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P A B L O ' S M U S I N G S Pabs General music thoughts

Music 2015. The buzzword will be ‘windows’

Not the Microsoft kind although that is due as well. Windows is the term for the difference in time between physical media releases and them appearing on streaming services. (just in case you didn’t know)

It presents a wee dilemma to our band; we have a small but perfectly formed (and extremely loyal) following and we must make sure they are looked after. Which presents a challenge as we need to pay for the album (albeit we keep the costs low)

Weird Decibels 1 was paid for mostly by ticket sales (for gigs we organised), private function gigs (covers..) and then finally CD sales. Streaming did not contribute much at all (in fact by the time we paid set up fees we lost money this way)

So this has got me (over) thinking. How do we develop a ‘release strategy’; sorry I sound like a bit of dick but hey got to get with the times.

wpid-a2078779249_2.jpgWeird Decibels 1   was the first album we released on both the internet and CD. Previously we simply handed out CD’s like everyone else from that era (90′, 00’s).

WdB1 landed on Bandcamp first; a lot of people listened on that platform but we got no download sales. Due to a delay the CD was released a month later; it sold better than our previous albums probably because our listener base is orientated to a physical release (a kind way of saying we’re getting older!). Spotify and the rest followed and the payback was minimal.

The next HMR release (my solo album) Paul Henry Smith – Morningday aired on Spotify, iTunes and other digital services first. Listening rates were good and there was even a few downloads but again not enough to cover set-up costs. The CD sold a few copies but well down on WdB1 (I won’t take that personally!!). Did people settle to listening to the album on the stream?

Then along came Taylor Swift; not to our gigs or anything like that, no she pulled all her music from Spotify because it paid her (and her record company) a pittance per stream. This got the whole industry talking about release ‘windows’; basically your favourite artist (Swift is a long way from that) releases a CD or vinyl and then weeks later it will appear on streaming services. Great…

I love Spotify; I get my Uncut magazine and I listen to the radio; I will hunt for the album on Spotify. If I love it I will order the CD. Now if ‘windows’ are to take effect I’m screwed.

The conflict? Spotify unfairly cuts the band and I from the financial stream. I wish they would pay more.

I love being on the service; many of our friends have ventured to other lands and yet they can still enjoy our albums and even share them with new audiences. I believe, and I speak for myself, that it’s a price worth paying.

However we need to think of our next album and as you can tell by this blog entry my thoughts are going round in circles. I hate the idea of ‘windows’ I love music embracing new technology (hi def streaming etc); I love that fact I can listen to any album when ever I want and I pay for this service every month, not only that, I love CD’s dropping through the letter box!! (sorry record stores, although saying that I bought a few CD’s out of FOPP the other week)

Gigs we organise help pay for future recordings. So thanks for coming!!
Gigs we organise help pay for future recordings. So thanks for coming!!

I pay through my teeth for music, CD’s, Spotify premium and gigs and yet my record collection is all over the place because the industry has no clear vision. My CD collection slowed over the last couple of years. My iTunes collection; the hours spent ripping CD’s etc’ has stopped (waste of time and money downloading to be honest) and now Spotify could end up become a music library like Netflix is to movies (ie no new releases)

Well my head is bursting now; basically the music industry is going to have to find its feet. Those who love music will always pay; it just seems we have to change our plans for everyone else.

Anyway back to the band’s next release. We’re thinking about a ‘window’!!! ( 4 weeks tops! Buy our CD please!!)

Or maybe we won’t… Maybe we should just be happy that in this day of music overload you still have the time to listen to our music.

Love to you all

Pabs

Happy listening whatever and wherever that may be

Here is a fantastic music industry blog that tries to find the answers that I have clearly failed to find.

http://musicindustryblog.wordpress.com/

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J O U R N A L music review of the year

Weird Decibels our 2014.

Weird Decibels review of the year 2014

January

The year started with a mixture of optimism and permission; we had started writing weird decibels 2 and it wasn’t really taking off so we had to find some inspiration from somewhere. We booked ourselves a wee lodge in Oakley for the end of the month.

Before we were due to set off we had the small matter of releasing a new music video. Speak was the song we opted for.

http://youtu.be/bhh3IeKejGM

We stayed true to the black and white theme of Weird Decibels 1. It was shot down at the practise room with a mixture of stills and live footage. The idea was to have a bit of fun with each of us switching musical positions. The video did quite well; sitting at over 1000 views and that isn’t taking into account the Blank TV stats. A good start!.

