Wednesday, March 30, 2011

On a shoestring project part 31

I've had a good look around in the past six months of the music scene in Dublin. I looked in to venues and promoters who put up shows for independent and up and coming bands, I looked in to local bands, what they do, how they promote them selves, where they play, how often they play... And I have found out few things that might need attention, and I will try to do my best to help this situation.
  First of all, we all know there are few cool venues around the town, where you can get a gig with an indie band. But I would like to see a list of venues and band nights online where any band could go and try their luck. But of course this is not as simple as just set it up and every one is happy. First of all, if I would post every venues promoters contact details, I think they would be ready to lynch me after a month of mail boxes full of not so great music... Second thing is that this list should be informative as well, there is no point trying to push your reggae band in to a heavy metal club. And if you just want a venue list, that’s what the Hot Press yearbook, is for. So what I will try to do is going to take me a long time and probably lots of help from musicians and music fans. As you know started a 100 concert challenge, where to build up following, mailing list and social network lists. With in this challenge we will perform in quite few venues. So as we go along, I started a page on the blog where I will post the venues we played, and with the venue promoters permission I will share their contact information and some details of the venue and what kind of music they are looking for. I will work out the details of this page in the next few weeks, but the start up is already up. One-way or another it will be a free list, but again I do worry that the list will be abused by musicians who just waist promoters time... So be nice people:-) I also want to get a bit of a conversation going, where other bands and artists can share their experience of the venues and submit other venues. So first of all, let me know what you think of this idea, and also if you have any venue suggestions for the list you can send them to, or the comment section on the Indie Venue List page, that way they are there for every one to see.
  Second, I was very surprised how few up and coming bands have website! For the love of all good in the world, this is not that hard to do! There are loads of services on the net where you can get a template for a website, and I would be very surprised if you did not know any one in your friends who knows a bit of HTML. I started from the bottom... I think it was an Web design for Dummies, or something like that, about 12 years ago. But being a musician, I know it is sometimes hard to manage your time, and it feels like another over whelming task. I would like to make a web design guide for musicians, but to me right now that just seems more than I can take on. But maybe in the near future. Do you think this would be useful? And would you use it? For now, try it your self, there are endless amount resources online. If this fails, try to find some one who is willing to do it for you just for fun. Remember, it does not need to be the best website in the world. I believe that just an ok website is still million times better than no website. If you can't find any one, then try contacting some colleges and see if they can put you in contact with some students who might want to do this just to build their portfolio. The next step up from here would be getting a professional to do this, but be careful with your hard earned cash, shop around wisely. If all else fails, contact me. I am a musician, not a web designer, but I have done quite few sites so far and for a small fee I can get your website up and running.
On top of the website you need to have presence on as may social media sites and music sites as possible. I talked about compiling a list on them way back in one of the earlier blogs. But for now on our websites link list there is a links to our social media sites. Not all, but the ones that seem to be working for us. So just click on the link and sign up your own band up, and when you do, make us your friends :-) I will be tweaking this list almost weekly so keep an eye on
  And hey, don't forget about our next concert! 31st of March in the Captain Americas on Grafton Street. The show starts at 10 with a support band and we'll be on right after them. This will be number two in our 100 concert challenge. I will leave you this week with a new video from our first concert :-) This is a song called “News” Back for more next week.

