B-side’s have always been fascinating to me. Growing up in the UK in the 90’s, singles actually were still quite a strong source of sales in the music industry. It was dominated by the very popular CD format at the time. I would buy these with my pocket money, and it never occurred to me that the 2nd and sometimes 3rd songs on these CD’s had a name until I started to get very into Oasis around the age of 12. I was about 50% integrated into US culture at the time, and after a period of flirting with the likes of Blink 182, Limp Bizkit, Korn, and DMX (essentially required listening if you were born in 1987, in the 6th grade, and living in suburbia), I let my intense British pride take hold as my friends were moving into the likes of Linkin Park and Jay Z. I started festering in a world of Blur, Travis, Coldplay (Radiohead was a bit too advanced for me then) and for some odd reason, Craig David (I insisted to my American school mates he would be the next big thing). But it was Oasis who really grabbed me...
“Knocking Heads” is the first single I’m releasing in my monthly single series for 2018. And it’s come a long way since I wrote it...all the way back in 2013. Along with releasing these songs monthly, I’m going to try and keep up with this blog by giving you some context to the music I’m putting out there. I’ve given that some credence on here in the past, but it’s been recently spurred by how I’m currently consuming music...
Now I've had a few weeks to reflect, 2017 was an interesting year. I didn’t hear people specifically cussing it out like they did with 2016. But was it that much better? Politically, instead of the election, we had year one of the Trump presidency. I don’t need to write any more about that. On the music hero death front, I’m not really sure how the count stacked up between the two years, but we lost quite a few of the greats again. On a more personal note though, it was quite fascinating for me. I travelled around the country a couple more times playing shows. I moved, again, this time to LA. But there was something I forgot to do: release new music.
I actually wrote and recorded quite a lot in 2017. But when it came to releasing those recordings, I had so many questions. How was I going to put it out? How was I going to build up the release? Who was going to make the videos, the artwork, etcetera? And you know what these questions led to? Paralysis.
I feel like I’ve been saying this for four months, but I’m finally feeling settled in my new home in LA. Since I’m only back here for about a month and a half, I’ve really wanted to dive into things creatively and see where this city takes me. My goal has been to get away from social media, e-mails, planning, etc. and just focus on music. I got a small rehearsal/production room (when I say small, I mean it’s 5’X7’) in North Hollywood, and it’s the first time I’ve treated myself to the idea of an office outside of my house. My commitment has been to wake up each day at a reasonable time, shower, get dressed, eat breakfast, and be out of the house by 8:30AM to go to the studio or meet up with other artists.
Summer has come and gone. Kind of. I live in Los Angeles now, so I have a feeling my Summer may be extended a couple of months this year. But our Summer tour is over, and with that I'm finally getting situated. I've been off the road for a couple of days now and it's still quite amazing to call a place with palm trees everywhere home.
I'll be back with some new videos and in depth blogs next week once I'm done moving. But for now, big thanks to all the familiar faces who came out and showed us a good time this Summer. And to all you Digisaurus newbies, it was great to meet you. I also want to give a big shout out to Eric and Jeff who held it down so well on the bass and drums again over the past few months.
I've been going in and out of different moods over the last couple of weeks. An over-stimulated, over-connected, and cantankerous mind can sometimes feel lost and succumb to the pressures around it. At some point, I started to blame any negative emotion on mercury retrograde after reading an article that convinced me anything going wrong was due to some astrological phenomena. Luckily, another such event snapped me out of that way of thinking.
The most revelatory experience on this tour had to have been last Monday in Corvallis, Oregon when we got to experience the solar eclipse in totality for a minute and forty seconds. Just a week before, we were struggling to figure out what to do on the days surrounding the event. A show originally scheduled in Prineville had been pulled. Despite this, the booker still offered up his place for us to stay at and watch it. But we quickly realized the logistical nightmare of getting to a town with a one lane road going in and out and being invaded by thousands of people . After making some concessions and succumbing to the fact that we might be fine with 98% totality, we found a cheap motel in Oakland, OR thanks to a friends employee discount (seriously, it saved our asses. everything was going for $600+ dollars even this far south of totality).
