Busking Tour 2018-Chapter One- Oxford, A Home on the Road

The start of the adventure began in Oxford, and oh man oh man – I loved it so much! Stepping out into Oxford and seeing the architecture and beauty of the city felt welcoming, I knew I’d made the right decision on taking the leap now. Arriving at the hostel (20.03.18), (although staying in hostels wasn’t my original intent it was the budget option for this first step), I was greeted by a very friendly staff member – Ruby, although she first said “I’m sorry you can’t stay here if you’ve got all that stuff”-pointing at my two guitars and busking trolley-“ya what?!”-“yeah that’s too much, nowhere to store it all”-“but…?”-this was her sense of humour, very dry aha, luckily there was place to store it! We then had many nice conversations about music, instagram, art and travelling! The team at ‘Oxford Backpackers’ were like a family, only a few of them worked there but they were all friendly and conversational, so they informed me of all the best places to visit in Oxford! So I dumped my clothes bag and headed towards the city centre, which was a 5 minute walk from the hostel – winner! The first busk was awesome, I had an incredible response from the public, as there were many school classes taking trips there from all over Europe the city was constantly busy, so I had crowds of foreign students stand around me quite a lot. Asking for group photos and following me on Instagram, taking selfies and giving me both £1 coins and euros aha (since I plan to visit Europe this year, that helps, a lot), someone also gave me a dollar (I don’t plan on visiting America anytime soon- I don’t need a dollar, dollars not what I need, if I share with you my music, can you you not share a dollar with me, cause a dollars not what I needwhat? I don’t know? Stop? Okay…).Oxford is filled with some amazing street artists and I met two of the regulars on the first day! Above-Is by Merlin Porter. This was while I was Busking with a big crowd of French and Italian students around me, he came over and asked “can I quickly paint you”, sure….this took him just over 5 minutes to do! It’s crazy good and he did it so fast! He then went and did more for the students around, so we were almost working as a busking duo aha, I drew people in with the music, he made them stay with the art – that could be a pretty cool street art combination to take on the road! Merlin has his work known all over Oxford and a few cafes have galleries for him, go check out his work now – Merlin Porter. Facebook Page.

This was the class that surrounded me and Merlin when he painted the above picture! Their teacher insisted on getting a picture! I find it weird enough people take pictures of me Busking, then having pictures like this taken felt alien, then someone asked for a selfie and posted it up on Instagram; Aha! So strange, this kid from German really enjoyed my music and bought a few CDs for his family! He’s also sent me some really nice messages on Instagram too! This photo was taken at my favourite spot, just outside of WestGate (which is a huge shopping centre, I believe its actually bigger that what Oxfords castle was! Crazy!).

Since taking this route to travel and busk solo around the UK. I looked into ways to meet people and find friends along the way, as it has and will be a lonesome journey, something I prepared for as I’m quite introverted and like having the space to be on my own. But I also wanted to jump into the uncomfortable and make the effort to socialise with strangers, make friends and build confidence in talking. So I got this app called – MeetUp, with it I attended a talk ‘Engineering Happiness into your Life’ (self-development/motivational talks are something I’m hugely interested in). It was nice to attend something like this as I read and listen to a lot of public speakers like Anthony Robbins and Les Brown. The talk was a very simplified approach to some goal setting and life questions that you’d find in – Awaken The Giant Within – Anthony Robbins

But I discovered some very helpful exercises and life tips in this talk. One of the main activities was to talk to someone who you didn’t know and tell them ‘your story’, we also had to describe ourselves in 3 words – my first thought was, Free, Creative, Loner. That obviously led to many questions and thoughts that floated around to ages afterwards, so I took some time and just sat writing out the question – who am I? Until I found an answer which I felt true to myself, it took a while and it was hard! But it really helped me. I think the way you perceive who you are massively affects the way you think and act. So me having this original thought of being a ‘loner’ only creates the lonesomeness that I feel, a self created feeling and way of looking at my life and probably created situations where I’d ostracise myself. And now I feel I can change those three words that describe me as – A Creative, Nomad, Connector. Since changing this view of who I am, simply with a few subtle word changes, it’s made me change my way on looking at life. This all happened during my first day of Oxford, so from then onwards I felt connecting easier and realise that I’m here travelling to give music to the world and connect with people and connect people together creatively by busking. I never really thought I’d open up like this on a blog, but I want to give you any bit of advice I can give. Please try this now, a pen and paper (much better than phone or laptop), write in 3 words the answer to ‘Who am I?’, the first three words that come to mind. Now think about your answer and how it affects your view of your life and the world around you….if you feel it’s not truly what you believe, then spend some time to write out ‘who you are’ in more detail (more than three words). Dig deep and ask yourself as many times as it takes for you to find an answer you feel speaks the truth. Think about where you want to be in life, your goals, your dreams and who you need to be to get there.

