Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Another year done and what a year it was!

Part 70

   Once again we have come to the end of a year and it is a time to reflect on the past year and plan for the new one. JPKALLIO.COM had a great year:-) We played our first concert, and followed it with another 16 concerts! We released our first EP that got phenomenal response in the Punk rock internet radios around the world. We also brought out two videos from the EP. Qra lovingly filmed and edited the black and white concept for our first video Right out of here, that was viewed over 700 times in the first week and has now gone well over the 2000 mark. Check the video here: We followed this with another video for Everybody dies, we wanted to add bit more of our tongue in cheek attitude on this one and this one has also done extremely well. Check it out here There was some high points in the year where we did pretty well on several battle of bands, and organized few of our own gig nights. But also some low points when Qra injured his back... but it is all on the way up now. Fueled by the success of our first EP and the response we got at our concerts, we started work on our Album by spending two very productive days in the track mix studio. We were all very surprised with what we came out with. Six songs, that still need a bit of tweaking but most of it is there. We loaded some of these track up on the Roadrunners Sign me to site and for the past three weeks we have been in the top ten on their rock charts:-). So you can say we accomplished a lot, but we did put lot of work in to it as well. In the new year we are planning to continue at least at the same speed, if not even go up a gear.

   As to the blog, well we went from having about humble 20 readers a week to literally hundreds a week! We had some great interviews form Trackmix studios, Invictus productions/ In To The Void records and the Sessions from Near FM. In the new year I have big plans (as always) for the blog. I have already scheduled another record label interview and more on the way, I'll also try to get my hands on some promoters along the way and any other people industry who could have some helpful information to share. I must say I have been blown away how helpful and open with advice every one has been so far. I am also thinking to add some interviews of other bands who are doing the same thing we are and share notes with them, and it would be nice to get some more music on the blog as well:-)

   Through out the year I also got to see some great concerts! There are so much great music happening in Ireland at the moment. I got to see Time is a thief from Cork, The sketch! The Casement Ghosts, 24 Broken amps, 9thlife, 20 Bulls each, The Kerouac, Normal bar the Swords, Pimps and Gimps, Theories Divide, The Objex from Las Vegas played a stormer in the Pint in February... I have been thinking about this as well, I think one of my new years resolutions will be to go to see more live concerts and this could be something we might report on this blog as well:-).

   I also had one of the best summer tours with Sliotar, and fueled by the experience we started work on Sliotars fifth album, that will be out on 25th of January.

   So all and all, it has been a good year, yeah there was some hick ups, but I can say the good over weighed the bad and I am really looking forward to 2012. Big thank you once again for Qra and Sebastian for sharing the journey with me and big thanks to you guys for reading our blog week after week:-)

   So I hope you all have great end to the 2011 and start the new year in style. Happy new year to one and all and I will talk to you more next week.


Glory to the World - Single - J.P. Kallio

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A&R and Festivals, oh yeah and Merry Christmas

   Last week I went on bit about how music business is more about hard work than luck. I thought I'd look little bit more in to this as there are lot of us out there dreaming about the big break. First let’s look at the record company "thing" and how it has evolved in the past, let’s say ten years. I still get blown away how bands and musicians still believe everything works the same it did twenty years ago. So let’s look in to few major changes in the business that so many people seem to be in denial about.

   I mentioned the word A&R quite few times last week. A&R stands for Artist and Repertoir. It is a department in a record label. Depending on a size of the label, it could be just one person, even the only guy in the label, or it could be a team of people working for a major label. They are responsible of finding new acts and back in the day helping the artist to grow in to something that the record label would be interested in signing. There has been times when these people have changed music, but most of the time and I'd say 99% of the time, they have played it safe and in return actually made record companies loose money in the long run. Good example is the end of the Disco era. Every record company was signing as many disco acts as possible and throwing out albums. As a result the general public got tired and the retail stores send back millions of records. Well, we all know any of these commercial booms in music don't really have any longevity. Some of them came from underground, and have returned there and have their own loyal following. For example metal, punk, ska, rockabilly etc. They never went a way; they just dropped out of the limelight. But then there are those manufactured genres, teen pop, boy bands and what have you, that didn't have enough substance to start with, that hey will just fade away. All you might get from them is reminiscent revivals that just smell like money making machines, but then again, that’s what they were to start of with.

   The big twist here is that now that we have the internet, Facebook, twitter, YouTube and all the hundreds of other sites, hard working artist can build a name for them selves. It's not easy, but then again it never was. As a result record companies are luckier than ever before, even though they'd like to say other wise, they can pick acts that have already build following, sometimes international, they have worked on their music and played it live extensively. This is good news for the artist and the record company, but not for the A&R guys, as their job has become, well... unnecessary... This leads me to the point I am trying to make here once again: if you expect a record company to pick you up, guide you by the hand and pay for the ride, it is not going to happen!

   The other point that I have come across are the festivals. It is like that magical idea of a concert that you get to do in front of a big crowd and it will go down in history... OK I'll give you this: I have played with Sliotar somewhere near enough of 100 festival concerts all around Europe in the past 10 years or so. Some of my best musical moments have been on those festival stages. But it took us lot of work and shitty pub gigs to get to play those festivals. And I have talked to a promoter I know through Sliotar, who works with big acts and we were talking about festivals. We all would love to go and play festivals abroad, wouldn't we? Well here is the thing. Between flights, hiring a driver, putting the band up even in cheap accommodation, food, equipment rental etc, and your band is going to cost the festival about €2000. Is your bands name on the festival program going to sell €2000 worth tickets? Heck, if you could do that in your home town I'd be impressed. But isn’t the festival organisers supposed to take risks and introduce the audience some up and coming bands? Well here is some news for you, most festivals in 2012 are trying their hardest not to loose money! The overhead of running a festival are huge. In Ireland it is actually probably even harder due to massive public liability insurances.

   So what are we left with in this modern music business? Well I'll tell you, an opportunity like never before. If you know your music is good enough, get it recorded, bring out EP, full album or what ever you prefer and make videos for them, be inventive, and show some of your personal creativity, play gigs, lots of them. I still believe the best thing any band can have is an addictive live show that news about it will spread like wild fire. If for one year you pack up clubs full of people who can't get enough of you, I'd be pretty sure you will have a festival organisers looking to talk to you :-). Just don't forget, the word "Business" is there for a reason, you might be playing music for a bit of fun, but most people in the business take it very seriously.

   Now, it is that time again, holidays are upon us. I'd like to wish you all on behalf of JPKALLIO.COM happy holidays. I'll be back next week, so the wishes for New Year can still wait :-) Have good one every one, hope you get some time to rest and stuff your self with some good food.


Glory to the World - Single - J.P. Kallio

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Luck in music business

  Over the past year or so I have talked to many musicians, especially around the Dublin music scene. There has been few things that keep on popping up in these conversations. One thing that I hear a lot is luck. Music business used to be all about being in the right place at the right time. It was the A&R guys of record companies that used to hold the keys to the exclusive world of recording an album. The actual studio time was just too expensive, and understandably so, as the old tape machines were expensive to buy, and even tape was costly, you also needed a big studio desk to have enough inputs to match the tape machine, and another set of inputs for playback. And we are not even talking about compressors, gates, reverb units and other effects, microphones, stands, nice sofa... It was not unusual for the equipment in a studio to be more expensive than the property around it. Also vinyl pressing was expensive. And the record companies were almost the only route to get your product distributed. So the reasons for those expensive advances you hear stories about was the fact that recording an album was costing thousands per day. Editing was very limited, so you had to nail the tracks, not just fix them in ProTools, as is the case these days. Also the recording levels had to be bang on, there was no normalizing back then. So you needed a lot of luck to get one of those A&R guys to come to hear you play. You probably needed to make a demo, that you already spent small fortune getting recorded. You'd send the demos to the record labels, and hoped that some one would listen. And if they did and liked it, then the A&R guy might come and check you out live. So you needed to be gigging all the time as well.

  But today everything has changed. Not only can you get a reasonable recording set up for hundreds, not thousands. If you just don't have the head and the ears to record your self, the professional studio time is much cheaper as well these days. Also there are many up and coming engineers/producers with their own recording set up, who offer their services for very reasonable price. The recording technology has brought out so many new tools As mentioned above, just what you can do on editing is pretty amazing. You have pitch correction, all the tools and effects that costed a fortune and took space, stored in the pluggins folder in your computer. I remember an interview of certain engineer who said he wouldn't do more than three takes on vocals, after that he just fixes the rest, and some of the albums he has worked on went on to sell millions... You can also get your recordings in to most internet download shops for a very small fee. You can sell them through CD baby, or sell them your self from your website or even facebook page. Record shop is still important place for me, but for lot of people it is not any more. Most people buy their music from iTunes, or at the merch table at live concerts. These are all things that has made it possible for you to make it happen, not wait for that lucky day when the A&R guys finally finds he's way to your concert. Those big fat advances are long gone, and what little you might get from the record label, you need to pay it back before you see any money. Actually there are many small labels out there, that won't even give you an advance on the first album. They expect you to bring them a finished product. If it goes to sell loads, maybe on the next one they will give you something towards the recording costs.