This week, I’m launching the first of my “Gear Guide” tutorial series with a deeper dive into my Ableton set-up on my YouTube channel. You can watch that after this intro, but to accompany my new videos, I’m going to be posting a typed out version of each tutorial so that you have a resource to look things up outside the video. You can find the typed tutorial below the video in this post!
Before I go into all that though, just a little housekeeping. I realize these tutorials mainly apply to a certain subset of my fans who are musicians, producers, or just really into gear. So I want to be doing these in tandem with my regular blogs that focus on musicianship, technology, creativity, writing, and yes, sometimes politics. This is the first tutorial I’ve ever made, and it was harder to do on the road than I originally anticipated. Since next week is the last week of our Summer tour, the next tutorial will not be coming out until the first full week of September, likely on Thursday. This will give me some time to return to my regular musings next week while we finish up the tour. Starting in the second week of September, I’ll be trying to keep up with both simultaneously on a weekly basis.
We have the day off today and I'm sitting in a laundromat waiting for my clothes to dry. I was very proud of myself this time because I separated my darks and lights and ran 2 washes: a hot and cold one. I left to run a couple of errands, and when I got back I discovered that some old todger had accidentally ran my cold wash a second time through a hot cycle. There's no point in even trying. Next time it's all going in one load.
Anyway, enough with the life lessons. Last week I touched on my touring regimen and adapting my show to be flexible to play in different environments. I'm launching the first in a series of gear guides on my YouTube Channel next week that explores my live set up in depth. I often give people tours of it at shows, and it helps give everyone an idea of what I'm actually doing on stage. My goal with this series is to replicate and give you that experience online. I also want to give any musicians out there a sense of what technology's available and ideas about how your can improve your live rig. I'm also looking for feedback on how I can improve my set up.
A couple weeks ago I wrote about the musician's conundrum of making enough money in music. It opened up some comments from other musicians that have done what I'm doing touring wise, not made enough money, and ultimately gave up on their touring schedule and ambitions. For the past year and a half, I've been playing small rooms with the goal of gaining fans and meeting people who've never heard my music before. It's true. There's not a lot of money in doing that. You essentially hold no leverage with a venue and you're competing with many musicians and performers who would gladly play those rooms for free. In addition, I think people are much less inclined to venture out and discover music in a live setting than they were 20 years ago because the quality has dropped off so much. Thus, venues aren't paying much to artists on this level.
Hey everyone. We've got a week off from our tour, and I'm in LA trying to find an apartment. There won't be any new blog or videos this week, so I thought I'd do a little Mid-Summer review so you can catch up on anything you might have missed. I can't believe we're in August now, and thanks to those who came out to the shows in June and July. I'm really excited to hit the West Coast with Eric next week, and we'll see the rest of you soon.Click the title for more...
Last week I saw a Facebook post pop up in my feed that caught my attention. It came from a friend in the Columbus music scene, Dustin Rhinehart, and read:
“Q for my musician friends: Do you have a flexible source of income that gives you the freedom to tour/travel/dedicate enough time and energy to your art? Or are you limited by a job/career which only allows you to do the weekend warrior thing?“
As I'm want to do, I neglected to respond to this post. Sorry Dustin, Facebook just isn't a place where I like to spend much time discussing anything. But I was curious in other people’s responses, so I hit "turn on notifications for this post" and laid back as I waited for the solution of all solutions to present itself. Unfortunately, I can't say it did. But the myriad of replies presented a great case study of how music and art takes on very different roles in people's lives.