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

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

On a shoestring project part 30

  There is so much talk about the state of music business on the net at the moment; it's even making the news. Being a musician it is important to keep up with the new trends, and follow where the business is going. I heard during the week an interesting point about the internet's role in music business in the future. It was compared to Radio. I can some how see the point here. I found my self listening songs posted on Facebook by journalist who is Running a Jukebox show on Facebook. And I've seen lots of other people do this as well. You are doing your work, and on the back you play tunes posted by other people. It is an interesting concept. I also read a statistic that most people prefer to see a video while listening to a song. I suppose it is a natural progression in the times we live in. Everything is Sensory overload. We want our movies, sports and even games in 3D. It's all about stimulating as many of our scenes as possible. Of course I sometimes miss the more simpler times, when I first got my hands on the Guns n' Roses Appetite for destruction LP, and the artwork on the cover and the actual music was enough to take young boys attention for hours and hours. But at the same time, all the new technology has its advantages. If you are a regular reader of this blog, you probably know about the video we made for our band few weeks back. I will use this as an example here for a second. After the actual recording of the song, we decided to make a video for it. It was Tomeks, the bass player’s brain child. He went out on the streets of Dublin to do some filming first. Then we hung up few white sheets in the wall of our rehearsal room, set up few lights and filmed all of us playing the song. If you would put this in to time frame, we probably spent about 8hours altogether on the filming. Then Tomek spent fare bit more time editing the video. The result was really stylish black and white music video. In its first week we got over 700 views! And this already in my mind is phenomenal. For an unknown band to be able to reach to that many people in one week would have been unheard of 20 years ago. But this can be all very “virtual” and bit hard to grasp. But when bit over week later we played our first concert and I knew for fact that at least 30 people in the audience had heard the song already before we ever played it live, that’s when the power of this new music business format did hit home. So we will be embracing all the tools of this new music business available to us and I would encourage all other bands to do so as well.
  But lets not forget probably the oldest promotion you can do, playing live. How many times have you heard band talking about “making it”? Still today in many musicians minds this involves getting signed to a record label, getting a manager, a booking agent and what ever else. First of all, no record company would have interest in your band unless you have a substantial mailing list; second, if your only goal in music is to get signed to a record company I would encourage you to do some serious reading about the state of the music business! Record companies will only sign you if they know you will sell records, meaning you have existing fans who will buy records, not meaning they put the magical wheels of music business in motion and you will be on fast track to stardom. So I ask you: If you have enough fans/ followers/ people subscribed to your mailing list for a record company to want to sign you, would you not be better producing the record on your own and keeping 100% of the profit, rather than 40% down to anything as ridiculous as 1% of the profit? But one way or another, it comes down to one thing, getting people to sign up to your mailing list/ Facebook page. And still today by far the best thing for this I have found is playing live shows.
  We have implemented an action plan, well... more like a guide line. Every one knows that new bands WILL NOT get paid for gigs. Yeah being a musician is a skill that we worked hard for and it should be appreciated, but before you get ahead of your self, you need to be able to provide value. By this I mean: You need to be able to bring people to your concerts, fill venues night after night! Before you can do this, you do not have value in the eyes of the booking agents, venue promoters, and bar owners. Yeah your music need to be good, but not for the promoter to like it, but for the possible fans to fall in love with it. I mean do you honestly think that the head of Aiken promotions (One of Irelands biggest booking agencies) really is a big Justin Bieber fan? I don't think so! But he knows Justin will fill the O2. So to start of our plan is 100 concerts. First one is done, so 99 to go. The idea here is for the first 100 concerts to just concentrate on:

1. Playing in front of as many people as possible
2. Clock in the hours of playing live as a band
3. Get people to sign up for mailing list and all the social media sites
4. Build a name for the band
5. Have lots of fun :-)

 During these first 100 concerts we are not trying to make money. In fact, as long as we won’t be loosing too much money, we'll be just happy to play. So any venues who would like to get on that 100 list, just let us know ;-)
But is not just a small gimmick, it is something I would recommend for any starting band.
  So the number two in the 100 concert plan will take place in the Captain Americas on Grafton Street on Thursday the 31st of March 10pm. If you were at the last show, you know it is going to be a rocker of a night again :-)
  Oh yeah, and one more thing. As Twitter had its fifth birthday, it would be only fair to share our twitter here.

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

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

On a shoestring project part 29

  St Patrick's day is here once again and I have full busy week with Sliotar. But me, Sebastian and Tomek are still buzzing after last weeks concert. First of all Thank you to every one who came in, it was a great success, and we could not have asked for a better concert. The Pint truly is a nice venue. The Stage is just perfect size with the room, and the sound system is great, especially for loud rock bands like us:-) The whole night was filled with great music. The night was kicked of by Evil Veto, whose Rock metal set the mood for the night. Next was our turn.

It can be a nerve recking thing, months of practice compressed in to a twenty minute set. And you get only one chance at it. You know the songs inside out, but still it comes down to something more than that. For us, the moment took over, we threw our bodies and minds in to the music and it payed off:-) In Tomeks own words “After 6 years of 'silence'I feel like I'm really coming back “.

