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P A B L O ' S M U S I N G S

My Music Collection… The Missing Years.

Last weekend I was about to head off for a camping trip with my family when I remembered that my Dad would have his Bose CD player; we always bring together our latest CD’s and over a few beers we play them. Problem was I had very few new CD’s to let him hear.

So I thought its OK I’ll skim through Spotify at the latest albums I’ve been listening and just connect my phone to the Bose. However when I scrolled down through my recent playlists I could only remember how a few of my recent music finds sounded.

My Spotify albums; some of which i can't remember listening to!
My Spotify albums; some of which i can’t remember listening to!

I went back upstairs to my CD collection that is quietly gathering dust in the spare room. As I looked through my records I could see very few new releases, I realised that my collection now has a massive gap thanks to the wonders of streaming.

Spotify is my weapon of choice; premium is a fantastic package that allows me to listen to a vast collection of music that ultimately is not mine. The sound quality is good as well I have the stream and download rate maxed but it is not a patch on a CD through a decent amp. As I write I am listening to a CD that I streamed constantly on Spotify and there is a depth of music that I had not heard previously.

CD's old and new. Sound great.
CD’s old and new. Sound great.

I’m an artist who has music on Spotify through Weird Decibels https://open.spotify.com/album/0RqqqJ6LnoqCjbPdGYuMxL  and Morningday https://open.spotify.com/album/15QpqO4q0wT1EP4qV3LnG4 I have another concern. CD’s are hard to sell because everyone loves streaming and downloading (not to mention BitTorrent) and I get that. However my recent cheque of $8 from digital distribution service CDbaby won’t cover the cost of the CD’s I printed!

The future of Spotify is slightly uncertain, it’s losing money at an alarming rate and it is ripe for a hostile takeover. Tidal has arrived at our shores and as much as I love HD streaming £20 a month seems steep; I’m going to wait and see how this pans out. There is something that doesn’t sit right with multi millionaire musicians starting up a service to challenge the likes of Spotify etc. Are they any better? Do they want to control the market? Are they really looking after us, the wee guys?

Ideally I want to own my collection (downloads don’t cut it…) and as an artist I want to be paid for the hours that I toil for music that I hope you enjoy. I’m also worried about the vast amount of bands that I have simply forgotten about and I’m sure the vast majority of music consumers now do the same. Listen. Like. Next. Repeat.

CD nights are great
CD nights are great

So have had made the decision to buy CD’s (or pay for unsigned downloads) again (my wife won’t be pleased); perhaps not in the volume I used to (I can’t afford that) and I will continue support music Spotify will remain a vital cog in my music set-up but perhaps I will use it as the ‘try before you buy’ like I used to. A physical format is a wonderful way of transporting you back to the time you bought the product and well the love of artwork has been well documented.

Perhaps my music collection won’t be so sparse if the cloud ever starts to rain…

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Pabs General music thoughts

Music in 2014 will be…

…the year of writing Weird Decibels 2.

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Weird Decibels 1 is actually a 2012 album, 2013 was the year we promoted it. Some of the songs were written back in 2009. So our thoughts turn to the next set of songs. We started writing last year but the writing was in fits and starts. Ms Asphyxia has been played live, a few others are holding on, Kill it! Kill it! Standing on a Viewpoint but its fair to say life got in the way and writing halted.
We’ve booked a weekend break in a lodge in Oakley. We’ll take the acoustics and a load of beer and wine, the studio and a dose of hope that inspiration will take hold and some songs will be born. I can see this being the way we write our songs in the future.

….when One More Solo turns ten.

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Its hard to believe our ‘come back’ album is ten years old. This is the first album we recorded when Stu rejoined the band. The album was easy to write, we were invigorated, the 2 year break (myself, Derek and Greg joined Jon Shaw and formed the Seventeenth) helped refreshen our outlook. We recorded this album at Derek’s old flat on a Tascam 788. We had one or two mics the best of which was a Stagg condenser. We made a vocal booth from egg cups and it was mixed on my hi fi with two huge Celef speakers as monitors. I’ve learned a wee bit more about sound production. The album has been remastered, it sounds a bit better, more clarity and more dynamics and less guitar ringing! (Derek is gutted) Its a simple remaster, it will sound a lot better on its 20th anniversary when I finally work out how to use multi band compressors. The One More Solo remaster is out soon and will be free to download.

…. Weird Decibels playing live.

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Derek is injured so we won’t be playing live until at least the spring. We hope to play new venues and new cities, maybe even new countries. Playing live made 2013 special for us and we met a lot of great new friends. I’d definitely like to re visit the 13th note I love that venue. Another gig in England would be nice…

….when music videos are once again all the range.

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Wonder was great in 2013 but we left it too long to record its follow up so this year we’re going to have more content on YouTube. The Speak video will be first, then a video for Joker. We hope to have the film Making of Weird Decibels 1 finished and uploaded into episodes on YouTube. We’ll give video podcasts a shot as well.

…. a new Podcast series.

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The podcasts have been popular. Thanks for listening. This year we will reminisce. We hope to have some friends from old Falkirk bands guesting in our pods, some live performances. A look at one more solo and general silliness. Look out for the podcast from the writing weekend where we’ll hopefully have a brand new song or two for you to hear in acoustic format.

…. social networking???

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I’ve no idea where social networks are going. We’re signed up to all the major players. Updating them all is a pain in the arse. Engagement is the key… Is Facebook declining? Is MySpace back? Is reverbnation the hub? Is Bandcamp ever going to improve their search algorithm? There is a part of me that says word of mouth is best. I’m at a loss. Where is the best platform for our band? YouTube? See above.

….the solo album

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I am writing a lot of songs at the moment. I trying to write my writers block to death! ( writing as much as you can kills block ) Some are for the band others are for me, mainly the tunes that wouldn’t work with the band but I don’t want to throw away. Seriously around early December I was staring at a blank page holding the guitar and nothing was coming. That thought. Is this it? Is this me finished? I played and played the guitar, staring out into the garden. Then stuff clicked and I recorded everything onto the tablet. I took the best ideas and have laid them down but its getting harder, so I have to work harder. Hopefully my 7th solo record will be out this year. However my priority remains Weird Decibels 8th!

…. I will expand ‘Pablo’s unsigned adventure’

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Bandcamp, it was a random search and I stumbled upon the Spanish band 9M Lied. Loved their recordings and I decided to write about my favourite unsigned bands. Its not easy, there is so much content on the internet and its frustrating trying to find the hidden gems. The criteria? Unsigned. Not recommend by staff ( I don’t trust this). Not the most popular. I want the bands that are ignored or just starting out. Recommendations welcome. Hopefully I’ll get one new band a month.

…. Fail to hold back the stream

I love CD’s. Want to explore vinyl. You cannot match the sound quality of these physical formats…yet. But i cannot afford it. Bought 5 CDs last month, (still waiting for their arrival…) Cost me a small fortune. I have Spotify premium. ( another can of worms) For now its great but I feel weird using Spotify knowing how much we as artists get paid per stream. Anyway its feeding my music appetite this year as it did the last.

So enjoy your music in 2014 my big hope? Well we get signed, but seriously? A new scene, a fresh batch of new bands. Fingers crossed.

Pabs.