Tag Archives: Musicbusiness

Space cake…episode 2

People who are looking for a space cake recipe…I’m sorry to disappoint you, but you won’t find it in this blog… Space cake…I can almost hear you say “If there’s no space cake recipe, then what’s this blog about??” 😉

Well…I’ve been writing blogs about everything happening behind the scenes with Robb Murphy (singer-songwriter) for two years now and ’Space Cake’ happens to be one of the most viewed blog posts in the past few years. Every time I see that someone viewed that particular blog, it makes me giggle and think that it’s probably someone who was looking for a space cake recipe… Space cake tells the story of customs mistaking the Dutch spice cake (ontbijtkoek) I took with me on a trip to Northern Ireland for drugs… If you’re curious, go and have a read. It’s one of the many funny things that happened in the 4 ½ years I’ve been working with Robb.

Two years and many blog posts written…
Today I was reading some old blogs….there’s so much I wrote about! It’s good to read it all again, because I forgot a lot of the funny things that happened in the past few years. Reading the blogs brought back a lot of great memories!

Over the past few years the amount of people visiting the blogs increased, this year in particular. In the first months of the year I wrote blogs to introduce you to the band members. They were sent a very long list of questions to get to know them a bit better…and they all took time to answer the questions….without complaining…except for Robb, who complained that I sent him 9 million questions to answer 😉 I’m glad that they all took time for this, because these blogs were read a lot! Until the end of last year Space Cake was on top of the stats, but every blog I wrote about the band members were viewed a lot more! Kevin is the man though! Sorry Robb, Al, Rick and Dave…I think that Kevin has some secret admirers 😉 because his blog is the best read blog so far!

If you didn’t read the ‘Introducing’-blogs yet, click on the pictures of the band members below, that will guide you to the blog posts.

Robb Murphy Rick McKee Kevin Carlisle David Bennington Alan Ladd

Two years of blog writing…thank you all who’ve been reading my blogs!
I’m sure that there will be many more blogs to come, keep an eye on here or follow us on Social Media.

Those of you who are reading this blog for the first time…Robb is a singer-songwriter from Belfast and if you’re a music lover and like acoustic music with elements of pop, country, classical and folk, check out his music!

 

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Robb Murphy…Q & A

I’ve been writing blogs about everything happening behind the scenes with Robb Murphy for a couple of years now, but while writing the blogs about the band members and introducing them, it came to mind that I never really wrote a blog like that about Robb. It’s about time!

Those of you who’ve been reading my blogs already know a bit about Robb. Next to being a songwriter, creator of music and producer, he’s an outstanding pizza maker, coffee and tea lover, vegan, vinyl collector and he’s always up for silliness….a lot of silliness… Robb likes to challenge himself but, maybe more so, he likes to challenge others…yes I’ve been there 😉 It’s not easy to fool him…but occasionally I manage to do it… Robb always tends to be late and I remember that during one of the tours we had to be at a radio station very early in the morning. I had reasons to believe that we would be late if I told Robb the exact time we had to leave, so I added 30 minutes spare time to that, without Robb knowing… Due to that we arrived at the radio station earlier than expected… That trick never worked again after that btw! And I have to admit…that trick was never needed again, because  we’ve managed to be on time everywhere we had to go ever since.

And…there’s that thing with reading… Robb doesn’t always read everything…of which he recently posted proof…just a few emails to read…

Sometimes I have to be creative when it comes to making sure that Robb reads what I send him…by adding silly things for example. A while ago I made a to do list and I needed to be sure that Robb would read it. I added ‘practice choreography’ to that list and when he asked me what that was about, I knew that he had read the file 😉
And there’s another example of Robb not always reading everything…it sometimes leads to funny situations like this:

All joking aside…I’ve been working with Robb on the music for 4 ½ years now and it’s been a pleasure. We’ve done so much, had ups and downs, but one thing for sure…things are never boring behind the scenes. There’s always a lot of work to do but we’re always having a lot of fun! Robb, the band and me…we’re all very lucky to have the support from partners, wives, husband and family, because without that we would not be able to do this. We have a lot of plans and are working on some exciting projects, so the work continues….onto the next 4 ½ years!

