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In the mind of Nate

Saturday, August 31, 2013

There is a Song for any occasion

After my last blog post I started thinking how there is a song that can fit almost any situation. If you read that post you would know that it was no laughing matter. However, another choice song to post may have been: Into the great wide open by Tom Petty. It much like the song from The Byrds:Turn,Turn,Turn, with the words taken from the Bible: to everything turn,turn,turn, there is a season. I know most of you probably know the rest but, it basically states that there is a time for everything. I'm sure we have all been to enough Weddings, Birthdays, and various joyous occasions to have heard Kool & the Gang's Celebration more times than we can count.

I didn’t want to come right out and make it obvious this was a farewell to summer entry. I was even worried that naming this entry "There is a Song for every Season", fearing that I may give it away. I think most of us are in denial about or just sad to see it go. On the other hand, I'm sure many of us are really excited about the Fall season. For me, I was just getting used to the rhythm of the Summer and would have liked to do more activities. It would have also have been great to play some shows, but the bands at Forever Autumn Records have been working hard on our upcoming releases in hopes of debuting them in the Fall, I mean Autumn (hence the label name). I am glad for the few things I did get to do this Summer, I did get to goto the Beach, saw some friends and family, went to a few BBQs, including one the 4th of July and I did get to write some more music and see some shows. Like most people I am not always content or in the exact place I would like to be at this point in my life, but I think my new outlook has helped me continue to keep writing and moving forward with my musical endeavors and my life in general. This last brush of warm weather we have been experiencing here in New York made me realize the meaning behind the title of a demo tape my friend made years ago with his old band Colder Thy Kiss entitled: Summer's Dying Twitch(btw, Joe if you see this or anyone else that has a copy of that does,please get in touch with me,I lost my copy and miss hearing those songs that didn't make the album)

Maybe it is hard for us to see the Summer go, because it makes you feel young. After all they say that anyone under 18 years old is in the Summer of their life. I am sure we all can remember going away during the summer on family vacations or to camp. I recently found out that a camp I attended called Town & Country Day Camp in Old Tappan,NJ is now closed after discovering a facebook group made up of people who attended throughout the years. Just seeing those old pictures of Summers past(even some that are from before I was born) made me comforted. It even brought back the memory of very beautiful girl I had the pleasure of becoming friends with. I still have a very clear mental picture of her coming out the pool and looking at me with a very warm smile. It seems like a summer romance sticks out in our minds more than any other. I guess it's just a magical time to be young. Back then I never thought I would be sitting here on a computer telling the world about this in some grown up Gordy from the Movie Stand by Me fashion. But for those of you that are reading this that are still young I'm sure sure you are either dreading or are exciting to be going back to school. I hope all of you can enjoy your surroundings with your peers while you are full of life. While you are still carefree and not burdened by bills, work , stress and over nonsense we older people have to deal with.

Thanks again for reading everyone, and I hope you all had a very magical summer. Here is a video with the exact message I was trying to putout there (it actually inspired this entire entry) and even has footage that I have never seen, even though this band is one of my main inspirations. And I invite all of you to comment with your favorite Summer memories either past or present. And your favorite songs of the Summer. Enjoy this last breathe of Summer before its gone for good, Nate

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Priorities

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans-John Lennon


I was waiting to get some updated mix downs of some songs today, but it was practically the furthest thing from my mind. In the mists of what was nearly a family tragedy, I found myself using my resources and my knowledge of working along side of the press to search for a missing relative. Fortunately he was found unharmed, however when something of this nature occurs it really shows you how much somethings that we see as important are virtually insignificant in the grand scheme of things. Some artists have an "all or nothing" attitude when it comes be successful. I have even seen some bands putting out an ad looking for a new member saying we dont want anyone that will be looking to take time off for Birthdays, Anniversaries, Holidays. What nerve? This is clearly not the case for all bands. I recall U2 canceling an entire tour due to a family tragedy. And since they probably were playing in arenas, I'm sure tens of thousands of dollars were lost just in deposits alone.