Welcome back to the blog everyone. What became a weekly rambling earlier this year was put on the back burner with the challenge of a forty day solo tour and moving to Los Angeles. And like healthy eating, working out, and other good habits, it's funny how quickly something can disappear from your routine all together. Sitting down to coalesce my thoughts has proven to be an exercise I just couldn't muster recently.
After a playing a couple weeks of shows in the Northeast this past June, I’m jolting around the Midwest this month. A few of nights ago we stopped at a venue called Nathan P. Murphy's in Springfield, Missouri. This was my second time at the club, and I always leave the place contemplating the path I'm on as a performer. So I felt compelled to get back into this blog by sharing the story of the venue and my experiences there....
The solstice has passed and we're now in the Summer of 2017. Kind of. I'm sitting in England right now and it's raining (no surprise there). I'm on a week long break from our Summer tour to catch up with some family over here, but the shows resume next week. One of our upcoming dates will be at the fantastic new venue, Thirty One West, in Newark, Ohio for a free show on July 6th. They were kind enough to have Jeff, Eric and I in a month ago to film a live rendition of "Make a Move" in their ballroom, and the video came out fantastic. You can watch that here, below, or on our video page:
We'll be hitting up plenty more spots this Summer. Peep the dates below or on our Live page, and we'll see you soon!
2017 Summer Tour Dates:
7/05 • Canton, OH • The Auricle
7/06 • Newark, OH • Thirty One West
7/07 • Cleveland, OH • CODA
7/08 • Toledo, OH • Ottawa Tavern
7/09 • Chicago, IL • Live Wire Lounge
7/11 • Iowa City, IA • Gabe's
7/12 • Ames, IA • DG's Taphouse
7/13 • Moorhead, MN • Garage Bar
7/14 • Trempealeau, WI • Trempealeau Hotel
7/15 • Minneapolis, MN • Driftwood Char Bar
7/16 • Lincoln, NE • Duffy's Tavern
7/17 • Springfield, MO • Nathan P Murphy's
7/18 • Topeka, KS • The Boobie Trap Bar
7/19 • Des Moines, IA • Lefty's
7/20 • Lawrence, KS • The Bottleneck
7/21 • Wichita, KS • Mead's Corner
7/22 • Wichita, KS • Pumphouse
7/23 • Norman, OK • Red Brick Bar
7/25 • Taos, NM • Adobe Bar
7/27 • Denver, CO • Your Mom's House
7/28 • Albuquerque, NM • Marble Brewery
7/29 • Tucson, AZ • Borderlands Brewing Co
7/30 • Bisbee, AZ • The Quarry
8/10 • San Luis Obispo, CA • Frog & Peach Pub
8/11 • Fresno, CA • Full Circle Brewing
8/12 • Vallejo, CA • The Hub
8/13 • Bolinas, CA • Smiley Schooner's
8/14 • Santa Cruz, CA • Bocci's Cellar
8/15 • San Francisco, CA • Revolution Cafe
8/17 • Pacifica, CA • Winter's Tavern
8/18 • Sacramento, CA • Yolo Brewing Co.
8/19 • Mckinleyville, CA • Six Rivers Brewing
8/21 • Cottage Grove, OR • The Axe & Fiddle
8/23 • Bend, OR • Astro Lounge
8/24 • Eugene, OR • Black Forest
8/25 • Portland, OR • Starday Tavern
8/26 • Hood River, OR • Trillium Cafe
8/27 • Seattle, WA • Victory Lounge
8/28 • Seattle, WA • The Central Saloon
8/29 • Eugene, OR • Old Nick's Pub
8/30 • Medford, OR • Johnny B's Rockin’ Diner
8/31 • Coos Bay, OR • 7 Devil's Brewing Co.
9/01 • Grants Pass, OR • The Haul
9/02 • Salem, OR • Vagabond Brewing
9/03 • Crescent City, CA • Port O'Pints Brewing Co.