There is greatness within you Les Brown

Another lesson I learnt from this came from an exercise to draw a pie chart like this-

A way to rate each section of your life from 0-10: Physical Environment(places you spend your time, I.e work place, home, social spaces etc), Work, Health, Personal Growth, Love, Money and Friendship. Then with the areas rated low, build goals to boost the ratings. My lowest areas are – Friendship, Money and Love. I know how to boost the money – be better and busk more (which is what I’m working on with this tour). But with Friendship and Love, I need to put in some effort and plan goals. I’m not entirely sure how to set these goals but I have some ideas, I definitely need to make a more consciously effort to connect with my friends and family, even though I’m travelling and away from them- that’s no excuse not to call or message them! I do prefer ‘real-life’ interactions but I that’s impractical currently being away, so I have to use what I have! Try this out too! Use it to plan some goals and figure out where your balances are, and make sure to congratulate yourself on the victories you already have! Always acknowledge every victory, no matter how small!

I’m probably going off on a tangent about this talk I attended! But I feel these are learning steps and an essential part of this journey, and hopefully it adds some value to your life! I definitely think travelling alone is something everyone should venture into, to learn about the world around you and discover more of yourself.

The man who goes alone can start today, but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready – Henry David Thoreau

Here’s one of the other great artists of Oxford – Joshua Squashua! I love this so much! I feel it shows how I sometimes feel like a complete crazy man who’s lost the plot when I go out and busk with my guitar and bass. We actually met on Instagram, through following the hashtag #busking I discovered his work and we got chatting, so to meet him and hang out was awesome! We shared many views on life and he threw some crazy Philosophical questions at me which have racked my mind for ages, amazing stuff but these kind of questions make you think! Go check his work too!!! – Joshua Squashua. Facebook Page. He’s currently embarking on some busking travelling adventures too, so if you see him in the streets, be sure to get your face squashed and caricatured by him!

I had a lot of pictures and videos taken of me while out Busking, a lot were sent to me! So thank you for all the love and appreciation of my music! Here’s a few;

Here’s the cutest little girl! Her Dance is so adorable! She was dancing for ages with this song and her mum gave her a coin to give, she was confused on where to put it so she stood there waiting for me to take it. It was adorable and from the crowd reaction you could see how happy it made people feel! This has to be one of my favourite busking moments! I didn’t expect any of this, but looking up from my guitar to see a crowd surrounding me all smiling and watching intently, taking videos and pictures, this moment, this atmosphere and connecting people together is the reason I’m in love with busking!

I feel I’ve found a meaningful purpose for performing music, I feel like I’ve added some happiness and value to the lives of those who saw and interacted with me. These gestures of smiles and connection makes it all worth it. I hope to continue to brighten peoples days and I hope to connect with more beautiful souls!

Not only did Oxford give me so much love while busking, it was a welcoming and warming place, I felt at home there and I felt connected with the people! I’m not there now, I’m in Newport, but I’ll write more about this trip on the next post!

I do miss Oxford and would like to return soon, I’ve made some great friends there and made some beautiful memories. Living on the road and travelling makes me feel as though I’ve found a home, I feel this journey is the beginning for some great things, I feel I’m heading in the right direction to achieve my dreams and goals, I’m ready for the challenges to come and I’m feeling very optimistic about life! Right now I feel wonderful!

I hope you to feel wonderful!

Thank you for reading and following my journey!

If I’ve helped in anyway or you feel I can help in anyway, please contact me in someway!

Lots of love,

Have a great day,

Follow your heart,

Keep being you and keep being awesome!

Thank you,

James x

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Planning out a Busking Tour

Hello!
Gonna be a short little blog post about my current planning and mind thinkingness….? words – can’t do em.

Anyway.

I’ve recently been out visiting new places to busk and gig, these trips have only been short little bursts. They’ve been really great and eye-opening to a nomad lifestyle, and when I come back to my Mum’s in Kidderminster, I quickly lose this creative drive and it gets me down, unsure why that is, multiple things I guess, but, seeing family and friends is great! I just really really enjoy being on the road and visiting and busking in new places, seeing new things and meeting new people. So I’m itching to just get up and go.

This is where the idea of a busking tour comes into play, which is a tour without an end-date. I guess it’s the lifestyle I want, to travel freely visiting new towns, cities and countries, busking and exploring as much as I can. So it’s not an indefinite amount of time I’ll be away from ‘home’, but I know that it’ll take me far away for a long time. I realise this need to ‘break free’ is whats making me feel down right now, as I feel trapped, hmmm, not necessary trapped, I don’t know, because I’ve realised that I can just leave whenever I want. Which is what I will be doing very shortly – leaving. Which then also gets me down because I know I may not see certain people for a while, but it’s something I know I need and have to do. I realise the dreams and goals I currently have could be very lonely journeys, in certain ways – but this is definitely going to progress me as a person, traveller and musician, and give me more knowledge on the world. I feel this step is crucial to my existence and my ‘legend’ – I want to leave my children & grandchildren (If i’m to have them), as many stories, music and advice for them as I possibly can, which is a major reason I love the idea of documenting everything and releasing every piece of music I make, I want to inspire them to take these leaps of faith and follow the dreams in their heads.

