Tag Archives: Music Business

Story behind the picture #3

“A picture is worth a thousand words”
This quote is so true…but even more so a picture is worth a thousand memories.

Forgotten memories… Pictures help to keep memories alive; they can transport you to a different time and place. Each picture holds a story…a story you may have forgotten about. One look at a picture can bring back those forgotten memories. You remember when the picture was taken, where it was, what happened during that day, who you were with and what the weather was like. It makes you relive that moment.
Thankfully a lot of pictures were taken in the past years. Robb posted the picture below a couple of days ago. And of course there’s a story to tell about this picture!

The photo was taken during a tour of The Netherlands a couple of years ago…very early in the morning… Seeing the picture immediately brings back the memories of that day. We had to get up very early in the morning to visit Ekxpresso, a Saturday morning radio show on KX Radio in Amsterdam at 7 am. With a gig the night before we only had a couple of hours of sleep.
Sleep-deprived we arrived at the radio station and we received a warm welcome from Jeroen van de Beek (presenter) and Walter Bakker (producer) with coffee and breakfast. As I already mentioned in a previous blog, silliness takes over when tiredness kicks in…and that’s exactly what happened during that radio show too.

After the show we went outside to take some pictures…it’s then when the picture above was taken. You may wonder what is happening there…what are they looking at?
Well…nothing really… Until today no one knows what they were looking at 😉
It’s just silliness taking over!

Below a video with footage filmed during this morning.


It definitely was a day to remember!


kx radio

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Lend us your ears!

Music is the most popular art form in the world. It’s present in all cultures and brings people together. Music is everywhere. It’s by far is the most commonly experienced form of art, but it’s also an art form we all take for granted. Society seems to see music as a commodity, rather than a really important or vital aspect of our lives. Most people claim that they love music, music really is for everyone. We all identify with music and our musical tastes make us who we are and how the world sees us. If you ask someone if he/she likes music, you will (almost) always get a positive response, because there aren’t many people who don’t like music. But how many people truly listen to music and appreciate all that it has to offer?

I’ve always been a music lover but I never really thought about the production side of music and I sure wasn’t aware of how much time and work goes into the creation and production of a song. Little did I know when I started working on the music with Robb Murphy five and a half years ago…

That definitely has changed! I feel privileged to have seen and heard the development of many songs over the past years. It has made me appreciate music even more than I already did, because I learned to listen to music in a completely different way. I used to listen to music in a more passive way than I’m doing now. And when I was actively listening to music, I would listen with a focus on lyrics and the overall arrangement. A song would affect me or not.

I still listen to a lot of music and often it’s just passive listening, like we all do. For example listen to music while doing dishes, driving, doing laundry, and cleaning the house. But over the past five years that has changed and I adopted and learned active listening. Now I take much more time to truly listen to music without any distractions and by doing that I take so much more out of a song than I used to do and I appreciate music so much more.

Over to you. How do you listen to music? Do you take time to actively listen to music and how does it affect you? Feel free to leave a comment!

Since we’re on the subject, here’s your chance to actively listen to music! 😉
Robb posted this message on Facebook a couple of days ago and your input would be much appreciated.


Here’s what Robb says himself:
Next Time – A song we have been touring with for a few years and have already various live radio and TV performances recorded. This year a new studio mix will be released, I love the technical side of recording and production and so far I have recored and mixed the majority of our releases. I have recently been working with Lennart Gretenkord, a great guy and producer from Germany who most recently mastered our Christmas single, ‘North Star’. (www.lennartg.com & facebook.com/lennartgaudio). We thought it would be great to have a sort of ‘mix off’ using Next Time. All the instruments were recorded at my studio and then Lennart and I both made our separate mixes.

So now it is over to you ! We would love to hear the feedback on which mix you prefer, of course they are both equally awesome (lol), but we would love some feedback and interaction from you. Have a listen on your phone, laptop, speakers, car and any other source and see which you think you prefer in terms of sound, vibe, energy, warm etc. or just which most you gravitate to, no need to get too technical.