Time for a Q & A with Robb now…Just like all band members Robb was sent a list of questions too… He complained, saying that I sent him 9 million questions to answer – I think math is a problem here 😉 – but he answered the questions, here’s what he said:

What drives you to write?
Something compels me to write, I do not know what but I need to write music. Things that influence what I write about are just everyday situations, nature, and dreams. I also like trying to put myself in other situations, imagining how it would feel.

Can you remember the first time you wrote a song? Describe it to me.
One of the first songs I wrote was called, “Turtle Dove”. Lyrics were; “I’m a turtle dove, I’m a turtle dove”. Half of this song credit goes to Rick from the band.

What’s your favorite piece of music and why?
So many to choose from but for now I will pick Holocene by Bon Iver. I am usually more about the lyrics of a song but the melody, arrangement and textures created are what never fails to get me. I have been listening to it for years and have not once got bored of it.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened to you while working on a song?
When I was working on Stars from the Sleep Tonight album I heard a few xylophone notes during the instrumental that really worked, but were not recorded in the mix, I thought I was going mad! What actually had happened was we had guests in another room where I had left a small xylophone, one of them by chance played a few notes at that particular time.  So I had to put it in the song !

Have you had any crazy fan encounters?
Not many, but the first time I was asked to sign something I just assumed the person meant one of the other acts that had played so I went to get them. #Awkward

How would you describe your music?
Lyric focused, emotive, my personal therapy! The music is arranged by whatever instruments and gear I have at hand, and whoever of my musical friends want to be involved.

Best advice ever given?
Don’t try to copy current musical genres, trends will change so just be true to the type of music you want to create, and maybe a future trend will sync with one of your songs.

First song ever sung?
The earliest song I have memories of singing is Nelly The Elephant, The Toy Dolls version.  It was a birthday party favourite !

Secret craving?
Sultanas, in anything

Favourite food?
Pizza

What’s the hardest part about producing your own music? And what’s the easiest?
Hardest part is not having other people’s input, meaning I am sometimes unsure if something is working. Easiest part is not having other people’s input so I can do what I want.

Is there someone you’d secretly love to work with?
Not really, I am a loner. I am most comfortable writing among people I know and am close to. Songwriting for me is a very personal thing so it’s hard to switch it on if I am not relaxed. I love bringing songs to the band that are not fully finished, songs I am not even sure I like, hearing their opinions gives them a burst of new energy.

What do you like to do for fun outside of working on music?
I like traveling, going for a drive, gardening.

You’ve toured the Netherlands quite a few times now, what’s your favourite thing about the Netherlands?
I love the feeling of space in the country, the openness and fresh air. Also the people, always very helpful and welcoming.

Favourite Dutch word?
Stroopwafel

Oddest thing that has happened while touring?
It’s all weird, but one that sticks out happened when on tour in The Netherlands.  Returning home late from a gig, my turn to drive, and in front of me was a cyclist riding from side to side on the road. We laughed at this but I just assumed it was someone not realising there was a car behind them. As I slowly approached him he swerved out again to the middle of the road, cycled in a big circle and I will always remember as the car headlights shown on his face his very large grin! He was a happy chappy without a care in the world !

Cats or dogs?
Don’t mind either but cats seem to find me, so I will go with cats

Favourite gig so far?
A gig at Theater ‘t Heerenlogement in Beusichem during last year’s tour. It’s a great old theatre venue, we had a lovely meal with the owners Tineke and Gerard Holst, and a full house! Oh and wine back stage 😉

3 places you’d like to play?
Coachella, Burning Man, Dublin Olympia Theatre

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I would love to have a recording studio and work with other artists to record their music.  Other than that just be alive, healthy and happy!

Best software you’ve used for producing so far?
I use Pro Tools for recording as it’s what I learned in university. But actually before that, though it’s not software, I used a tape dictaphone for recording ideas and I would also record sounds I like when I was out. There will be a lot of weird stuff on there!