We played five song intense set that got the whole rooms attention. We got off stage drowned in sweat, full of adrenalin and hungry for more! So now the plans for the next concert are in full swing. Our set was followed by the 24 Broken Amps, another rocker. It was their first concert in 6 months, but tight as you could ever wish for.The Echoes were more of a pop rock band and they brought in their own fans. Time is a thief from Cork finished the night with a stormer of a set. Good night was had by all:-). This really is a nice concert. And I can recommend for any band looking to showcase some songs to get in contact with Billy at Also check out their Myspace at
Oh yeah, and I almost forgot;-) We have some video from the night!

  Now to the promotion. When you do play a concert, the point of it is to expand your fan base and get your bands name out there, right? I know some of you just want to play music, but if you want it to go somewhere, you need to look at the bigger picture. And before the concert I had an idea. It is good to have flyers with your bands website and other social media links. But flyer do get lost really easy. So we made stickers (100% recycled material) with our bands name on them:-) And we stuck them on all of our friends clothes, so when they go home, they still have the sticker with your web address with them:-) Also other people came to ask for them.
  I'd like to share with you another link. If you are in to promoting your band, you should look up Bob Baker, check out his website at: and
This man really is on top of his game when it comes to the marketing in todays music business. This might just be one of the better links I will share with you, go check it out.
  And also bit of self promotion;-) I know i mentioned our website on almost every blog, so this time its our Facebook page. Go and like our page at
Have a great Paddy's week and I'll be back for more next week:-)

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

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

On a shoestring project part 28

  Over 600 views on our first video in a less than a week, 30th on the Youtubes Irish musician charts, thank you people! Seeing the support from our friends near and far has been just over whelming. It has been a phenomenal week for us, waking up every morning checking the views, and I know some of you have done exactly the same:-) There is something amazing about the new model of music business, where independent artist can be exposed to this many people in such a sort time. Ten years ago this would have been unheard of. But yeah, it still takes lot of work. You need to make a video, and Tomek can tell you, this can be lots of work. And before this you need to have the music, and a recording of it. Then once you have posted your video to YouTube or any other video hosting site, you need to tell the people it is there. This means links, and lots of them! But I can't help my self, here is the video again for those of you who did not see it yet.

  The first live performance is upon us. Don't forget about it;-) Thursday the 10th of March, upstairs in the Pint. As I mentioned last week, it will be a good night of music (and few beers). Adm €6 and all the pints are €4. The doors are at 8pm and music kicks of at 8.30. And don't forget to mention on the door you came to see us.

  So as you can imagine we have had a busy week of rehearsing. With the aid of pack noodles, lots of coffee, few cans of Denmark's finest and of course doughnuts on Thursday (fat Thursday) we have worked our sweet bottoms off. Before a concert the way you rehearse needs to change a bit. You put a side learning new songs and concentrate on the set. And you play it through until you know it in your sleep, or in the wise words of Sebastian: “If you are passed out drunk and some one wakes you up, you need to be able to play it”. Now I would not necessarily recommend you to try this, but you get the point. And not only knowing how to play the songs, you need to work out the changes between the songs. And for all you guitar and bass players out there, hope you have your tuners with by pass switch? No one wants to hear you tuning between the songs. Figure out who introduces which songs, sounds pretty bad if you talk over one another, over the microphones. I was at a certain band night in certain venue in Dublin few weeks back, and it was a mixed bag of music, some still needed lot of work, some was promising and some was pretty good. The Night ended with a band from Vegas on their European tour, and they tore the place apart. But one thing that I was very surprised about, how few of the acts actually promoted them selves. If you play in front of a live audience, you need to make the best of the opportunity! Tell people about your website, facebook page, myspace etc. Make sure people remember your bands name. You get one chance to make an impression. Engage with the audience, and look like you actually want to be there. And especially this kind of band nights, your set is limited. You dont have time to warm in to it. You need to jump in the deep end and give it all you got from the very get go. So can we practice what we preach, or am I just talking bull here? Well, there is only one way to find out, come along and check it out on Thursday;-) But I'll promise you this: one way or another, it will be a night to remember!

  Also some of you already downloaded our new EP. We would very much like to hear what you think of it, feel free to post reviews on our facebook page, myspace, on this blog or just email them to
And for those of you who haven't got your copy yet, just join our mailing list here and you will receive the download instructions straight to the email address you entered:-)

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  We are also making some physical copies of the EP, for those good old fashioned music fans that still like to have something to hold on to:-) (like we). I just resourced some cool materials, and the EPs will be packaged and printed on 100% recycled material. These will be available at our concerts and later on from our website. But the download will remain still completely free. But more on that on later date. For now, hope to see you at the gig, and if you can't make it, see you here next week:-)

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

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

On a shoestring project part 27

   Let’s start the second half of the first year of this blog in style, champagne any one? No? Well... I'm more of a beer man myself ;-) So some good news: We have finished recording and tweaking the mixes of our first EP! “Play it loud!” is here, it's ready for you to grab one, and best of the entire download is completely free!

Art work by Grzegorz Jastrzebski

 And this is how it works: You sign up to our email list at this blog, or at and you will receive an confirmation email with the link to our download page. On the page you have choice of two file formats, mp3 for a faster download, and good for your mp3 players, iPods and iPhone’s, or you have full quality wav files. The wav files you can just burn on to a blank disc, and yes you have our permission to do so, and it will play in your CD player. Or if you play from the computer the wave does sound better, although it takes bit more space. So go for it, there are no strings attached ;-). You will get my personal guarantee that we won’t use your email address for any silly pyramid scheme or anything. The only thing you will get from us is a weekly update on how things are going and a link to this blog. And you can opt out of it at any time you want and don’t worry we won’t be looking for you to return the download files, you can keep them. Also feel free to share this info to your friends, or any one you think might like our music. There are samples on our website, Reverbnation, MySpace (but MySpace quality is crap! And that’s why I recommend the website) and loads of other social media sites. So go grab one and let us know what you think!
  As you can imagine we have had a crazy busy week. But busy is good :-) The second bit of good news is: We are playing a short live show on the 10th of March here in Dublin. We are taking part in the Live and Unsigned night in the upstairs of the Pint, on Eden quay, just off from O’Connell Bridge. There will be eight bands on the night and we will be one of them. So come along and support us if you can. The administration is €6 and all the pints are €4 ;-). And if you do come, please tell the man at the door that you came to see us. Well you can imagine we are rehearsing frantically at the moment, there's nothing like a live show to put the pressure on. But I don't mind that’s what I am in this for. We are also looking in to few more live dates, but this will be the famous first one. It will only happen once, and you can only say you where there, if you will be there!
  And just as that wasn't enough, we are just finishing our first video. Here it is for you to enjoy.

We handed the song in to the artistic hands of Tomek and he came up with something I think is pretty cool :-). And this really goes well with the “On a shoestring” project as we really didn't spend much on it (few white sheets from pennies few cans of Denmark’s finest). But I think Tomek had about a week of sleepless nights editing it. You see, it's not so much about what you spend on it, its about being creative, having the drive and perseverance. Instead of going out to the pub, which by the way I love to do, just stay home and work on your music, art, videos, what ever it is you do and you will be amazed what you get done. I remember reading somewhere lately that major label spend around $1000000 on the artist development and branding of a new act. And obviously as the CD sales are down they are even more hesitant to do this. But that is lot of money! But here's the thing, lot of this money goes to pay for a rent for a nice office, secretary, and all the people on the payroll of the record company. Now don't get me wrong, there are lots of people working there with very specialized skills and they can make things happen. But in my time as a musician and an independent artist, I have learned to acquire skills as I need them. OK, lot of it might not be up to the standard of the major labels highly developed pop acts, but it's good enough to get the job done. It is all about making it your self, not waiting some one else to come and take you by the hand and deliver it to you on a silver plate.
And here's a thought: I know if you don't try, you won’t fail... but that attitude takes you to no where. Sometimes you need to fail! Just learn from it. And I know you want everything to be the highest standard, so you won’t record your songs until you have money to book Abbey road for a month... That is not how you start a business! And yes your band is a business. This is taking it to a bit of an extreme, but I do believe, and have seen it work, that throwing crap out there is better than not throwing anything. It's like bad press is better than no press. I don't mean that you should just run off and record an album on your built in microphone that comes with your computer, and sing everything out of tune, backed by cheap guitar on three rusty strings. No! But if you have good songs, you can record them on a very reasonable budget that is manageable for you to recoup in the next few years. Do it to the best of your abilities, with in the resources you have and with in your time frame (I once spent two years recording an album... Never again! )
So let’s do a little recap:
1. EP out, go and get it at or at the
signup form on right hand top corner of this blog page
2. First live concert on the 10th of March in the Pint, on Eden quay in Dublin
3. New video out! Let us know what you think?
4. Never mind J.P’s ramblings about music business... but go out and do something!

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