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

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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