit weird) They won't remember Dave from school or his day job, they will remember Dave that guy who ended up in Nirvana and Foo Fighters. Be the person you dream of being.

LASTLY - HAVE FUN, IT'S ONLY MUSIC. It's not as though any of us make a tiny different bit of difference to the universe so if you're going to make your craft music, just enjoy it, there's nothing worse than meeting a grumpy musician who doesn't have any passion for his art.

Check out these bands who are really doing things right at the moment...

THE FAMILY RAIN // TRUST ME I'M A GENIUS


DOLOMITE MINOR // LET ME GO


THE BUTTERFLY CULTURE // HILO


PIXEL FIX // FALL


CATFISH AND THE BOTTLEMEN // KATHLEEN


LITTLEBEARWOLF
KG

Images/Content belong to their respective owners.
LITTLEBEARWOLF © Krystal Gemma.







Wednesday, 20 August 2014

LITTLEBEARWOLF // W I C K H A M D A Y # 3 S A T U R D A Y

Aloha!

  Here is my review feature for the third day of Wickham Music Festival, I honestly was not expecting the absolute spectacular spectacular that was Saturday at Wickham! I was feeling pretty worn out from Thursday and Friday, I managed to get to sleep about 3/4am each night and got up again at 7am each day of the festival for work as part of team Quay West!

  I was so pleasantly surprised by how incredible all of the live acts were that I then managed to keep dancing all the way to the end of the night and sang along to KASSASSIN STREET which was definitely one of my favourite sets of 2014!
Wickham Festival // Big Top Tent //
Photograph by KG

  Wickham Festival has been one of my favourite festivals as it kind of made me feel like I was at the circus; those that know me know how much I love shows like the circus, ballet and anything that feels like a world away from skyscrapers and the rat-race! Wickham is just that, a haven of live music in both the BIG TOP tent and the LITTLE TOP tents, along with the acoustic stage and many more attractions! Set in the idyllic Hampshire countryside a world away from everything else!

There weren't just the stage tents that gave the festival it's fairground feel, it was also the attractions like the solar cinema and the digital funfair, which attracted the likes of both kids and adults alike!

I loved just wondering round the field, looking at the stalls, sampling the different ciders and coffees. The Moose bar was a fantastic addition to the festival, located just ten steps from the Little Top Tent it was a great place to pick up a mid changeover beer or three!

Attractions at Wickham // Photograph by KG


  There was also a light-up heart but between interviewing bands, watching sets and taking photographs there was no time to find someone to hold my hand.. (cue violins) if you did light up the heart and got a great picture why not tweet it to me @littlebearwolf and i'll RT it for you!

  The story telling tent was a fantastic place! I happened to wander past and heard something about trolls and swords, either way it was my kind of story! I didn't get a chance to chat to the storyteller but it was a brilliant story and I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent listening into the story!
The Story Telling Tent // Wickham Music Festival //
Photograph by KG
This was another attraction that added to the whole atmosphere of Wickham Festival.

  Another thing I loved about Wickham was all the absolutely fantastic stalls that surrounded the music tents and food traders.

  I bought some lovely incense from Little India, who had such a wonderfully stocked treasure cove of a tent, I couldn't help but pop back for a couple of visits! I loved the floral crowns, Henna tattoos and face painting that was all in full swing at the festival.
  One of the things that really got me excited were the hair braiders! I used to love having hair braids when I was younger and often do my own, but I decided I would get one done to remember the festival by!

Floral Crowns // Wickham Music Festival //
Photograph by KG
Little Treasures // Wickham Music Festival //
Photograph by KG
  The real reason I was absolutely ecstatic over Wickham on Saturday was the sheer volume of incredible talent! So to get started, let's have a look at Jerry Williams, a young singer-songwriter. Jerry's acoustic tunes are sweet and perfect for festivals. You'll be able to read more about her music in the 'Acoustic acts' blog from Wickham I have coming up!

  I also caught Ella Martini's set, Ella is an up and coming singer who has just released an incredible double single! I'll be featuring Ella here very soon with links to her music, I was also lucky enough to get an interview with Ella, so keep checking back for more updates!
Ella Martini // Wickham Music Festival // Photograph by Jon King

  One thing I loved about the line-up for Saturday was the great mix of musicians booked.

  One of those bands was THE ARRIVALS. Now The Arrivals are a local band hailing from the south coast.
The vocalist had tonsillitis, the bassist had a broken wrist and they still managed to pull off one hell of a great set at this years Wickham Festival!