  So as you can see, waiting for that luck is more than likely not going to take you anywhere. Instead of luck, you need to get organized and you need lots of “go and get it done” attitude. It's the bands that get of their ass, spend hour polishing their songs in the rehearsal room, gig at every given opportunity, make their own Cds, T-Shirts and other Merch, build a following, they are the ones that will succeed. And most of all, that is what the record company would be looking for as well, an active band that has already proven that they can and will work hard.

So let us know your thoughts on all this. Back for more next week, have a good one:-)

Glory to the World - Single - J.P. Kallio

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Silly season for musicians

Part 67

  OK, so we are well in to the silly season, Christmas parties taking over the pubs and bars and shoppers attacking the town like crazy. We've been bit scattered for the past few weeks. I was once again on tour with Sliotar and Qra had to pop over to Poland to try to fix some of his on going back problems. But next week we'll be all back in action again. As much as I love playing in Sliotar, I do miss making lots of noise with Qra and Sebastian;-)

  Now back to the silly season. It has been an interesting week in Ireland to say the least... The covernment announced the new budget, and I'm not sure if I should say much about it here... But I'm sure we'll write songs about it for years to come. Dublin has already turned in to that mental place, that it always does before Christmas. Being a musician this time of the year is filled with mixed emotions. Of course you enjoy the family time, all the food and celebrations. But as musicians don't get payed for holidays (yep you heard me right!) it also means lost gigs and no pay. I know I am lucky as I have regular concerts with Sliotar and being at this for year I am much more prepared for it now, but I do remember many a rough Christmas. And even this Christmas I am sure there are many musician out there who just can't wait to get over the holidays and back to work, so they can pay their rents. I am not trying play the worlds smallest violin here, or get some sympathy. Instead I am just once again trying to bring in little bit of reality to those of you who are dreaming about making a living from music. It can and will be tough, but that is the price that you need to be willing to pay for doing something you love for living. Summer holidays? Well you better work it around the festival season. You know, I do hear it so often people say to me, oh it must be great doing what you love for living... And it is, but if I would tell you the price you pay, well you might think twice. Then again, it is not the only job with antisocial hours out there;-). The other side of the coin is that many of us are having tough time as it is, due to the most ridiculous recession of our life time, created by creed and stupidity, so why not give it a go?

  And now for something completely different;-) YouTube introduced some changes during the week. We all know and hate how Facebook throws changes up with out asking or telling any one about them. But YouTube made their site much more “Social” if I may use the word. The really cool thing about the new site is that you can change over to the new profile, and if you don't like it, change back. Now there's a nobel idea for facebook. But yeah, I messed around a bit with it, and it was pretty easy to get your basic profile up. Also unlike on Facebook, you can actually change your page name. I am really lookin to spend some time on the design side of the things. I got a good feeling about this one and when I get to the bottom of it, I will share with you more details. You can also keep an eye on how I get along at JPKALLIO.COM's YouTube channel: I must say here also that if you don't have your band up on YouTube yet, get on it! It really is a great tool.

  Oh yeah and a quick update. We were supposed to perform at the Pint on 17th of December, but the show was canceled. Instead we'll be there on 14th of January with some great bands. The confirmet acts on the night so far are:

My mind races
Nuke the fridge
Dave's Last Rave
24 Broken Amps
Them Apples
But more on that closer to it:-)
Have a great week and we'll be back for more next week.

Glory to the World - Single - J.P. Kallio

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The big secret behind success in music business: Hard Work.

Part 66

  I was talking to a friend of mine about all the things I have been up to in the past few years. It really has been a roller-coaster ride. It got me thinking once again about how interesting time it is to be a musician. I have learned so much. But the thing I really like and would like get it through to every one, when I started this, yeah I had some experience in music business due to the fact that I had played in bands since I was about ten, but as to music promotion and trying to break a band through I was new to it all. All I had in the beginning was hand full of songs, laptop and a bag full of enthusiasm. So I set out to learn more. And I still do every day! If I need to get something done, first I try to see can I do it my self. If I can, I try to learn how to do it really well. If there is something I can not do, I try to find some one who can and ask for help. Most of the information on band promotion I have acquired, I found through Google. Sometimes it can take time, but usually persistence is rewarded. I get a great buzz out of it when people come to tell me how well we promote JPKALLIO.COM, but at the end of the day I can tell you this: There is nothing I have done that any one with bit of enthusiasm and internet could not do. If you need something, look for it and I can bet you will find more on the way as well. There are some great blogs out there on music business, and I think you should be reading them. It is very important to keep up to date with everything in today's music business.

  And here is another one of my favorite rants:-) We have all met these people in the past, the ones who said they are going to start a band and it's going to be better than anything else out there. Yeah, and that band never even leaves the pub or plays a note. I am sure you have all seen it at some stage. Now the truth is that I was once one of these people, even though I always played in a band. I still had an idea brewing at the back of my head of the "ultimate band". Did I do anything about it? First, no. But eventually I decided to take control, get the ball rolling and since then I really haven't stopped. It has been some of the most rewarding time musically in my life, and not only does it show in JPKALLIO.COM, but in everything else I do. I have pushed my self harder than ever before. The point I am trying to make here is that you can do it as well. And If you get off that bar stool, or sofa for that matter, watching X-factor and giving out you could do it do much better, if you bothered;-), I bet you will have great time doing it. You will be rewarded. I mean, yeah you need certain amount of talent, but most of it is just hard work! There you go, that is the best tip I have given you in all the blogs I have written so far, HARD WORK!

  Some of you know already that JPKALLIO.COM did advance to the final of the Rocktober battle of the bands in Fibber Magees. We had two great gigs at the competition so far and got to play with some great bands and made loads of new friends. Unfortunately the final falls on a day that Qra will be in Poland to visit a doctor about his on going back problem. So we are sad to pull out of the competition, but obviously Qras health comes first. We'd just like to wish all the other bands good luck.

  So that's all for this week. I shall be back for more next week:-)


Glory to the World - Single - J.P. Kallio

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Musician in the twenty first century

Part 65

   It is funny how the modern age has changed the life of a musician. I am talking here about independent musician, the working musician. We depend on things like smart phone, our laptops, internet, wifi, 3G... I got thinking about this after for one day I lost all my phone numbers, notes, pictures and music on my mobile phone. Luckily I had backed up everything on my laptop, but I could not restore any of it until the next day. That one day made me realize how dependent we are on all this modern technology, that simply was not available to us twenty years a go.
  I think for me it was about 14 years a go when I set up my first Email account, and the thought of finding a concert through internet first dawned to me. Now it seems to be the first port of call for almost everything. But the potential of it all still surprises me from time to time. And I must admit I am still surprised how personal in its very sterile nature it has become. Now I am mainly talking about internet for music business here. As an example, when I first came aware of YouTube, I saw it as a great way for a band to represent a video of them selves. I assumed it should be a high quality video of professional quality. Of course if your video is of a high standard it helps, but the real potential seemed to dawn to me when I added more personal short videos of the bands every day life. This is something that I also have find hard to explain to others in the past. Sometimes it is better to do a quick video of something simple and mundane, than wait until you release your master piece that you will take you months or even years to complete. Share something simple. But keep it honest, be your self and people will see this. It is this honesty that makes you easier to relate to, more real. Of course if the part of your bands image is your stage character, you could make videos of your self in that character as well, but my opinion is that it is easier to be your self than put on an act and keep it consistent. This really is one of the many tools that make this an interesting time to be an independent musician. But don't get fooled here. It is not a mater of posting few videos on YouTube and next you become an over night success. We hear stories like these, but there are only hand full of them, and every one would like to think it is so easy. What it comes down to at the end of the day is numbers. The more videos you have, the bigger chance there is that one of them will be the one that gets picked up by the general public and shoots through the mass of videos out there. But if not, even hand full of views on loads of videos ads to a nice number. And don't for get the age old wisdom, at the end of the day, if your music is not good enough, the chances of you making it are slim.
   But let me just challenge you with this. For the next ten weeks, make ten videos, post them on your YouTube channel and share them on Facebook, twitter etc. And they don't need to be the best videos in the world, even half decent camera phone will do. I bet you will be surprised of the reception you will get from these videos, and you might even be inspired to make more. For an example, check out JPKALLIO.COM's YouTube channel at: And don't forget to have fun while you do this:-)

Glory to the World - Single - J.P. Kallio

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

JPKALLIO.COM in the studio

  It is 7.45am Wednesday morning. I am walking along the river Liffey. My feet are carrying me faster than usual, I must admit I am little bit exited. I am on my way to our rehearsal room at Volt to pick up our equipment and then heading to Trackmix studio in Blanchardstown. Back in July we won the Live and Unsigned night in the Pint and as part of the price we got a free day in the Trackmix studio. We must have been one of the last ones to get to go to Trackmix, as since then the studio used for the Live and unsigned nights have changed. Me and Qra had been there before while doing the interview with Michael Richards for this blog, check it out here, so I had a good feeling. One day can be little bit short, so we decided to splash out and pay for a second day our selves. We had prepared a list of songs, that was more than what we thought we had time for, but none of us had any idea what we would accomplish in the next two days, not even Michael. The list consist six songs, when I told this to Michael, I could see the doubt in his mind, but I assured him that if it looked like we were going to run out of time, we would start cutting the list from the bottom. But we had worked very hard on rehearsing the songs to have them as tight as possible, in the past month or so. We broke down the songs several times, trying to find trouble spots. We had all worked extremely hard on our own as well to have everything ready.

