Wednesday, June 27, 2012

  This week I was interviewed for a great blog about Celtic music and I thought I'll include it here as I managed to cram in some promotional stuff as well. So instead of reading my rants here, please visit
And a big thanks to Baxter Labatos for making this happen and running a great blog.

   Just a quick reminder that JPKALLIO.COM will be playing a concert in the Sweeney's basement on Friday the 6th of July, just before I head on the tour with Sliotar. This probably will be our only concert this summer, so come along.

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

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Are the days of promoting your band on the Facebook gone?

Part 95

  Why is it that every time you come across some great promotional tool, service, company etc. Eventually there comes a time at the end of the story when they ask for your credit card details? I am not saying you can buy your self a career, but you most certainly can buy your self a small bit of fame, if you wish to do so. Then we have the great promotional tools like the Facebook. But hold on, once again they changed something... If you have a band profile on Facebook, you have under every post a number that represents how many people your post has reached and a percentage of how many that is from your total fans. On average on posts that posted in the past month or so, the reach is around 19%. Once the post is up for longer time, I am happy if it reaches 40% in a month. So not so good news for the next show you are putting on. Seems like you got to go back to the good old fashioned posters... Unless people not only like your band page, but also subscribe to your news feed, most of them wont see your posts... Why is this? Well it comes down to the same thing, they are hoping to get your credit card details. Beside the reach figure there is a promote drop down menu, that promises to reach about 1500 of your fans for €5. That is if you have 1500 fans and I am still wondering what happens to your money if you don't... So yeah, here is the bad news, Facebook as it is right now, does not work as a free promotional tool. What bugs me even more is the fact that once again they decided to do this without letting us know and in the shadow of the company entering the stock market. Seven months ago it was very easy for me to reach about two to three hundred people a day with this blog, but just due to a small change in the Facebook, those days are gone. And I can only imagine how many bands put on shows, posted it on Facebook, and their fans actually never heard about it until long after the show.

  So here we go, if you are reading this blog, you have been warned! And once again we go back to the old truth, you need your website and your mailing list. No social media site is going to ever replace these tools.


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

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Different paths to being a great musician

Part 94

   So here we go, I might annoy some people with this blog, but this is really important subject to me. Everybody's path to being a great musician is different. What works for me might not work for you. For me it has taken years of trial and error, and endless hours of playing and singing. I am sure some one with the proper teaching skills could have got me musically here much faster, but at the same time I wouldn't have the experience I have now. When you first start playing an instrument, it usually starts with acquiring an instrument, learning some basics by your self, or a friend showing you something. Then you have few different paths to go. You can sign up for some lessons with a teacher, or even go to a music school and get some theory lessons on the side. You can get your friends to show you bit more, play with other musicians and learn from them. My way was driven by hunger to learn more, I spent endless hours in my room winding back cassette tapes of my favorite bands and tried to learn what the guitar players were playing. Then learning the songs with my garage band at the time and playing them endless hours at our rehearsals and eventually get to play them at school gigs or local fund raisers. The thing is that human mind works in mysterious ways and every ones way of learning is different. Some people need to analyze the music so it makes sense in their minds. Some people need to visualize it in their minds and even on that I have heard of several variations. I need to feel it. I know it sounds like a cliche, but I don't visualize the music, I feel it. I feel the groove and go with it, I feel the chord progressions, I feel the fretboard under my fingers and most of the time I let the fingers guide me. This is due to endless hours of playing, jamming and muscle memory. I can read music, though I am very slow at it and definitely out of practice. This again I learned the basics with a teacher in school and then converted it to guitar and just spent time to learn more and more. But still to day if I learn a melody on written music it takes me long time to get it to my head, where as if I learn it by ear I usually pick it up much faster. Until it is in my head I can't feel it and if I don' feel it I can't play it well. I suppose this is one of the reasons I have passed on quite few opportunities in my time. Opportunities to play music I had no interest in but the pay would have been good. It's just not in me to take on a job I know I can't do well.

   But lets go back to the learning songs of those old tapes. Every musician needs ear training, you can learn the best licks, fills, solos and what have you, but you need to learn to use your ears! You need to listen to whats going on around you, what every band member is doing around you. If you zone out in your own world and just play your part, sooner or later you will find your self in a ditch... It is a musical car crash waiting to happen. Listening to other players around you while delivering your own part is one of the marks of a great musician. You need to put aside what you do as an individual musician and become a part of the over all band. You might have the coolest solo you want to play here or there, but it might clash with the rest of the band. If this is the case, back off! The song must come first! And what is the best for the song might not be the fancy fill you love to play but just a simple beat that keeps the groove going and makes people feel the music. For me listening to those tapes and trying to figure what was played was the greatest ear training any one could get. You learn to recognize your intervals, your chords, the rhythm patterns. And you know, I enjoyed every second of it! I could not wait to get to play the song through when I finally had it figured out. I also learned so much about song structures, riff construction, dynamics... And I don't want to take away from the academics of music, but some of these skills if they had been broken down and presented to me through a teacher from a book, it would not make sense to me the same way as it does today. This was the best way for me and still is today. I still learn every day, I still practice every day. Going to band practice once or twice a week won't make you a better player and it definitely won't make your band better, unless you all practice individually every day! And I don't just mean playing random stuff, but identifying your weaknesses and working on them.

    I know there are people out there who think you will not be a great musician until you study in Berkeley or some other fancy school, and there are people out there who think you are not a real musician unless you're self taught. But the fact is, neither is wrong or right. It comes down to the individual. What's your way of learning?


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

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Sweeney's rocked!

Part 93

  June is here and it ain't looking pretty so far... You'd think I got used to this by now after sixteen years in the country... Anyway. Last Friday we played at the Sweeneys basement once again. We were happy that Foad musick asked us to take part in their night. There had been some changes in the basement room! To our delight the cursed pillar right on front of the stage had been removed. This opens up the stage straight away. They also had moved the bar on the opposite side it used to be and now the room is starting to look like proper venue. I also heard rumours about new equipment, and to be honest with you, this is the last thing that needs to be fixed and then Sweeneys would have pretty sweet venue in the basement as well. On the night there was four bands, Corrosive machine, JPKALLIO.COM, Jobseekers and The Freebooters. All of the bands on the night played great energetic sets, It was like every band just fueled the next one even more. It was really great to see such a high standard of punk rock bands and an enthusiastic crowd. This was one of our better gigs in a long while. Once again big thanks to Foad musick for having us.

  We will be back in the Sweeney's on the 6th of July, but part from that we made a decision on taking it bit easier with the gigs and concentrate rehearsing a lot and working on some new material with out the pressure of getting it done for the next gig. I suppose what we want to do is jam the stuff for a while before we commit to a structure. Very often once you play song a live, it seems to be set in stone and even if you think to change something, you never get around to it. Another reason for the break is the European championships. I have made the mistake of booking gigs during big events like this in the past and lets just say I have learned my lesson:-D Anyway, I only have five weeks in Dublin before I am on the road again with Sliotar and this is bit longer tour... And the preparations for that will keep me extremely busy.

  Now in the mean time, Patryk is been busy playing bass with his old band Pimps & Gimps, he is a man of many talents;-). The Pimps & Gimps are playing with other friends of ours the Joyful Noiz in the Harbour Bar in Bray. So if you are looking for some good music this Friday, why wont you hop on the Dart and head over.
  For now, enjoy the early summer days;-)

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