A Busk of Stourbridge – 4th June 2018

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.

Most of my walking and communting on the train has been spent listening to ‘Zhivago’ – https://open.spotify.com/album/2CLZbOCE9u7KvLM6fOXk9C?si=bkFTcwOdSZStBn0IPedYzQ

A wonderful EP done by some wonderful people, one of whom ‘Daniel Tween’ is a good friend of mine.

Have a listen and give them a follow.

Many blessings to you! Have a beautiful evening.

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Current Goal – Album and Videos Progress – 18th May 2018

Stationing myself back home for a bit around Worcester. A time to grow my music, by writing new songs, adapting new techniques and bringing more content to my music via album recordings and video making. I’ve known for ages that to move forward with my career in music I’d need to create some content and context to what I do, have audio and video to use as promotion for my ‘brand’. My current goal is to write a 8-10 track (or more) album, to be recorded outside in environments to reflect how my music can be enjoyed and sit in different environments and for different moods. With the homemade demo CDs I sell when busking, I’ve had some really nice feedback, “I’ve been using it to study too and it’s perfect!”, “Perfect driving music” and “This music is amazing to relax to”.
So I’m aiming to promote the album with chilling out intentions and reading/studying music, maybe even push it towards getting on films and games – the dream!
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The first busk in Worcester was yesterday, and it was beautiful! The sun was shining and there were so many friendly faces that I’ve not seen for a while. Bumping into my best buddy Carlos (who I’ve not seen for months, because he’s been flying around the world drumming), he out of nowhere set up a mini portable recording studio around my busking setup and recorded me for a while. Him and Haydn Rogers have just started up a company – ‘Nectar: Film and Audio’. They organised a very impromptu video recording out near the river in Worcester – videos of that will be up soon! But! This created conversation about my album, now they will be recording my album and doing a bunch of videos out in woodlands, near lakes and some in the streets – so a lot of exciting things are coming this way! It’s strange how I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and only days before I wrote it all out – then Carl the angel, showed up and just gave me everything. I really think the universe answers to your call, you’ve just gotta shout out and let the universe know what you are needing/wanting.
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So now I’m in the writing process for this album, spending a lot of time pushing my techniques to create new sounds with the set-up. Still I’ve only been doing the guitarbass 5 months, today! Started on December 18th 2017! It’s my 5 month guitarbass anniversary, celebratory something! Well I’m sat in a Vegan Cafe just ordered a mighty big burger, so that’s the celebration (Be the Change Foods – Worcester UK).
So yes! Expect more updates on this album, for the meantime if you want a homemade demo CD sent your way, please email me – basschatfield@gmail.com
I wish you a great day! May the sun shine on your warm heart!
Keep giving your all to the world, stay awesome, follow your heart and run towards your dreams!
You have one life, so live it the way you wish to, you are a miracle!
Love,
James

You’re an Actual Miracle – Quick Busking Documents – 11th May 2018

Whilst I was playing a man came over and asked;
“How old are you?”
“24”
“I just lost my boy at 25, he would of absolutely loved this music, this is from him”
I was lost for words, his loss hit me really hard, and throughout that busk and still now I can’t stop thinking about that. To lose your own child at such a young age, must be a pain unimaginable. It hit me hard as well because I turn 25 this year, making me realise how soon a life can end. Such a young age, there was so much more his son still had to give and explore.
This makes me think about life way more, and the fact it can end unexpectedly and death is unfortunately inevitable.
To live it to the full and live it the way you want to, there is only one chance at this life, one chance to make your own legend. The odds of being alive are – 4 Trillion to 1, which technically makes each individual is a miracle – you, yes you are a walking miracle. So take all the light within you and shine it bright so the world can see, give this world everything you have, go all the way with your dreams and goals, take every moment as a chance to enjoy this life you have. Enjoy each moment, cherish everything you have and be grateful for all the tiny details of your life, for this moment right now could be one of your last.
Don’t stop shining your light!
Take fucking control of your own path and do everything you ever dreamed of!
You’re a miracle, an actual miracle, so live life to the complete full!
I wish you all the best!
Love,
James.