So this tour! I’ve been pin pointing places in the UK I really want to visit, and mapping out a route from that. But with this kind of ‘music nomad’ lifestyle, I realise you can’t plan too much because there are too many factors that can change it all within a few days. So it takes me south from my current location (Kidderminster – close to Birmingham UK), starting with Oxford – then towards Brighton stopping off at different towns along the way, then follow the coast around going East for a while and head up towards Canterbury and go north from there – that’s all I have set in mind so far. I’d like to go back to Cornwall and through Wales, or maybe head straight to Europe and go around the Netherlands – too many places I want to visit – but I’m young so there is so much time, which really excites me!

For travelling I will be mostly using trains, as it’s the most direct, comfortable rides (buses gives me travel sickness) and there’s normally a good place to store my gear – I’ll be travelling with my bass (bass case stuffed with clothes, Jaco style), guitar, bigger bag for clothes/towels/chargers/essentials and my amp with the trolley and small backpack for busking gear. I don’t fully know what I need to take on this trip, but I’m sure I’ll learn on the way and I can always get things along the way – travelling with minimal stuff is preferred.
I later plan to get a van, hopefully a VW T-25, travelling with this would be so sweet! I’d be able to find home in the van and sleep amongst mountains and deep in forests – the life!

For accommodation I’ll use AirBnb as my first choice, but then use websites like – booking.com to find the cheapest and most comfortable hotels/Bnb’s I can find. I’m not the keenest on Hostels, as with my music stuff I’d like to 1. have a safe place to keep it 2. have the space to practice in my own room, also I’ve stayed in a few in London recently and it was very tightly packed and quite uncomfortable for myself.

I want to document this adventure with Vlogging and more Blogs! Vlogging will be very new to me, but I think I could edit some cool little videos with the whole journey.

But yes! This is whats currently on my mind and from the looks of things I’ll be setting off next week, as we’re expecting more frost and snow this weekend – boooo!

I’ll keep you all posted on here with my journeys! Thank you for reading!
If you have any ideas or tips for this busking tour, please give me a message or leave a comment!

Here’s my face, containing excitement for this trip..?

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I hope you’re well!

Lots of love!

Don’t stop being you! You’re awesome! Follow your heart and don’t give up! Keep moving forwards!

Seriously – lots of love!

xxx

One Man Band, Progression, 2 Months In

One thing I feel I’ve been doing recently is overthinking things, in a negative and nonconstructive way. I feel I haven’t given myself time to look at the progression I’ve made and congratulate myself for it. This feeling has definitely been a reoccurring theme that has propped up in conversations and, a tarot reading. And from this I’ve been taking more time out for myself, to meditate, journal and reflect on the progression and journey I’ve recently made – this new project with multiple instruments.
Just looking back at the first blog post I wrote about this made me smile a lot. My first step into this was on the 18th December 2017, so it’s been just over 2 months, I feel like I’m at 5% of where this can go. What I envision for this is way beyond what I feel capable of, but I know I’ll reach it with persistence and a strong vision. It’s a vision that changes day by day as I discover new music and draft new ideas. But I do need to start giving myself credit for the small victories and, relax dude, chill the fudge out! So, well done James, you’re doing alright, don’t stop you’ll get there!

Below – a recording of night busking with the guitar and bass, it’s a 20 minute jam improvising around the ideas I had at the time. I’ve been uploading more audio sessions to YouTube, as a way to track my progression and to give my audience wider content adding more depth to my journey. I love recordings like this because the street ambience is out of my control, so there are these interesting little sounds that crop up.
January 11th 2018

A month into this, I picked up my first gig in Worcester, Cap n Gown. This gig came from a Facebook friend messaging me after watching my progression through regular videos, giving me the gig opportunity (Which is why I encourage you to document your progression with online content, every day, if not as often as you can. It brings so many opportunities and people love watching you progress). It was a 30 minute slot, so I got writing more and started attending more open mics to boost my confidence on stage. Here’s a video from that gig – January 18th 2018 – We’ll Go Anywhere, lyrics written about how I desire to take certain people in my life to see the world. It’s not my best performance, which has been clear as I’ve used this as a reference when approaching venues/promoters and I’ve been shut down frequently, ah well! That ain’t gonna stop me!

