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music

TUTOR SEEKING STUDENTS

Hi again,

It’s been a while (again)  – sorry I haven’t been posting lately – for 3 months. Safe to say, I’ve been a busy bee getting involved with several projects across the stretch of Lincoln. But, now I am back with a bang – looking for students to teach drums to. If so, and you’ve been inspired by the beauty that is drumming – do contact me on my Contacts page, and I would love to get back to you as soon as possible!

 

Right, now that that is out of the way …. I’m going to throw a load of dates at you for important stuff that is coming up for me.

 

ONE MAN TWO GUVNORS @ THE BLUE ROOM – 28TH MARCH – 30TH MARCH (ACTOR/MUSICIAN)

EVOLVE PROJECT @ GRANTHAM GUILDHALL ARTS CENTRE – 2ND APRIL

LEGALLY BLONDE @ LINCOLN PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE – 26TH APRIL – 27TH APRIL (MUSICAL PERCUSSIONIST)

NEBULA MUSIC FESTIVAL @ LINCOLN PERFORMING ARTS CENTRE – 3RD MAY – 4TH MAY (FESTIVAL EVENTS MANAGEMENT & CLIENT CONSULTANT)

 

I really can’t wait for these to officially start! Along with my event A Drummer’s Dilemma and my project based around Melodic Drumming, it’s going to be a PACKED couple of months til May! So, I better stop procrastinating and start doing work, I guess…!

See you on the other side.

 

Alex

 

Categories
music

Well, it’s been a while ….

Well, here we are. It’s been a while, I know.

2018 is almost over. Christmas was certainly something, hope we all had a good one!

This is the resurgence of this blog, I’m afraid. So, if you were sick of me posting nonsense on this page, then I would turn and don’t look back if I were you!

So yes, I’m going to be posting BIGGER, BETTER and more INTRIGUING stuff next year for 2019. Because I’ve decided, I quite like writing stuff that just spurts from my brain noggin.’

So, strap in for a rather exhilarating yet scary year from me. So, follow ya boy and strap in.

See you next year x

 

 

Categories
music

BBC Introducing Live: Unpicking Brixton

Well, hello again. It’s been a while. Probably a month, or summat. So, what better way to break the time away then to tell you all about my trip to London this weekend. Remarkably, I’ve gathered a lot more than what I expected on how to get into the music industry. I’ve also gathered that travelling in London – never mind living in London – is a nightmare. So many people. Angry, fast people.

 

So yes!

Over the weekend, I travelled to South London. More specifically, Brixton. More specifically, the old Tobacco Docks in the East End of London. This was were the first annual BBC Introducing Live Festival was happening. Hundreds of professional industry talks, masterclasses and performances from Thursday to Saturday; and what an insight it was!

The event location itself was such a find – such a quaint iconic venue for events such as this. All transversed on like two floors with additional food and drink stalls. Seminar rooms and performance stages echoed throughout the venue. It was such a cool-looking venue and was the perfect setting for something like this – showing a sign of originality and a depth of creativity.

The talks I went to covered elements of the music industry such as; becoming an influencer in music; getting there as a band: how did The Amazons do it?; Public Relations in Music; Capturing Your Sound in the Studio; A&R Masterclass; Breaking Artists: How Have They Done It? (Tom Grennan, SOAK, Lotto Boys) etc.

A lot of the talks covered very similar points of contact, too. Most of the time, it was you yourself who had to do anything – no-one will do it for you, so do things while you’re developing and building yourself with an asset of skills. Of course, this is something that you learn at such a more tender age when you’re younger so it’s no shock to hear it by the professionals who work deep within the industry. Regardless with the music industry, I think it’s like that with all industries. But more so, with music.

And another buzzword that flew around the venue was building a network. Again, it goes back to the quote of, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know – and that has never rung more true in the case of the music industry. So, placements, volunteering and getting your name out there is what you can do or need to do to start building your way up. But of course, it’s meeting the right people that can prove a bit more difficult in the process.