9/04 • Folsom, CA • Nicholson's Musicafe
Lubbock, Texas. That's where I am right now. I'm taking a look at my tour spreadsheet and I've got some statistics on how I got down here. It's taken about 30 days to hit this most southern and western point on the tour. I've put 6,000 miles on the van so far and I'll be putting another 4500 on it to get back home over the next 10 days. I've spent close to 100 hours driving (I swear it seems way longer). Trying to think about each of those minutes individually is crazy. Much of that time has been taken up with listening to podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience, Super Duty Tough Work, Waking up with Sam Harris, and S-Town. I've listened to the new Dirty Projectors album countless times, and totally neglected new Gorrilaz singles (I'm waiting for the new album next week!). And I've had a lot of time to just sit and think...like A LOT View Post>>>>
So, turns out this tour is becoming a little more difficult than I originally thought.
I don't think I've ever challenged myself so hard physically. It takes about 5 trips between the van and the stage to load all my stuff in, and 5 trips to load everything back out. A majority of the time, the distance between those two points seems to be at least 3 blocks. I've come to dread shifting the black box containing my mixer, interface, and wireless units that combines about 60 pounds of weight with incredibly awkward sizing. Simple tasks have become a struggle as certain items consistently get lost in the van...I brought too much stuff. I look at that girl with the ukelele differently now. Instead of someone who's following some annoying fad of performing quirky music with a small Hawaiian instrument like the woman on "Scrubs," maybe she's just approaching this whole music thing really fucking intelligently. I admit, I'm jealous. View Post>>>>
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh....that's the noise been constantly trying to penetrate my head in the last 24 hours. What that noise means is "I thought I was totally prepared to leave for 40 days, but at this point I'm a day into the tour and I'm still getting ready." It's mostly comprised of long term things I forgot about like renewing my passport for a trip this Summer, filing my taxes, paying all my bills for the next two months, and many short term things on optimizing things for Digisaurus and my own well-being on the road. I got about a quarter of the things done that I wanted to do, but you know what, I think I'll always have something on my plate. Yesterday I rushed back home after a trip to Wal-Mart so I could pack the van, go get a haircut, and leave straight after. Of course, I forgot something. And going to pick it back up after the haircut was really only 10 minutes out of the way. But I got to a stop sign where home was left, and Virginia was right. I took the right turn. At some point, you can only be so ready and I was prepared enough. Everything sorts it self out and now was the time for me to begin my journey. So off I went!...into stand still traffic on 95 South coming out of Philadelphia :) View Post>>>>
I'm getting ready to leave on tour next week. The van's being fixed, we're getting the merch together, and I finally came up with a name for the tour...well, kind of. I recently did an interview with Lex Vegas of Cadaver Dogs and The Skulx (check them out with us this Friday at Rumba Cafe in Columbus to kick off the tour!). He titled the interview "Digital Reality," and I love it so much that I'm stealing it. So yeah...Digital Reality Tour 2017 commence!
I'm going to be embarking on this tour by myself, which is something I rarely did last year. Last Spring I played a solo tour, but my manager Zach came along to help me out. Then over the Summer and Fall, I was lucky enough to be accompanied by the illustrious Eric Groseclose and Jeff Martin as we expanded the production musically. Each tour has morphed in it's priorities. We accomplished a lot but it required a lot of mental capacity to manage so many technical aspects of what we were doing. We had always planned to take out our full production and tour again this Summer/Fall to coincide with the next release, but this solo Spring tour came about because I wanted to get back out there sooner. Right now I'm in the midst of writing an album and I've been drawing inspiration from a lot of conversations with new people. It's taking shape and hones in on a number of different themes: the divide in the US, the power of technology and the internet, the pace and delivery of information, etc. I want to expand on that inspiration by taking 40 days to travel around the country and talk to more people about these things....Click to Read Further
Unfortunately, I don't have time to write up a new in depth blog this week because I just found out our business taxes are due on March 15th this year instead of April 15th. Needless to say, it's been a tenuous few days (and if you're also just realizing you need to get your business taxes filed by next week, I feel you). However, I did want to use the Digital Minds space to point out that I'm hitting the road again for 40 days this Spring across the Northeast, Midwest, and South. I'll be touring solo and talking to people about themes and ideas to help shape the concept of my next album. I'll have more details on that in the blog next week, but for now you can check out the dates below or on the live page.
