x

You are using an outdated browser. Please upgrade your browser to improve your ReverbNation experience.

Archshark King / Blog

Grass

I wanted some burning hay for a video clip,and collected some near my parents' house. I wedged it between lengths of wood taped together and set up the camera and tripod. It burnt well. Unfortunately, the camera hasn't seen action for a while and recorded nothing! A second raid on a more local field went the opposite way: camera now coaxed back into action, but grass unprepared to burn. Third time lucky?

Social networking

I've been on the internet since dial-up modems at 9,600bpm, and I've had a Facebook account since late 2007. But the idea of trying to promote Archshark King online has led me to all sorts of new places.

I have never been too keen to have Twitter. My personal life is not full of things to tweet about. It doesn't generate a lot to put on YouTube either.

I used to have a website, when it showcased my work as a housing consultant and also gave the world the results of Whisky Madness tasting sessions! But that was when HTML was all you had and it was quite simple.

On the advice of my nephew, James, I have started trying to use Wordpress to start a website. 'It's quite easy so long as you understand something about CSS', he said. Well, I've found I don't, and I am going to have to learn at least how to read it and how to find the bit I need to stop double line spacing everywhere.

I registered Archsharkking.com and found that these days you have to PAY for your home address and telephone not to be displayed to the world!

And I have also become increasingly frustrated by the number of online services that are really not up front, even when they say they are. For example, advertising a seemingly 'free' service and then finding, once you have joined, it is free only for a trial period.

I am expecting spam and cyberspams galore now. I just hope the music gets to more people now I've gone out on web street again.

Protection

The world of licensing seems to only speak in letters. Like PRS, MCPS, PPL, ISRC.

Having been in bands ages ago, I am a member of PRS (Performing Rights Society), but I couldn't access the website as my home address had changed, so had my bank. They were helpful enough on the phone, and I was able to sort it out.

The PRS website is packed with information, but is only really friendly to use if you understand their administration. You can't just type your name in and find out the state of play. I was hoping to find an answer to not ever having seen a penny in royalties from Canada, where I recently found out the Passion Puppets were quite big back in the day. But the website was tight lipped on that sort of question.

The PRS and the MCPS (Mechanical Copyright Protection Society) are basically sister organisations. I thought that PRS deals with writing royalties (what gets paid to music writers from sales and plays of music) and MCPS deals with performers, for example when tracks they have played on sell.

I am getting the impression this is an oversimplified version, especially when I found out that songs need an ISRC (International Standard Recording Code) to identify sales, and this (in the UK) comes from PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited),

This morning I started to register with them, twice, because I am both a writer and a performer. Along the way I was asked whether I would prefer the SCPP or the SPPF to licence my stuff in France, with a helpful note advising me to check their websites for more information. I'm afraid I still don't know the best answer... I chose the SCPP because the English version of its website seemed better to read. I don't really expect strong sales in France, but apparently I can change my mind later, so that's ok.

I can see why people use publishers!

Release

I had never heard of an aggregator before I wrote these songs. They are companies which get your stuff into electronic shops like iTunes and Amazon all across the world with varying other services, such as distributing physical cds, promotion and so on. There are not that many of them, and even fewer that will take artists directly, as opposed to from labels. Labels won't be much interested in you without a track record, live or on the web.

Websites are also confusing about the services offered, the cost and, of course, how much effort they will put in. Also, the quality of the service, including things like getting the mastering right. Although not listed as an aggregator by iTunes, ReverbNation says it will get stuff onto some sites for a fee, but also seems to limit you to two releases a year.

I would prefer to do a series of EPs than chuck everything onto one album. That way I can be writing the next set whilst still having unreleased songs in the pipeline.

I am still looking for the best way through this. If anyone has experiences of this kind, please get in touch.

Live?

Having written and recorded a number of songs, I want to have a live band to play them to coincide with a first EP.

Writing music on a computer makes it very tempting to use instruments as your creative side suggests. Your practical side will regret this when your band becomes an eight-piece, you will still need to sync live with a computer, and the likelihood of getting so many busy people to all rehearsals and gigs dwindles. Not to mention being able to give people some money at the end of the night.

I am wrestling with this issue at the moment. I don't have a treasure chest to front the proper costs of rehearsals, and my preferred musicians are not very young, otherwise unemployed and hungry for fame and fortune. Indeed, I am going to have to get a job in the near future. But I really want to make it happen.

Mastering

A friend recommended Izotope Ozone to master tracks with and it certainly makes a difference. But mastering is a dark art, requiring a different approach for different media (radio, cd, AAC etc). So another learning curve in the road to releasing music, and one I think I will leave to the professionals if I can afford it.

Tom

Tom Greed came to me through a plea to my daughter's flute teacher for a violin player. He is properly trained and sight reads incredibly and with a lovely feel. When I wrote the violin parts on the computer, the sounds have an attack which means I tended to play them a little before the note. Tom managed to get those tiny variations off the score, and I had to say it was supposed to be on the beat and not a fraction early! I wasn't sure how it would be working with someone I had never met, but we got three good tracks down in two hours, and he was a pleasure to work with.

Steve

I met Steve Elliot through playing locally with bluesman, Mick Kemp, and Steve came and did all the sax needed on several tracks. He is great when he blows a solo and gives a variety of approaches to choose from. On the other hand, scoring for sax means transposing the part, which I am not good at, especially not using Logic's incredibly moody scoring system which does what it wants, when it wants. Or so it seems. Perhaps someone will teach me to tame it one day.

Keeling

Keeling Lee has put guitar down on several tracks, and I hope he will do more. I have been a massive fan of his playing since he recorded with me at Synchroma in the 80s after a chance meeting through a friend who worked in the same building as the Synchroma studio. He has since gone on to play with several acts, including Groove Armada. I love the way he can give you various choices of ways to play any chord and then just do it!

Ray

Ray came in and did a couple of sessions, recording Four Seasons on his birthday, which he said was a good way to spend the day. When you get to hear it, I think you will agree. It's great to be collaborating with him again for the first time since the Passion Puppets, and I hope he'll be able to do some live shows when we are ready.

Feedback