All feedback, comments, are very welcome and please feel free to share to anyone who may be interested !

Thanks, Robb

Listen to the song below and please let us know which mix you prefer! It will only take 6 minutes of your time… We would love to hear your input/feedback!


Schermafdruk 2018-02-18 19.02.48

Story behind the picture #2

What’s going on in this picture? Well…it’s just another day in Mr. Murphy’s life… 😉

There’s more to tell about this picture though.
Two years ago Robb released ‘Headstrong’. For this song a video was created, involving a bunch of animals who escaped from the zoo.
In the run-up to the release we shared photos of the making of the video, created a story around the animals and also shared photos of animals taking over Robb’s house. Next to that a few promotional videos were made. When the picture above was taken, Robb was filming this video…animal on the loose…

…and then his phone rang… 😆
The person Robb was speaking to probably never knew what was happening.

For the next video Robb dressed up as a zookeeper… trying to catch those pesky animals:

Thinking back about the ‘Headstrong’-release makes me giggle. The making of the video and the run-up to the release brought so much fun and laughter!

Here’s a link to the pictures of the video shoot. This will give you an idea of how the making of the video went:

Preparing the release and the making of the video took up a lot of time. Many people were involved with the video, including friends, family, band members and even The Ulster Quartet!
Along the process more ideas came up and there was this last minute idea to make a release video. Band members got involved once more to help with the making of that video. The animals took over Robb’s house…waiting for Mr Postman to deliver a ‘Headstrong’-vinyl.

The release of ‘Headstrong’ was a success; the song received a lot of critical acclaim. ‘Headstrong’ is one of Robb’s most streamed songs on Spotify and yesterday the video passed the 20000 views on YouTube.

Listen on Spotify through the following link. Please give Robb a follow while you’re there, so you’ll stay updated on future releases!

If you’re a vinyl lover…there are still some 7” vinyl singles left! You can get a copy through the following link:






Introducing Rick McKee

After the introduction of band members Kevin Carlisle and David Bennington we know that the drummer is in charge and that it’s all about that bass, but the introduction of the band is not complete yet. Time to introduce Rick McKee a.k.a. Rick Star, guitar and mandolin player.

Of all band members Rick is probably the most quiet one, but (he wouldn’t say this himself!) a greatly talented guitar and mandolin player!
Rick is good company and even though he’s quiet, he’s someone to keep an eye on…never underestimate quiet people. You’re probably wondering why I’m saying this…well…there’s a story behind it.

I don’t know what it is with this band, but there’s always something with sharpies… We use those sharpies a lot…to write/change set lists, sign albums etc. When the band comes over for a tour sharpies are nowhere and everywhere and no one knows how that happens. A 10-day tour also means 10 days of chasing sharpies. Last year the band went home after the tour and later sent me this photo… Just when you think you have made it through the tour without losing sharpies…
I would have expected any band member to fool me, but not Rick! 😉

To get to know Rick a bit better, we also sent him a list with questions. Here’s what he said:

Tell me a little about yourself in one rambling, run-on sentence J
Okay, I’m 36 years old, live in County Down, N Ireland.  I work for the Health Service and as well as being Robb’s guitar and mandolin player and also involved with the music team in a local church.

Coffee or Tea?
Coffee. Definitely coffee!

3 songs on your playlist right now?
Bloodbuzz Ohio by The National
Mary-Jane’s Last Dance by Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Bittersweet Me by R.E.M.

How did you meet Robb and where?
We go way back! We went to school together – which is a frighteningly long time ago now!  But yeah, we grew up in the same town, went to the same school and were in many of the same classes. We soon discovered we had similar tastes in music and the rest is history!

Describe one perfect day…
Not being at work.  Not having to rush or sit in queues of traffic.  Just having a day of being with those I love, drinking fine coffee and listening to great music!  It’s the simple things in life, right?