The Falkirk Herald kindly ran a story about the video. Nice folk.

http://www.falkirkherald.co.uk/what-s-on/weird-combine-sound-and-vision-once-again-1-3271181

Moshville times wrote a nice piece for us as part of their ‘Band of the Day’; my favourite quote would be ‘not exactly radio friendly (!)’ and ‘ an overall undercurrent of folk’ this led us to utter a new genre Folking Metal!

http://www.moshville.co.uk/botd/2014/01/new-band-of-the-day-weird-decibels/

Spotifyimage3as January came to a close we headed off to Oakley with the acoustic guitars and a shit load of beer. We wrote 6 songs. ‘I Hear The City’, Little Thoughts Lost’, ‘Digital Takeover’, Curtain Hits the Cast’, ‘Quoted Not Voted’ and ‘Hit Me’ the latter had everyone reaching for their beers a little quicker. ‘Its a song about depression’ quipped Stu. We never played it again.

February

This took us neatly into February and Tommy Clark of the Third Class Ticket Show continued to do us proud by playing us on his show; ‘Speak’ getting the slot.

Click ‘like’ here

https://www.facebook.com/TheThirdClassTicket

March

We were looking forward to playing Stereo but the gig was cancelled. I was gutted at this news; A because I love playing live and B because its a cracking venue.

We also uploaded the remasters of One More Solo to limited success!! I’m not sure if its worth doing the other albums; the overpowering bass of the original master was swamping the album. I like the new master though.

Hear for yourself.

http://weirddecibels.bandcamp.com/album/one-more-solo-remastered

April

April was quiet for us. I was busy working on Morningday; an album I recorded with Kevin Byrne and Jemma Burt.

May

Derek and Ann tied the knot. Its good to have a least one celebrity wedding a year.

World cup fever was building, we continued to practise the new songs another quiet month.

June

We had a gig at Pivo Pivo to look forward to. We were sitting in the practise room mulling over the limited response to the gig (we would learn that gigs are best played on a Friday or Saturday); we got a phone call from PM promotions who had helped us have some cracking gigs in 2013 (Oran Mor, ABC 2). It was to be at the QMU; an old stomping ground for us. The big stage right? We asked the promoter.

Ah no its Jims Bar.

Mmm it still looked ok so we went for it given that Saturday gigs tend to be better. First gig of 2014 booked… in June… Anyway it was to be part of the ‘West End Festival’.

June would also see us attempt our own event. We booked a gig at the brilliant 13th Note with young rockers Ciceros secret, Miss the Occupier and The Dark Arts. Things were picking up!

10401915_10152485640034519_7255418438963022257_nThe 21st of June would see us play Jim’s Bar. I filmed the approach to the gig hoping to start a documentary for the band. It was a clammy summers day, the football was on and the venue was like a an oven. Not the greatest gig; our patience with PM promotions was staring to run low.

https://weirddecibels.wordpress.com/2014/06/29/pabs-gig-diary-jims-bar-qmu-live/

July

The film I made for the Jim’s Bar gig was quickly shoehorned into a video for Joker’ we hadn’t had a presence on YouTube for a while and this was a chance to get back on.

Not our greatest video by any stretch but it was a bit of fun. Views? 120 on our page around 600 on Blank TV. Very disappointing given the success of the other videos. A fickle world indeed!

Go on click the link and make it 121 views.

http://youtu.be/5GAXNtruyqA

August

I was with Lewis sipping a coffee at the Helix when the phone rang. James Trimble from the Falkirk Herald looking for an interview! So look out for our article in the next couple of weeks! Thanks James. This was a Facebook post I wrote the day James Trimble phoned my mobile as I sipped a coffee. You should have seen the looks of the other costumers as I was talking about writing albums and playing gigs!

http://www.falkirkherald.co.uk/what-s-on/falkirk-s-kelpies-are-rocking-horses-in-music-video-1-3501992

It was a very good article from James Trimble.

The heat the rock it was all there
The heat the rock it was all there

To top off this fantastic month we played our gig at the 13th Note. One of the best we played and we met some good friends old and new that night. I also highly recommend the Notes veggie burgers!!

https://weirddecibels.wordpress.com/2014/08/23/gig-diary-22nd-august-13th-note-glasgow/

Oh before I finish August we had promised for weeks to do the ‘ice bucket challenge; the Facebook craze that had went mega viral, listen close and you will hear Stu scream like a big girl!