   After setting up and sound checking the drums, setting up guide guitar, bass and vocals that me and Qra were playing live in the control room, we were off. I did loose the track of time very early on in the day, but it must have been around mid day when we started the actual recording. It took Sebastian few takes to warm up, but after this most tracks were first or second take. Playing to klick is like second nature to him, which makes things in the studio so much easier. It is funny how human mind can play tricks, even though we knew we were well prepared, still there is that small bit of hesitation if every thing will sound ok. But when we first time heard back the first few notes of “Flying high” we knew we were on the right track. Sebastian can be very critical on drum sound, as any professional drummers should be, but when he first time heard him self through the studio speakers I could see Michael had won him over. I have worked on both sides of the controls in a several studios over the years, and I was impressed as well. He knows his way around Logig pro, but he also uses old school techniques, like EQing on the way in. But most of all I was impressed how he understood our sound.

   By 4pm we had drums and guides down and lunch over and done with. It was time for the guitars. I must say I did feel bit like a kid in a candy shop :-) Michael, being a guitar player him self, has some really nice guitars and amps, that he lets his customers use. The Gibson ES137 was one I found particularly hard to put down, I'm sure if you ever were in the Trackmix studio you have seen this beauty. Doubling and layering guitars can be a real art form on its own, and again the Trackmix studio has the tools for this job. But still I did bring in my Laney GH50L, that stood proud beside the Hughes&Ketner TriAmp and Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier. I told you, like kid in the candy shop ;-) At the end of the day one, we had done all the basic rhythm parts and doubled them. So it was time for a good nights sleep.

  The next morning we returned with charged batteries and full of enthusiasm, and even the fact that we got lost on the way did not dampen our spirits. I started my day with strong cup of coffee and guitar solos. I have bit of a love hate relationship with guitar solos... I love playing them, but hate the idea of them. Figure that on out... But in the six tracks there were two of them, in Misery and one in Forgive my self. Misery showcases the Gibson ES137's neck pick up beautifully and on Forgive my self my own Gibson Les Paul proved once again why it is my number one guitar. We also Beefed up some parts of the tracks with a third guitar track on the middle. The result is a guitar tone, which is the best electric guitar sound I have ever had on any of my recordings, but let me just make a few quick notes here. First of all guitar sound is very much a taste thing, so what works for me, probably would not work for every one. Also I am very heavy handed guitar player, and this does play a big part on the sound, if you attack the strings hard, the stronger signal drives the amp in a different way. All the amps went in to a Mesa Boogie cab that had Celestion V30s in it, and the signal went through a very nice Mic preamp and Michael’s magic EQ settings. So it was not any one magical piece, but a combination of things that resulted in the guitar sound that I am very happy with. I suppose what I am trying to say here is: that's what you pay for when you book your self in to a professional studio. Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention the Ibanez TS 808 tube screamer :-)

  We had the guitars done before 1pm on the second day. Next we recorded the Bass; this was something Qra was looking forward to as much as dreading. His past studio experiences were haunting him at the back of his mind, but he had been rehearsing his parts a lot. His trusty Epiphone Thunderbird bass was the tool for the job, it really has that growl and attack that is very much part of the JPKALLIO.COM sound. Michael had a Warwick bass head and a 4x10 cab. Qra was in bass heaven. And after all the worrying, he recorded almost all the tracks in one take. Bass done in an hour! I must admit that me and Sebastian were watching Qra’s fingers fly on the Thunderbirds neck and the hairs at the back of our necks were standing up.

  But I was very relieved that the bass was done, as it left more time for the vocals. And again I had been working a lot on them at home to be ready. Singing is always a difficult one, and the most temperamental instrument of them all. It can be affected so much by things like stress and tiredness, nerves and even what you had to eat on the day. But I could really feel the confidence I got from all the hours of rehearsing kicking in and managed to relax without any problems. And again most vocals were first takes. Good headphone mix that Michael set up really made things so much easier as well, I didn't need to ask for anything :-) After the lead lines we laid down some vocal harmonies, and me and Qra did bit of shouting as well. “That's nice guys, but how about you try it with bit more melody?” After we had done backing vocals for four tracks it was starting to get late, and Michael had the sense (and experience) to decide to start mixing the tracks. Again his working method is fast and lot of the work was already done during the recording.

  So about 8pm on Thursday night there were three tired but happy men standing on a bus stop outside Blanchardstown shopping centre with CD’s in their pockets. Even though the time had gone so fast, it was obvious to us that we were not holding on to a new EP, but the bones of an album and no matter what it would take, we'd be back early 2012 to record the rest.

  Big thank you to Michael for all the hard work he put in and making us feel so welcomed in his studio. We can't wait for the second chapter. Oh yeah, and we could not just talk about it with out giving you a taste;-) Here is one of the tracks from our recording session. This one is called Wasted Mind. Let us know what you think :-)

Wasted mind by

 Also check out our studio video diary
  That's all for this week, I'll be back for more next week. Feel free to share our new song on Soundcloud and the video diary:-)

Glory to the World - Single - J.P. Kallio

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Alan Weldon from Near FM Sessions

NearFM Sessions

   This week I had the pleasure to pick the brain of a radio presenter from Near FM session Alan Weldon. Needles to say, I was dying to find out the do's and don'ts of getting radio play from some one who actually works in the radio. The Near FM sessions are having their 5 year birthday this month, so the time was right for our chat:-)

 J.P. First of all a big thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Could you tell us a little bit about your background in music business and in radio and how you got in to it in the first place?

 Alan I've been involved in music since I was little. I started playing drums when I was eight and I was in and out of bands from maybe the age of 13-14, recording stuff our selves, you know. I never thought of it as being something I wanted to do in the future professionally, but it's kind of turned out that way. So yeah, as I said, in and out of bands 13-16, then I went to college to study sound design.

 J.P. Where did you study?

 Alan I studied Communication and Media production in Colaiste Dhulaigh in Dublin, then I went to London to study broadcast and sound design. While I was in college I was working with Near FM, volunteering with them. I wanted to do radio and I liked the idea of live radio, thought there is a buzz about it. So that's how I got in to Near FM. When I started there they had a show called Near FM session, just started, maybe six months old. So I got in almost right at the start and that's where I've been since then, among other things.

 J.P. It's a great show.

 Alan Yeah. You see, as I didn't create the show, I wasn't there from the beginning, I can say yeah, it is a great show and not feel big headed about it. Now it has changed since then, but it is a great idea and it has a really good format.

 J.P. Is radio where you want to see your self in the future?

 Alan At the moment I am doing lot of radio stuff with Near FM, sound engineering stuff. And I am also doing few films, that sort of thing, short films. For future I'd love to work with radio again, I like the buzz of it and I'd also like to work in post production sound design.

 J.P. Lets talk about the show. I know you mentioned that you were not there in the beginning, but you know how it all started?

 Alan Yeah, as I said I came in six months in to the show. Originally it was set up by four guys, Peter, James, Dave and John. Their idea was, they all had sort of different interests in music, some liked electronic, some liked rock music, they could do a show together. Then they looked at the scene and said, who's not being represented? And the idea of unsigned element and underground element came from. That was in Summer 2006 and in autumn 2006 they started the show, and it's gone on since then from strength to strength. It's great as every week new band comes in and they bring new listeners, and in turn other bands get heard through that. Also it has always carried its own weight as lot of the time we don't have to, in fact we very rarely go look for bands as we usually have acts constantly coming to us. I guess it shows when there are people coming to us, there is a market for it.

 J.P. For sure. From our experience with JPKALLIO.COM it is very hard to get radio play in Ireland. There are so called underground or unsigned shows in the bigger radio stations, but when you contact them, it's rarely they give you a chance, unless they know you.

 Alan There is a lot of community radio shows that deal with underground, there is a show on Dublin city FM that is very good, there is one on Phoenix FM and Trevor Halpin does stuff on West Dublin access radio as well. These people do it for the love of the music, which is good.

 J.P. It is and I think it does show.

 Alan It really does because they are willing to go that extra mile. Now I am not saying the commercial radio doesn't, but I am guessing, you know there has to be a reason...

 J.P. Of course, commercial radio is there to make money. How do you select the acts for your show? Is there any criteria?

 Alan As I said we are luck in that lot of our promotion is through word of mouth, so if we have one band in that likes what we do they tend to either tell their friends in other bands about us, or other bands hear them advertising, so that gets them motivated and they get in contact with us. Now what we get is, they send us a CD or Email us with links to Sound cloud, YouTube etc. That we listen to. As a community radio station we are there to provide service to acts in the community, so most of the time it's not like we are looking for the best or most talented musicians out there, although we have had some very talented acts in, we are not always looking for the most talented acts. We are looking for people who show interest in the community and in music.

 J.P. Actually by taking that risk you sometimes come across something really special. There might be a band that is not great yet, but are on their way to something better.

 Alan There are lot of acts that came to us and since have progressed and got signed and stuff. And we support them and we're behind them, but once they get to that level they are above what we do. Once they are signed some one else will look after them and we wont be able to look after them anymore. We are there to stand for the little guys.

