Revenue and Funding

My main aim behind this project is not to make money but to represent the place I live by making music that I like.  However, if I were to think about it in terms of revenue, I would need to take advantage of the internet and the various DIY ways of releasing music that are now available.  For example, like Cofa Tree, the Coventry duo who were mentioned in my comparative projects, I could make my music available on iTunes for a suitable amount of money.  That could be a full album download or individual song downloads.  iTunes is still a very popular way of accessing music and although I have never used it to sell my own music before, it might be something to consider.

Another possible platform is the site CD Baby. This site is designed for independent musicians to release their music.  The artist decides a price and CD Baby keeps the equivalent of $4 and the rest of the money gets paid to the musician on a weekly basis.  There are other fees that are attached such as an album fee which is paid once per album.

http://www.cdbaby.com/

Outside funding for this project is not essential but it is still something to think about.  With extra money I would be able to record at a studio with people who have more knowledge and equipment.  However, the one thing I do not want with this project is it to be over produced.  I want it to sound raw and loose so perhaps in some ways a high end professional recording may not be the route to go down.  Funding could go towards other things though, such as musical equipment or CD’s and packaging for example.

Crowd funding is one option for an artist on my level but the reality of that coming to anything may be minimal.  I would need to first share some of my music so people actually know what they are paying for.  Even then, it is not something many people are interested in.  With illegal downloading and streaming sites, people won’t even pay money for the most popular music so the chances of people paying money to hear someone on my level release their first solo album is unlikely.

However, funding could also come from more organised sources.  For example, I looked at a Welsh site called Wales Arts International.  This site offers funding programmes that help Welsh musicians take their projects to an international level.  It is designed so Welsh musicians can develop their practice and present it to a wider audience.

http://www.wai.org.uk/funding

Another source is the Arts Council of Wales.  This Welsh organisation is set up so that it offers musicians living in Wales a chance to get their projects up and running.  Small grants up to £5000 and large which are over £5000 can be applied for.

http://www.artswales.org.uk/what-we-do/funding/apply/individuals

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Marketing and Audience

To start, I will talk about where this kind of music is performed.  It has designated festivals that have only been around for a few years.  There is one called Desertfest, which began in London and Berlin and has now expanded to Antwerp.

http://www.thedesertfest.com/london/

There is also Freak Valley festival, Stoned from the Underground, Keep It Low festival and Void Fest, which take place in Germany.

http://www.rockfreaks.de/festival/index.php?lang=de

https://en-gb.facebook.com/stonedfromtheundergroundfestival

http://keepitlow.de/

http://voidfest.de/en/

Sonic Blast Moledo and Reverence Valada in Portugal…

http://www.sonicblastmoledo.com/

http://www.reverencefestival.com/

Riff Ritual and Kristonfest in Spain…

http://theheavychronicles.com/2014/02/riff-ritual-fest-barcelona/?lang=en

https://es-la.facebook.com/pages/Kristonfest/167609766611359

Roadburn in the Netherlands…

http://www.roadburn.com/

and finally, Lake on Fire in Austria.

http://www.lakeonfirefestival.com/

Duna Jam is another example of this, although it is only available to attend by request via email.  Only a handful of people get selected.  Taking place in various landscapes including beaches and mountains, it is still only small and somewhat secret but they do have some big names in the scene playing there including Colour Haze and Yawning Man.

http://www.dunajam.net/

Lots of these festivals have only appeared in recent years meaning that this scene is seeing a major rise in popularity.  It is clear that Europe is where the main audiences for this music are.  The majority of music from this scene now comes from Europe and it is performed to European fans.  This is not to say that America for example has no market for it, but it seems as though Europe is the place that is thriving and is the place my music would be best received.  With the return of masters of the genre Black Sabbath in recent years, the scene has had a major boost and bands have started moving up to more mainstream festivals such as Reading and Download.