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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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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

 

Where My Heart Belongs/Crazy Crump

Where my Heart Belongs – A recently uploaded solo bass track. Written on the feeling of being re-united with my Warwick Bass after being away from it for 5 months on a European tour as a Session bassist for Australian Folk Band The Wishing Well (Busking band who’ve been touring Europe, Australia, America for the past 15 years, there’ll be more blog posts on the busking adventures with these guys! As I’ve learnt a lot from them on the world of busking!).
Picking up this bass after so long was such an insanely good feeling! Writing on this made me release where my heart belongs and where I want to take my life, my music and the ones that are close to my heart. I think when you get a feeling like this, you’ve got to go all the way and complete the goals your mind and soul tell you. So whatever it is that you feel inside, just go do it, do it with all your heart and all your energy and don’t stop giving the world everything you have!

IMG_3173Writing and playing solo bass was one of the biggest things I missed while being away on tour, of course I missed my family and friends (mostly my Dog – Roxy! How could I not?! Look at her she’s the coolest dog around!).
I see music as an amazing way to express yourself and a medicine for everything, and when I play solo bass, it really helps me express myself to the fullest.

Busking in Stourbridge is always fun as I usually get approached by a very happy crazy drunken fool, I don’t know what his actual name is but lets call him ‘Crazy Crump’. So when ‘Crazy Crump’ approaches, you don’t see him first you hear him, he has this light and high pitched ‘ahya ahya’ laugh followed by many ‘yeah, yeah, yeahhh’. I heard him coming the other day, he was in a singing mood and came very close to me singing very loudly, singing about birds and sunshine in a different world, he got right in my face singing over some very mellow bass loops. (Which was described as ‘like water’ – love that, I really want to use that as an EP/Album title and compose a bunch of watery loop pieces – to do). At this point there were a lot of children coming out from school so town was busy which meant this unexpected duo drew a crowd, I’m sure there’s video evidence on someones SnapChat story or Instagram feed. It’s funny when things like this happen, it’s enjoyable to watch him enjoy himself so much, he was swaying his arms around and really belting it, he was making both me and many people passing by laugh, so there’s no harm from him. After he stopped singing he did try to put his hands all over my bass, which I’m not too cool with, so I told him to not do that and he laughed ‘ahyah ahyah, yeah yeah yeahh’, and just stood and watched for a while. He realised there was a loop playing and was like;
“You’re not even playing, ahyah ahyah, listen he’s better than you are (referring to the loop). Ahyah ahyah, listen he’s playing that and then you’re playing that. Now’s he stopped! (stopping the loop and starting to play another loop), now he’s playing again ahyah ahyah, what’s he doing? Is he better than you? Ahyah ahyah, yeah yeah yeahhh he is ahyah ahyah, he is!!”. He found this whole looping situation hilarious and was under the impression that we were having some sort of guitar duel. He went on to tell me stories about his life how he isn’t getting enough money to buy enough beers and ‘cocaine’ – probably where the crazy energy is sourced. He insisted that I stop and go get some beers together. Carrying on playing whilst he tells me this, he stops and puts his ear closer to the bass.
“Hey, hold up! I know this one, yeah yeah, I know this one. Who’s it by? Go on who’s this one?”, I was just improvising some stuff and he started singing the melody I was playing like he knew it already. “Ahyah ahyah, yeah yeah yeahhh, I know this one! Who’s it by? Ah I can’t think.” It’s by James Chatfield I said “That’s it yeah! I knew it, he’s dead now isn’t he, he was an old one! Good tune! I knew him, ahyah ahyah yeah yeah yeahhh I know this one”….wait I’m dead? What?! so apparently I’m some sort of reanimation of another James Chatfield who wrote this tune that I’m just improvising. ‘Crazy Crump’ is just …… After I finished busking I saw him again at the train station, beer in hand, swaying around, he saw me and kept shouting “Yeah yeah yeahhh, play another song! Go on, play one more now!” I just smiled and waved, stood at the train station I could see his head jumping up and down from behind a wall waving at me. I do wonder what would of happened if we went for a beer, oh lord ahyah ahyah!

As I mention a lot, you meet a lot of people while playing in the streets, from these crazy fools to lovely pensioners to musicians from all ages. Basically every type of person there is, you’ll meet in some form whilst busking. Which is great, it’ll for sure boost your confidence in talking and interacting with strangers, you’ve got to take all of these encounters in a positive way.