There was also a lot of gliding over typical questions the ask  a lot of the corporate side – a lot of the time. For instance, a question that was said the most was like, “what do you look for in an artist etc. what makes you choose them etc.” And, their response was a usual go-to/ cop out answer of,  the passion and desire for becoming an artists – of course, it’s also many factors that they cannot discuss – I mean, doesn’t everyone share the same passion? It ultimately comes down if your music is good, and if your ‘desirable’ enough. But of course, with it being run by the BBC, it was extremely corporate and won’t give you the dark secrets of the industry as it will give it a different image. I don’t know what I’m really saying, but I hope you get what I’m saying.

The professionalism shown as well when disgruntled musicians stood up and essentially spouted at how they’ve not really got anywhere, the way they handled such questions and glided over them, was well done. Almost like a cover up was in place. A lot of the time, there was a lot of awkward cover ups, I felt. And a lot of the responses felt familiar, scripted-like, and it was bit disappointing. But, there’s only so much you can tell without going into stuff that shouldn’t be said.

The amount of stuff available at your fingertips was extraordinary however; gaining such strong insights into the music industry. It’s given me some new inspired lease of life as well some valuable quotes from the professionals to use as my own so I seem more like I know what I am talking about …

There was a lot of information surrounding the air to catch and jot down but the main points was to – be inspired in yourself; discover your DNA – what makes you you? – and try to really make your local area your playground, spreading your name out there as much as possible. It was also thrilling to see all those musicians at the same event and that they’re all there for the same purpose, with the same passion and desire to get where those professionals are on the stage.

I also saw a lot of famous faces – clanger warning – Huw Stephens, Tom Grennan and The Amazons to name a few, so that was always fun to see faces that you’ve also seen on a screen; of course, seeing a famous person if front of you, it was surreal.

Overall, it was a magnifying experience into the industry, seeing familiar faces, learning ideas, concepts, tips into certain pathways – of course, it was all covering familiar terrorites that I have recently learned at university. So, it was quite reassuring to see that my course was holding up and teaching me necessary stuff. But, the overall experience was overwhelming; so that is what’s most important, really.

After Saturday, we embarked upon a trip into Brixton on the Sunday. Seeing what Brixton has to offer. And wow, how culturally diverse it was! Of course, I’m sure that’s a testament for the rest of London. But, the roots of Caribbean and reggae are ever-present in Brixton and that’s so great to see. The little villages and food stalls hidden among the streets are a nice little discovery to fall upon. Of course, this is perhaps the same throughout London, but seeing all these independent cafes, bars and stalls was a nice change to see instead of your global monopolies that are seen to be everywhere. Of course, they were there too. So yes, very lovely place to live in, I reckon.

Something not so nice, is how frantic everything is. Of course, this wasn’t my first rodeo to London. But, I am still taken aback at how busy and frantic everything runs – even on a Sunday night – the tubes were packed like it was a Monday morning. The tubes – don’t get me started on the tubes. Nightmarish. People’s stupidity on them never ceases me to make me laugh.

So yes, London. What a beauty to visit. So many little gems to discover. A beauty to visit. Not so much to live in. Too hectic for me, I think. Maybe at a city that doesn’t have so many people in it. Manchester perhaps?

Time will only tell.

That’s all from me.

 

Alex

 

Note: I would like to thank my family on covering my expenditures on this trip – trains costs as well as hotel costs! Cheers x 

 

Categories
music

UK DRUM SHOW 2018: SO MUCH DRUM, SO LITTLE TIME

So.

This weekend has been pretty eventful. Spent the majority of Saturday getting lost and overwhelmed in the great city of Manchester and spent the majority of Sunday recuperating my feet as well as my eardrums. My God, what a show, though.