Best hardware investment for music production?
When recording Sleep Tonight I got a Focusrite ISA 828 pre amp, a set of 8 preamps that can be used on a bunch of things, I think I will always use it even if I get a larger variety of pre amps!

Favourite instrument?
Acoustic guitar, trumpet & wurlitzer close 2nds

How many instruments do you play?
A few, but variety of skill levels! Main instrument is the guitar and this feels most natural to me which is why I usually write with it. I play a bit of keys, harmonica, trumpet / trombone (badly out of practice) and the belly slaps.

Favourite  place in Northern Ireland?
Anywhere near the sea! North coast is great. The Mourne Mountains too. Not in the north but a recent favourite is Kellybegs, a small fishing town near Donegal in the North West of Ireland.

What trivial knowledge may save your life one day?
I know how to open a bottle of wine with a shoe

If you could live anywhere on this planet and take everything that you love with you, where would you choose to live and why?
I like it here, but it does lack some sunshine. So I would go somewhere in Tuscany, Italy, a farmhouse just outside Florence. I would take my new wife (not that I have an old one, but recently married) and my guitar. I could also take my macbook and phone, but I can live without them really. Tuscany has a lot of things I love, mostly reliable weather, scenery, art and culture all around. Oh plus coffee, wine and pizza are pretty good there too.

Top 3 songs on your playlist?
Currently on my phone they are:
Bon Iver – Holocene
Traveling Wilburys – Tweeter And The Monkey Man
Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros – Man On Fire

Favourite song from high school?
A few that always remind me of high school are:
Crash Test Dummies – MMM MMM MMM MMM
Wet Wet Wet  – Love is all around
The Cranberrys – Linger
The Corrs – Runaway
Enigma – Return To Innocence
The Connells – ’74-’75
REM – Daysleeper

Favourite thing about music?
Writing and recording, the buzz when something works.

Least favourite thing about music?
Promoting it, needs to be done but I feel like a broken record.

If you were a vegetable, which one would you be?
A chilli pepper

One perfect day…  what would it include?
Big sleep in, good food, sunshine, sea, maybe a sneaky wine

Thanks very much for this Robb!

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

If you’ve missed the blogs about band members Kevin, Dave, Rick and Al, click on their names and you can read all about them!

In the spotlight: Standing ‘O’ Project / Art of the Song

It’s Sunday night. After a really beautiful sunny day and a trip to a Christmas market this afternoon it’s time to relax… The perfect time to write a blog.
I’ve been writing a lot of blogs about everything happening behind the scenes and I thought it’s time for something different.

I wrote about the numerous opportunities there are for songwriters/musicians to spread the word about their music and the challenges that come along with that before. Over the years there’s one online community we came across that really stood out to us, The Standing ‘O’ Project. It’s about time that we put them in the spotlight!

What is The Standing ‘O’ Project?
The Standing ‘O’ Project is an online community for both fans and singer-songwriters. We were made aware of The Standing ‘O’ Project a couple of years ago. Back then it was a new community founded by Vivian Nesbitt and John Dillon.
John and Vivian are both singer-songwriters and former touring musicians. They understand like no other how difficult and challenging it is for singer-songwriters to spread the word about their music and to make a living from being a musician. About 12 years ago they started to produce a radio program, called ‘Art of the Song’, showcasing singer-songwriters. ‘Art of the Song’ can be heard online, via podcast, and on over 150 public radio stations across North America.

Both John and Vivian felt that they could do more for singer-songwriters though, which resulted in The Standing ‘O’ Project.
Together with Katie Mitchell (Chief Community Builder), they built The Standing ‘O’ Project-community, bringing fans and musicians closer together. Artists can sign up for free and fans can sign up for $5 a month. Unlike other streaming services who don’t pay artists very well, Artist Members of Standing ‘O’ Project receive a full 50/50 split of subscriptions to help support their music. All of it goes to the artists, not to big record labels or publishing companies.