I realise this post has been uploaded later than expected! I’ve been busking the entire day and spent the night cooking curry for my Nan (tasty chickpea, spinach, mushroom curry!!) and playing snooker with my Dad and little brother. So I had little time to tweak and post in the day, but finishing it all now!

I hope you’ve enjoyed another busking story from myself! Stick around as there’s more to come! 🙂

 

If you enjoy my blogs and music, 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

 

Busking-Travelling-Composing-Performing-Bass’ing :)

Busking, travelling, composing, performing, bass’ing and other related subjects – is what you’ll get from these blogs I will be writing from now until I no longer own a device on which I can write an online blog. I’m going to be documenting my journey through music and expressing emotions and feelings of living the life as a travelling musician. I’ll capture and share stories/music from the people I meet through the journey. There’ll be a minimum of one blog post a week, the flow and consistency will develop over time, but I feel I’ve been holding it off for a while – and if there’s something you want to do-do it now! So I’m doing it right now, I don’t have any plan for this particular post, but I guess it’s an introduction into my thoughts, feelings and recent adventures.

I have recently been feeling very low and down on life, not wanting to give up, but realising it’s hard, life is hard. But you’ve always got to keep your head up and DO, even when you really don’t feel like doing it, put yourself through the motions of ‘DO’ing and you strengthen your capacity to DO. JUST DO! 
When feeling like this quite recently whilst out busking, I’d been playing for just under 2 hours and was feeling unsure about continuing. When a man sat beside me with a bottle of squash and listened for a very long time, finishing a song I turned to him and smiled. Returning the smile he went on to say, “Thank you, thank you for being here right now at this moment. I’ve had a really rough couple of days and this right now has made me happy, it’s made my life better. Thank you“, he gave me some money and smiled. Thanking him I told him to keep his head up in the dark times, expressing my gratitude for this moment, passing him a CD and telling him, that all I want to do is spread positivity and happiness to people. We spoke about life and constantly moving forward no matter what, that ‘Darkness exists to make light truly count’-Sleeping at Last . He smiled and before leaving said, “Thank you, it’s not just the music and technicality of it that I like, it’s your spirit. Keep doing this, please“. I could see he was holding in tears, it must be some real rough times for him and I wish him the best in that, I hope to see him again and pass a smile of encouragement and hope. Writing about this brings tears to my eyes, life is hard, but I’m not giving up with my dreams and goals, knowing that I made a difference to this persons life makes everything worth it, it gives me a boost in belief, all I want to do is spread positivity and joy and give love to this world we live in.
So whatever it is you believe in your heart and soul, go out there and do it. Make your world a better place! 

On a more positive feeling I’ve been thinking a lot about progression, I feel I need to really work hard at my craft and progress as a musician, composer and person. To do that requires documenting your self and evaluating everything you do, to monitor your mind and learn how your mind works and change it to better yourself. So I’m making a conscious effect to improve and become a better me, I will do this with daily recordings/videos which I can look back on and see what I need to do more of and what less of. This blog will also be a place for me to keep track of my progression, I’m sure the more blogs I do the better they’ll become.

Another positive note – I’ve been making CD’s and getting help from my little sister Starr. She’s getting a commission for each CD that sells that she designed. It’s cool to collaborate with the family and design artwork together, because everyone can draw, and everyone has a unique drawing style. That’s why I’ve fallen in love with art, it’s such a personal way to express your true self, with it you show the world the full true you.
If you like the look of these CD’s please feel free to send me a message/email and we can arrange a delivery for you! 🙂

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Here’s a great picture from ‘Anthony Pearson’, who caught me busking in Worcester on a Sunday afternoon 🙂

Busker

I want to end this blog with this;
By many people I get told to “Keep doing what you’re doing“, I’m so grateful for these comments, it’s like a hint from the universe that I’m doing what I was set out to do. I feel it in my heart and soul, I see the path that I will take and I know deep down that this is all I have and what I was set out to do. I want to give life everything I have and die empty knowing that I’ve given all I can. Find your passion and give everything you have to the world around you! Be grateful and keep moving forward! 

Keep doing what you do best! 

All the best

James x