The aim of my project is to give the reader an insight in to how South Hours works and how we are working towards new single releases, a final show at college and a video release. The concept behind the entire thing is that we want to be a professional band, setting ourselves up for longevity in the industry. Since starting the course, one skill I have learned is using my ear a lot more with regards to song writing. What I mean by this is I now have the ability to judge whether the melody fits and works over the chords, and I also have the ability to fit the correct chords to the provenance of the lyrics. For example, I will use a lot more minor chords and scales in slower, more emotional songs and strum them slower and harder in order to create an atmosphere around certain parts of the melody. Another skill I have acquired is the ability to judge what sounds industry standard and what doesn’t with regards to recordings. By this I mean that I can now detect things like microphone hiss and where the bass drum gets lost in a mix for example. Going forwards, this means I am a lot more aware of the sound I want and how to achieve it through our lectures with Johnny about basic mixing.
The reason I have chosen this aspect of my musical work to go forwards with is because it is what I am passionate about. Being a successful musician, writing songs, recording them, making videos and designing merchandise are my favourite parts of being in a band and what I excel in. My ideal career would be the guitarist of South Hours and this is the perfect way to try and push that one step further and make it become a reality.
From this work on pushing ourselves and being more professional, we are aspiring to have longevity in the industry and focus on having the band as our full time careers. We want to eventually be on the level of our inspirations, such as The 1975 and Pale Waves and the way to achieve this is to work on our professionalism and become more and more mature as musicians.
Research sources that support how we need to be professional and mature in order to achieve a career in the industry:
This article outlines how you should treat your musical work as a business, as a product and emphasises how you need to keep being professional to have a sustainable career.
This article outlines many ways to get started in the industry and stay in it. Every excerpt from the number of professionals quoted involves maturity, confidence and professionalism.
This video demonstrates how Stevie Ray Vaughan remained a professional musician and when a string snapped live on stage, he did an extremely smooth change over and carried on as if nothing had happened. he knew his instrument so well that he stayed in key and finished the solo, despite missing a string.
A problem which we may encounter during our project is attendance from other band members. South Hours has been plagued by poor attendance from our bass player and drummer and this means that song writing becomes a slower process and therefore we cannot progress at the rate that we want to. If we had regular attendance from everybody, then we could have recorded a lot more, taken a lot more photos and written better quality songs. It is more difficult to get the structure and understand the energy a song will have without the drums – this holds us back a lot as it is harder to get inspired when the songs sound so empty without the rhythm elements that the drums and bass add. A way we have resolved this in the past is getting a new bass player. This was a temporary fix for some important gigs when our current bass player was not putting the effort in and we could not rely on them to be ready for certain gigs. This could still be an issue during our project as our drummer does not attend college and it is difficult to get him in to record new music, write new music and ultimately make our sound better. Another way we have gotten around this is by recording the drums externally from college and investing money in the recordings. This added a certain amount of pressure to Sam and this then made sure he was practising the songs and was ready to record them on the day. We used Tom Donovan’s studio as we want the drums to sound as professional as possible and the sound we have achieved is a cut above the rest.
Another problem we are going to encounter is the other bands at the gigs. We are worried that when we arrive at The Bull, every other bands will have brought all of their amps, drum kits, microphones etc and this is not an effective way to gig. From the past 6 months we have had a lot of experience gigging in the real world, performing at Three Wise Monkey’s, Brew House and Coda to name a few. This has allowed us to gain a much better understanding of what works and what doesn’t when we are playing live and setting up our own shows – for example sharing gear, making as much stage space as possible, thinking about things such as whether there is a sound limiter, where the crowd will be dancing and how much space there is. We are worried that because of the lack of real gigging experience the other bands have that they will be incredibly naïve with how the gig will go and will want everything their way when that simple isn’t possible a lot of the time. What I mean by this is that they could expect things like all the XLR leads to work for the microphones on the amps, whereas every member of South Hours always has one on stand by in case we are on stage and a microphone cuts out so that we can quickly replace it with as little delay as possible. Another thing to worry about set times – There are certain bands on the course who will (and have) ignored set times previously because it is more ‘rock and roll’ to do whatever you want when you’re playing live, however we respect that set stage times are made so everyone gets their fair share of time to play and can get their whole set out.
A way we can resolve this issue is by making sure that we communicate clearly with all the acts performing about load in times, stage times and kit share. This will (hopefully) eliminate over crowding the stage and people pushing the night back because they are in McDonalds and think that sound checks and set ups don’t matter. This will make the night run much more smoothly and make for a better experience for performers and the audience.
Below is a plan for the next 8 weeks of work and what I / we will do in order to progress in the way that we want to:
– Write out our next load of gigs up until June
– Sort out times for heavy rehearsals for the days leading up to the shows
We will achieve this by communicating with every band member and finding out when they are available. We will do this via the band group chat and make sure everyone keeps their diaries clear.
– Discuss plans for the Bruise music video
– Discuss with Rhett Moir about when we can record our songs and when he can mix and master them
We will do this phase in person so that we can shoot ideas around a lot faster and get real clarity on how we all want the video to look. We will talk to Rhett in person as we see him around campus and will allow him to ask as many questions as he wants.
– Start recording guitars, vocals and bass with Rhett
We will do this outside of our timetabled hours and when Rhett is available. This gives us no added pressure of time as we have 6 songs to record so for the final project, we will have at least one which will be used for this and also for our own personal progression in the industry.