 J.P. Yeah, I'm sure it would be great buzz for the show to have some big act in there, but they would be taking the place of a small band that need the exposure much more.

  Alan Sometimes we get CD's from big acts and it's nice that they think of us, but we can't really play them as that's not what we're there to do. But yeah, it's always nice to get free CD's.

 J.P. So what way would you prefer bands get in contact with you?

 Alan Well the easiest way would be Emailing us. Send us a link to your music. There is four of us involved, and we will listen to it. And if it is somebody who's doing an alright decent job, we certainly give them an airplay. Because it is only an hour a week, we are little bit limited and sometimes we do get bands that are not quite ready and we'll just tell them to come back to us in few months. Also if there is something that stands out, for example you need to have certain amount of songs, or we don't really want bands that only play cover songs, that's not what we do. So yeah, really the way to get in contact is the email, or drop us a line on Facebook and we will get back to you.

 J.P. We can back that, as JPKALLIO.COM got a reply from you guys. In the past five years you have seen lot of bands come and go, what would be some of the mistakes bands do when they come to your show?

 Alan Well, I'm not going to name any names. But when they come to us we tend to say for radio, unless it's 2fm don't bring in your full drum kit. I've seen bands coming in with massive drum kits, big amps and just trying to out do each others and all it is is just distortion. When it's that loud we loose control over it, you know, its all live in one room. So that would be one tip, if you doing radio, think about doing it acoustic. Or think about bringing in a CD of your stuff and do few acoustic songs and then play something from the CD. That way you get to represent both. Another thing would be, I don't think acoustic basses do really do justice. I've yet to hear an acoustic bass that I really like, so I would say bring an amp for the bass. Interview wise, I've seen bands turn up late, which is across the field Spinal Tap kind of moment. I guess one mistake is, when you are young band that hasn't done much yet, they come on and have nothing to talk about and get flustered with their words. It's almost like learning to run before you walk. You have to get out there and play some gigs, put the time in before you got stuff to talk about. If you are on radio and have nothing to talk about, then people are going to hear just that. For any band starting up it's a good idea to learn few songs acoustically.  There is always those house parties, and then when you go to radio, you have something ready.

J.P. In the other hand, is there any bands that stood out in their professionalism and why?

 Alan Again there are few bands. Sometimes there are bands that are just 12 or 13 and I have been highly surprised how organized they have been. It's the younger bands that are socially media aware as well, but even the way they carry them selves, turn up early, they are fully tuned, well rehearsed and they know exactly what they want to play. That's actually another thing in your last question, sometimes you get bands that decide on air what to play. Dead air is not a good thing... Sometimes you get 25-30 year olds that are not half as prepared as these 12-14 year olds. It's an interesting thing to see. Most bands turn up well prepared, we are lucky in that respect. There have been some really large set ups as well, it's really funny to see the small studio full. A band called Amazing few, they go from one piece to 12 piece. They have been in few times. And a nine piece reggae band.

 J.P. The Near FM session works with independent artists. We all know there is a lot of talk about regulating Irish radio to play more Irish acts. What is your take on this and do you think this is something that can be done.

 Alan I think it can be done and I think it should be done. Simple as. Because if we don't do it, no one will. I mean the scene in Ireland, if you go to somewhere like New York or London there is enough people to go to the gigs and listen to the radio, sometimes I feel we have almost too much in Ireland. Over saturation, and as a result I feel people maybe get tired of it or find other things to do. But for the likes of Irish radio, there are stations that play Irish music, but it's not enough. There should be more, and there should be percentages. Obviously it can't be fifty fifty, but maybe forty or thirty percent.

 J.P. But how do you regulate it? The thing is that then the big names, like U2, Westlife etc. get the bulk of it anyway.

 Alan It's a funny thing as you can't regulate it in that sense. You can't tell radio station to play this band, you can't. And at the end of the day it comes down to money again. You can say play this much Irish music, but you can't say play this band, but not that band. But even if it's these well known artists, at least it's Irish music that is getting out there. But I think as people we need to get behind Irish music as well. The scene needs to grow a bit. People are in to English indie bands, where there are lots of Irish indie bands, great indie bands that because they don't get the radio play, people don't hear about them. People are less likely to go search for it these days, if its not put in front of them. But conversely as well these days with YouTube and everything it means you are able to get the music out there. You are not necessarily waiting for the DJ, you are not waiting necessarily on television or network companies to send your stuff out as you are releasing it, it's on YouTube, you sell the copies at your gigs. And suddenly you are a working musician. I think consistency is important as well, if people hear low quality songs, they are less likely to click on it again.

 J.P. From seeing bands come through the radio station, do you think up and coming band should still try to get signed, or should they work on making their own Records?

 Alan That is a hard one to call because there are bands who's soul purpose in life is to get signed. I mean 99% of bands you would be better not going that way. You'll have more fun, you actually get more done. It's kind of a trade off because it's going to be really hard work to try to get signed, but you are going to have to sell off lot of creativity. It's all about image if you are going to get signed. Where as if you were to do it your self, and you can do it your self. You will make some money back if you're good. And I think you just have more fun if you do it your self. But it does com down to person as well, you need to be self motivated, in both situations. I do think it comes down to luck as well, as there are bands that do get signed, and other that are great and try to get signed for years. And I do wonder if ten years from now they say “I wish we just did our own thing”

 J.P. Do you think bands have unrealistic expectations what being signed actually means?

 Alan Oh yeah, The idea of record company advance, I don't think many bands realize that you need to pay that back. They think record company give us money and then we sell million records. If you spend it you have o pay it. And I don't think bands realize that it is going to put lot of pressure on you as well when you are signed and suddenly you are like, how we not get dropped. I think it can cause lot of inner conflict as well. Now that's not to say getting signed is not a good thing as well. Different people have different aspirations and different working methods.

 J.P. Now as you work in the radio, would you have any tips for bands who are trying to get radio play and how should they go about it?

 Alan They should make contacts with DJ's, believe it or not. Email or phone call. Being clear and concise is always a good idea. So make sure your press release is clear, no more than one page and has contact details for you. Lot of bands send their MP3s and files, that has its benefits, but also its drawbacks. My advice would be send MP3s but send physical copies as well. When it comes to DJ's, they will choose stuff that is around them. Lot of bands are not pressing CD's anymore, but you got to remember when your band is one small file in a long list of files that all look very similar, or if your band is a CD in a group of CD's, you do have chance to stand out more. So I would say, where possible, do a physical CD. You could get in to the ins and outs of actual song writing. People tell you if you want to get your song on the radio it needs to be three mins long, intro 30 secs etc. It's one way of doing it, but would not be the way i would do it. From the creative point of view, I would not like it being that organized. I don't think it works for every genre either. In terms of getting radio play, make sure your music is up to quality. Don't send in any low quality recordings. Don't send stuff that you recorded at home, unless its for demo purposes, as in stuff that might be recorded on camcorder. If it is low quality, the chances are it will not get played. It's good to follow up any mailing with phone call. Just to make sure they got your CD. Don't ring them up saying “why haven't you played my CD”, ring them up “did you get our CD, did you get a chance to listen to it?” If you make it clear and concise for the DJ, there are bigger chance they will play it. If you hide you tracks in YouTube or Myspace  where you can't down load them, just stream, he will not play them, because he can't. If you are clear and concise and make it easy for the DJ to find your music and play it, there is more of a chance they will play it.

J.P. Do you think bands should start small with smaller stations, instead contacting 2fm straight away?

 Alan My feeling from person being in the bands I would say contact them all but don't expect to hear from them just yet. But they see the name once, second time... I think Repetition is the way to go. They might delete the email the first time, but three or four times down the line and if they have seen the name some where else as well, they will start paying a tension.

 J.P. JPKALLIO.COM has had quite lot of success with internet radio. How do you see the future of radio and the Internet radios part in it?

 Alan Internet radio is really good. To be honest with you even FM radio is podcasted now days. And the reason it is podcasted, is that people want to have the choice to listen to it on their own time. Internet radio is a great tool for all bands. There is no reason there shouldn't be more radio stations, there should always be choice. I guess the great thing about internet radio is that it is international. It comes down to theory of long tales, not to get too technical but with big enough stretch of people, sort of catchment area, like with internet radio, you will reach enough people with interest in your music.

 J.P. Lets talk about your birthday celebrations. So whats coming up?

 Alan What's coming up is that Near FM sessions will be five years old and we are having a birthday gig in the Grand Social on Friday the 18th of November. We have really talented punch of bands from a variety of genres. The Rambleers are dirt blues rock. We got eight piece reggae band Indica, they are fresh from the Picnic this year. They came in to the session and they blew me a way. We have Johnny and the Beep Beeps who are alternative rock. We have The Statics who are 60's revival band really talented band, I know I use the word talented a lot, but they are. We got singer songwriter/ folk artist Longtails. He is a strange artist because sometimes he is just Guitar and laptop, sometimes he has a full band behind him, so I don't actually know what he is going to do on the night. All great acts and they all have songs up on YouTube or Bandcamp. They all agreed to play for us. It's a fiver in, we are not looking to make money, we just want to cover the cost of the venue, as with everything we do in the Near FM Sessions. We don't get payed, we all volunteer.  We're not in it for the profit, we just want to get the word out for bands. Doors 7.45pm, live bands until about midnight and then we have DJ's from Near FM taking over until about half two. It should be a good night. The Grand social is a lovely venue.