The Arrivals // Wickham Music Festival //
Photograph by Jon King

The Arrivals // Wickham Music Festival //
Photograph by Jon King
  After The Arrivals, the crowd in the Little Top Tent were definitely in the mood for a fantastic show. The crowd were buzzing after the awesome performance from The Arrivals; the following band carried on that high level of performance with a wonderful set! No wait, that's probably a total and complete understatement. I can tell you the last couple of times I was THIS excited about a band.
Tankus The Henge // Wickham Music Festival //
Photograph by Jon King
A few years ago after returning from Paris I was introduced to Gogol Bordello, I was never quite the same again. Earlier this year whilst on the hunt for music I could really get my teeth into I found 'The Dreadnoughts'.
Tankus The Henge // Wickham //
Photograph by Jon King
That excitement was not something I was entirely ready for as I watched TANKUS THE HENGE. Yet as the set opened up, I felt as though I had fallen down the rabbit hole into Wonderland and looked up to the stage in total and complete awe of what I was witnessing.

 I'd obviously stumbled into wonderland and ended up in some square in Victorian Paris or London watching a carnival spectacular!

  I can't really get into words (which as a blogger and performer does not happen very often!) just how wonderful Tankus The Henge live sets are, so you should probably go and see them!  The smoking piano, the dancing on the piano, the synchronized spinning, the sax! 
  Everything about the live set was just so energetic. Those of you that read this blog will know that I love my Ska and I could totally get hints of that in there, I definitely had a little skank to the band from backstage and even a little dance!
  I absolutely love their mix of music, their energy and their sound. I'm not entirely sure what fuels that loud pumping, rattling machine that is Tankus The Henge but i'll tell you one thing for sure, one hit just won't be enough. The magic that encapsulates you throughout their set will leave you wanting more long after the initial hit.
Tankus The Henge // Wickham Music Festival //
Photograph by Jon King

Tankus The Henge // Wickham Music Festival //
Photograph by Jon King
  They kindly gave up some of their time to chat with me which i'll share with you all soon. Please do share their music and turn it up loud to dance too! Things all seem pretty exciting over at Tankus The Henge, so keep up with them for all their music updates! Hopefully i'll head to a live show again soon!
Alistair Goodwin // Tankus The Henge // KG
Photograph by Jon King

Matt Blake 
  Later that day I was incredibly happy to see Matt Blake play the Little Top Tent. I'm really very excited for Matt to have played the stage, he's recently been signed to Quay West Records and we absolutely love his music! I'm going to be working with Matt more over the coming weeks so be sure to pop back and see more updates about all of his music. He's recently released his debut EP 'Died For A Night' which you can buy from his live shows. Matt's supported Passenger and has a lot to look forward to in the coming months.
His acoustic music is truly heartfelt and really elegant guitar parts that make for a beautiful sound.
Luke // Quartz // Wickham Music Festival //
Photograph by Jon King
  I'll be sharing more of Matt's live performance in the coming weeks so be sure to check his track out as soon as you're done reading this feature!

Following on from Matt Blake were Quartz  who gave me goosebumps with their set! I've been pretty much obsessed with Quartz since I first heard them almost a year ago. 'Mr.Magpie'& 'Mother' are among my favourite tracks by the band. Leanna's vocals are incredible and her voice is so unique that with the blues guitar riffs and rocky bass beats Quartz are really finding their own sound and I look forward to seeing what happens with this south coast based four piece.
Leanna // Quartz // Wickham Music Festival //
Photograph by Jon King
Back in April when I saw Quartz play at Quay West's SPRINGTIDE festival along with The Family Rain & Dolomite Minor, I also caught a band who I have now been working with for just under a month and absolutely love their sound... THE BUTTERFLY CULTURE a hearty mix of rock-indie-biker-band of skulls- music, get those sunnies on because The Butterfly Culture are off for one hell of a ride next year! 
The Butterfly Culture // Wickham Music Festival //
Photograph by Jon King

Since winning a battle of the bands in 2013, they've steadied their line-up and defined their sound that feels unique and true to them. What a sound that is! Their EP 'Scars & Bruises' has received love and adoration from all of it's listeners.

Played across radio stations up and down the UK, featured on blogs across Europe and setting their engines to full throttle, The Butterfly Culture are proving 2015 to be year of the Butterfly!

'Heartfelt, anthemic tunes with a rough edge and strong sound' Jake - Online Radio
Lew // The Butterfly Culture // Wickham Music Festival //
Photograph by Jon King

   You can catch The Butterfly Culture at Victorious Festival happening this coming weekend, at Butserfest in September and i'll be sharing some exciting features and news about the band very soon! The Butterfly Culture supported Kassassin Street this past weekend at Wickham Music Festival and you'll be able to see both bands at Victorious next weekend!
KG // The Butterfly Culture // Wickham Music Festival //
Photograph by Jon King
  I wasn't the only one who was pleased with The Butterfly Culture's set either, there was a whole group of people supporting the band, who had the band tees on and sported butterfly face paintings!