Fan members get access to a wealth of exclusive music, video and interview content. Fans will get a closer connection through artist’s personal insights and stories. Over 300 artists already joined the Standing ‘O’ Project, so there is an enormous amount of music to find.
Next to that there’s an archive of complete Art of the Song programs with established artists that often include rare musical performances.

There’s not a better place for music lovers to find new music!
The short video below perfectly explains what The Standing ‘O’ Project is about:

Over the past couple of years we have seen The Standing ‘O’ Project grow.
Recently they introduced ‘Fair Trade Coffee House Music’. This a special curated stream of music from Standing ‘O’ artists for independent coffee shops worldwide.
Fair Trade Music, is available to any coffee shop wanting to support independent artists and wanting to show the social responsibility of playing background music that doesn’t exploit singer-songwriters. Shops earn a referral fee when their customers join the Standing ‘O’ community. Again…another initiative of which all Artist Members will benefit. Any coffee shop wanting to know more about this can get in touch through the following email address: support@standingoproject.com

Katie, John and Vivian passionately continue to support independent singer-songwriters. They keep coming up with new ideas and services of which Artist Members will benefit. It’s all for the love of music and singer-songwriters that they are doing this which makes The Standing ‘O’ Project very special. Their support really makes a difference. Without The Standing ‘O’ Project a lot of amazing music would be overlooked.

Over to you!
Please take a moment and check out the following websites to learn more about The Art Of The Song and The Standing ‘O’ Project:
http://artofthesong.org/
https://www.standingoproject.com/

You can sign up as a fan for only $5 a month and there’s also an option for a free trial.
Robb Murphy also has an artist page on there where you can find his music and back ground information. You can also listen to an exclusive, very interesting interview John Dillon and Vivian Nesbitt had with Robb a while ago for their radio program The Art of the Song, by far the most in-depth interview Robb ever had.

https://www.standingoproject.com/artist/robbmurphy/

Time to end this long blog…with a song…as always…
It’s the start of December, not long now before it’s Christmas, so here’s a song to get you in the mood! ‘When Love Is Tangled Between Friends’, Robb released this song last year along with a Christmas themed video. Watch & enjoy!

Summer

Summer… I always enjoy summer more than any other time of the year.
The long days, sunshine, warmth, hearing the birds, seeing the butterflies, beautiful flowers, blooming bushes and trees… Windows and doors open, fresh air coming into the house… I love to just sit outside and look up to the constantly changing sky, watch the sunset or the stars…

We just returned from a holiday in Tuscany, Italy. Visiting Italy has been on our bucket list for ages, but we never had a chance to see the country until now. It’s the best holiday we’ve ever had. Thinking back of it all makes me aware of how fortunate we are that we’ve been able to do this.
We’ve experienced and seen so much. Tuscany really is one big open-air museum with a beautiful variety of landscapes, from mountains, to hills, sandy beaches, sunflower fields, olive groves, vineyards, cypresses and ancient medieval towns. A place where it’s warm and where you will see the sun every day… Italy brings a certain feeling, it’s a beautiful country which (like any other country) you will just have to visit and experience yourself. We enjoyed our stay there a lot and we will definitely go back there again. There was just too much to see and to do, we couldn’t see it all in 3 weeks!

Italy, it’s also where Robb found the inspiration to write the album Sleep Tonight. We saw many of the places that have been an inspiration to Robb, which was good. Every song on the album brings a certain feeling. A feeling that is even more intense now I’ve seen and experienced Tuscany myself. Sunny Mountain is probably the best example…”I’ve got a feeling that I’ll long for this place badly when I want to be free”…

We’re just back and I’m already longing for this place… We took home so many great memories. The house we rented was just perfect. It had a large porch where we would sit every morning when waking up with coffee, having a view on the mountains…we could see the sun go down from the porch as well and were treated on beautiful sunsets every day. I’ll not forget the moment when I went for a swim in the pool for the first time and looked around, being overwhelmed by the view…the mountains, the vineyard and around the pool the olive trees, peach trees, pear trees, fig trees and lemon trees. The owner of the house kept providing us with fresh fruit from the garden and homemade wine. Not to forget the great Italian food and ice creams! I just so loved the place, it was close enough to the beach and cities/places we wanted to visit and far away enough from the very busy touristic places to get our much needed rest.
And then there are the great (and often awkward) experiences of being in a different country…the language issues, learning new words (mostly in the supermarket), the traffic…Italian people drive slightly different than they do in The Netherlands… It’s a totally different culture where people are busy in the mornings, shops are closing in the afternoon and where you will see local people gathering on the piazzas until the most warm part of the day is over. After that the shops open again and cities and towns come back to life. Below some of the pictures we took during our time in Italy.