I cannot believe I would end up titling an entry Priorities, since one of my former band mates always used this word to dwarf the importance of the band to basically mask his own laziness and lack of dedication. Just hearing this word after that almost always puts me in a foul mood(not that it actually grinds my gears,but as a wordsmith any misuse of a word can be found as offensive). At one point, I was even accused of being somewhat of a tyrant while trying to coordinate plans to record after simply stating when I want to get together. Next thing I knew it assumed that I wanted the entire band to put this above families. But again, just a passive attempt to assign blame elsewhere to overcompensate for one's laziness. Yes playing music should be fun, but a band is lots of work, that can be very rewarding. Recent dealings with former band mates and others outside of the group made me realize that the music is only a priority if you make it one. I have seen countless people that don't put in the effort it takes to give a band a fighting chance at being successful. The hardest thing is coming to realize that people that have you been playing music don’t have what it takes. Or that their Priorities are not the same as yours and you are left to make a tough decision between your art and doing right by what is most likely not just band mate, but also a friend. It may seem to be a cutthroat thing to do, but if someone is in your band and is also your friend they should know how important it is to you and work just as hard as you to make something work. It maybe an easy decision to make if you picture where you want to be with your band and understand that this person is in your way.

The person who founded the band has a tough roll as a band leader knowing what decisions to make and when to make them. Dealing with promoters and other music industry types is hard enough without the band having internal issues. A constant struggle within a band can lead to a breakdown of the band and make it impossible to get anywhere. For me this almost caused me to breakdown completely, forcing me to learn to be more aware of signs that someone is not a good fit for the band. Ultimately your goals should always be in mind and it is always good to take into account what you have accomplished thus far. I am constantly tested by those "in the seen"(yes another phrase that I find unappealing) because most people that are not musicians don't really see all the work someone puts into a band. Even after putting in over a decade, playing in several states and receiving reviews by notable publications, I am told that I am a "virtual unknown" or a "low tier band". Pay them no mind and keep doing what you love, if you are lucky things will catch on. Again you have to make it a Priority, and anyone who doesn't comply is not a Priority in your career. If you settle for poor treatment, then you get what you deserve. Your desire to achieve your goals should overshadow any adversity that you may have. Look to those you trust for any advice or help you may need. But whether you trust me or not, take my advice and Learn the business side of music. This recent situation showed me how people can rally together if they truly care about someone and that we are not alone.


Thanks again for reading, as most of you know I usually include a video. I thought this would be appropriate due to recent events


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Starting from scratch

    I wanted to copy an old blog I had made years ago on myspace with some tips, reference materials and links to help people learn more about promotions and the music business. However, the new myspace has deleted all the blogs created on their page. Instead of getting mad, sulking and feeling stuck yet again here I am taking a more progmatic approach to this, while knowing it could be worse. I still have most of the books I have read and I remember most of the links. However, many of them probably are outdated. Ironically enough, I thought I had saved this blog years ago but all I saved was a blog with links for pages that Imbolg has profiles on (and lets face it who wants to see that). Lesson learned (yet again) Always have a back up. If did not have most of these books, or a good enough memory to remember most of what I was trying to enter I would have lost most of this information for good. I hate to put this off yet again, but I will have to create another blog on this topic at some point in the future.
    So now im sure you can tell why I called this entry starting from scratch. It doesnt mean that you are down and out, but especially in the entertainment business you have to keep reinventing yourself and starting over. Sometimes a persona you created doesnt work for you(or just at that point in time), Willie Nelson for example had a more Pop,Nashville sound when he started and went onto to be a Country performer. After the Beatles broke up Paul McCartney travelled around the country in a van to college campuses in hopes of booking shows for his new band,Wings. Look at the band Kiss, they started out wearing costumes and make up that enabled them to create a persona that launch them not only into Rock music stardom, but they even made themselves loosely into comic book super heros. However, even Kiss had to change with the times (the 1980s that is) and sported teased hair, ripped jeans,and sometimes spandexs like most groups of the times and these days they are back to their original image with the costumes and make up. Like MySpace nothing is permanent, I'm sure many of you remember when that was "the page" to get the word out about your band (some bands even got signed because of it). I still credit them for linking me up with many interesting people and contacts, some of whom I am still in contact with.
    Of course years ago, I had plans to by now have more albums and tours under my belt. But as I have learned, there are no guarantees. Many bands, venues, and even record labels come and go. The trick is to keep doing what you love and if it is that important to you , make it work. The best way is to learn the business side and keep up with the trends.Im not saying, cut your hair to look like Justin Bieber, but see what people are listening to, where they find new music and most important new ways to earn money. For example, your traditional methods of distributing music have changed so much that many top level firms do not want to deal with your traditional "brick and mortar" distributors. These days, online distribution is much more lucrative and availible. You can even earn money when someone listens to your song while playing games on their Xbox. The internet did change the way the music business operates, but it has not been all bad. Since more information is availible to us.
    So to sum it up, nothing is as bleak as it seems. There are always obstacles to overcome, not just in music but life in general. I didn't even realize it yet til now, but tomorrow marks the 10 year anniversary of my first show with Imbolg. Lots has changed in my life and in the business, and although I'm not where I thought I would be, I am glad we have achieved what we have and been able to survive this long. I will leave you with a picture from that show and the links I spoke about earlier. Until next time, be well all.
    Nate













www.ourstage.com



Sunday, August 4, 2013

Whats next?

