Hey! I haven’t posted anything in a while, but I’ve still been out doing things! Daily videos are becoming more frequent and I’ve been doing lots of album work! So kinda got distracted from blogging more frequently!
I feel I’m slowly shifting my life into a more flowing stream of creativity and mega content uploading. After listening to this video a few times, my passion for creating loads of content has increased,
“you’re one song from getting all that you want” – Gary Vee.
I 100% agree with this guy, if you can release high amounts of content on a regular basis, have the ability to record and publish your music and have the music to do it, then why not do it? Why not just release everything you do and build this huge pool of content for everyone to enjoy and to add to your legend. That one little riff you post could spark a huge interest from the right person and get your music on some upcoming film!
So just do, and just do more and just do, just do, do just, do do the just do do!
Anyways here’s a bunch of videos I’ve released the past few days!
Don’t really know what I’m doing, never do, never will. But I know I wanna start singing more. This idea came from that desire! Bass guitar is just one big drum stick!
Some improvisation out in Worcester was playing opposite Be The Change Foods, which is a super great Vegan cafe, they brought out a little cookie for me too!
Some more improvisation in Worcester, this time with a loop pedal! Which is something new for the set-up with two guitars, so much fun to play around with!
This is some improvisation whilst busking in Hereford, later in the evening 6pm I believe. When this idea came to mind, I instantly thought a vocal line on it would be really cool, so I tried to keep it simple in hope that I can get a vocalist to sing over the recording of it!
Enjoying the sun in the garden with my looper and guitar and dog – Roxy.
Looping Garden Sessions was born, maybe there’ll be more, who knows!? Too many ideas I keep getting, that’s why I just want to release everything, so nothing gets lost!
I was in the studio yesterday with my good friend Jack Pederson. Recorded a few songs and listening back, we both felt something was wrong. For start, I didn’t really feel comfortable in the studio, and the sound wasn’t what I was after, it sounded great but just wasn’t what I fully had in mind. We then compared it to some of the busking recordings I have recently done and there lay the problem. These songs weren’t meant for a studio, they were created in the streets and belonged in the streets. The space in which these songs sit in is important, and this comparison made that fact clear. The passing foot traffic, life going on around me, helicopters passing, laughing and puppies barking all add depth to the songs, and capture what I do perfectly. The music I currently make and play fit the streets, as I spend so much time busking, and I guess that’s why I felt uncomfortable in the studio, not because of nerves or pressure from that red light in the studio but because those songs belong outside amongst the sounds of the world. And both I and Jack felt there was so much missing after going from the street recordings to the studio recordings. “Just release this, this is what your music is and who you are”, Jack said, and that changed everything, he spoke many inspiring things and we threw so many ideas around.
This is what we came out with.
To begin making the conscious act of recording every busking session I do, anytime I play music outside, all collaborations etc etc, record them all. To capture the things that I’m already doing and compile my favorite bits from these recordings onto an album. With the amount of content that will come from this, I can do so much, and with it a monthly album release, each with their own titles and the subtitle of – Captured Moments Vol.1,2,3 etc. I can’t think of a better way to document my journey and give everyone who supports my music a huge batch of content to listen to. Plus all the videos I release on a daily basis, the content will just be huge!
There’s something exciting about releasing the raw performances out on the streets, capturing the random sounds that occur, conversations, comments, passing bicycles and all that life brings. It means that I can just continue doing what I do, adventure and record the journey, documenting in an audio format for the world to listen to. Each month will contain so many memories and hold many stories. Themes could occur, i.e. a month of playing near water, busking on riversides, parks, water fountains etc. So many ideas came from this conversation with Jack, and I’m extremely grateful for it!
I also have ideas for an actual studio album, but that would be more of a composed environment where I would get other musicians to collaborate and get involved. For now, I wish to continue my busking journeys and give you all the music I have!
Above – clip from today’s busking session, this is a short clip. Below is a full version of today’s improvisation. I say ‘todays improvisation’, as if I only did one, I always improvise haha. And this new way of documenting will give all that I do, to you!
Following on from what I wrote above, about the conversations in the studio. Todays busking felt very different. Knowing that these songs are going to be documented. I approached everything a little different, not in the sense to make things ‘perfect’ (perfect doesn’t exist), but treating the streets as an instrument in some ways, giving it space to ‘play’, if a sound occurred that fitted with the song, then I’d keep playing that riff with the sounds occurring. Listening to the streets as though it was another musician I was performing with and responding to what it did….sounds kinda crazy, but it added a lot more to busking.
With all this is, it just adds way more excitement to my music and busking, I feel excited and feel like I’m slowly but surely becoming a better creator and improving daily.
Also today – a photo shoot with this dude – Sam Watkins. His Instagram tag is @samwatkinsphoto and also @trekrooms
Beautiful view beside the river, Worcester is just beautiful! Photos and videos to come from this within the next few days!
Its been a long day, but I’m really happy with everything that is happening and becoming at the moment! Really excited to capture these busking moments and release it for you to enjoy on the move!
A day busking in Stourbridge, where I discovered the above riff! (below is the full improvised track around this riff). It’s pushing my boundaries a little with what I can do with these two instruments, but I love the challenge and trying something very new for the first time in the streets, it puts pressure on it to almost make it ‘complete’ there and then, as though I know exactly what I’m doing, when in actual fact, I have no idea! But hey, that’s the beauty of busking, you can do what you like, and people seem to like what I do.
Trying to forget what the right hand is doing with the percussive pattern and let my left hand do some more basslinr riffs. Splitting my mind as much as I can.
I bumped into two guys who have seen me in many places on my busking adventures, they said some very loving and hopeful encouraging words to me. Telling me how they really appreciate and admire my lifestyle and music choices, I feel incredibly blessed for this to have happened. A wonderful day.
Today was filled with many busking sets. A lovely response from the kind hearts of Worcester. The local street artist Tony, who creates beautiful chalk portraits on the streets of animals and fantasy worlds, collaborated with me today. He designed some of my homemade CDs;
Whilst playing across the street from him, he drew what the music inspired. He said he could hear alot of animals and travelling coming from my music, maybe that relates to my desires for travelling, veganism and my love for animals. Its interesting how that kind of energy comes from my music, different people imagine different things from it, the beauty of music, it can be intrepted in an infinite amount of ways.
Many new riffs and Improvisation bought many ideas to fruition. A perfect platform for practicing before a gig. My gig. Tonight was on a River Cruise down the River Severn in Worcester – http://www.worcesterboattrips.co.uk – the top link is a video from the set, my first song which was just a long version of ‘Change’.
A very fun gig it was indeed. The first gig I’ve played where the venue moves! I was unsure on what to expect and what kind of gig it was, it was more of a background music vibe, which is what I was hoping as playing a ‘real’ gig environment kind of frightens me at the moment, to have everyone’s full attention on you and the music, it’s quite a lot to take in. Especially as a solo artists, you have all eyes on you and can’t hide behind a drummer or singer!
But none the less, it was a fantastic day and I will continue to do more gigs to over come this fright and do more with my music!
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.
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!
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!
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.
Thank you for following my blog and reading this post!