Right…back to reality 😉
It’s time to start working on the music again. There’s a lot to do in the following months. Robb and the band will start rehearsing again in September, followed by a tour of The Netherlands in October.
(dates can be found here: https://www.reverbnation.com/artist/artist_shows/1492877 )

Meanwhile we’re working on the last release from the album Sleep Tonight, which will be the title track. Teaming up with The Samaritans, this release aims to help raise awareness for mental health. Currently an animation is being created by very talented artist Maria Becvar using the full album version of the song, 6’30”, featuring The Ulster String Quartet.
Next to that Robb is also writing and working on songs for a new album.
Busy times ahead of us, but with our batteries charged again, we’re looking forward to what is to come!

Time to end this long blog….with a song…as always.
A new song, ‘Knock Me Down’. Robb recorded an acoustic live version of this song in Italy.
Watch, enjoy and feel free to share!

Today

Where does time go? Something I asked myself a lot in the past few weeks. It was a busy time and it often felt like there weren’t enough hours in the week to get everything done…
What is it about time? Time fascinates me. A while ago I wrote a blog about time:
Next Time

Sometimes time really is my worst enemy and sometimes it is my best friend… Time is precious…like I mentioned in a previous blog time brings countless options, possibilities, chances and decisions.
Time can bring stress, but it’s all about how we look at it, how we take time…enemy or friend?
Last week I ran into this video:

Scott Thrift, filmmaker and designer, designed a 24 hour clock, called today. A clock that shows dawn, noon, dusk and midnight, with only one hand representing the day. It moves twice as slow as the clocks we’re used to. With this clock Scott Thrift wants to change the way we look at time and  when I first saw this video I really wondered why no one else thought of this before? Only looking at ‘Today’ makes me feel a lot more relaxed.

timeclocks.gif

That video let my imagination run wild… How good would it be if we didn’t let time dictate our lives… What if we could just make an appointment ‘today’ instead of ‘2.15 pm’… How relaxed would things get… Working ‘today’…instead of working from 8 – 5… Getting up in the morning when we had enough sleep, instead of getting up after an alarm clock brutally woke you up… It would mean less stress, that’s for sure! Guess I’ll have to dream on for now, but this clock fascinates me. It fascinated me enough to write a blog about it 😉

Time…it’s almost time for a summer break! In a couple of weeks we’ll be enjoying some time off.
The past few months have been busy. Robb and the band have been working on new songs and there will be one more release from the album ‘Sleep Tonight’, which will be the title track.
At the moment a video is being made for it. More information about this release will follow after summer!

A song to end this blog with. ‘A Good Place For Us’ from the album ‘Sleep Tonight’.
It’s a song about all the distractions we’re living with nowadays…the internet, social media, constantly checking phones, how stressed life can be and how things were before we even had internet…different time…different world…

If you want to know more about Scott Thrift and the ‘Today’-clock, have a look at this website:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/scottthrift/today

Thank you for reading this blog! Wishing you a great summer!