Hello all, I should be focusing on the fact that in a few hours I will be seeing one of my biggest musical influences live. I have seen them before, with original drummer Bill Ward. And yes, I am one of these people that get bent out of shape when a reunion is missing one member(maybe its just an OCD tendency,idk). By now you should have guessed that I am going to see Black Sabbath. So here I am putting on a You Tube playlist of songs from Sabbath(yes in hopes that it will help me get through this entry) recalling stories of how they wrote some of their albums in the studio and came up with one of their most popular songs, Paranoid on a whim only because they had an extra three minutes on the tape to record with. Like I may have stated in older entries, I discover Sabbath as a Child when my Uncle had been listening to them(even admitting to truly subconsciously screw me by putting headphones on me in my sleep lol). Nevertheless, they have been engrained in me and keep me writing and inspire as if I am spiritually connected to them some how. Many artists have mentioned that the music of Black Sabbath has gotten them through tough times. Much like Sabbath's music helped them overcome their early life struggles, much like any serious musician they created out of necessity and love of music(not out of ego and lust for power & money like musicians are often accused of).

I bring this up for a a few reasons, one being that I received a good response from my last post and started being consistent with my post that I started getting worried about asking myself, ok What's Next?. I often ask myself this as in part after finalizing a song or an album. The fear of Writer's block is not a good feeling. My advice to anyone that feels this way, just sit down and play and if you don't have the drive than don't force it. Another way to combat this is change up your routine, watch an old movie, take a walk or call an old friend and plan a meet up. There maybe a story in there from the past you forgot. And another of my favorites, go look through your old notes. I found many ideas I forgot about and fused them with new ones. For those of you that know this feeling, its like discovering buried treasure. It is also a good idea to keep a pen handy where ever you go (come guys, you should know this by now)you never know when inspiration will come or from where. I learned that early on as teenager hoping to get girl's phone numbers and the habit stuck lol.

This next bit of advice maybe hard to do for many of us, and yes I am one of these people that it is hard for : Curb your ego and write about whatever is on your mind,any life experience not matter how signifgant or not. I mean good or bad, painful or happy, strange, perverted, cheesy, immature, who cares. It is an expression of how you are feeling and hopefully it will fit into a theme with other songs on an album. If Bret Michaels can do it anyone can, I belive "Every rose has it's thorn" is about a Girlfriend that cheated on him. On a sadder note, Eric Clapton who had just tragically lost his young son was able to write a song about his son in the aftermath of his loss called "Tears in Heaven". There have been many instances in my life when I was "too proud" to write about something, being on the losing end of a romantic situation, getting screwed over by band members, getting jumped, or whatever the case is. Expressing your pain doesn't make you a loser, it shows that you are a real, and strong person that can continue create no matter what. These types of things happen to other people too and that's the magic of music, if some can relate to a song they will love it, listen to it over and over and promote it to others.

When you choose to write music and lyrics, just have set goals in mind and let the songs evolve. Some songs may turn into two, other may not work well now, but over time you can fix them or even bring in a collaborator to co write with. This is lots of fun to do, but I suggest to not rely solely on this because things happen, people change and you should never allow anyone to hold you back(I speak from experience) and NEVER let anyone tell you what to write about. In some genres, a song can be "Remixed" by another engineer or a DJ to bring a new spin on it as well. Don't allow yourself to be overcome by what others are doing, just plot out an idea or a "theme" for an album and work from their. I often look at work of many of my influences and realize that they did much more by this age then I have. I do realize, times were different, and the business and people were different. Bands actually worked together and shared goals, the recent trend has become its me,me,me,me or the accusation of that so much so that even those willing to help others are accused of having ulterior motives. Don't get sucked into people's paranoid mind traps, just keeping playing and do what feels right at the time, if that changes move on. Its your life and career, You steer the ship.


Well, time to get ready for Black Sabbath, here is a bit more on them. Enjoy: