Wednesday, April 27, 2011

On a shoestring project part 35

Hey ho! The weather here in Dublin has been just too good to be true:-) I think it is important to give you self a break from all the hard work that is part of getting a band off the ground. But not for long;-) So most of this wonderful weather I have seen through the window. I have been posting our E.P. “Play it loud!” To any one and every one. I'm starting to know the staff in my local post office;-). Also we started work on some new songs, and they are sounding brilliant:-)

Lets go back to the promotion for a moment. This is something you need to be doing constantly! If I would put down on a piece of paper everything is I have done promoting bands through out my career, it would be over whelming, it would feel like years worth of work for very little return. But this is something that you should be doing all the time. It should become a second nature to you. It's something that should not take over everything, but at the same time it should be part of everything. I've seen so many bands still today expecting the music being enough. So I thought to make here a bit of a reality check list:

1. Your band need to have a website! It is not a such big deal to get it done, just do it already!

2. Start building a mailing list. You can do this by utilizing some of the service providers, like

3. Rehearse a tight set of minimum 30 mins, preferably 45mins. Practice it as you were playing a concert. Record and video it, and look back and learn! Don't worry about the quality, even your camera phone will do the job.

4. Have a promotional pack: Good band photo, some live shots if possible, Simple biography, that WILL describe your music! No excuses here, I know you sound like no one else, but gues what? You do! Ask your friends, like ten or so. Even if you don't like what they say, if few of them say you sound like so and so artist, then more than likely thats what you sound like. Or even the style music it is. I would put in to classic rock and modern punk rock, not that hard is it?

5. Go out and start gigging!

6. Get some video, it is probably the best promotional tool you can have. It does not need to cost you a fortune, just be creative. And if you really can't do it, there are people out there who will help you.

7. Don't wait things to happen. Make them happen! If you want to play a gig, go out and get one, don't wait for some one to bring it to you on a silver plate. If you want to record a CD, do so. What's stopping you? Money? Well start saving, go busking, what ever it takes. Don't just wait some one to offer you a record deal out of the blue.

8. Get busy on the socialmedia, but don't think this can replace your website

9. Network, be nice, help out other bands! Don't think any one wants to help you if you're not willing to return the favor.

10. Last but not least, start right now! Not tomorrow, not next week, right now!

I know some of it sounds bit harsh, but don't worry, I'm only trying to get the point cross. And I do stand behind my words about the number 9. So if you still feel lost and don't know where to start, get in touch with me and we'll see if I can get you started with your promotional plan.

Now to some updates: have few concerts on the way. We'll be playing in the Pint, one of our favorite venues:-), on Wednesday the 4th of May in the Festival 4 play night. Doors 8pm and €5 in. There is going to be loads of drink promotions on the night as well. Its going to be a good one. Then on the 5th of May we are taking part in the Courtyard hotels battle of the bands in Leixlip. Again doors at 8pm. It's a new venue for us, so really looking forward to it. Really hoping to see you at the gigs. There are few more on the way as well, but more on them later.

For now, go out and enjoy that spring weather for a while and then back to work:-)


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

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

On a shoestring project part 34

  April just seems to be flying by. We have been busy working on our 100 concert challenge, now it is a lot of concerts... But I must say I am really happy how it is going :-) We'll get there one concert at a time.
  As you might have noticed, the technical advice here I tend to write about here, is always some how linked with what we have been up to. And this week is no different. In the past we talked lot about recording and sound in general in recording environment. This week I thought I'd share with you practical advice on live sound, and also with in conjunction with the Battle of the bands subject from last week. What I am talking about here is a situations where you have a sound engineer, not your own, but one for all the bands on the night. Now we all have heard bands giving out about sound engineers, bad sound systems and what have you. The way I see it is this: Everyone who plays in the venue with a house sound system, uses the same system. So lets for a second assume the sound system is not the greatest. We can moan about this all night, or we can just get on with the concert. We have played now 3 concerts with, and I am blown away every time when people come to see us :-) It is just one of the greatest things in the world. So yeah we do want to give the people the best possible show. And moaning about the sound is not going to make it any better. So first of all, if you play in a small venue, go back to basics. Get the band sound balanced on the stage; bring the Guitar and bass amps to the level of the acoustic sound of the drums. Make sure you can hear everything spot on. And here is something I learned the hard way last week, if you are a singer, make sure none of the amps are closer to you than the vocal monitor. We played at a very small stage and there was a Marshall Guitar amp on a shelf pretty much right beside my ear. Sounded good, and when I checked the vocals in the monitor it sounded ok as well. But you need to understand that in the battle of the band situation you hardly ever get a proper sound check, it is a quick line check. And even when you get further in your career you will find yourself at festivals that only have quick line check as well... So there you go, get used to it. Learn to set up your equipment fast and train your ears to figure out what you need to hear. Well when the full band kicked in, I completely lost my vocals... It was guess work from there on... And I am talking about three or four song sets where you have only few minutes time to win the crowd over. So you do not want to be fixing the monitor levels between every song. And I must say here that with Sliotar I have been spoiled:-)

On the road we have our own sound system, and at the festivals the sound systems have been top class and the sound crews true professionals. Anyway, after the level of the instruments on the stage is ok, and be critical here. It's not about individuals here, it's about the over all sound. I know your dream valve amp has a sweet spot when it comes to alive, but the best guitar sound in the world wont win you any competitions if you burry the rest of the band. Also you should EQ the guitar and bass already at the amps the way they wont get on top of each others, Bit less bottom on the Guitar, bit less mid on the bass and they should sit nicely together. If you get this right, all the sound engineer would need to do is add some drums. Depending on the size of the room and sound system, this could be anything from Kick and snare to a full kit. Vocals on top clean and clear, and if needs bit of bass and guitar. But this is a job for the sound engineer. You will find that most sound engineers are good at their job. Some are miracle workers. But still if the band sounds Sh*t on stage, you will get a speaker load of the same stuff from the front of the house as well. And if the sound engineer has never heard you before, just explain him shortly what the line up is, what you need in the monitors and in the mix, and he will appreciate this, and you will straight from the beginning give your self much better chance of getting a good sound. Once again let me remind you: if the sound is not great, every one else who is playing on the night are in the same position, so suck it up and get on with it!

  Now, back to the band news. It has been a week of mixed feelings. Tomek’s war wounds acted up big time this week, so he has been out of action with back pain. Any one who ever had it knows how horrible it can be. We can only hope he'll be back in fighting form soon. But on the good side of the news, our E.P. Has gone around a bit and has started having some Radio play:-) There are 3 stations in Canada who have given it a nice bit of spin, Dundalk fm is coming up next week as well :-) We are also been busy on our Facebook and twitter pages, so if you haven't done so, join the fun there at:
Also if you ever have any questions, or suggestions, Facebook is an easy way to contact us:-)
That’s all for this week and I will talk to you more next week :-)

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

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

On a shoestring project part 33

  Ok guys, what can I say? King Kong Club rocks! We had such a great time :-) And it really is such a great concept; they offer a platform for up and coming bands. It's not like go in and become famous, but do it right and you can really benefit from it. It's almost like a school test for bands, if you've done your home work, rehearsed a good set, dragged in your fans, friends and family and you can really do something with this. I highly recommend any up and coming Dublin band to take part. You get to practice a quick set up, how to win people over in a short set, you get to do a radio interview, which is something you need to learn how to do as well. It is all valuable experience and all for free. For us it was the first time, but few bands on the night had done it before. So you can go in, do your thing, learn from it and try again some other time. The guys have been running it for the past 7 years, oh yeah and did I mention, they are really nice guys :-) If only we knew where the microphone for the clap o metre was... Here's a review of the night:
  They also have a radio show on Dab radio, UPC channel 944 or online at:
They are on every Wednesday at 3pm with a repeat on Sundays at 10pm. Our interview and hopefully some live tracks will be on it in few weeks time, so keep checking it out :-)
  The battle of the bands concept is as old as rock music it self. But lately I've noticed lot more of them around. I know some musicians don't think much of them, or see them selves above it... And yeah, it would not be fare if Rage against the Machine would take part along side local garage band with three and half songs and a fashionably out of time drummer. But until you start pissing people off by winning each and every one of your local battle of the band competitions, I would say go for it! It is a great way to get to play in front of an audience and pick up some new fans :-) And there is some great networking to be done. You should not think the other bands as your enemy, even though a little bit of rivalry can be a good thing. Make friends with them, pick their brains, and let them do the same. Also get your friends to come in and take photos and video, this is always valuable promotional material for future. The cool think about King Kong Club is that they do this for you! They film your performance, and you get one track for free and you can buy the two more for what in my mind is cost price (it would not even cover the man hours of hired film crew), might just be the best value video you could get. I'll post ours as soon as we get our hands on it:-)
  There are also bigger competitions as well, many of them online. We are taking part in one at the moment, check it out at and you can vote for us by playing the tracks and then rating them. So please get voting :-)