 That's dedication to the band! If you have photos from the bands set at the festival on Saturday, tweet them over to @TBCulture and the band will RT the pics for you!

The Butterfly Culture fans // Wickham Music Festival //
Photograph by Jon King
  The band next up were Saturday night headliners, Kassassin Street, I've been fan-girling over Kassassin Street for a very long time now. I saw them a while ago and couldn't get their catchy, kaleidoscopic, psychedelic sounds out of my head!

  From their Introducing feature to their single 'The Royal Handkerchief Ballet' review and every post imbetween, I only have good things to say about Kassassin Street. So if you see them on a line-up, do the right thing and go see the band play!

Listen out for the bands biggest tunes 'The Royal Handkerchief Ballet', 'Centre Straight Atom' they're awesome songs that will have you dancing the night away! All of team Quay West were having a good old groove throughout the set. This Portsmouth based band seem to only be going from strength to strength. So however you like your music I guarantee that Kassassin Street will provide you with some music to dance too.
Kassassin Street // Wickham Music Festival //
Photograph by Jon King
 This is one band you really do need to keep an eye on in the coming months, with many exciting times under their belt already, Kassassin Street's growing popularity seems to be propelling them far out of the local music scenes and well out into the big wide world.

  You'll be able to see Kassassin Street playing Victorious Festival this coming weekend, there's many bands worth seeing on the lineup too!

  Hopefully after all that you can see why SATURDAY at Wickham was one incredible show from start to finish. The whole day felt like that 'Spectacular Spectacular' scene in Moulin Rouge; I went to bed on Saturday night feeling particularly broken, much as I will tonight after re-living all of that fun writing about it, for you all to read. Please do go check out the bands featured and share their music, you never know, they might just be your new favourite band!

That's just about it for me on this post, but be sure to check back tomorrow for Sundays review of Wickham Music Festival. Stay tuned and keep rocking.

LOVE&PEACE
 
LITTLEBEARWOLF
KG
Images / content belong to their respective owners.
LITTLEBEARWOLF © - Krystal Gemma

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

LITTLEBEARWOLF // W I C K H A M D A Y # 2 F R I D A Y

Aloha!

  So the second day of Wickham was a lot lot drier than the first! No more bolts of lightning and crashes of thunder. When I arrived at the Little Top Stage, there was a fresh bale of hay laid down on the ground; definitely meant lots of fun for all the bands backstage who decided to throw it at each other!
Families enjoying the live music in the Little Top Tent
//Wickham Music Festival // Photograph by Jon King

  Between ducking out of the way of flying hay and slipping in my wellies in the muddier patches of the field, I managed to check out the incredible bands lined up on both the acoustic stage and the little top stage. I was still on a bit of a high from the incredible tunes that Afro-Celt Sound System had played for us on the first night!
Lee // Damn Beats //
Photograph by Jon King

  The line-up included two bands I am very excited about at the moment and that's LEFTINES & DAMN BEATS. Both bands have featured on my blog in previous months and their tunes really are worth checking out!
 Both bands have recently released their debut EP's through Quay West Records.
I'd highly recommend 'Socie-tea' by Damn Beats and 'Old Ghosts' by Leftines.
Damn Beats incredible guitar riffs will hook your attention and their catchy lyrics will have you singing along in no time, Lee made a fantastic finale to the set by literally throwing his guitar across the stage, after playing with his teeth and behind his head!
Shoutout to Alex from team Quay West for depping this summer for DB live shows!
Dan // Matt // Leftines //
Photograph by Jon King
   Leftines played both Wickham festival and New Age Festival that weekend, providing the crowds with tracks from their EP. Their tantalizing tunes will have you dancing and your feet tapping, while their upbeat melodies are perfect for summer festivals!

  SABRE were another great hit for me as well as Eagle&Weeks, Roy Peplow and Skin for a canvas. Both stages seemed to maintain a good crowd all the way through the day, despite several lashings of rain throughout the course of the day.

  Skin For A Canvas is an artist I have only recently heard about, I love his music and i'm sure this won't be the last you hear of his music on LITTLEBEARWOLF.
He provided the audience at the acoustic stage with some truly heartfelt melodies that were perfect for Wickham Festival.
Roy Peplow also gave the crowd a fantastic performance with his personable songs and beautiful acoustic guitar! I love Roy's vocals that really set him apart from other acoustic singer/songwriters.
Skin For A Canvas // Wickham Music Festival
// Photograph by Jon King


  Eloise Keating gave the crowd in the Lilly's Little Top Tent some truly cool tunes. Eloise has a hauntingly soft voice that entwines with the charming intimate sound of her music to produce a delicate sweet sound that i'm sure will see her music grow in popularity as she continues to write.