 J.P. Sounds great. So any plans for the future?

 Alan We are always looking at things to move forward. We are looking in to adding a visual elements to the show it self. I can't say too much about it at the minute, but we are talking about stuff for both community television and videocast. I think it would be good for the bands if there was some visual imagery.

 J.P. That would change the whole show for the bands.

 Alan Well yeah, and that's why we need to look at it carefully as we have nice relaxed atmosphere and we don't want to loose that. We also recently started podcasting the show and that is going really well, so we are going to make an archive section on our website of the bands that we really enjoyed having on the show. I'm giving away all our secrets now... Mainly we are focused on getting bands in and doing what we do and trying to get the music out there.

 J.P. Once again big thank you for taking the time to talk to us

Check out Near FM Sessions at:

That's all for this week. Let us know your thoughts. Back for more next week.


Glory to the World - Single - J.P. Kallio

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Rumble and roar in the Dublin music scene

  I find my self getting little bit exited about the way things have been going in the underground music scene for a past while. It's obvious that more aggressive music is building up again. The Metal scene in Ireland is growing like a wild fire, and the punk brewing up as well. I personally do think that the times we are living does play its part in it. Good old friend of mine and some one who has worked in the music business for well over 30 years once said that it is a historical fact that music and arts always has its boom during recession. I know it can sound bit crazy, but it does make sense as well. I know things like classical music will suffer due to its exclusive nature, but on the street level things are happening. During the boom, pubs did organize music, but it was more tourist oriented in Dublin. Now the local hangouts have realized the power of live music, and it is great to see. There are many venues JPKALLIO.COM have played in in the past year that are great examples of this, Sweeney's on Dame street are hopping! And I am sure they would say it is lot to do with the live music, which in most days of the week they have in two or even three floors. The Pint on the Eden quay has really started to establish it self as a serious venue in the Dublin music scene, especially for Metal. After a small break Thomas house is back organizing live punk nights. The Gypsy rose on Aston quay is running gigs in the basement and acoustic gigs upstairs. And this is only small scratch of the surface of the bubbling music scene in Dublin.

  The other factor in the picture is money. Whether we like it or not, it plays it's part on everything. Sometimes when times are good, and it is easy to make money, that's just what we do. We take the well payed corporate gigs, mold our set lists to suit them, ware our black suits and jump when we are told to jump. Don't get me wrong, nothing wrong with this. But when the work isn't there, you need to keep your self busy, and that's often when you have time to concentrate on what you really want to do. And in tough times people do look for solace in music. Also during good times, music can be more of a party tool, where as when things are not so good, music can be the language to express frustrations and anger. For example cover bands, something like “Sweet home Alabama”, always a strong classic, would have been very popular, but now you get “Killing in the name” by Rage against the machine. But very often these are all things that just pass us by, and we don't pay attention to it. But what always amazes me is how the big promoters tend to work in the past... Only in 2012 German Hard rock/ Metal legends Rammstein play their first concert in Ireland. Now think what ever you may of them, they will fill the O2 and would have done so long before. Oh yeah, and do you remember the famous Manu Chao visit to Dublin quite few years ago? The promoter booked him to Whelans, as they didn't know him and didn't think it would sell... The concert was eventually moved and Manu Chao played to a full house in the Point. But the good thing in all this is that the smaller promoters have had a chance to break in to market that was very much dominated by two giants in the past. Now we have Napalm Death coming to play in the Pint, and the ticket price is very reasonable, thanks to the fact that the major promoters didn't have their "major"cut out of this.

  So as much as we all get dragged down by the news of doom and gloom every day, in music business it is the time of the independents. Small labels who do what they love, small promoters who put on shows for bands they love, and most of all bands who do what they love, not what they are expected to do. What do you think the future holds for Dublin music scene?

  I am just back from a long weekend away, I was in need of charging my batteries, and that's just what I did:-) But now JPKALLIO.COM is very busy getting prepared for some recording. As I mentioned last week, we'll be going in to the Trackmix studios next week for few days. And at the same time I am busy getting the recording of Sliotars new album done. So busy times, but hey, it's the only way how I know:-) Talk to you more next week.

Glory to the World - Single - J.P. Kallio

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How to make sure you won't get booked again

  So here we go, I'll get the rant out of the way first. In the past seven months we have done 15 concerts. In these 15 concerts we have done anything from battle of the bands to show case nights to organizing our own concerts. And as lot of you know through my experience with Sliotar and other bands I have played in over the years, I have done well over thousand concerts. So I have seen a lot and I know how hard it is to get band of the ground. Here is one thing that has been bugging me lately: when a band takes a part in any kind of show case/band night, I would expect them to stick around and listen to the other bands. And believe you me I know some of the music would not be up to every ones taste, I don't have much tolerance for out of tune guitars (get a tuner and get your guitar intonated!) and bad timing (Practice with a click), but suck it up, they are in same situation you are or were. Ok, you might have to get up the next morning early to work, but first of all you can talk with your band mates and some of you could stay, if some of you must go. Second, and do I have news here for you, if you seriously want to make it some day, I mean make your living out of music, you will need to learn to get by with very little sleep. Let's repeat that one just to make sure you got it: Being a full time musician, you need to learn to get by with very little sleep! Six hours is a good night sleep for me. Now in all fairness, about once a week I do pass out for nearly twelve hours... But You get my point. There is always some excuses and sometimes they are more valid than others. So just stop and think about it the other way around. Think what you would want the other bands to do while you play? Musician’s talk that's how the word goes around and to be honest with you, what I've seen in the past year, this is what separates the frustrated amateurs from the pros.

  Let's look at this from a different perspective. As I mentioned there above, we have organized some of our own gig nights, and helped other organizers to book bands as well. This is something I have big plans for, and will be doing more and more. From a gig organizers perspective, unless the band has a genuine reason, I mean if you have a important festival gig the next day and a long drive, that's fair enough. But if I just see the band come in, play their set and run off, because it's well past their bed time, you can be sure I won't be booking them any time soon. And if you think I am the only one who thinks this way, I've talked to few organizers and it is one of those things that register at the back of their mind. They will remember the band that stayed till the end and checked out every act. You might think here, what does that have to do with music? Everything! You expect other people to support your band if you don't support others? Anyway, enough of that ;-)

                                         Thanks to Will Bury for the photo.

  So we had a busy week :-) JPKALLIO.COM played twice in Sweeney's. Wednesday was the Music Medium Live night in the basement. As the regular readers of this blog know we've been there few times before. They are a small group of people working hard trying to do something for the music scene in Dublin and slowly but surely they are building momentum, once again proving that hard work and persistence does pay off in music business. They run a Singer songwriter night in the Sweeney's on Tuesday nights, Juke box slot showcase on Wednesday nights, FissionFriday once a month upstairs in Sweeney's and they are just starting another night in the Mezz on Sundays. So if you are looking for a gig for your band or solo act, get in touch with them, they are really nice people as well :-)

  On Saturday night we were back in the Sweeney's, upstairs this time. Weekend nights in Sweeney's are busy, so we had a hopping gig. This was number 15 in our 100 concert challenge, slowly but surely getting there ;-) Also on both gigs it was great to see so many familiar faces, we are making friends on the way.
The next concert at the moment is the Rocktober semi-final in the Fibbers on Saturday the 19th of November. The standard of this competition has been very high, so it will be a great night of music. I think we need to pull out few extra stops for this one ;-)

  In the mean time, we have decided to go and record few tracks in the Trackmix studios, so in few weeks time we'll lock our selves in there for few days and we'll see what comes out of it. We will be bringing camera with us and try to document some of the stuff while we're there. So before that we'll be rehearsing our backsides off. Oh yeah, and we need to agree on the songs we want to record...
So that's enough for this week. Hope you managed to get through the autumn with out a cold; I'm trying to shake mine. Have a good week and I'll be back for more next week.

  Oh nearly forgot to mention:-) The Halloween is on its way. I am taking few days off and going to Warsaw for the long weekend, but there are some great concerts around during the Halloween weekend that deserves a mention. Our friends the Pimps and Gimps are playing in the Harbour bar in Bray on Sunday the 30th of October, so head over there for some quality punk rock. Also the EHT promotions are running a fancy dress metal night in the Pint and our friends 9thlife will be on the bill along with loads of other great bands. Hmm... how do I get a feeling you might find Qra at the Harbour bar and Sebastian at the Pint;-)


Glory to the World - Single - J.P. Kallio

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

New review and other stuff

Part 60

It's freezing cold October night outside. I am listening Thousand Watt Stares debut album, and it is a killer! If you have not checked them out yet, you should. Whether I'm writing this blog early in the morning or late in the night, it always feels like it's happening in the dark :-)

We had a busy week rehearsing new songs; they seem to be falling out of me at the moment. But that is a great complain to have. I talked about this bit before, but it's been on our minds this week. One of our main goals at the moment is to record an album, but there are little obstacle on the way called money:-D. This is a problem we share with most bands. The valuable information we gained from the interviews on this blog with into the void records and Trackmix studios has given us a very clear idea what it would take to record the album on our own. At the same time we are still contemplating weather we'll do it our selves, or try to go after the all so magical record deal with some underground label. As Darragh O'Laoghaire pointed out in his interview two weeks ago, if we do record and release the album on our own, we would pretty much limit our sales to live concerts. So yeah lot to think about. At the same time we have new songs coming out all the time and the band sound is evolving the more we play. Our debut E.P that came out in March, and still available for a free download from our website, is now about seven months old, and we would very much like to bring out some new material. So at the moment we are playing with the idea of either recording a single or another E.P. Both of these would be possible for us to do pretty fast. It has been a while since we brought any new music and we'd hate to keep you guys waiting ;-) So we'll keep you posted on this.