As a massive fan on improvising and collaborating with people, I started taking this new set-up out of solo performances and explored it with other musicians. This video below being my first go at it, which is now one of my favourite collaboration pieces I’ve taken part in. It’s also featured on a recent album on BandCamp – Here – Which is an album full of collaborations with some very creative and inspiring musicians who happen to be some of my closest friends! So this collaboration features two incredible musicians, Dan James Griffin and Kimberley Frezel! January 20th 2018

And from this I’ve also been collaboration with this set-up in Sounds of Zephyr – which is a whole blog post and journey in itself. Lots more of that stuff to come! We’ve been planning some exciting things! Here’s the latest busking session we’ve had in Market Harborough. In this you’ll see that I’ve got a shaker hanging from my guitar, which probably looks ridiculous, but, set-up expansion will be explained!

So! Set-up expansion. I never saw myself becoming a one-man band when I first stepped into music, and I never thought that the guitar/bass/vocal set-up would expand. But then I met Anders Flanderz whilst busking in Liverpool for the weekend. He approached me whilst busking the first night I was there, and was really interested in my set-up, gave me loads of great tips on busking in Liverpool, telling me the best spots and times to play. Then I met up with him to share a busking spot the next day and saw his ridiculously crazy instrument attire. The things he was doing was crazy complex, playing 10 instruments at once, using all limbs and putting on such a fantastic performance, really taking the covers he played to whole new realms. He opened my eyes to multi-instrumental set-ups and suggested I should expand with foot percussion and vocal effects. So I took advantage of my friends (Connor Di Leo)’s drum kit, (whose house I was staying at during my Liverpool trip) and added some drums – here is the result.

So then I was like, I can do this, and I can add more and really work on this! So I got a glockenspiel – which takes me to my current set-up now;

I’m sure I’ll be updating my progression on this blog more. I’m sure I’ll be adding more instruments and try experimenting doing silly things. There’s lots of room for expansion and I have lots of ideas drawn out in my journals and I really think there could be something good come from all of this madness. So yeah! Keep sticking around, follow me on Instagram and Facebook and YouTube and you’ll get to see/hear way more stuff on a regular basis!

Thank you for reading this post!

Check out my latest music – chatfield.bandcamp.com/album/liverpool-grooves-bass-looping-with-drums

If you want to help me on my journey then you can purchase my music (above) with whatever money you think it’s worth! Every little really helps out a lot, it keeps me alive and keeps the progression going! I really appreciate everything that you do and it warms my heart to know that my music makes people smile!

Follow your heart and keep being your true self! Don’t let anyone stop you following your dreams! You’ll get their, you’re a beautiful and wonderful human!

Lots of love,

James x

The Importance of Goal Setting

I want to start writing more blogs that focus on giving some advice. I sometimes feel as a musician that I’m not giving enough to the world around me, so I want to give more and hopefully add some value to your life! I’m no expert at giving advice so with these blog posts I’m just collating all the information from books, podcasts, and research that have personally helped me and presenting it to you. Motivation and self-help books are things I’m really interested in and I feel it’s important for yourself to take a look into, as it’s massively helped my life both personally and musically.

So the first blog post on this subject will be;

The Importance of Goal Setting

Why are Goals Important?

I feel that setting and having goals is a hugely important thing for personal growth, as progression = happiness. Seeing yourself develop as a person, within relationships, friendships, financially, spiritually, with your personal health, within skills like music etc. These developments give you a sense of achievement, this expansion, this journey onwards, truly helps you feel happy.
When I look back at how nervous I was when trying to socialize and how much anxiety used to beat me, to now, where, I still struggle but, I feel much calmer with talking to strangers and enjoy socializing more, reviewing this personal progression makes me feel accomplished and happy, I feel amazed at myself for breaking certain barriers, a step forward as a person. This came from setting the goal – I want to feel comfortable socializing and connect with more people – then I best start doing! It was having a clear vision of who I wanted to be that really pushed me, the ‘Why’, is so important! – something I’ll discuss further in this post.
So not only do goals make you progress, they give you a sense of direction. How’s an archer meant to hit the bullseye if there’s no target insight? If you feel lost, stuck in a routine and just pondering around twiddling with your toes all day, it’s because you don’t know where you’re going, you haven’t set a destination in mind to break you from this routine.
So goals hey? They progress you as a person making you feel happier, give you a sense of direction and what else? They excite the fudgeballs out of you!! (not literally, if you have fudgeballs stuck inside you, then erm…I don’t think that’s good, call a doctor? –  Are you struggling with those darn nasty fudgeballs? In places, they shouldn’t be?! Then call Doctor. Anti-Fudgeballs NOW!). They’ll make you jump out of bed, they’ll make you want to dance with excitement when you think about them and see yourself step closer to them! (Goals that is, not fudgeballs)
Goals excite you! 

The Destination is Key

To have a destination is the first step to set any goal! Where do you want to take your life? What do you want to do? Choosing the destination is the hardest thing about goal setting, as there are infinite destinations you can take your life. So you have to really think about what you truly desire. If you had no worries in life, no financial issues, no health issues and everything was completely fine, how and where would you spend your time? Really be honest with yourself, what would you truly be happy and satisfied with doing? It might be a good idea to write down all the things you can think of, and start from there on what you want to do!
(I’m not intending on teaching you how to write goals, just advising why they’re important. But! If you feel I could help you conclude some goals, message me and we’ll draw some ideas out!).
Once you have a destination clearly written out and it’s clear in your mind’s eye, once you know the ins and outs of it all – your energy will pull towards it, and with the more you think and talk it, the more of its energy will pull towards you! When you have that feeling of clarity of what it is you want to achieve, make it a habit to speak it out loud, to sing it, draw it, converse it and most importantly visualize it!
I read and hear a lot, that you should keep your goals and dreams hidden, I totally disagree with this! Without talking to others about it, how is anyone going to help direct and aid you, if they don’t know where you’re going? Imagine jumping into a taxi, “Hey mate, where are you going?”, “Ah no, I can’t tell you that”, “Ehh?” the taxi driver stares at you for all eternity and, you become a fudgeball….
Speaking it aloud will bring things closer to you that will speed up your journey, your best friends’ work colleague may have a son who’s doing a similar thing to what you wanna do and can arrange a coffee so you can pick his brain! Sing your dreams and goals to the universe and the universe will respond by presenting opportunities to you.
Knowing where you are going will also tell you where you shouldn’t be going, i.e. it’s just as important where you are not as it is where you are. If you start doing things that don’t align with your goals, then you know to pull away from that and focus that attention on more productive things – stopping you from feeling stuck and running in circles.

The Most Important Part – Why?

Why? Why is it important to make a why? Well, why can tell you that…terrible nonsense pun.
There has to be a reason why you want to achieve and reach a certain goal. Clarifying the why both a) starts mapping out the actions you need to take, and b) gives you purpose, it drives you, uplifts you and opens your eyes to how you’re going to progress!
Once you build this reason for why, your goals will begin to morph and take shape more clearly. You may think you know your goal, but then when you start thinking about why you want that, a completely different goal opens up. For example, you want to earn a large sum of money, why? because you want to travel around Australia? Well instead make the goal – I want to travel around Australia – there are plenty of ways to earn a lot of money whilst traveling and many opportunities to move to another country and build a business or work there! With this change of perception, your path and daily tasks differ completely.
Focus on the why more than the how. Don’t get too caught up in thinking about how you’re going to get somewhere that feels beyond reach, sometimes this may overflood your mind and focus, putting you off from your goal. Prioritising the why, keeps your focus on your goal and beyond it.
It’ll give you purpose, a reason to keep on stepping towards the goals. If you know what the outcome of achieving the goal will bring to you, it’ll drive you more to completely smash it!

Conclusion

Set BIG goals – life goals, your dream goals, 10/20/30/40 year goals!
also
Set SMALL goals – daily/weekly/monthly goals, 1-year goals.

Start writing down your goals and dreams, figure out where you want to go, who you want to be and your reasons WHY!

See yourself progress and celebrate the small victories!

You can do whatever it is you want to do! Set the goals, spend time really focusing on the goals and start taking steps, one day at a time!
Patience, persistence and lots of hard work!
You’ll get there!


Here are a few books that I’ve read recently, that have helped me set goals and learn about their importance;

Crush It – Gary Vaynerchuk
Awaken the Giant Within – Anthony Robbins
The Idea in You – Martin Amor & Alex Pellew


 

I’ve tried to keep this blog post short, I hope it’s helped in some way if it has I would love to hear how! Inform me so I can start making it a regular thing to blog this content!

I didn’t go into too much detail on how to plan your goals or how to achieve them, but I will include these subjects in later posts!

All the best,
Keep being awesome,
Follow your heart!

Love,
James x

Sounds of Zephyr; Collaboration with Another Busker (Chris Duckett)

On the 23rd January, I met Chris Duckett at the Firefly Open Mic night in Worcester. We connected really well through our love of busking and performing every chance we get, I discovered he was on a busking tour, lives in his van and is staying in Worcester for the week – straight away I knew this was going to be a great friendship!
I performed my guitar/bass one-man band, Chris loved what he saw, and straight up gave me a bunch of festival dates for some main stages he helps organize! Then Chris performed and silenced the whole room, magical sounds from his percussive spaceship! It seems to be a rare sight to see and hear a HandPan live, and Chris sure knows how to play it (at this point he’s been playing it for 3 weeks!! 3 weeks!!!!). 

Video from Firefly Open Mic – Night I met Chris

The next day we hit the streets of Worcester together and busked all day! Chris’ busking spots were very interesting, as a new busker to the place I guess he didn’t really know the core busking spots, but the place he chose was incredible, under shelter in this tunnel perfect ambiance for his instrument and music, a place I never thought of using before, but will when the rain hits!
I’ve learned a lot about busking from Chris since meeting him, the main thing being persistence and playing longer – he was busking from 9am to 2am most days! – with breaks obviously, something like 9-11am 12-2pm 5-7pm 9-11pm 1-2am (Worcester clubbers loved his music during these hours!). So much busking each day! His energy definitely passed onto me and my love for busking has only increased!

Busking spot Chris found, sheltered from rain, his original song – Singing

Being a rainy day in Worcester, we busked here until 4pm. Our friend Jake Marsh (who lives on a boat and runs a gigging boat club during summer), offered his place to shelter from the rain, so as three musicians, we jammed, on a boat, it was a lot of fun! Below is the outcome! It’s a mix of an original song by myself and vocal lines from an original by Chris.

After all the jamness with Jake on his boat! We hit the hay for the day and met up again in Worcester the following day for more jams! Adding a member to the jam – Cookie – beatboxing master!

Being it Friday we busked the night whilst people were on their way to party! We got a little crowd going and met a lovely woman who wished we’d had got together as a trio sooner to play at her wedding! She was loving it, dancing with her kids, from this we basically forced to give this trio a name – The BeatBassPan – CookieDuckettField – Waves – Sounds of Waves – The Waves – Sounds of Zephyr! = decided! And so Sounds of Zephyr was born! We jammed so much that night, later around 10pm we were joined by some more beatboxers and rappers, we had a little crowd judging a beatboxing battle going down between Cookie and Jack Goodwin.

From the jams we had, I took all the ‘good’ bits and compiled it onto a Bandcamp album, a live recording demo of our jams! My trusty Zoom Q2HD recording and rocking strong – this has been one of my best purchases as a musician, I record pretty much everything I do and the quality is insane for such a tiny recorder, I highly recommend if you’re wanting to get rough recordings of gigs, busking, rehearsals, sampling found sounds etc etc.

So here are the tracks!
My favorite has to be ‘You Wanna Be Friends?!’, it’s featuring Jack Goodwin, who is both an excellent beatboxer/rapper/spoken word and amazing human being! Whilst jamming this I got pumped with energy and was dancing around like a lunatic, feeling high on music and life! The video below was taken during this jam!

Having too much fun busking with the gang! I love busking and I love just playing a groove on the bass, so this was a lot of fun! We had a lot of energy and dancing going on all night! Super excited for more night busking jams like this.

Moving on from the trio beatboxing/handpanning madness, me and Chris spent some time hanging out, planning travels, booking gigs and jamming some duo material. We found a warm place by a fire with tea, eating vegan pies and jamming on the house piano –

It’s fun to just jam and let the music flow out! Especially when you connect so well with someone musically, the songs and music just pour out. We must have written about 10 songs as a duo in the tiny timeframe we’d met.
So this was just before we went busking as a trio again for a big night busk. We found this really cool open square surrounded by restaurants, there were lots of people hanging around drinking. We managed to play for an hour before we got shut down by security as we had complaints from a very hidden Travelodge, it was in no way an aggressive shutdown, as the security guard brought us out tea and gave us a fiver! He actually seemed bummed out that he was told to shut us down.
We separated that night for different musical adventures, I and Cookie went off with a gang of Worcester musos for a big jam on Jake Marsh’s Boat House, while Chris went and busked! From 12-2am! He said it was some of the best busking he’s ever done!

The next busking session we went to my hometown of Kidderminster, not busking there for a while it was nice to bring my new set-up of guitar/bass! My ‘regulars’, townpals, Kidderminster fans, I don’t know what to call them erm, – the extremely generous and friendly people who donate and chat with me everytime I busk in Kidderminster – really loved what they heard and was intrigued by the additional guitar, they all asked about the Europe trip and asked about my next destinations, the connection with these people is amazing! They’re so loving!!!
Later when Chris came down, they loved that too! We jammed through some new tunes and did some big ambient jams, like this one;

And here’s the final jam we did before Chris drove off towards the Midlands to carry on his busking tour! This is my most favorite thing we did as a duo and was highly inspired by Nizlopi (a joint favorite artist of ours whom we’d love to gig with!). It ended on such a high positive note and was the perfect way to end our first run of busking jams together, we’ve planned so much for the summer, for busking adventures and for the future of Sounds of Zephyr.
Meeting and jamming with Chris has uplifted me both spiritually and musically, motivating me to busk more and to give more time to aid people. It’s opened up a whole new path to walk down. I feel our paths aligned at the right time, as both our life goals are quite similar and we’ll be able to lift each other closer to these goals.

So yes! Thank you, Chris, for everything you’ve taught me the past couple of weeks, I’m super excited for more writing sessions and more busking adventures!

Now! Go check out his music! Because! It’s beautiful and will uplift you!
You’ll find it HERE and HERE and also HERE!

 

A New Set-Up – Guitar/Bass/Vocals

So recently I’ve been experimenting with a new set-up (above). Which involves me playing both bass and guitar simultaneously whilst ‘trying’ to sing. This all happened by a happy accident – wanting to learn a Ben Howard tune on guitar. I had the bass on, sat the guitar on my lap and used the bass to tune the guitar to an open tuning, hitting harmonics on both instruments – “that sounds cool! what if I hold a bass note and hit the guitar for harmonics and percussive stuff!?”. Since then I’ve not stopped writing and practicing with this set-up, apart from a few days off as I went busking with it and due to the cold, split my middle finger open whilst hitting the tiny sharp guitar strings!

I’m really enjoying playing around with this set-up and the challenge of trying to balance two instruments. I’m still trying to understand what the hell I’m doing and how to make it sound good, there’s a lot of work that needs to be done with it, but the practice is fun – so fun actually – I never want to put them down! Ahh I’m excited by this, I feel there’s so much potential with what I can do with this set-up.

The video is taken from my second live performance with this, it’s been a very terrifying and nerve racking thing! Especially with the singing, as I’m very very new to singing and know there’s a lot of vocal work to be done, I feel I can’t really sing just yet, but with lots of practice, maybe I could!? But it was a fun experience and it’s definitely building my confidence. I’m not overly happy with this performance and was very unsure on whether or not I should release it online, but then I thought it’d be cool to document my journey with learning the set-up and I guess have it to look back on and see where I need to improve and to see my personal progression with singing and performing.
This was on the 4th January 2018, so just over 2 weeks since I started messing around with the set-up, first video upload:

I’ll be uploading a tonne more content to the likes of Instagram and YouTube, so follow me on both of these platforms to see more clips from my quest: to learn how to sing, play guitar and play bass – all at the same time.

 

Take care!

Thank you for following my blog and reading this post!

Much love for you!

Keep smiling and follow your heart!

Grab ya self some free music from my BandCamp!
chatfield.bandcamp.com

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instagram.com/basschatfield
facebook.com/basschatfield
twitter.com/basschatfield

Support/Donate
paypal.me/JamesChatfield

 

The Pros and Cons of Busking, I’ve Discovered So Far.

I wanted to make an informational blog post to share with fellow artists who have considered busking and want to get a better understanding of what the pros and cons are for busking. So below are,
5 Reasons why Busking can be Hard and 5 Reasons to go and Busk Now!

Cons

Weather Dependency – the most obvious. Rain, wind, snow, hail, thunderstorms, frost etc. can negatively affect your busking sessions, and prevent you from busking. It’s not fun playing when your donation box gets flipped by the wind and the coins scatter rolling away in all directions (“my lunch money! nooooo!”). Or walking to a great spot, beautiful rays from the sun and then 20 minutes into playing, SPLASH a waterfall emerges and soaks your gear, frantically packing away, the moment you find someplace warm to dry off, the rain stops -.-
So to prevent this, prepare;
– Check the forecast on multiple websites/apps.
– Bring a cover for your gear, something which can wrap around it whilst you’re moving from A to B i.e. a coat to tie around your busking trolley or tarpaulin to throw over quickly.
– Find spots with shelters overhead,
– Fingerless Gloves! For cold winter days! – Thinsulate Insulation Fingerless Gloves these are what I use and highly recommend them, super warm and super cosy.
Always be prepared as weather forecasts and rain radars are not always accurate and bad weather can easily come from nowhere.

Facing Rejection and Negativity. Being out their in the public, exposes you to everyone’s opinion of yourself, your music and busking. So there may be occasions where someone will feel the necessity to tell you; ‘busking is begging‘ or ‘you’re ruining my day, you noisy bugger!’ or ‘you’re terrible, get a real job!’, that’s not the worst of what I’ve had spat at me, but it is a rarity. It can also be disheartening when you’re trying to pass around smiles and people just look down at you.
Generally if there’s negativity in a place you’re busking you may feel it, but just remember to stay positive and smile to yourself, because you’re out their performing something you’ve worked hard at creating and have passion for.
Some people may not like it, but who cares! You’re out their trying to connect with those who do like it.

Lonesomeness. If you’re a solo artist like me, it can be a lonely journey at times. Standing there playing all day without a co-worker to push your motivation when you feel low or lost. Which also means if you’re busting for a whizz or need a drink, you’ve got to pack down and set-up again – always toilet break before you set-up, and bring a drink.
But this is where the beauty of strangers come in and keep your motivation high, ‘don’t stop doing what you do’, ‘keep it up buddy!’. People will occasionally start up conversations, which can really make your day.