Next, I will talk about the online presence of the scene.  The main place I go to hear the latest is the YouTube channel Stoned Meadow of Doom.  This user uploads full albums of various bands in the genre.  On this channel you will find discussion amongst fans and recommendations on who to listen to next.  It is a definite bookmark for anyone interested in this scene.

http://www.youtube.com/user/StonedMeadowOfDoom93

Another YouTube channel I came across was AnotherTime AnotherSpace.  Again, this user uploads psychedelic, space music albums and it’s a good channel to visit when looking for instrumental music in this scene.

http://www.youtube.com/user/95XDhaha

The main blog to go to for this music is Heavy Planet.  I have been visiting this blog for a while and it has always been useful in giving me the fairest and most unbiased reviews on albums and concerts as well as sharing interviews with bands and offering new music.  They offer free downloads of their own compilations, made up from tracks they enjoy and even include an email address you can send your own tracks to and they will review and even upload it if they like it.

http://www.heavyplanet.net/

Another good blog I have accessed is Sleeping Shaman.  Again, this provides visitors with detailed albums reviews, photos, interviews and general news within the scene.

http://www.thesleepingshaman.com/tag/stoner-rock/

Other blogs I have looked at that look good have not been in use for a while and so at this point in time are not ideal reference points.  Stoner Hive was the next best blog I could find.  It is up to date and constantly updated with new tracks, reviews and stats.  It is certainly one for me to keep my eye on in the future.

http://stonerhive.blogspot.co.uk/

Another interesting online post I found on the genre was presented in a chronological order of the history of the genre.  Entitled ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Doom and Stoner Rock’, the post is almost like a family tree of the genre.  This speaks volumes for what I mentioned earlier that there is a sense of togetherness and community in this scene – bands and fans have respect for each other equally.

http://www.redbullmusicacademy.com/magazine/history-of-doom-stoner-rock

There are independent record companies that are dedicated to this style including Rise Above Records, Catacomb Records, Sound Zero and more.

http://www.riseaboverecords.com/

http://www.catacomb-records.co.uk/

http://www.soundzero.net/

I also found this blog which linked me to many other record labels that specialise in this area of music.

http://ridewiththedevil.blogspot.co.uk/p/labels.html

However, I haven’t been able to find any magazines, venues or independent stores that are primarily for this scene and I put that down to it not being big enough.  However, with the evident rise the scene is experiencing it may not be long before these things start appearing.

Comparative Projects

The main area of influence for this project was the Palm Desert scene, which includes a group of bands and musicians from Palm Desert in Southern California.  Traditionally, the music from this scene is played with drums, guitar and bass.  Vocals are part of it sometimes, but it does include a lot of instrumental ‘free jams’.  So, in the two songs I have recorded so far, I have used only the typical instruments that are used and had one song include vocals and one without.  I did this to position myself in the song writing mentality of musicians in the scene I am attempting to emerge myself into.  This scene has become popular because of bands like Queens of the Stone Age – a band who saw more mainstream success than any other band from the scene.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s88r_q7oufE

The scene is famous for its outdoor gigs – often in the desert as the name would suggest.  This scene is still alive and well today and the reason for its success is the relationship between musicians and fans.  The fans never paid to see these bands in the desert and there were no barriers or security.  There was trust and loyalty and I believe this is why this scene has been successful – the respect everyone has. Bands would take all of their gear out into the desert, plug it into generators and play all night to a crowd of about one hundred people.  What draws me to this idea is the feeling of travelling out into the desert with your friends and staying there all night – miles away from any civilisation.  You would listen to the music and each individual person, although being in the same place listening to the same music, has a different experience – a different journey.  This is where the comparison with my project and this scene happens.  I wanted to capture that feeling of being out in the middle of nowhere and experiencing a personal journey.

A main influence from the Palm Desert scene is Brant Bjork.  He has played in various bands including Kyuss and Fu Manchu who are both big names within the scene.  However, like me, he wanted to have a break from that and create his own ‘trip’ as he puts it.  In a two part documentary about his first solo album ‘Jalamanta’, he talks about his motives and routines around the time of the album.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yv0XGtLcFyQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cTtbsY2DBE

This is very similar to my project.  He talks about recording some grooves and beats and riding around on his bike during sunset to see if they worked.  Again, it was all about the journey and the ride the music took you on.  He says it’s not urban music but instead it is simple, approachable music from a small town and people in small towns across the world can relate to that – similar to Cwmbran.  The album ‘Jalamanta’ has acted as a major influence for me in both the ideas behind it and the style of music.

On a smaller scale and out of my usual circle comes another project I came across that happened recently.  From Coventry, the two piece band Cofa Tree created a track that is an ode to their home city.  They say it’s about living there and what it has to offer.  On top of that, it was recorded as part of a soundtrack to an upcoming film.  They say the music has sold really well.  So, I can learn from this as it is a home grown, organic project that combines audio and visual, and focuses on home.

http://www.coventrytelegraph.net/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/listen-coventry-bands-new-song-6986896

Description of the Project

My project is essentially a DIY solo album.  I played drums, bass, guitar and for the first time, performed vocals.  After playing in bands for years, this project was about me trying my own personal style and relying on only myself.  It is about hearing the music that directly represents me.  I had created plenty of songs over the years and this module finally gave me the platform to put them to the test.  To accompany the audio material there is added visual content, to give it more depth and texture.  Again, I did this myself.  I took all of the videos on a hand held camera and edited it all together myself.  Within the general scene of music that I am trying to pinpoint, the visual elements are often very important and they often focus on nature and landscapes.  Mountains, rivers, trees, deserts, oceans, skies and dirt tracks – these are the sort of things that are seen.

The idea was to really dive into the concept of music taking the listener on a journey.  My aim is to travel after university and it is really the idea of journeys and travelling that has captured my interest over recent years.  My idea is to finish this album for the third year project and listen to it in full whilst on my travels, meaning I can experience a very personal journey.  Being more optimistic, I would love for other people to use my album as a backing track to their own journeys once I have released it.  Visually, it is about representing the place I grew up – Cwmbran.  Viewers can get a taste of a small town in Wales through an audio/visual experience that shows them the scenery through the eyes of one resident.

Music Videos

To accompany the original pieces of music I will be making, I will be making some videos.  The overall idea behind the project is to be an ode to Cwmbran – the place I grew up.  So, to do that I felt as though raw video footage of my surroundings would be suitable.  This includes the various places I have been and takes the viewer on a personal trip through Cwmbran – including typical ways I have walked over the years.  This post is to show what videos have influenced me and to give you an idea of the sort of style I am going for.

 

This video not only captures a similar style of music to what I am doing, but it also captures some of the ideas I will be putting into my videos.  It has the journey element to it.  It shows fast moving images of landscape and takes the viewer on a journey themselves.  Mountains, dirt tracks, straight roads, trees and nature – these are the sort of things I will be going for too.  The style of music has a very journey like feeling to it and it is not unusual to see these sort of videos with music of this genre.

 

Not my usual cup of tea, but there has always been something that has interested me about this artist’s videos.  They have a certain old fashioned, elegant feeling to them that is rare to see these days.  The music seems heartfelt and along with the video, it makes for a very interesting listen.  This approach to video making is something I want to try doing myself.

 

 

 

 

Influences

To give you a bit of a clue as to how my solo project will sound, I will share with you a few examples of artists and songs that I believe will be influential on my songs.

  –  this band is a huge influence on my approach to music and this song in particular I believe captures the sort of thing I will be aiming for.  It is instrumental, it has a good use of dynamics and creates an interesting mood.  These are the sort of attributes I want in my music.  To be able to create such a mood without the use of any vocals is a skill that is often overlooked and I hope to be able to do this as well as I can.

–  this is an important reference point for my project as Brant Bjork plays all instruments on his solo music, like I plan to do.  On top of this, his simplistic yet effective approach is something I want to achieve.  I regard him as one of my main influences in song writing and I will continue to listen to and analyse his music as the project develops.

 –  I have chosen this because of the dark, gristly sound it has.  As well as this there is a certain level of emotion that is poured into it which I admire.   Again, it’s a fairly simple piece of music but still ticks all the right boxes.

 –  Riff driven music with a retro, psychedelic sound.  This band takes everything I love about music and puts it together.  I would like to be able to make my music have that retro sound.  This means no overproduction and more focus on the methods of actually recording – something to keep in mind.

Funding

This week, we looked at various different ways to get funding.  After looking over the different organisations again I have selected a few that might be worth looking into more.

http://www.artswales.org.uk/what-we-do/funding/apply/individuals  –  this Welsh organisation is designed to give people living in Wales some support to get their projects up and running.  You can apply for small (up to £5000) or large (over £5000) grants.  Although it is aimed at individuals who already have some sort of local following I think it is worth keeping in mind for the future.

http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/news/arts-council-news/momentum-music-fund-open-for-application/  – based in England, the Arts Council have joined with PRS for Music Foundation to create the Momentum Music Fund.  With £500,000 being invested, grants of up to £15,000 can be applied for by one musician.  It is designed to support artistic development and career growth.

http://www.wai.org.uk/funding  –  this organisation aims to give Welsh artists their first international exposure and the chance to develop their project outside of Wales.  Another possibility to think about.