We got a very nice review at the open-mic blog at: I'll include the review here, but do check out the blog and we'd love to see some comments there as well :-)

“Weekly Feature: JPKALLIO.COM 17 October The feature this week on the-open-mic is JPKALLIO.COM with every body dies on the homepage. Play it Loud! The first words you see when you pick up JPKALLIO.COM’s first EP. Sentiments that compliments exactly what the boys from Poland and Finland are about straightforward Punk. First things first: the song. Everybody dies is a clear example of what three guys with a love of punk can do. With a lull just as the intro begins it really sets up the songs strong rift which continues throughout the entire song. This pause between rifts also helps to create a build up effect throughout each break in verse, which always builds to the strong drumming we see in all the bands music. The Bass seems mellow and then very deep at times, which always brings with it the strength and deepness presented in the songs lyrics. All of which is again brought home by the bands impressive guitar playing. The crisp and clear lyrics really show just how well polished an act JPKALLIO.COM really is. With a slightly dark undertone in both the lyrics along with the music one can instantly find themselves listening to the lyrics and connecting with the band. They really demonstrate the no nonsense punk that has stood the test of time from the Sex Pistols to the Offspring and now to JPKALLIO.COM. If you haven’t already checked out JPKALLIO.COM do it now and be sure to watch there video for everybody dies. -Dave Murphy” The Open Mic

I think it has something to do with the fact that I write blog, but when we get featured in other blogs, it always gets me bit exited. I mean most of the music press is run by money, but the blogs are where the real new music can be found :-)

Don't forget that JPKALLIO.COM will be tonight, 19th of October in the Sweeney's on Dame Street as part of the Juke box slot, organized by our friends Music Medium Live. The night is packed with great music, and Sweeney's is always a good night. Hope to see you there tonight.

And just before we finish, some more news just of the press. JPKALLIO.COM will be doing a late night gig in the Sweeney's again this Saturday the 22nd of October as well. We'll be taking to the stage just past midnight and rocking a full one hour set!

So that's all for now, come back for more next week.


Glory to the World - Single - J.P. Kallio

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Make your own band website part 3

Part 59

  Winter is really staring to push its way in to Dublin. Friday night was great :-) Thanks to every one who came in and big thanks to Taran for a kick ass sound!. Now well be back in the Rocktober semi-finals in the Fibbers on the 19th of November, but before that we’ll be in Sweeney’s on the 19th of October. I really enjoy when we meat new similar minded bands during these band nights. Check out Pimps and Gimps Great punk band that we'll most certainly will be organizing a show with sooner or later :-)
Also last weeks blog got exceptionally good response, so inspired by this we are scheduling new interviews as I write. I'd really like to get as much inside on the music business here as possible, so watch this space.

  And now back to our band website project. How are you getting on? This week I'll show you how to add more pages. So let’s log in to our site again, if you still don't know how to do this, I'd recommend you’re read through the parts one and two of this build. Once you are logged in, in the side bar on your dashboard you'll have a Pages button, just click on it. Now on the next page there is Add new button almost on the top of the page, beside the title. Click on this. Now the next page is really as simple as it seems. Let’s say we want to do a Biography page, your band do have biography? If you don't, then you are skipping over things here. I'll assume here that you do have one. But if you don't, let me know, as if there are many bands without biographies, maybe the subject would be a worth a blog. Anyway you can copy and paste your Biography, or type it in the text box on the page. And above the text box and below the Add new page title you have the title box, where you can type the title of the page. This is how it will show up on your web pages navigation bar as well, so for example “Biography”, “Bio” or maybe just “Band”. You can also add a picture on the page if you want. For example if you have text already on the page and you want to add a picture of the band above it, place your cursor here and then above the text box you have upload/insert followed by four small icons. The first one of the icons is for adding an image, second for video, third for audio and last for other media. Click on the add image icon and an upload window opens up. Click on the select a file and choose a file from your computer, up to 2MB. Once you have done this, the WordPress uploads the photo and once it is uploaded you will get a window where you can add info on the photo. I would recommend you to change the title of the photo to something short and relevant. Also add an alternative text. This means if some one has a computer that would not be able to open the picture; there will be an alternative text instead. You can also ad an caption on the photo, this will appear under it. Below this you have the description part. It would be good manners to add here the photographers details, after all they are artists as well and need any promotion they can get. Below this you have alignment and size options. Once you have selected them, you can press the Insert into post button and you should have a picture on your page. So that's the Basics. Now that you have image and text on your page, you can press the blue publish button on the right side of the screen and your page is live. There are few self explanatory text editing options on the page, similar to the once you'd have on your Email or word processor. With these you can ling the text, Make bullet points, Bold Italic, check spelling or insert a link. Once your page is up, you can repeat the process and make more pages. For example, if you want to make separate page for individual band members, booking and contact information...

  The two pages I'd like to take a quick look at are the live concert list and gallery page. For the concert list you can either write all your gig dates on a page with times, locations etc. Or you can use an external widget. For example ReverbNation has nice ready made widgets. I personally like to use I have it linked to many of my social media sites, so I can just post the dates in one place and this posts them for me in to many of my social media sites. Both websites provide a html code that you can copy, and then just return to your add new page. On the top right corner of your text box you have option for visual or HTML, click the HTML. Now you can paste the gig list code here: after this click on save draft on right hand side of the page. Then you can click back to the visual and add additional text if required. As to the gallery you can start a new page, title it as “Gallery, “Photos”, “Images” etc. Upload images to your gallery as on the biography page. You can do this one by one or several at a time. To do several at same time, just select more images by holding down Ctrl and select with your mouse (this is for PCs, not an expert on macs...). Once the photos are uploaded, at the top of the upload window you have gallery tab, and at the bottom of this page you have insert gallery button. This places the Gallery on your page.

  So that is the basics of our band website. Now if you want me to cover more detailed info on the WordPress subject, let me know. I do know not all of my readers are musicians so I don't want this project to take over the blog. But we’ll add more to it as questions arise.

  Now just a quick note on bit of a reflection of the past blogs, as you know we had Darragh from Invivctus, and four weeks before we had Michael from Trackmix studios. The beauties of these interviews are that JPKALLIO.COM has gained lot of valuable information from these interviews, as I hope you have as well. And it just goes to show. If you ask for information the right way, people are willing to give it to you. We learned that it would be possible for us to find an underground label that specializes to our kind of music, so now we have endless hours to be spent researching labels on internet. We also have much clearer view of the budgets required, the pros and cons making the CD by our selves, or with record label. But at the same time, we have only scraped the surface, and we'll be looking in to much more information before we make any decisions. But we have been working on new songs, and they are sounding better every day. So the next step will be starting to make some demos. These are exiting times :-)

That’s all for this week, we'll be back for more next week.


Glory to the World - Single - J.P. Kallio

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Darragh O'Laoghaire Into the Void records

This week I have something very special for you, but before that just a quick reminder that JPKALLIO.COM will be in the Fibbers again this Friday the 7th of October for the Roctober round 1. This is a full night of music, some great bands and JPKALLIO.COM will be delivering a monster set. And oh yeah, a brand new song. Doors 8pm, Check out all the details here Hope to see you there! But now for the good stuff:

We all know the story; music business is in turmoil, record sales are down, doom and gloom... But In the middle of all this a brand new independent record shop opens up in Dublin. I would say Metal is their speciality, but there is room for punk and hard rock as well. Also when the man behind the counter also runs Invictus Productions, an Irish independent record label with 35 releases under its belt, I knew this was a brain I had to pick. Thankfully Darragh O'Laoghaire was more than happy to help, so I and Qra with his trusted camera headed over to 3a Whitefriar Place, just of Aungier Street and I had a good old chat with Daragh.

J.P. First of all big thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Tell us little bit about your background in music and music business and how you got involved in it in the first place?

Darragh Basically, like everybody else I was a fan, got in to Heavy Metal when I was around twelve. Started with more commercial bands like Guns N' Roses, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, that sort of thing. Then when I was fourteen got in to heavier side of things and started to tape trade, you know. Writing to different people all over the world, getting demos and that kind of emerged me in to whole new and really exiting movement at the time, because the Death metal thing had just exploded. There was so much new music around. There were people who were not much older than me, like the Dismember guys from Sweden who were 17-18 and making really interesting and exiting music. That led me to doing a fanzine, started to promote underground shows here. I did two fanzines in the late nineties and in 1999 I basically had a brain fart one day. Why don't I start a label? Because I never played an instrument, never had the patience to play an instrument, so it all came from the continuity and being involved in the underground, like writing to people, trading tapes, ordering demos, LPs, 7incs and stuff like that. That connects you with lot of different people internationally, so that's essentially the bases where I come from with music.