The Journey

It started off pretty shaky. Panic on the trains – the stations soon started to dissolve all into one; it was a marathon to even get there. Then, me being me, totally underestimated how far the arena actually was from the station. It was quarter past 12, and it would take 25 minutes to walk from the station to the arena –  – – and we had a performance to get to at quarter to 1. So, with an angry girlfriend in tow, we hauled ourselves across the Central Manchester, sweat forming as it grew nearer to the time. After getting extremely confused concerning the Manchester bus service, we cadged a taxi to Manchester Central Arena. Oh yes, I did say the wrong thing. So after making a u-turn from the direction to Manchester Arena, we were on our way to Manchester Central.

And we made it. With minutes to spare; I was well proud of ourselves. Bagged our tickets, took the elevator and joined the queue for Benny Greb’s performance in the main  stage. Good ‘ol Benny. What a performance, playing the faves of ‘Couscous’ and ‘Grebfruit.’ Funny too as well as talented – – – rare combination I find. After, we took our first trip around all booths.

The Booths

A wall of sound hits you right in the face as you enter the main room of the show. But my God, what a sight. As many shiny cymbals, magnificent drums, drumsticks and drummers as you can imagine in all under roof – what a delight. All there sharing the same love for the greatest instrument in the world. It was awesome. Much to my dismay though, I did forget my sticks. Rookie error coming to these shows, as almost every kit, cymbal, pad and stick can be tested on. So, I made my way to Promark (sorry Vic Firth) and bought a pair. So, I could finally fit in and play. There weren’t just booths either. Workshops, “experience rooms” and talks galore. I didn’t even see it all, there was so much.

The Rule

The arena’s response to the amount of drumming in the room and the health and safety to one’s ears, they decided, rather stupidly, to only play on the first quarter of every hour. WhatFor the safety of every one’s ears, let’s get all of the drummers playing all AT ONCE for 15 minutes, instead of splitting up the time playing, like any sane person would come up with. Stoopid. 

A klaxon would go off on the hour, to signal every drummer in there to start whacking anything you see fit. And by the time, you actually get to play a kit, the time has run out, because some bastard has hogged the kit for 15 minutes. Some noisy, annoying bastard who probably has a shaved head. Odd, but there we are. It was momentous when it happened though.

The Price

I wanted to treat myself. After all, I was at a drum show, with all this glitzy and glamorous showcase surrounding me. Why not? So, I decided to buy Benny Greb’s 12″ signature practice pad from Meinl. And damn, was it heavy, Also, a set of drum tuners (which turned out to be an utter cop-out – more on that later)

Turns out, the practice pad was £5 more expensive, than that online. I thought, the purpose of these shows was to get discounted stuff? Bit stupid, but there it is. And these drum tuners were just a fad. Turns out I bought £18 magnets with Meinl stuck on them, and not even strong ones at that. The ‘tuning’ it makes to the cymbals itself, the change was extremely minimal, and nothing too special. I wasn’t overwhelmed, I thought they were cool, but nothing to get gassed over for – unlike the man who was trying to sell them to me.

*side note – love the pad; as well as the Promark sticks; think I may have to covert you know…

The Conclusion

Hey, don’t be misconstrued though, I am totally glad I went. Seeing all those drummers together for the same reason, watching some of the best drummers in the world perform, it was great. Setting sights on some gear that I will never be able to afford in my lifetime, but it was worth it, and simply a nice trip away from the usual of boring Lincoln. Of course, we came all this way to Manchester, so we didn’t want to just stay at the show all day. So, we took a walk around the sights of the city. Stumbling across Chinatown, eating some grub, y’know – the usual stuffs. So, above all, what a trip! Experiencing such a prolific showcase in such a cool venue was monumental, all in the beautiful city of Manchester. We’ll definitely go again and make a full weekend of it. And maybe planned a bit better too … !

Bit gutted I didn’t see more, but I had to please the missus, didn’t I?

 

See you next year, Manchester. 

 

That’s all from me.

 

Alex

Categories
music

what next?

