I've been thinking up some ideas for the next year or so - once again, now that the two new albums are finished they're behind me and so no longer of interest... except that I've still got the hard part of the job to go, namely selling them. What a luxury it must be for artists who have a record label to do the selling for them (and a manager to book gigs...)! Thanks very much to Jen and Mike for putting in orders, you have no idea how much that cheers me up - every little helps.
Once again, After Maths & Sciences (Australian soundscapes) and Gleefully Unknown: 1997-2005 (best-of compilation) are available for $15 each. Drop me a line (fiffdimensionATgmailDOTcom)...
Anyway, I'm more interested now in what's next. The music course has the same breaks as school terms. So the ideas for the breaks are:
April, go up north, play gig in Wellington, visit Cynthia's friends in Whakatane and see East Cape (the main part of the country I haven't yet been to);
July, go over to Brisbane (next logical Aussie destination after seeing Melbourne, Sydney, and briefly Perth and Adelaide), play at Liquid Architecture festival, make documentary about cane toads;
October, do a show for Dunedin Fringe Festival.
Lots of planning/organising to do. And then there's the really big task - Europe, 2007. I'd love to do it with Ascension Band, but so far they're all notably slack on replying to my emails. So I get angsty about whether I'm an outcast because of the stupid incident last year where I gave someone a hug which was taken the wrong way and then my apology not accepted - 2005 had to have one blot on an otherwise great year. It's a bit awkward being isolated away from Wellington, but on the other hand after six years in Wellington I ultimately got tired of the place, and life's good in Nelson.
There's a deadline - the band Sabot are a major contact, based in Prague. They're playing in Wellington (at Happy, Saturday 11th March - worth seeing) and Nelson in a couple of weeks. They gave me a list of booking contacts in Europe - but I need to know what I'm booking. Are the guys in or should I just try and go solo? It'll look really lame if I haven't made any progress.
Other jobs include - big pile of CDs to review for online magazine Foxy Digitalis (based in Oklahoma - amusingly, one of the discs they sent me was from Wellington band mr sterile); getting APRA details updated and trying to get the new albums some radio airplay; coming up with and organising a solo show for Brisbane and Dunedin; and coursework. Luckily it's not as full-on as the journalism course, but I do have to practice my scales etc, work on those blues leads - and I'm very gradually starting to read sheet music...
Music school's good fun, feels like coming to home to finally be doing something I really want to do - I never had enough real passion for film or journalism. The class are a good bunch of people, variety of backgrounds - interesting to see where people are at. Some just want to build confidence, some play by ear but don't know the theory, some seem like guitar wizards already... I've got more theory than some, and I've been writing original music for over ten years. What I need is to lift my playing chops, and to find ways of breaking through the great wall of indifference - all those people out there who'd love my music if only they knew it existed, and the ones who browse the website but don't place an order (this probably means you).
To that end I made (yet) another new album last week - 'Gleefully Unknown 1997-2005'. This is the 'best of' compilation I've talked about for a while (and for which Creative NZ were completely unhelpful with funding). It's on CDR at this stage, but I've worked on getting the packaging really good - lots of colour photos, and including all the lyrics this time. I also bought a colour printer that can print artwork directly onto the surface of the disc rather than needing sticky labels.
It's got 18 tracks, including pieces from all my albums, stuff with The Winter and Ascension Band ('Live 2004' lineup), and two previously unreleased tracks. So if you need a handle on my life's work, start right here. Email me for a copy (fiffdimensionATgmailDOTcom), $15 each.
The summer holiday ended on a good note - I saw two Will Oldham gigs, in Nelson and at the Mussell Inn in Takaka. Here's one of my all-time favourite songwriters, who I've listened to for ten years now, and he's playing to a hundred people at the local Irish pub! I went up to him at the end to say hi, and he accepted a copy of my compilation album. Hope he listens to it...
It was also great to see him at the Mussell Inn, big smile, talking about how well he slept and how much he's enjoying NZ. For someone with a reputation for dark songwriting, he seems like a downright jolly chap. And the looseness of the band (including Dirty Three guitarist Mick Turner on keyboards) was much more to my taste than the drilled precision of Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds.
There was a more disturbing element to the visit to Golden Bay though - Pupu Springs closed due to rock snot. This country of ours is so fragile...
Have to get the house cleaned up for bbq this afternoon... we invited a bunch of people, wonder if many will turn up?