No Guaranteed Paycheck. Unlike most jobs, with busking there is no guarantee that you’ll be getting money for your performance. You could be playing for 2 hours and receive nothing, no acknowledgement, not a drop. No-one has to give you money, they choose to because they want to support music in the streets and your journey, or because they enjoy your music and have had a positive experience from your presence. So if everyone who walks past your act isn’t interested, then chances are low you’ll be having a profitable day.
I’m not saying busking makes no money, because most of the time it’s very profitable, but you can’t go out expecting to make lots of money as you have no control on who will donate.

It’s hard work. Busking is a very under looked way of performing and making money, and it can be a lot of hard work. Depending on your act, your lifestyle and your financial circumstances, you’ll have to perform as many hours as a day as you can. Which is both awesome, but tiring. You’ve got to keep your head up, stay positive and know why you’re busking, once you realise you’re reason to busk, you’ll always be motivated to keep on playing.

Even though with each ‘con’, I’ve included a positive outlook on it, these 5 reasons are what makes busking difficult and why you may be unsure if you want to take up busking yourself. But below are all the ‘pros’ from busking, all of which make the difficulties worth going through.

Pros

Connection with People. Being out in the midst of towns and cities, where people spend their days shopping, seeing friends/family, working, commuting and living. You’ll meet people from all walks of life, and you get to connect with them in a very personal and intimate way. A place where new friendships and connections will spark.
The people you meet may be following your art and your journey for a very long time afterwards, so being able to personally meet your new fans gives you a stronger connection with/understanding of, who your fans are and why they like what you do.

Travel! Busking gives you the opportunity to take your art anywhere you’d like to go (within reason). You can busk in most countries, so if you wanted to go check out New Zealand for a few months, get on over their and busk your way around! It’s a platform for any artist to jump on board and go travel. The income from it will allow you to book flights, accommodation and get yourself some grub (food is occasionally donated! Whilst busking Europe with the Wishing Well, there were plenty of times when we’d play outside a restaurant and they’d welcome us to a meal and drinks on the house!).

Practice. With being out performing for so long, you’ll be getting yourself a lot of practice in! You’ll be able to test new material and really improve your instrument capability. With busking someplace cold during the winter, if you’re a musician it’ll really strengthens your fingers (I’ve pushed myself during cold nights to play long and difficult stuff – it’s really improved the strength of my fingers, I can hold bigger chord shapes for longer and tap very hard with both hands). But be warned it is hard when temperatures get as low as 2°C, that’s where the thermal fingerless gloves, I linked earlier, help out loads.
Not only will you get practice at your act, you’ll also get better at performing and communicating. You’ll build the confidence to perform longer, in various locations and in front of very different audiences, you’re basically playing a show where everyone’s invited and some people may really not like the show – but you learn to face this negativity and build a thick skin. Also meeting new people everyday, you’ll get better at communicating with people interested in your music, you’ll hear stories from people who are artists themselves or know an artist and artists they’ve met and what your kind of art means to them.
The best! You get paid to practice!!

Broaden Your Audience. Your art is shown to every kind of person there is, which attracts new groups of fans and vastly increases your audience. You’ll be surprised with who likes what you do, solo Doom Metal Guitarist? an elder lady may really enjoy Doom Metal and appreciate you being out busking and start headbanging like shes at a festival! – something you wouldn’t expect!
This may change your view on how to market your art, it’ll help define what kind of audience you attract. So if anything even a few busking sessions will be useful market research. It may also open doors to performing in venues, events and places you wouldn’t otherwise think of.

Get Paid to do What You Love! If you’ve got dreams and goals set for your art, and the long game you want to make a living from it! This platform – BUSKING, will give you a very good head start into that and excel your path. Just being out there among people, this is me, this is what I do, this is what I want to give to the world, will bring you opportunities and give you the results to feed your belief.
Whilst you’re busking, the money people donate is given to you because you’re doing what you love! I can’t think of any better reason than this to go and busk!

– you have the potential to go out there and connect with people –
– take action and do it –
– the results will open many doors –
– leading to more belief about your potential –
– repeat and see yourself develop –

I would love to hear your stories on busking, what you see as pros and cons for it and if this blog post has inspired you to busk – I’d love to hear more about your experience!

If you enjoy this blog post and if it’s benefited you in anyway, you can help support my journey
by directly donating to – paypal.me/jameschatfield
(any donation will receive a musical download!)
or
by purchasing music from my BandCamp page.

Feel free to contact me about anything – basschatfield@gmail.com

Have a positive week!
Think healthy happy thoughts and live a healthy happy life! 

All the best,

James x