J.P. Lets first talk about your record label Invictus productions. For people who might not know the label, can you give us an idea for example how many releases have you done and some of the artists you worked with?

Darragh Sure. Invictus is still very much an underground thing, it's by no means big or commercial or anything like that, its pretty underground label. Part of the reason behind that is the interest I have in the kind of music that I release is explicitly underground. But as well as that being located in Ireland you are against lot of odds in terms of promotion and putting your self out there. Having said that, what I have done in the past decade is worked almost exclusively with international acts, I've only ever worked with one Irish act, I ended up in that band incidentally, so that's why I ended up working with them. Every thing else has been like Australia, New Zeland, Canada, Sweden, UK, USA. Some of the bands I have worked with are: The Gosbel of the Horns from Australia, Diocletian from New Zeland, Negative Plane from US, Tyrans Blood from Canada, Portal from Australia and Vomitor from Australia. In total I have about 35 releases starting from 2000.

J.P. Wow! That's a lot of work! I've been involved in releasing handful of albums just with the bands I've played in, but 35 in 11 years. That's a lot of work.

Darragh Yeah it is.

J.P. You started the record label in 1999. Since then the music business has basically turned upside down. How has that effected you?

Darragh This is interesting point. People say downloading music is killing music, I don't think it is. To me it's not one sided thing, it's multifaceted argument, there is so many different points to it. For example the accessibility and availability of recording has become much easier, people can record to a laptop for example. Musical instruments are cheaper. That means there are more bands, they are able to produce their own CD's, their own vinyl what ever, that means there are millions of bands. I remember 20 years ago there was big fuss in the metal media, for example the Swedish metal bands “oh they are all clones because they all have Sunlight studio sound (popular studio in Stocholm among the Death metal bands)”, when in reality there might have been between five and ten bands in total. Now you are talking between 100 and 500 bands trying to do the same thing. So there is a huge amount of bands on the go and that has an impact on things as there is so much to consume. So that has an impact on sales for start. Secondly, if you are unsure of something, you go and download it and if you like it, chances are you'll go and buy it. That won't apply to mainstream music. It's more applicable to people owning the hard copy or vinyl. They tend to be people involved in more kind of exclusive scenes, not just metal, but punk and say elements of the indie scene, but also in dance and techno music vinyl production is quite large. So a lot has changed, but one of the things that gets over looked is is that the barriers have come down on doing these things, which is why someone like me is able to do a record label. Before you would have certain amount of record labels that would have ruled the roost, and having a smaller label was pretty much a non starter. But now days you can do it all, you can have as many things as you want quite cheaply. That affects the industry over all, I think its the sheer volume that effects releases and how much is sold. But like for example there was a girl here last week , she works for Nuclear blast that is one of the biggest metal labels in the world, based in Germany, she works as warehouse packer. She said they are busier than they have ever been. OK they sell T-Shirts and bullet belts and what ever as well as CD's and Vinyl, but it just goes to show that people are still interested in the physical product. So the illusion that the music business is going to collapse on its ears is not quite true but it does make it difficult for bands to sell 100000 copies. Selling 100000 is considered now like selling millions years ago, in that sense things have changed. But I think music industry is fluid thing, it's constantly changing and the Major labels, because they had so much power, never saw internet age creeping on them and they never adjusted to it, instead they tried to inhibit it legally, which failed. The truth is I don't know where it is going to go. Inevitably the recording budgets for albums will decrease as you will going to be able to sell less. That has an impact on who and how you work with bands.

J.P. There was lot of money wasted in the past.

Darragh Absolutely. I know one particular band who's name I wont mention, they were advanced something like 120 or 140000 pounds sterling in the late nineties for one album. There was no way they were ever going to be able to pay that back.

J.P. I get the feeling lot of bands still lives in the dream world where they are going to be discovered by a record company executive walking past their rehearsal room, or discovering them through facebook. So can we have a quick look at the process of you taking a band on, and if they make a record with you what can they expect from you and what do you expect from them.

Darragh I'm going to talk about Irish bands here as we are based in Ireland. Lot of Irish bands are extremely delusional, because the bands they listen to are big, I come from underground background where putting out a demo and selling hundred copies is a big deal, these band they like Slipknot, they like In Flames, they like Marilyn Manson, they like these huge bands. These are models for them and they thing this is what they want to be. Ah, sorry, but that whole market is, for example In Flames has been going since the early nineties, they got nearly twenty years of history which they built. Or for example Amon Amarth keeps getting bigger, but they again have existed for 20 years. So there is huge amount of work that has gone in to it. And the audience that like those type of bands are not necessarily going to like amateurish up and coming demo band in the same style. I'm not saying these young band should not play that kind of music, play what ever you want, just be realistic. Just realize you're not going to break in to the same field these bands are in, because the opportunities just aren't there. I mean if you play in traditional metal band, weather its death metal, black metal, doom, there is huge underground there for you right away. You can get right in to it, you can get your demo out there and people will pick up on it right away. Obviously it has to be good for that to happen. But most of the bands and kids seem to like things that are more mainstream nature and they have their expectations build on that. There are other bands that are more brutal core, death metal style here, there is underground for that as well, and I'm sure they work with in that, but again the more mainstream type young bands we almost set our clocks to it. They appear, big bluster, 6 to18 months they are gone as they realize they'r not going anywhere. So that's one thing, but if I am working with a band it's all pretty straight forward. I pay for the recording time, manufacturing, promoting, distribute the CD's. You kind of need the band to be active in its own right as well to warrant you investing in them. You don't want people sitting in their asses expecting you to do everything because the world isn't like that anymore. Band has to grab the bull by the horns so to speak and get it done. Paradoxically you do get some bands that you deal with that have all the best intentions in the world when it comes to talking about it, but when it comes to delivering then its very gray area.They reflect back on you, shouldn't you be doing this and shouldn't you be doing that? And I'm like, hold on a second, this is underground, I'm not road runner records. You do have certain limitations and limited capabilities. Sometimes band believe their own hype... sometimes.. So they think all they have to do is sit back and relax and it'll all be fine, but it takes work.

J.P. Yeah I've seen bands dreaming about getting signed, and thinking if they do that's it. When that's actually when the real work starts.

Darragh Yeah it's a beginning of a whole new process. Like say, think about Primordial for example. Primordial celebrated their 20th anniversary last week. I've known them since two year after they formed, when their demo came out. I've tour with them, I've seen them play in venues in Dublin for less than hundred people. They put in the work, they've gone out, they've toured vigorously over the years in Europe and they've done album after album, they've built and built and built. I mean they have worked twenty years for it and now they are being rewarded for it. You can't be in this for five minutes and think you will succeed. I think that is part of the problem as well that people expect, you know “wow, we're going to be big, we're going to be famous and important” and I think that is the wrong way to approach it. If you approach it from the love of the music and out of love for what you're doing and you gather interest along the way, I think that is much more positive and healthy attitude to have.

J.P. I'm sure from your point of view as well, band needs to be willing to tour a lot?

Darragh Actually that was an argument I had with one of the bands while ago, there was reluctance on their part to get out and play gigs. They did tour subsequently, a very difficult tour for them in the end. They were well intentioned, but I felt they were miss guided in what they were trying to do. They didn't pull the finger out, they didn't go f*#k this, I'm going to take on the live environment and I'm going to show people that our band is worth supporting, our band is worth watching, instead of having this kind of a aloof “Well we don't need to play, because we know we're good anyway”.

J.P. Well that's a dead end straight away.

Darragh Well that's the thing, you meet lot of different personalities and people have odd perceptions sometimes of how things should work and their way shy of the mark.And then you meet people who have been in the industry for a long time, twenty odd years and they played every F*#king dive and s*#t hole, you know. They've not done it easy, but yet they're always piss easy to deal with. They're always gentleman, no problems you know, there's no fuss, there's no drama “Oh can we be looked after? I need my hair groomed, or I need a water mattress to sleep on” or any of that shit. Younger bands can be like that, they seem to be much more delusional than some of the older bands that have been plugging away longer while.

J.P. Invictus works very much in the underground. Do you think in Heavy metal, Punk, Hardcore etc. Who work very hard, this day and age is there a living to be made?

Darragh There is. It will depend on lot of different things. If you're... single, I mean you don't have any kids, you can have a girlfriend, but if you don't have any major responsibilities and you can live frugally, well then yeah. But I think if you're in your twenties you can do that for certain period of time, it's great to have that kind of physical Independence and social Independence outside of the whole system. But of course as everybody gets older everything changes and you will want certain level of comfort, certain level of stability. So I think its a temporary thing that you can live of it. But yeah you definitely can live of it. There's no question it can be done. If you're doing a small tour, which work of premise that you have a van, you have a driver, you pay the driver, you pay the diesel and you are getting paid in door deals, so once the promoter gets the cost you get everything else, you sell T-shirts, you can make OK money. Again it all depends on the band and the interested there is on the band, but yeah, it can be done.

J.P. Should up and coming bands should still try to get signed or should they make their own CD's?

