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:
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Starting a one man band! It’s a shame my vocals suck, but playing this – whatever this is – makes me smile a lot 😆😆 . . . . . . . . . #bass #bassist #bassplayer #warwickbasses #warwickbass #solobass #basssolo#solobassist#jameschatfield#basschatfield#newmusic#instrumental#passionformusic#originalmusic#bassporn#bassuniversity#basshero#instabass#bassjam#bassforward#bassplayersunited#inspirebass#bassincredible#onemanband #twoguitars @wowmusicians @bassincredible @inspirebass
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!
Much love for you!
Keep smiling and follow your heart!
Grab ya self some free music from my BandCamp!
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!
Writing 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
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Have a positive week!
Think healthy happy thoughts and live a healthy happy life!
All the best,
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! 🙂
Here’s a great picture from ‘Anthony Pearson’, who caught me busking in Worcester on a Sunday afternoon 🙂
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