“Why do we never get an answer
When we’re knocking at the door?”
And why the question? And why now? You may well ask…
As songwriters and performers we – like many others – face the somewhat difficult task of balancing the writing, learning, performing and recording with the dreaded ‘P’ word… publicity. Even if you’re the best thing since sliced bread the world will not necessarily beat a path to your door. If you have, or are building, a good reputation for your songwriting and performing, it certainly won’t guarantee you fame or fortune or even a gig at at the ‘Slug and Ferret’.
Like many of our contemporaries we’ve been down the track of jumping on board the latest ‘next best thing’ for online networking and promotion. Does it work? Is there a good return on the amount of time and effort put into such activities. Here’s a list of some such sites we’ve looked at – some we’ve tried, some we still actively use, and others… well, let’s just say that they didn’t really do it. To head off any hint of relative importance we’ll make the list alphabetical:
Each of these sites requires setting up a profile, managing music and videos and photos, making ‘friends’, liking things, commenting, adding events, posting status updates, etc, etc, etc, yawn, yawn… and to what end? Another good question – and no, we don’t have the answer. We’ve been burning the midnight oil with many projects of late (Blue Room recordings, DVD project with associated video shoots, audio and video mixing, publicity material design, etc), and have been researching all manner of shiny new tech toys – but we still found time to squeeze in some in-depth examination of the whole online thing.
We decided that sometime soon we ought to screen out the scattergun approach (it’s counter productive and saps too much time and energy), we should focus more and zoom in on what’s important… and that’s what we plan on doing. Watch this space (not MySpace or some-other-next-best-thing space) for developments – hopefully it will pan out well, a lot of what went before will end up on the cutting room floor.
Are we ‘On The The Threshold Of A Dream’ or still ‘In Search Of The Lost Chord’ ???
Jimmy & Val (jiva)
This is becoming a habit – and we must apologise to avid followers whose Sunday would not be complete without the jivacoustic jiva blog… but it’s been another one of those crazy weeks where time has raced by while we furiously try to keep up with what we’re doing, what we’re supposed to be doing, what we’ve been asked to do, and what emergencies people trust to us to fix at a moment’s notice. Not that we’re complaining, far from it.
We’ve been performing in Gateshead, Durham and Hexham. We took a drive up to the Scottish Borders so digital Jimmy could work his magic on a broken PC (yes, it all works fine now), and spent some amazing musical time working on ‘Road Song’ (a song which was written in 2012, but which has sat gathering dust until recently, and is rapidly becoming a favourite song and a definite candidate for performance repertoire and recording). We had a very long day on Saturday, setting off at 2 pm for Upper Poppleton (near York) to see Anthony John Clarke at Poppleton Live – this was our first visit to this venue, run by John Watterson aka Fake Thackray… the place was packed and it was a grand night. We finally arrived home in the early hours and flopped into bed at around 5 am. Sunday morning brought more telephone troubleshooting of PC, two smartphones and two tablets (and yes, that all seems to be sorted now too).
Just when we were about to get to grips with the blog, some good friends arrived for a very welcome visit and we had an exceptionally enjoyable and creative couple of days absolutely brimming over with music… concentrating exclusively on jiva material. It was an incredible way to experience our songs with a different slant and a new way of working for us… totally inspirational and liberating. We’re looking forward to carrying on the good work and making the most of every available opportunity to let the music in and get the ideas flowing.
Now it’s head down again on the projects front with more mixing and mastering in the schedule, video editing is underway for a DVD project (there’s lot’s of stuff to look forward to there), Maurice will be spending time with us finalising the mix for his forthcoming CD we’ve been recording for him – and, of course, there are plenty of jiva gigs scheduled for the very near future (is it possible to have plenty of gigs, or do we all want more?).
So, you see, this is the first opportunity we’ve had to tap-tap (or, in Jimmy’s case, two-fingered crash-bang-wallop) on the keyboard. Tired? More like Exhausted… but, sometimes, you just have to go with the flow – and our experience is that the results are almost guaranteed to be very well worth it.
Tyred & Exhausted
but blissfully happy…
Jimmy & Val (jiva)
Talk about hectic – this is the first opportunity to stop for breath… we’ve played out every day, twice on some days… we’ve done some PC and laptop surgery and virus removal for friends (one by phone and one driving through blinding snow to get there)… we’ve been mixing tracks recorded in our Blue Room by friends… we’ve added a middle 8 and re-recorded and mixed our newest song… we’ve been working on a different approach to our next jiva recording venture – it’s really exciting stuff, but we can’t say too much yet… we’ve been deep in poster and leaflet design… we’re at the planning stage for a video shoot for a DVD project… and we’ve been burning the midnight (and 1 a.m. and sometimes 2 a.m.) oil on reviewing lyrics and recordings from the jiva back catalogue… and extra gig offers have been finding their way to our door (well, to our phone really).
So that’s all we have time for… must get back to burning even more midnight oil. Life is busy – very very busy…
And good? You bet!
Jimmy & Val (jiva)
Zero? You might think so, but you’d be wrong.
Surprisingly, it’s been a quiet week on the performing front – but no time for slacking as we were kept very busy with lots of other things. On Monday we had a ‘final’ recording session with Maurice, Jackie adding violin to the remaining eight tracks – the resultant editing and mixing was completed by Saturday and the latest draft CD will be wending its way to him by Royal Mail. Next stage is for him to immerse himself in the album as a whole and also the individual tracks before we fix a date for making final tweaks.
Another visit for a few days from a good friend involved some more recording – what a joy and an eye opener to boot, we learned more in those sessions about building and layering and how less is more and more is less and piano and guitar techniques too than from any amount of reading!. Now it’s head down to get the mixes done!
So after all that hard work Jimmy deserved a reward, and so we drove off to Cramlington to visit the 3 mobile phone shop and yes… you guessed it… Jimmy is now the proud owner of a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 and it works! And it worked first time! And there were no problems! Hurrah for customer service on that one. Good service, good signal, great phone. 3 from 3 equals success, at last!
And guess what? We got the refund from the car service… personally delivered to our door!
On Thursday night we travelled down to Darlington Folk Club to see Allan Taylor. What a great night, great performance from a true professional and good friend. His encore to finish the evening was ‘Dancing On A Saturday Night’ – the song he wrote as a wedding present for us back in 2009. Absolutely wonderful…
We have a busy time ahead – in addition to editing and mixing, and work on a video/DVD project, we’re also looking forward to many miles to travel and lots of lovely people to play for… 9 performances in a 7 day period. Ooh, err… can’t wait!
Life is good – not just once, not just two times, but three… very, very, very… good.
Jimmy & Val (jiva)