If you're in one of these cities, you can find Facebook events for every show in our events section. Please let me know if you're coming and share the event with your friends. I'm so excited to see all of you again (or maybe for the first time), and enjoy this video of Eric, Jeff and I running into a cow herd in Montana on our last tour.
3/17 • Columbus, OH • Rumba Cafe *FULL BAND TOUR KICK OFF ST. PATTY'S DAY EXTRAVAGANZA W/ THE SKULX* $5 Presale Tix Now Available: hyperurl.co/killb6
3/22 • Harrisonburg, VA • Clementine
3/23 • Fairfax, VA • Epicure Café
3/24 • Richmond, VA • On the ROX
3/25 • Staunton, VA • The Pompei Lounge
3/27 • Baltimore, MD • Teavolve Cafe & Lounge
3/28 • Brooklyn, NY • the way station
3/29 • Lock Haven, PA • Avenue Coffee
3/30 • Buffalo, NY • Lockhouse Distillery & Bar
3/31 • Lancaster, PA • Chameleon Club
4/1 • Camp Hill, PA • Cornerstone Coffeehouse
4/2 • New York, NY • PIANOS
4/4 • Burlington, VT • Manhattan Pizza and Pub
4/5 • Burlington, VT • Radio Bean
4/6 • Dover, NH • Dover Teen Center
4/7 • Biddeford, ME • Elements: Books Coffee Beer
4/8 • Manchester, VT • The Perfect Wife Restaurant & Tavern
4/9 • Stroudsburg, PA • The Living Room at the Sherman Theater
4/10 • Kent, OH • Stone Tavern at Michel's
4/11 • Petoskey, MI • City Park Grill
4/12 • Port Huron, MI • Loud Music & Apparel
4/13 • Muncie, IN • Be Here Now
4/14 • Indianapolis, IN • 10 Johnson Avenue
4/16 • Iowa City, IA • Gabe's Iowa City
4/17 • Des Moines, IA • Lefty's Live Music
4/18 • Lincoln, NE • Duffy's Tavern
4/19 • Kansas City, MO • Prohibition Hall
4/20 • Norman, OK • Red Brick Bar
4/21 • Lubbock, TX • Cafe J
4/22 • Lubbock, TX • Local Bar & Grill
4/23 • Lubbock, TX • Barpm
4/25 • Fayetteville, AR • The Syc House
4/26 • Springfield, MO • Nathan P. Murphy's
4/27 • Fayetteville, AR • Dickson Street Pub
4/29 • Thomas, WV • The Purple Fiddle
4/30 • Charleston, WV • The Empty Glass
5/11 • Brattleboro, VT • Whetstone Station Restaurant and Brewery
5/12 • Wareham, MA • 3065 Live
5/13 • Boston, MA • PA's Lounge
This week, I want to touch on a subject I've been thinking about a lot recently: Healthcare. It's a metamorphosing beast that's never been truly figured out in the US, but it has been and will be going through a lot of change. The Affordable Care Act directly impacted my ability to leave my job and go into business for myself as a full-time musician. So I wanted to lay out some of my experiences with the ACA and my thoughts on it in this week’s blog.
This is part four of my interview series with recent collaborators. Today, I'm sharing my interview with Evan Brace, who directed the music video for my latest single, "I Don't Feel Alright."
I met Evan after a show we played in Nashville on our last tour. He was filming another band playing with us that night, Soft Robot (half of which ended up serving as crew on the IDFA video). He ended up shooting some of our set and gave me a card to get the footage from him....