Darragh Again it depends on the context. I think in the underground there are so many labels that you more than likely can find some one who is willing to work with you. And sadly that is the case with so many things, as my god there is so many bad bands out there that gets CD's put out. But it's the same if you're a demo band doing it your self. The thing is, if you want to do everything by your self, you press your thousand CD and you press your merchandise you have to realize that your avenues of selling them are almost exclusively live. That means you have to get out and play, sell the CD's and sell the merchandise and that means you are constantly on the road. Again you have to have that hunger, passion and drive to want to do it. And being in Ireland you can't expect to be able to do it here, you have to get off the island over to UK and then over to the continent. So if you're motivated, organized and disciplined enough to do it on your own, by all means go for it. Because if your music is quality and you can sell your product, selling thousand CD's, that's ten grand. That's a lot of money in the kitty. The avenues are there. But again it comes down to the quality of the music and this is the fundamental thing. I think Ireland has been quite behind many of its European contemporaries in terms of producing bands of high caliber of the rock / metal area. There are some really good bands here, but for example Norway or Finland who have similar population and their metal scene is enormous, but that's all other argument.

J.P. Lets say band would do an album with you or on their own, what would be a realistic budget?

Darragh It depends. Some of the Hard core bands get very good recordings for really cheap. Yet Irish metal bands go on to some ridiculous studio and spend stupid amount of money and end up with productions that are piss poor. It depends on the quality of the band, it depends how much they are looking for, what their aims are and also what amount of work they are willing to put in. Some of the big labels out there are able and more than willing to pay quite big budgets so to speak, but underground bands the maximum you'd be looking would be between one and three thousand euro. For example I sent a band I was working with to Poland to record for three weeks for €2500, I mean if you're up and coming band and cant get your Shit together to record an album in three weeks...

J.P. Something's wrong there alright

Darragh Yeah. Then other bands like Diocletian recorded lot of their album in their rehearsal studio. They rented out really expensive microphones, they had all their own equipment, they build their own amps and stuff like that anyway.

J.P. Wow! That's a proper DIY!

Darragh Yeah, so they had a really good sound, they knew exactly what they were going for and they were able to get it. Now it cost a bit of money obviously but there was no going to the studio and f*#king around “yeah , we need lot more time than we thought”, they just did it.

J.P. Now lets say band gets the €3000 budget, could you break it down?

Darragh Well, for all I know if you pay something to a band to record, they could spend €100 on recording and the rest of it on f*#king drugs, you don't know.

J.P. So there's no control on your part?

Darragh Especially working on this level. Having said that, lot of the time the money goes straight to sound engineer’s account, so you're not paying the band directly. The money can go to anything from Renting amps, microphones, specific drum kit or just paying for the recording outright. It will vary depending on the band and what they want to do specifically

J.P. Now let's say band still wants to go after record deal any tips on how they should contact record company? Any mistakes you've come across?

DarraghWell yeah, there are so many mistakes. Presentation is one thing, approach is another. I get Emails from bands all the time. You open an email and you know exactly that you're not interested. The way things are phrased, the way they come across, the type thing they are trying to sell musically it's not interesting. It's bad quality, not even B grade but D grade has been done so many times before. Come back to one of the earlier questions on how everything in the music business has changed. For me specifically the only requirement is I have to like what I hear. That’s it. If I like what I hear and I want to work with it, I'll say yeah ok that’s cool, but having said that, I've only ever signed one band by getting CD in the post. Again there are so many bands out there. I get ridicules amount of promos from Italy, not one of them is good. And then I see that one of these bands get on to some other label, and I'm like who's listening to this and thinking it's worth putting out for people to buy. But that's someone else problem, not mine. But like I said the approach the context the competence of the whole thing all comes to question. And again for Irish bands, Irish bands don't really know about the underground and so they exist in this kind of other world where they think they are going to be big. Or if they are aware of it they some times think they don't need it, that it's not where they want to be. But then again there are so many weird things about Ireland when it comes to Metal and approaching metal music. For example there was a band on the last week from the North saying “we are going to organize a gig in Dublin, we're going to organize a bus as our fans want to come, and it’s going to be huge. And automatically you're like, what? It's great having self belief, go for it, but this is ridiculous lads. Who are you guys? And who cares? No body, especially down here. And then it becomes a laughing stock and comedy. The thing is this happened last week, but it happens consistently. Metalireland has been online for 10 years and this has happened for decade over and over again bands doing the same thing. I don't know if it's something in the Irish psychic that once people get in to a band they think they are the most important band in the planet, 16 to 18 months and they’re gone and the circle repeats again and again.

J.P. From my experience I have stopped sending physical promos, unless people specifically ask them. Whats your take on that?

Darragh Unless it’s absolutely necessary, I won’t send physical copies to magazines, I send digital promos. I remember years a go I was up all ours sending physical copies to magazines and for 100 magazines maybe like twenty to twenty-five got back to me. Seventy five copies, that’s a lot of money down the drain. Some magazines have this policy of no digital copies, we want the physical CD. Well then give me something back for it. So yeah I would encourage bands not to send physical copies, A to stop clogging up the post system, B for environmental reasons and C you can send it for free in an Email. Use your head in that regard..

J.P. Lets talk about the shop. Into the Void opened in February 11th this year, again in very interesting times. Lot of independent shops are closing at the moment.

Darragh Yeah we went against the grain. All of us involved in the shop have been part of the underground for best part of twenty years. We've all done different things, we've collaborated in different projects in different times, but one of the guys owned a shop in Temple bar for years, he was doing it on his own and had to deal with big overheads and all and finally closed summer of last year. We were all at Hells pleasure festival in Germany and one of the other guys involved asked me why you won’t think of opening a shop. So that kind of planted the seed. There are five labels involved, Invictus, Sentinel, Underground Movement, Scarlacc and Blin men & Occult Forces and the Devil's Den tattoo studio at the back. So we all sat down decided to see what we can do. We set a budget and set out to look for property. Some of the property in this city is still ridiculous. Eventually we found this place and the rent is more than reasonable so we snapped it up straight away. Then it was real, it was happening. It's been open since February and we are already getting handle of running things and getting an inside on doing it properly. We're selling fair bit as well so it's going good.

J.P. We all hate categories, but where would you place the shop?

DarraghIt's a metal shop, but it's much more than that. There are lot going on here, it's very alternative, I mean we have a tattoo shop in the back, in the basement we have a room where we have shows, we have art exhibitions, we have parties etc. It's not just a shop its like a community gathering for people who are in to the alternative things. That's the kind of biggest strength of the shop, I think anyway. In the broadest possible sense in to the void is alternative community based hub. Encourage creativity and be the driving force behind it.

J.P. I also noticed on the shops website that you do help local bands. Can you tell me more about that?

Darragh One of the things we do is split flyers, where we promote our selves on one side and promote events on the other side. We sell Irish stock here all the time, so people are able to get it. There are also few things on the pipeline that will come out in the next six month or so that I can talk about yet. We also do booking in the Pint, so we can help bands get shows there. Or even get them as supports for certain acts.

J.P. As you mentioned, you guys run gigs in the Pint. JPKALLIO.COM has fond memories with the place as we played our very first concert there. It really is starting to build its name as a venue in the Dublin music scene. Can you tell us bit more about the concerts you run there?

Darragh I have to say all credit to Brian who manages the venue, I remember going down to see him few years ago about booking gigs in there. It was a very much a shell at the time, there was awful lot of work that needed to be done. We had an three hour meeting with Brian, he was very much open to suggestions and he has done the absolutely best to make that venue the best he can for the Rock, Metal and Punk in Dublin. We have a dedicated venue now for these gigs which is fantastic. The scheduling is picking up all the time, all the weekends are booked until the end of the year. A Lot of bookings are starting to come for the first half of the next year. We had the Dublin Doom day few weeks ago, and the venue staff were brilliant. I mean they are not in to metal or anything, which must be difficult for them. But the staff are friendly and accommodating, the security staff were brilliant. And Brian again has done hes best to make an welcoming environment to Metal, Rock and Punk gigs. The shows we run can be anything from local bands to international acts, it's up and down all the time. Its another element to the shop, we'll be bringing bands over for show, I mean, we have all been promoting shows for years.

J.P. That leads to my next question nicely. We have organized few concerts in the past year, and I think every band should do it some stage just to understand what it takes to put on a show. Any tips for bands who do want to organize their own shows?

Darragh Yeah this is one of the benefits of the Pint again. You can book a show in there, charge nothing in, and there will be no venue cost and you will get 10% of the bar. If you're up and coming band, playing for free is great as people might just walk in to check you out as it is free. This is what used to happened in the mid early nineties in the Rock garden, that later turned in to Eamon Dorans, the Sunday afternoon gigs were free. The place used to be wedged. The other thing about pint is that they are open for all ages gigs on Sunday. Having that facility I think is brilliant, where young kids can go see bands and enjoy them selves, and their interest in music can keep growing.

J.P. Thanks once again for your time and to wrap up, any big plans people should know about?

Darragh We do have plans extending in to the new year that we will be announcing in the next few weeks. Also we are building a web store that will be open soon. So everything that's in the shop is available online, especially for people who can't get to the shop. We'll be open for year on 11th of February so we have weekend celebrations planned. We'll be around for another while anyway, were not going anywhere.

So that's all for this week. Next week we'll be back to our band website project. Big thanks to Qra for the photos again, you should check him out at:
Have a great week and hope to see you on Friday:-)


Glory to the World - Single - J.P. Kallio