Cats or Dogs?
Dogs! Definitely dogs and it’s not even close! Really don’t like cats…

Do you dance?
No! And the other guys can vouch for that! (we’ll ask them 😉 )

What song would you choose to play for the Queen and why?
Not sure, I’d probably try to do a contemporary arrangement of some old traditional hymn or something.  Something timeless that wouldn’t cause Her Majesty any offence… I’m not sure – what type of music is the Queen into?

If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
You know what? I’m a real home bird.  Places mean less to me than the people I’m with.  So as long as I’m with the right person or people it doesn’t matter where I am. There’s this old monastic site about 5 or 6 miles from where I grew up though, it’s one of those places that is just always so peaceful – it’s a great little place to escape to every so often.

Favourite place in NI?
Co Down. It’s hard to specify an exact place within my home County, but there’s just so much to see and enjoy – we have countryside and coastlines to escape to as well as a lot of nice little towns with cafes and bistros.

Who would you be nervous to meet?
Bob Dylan. He’s a hero of mine – and a true legend! They say you should never meet your heroes though, right?

True or False… is it really all about the bass?
Ha! Dave would say so! And as a part-time bass player I’d probably have to agree…

Silliest thing you’ve done this past month?
I don’t do silly things – I’m much too boring!

What is your most valued possession?
That would be my (main) acoustic guitar. It’s handcrafted from start to finish by a local luthier and is a work of art!  I love it!

Future plans?
That’s a big question! Who knows?? Haven’t thought that far ahead – I struggle to organise the present from time to time, so allow me to sort that out and then I’ll get back to you about the future!

If a penguin wearing a sombrero walked into your room right now, what would you do and why?
I’d wonder who spiked my coffee with what!

Name one thing about music that drives you crazy?
The industry that surrounds it. It’s a popularity contest – style over substance etc… It actually hinders real, hardworking musicians – and that’s not just me being bitter at the fact that I’m in my mid-thirties and haven’t “made it” – whatever that means!  I think most real musicians would agree with me on that one.

Can you share some of your thoughts on the music scene in NI?
Yeah, that’s a weird one – ’cause despite being involved with it I kind of feel a bit out-of-the-loop too!  There’s a lot of great talent out there, but because NI is quite a small country the local scene has become pretty saturated.  It’d be great to see more local acts break into the main Irish/UK and international music scenes though.

I know you have quite a collection of amazing instruments… is there a favourite?
There are a couple of favourites.  My handcrafted acoustic that I mentioned earlier and my Fender USA ’52 Reissue Telecaster – I’ve had it for years and it has seen a number of tweaks and mods, but for me it just sounds, feels and looks right – I love it!

Batman or Superman?
Batman – better car!

Top 3 places you’d love to play live
Later with Jools Holland, The SSE Arena in Belfast and the O2 in Dublin – all pretty ambitious I guess!

What surprises you the most?
That I keep getting asked to play for people!  I honestly don’t rate myself that highly as a musician but I keep getting opportunities to play with some hugely talented, great musicians – I guess I must be doing something right!  I have a t-shirt that has “World’s Okayest Guitar Player” printed on it – that honestly sums up how I feel about myself as a guitarist – I know I’m not terrible, but I am pretty okay!  I’m so thankful I get the chance to do what I do though!

Thanks very much for this Rick!

You can follow Rick on Twitter. Stop by and say hello!


Where does time go?

It’s Saturday morning…a very lazy Saturday morning. It’s chilly, so I’ve put on the heater and made myself a big mug of tea. I didn’t even bother to get dressed yet… Sitting here with a warm blanket wrapped around me, sipping from my tea I thought that it’s the perfect moment to write a blog again.

Where does time go?? A month and a half ago I wrote my last blog and so much has happened since then! I don’t even know where to start…
When I wrote my last blog we were in the middle of preparing the tour of The Netherlands which took place at the end of October/start of November.
The tour…what a great week that was! Not everything went as planned, but what a great time we had. The gigs, radio and TV shows… There even was a bit of time to do some sightseeing. The pictures below sum up the tour very well.

