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