 

 

Nincompoop

The title of this blog might make you wonder if I’m alright…
Yes I am, it’s just that I learned a new English word yesterday, nincompoop…
Robb said it yesterday. During a conversation online he mentioned being a nincompoop. Nincompoop?? What’s a nincompoop?? A very strange and very wrong sounding word it is to me! As you’ve probably read in my previous blogs, I’m from The Netherlands, English isn’t my native language. We always understand each other, but every now and then a word is being mentioned that I never heard of before…which happened yesterday. I even had to check if it was appropriate to use that word as a blog title!
I really didn’t have a clue what nincompoop means. Explanation was needed for me to understand that nincompoop means, ‘silly or foolish person’.
The word made me curious though. Where does it come from? I just spent half an hour reading about it and the origin of nincompoop is a matter of speculation. There are numerous theories to find about that word. Some say it’s coming from the Latin phrase ‘non compos mentis’, meaning “not of sound mind”, others suggest that it is coming from the French phrase ‘ne comprend pas’, meaning ‘he does not understand’. It can also come from the Dutch word ‘poep’, meaning  ‘poop’.
Anyway, I will probably never forget this word. It’s the most silly English word I ever heard.

Onto the next ‘foolish’ subject.
‘To Be A Fool’ single release! Robb will release ‘To Be A Fool’ on April Fools Day along with a video filled with silly photos and video snippets from the band and fans from around the world.
The single is a remix of the original track taken from the album ‘Sleep Tonight’, featuring the Ulster String Quartet. Together with Alan Ladd, Robb also recorded an acoustic version of ‘To Be A Fool’.
This acoustic version came about accidentally. Alan was working on a dance remix of ‘To Be A Fool’. He was trying out some chords on the piano and it sounded nice on just the piano. They decided to record it and the result is an amazing acoustic version of ‘To Be A Fool’.
You can listen to both songs now!

‘To Be A Fool’ will be available on Bandcamp, iTunes, iTunes Music Player, Google Play Music, Amazon and other online music stores from the 1st of April.

Time to end this blog and why not do that with more silliness?
Robb was bored last week, so he took a lovely picture of himself…

Robb

A day later it was St. Patrick’s Day and I think Robb was still bored or simply had too much time on his hands…

 

Have a great week! And…remember to smile and do something silly…be a nincompoop!

Where’s Wally?

The ducks are back! After not having seen them in months they’re back again since early this Sunday morning. It’s 1.30 pm and they’re still here, swimming, sun bathing and napping in our pond. It’s nice to see them again. A couple of days ago  I was looking at pictures from last year…I actually forgot about the ducks, but seeing the pictures made me wonder if they would come back again. Last year they suddenly were there in April/May. They didn’t stay for long. After a week or 4 they didn’t come back anymore and we haven’t seen them since. Looks like Spring is coming now! The weather is great out here in The Netherlands. It’s a bit chilly but the sun is shining and I’m sitting outside in the sun for the first time this year. It feels so good to be outside. Nothing is better than sunshine and fresh air!

We’ve been busy behind the scenes. A new single will be released in 3 weeks from now, on the first of April. The single will feature a new music video with silly pictures and clips from the band, fans, friends and family. Big thanks to everyone who has sent us their silly pictures and footage!

There’s also a gig coming up on Saturday the 26th of March, 12 pm.
Love Coffee NI (http://www.lovecoffeeni.com/) will be organising a marquee tent at the Good Life Festival full of great coffee, wonderful treats and 10 of their favourite artists from their Thursday Night music nights!
http://goodlifeoxfordisland.com/

Meanwhile it’s Monday morning…I’m waking up with coffee and I’m finishing this blog. The sun is coming up…another beautiful day out here!
The weather was so good yesterday, so I spent most of the afternoon outside. I started writing the blog and I meant to finish it yesterday, but the ducks distracted me and kept me entertained all afternoon.
They seemed to have had a good time in our pond, there’s plenty of food for them to find in there. We just let them be and enjoy it that they’re here. We want to remove the pond, so next year they might be disappointed when there’s no water in our garden anymore…

Time to end this blog…with a song…as always…Where's Wally?
“What Do I Say?” from Robb’s debut album “Take A Stand”.
Robb teamed up with Patrick Maxwell (http://www.headlinefilms.com/) to film this time lapse video over a six month period at various locations in and around Belfast.
This makes me remember something I forgot… Did you know that you can find Wally in this video?
Robb once did a Where’s Wally?-competition. It’s not so easy to find him, so it kept people busy for a while…;)
Have a look and see if you can find him!