It was good to see familiar faces again and also very good to meet a lot of new people. The response from the audience was absolutely great. Thank you to everyone who came to the gigs! You’ve been great and your support is much appreciated!
I’ve mentioned it in blogs before, but there are always a lot of people involved with a tour. From venues to people who lend us instruments and gear. From press/radio and TV to support acts… It’s impossible to name everyone, but without them we wouldn’t be able to do this.
So…a big thank you to everyone who helped us making this tour possible!
We all took home such great memories.

Keep an eye out on Social Media because at the moment there’s a lot being shared about the tour!

In the week the band returned from the tour a couple of sessions took place at home. Robb did a solo session for Roadie TV. The three songs Robb performed will be released over the following weeks. The first song was shared yesterday and you can watch it here:

Robb and the band also did a session for Slemish Sessions.
A new song was filmed and recorded. Next to that the band also played a Christmas song.
These videos will be released in December.

Meanwhile we are making plans for 2017.
Keep an eye out on social media to stay updated on everything happening.
And…keep an eye out on this blog as well… I’ve been writing a lot of blogs over the past years but not once I’ve introduced the band… I think it’s about time to do that! So…at the moment all band members are being challenged to answer (somewhat unusual) questions 😉
More about this soon!

A song to end this blog with. A new song, called ‘One More Last High’. This song was recorded during a session for Alternative FM (ZFM Zandvoort) while touring in The Netherlands.
Sometimes everything happens at the right place at the right moment…and we can sure say that about this session. It was a very special session in more than one way. Watch and enjoy!

Thanks for reading, have a great weekend!


Music business??

“…you have the wrong understanding of how the music business works”

Just a quote from an email I received a while ago…
Little did I know when I started helping out and started doing things behind the scenes. Over the years I would be surprised over and over again about the music business. Surprised at the many people we’ve met who have been really supportive and genuinely kind. People who encouraged and inspired us in more than one way. Surprised at the many great opportunities that came by.
But also surprised at how rude, insulting or ignorant people can be.

“…you have the wrong understanding of how the music business works”
The person who sent me that message is right…I didn’t understand how his music business works…
In this case I sent music to a radio station, not being aware that I would be added to a mailing list and would be spammed with promo offers of the owner’s other business…
I received offers to get the music played on (mostly online) radio stations, get music placed on their own blog, get music posted on their facebook groups and and social media network, and an offer for ‘great’ gigs…all for which we would have to pay a lot of money. Maybe this works for some artists, but it’s definitely not something that we prefer to do. I unsubscribed from the newsletter. Robb’s music was removed from the station’s playlist and I received an email from the owner in which he mentioned: “…you have the wrong understanding of how the music business works”

Did that comment bother me? No, not really. It actually made me laugh. The comment did get me thinking though, because who does understand how the music business works nowadays? If one business is confusing and hard to understand it’s the music business. Sometimes I even wonder if the music business understands itself…

The only thing that really matters is to do what you love, do what brings you energy, do what makes you feel good, do what you’re good at and become better. (This counts for anyone, regardless if you’re a musician/artist or not.) Don’t take any of the negative things happening personal. Just move on and surround yourself with people who motivate you, work with like-minded people and stay true to yourself.
Music world has changed so much and today there are so many opportunities and so many ways to get your music heard. There really are so many aspects of the music business. What works for some artists doesn’t mean that it will work for others too. Keep doing your own thing, do what feels right. Try new things and always keep in mind with everything you do that it’s always better to try and fail than a couple of years later thinking ‘What if…’ Believe in yourself, trust your instincts and never give up on what you love doing.

As for Robb’s music, it may seem quiet, but behind the scenes we’re very busy. Robb and the band are working on new songs and we’re planning one last release from the album ‘Sleep Tonight’.
A couple of weeks ago Robb released a single ‘To Be A Fool’. The single got great support and some really nice feedback! Robb made a video for this single filled with silly photos and video snippets from the band and fans from around the world. If you haven’t seen the video yet, have a look:

Thank you to everyone who sent in photos and videos!