  If you are reading this blog on the day it comes out, this is for you: Tomorrow night there is a concert to raise awareness of Cystic Fibrosis and raise funds for Cystic Fibrosis Association of Ireland. The night is called Rock For Breath. It's in the Gypsy Rose rock and blues bar at Aston quay should be a good night :-) We won't be playing this time, but will be there for the support.
  Now we do have few concerts lined up as well :-) We will be back in the scene where lost its virginity ;-) 4th of May in the Pint for Festival 4 Play night. And on the 5th of May we are in Leixlip, co. Kildare, in the Courtyard hotel, for their battle of the bands night, so that’s going to be a busy week. If any one from Dublin is coming to Leixlip, let us know. We might try to organize some transport for the night. But more on that later. Still long way off from our 100 concert challenge target, but one concert at a time :-)
So that’s all the updates, info and ramblings for this week. Talk to you guys next week.

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

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

On a shoestring project part 32

This week I'll do this other way around. First of all, will be taking part in the King kong club in the Village on Wexford street on Monday the 11th of April. To get an idea what’s going on, on the night, this is in the words of the organizers:

"Dublin's Biggest and best, Live Musical Gameshow!
The one band that gets the most claps at the end of the night goes on to the next level for the big prizes. Judged By our Fabulous Replica of The Empire State Building.... CLAP O METRE!
Prizes include festival slots at Vantatastival, KnockanStockan, Life Festival, N.P.L.D festival, Temple House Festival, Support The Hot Sprockets at there album Launch.
It is free entrance and free for bands to enter...
Beer 3 and 4 euro..
Each band is also video recorded and put onto our YouTube space; (check it out when you get the chance, to get a feel of the night...)
Each band is interviewed and recorded live for our Radio Show on RTE 2 XM."

So we need all you in there to support us :-)

Also big thank you to every one who came in last Thursday to Captain Americas - It was a great night :-) And we have some photos and Video up here again. I also started to document our 100 concert challenge on its own page. I am sure it will be almost impossible to get video and photos from all of the 100 concerts, but we will do our best :-)

That’s the updates for this week, and now to the meat and veg. As you know I have been talking a bit about the band promotion. I actually think radio is going through changes as much as the most of the music business. I personally was never a big fan of radio. I was always very picky about my music, and mainstream radio very rarely had any music that would get me exited. But I do understand the importance of it and lots of my friends regularly listen to radio (Tomek is a fan of Radio nova here in Dublin). To get to any radios play list is very tough for independent artists. And you can feel like throwing money down the drain by sending CDs to radio station and not even knowing if any one opens the envelope... And here is few points I would like to make. If you record, produce reliance and promote your own CD, then you basically are an independent record label. And small labels relay need to keep their spending to minimum. So I would not just send CD to a random Radio stations, let alone 100 of them. If you want to go after some radio play, research the radio shows that might play your music. Make sure your music would suit their play list, again no Reggae to Death metal stations, and vice verse. Then it is time to make contact. Drop an Email, polite one; no one likes a smart ass, or a big ego. I have dealt with lot of people in radio over the years and my personal experience is this: Most people in radio are music fans, they might not like your music, but some one will. And yeah, in big commercial station money talks, record companies and radio stations have relationship and for a reason. Radio makes its money from advertising, and they only can sell add slots if they have the listeners. And it is no brainer to figure out that what's on top of the charts got there for a reason, because people bought the tracks. So yeah, as annoying as it might seem, it all comes down to business. But I do believe that small indie or internet radio station that actually likes your music is worth a lot more, than your track played once in any of the main stations. So dig deep, look for specialised radio shows that suits your music.

The next thing to look at is all the different types of internet radio. They can go from online pod cast to sites like I would recommend checking out Jango, It is a payed service but you get some free plays when you first join. Also there are lots of companies offering to distribute your music to stations for a fee. To me this comes down to control. If the company offer a “world wide” service, how do you really know what got played? I have opted for a service, that I will test drive for the next 3 months. Of course I am hoping to get radio play for us, but also to review the service. So as you know, there are lots of companies looking for your hard earned money, so let’s see if we can make sense of them as well. I'll let you know all the details of this service and how it works in the following weeks.

I have mentioned in the past about the importance of an email list. On our last concert we had a simple A4 signup form, and this proved to be very successful. Try it out :-)

And one more thing. After the success of our first video, we would like to make a new one. We are bit short on ideas at the moment, so we would like to hear from you what you think it should be like. Here is the song , so get scripting, or just even small ideas, we'd love to hear them all:-)

Everybody dies by

Talk to you more next week.

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