  Dorey The Wise I first saw when they played Springtide Festival for Quay West Studios back in April, they were fantastic then and continue to be one of my favourite bands to watch in 2014. I had a good little groove to their tunes and hope I will get to see them live again very soon!

  The bands track 'Love Games' is absolutely perfect for summer parties, festivals and Tuesdays! The eclectic British sound makes me imagine people sat on stormy beaches, supping tea, playing chess. The band recently release another corking tune titled 'Tidal Wave' off their EP 'Rise & Fall' it's certainly worth checking out. A perfect mix of upbeat riffs and softer verses, this is one song that will capture your attention.
Dorey The Wise // Wickham Music Festival // Photograph by Jon King

  The next band I caught live on the Little Top Stage were SABRE. Sabre are one of my favourite emerging bands of 2014. There's really something quite special about this band's sound.
I've featured them briefly before on LITTLEBEARWOLF but I hope that will become a more prominent thing over the next few months.

I'd like to take a moment here as well to show some serious LOVE for SABRE who not only played a cracking set for Quay West Studios, but also stuck around to support the rest of the bands playing the festival and even hung around the day after to soak up the festival and watch the other bands on the festival line-up.
Andy // Sabre // Wickham Music Festival //
Photograph by Jon King
  I get to go to a lot of live shows as part of my job which I absolutely love but it's heartbreaking when especially emerging bands only turn up to play their set and then leave. Musicians like SABRE who stick around to support other acts always earn my respect because everyone of us in the music industry whether working musicians, label or studios all spend their time working on music because we love it, so remember next time you hit a gig to support the other acts playing. You never know who may offer you a fantastic support slot or prove to be just the inspiration you were hungering for!

  I managed to steal the guys from SABRE for a quick chat in the QUAY WEST // LITTLEBEARWOLF  teepee (of which I will be sharing the interview very soon!) Ultimately Sabre's music really speaks for itself. I love their whole sound, Andy's vocals for me really draw in the listener. The tracks wouldn't sound of place in the coolest clubs, there really is a hypnotizing vibe emanating from the tunes that keeps you hooked and will get you dancing in no time!
KG // SABRE // QUAY WEST/LITTLEBEARWOLF teepee //
Photograph by Jon King
 The next band i'm going to chat about deserve a special mention as they played in the Quay West / Lilly's tent and played the acoustic stage too!

  Eagle&Weeks are really making a name for themselves across the south coast, when you watch this two man band you'll understand why. I love acoustic music especially when it has a kick!

  Eagle&Weeks provide just that with their incredible tunes and their personalities are just as cool. Having recently released their EP, the guys have a number of tour dates coming up, so make sure if you missed them at Wickham, that you catch them live at one of their many other gigs in the coming months! Eagle&Weeks stand out for the sound they create, due to the cajoun drumming. I love the power that the drum creates and after seeing E&W a few times, it's clear they're really the front-runners of local acoustic acts utilizing the drum in their sound. 
Sam Weeks // Wickham Music Festival //
Photograph by Jon King
Incorporating a range of musical genres into their sound, I love how captivated audiences are by Eagle&Weeks' music.

  While we're on the subject of great acoustic acts, you really ought to check out Alistair Goodwin. I met Alistair at the studio whilst booking acts for the acoustic and second stages for Wickham Music Festival. 

  Alistair's music is both an inspiring set of tunes as well as showcasing his guitar skills, which I have to say are pretty damn impressive! 

Described as gutsy driven acoustic roots, Alistair's live performances blend melody, rhythm and vocal talent into a heartfelt and heady brew
  The above was taken from 'The Alistair Goodwin Band' Facebook page and I honestly couldn't agree more. We got some little clips of Alistair's set and I shall soon be sharing those, so be sure to look out for them!
Alistair Goodwin // Wickham Music Festival // Photograph by Jon King
  I had an excellent time on the second day of Wickham festival and was definitely excited by the prospect of day three's lineup! I also made time to wander round the stalls and traders and pick up a few little treasures. I also tried some different foods from the traders, I had a sweet potato and chick pea wrap, which was totally tasty! I am vegetarian and I always struggle to find food at festivals and events, what I loved about Wickham was that there was quite an array of vegetarian dishes.

Next up i'll be sharing all the exciting shenanigans from SATURDAY at Wickham, which truly was a spectacular event! Stay tuned and do pop back soon for more music updates!

LOVE&PEACE
 
LITTLEBEARWOLF
KG
Images / content belong to their respective owners. 
LITTLEBEARWOLF © - Krystal Gemma