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=868665706491852&set=vb.128933433798420&type=2&theater

September

We booked another gig; this time at Ivory Blacks. It looked very promising; although it was on a school night…

September was a quiet month of writing and recording practise sessions. We actually started writing in the old room again and the results were pretty good.

October

We launched our very own website this month in a hope not to rely too much on Facebook. Its hard to say where this is going to go. My how did we get to attached to Facebook. Disturbing…

anyway here it is.

http://www.weirddecibels.com/

The website will probably evolve to become more of a tribute to our 20 years together. Watch this space.

We started drinking tea and coffee at practise; yes you read that right.

November

Stu rocks the ivory
Stu rocks the ivory

We hyped the Ivory Black gig as a send off to Weird Decibels 1. A very disappointing gig and a rather sad end to the live life of Weird Decibels 1. Maybe we’ll do another show and send it off in style.

As I write about the highs and lows of unsigned music life there are certain things that quickly pull you back into perspective

Our good friend and fellow musician Chris Masson passed away at the age of 37. Too young. Too soon.

https://weirddecibels.wordpress.com/2014/11/15/chris-masson-1977-2014/

On the 22nd of November the guys brought their gear around to my place and we set up the studio. We wrote another batch of cracking songs for Weird Decibels 2. This will be the way we write in the future given the success of the session.

https://soundcloud.com/weirdmusiconline/the-canine-with-no-teeth

December

Weird Decibels 2014
Weird Decibels 2014

The band has wrapped up early this year, work and the festive season have taken their toll on our practise sessions.

All is good, we have a batch of songs ready to be rehearsed and eventually recorded next year

2014 has been a mixed bag. Some highs some lows; I feel we lost a wee bit of momentum this year due to different circumstances and perhaps poor choices.

2015 is our 20th anniversary. A new album is due, new videos, gigs, podcast and hopefully a film. So a lot to look forward to,

Massive thanks to the unflinching support of our family and friends

The unsigned musicians work is never done!

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Gigs playlist

The songs we played live from Weird Decibels 1

On the 6th of November 2014 we play Ivory Blacks in Glasgow. it will be the last gig we play in support of our last album Weird Decibels 1 before we retire that fine record to the retro corner. Our focus will then turn to Weird Decibels 2.0 (could we call it anything else?)

Derek setting up the kit for Tonight Live Not Completely Sold Out
Derek setting up the kit for Tonight Live Not Completely Sold Out

We played a few gigs in support of Weird Decibels 1 so I thought I count up how many times we played each song. Its not an exact science but here goes. Gigs + songs – Beer – set list changes + requests = the song count below.

1. Speak played 8 times

1. Joker played 8 times

3. Wonder played 6 times (listed 7 but swapped for a request)

3. Wait played 6 times

5. Deliverance played 5 times

5. Steel played 5 times

7. Crown played 3 times

7. Power played 3 times

9. Forward played twice

9, Pay played twice

9. Industry played twice

12. Psalm played once

Notable others (from Forthcoming WdB 2,0) Miss Asphyxia 3, Kill It Kill it 2, I Hear The City 2, Little Thoughts Lost 1 and (from One More Solo)High Heels 1

The three songs with videos on YouTube or otherwise known as the ‘singles’ (Speak, Joker and Wonder) have been played (or listed) the most.

942848_10151577466209519_719894918_n

In at joint 3rd is Wait! a throwaway piece of rock that we loved playing but every time we looked up there was muted applause! So we decided to drop it from future sets. While at the bottom Psalm the down tuned 3 solo epic opener is the least played. This is partly due to the down tuning hassles and the limited time we had on stage. We played Psalm at the launch night (back at 20 rocks)  when we had far more time to play. Pity, I would’ve loved to play that more. Forward and Pay never got played much; that happens with certain tracks I guess.

598493_10151772481266740_1524365803_n

Here is the track listing for Ivory Blacks

1. Speak

2. Deliverance

3. Wonder

4. Power

5. Joker

6. Crown

7, Industry

probably high Heels!

wpid-IMG_14851348694004.jpeg

So that gives us Speak 9 (plays), Joker 9, Wonder 7, Wait 6 Deliverance 6, Steel 5, Power 4, Crown 4, Industry 3, Pay 2, Forward 2 and Psalm. Oh not forgetting High Heels!

Pabs

Categories
Gigs

Gig Diary 22nd August 13th Note Glasgow

Weird Decibels live at 13th note 22/08/2014

Our names in lights
Our names in lights

A few months ago at practise, Derek suggested that we run and promote our own music night for a change; give the promoters a wee break. So Derek, Greg and Stu ( I was kinda leaving it to them to be honest) fused their music biz minds together and came up with SYTB promotions.(if you’re wondering its Strumit, Yellit, Twangit and Bangit)

A venue was needed, 13th Note were offering their excellent venue plus sound man for a very competitive price. It seemed too easy. The only thing we needed now was other bands.

