Saturday, 4 December 2010

Einstein's Dice

So over summer I was stuck in crappy Kent with not a lot to do other than work and suggested to the lovely Chrissie Caulfield that we get together for a jam sometime.

Having been sitting on the idea for quite sometime Chrissie and myself met up over Skype and decided to jam away and see what we could come up with. It was apparent very early on that we weren't going to be able to accomplish anything rhythmic due to the latency Skype offered but instead of being worried by this we decided to use it to our advantage.

The following songs followed and we thought we'd share them all with you.
We hope you enjoy Einstein's Dice - Jigsaws

Saturday, 27 November 2010

We Have It All

Its here!. The new Sawsound album is here to share and enjoy. It is the product of months of writing, rehearsals, recording, mixing and mastering. All four members of Sawsound have immersed themselves in the project, experimenting and developing ideas, and are proud of the music that has emerged - its energy, originality and fusion of styles.

The album is now yours to grow, develop and mature. We hope it takes you on a personal journey, similar to one we have had in the making of this album. We hope it may inspire you to start one of your own.

Monday, 22 November 2010


Tonight I had a meeting with a promoter who works around the Yorkshire area and beyond regarding self-promotion. This gentleman had some brilliant things to say regarding independent artists and I found myself agreeing with a lot of the things he had to say. Once again this led me to some thinking and in an effort to keep them fresh in my mind I thought I would share them.

This gentleman has been working as a promoter for over twenty years and it was brilliant to see that it was about his love for music, and not money, that has made him good at what he does. The first thing that any musician should realise is that you are not going to just "make it big" at the drop of a hat. It takes time to develop, nourish and mature your sound and years of hard work to let your music reach its potential. Remember, the end goal is about sharing your music that you have shed sweat, blood and tears to create with other people across the world who want to experience that journey with you; it is not about becoming a millionaire on a whim.

One of the most important things with self-promotion is to have a musical product that you can engage with your audience. The internet has opened this potential up to all corners of the globe. There are people out there who want to listen to your music, who want to be inspired by the things you do and the sounds you create. I had an email a while back from someone in South Africa asking me what it was I did as I seem to be constantly on the go . . . Never in a million years did I think someone from South Africa would be contacting me this time last year. However, this proves my point, that something can click and connect with these people; they really are interested in the things that you are doing!

Everyone knows that bands starting out will find it hard to get gigs. With Sawsound I gig on a regular basis yet we struggle to get gigs to anyone other than our friends. We have recently been putting our own nights on in a club in Leeds, inviting bands from towns outside of Leeds that can then return the favour to us. Gig swapping can be a great way to meet new bands that you can play with and learn from, and if you're lucky, will expose you to their audience in return.

However, it is always one of those things trying to get people to come to your gigs. What is it that makes your night so special from someone else’s? Or stopping your mates going down the pub and ignoring that you asked them to come along and support you? When inviting people to gigs it can be very easy to invite your mates via a generic text message or Facebook event asking them to come along so that they will come to your gig because you need people there. How many people send you these kinds of events and you look at them and ignore them?

The beauty of twitter is that if someone contacts you you are able to reply directly to that person; it is all about access and a personal relationship with an individual. Don't promote your gig as an evening where you need support to show a promoter that you're bringing people and making them money. Write a list down of your friends and get you and your band members to ring them or send them a personal twitter message telling them that there is an incredible social night that is happening. Explain there's going to be a really good series of bands that are on and everyone is going and it will be an incredible night . . . This is more likely to get a response than just sending someone something generic that they can ignore. Never underestimate the power of word of mouth. If each of your band members could write a list of the people down who they would invite to a gig they will soon see that their fan base is a couple of hundred people – just a quarter of those people that can turn up means you have a big audience to play too!

Also research different places you want to play. Look and see if there is a particular place that you want to play at, wherever it may be. Get in contact with people who are in that local scene, people who can come along and review you playing. Invite people who can write a press release on you or who maybe interested in having you play at their night. Send your album to people via the internet and ask them to write a review of it. People really do take note of what others think of your work and if it is good they are most likely going to recommend it to someone who has never heard you before.

Be wary of playing for people/promoters who want you to pay to play. This can often lose you out of pocket and doesn’t help your band in anyway (except to line the pockets of the company you are playing for). Many promoters will give you a set number of tickets to sell for their evening; generally this will range between twenty and thirty tickets. However, don’t be in a position where you are struggling to sell these tickets to fans. Instead be in a position to turn down the gig to the promoter (whilst remaining polite about it) because you know that you will have fans missing out on your gig because the promoter hasn’t given you enough tickets to sell. This will hold you in better stead to negotiate with the promoter. If you’re able to bring fifty people instead of twenty you can negotiate a better night to play; or even better you can dictate which signed band you want to support.

This can work very well in your bands favour. Things like this will get you noticed by other people and when you are able to tell them of the different places you have played and the people you can bring you will gain more interest. If a local promoter is bringing a band to their club from out of town they are going to need someone local to bring a substantial part of that evenings crowd in. If you are known to be one of those bands then you are most likely going to be that local band playing the venue on that evening.

If you are looking for a label for whatever reason then research the labels that you think will be interested in your sound. Send them copies, emails and messages and don’t stop pestering them until you receive some kind of response. It is most likely that these people have a pile of CDs that have been sent to them that they haven’t had a chance to get through yet. Keen people want to work with keen people and they are only going to listen to your music if you pester them and ask them and keeping plugging away at them – something will click and they’ll realise that you are serious about your music. How many times have you heard someone say they sent someone something but had no response? That’s because they didn’t pester that person for the response.

Remember that nothing just happens over night and a lot of opportunities will not simply fall into your lap. It is hard work trying to get off the ground and get recognised but hard work ultimately will pay off. You may never get signed or become massive but it shouldn’t be about that – it should be about your passion for music and the love what the art you are creating. This doesn’t mean to say that you cannot be successful.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Louise Wade Open Mic UK

Just a quick blog to say my friend, the lovely Louise Wade, has made the regional finals of the Open Mic UK competition. Louise needs as much support as possible if she is going to be in for a chance of winning and if anyone is able to support her she would really appreciate it!

Here is an article that Leeds Metropolitan University wrote about Louise -
You can also listen to Louise's music here -

Friday, 1 October 2010

Looping and Goings On

Hi guys.

Just wanted to give everyone a quick heads up on things that are happening my end. With university back on the cards I am now a happy but very busy bee and trying to incorporate a variety of things that are going on. In regards to my album release I may again have to change my mind.

I've just got brand new copies of Logic Studio and Ableton and have a university project of writing an album . . . sounds good yes but there's a catch! (as always). Basically I have to challenge myself to approach something new so I've been thinking about combining Ableton, Logic and looping to start performing live and to then take into the studio. However, there are big learning curves ahead for me this year which I'm looking forward to but lots of hard work involved.

Tomorrow I am going to look for a looping pedal and have been recommended the Boss RC-50. I've been playing around with some ideas with regards to looping and really looking forward to getting a pedal. Also been searching for an Audio Interface so I can plug, play and record . . . any recommendations would be brilliant.

Also this Friday at Carpe Diem in Leeds will be the first Sawsound gig since May (officially). It would be really great to see everyone there if they can make it - some brilliant bands supporting us. There's all the information on the website -

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Two Hearts, Sawsound, Ambient League and USTREAM FESTIVAL 18TH/19 SEPT

Hi guys!

First of all I just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone who has downloaded Fear Builds Walls and the brilliant response that I've had from it. I will make sure that it's free to download despite the changes that have been made to Bandcamp but I can't see this being a problem at all. Also wanted to say thank you to all those people who have listened to my demos for my new EP/Album (you know who you are!).

I've been working over the summer on some songs that should be ready to record as soon as I return to university. I was thinking about releasing an EP but now sure that I have enough material to release an album - more details to come! However, I have been playing around with some vocal ideas and have a working title for the release - Two Hearts.

As well as my Coloured Lines release there has been much chatter in the Sawsound camp. We have some dates arranged in and around Leeds and a date organised to play in London. As well as this we're working on an album release that should be ready by the end of November. The album will be available via iTunes, Reverbnation and Bandcamp with a physical release available on Bandcamp and at gigs. You can listen to some songs we've recorded from my Soundcloud page or check out the website

Another project that I've been working on is some collaborations with some lovely people who have become The Ambient League :) We are each composing an ambient song which we'll share with one another so that others can add or changes ideas to each others pieces. We also hope to release this somehow for everyone to download - though at the moment we're not sure when this will be.

Here is my original piece for the Ambient League -

On 18th/19th September Matt Stevens has organised an international ustream festival via Cafe Noodle - There are loads of amazing acts confirmed such as Alun Vaughan, Matt Stevens, Nick Tann, Rainer Straschill, Tracy Shaun, Chrissie Caulfield, Sam Neiland, USit, Steve Moyes and many more . . .

The festival is in aid of Multiple Sclerosis Society and donations can be made on Cafe Noodle website. The festival starts at 3pm BST - hope to see you there! :)

Monday, 12 July 2010

Should musicians play for free?

Today Matt Stevens posted a tweet that simply said "Do you think its bad advice to tell new bands to play for free?" Immediately this sparked a lot of discussions between Matt, Darren Goldsmith and myself (amongst others).

I know when I first started playing in a band at university that we tried our best to create a fanbase so that we would have people to play too. At first this begun to prove difficult - we had a lot of friends who wanted to hear our music which was awesome, but we also wanted to reach wider audiences.

I arranged for us to play at an open mic night in Leeds called Lyrically Justified run by Harry Lotta. It was our first ever performance and, of course, we were playing for free. We only had a few songs but got some friends down to listen so that they could hear how hard we'd been working on those tracks. By the time we had finished our set we had not only our friends dancing and shouting but pretty much everyone else in the pub too. That was a great feeling, to know that people who had never heard us before heard something in the music we were making, turned their heads away from their conversations and drinks and listened for those twenty minutes or so of us playing.

However, this then posed a problem. I remember our guitarist Matt saying one day in rehearsals that we should be getting paid gigs. At this time we had played about five or six free gigs in our local area which had all gone very well. The problem I felt lied in the fact that we had no CD or recordings and no website to launch anything from. After trying to explain this to a guitarist he still thought we should be getting paid and began to argue when I told him that we needed to get in a studio and record something.

When I tried my very best to get one of these "paid gigs" I came across the same problem. No one had heard us and therefore no one was willing to risk us not pulling in enough people for the evening - despite the fact that we perhaps could have brought about thirty or so people to come and watch. After getting no paid gigs (with many arguments about it) and various musical differences we decided to do our own things and shelve that band until we come back to it.

So this proves a problem. Free gigs are great to build a fan base which, if you work hard enough, can be an a rewarding way of bring people together to enjoy your music. This in itself poses a problem. At what point would you then switch from free gigs to paid ones? What if the audience that you have worked so hard to build are not willing to then make a change in supporting you by paying to come and see you live?

Interesting Concepts/Food For Thought

One problem with how other people see independent musicians is that some of them think we should work for free - which I know a lot of us disagree with.

So when Darren, Matt and myself were talking about this this morning Darren posed an interesting question - why should we even charge for people to come and watch us?

This then posed a series of interesting questions and concepts. Within bandcamp an artist can charge their audience a fixed price, pay what you like or free download options. A lot of us use this "pay what you like" option as it attracts new listeners to come and listen without feeling obliged to pay straight away - if they like the music the listener can come back and maybe pay later or decide on a price that they feel reflects the work of the musician.

Personally I think this is one of the most important tools at our disposal. This can bring people back who have heard our music and shows that we don't expect them to pay a fixed amount that we think they should pay - they can decide for themselves.

Darren then also proposed an interesting concept - if people can pay what they like on bandcamp then why can't they do this at a live gig? This would attract people to come and watch as they know they wouldn't necessarily have to pay to get in, the venue would be able to attract income through a bar etc and at the end of the gig if they feel it deserved something the audience could make a "donation". This would make a good experiment with a few local bands who could bring a crowd with them for support and each band could sell merchandise. This would require each band to be on board with the idea and a venue to also allow you to do something like this - but the possibility is there. I know Matt and myself were very keen to try this.

Another interesting concept is that of house gigs. I first heard of house gigs from my university lecturer when he was telling us of the social networkings of Steve Lawson and how Steve goes about his music making. At first I was very sceptical but after hearing Steve's awesome music I was very keen to go along and see what it was all about for myself. Everyone at the gig didn't really know one another but there was a brilliant feeling of everyone coming together and enjoying the intimacy of Steve's music. Just before Steve started playing we all made a donation towards Steve's expenses and then relaxed for the evening watching Steve and Lobelia play. Steve then sold some merchandise too - of which I got an awesome deal on two of his CDs (I'm old fashioned like that).

I know that all of us who were discussing these ideas had a lot of excitement at the different concepts that were floating about. This may have posed more questions than answers but it's always good to keep asking questions and thinking of new ways to promote and engage our music with others.

If anyone has some ideas on this matter it would be good to discuss them further below :)

Monday, 5 July 2010

BP Oil Spill

Everyone is aware of the BP Oil Spill that happened on the American/Mexican Gulf Coast over the past few moths and the impact that it has had across most of the globe.

I couldn't believe what happened and was appalled by the fact BP didn't have a contingency plan for something like this if it went wrong - which clearly, it did. I am always trying my best to make sure I do my bit for the environment as much as possible and was shocked just as much as everyone else.

Although this has been one of the worst environmental disasters that mankind has seen it is also important to remember that 11 people lost their lives on 20th April. This has been on my mind for some time and I am currently writing a song on this matter.


As well as my own music I am in a number of bands around Leeds. I like to play as much as possible and get a different feel for different types of playing so in January I joined Simon and Johnny Whitton and their band Sawsound.

We recently recorded a promotion CD and here are the final mixes :)

Sawsound by ColouredLines

New to Blogging

Well I've been looking at ways to design my own website but frankly I'm awful at that kind of thing so I've decided to get a blog spot instead - well for the meantime until I can get something more permanent.

May take me a while to get the hang of it so bear with me :)