– Finalise set list for the final performance
– Begin shooting music video
We will finalise our set list at the half way point so that we have plenty of time to make it as tight as possible. We have chosen to shoot the video now as well so that the weather is the best and we can go outside and film which is the plan.
– Mix and master first song with Rhett
– design new merchandise, i.e. hats and bags
We want to have a song finished and ready by this point, preferably Bruise so that we can use it for the video. The merchandise will be designed now so that we can start promoting it and using it as an incentive to come to our shows and ultimately, our final performance at The Bull.
– Start a second song with Rhett
– Start practising our shorter set ready for the final performance
– Edit music video
We are starting a second song straight after the first so that in summer we can put on a. show for a single release. We will have to revise our set for The Bull as we are assuming our set will be shorter due to the fact that everyone in the class will be performing. We will edit the video as soon as we can to have it ready for the final project hand in and also in time for a Spring / Summer video drop for South Hours.
– Mix and master second song with Rhett
– Produce merchandise ready for the upcoming shows
We will get the second song ready as fast as we can so that we can ride the wave of hype that our string of upcoming gigs will have and when the excitement dies down, we can release a single for our fans and keep the momentum high. We will produce the merchandise now as we will have played a few shows outside of college so we will have collected some money to manufacture the shirts, bags and hats.
– Intense practise of final performance set
– Communicate with everyone about gear
– Perform our final show for Colchester Institute
– Release a video.
We will practise intensely as (although it’s not a competition) we want to be the best at The Bull. We will communicate about gear so that the stage isn’t over crowded and we will perform to show the reader of this what South Hours do in a live scenario.
We will use a number of resources including the studios in college, people’s expertise and time while we are recorded and receive feedback from our lecturers on our set list and recordings and also things such as our phones to utilise group conversations with the class about the final show, when the studio is booked and when our photographers and film makers can make it out to film our video.
To succeed in giving the reader a good insight in to the life of South Hours, I will rely on a number of musical skills. I will be demonstrating the use of my ear when it comes to my guitar tone. We are planning to DI the guitars in the studio so this means I have to start from scratch with my tone. I will use my knowledge of guitar pedals to get the sound I want, while also taking in to account the guitar I am using. By this I mean I will be thinking about the pickups – If I use my Strat I need to really boost the bass and drop the mids and treble to get a nice warm tone, whereas with my Jazzmaster I do not need to do this as much. This will help me realise the project as it will make the recordings sound more professional and will give a more mature sound to my music. Another musical technique or skill I will use to achieve my goal is my knowledge of gigging. I am going to be very clear in the fact that we all need to share gear and keep as clear a stage as possible fro the final gig to be a resounding success. This has come from experience in real life gigging and is something I wish to convey in to this final project. This will help the project succeed as it will demonstrate how experienced we are with playing live and will show how far we have come form last year with regards to our look on stage.
A third musical technique I will use is the idea of rehearsing with the band as if it was a live show. I will play my guitar as hard as I would live, I will be as loud as I am live, I will get so used to playing at the high volume and intensity that I am extremely confident in the material and can perform at my absolute best and not be scared when on stage. This will help the project come to life as it will give the reader a genuine insight in to how we play live and attract an audience to come and watch us.
A different skill which we will use a lot is communication. In order to show the crowd at The Bull that we are a professional and proper band, we will need to make sure the stage is perfect for us the we play. This comes from communicating with others and making sure there is storage for guitars, bags etc. This will ensure the stage is kept clear and we can look our best and show everyone we are the best that Colchester has to offer. Another skill we will use is promotion on our social media. We have over one thousand followers on the South Hours instagram, so when the video releases and so do the singles, we can reach a large number of people and we can push the band that bit further, giving our newer audience some new content to listen to which is up to the industry standard.
Being professional and setting ourselves up for a long career in the music industry is paramount to us, and I intend (through this project) to show the reader how we are trying to achieve this.
The way I will evaluate during the project will vary with each section. With regards to being professional, the more followers on our social media that we have and the more emails we receive from promoters and other bands will be a good indicator on how far we are getting. This is because if more industry professionals are contacting us, we must have our feet in the door somehow. The more our social media grows, the more popular we are becoming and the more likely it is that we will attract the right attention. I will document this by providing screenshots and videos from the gigs / outcome of the communications.
I will also do a personal evaluation with my tutors which will involve things like expressing my ideas for the recordings and whether they like them and doing a performance in the Swinburne hall to get feedback on the live show. This will allow me to see if my ideas are up the standard of an industry professional and whether i need to focus on more mature ideas.
The most appropriate way of demonstrating how we are growing to become professionals will be through videos of our practises and gigs we play. This will allow the reader to see first hand how we act live and how we practise. This will be beneficial as it will show what we are doing to make the set tight, make it seem like we have been doing it for years and how we adapt the set to every show we play. I will document the whole thing on my blog with a series of videos, photos and detailed posts.
Another way in which i will demonstrate how we are growing to become professionals is through the quality of each finished product. The recordings will be the main focus of improvement and will demonstrate how far we have come not only in the last 8 weeks, but the last year. Not only will you hear the difference in sound, you will see differences in the aesthetic and the way we will release all of the material.
You will also see a wider range of merchandise which will aid us when it comes looking professional as we have something to cater for everyone and are much more of a brand rather than just a band
My bibliography will follow in Unit 13.