DSC00268
a solid performance from the Dark Arts

We talked about the bands we have played with over the years and wanted a good mix of styles for our debut event. Up stepped Miss The Occupier, Dark Arts and Ciceros Secret. Three fine and very different bands.

Here is the story of the night.

The first thing that surprised me was my car; the boot swallowed up the bass amp plus two guitar amps without so much as a shrug. Gear packed we battled though the rush hour traffic back to the city of Glasgow which is still basking in the after glow of the Commonwealth Games.

IMG_20140822_174646071
derek couldn’t wait until the photo was taken and kept eating nom nom

We arrived early so I had time to sample some of the 13th Notes grub. Its all veggie; to be honest I could do with a night of the red stuff so I ordered a cracking veggie burger. Once we were fed we headed down stairs to one of the cities most iconic wee venues. For a band our size it feels more like home; even a modest crowd fills the room so that settled us.

The sound check went smoothly; the other bands rolled in. It was nice to see Jon from the Dark Arts; we played for a least three years together in the Seventeenth. Now I’m not saying it was a time of high fives and fist pumps, we had our moments, but it is a time I look back fondly on; it was nice to see the fella again. I was tempted to ask if he still listens to the old Seventeenth records (I do) but I let that one pass.

Ciceros Secret arrived; they are a nice bunch. We played with this young band back in November 2013 at the Garage Attic that was a crazy gig; their fans stormed the stage and the place turned into a mosh pit.

Miss the Occupier are friends of our friends and it was nice to meet them.

Now that the greeting were out the way it was time to get down to business.

The wonderful Miss the Occupier
The wonderful Miss the Occupier

The crowd floated in as Miss The Occupier took to the stage playing a fine mix of their own tunes which reminded me of Joy Division, they had a really clean, punchy sound; Roz the singer owned the stage. The crowd swelled and the temperature rose; the 13th Note atmosphere was here!

I really enjoyed their set you should check out their excellent video on YouTube

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OPZrhr5Pbn8

Sometimes it good to hear something you know, the Dark Arts provided a cracking set of rock covers for the now packed audience. Pearl Jams ‘Even Flow’ was excellent; Jon was particularly good on the bass. He had his sound spot on which was not really a surprise given that he was a perfectionist back in the Seventeenth days.

It was our turn to step up and time was pressing I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little rushed. I quickly set up the gear and we were ready to go. Or so I thought.

Set list

  1. Speak

  2. Kill it! Kill it!

  3. Miss Asphyxia

  4. Wonder

  5. Little Thoughts Lost

  6. Deliverance

  7. Joker

  8. I Hear the City

The heat the rock it was all there
The heat the rock it was all there

We started well with the now stable Speak which often opens our set. This flowed nicely into Kill it! Kill it! Slight confusion at the intro but generally nailed. Then it was a wee hello to the crowd; straight back into Miss Asphyxia. By now I could hear my guitar on stage and it seemed out of tune but we flowed onto Wonder where Stu held the notes. A quick tune up confirmed that the G string was well out (har har). That fixed we moved on to a strong finish. New song Little Thoughts Lost got a little lost in my head! However Deliverance, Joker and new favourite I Hear the City went down well.

It was good to see the crowd right next to us; I was pleased everyone had stuck around to the end. It was hot; my shirt and tie combo was beginning to feel like a bad idea.

Before I knew it we were done and quickly packing up the pedals to allow head-liners Ciceros Secret on.

These guys are in their late teens; their music is high energy experimental metal. Its loud and in your face and I hate to say it but it took me back to the days when we started 20 years ago! Long hair waiving, loud music, playing hard and fast and not caring that some of the crowd were now starting to disperse into the late Friday night.

For those that remained they were treated to a brilliant show; their guitarists weaving through the crowd not missing a note. They were a brilliant end to the night.

We learned a few lessons on the night. Bands will run over, its natural with live music. So I’ll try not to rush my set-up in future. All in all it was a very successful night.

Final thought goes to our fans. Given that many of you have now seen us live many times we feel we are in a unique place that we have a group of friends that want to come tine and time again. The effort you guys make is quite simply brilliant. Thank you for keeping the band live.

Thank you WdB fans!!!
Thank you WdB fans!!!