Starting From Square One - Part 1: Advice for the First-Time Band Member - Building Blocks
In previous Building Blocks articles I’ve covered a variety of topics targeted at breakout bands trying to get established. Things like rehearsal technique, headlining, and what it takes to be a professional musician. In this next series, I’m going to dial things back to the beginning, for those readers who are really starting from Square One as band musicians. Upcoming articles will include such topics as forming your own band, preparing for an audition, and surviving your first gig. While geared towards the beginning musician, more accomplished players should definitely stay tuned, because this information cuts across all levels of experience.
Before jumping into all those issues, let’s start with some basic advice, the kind I wished I’d gotten when I took my first steps toward becoming a pro musician.
Like A Storm - Ex Pat Files
Brothers Matt, Kent and Chris Brooks of Vancouver-based Kiwi anthemic hard rock outfit, Like A Storm, have been back in New Zealand to escape the real storms of the northern hemisphere winter, catching up with friends and family and shooting footage for a DVD for their North American fans. Tony O’Sullivan took the chance to catch up with Matt, the youngest of the brothers, to find out how they have been weathering the last year or so.
"Yo, yo, yo...Check one, two." Your Voice on the Mic - Finding Your Voice
My last NZM column dealt with singing in the studio. So, it’s only right that we now discuss the joys and idiosyncrasies of singing ‘live’ - in particular: mic technique.
You might think I’m stating the obvious, but, nearly being deafened by Florence Walsh pointing her mic directly at a speaker at Laneway was a reminder that the basics are fundamental – and fundamentals are… fundamental.
Loui The ZU - Fresh Talent
Merely 17 and already a skilled MC, songwriter, beatmaker and bandleader, Loui The ZU (Mzwethu Ngubane), is representative of the first wave of tumblr.com generation musicians to emerge here in NZ. Blending blogging with social network themes popularised on facebook and twitter, tumblr allows users to post text, images, videos, links, quotes and audio to their page. Heavily utilised by a new breed of 25-and-under outsider musicians, the site allows these often completely D.I.Y artists to showcase, beyond just their musical works, efforts in graphic design, photography, art and even home filmmaking.
Mmdelai - Fresh Talent
Christchurch band Mmdelai truly are Mmdelicious. Their freshly recorded, self-titled EP is like candy to the ears, jam packed of eerie, unique tracks that are a cut above the offerings of many of their contemporaries. Heavily influenced by U.N.K.L.E, the band say that the sound captured on the EP is “one massive evolving collaboration, inspired by friends bands, other bands we’re in, and life events in general.”
Sherpa - Fresh Talent
Sherpa have been cutting their teeth on the underground circuit for a few years now, but have only just started to gain real traction. With their new album ‘Lesser Flamingo’ due outin March and a refreshed style plus line up, they’re ready to take that giant step from teen underground party band to the next big thing.
Spook The Horses - Fresh Talent
Together as a band since February 2009, Wellington post-rock quintet Spook The Horses’ desolate, fuzzy soundscapes and growled vocal performances are the product of lasting friendships, a series of never quite solidified bands dating back the members’ high school years, and the social nature of the local music scene. As guitarist Donnie Cuzens' states, “Wellington can be a fairly close-knit culture a lot of the time. Alex, Ben and I shared stages in separate bands for about three or four years before I joined them in Spook The Horses.”
Tied On Teeth - Fresh Talent
I remember the first time I heard Tied On Teeth, I was listening to one of the bNets and was struck by a track so catchy I had to actually stop what I was doing and take note. Like a bee stuck in a net. Blue sounds like the 22.214.171.124’s track Woo Hoo as featured in Kill Bill Volume One, but played with the freshness and fervor only youth can provide.
Josh Sorenson - Get Yer Kit Off
Josh Sorenson has been around the block a time or two, playing with the likes of King Kapisi, Nathan Haines, Hello Sailor and The Alan Brown Trio and Hammond Gamble. A Programme Leader at MAINZ (he teaches drums and music technology), band member and session player, he is an inspiration to many an up and coming young drummer, He talks here with fellow specialist Nathan Trainor, who plays in Auckland metal band Fractured and dispenses retail advice in central Auckland.
Rob Burns - Moments Like These
Rob Burns arrived here from the UK with 28 years of experience as a session bass player, touring musician and composer. He has been a Dunedin resident for over a decade, and, yes the Robert Burns association is well pedaled. His history includes playing with David Gilmour, Pete Townshend, Eric Burdon, Jon Lord and Ian Paice, James Burton, Albert Lee and Jerry Donahue. He also played on television soundtracks for Blackadder, Mr. Bean and Red Dwarf, to say nothing of the odd high profile TV commercial. He’s also a teacher with his former students playing for bands and artists such as Basement Jaxx, K.T. Tunstall, Chaka Khan, Moby and Radiohead.
Rob is currently is endorsed by Picato Musicians’ Strings, J-Retro pre-amps and Electric Wood basses. He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Music at Otago University.
Julian Temple - On Foreign Soil
Late last year Julian Temple released his solo album, 'Nowhere Fast'. Better known for relentless touring throughout NZ as a power trio, the solo version allows more focus on his inspired lyrics and masterful voice. What better way to celebrate than by completely ignoring the album's title and throwing together a last minute world tour, on route to tying the knot in his native California. The man himself takes NZM along for the ride.
The Pitfalls of Oral Agreements - The Lawful Truth
People are naturally cautious about what they sign when it comes to their commercial dealings in the music industry. However, given that a mere informal conversation can in certain circumstances also form the basis for a legally binding agreement, are we all equally careful about what we say?
Wavelab's Audio File - Tutors' Tutorials
In this issue we are going to have a look at Steinberg’s Wavelab. This is a powerful software package that comes jam-packed with useful and versatile tools for several audio-tweaking applications. For example, there are specific workspaces for creating podcasts, batch processing, compiling and mastering albums and a simple but powerful wave view titled Audio File. Within each of these task-specific workspaces there are a myriad of helpful and practical options relating to the task.
Ffunny Ffrends - Unknown Mortal Orchestra - X Factory
I put the word out on #twitter that I was looking for a song to talk about in the next NZM issue. First response reply was 20 seconds later by @Shes_So_Rad, saying UMO!