So. Here we are. Third year of University. Real life looms over me like a daunting shadow.

And over the summer, I’ve really tried to kick myself into shape. Developing my social media presence; learning how to set up and plug in drum mics; writing and producing drum tracks; learning and using Logic Pro X; earning enough money over summer to buy a Mac to actually use Logic Pro X; learning how to use design software such as Adobe Priemer Pro and Illustrator; using YouTube and Lynda.com to help me out where possible. [Thanks goes to the people who helped me out with all it too – you know who you are ;)]

All these efforts to maximise my skill set and become a jack of all trades, essentially. Aswell as becoming a more competent musician through my technicality on the drum kit, as well as music history and other typically diverse music genres. Certainly not forgetting where I came from, always wanting to do better. Which is good now, but what’s next? 

It’s taken three years for me at Lincoln to get through a music degree (not done yet), and yet, somehow, I still do not know what I want to do after. It’s somewhat annoying, but in the same breath, it’s quite refreshing because I’m still open to anything that may come my way.

Seriously, what’s next?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I seriously enjoy drumming. Love it with my life. It’s the only thing that I hold on to dearly that I think I’m alright at! But, a session musician? Is there enough money in that? That side of the industry is pretty condensed already. And as always, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. So, I’m certainly having my doubts on that front. And my social media platform isn’t simply big enough (yet), to expose myself on that front.

Another choice for me, is teaching. Previous summer, I explored down this avenue, by joining an independent musical tuition site that is primarily based in a cabin just outside of Lincoln. And that was fun. Despite of the bus journey and lack of money by hand, it was extremely fun. 1 on 1 drum tuition is certainly an exciting prospect for me, soooo further studies in teaching? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Now, this Instagram thing, I’ve done over the summer, was extremely fun too! Developing and designing a portfolio on that scale was exciting in ways – – essentially creating a business around myself, which is always a great way to step back and take a look from afar. And getting a career online through Instagram? It’s certainly not unreachable – there’s a lot of drummers who have done that. Mostly through YouTube though, (WHICH I SERIOUSLY NEED TO GET ON BTW) so there’s potential there. I’ve pushed myself enough to gather close to 300 followers across the span of 2 and a half months which is not too bad, I suppose. But the next step is another outlet for that, so definitely YouTube.

This Instagram thing also brought about an opportunity for me on the producer front – mixing my drum tracks and arranging them in such a way that audio and visual would match, to then upload on Instagram. It was certainly laborious – but exciting to be learning new skills. Could I be a producer? Perhaps. Perhaps not. Especially since I haven’t gone down any avenues concerning music production throughout the three years that I’ve been at university. So maybe that tells me something? Or not. Maybe I will have a definitive answer on this front, when I complete my dissertation.

My Dissertation?

So what am I really doing for my final project at University? Well, I had two definitive ideas to go from. Very broad at this stage. But still.

  1. Essay exploring why particular songs or part of songs get stuck in our heads. THE SCIENCE BEHIND EARWORMS?

Or…

2.  A full EP discography based around my admiration for funk across the three years that I’ve explored it in full with my drum tutor. Based around a band, Funkin’ Skunks, it will feature a full band line-up, but will primarily be focused around drums. Examples such as Larnell Lewis’ debut album and Benny Greb’s album will give it a bit more context.

Just from typing that, I think I have an answer .. !  One I’m clearly up for more, and one that I will definitely get more out of, skill-wise and time-wise. And anyway, who wants to do an essay?

So there ya are, just some of my thoughts over the summer spilled out on here. SUMMARY: I HAVE. NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING AFTER UNI AND I LOVE MYSELF FOR IT.

If you have stuck around this long, I thank you sincerely. And also, leave now, because that’s a bit creepy.

I’ll leave you with some tasty musics and playlist that have considerably inspired me over the past summer. So, take your time out to enjoy them.

larnelllewismusic.com

 

Thank you.

 

That’s all from me for now.

 

Alex x