It’s been a bit longer than I planned since my last post but I have managed to squeeze in a ten day holiday, during which I did no work on any of my projects (well almost). My wife Julie, and my daughter, Elizabeth, spent a week up at my dad’s. Almost three decades ago my dad and step-mum retired to Strontian, a small Scottish village on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, west of Fort William. The view from his house is of a loch and big hills. There are no street lights there, so at night the sky is filled with more stars than dark space between them, a truly awe inspiring sight. We managed to fit in a visit to the local tavern to see a ceilidh. There aren’t many things better than a couple of pints while listening to Scottish pipes, a fiddle, acoustic guitar, all backed-up by a bodhran. It reminded me of the simplicity at the core of music, of the joy of listening a group of friends just loving what they’re doing.
It’s been four years since we’ve been up to Scotland. It definitely won’t be that long next time.
While I’ve been busy being on holiday Emma has started making waistcoats for Davy, Jon and I. We’re going out in full costume this time – photos will be forthcoming. One of the key elements to a successful music career is being recognised, by your music and by your look. I mentioned before that people won’t often talk about the music after a show but all the elements of the ‘show’ surrounding it. Emma mentioned the other day that her outfit may be inappropriate, whatever that means. None of us have seen it, so it will be surprise to band and punters alike. I’ll post a photo on our Facebook page at the earliest opportunity, probably about 8.30 pm (GMT) on Friday, 2 May, just before we go on stage. 🙂 Don’t tell Emma!
At the end of my previous post on fan relationships I said I would follow up on that by talking about how social media contributes to the relationship process.
Social media and relationships…
This, I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know, is fairly simple. For relationship, read friendship. That about sums it up, although I will expand a little but it pretty much follows the unspoken rules of etiquette when interacting with other people. If someone says hello or makes a comment on any of your social media streams, say ‘hello’ back, reply to their comment. Just because the means of communication degrades the sense of human contact that is still exactly what is happening. How often would you completely blank someone in a face-to-face social situation, even if you wanted to? Fans are simply people wanting to get to know you, the band, better. Although you make think your music expresses your deepest inner self, much can be lost in translation. People need, and want, to see more facets of your personality.
But also remember there is a person at the other end too. It’s not just about you. Get involved in conversations. I will confess I struggle with the conversational aspect of social media. However, writing this blog has made it increasingly easy for me to engage. Unlike my story writing, I have little time for editing these posts, which some of you will have no doubt noticed, so they really become a stream of consciousness. I have a topic or two I set out to cover and most of the time that is achieved but sometimes I’ll go off piste and have to change the title of the entry before posting. I guess I’m just trying to say, be yourself (hmm, haven’t I said that before?) and be easy on yourself. Unless you’re setting out to win a Nobel prize for literature, just share what you’ve got to say. Treat conversations on social media the same way. I will add one caveat to that. If you’re feeling pissed off, for whatever reason, step away from your smart phone, phablet, tablet or computer and count to 10. In much the same way most of us reserve our rants for those closest to us, treat social media the same way. This doesn’t mean not commenting on something you disagree with or making your case on a topic but try to resist off-loading, be constructive. It wouldn’t go down well at a party when meeting new people, the impact can be the same in the virtual world.
I always try to keep in mind that we attract people to us who think we are like them. If you want to build friendships with fans who are easy going, friendly and supportive, be that.
With music decreasing in value it is important for any band, especially those following the path of the independent artist, to take advantage of as many revenue streams as are available to them. In that vein Lazy Daze have added a merchandise store to the website, offering t-shirts, hoodies, tote bags and mugs. This whole process was made extremely easy by using dizzyjam.com. There’s no need to have money up front, or burden yourself with having multiple t-shirts sizes in stock, that’s all taken care of. After all, we didn’t get into the music business to be shopkeepers.
One of our future projects is to get our music on Spotify, Amazon, Deezer etc. I appreciate there are a number of solutions on offer, such as CD Baby and TuneCore, who will help you achieve that goal. But we’re a band on a limited budget right now, so these things will be researched carefully. One of the options we’re looking at is setting up our own record label. This would hopefully allow us to get our own music out there but would also allow us to do the same for others, with the intention of charging a very low percentage of the takings. The record label would also create the perfect platform for sharing everything we’re discovering on our journey, with other up and coming independents. I’ll keep you up to speed on this development. We’ve a number of other things in the pipeline first.
An important project in the pipeline is our debut album. We have a couple of paid bookings coming up over the next week or so;
At both of these, and subsequent gigs we’ve decided to sell copies of our 6-track demo ”The Priddy Sessions’. We’ve thought long and hard about this, and read blogs which shared many differing opinions on this. As a demo the quality is not all we would like it to be and for this same reason the majority of commentators came to the conclusion it was not a good idea to sell demos. Given the cash to spare, we would probably decide the same and would have recorded an album without bothering with a demo. I figure that if we’re honest in calling it a demo then people buy it, or not, on that understanding. Fingers crossed, in a few weeks we will have enough money to get in a local studio and lay down that album. From then on we’ll sell the album and the demo at future events. I’ll let you know how this went in a couple of weeks. See the end of this post for a full list of live appearances currently in the diary.
In closing I would like to ask a favour. Can I ask you to google ‘Lazy Daze’. I did this a week or so ago and was pleased to find us at number 2 on the first page. I’m wanting to find out if this is because of my locality or whether this is true wherever in the world someone googles Lazy Daze. Given there are a lot of websites using the phrase Lazy Daze out there this would be a great result. Several posts back I promised to talk about hub sites and satellites. I’ll do this next time and include the other things I think have allowed us to move up the google ranking.
We’d love to see you at one of our gigs. Do make sure you come and say hello if our paths ever cross.
- 02 May | Hawthorns, Glastonbury (9.00 pm)
- 04 May | Butleigh Beer Festival, Rose & Portcullis, Butleigh (3.00 pm)
- 10 May | Sherston Inn, Wells (9.00 pm)
- 13 June | Chalice Well Gardens, Glastonbury (8.00 pm)
- 13 July | Priddy Folk Festival, Priddy (3.00 pm)
- 01 Aug | FarmFest, Bruton (3.00 pm)
- 24 Aug | Cornwall Folk Festival, Wadebridge
Hawthorns is going to be a gig of firsts – Emma will be playing piano live for the first time, I’ll be singing live for the first time, we’ll be performing a number of new songs for the first time, we’ll all be in our full regalia for the first time, we’ll be selling our music at a gig for the first time and we might have people wearing Lazy Daze t-shirts for the first time.
Thank you, as always, for stopping by. I sincerely hope some of this is interesting and some of it useful. We are very much learning as we go but, as any decent life coach will tell you, start before you’re ready!