SO MANY THINGS!
Like tons of you out there – I feel that weight and pressure to make it all happen. The physical aspect of the music studio was certainly one I had been expecting to see pick up a lot more over these past two years, but also to be considered in this equation is the indisputable fact that nothing about sleepingbagstudios has ever really gone the way we – or eventually I – had planned.
And also like many of you – I’ve made that decision to make this the rest of my life in whatever capacity I can afford to do that in. As a result of what is entirely too much downtime in the recording aspect of the studio I’ve both dropped our pricing for the summer, and quite likely I’ll be finding my way back into the corporate world with a regular j-o-b for at least the remainder of this year to come.
The long and the short of it, is that I suffer largely from “Peter-Pan” syndrome. I don’t want to grow up and make bills the priority – I want to stay here with you all and continue to support all of your amazing talent and music. I truly do. And for the most part – I should still be able to do much of what I do here through sleepingbagstudios without too much having to change, or be scrapped. And somehow, despite a large feeling of failure that comes along with this all – I’m also becoming more okay with the idea as it plays inside my brain.
The beginning stages needed that dedication of time for you to all learn about us, who we are as people and why we want to help the music so much – now that a year and a half has flown by with all of you amazing people, I feel I can safely say that those introductions have definitely been established. You know who we are – but better still – you also know what we’re capable of. We aren’t going anywhere – we’re still here and ready to make all kinds of noise…just looking towards more structure in planning and organizing recording times around whatever else I’ve got to take on in the meantime.
Our event with Everyday Music TV went fantastically…I haven’t had a full chance to really explain how awesome that day really was…so check this out!
The morning started with our good friend & solo-artist LAURA KELSEY showing up to help out for the day, as well as record a brand new track first thing in the morning! Before we go ANY further – I’m proud to say that song, “Spring Is Here” is available now for free to download on her Soundcloud page! Awesome right? That’s a huge positive and we’re honored to have been one of the studios to work with this amazingly talented artist, yes we are! It also makes me happy – cause those of you who have seen my own performance as The Cellophane Heart on the EDMTV channel…well, you know I probably should have spent my morning in continual practice…but if the end result of me ducking out on that is a new Laura Kelsey track…that’s more than worth the trade I figure!
Once Rod Matheson from EDMTV got here, the day completely clicked into place for the rest of the day & into the night. As MAN MADE LAKE got set up in the studio and began to crack into the whiskey bottles – Rod took me out to the woods to film my song “The Oxidation Process” so that I could be freed up for the rest of the day and keep it all rolling along smoothly. I was um… beyond-not-ready. Or at least not as ready as I had led myself to believe! After about 20 minutes of attempts went by, that final performance after you can now see posted as day #750 out of the 1000 days that EDMTV is posting for. It came out shaky, nervous…and full of the pure emotion and heart that I would have wanted to go with it…and as rough as I might have been, I’m proud to have been a part of this project through an actual musical posting…it’s truly something I never thought possible for me.
But enough about me! There were plenty of REAL musicians on-hand that day worth mentioning. First and foremost – Man Made Lake, who I had mentioned came all the way from the island to do this with us. Now…only about 48 hours prior to them coming did I find out for 100% certain that they would be the only ones who needed the studio that night – but once I did, I offered them the space for the day basically, to make it more justifiable & worthwhile of a trip for them. I had asked if they could play a few extras…but what we got was extraordinary.
Man Made Lake launched into a full 20-song set that included past album songs, a handful from their latest album Bodhicitta: The Shepherd and a TON of random jams that would have easily passed as “finished” songs for nearly anyone else. At one point, Laura Kelsey joined them into the studio for an unforgettable collaboration on their song “She Wouldn’t Dance,” and stayed to rock through a full set of random jams taking turns with Colin from MML on the mic.
Sadly – Rod from EDMTV missed that part of the Man Made Lake set, but was there solidly for the eight songs before and you can see both “Lemon Cake” and “Nico” from their time here on the site now. But he had good reason to miss it – we had plenty to do that day! He was already back in the forest, recording a solo artist & friend to the studio by the name of JARED SWINGHOLM. Really cool footage on this one – it was later & colder in the day, you could actually see Jared’s breath during the performance! Huge thank you to him as well, he stuck it out for the rest of the night and even rocked a song with Nate and Steve from Man Made Lake in a moment where Morgan wasn’t guarding the drum-set.
From there…we had a random dude show up at the studio! No…wait…he wasn’t totally random – I had just unfortunately forgotten his name right at the moment of his arrival after making sure I knew it all morning long. We had invited Chris Andres, a solo performer from the island to come over and perform, but due to circumstances beyond his control, he wasn’t able to make it. Now here’s what a STAND-UP guy Chris really is…
Feeling bad about potentially putting a hole in our day, he tentatively filled that spot for us, with a friend of his named JOE TURNER. He sold me on this guy immediately, not because I was desperate, but because he was apparently just like Chris, according to the man himself. Sold! But yeah – all of a sudden, hours later, there he is and I can’t for the bloody life of me remember his name. Once introductions were made – he said the best line of our day… “So yeah…I…well, I don’t really know what’s going on here today exactly….Chris just told me to show up with my guitar.” I’m probably slightly misquoting him here, but that’s pretty close.
To which I said – “And that sir, is what makes you even cooler than you were five seconds ago. No idea what you’re in for, and you came out anyway.” You could see nods of approval coming from all over SBS on that play from Joe – really cool that he came out on such short notice. I’ve been digging on his full-band ever since – a band called WEST OF MEMPHIS. These guys are on the move right now, just putting out some new music for you all….quality stuff too. If you dig that Black Crowes-ish, blues-rock vibe – you’ll want to get in on Joe’s band for sure. Huge thank you to Chris Andres as well for filling the impending hole with a stellar performer.
Now…Man Made Lake made it to the studio around two o’clock…so for your own reference sake – it wasn’t until TREV CONKEY, a solo-artist & regular collaborator in Vancouver, came by at 7pm that they finally exhausted themselves and their whiskey supply, packed up and headed out after a phenomenal set of songs. And as quiet as we all tried to be – we kept interrupting poor Trev, who was already doing his best to satisfy Rod by playing in a hanging chair in the backyard of the studio. In what was truly one of the funniest and most on-the-fly moments of this day, watching Trev do his best to squeeze into this chair in a way that still allowed him to play was nearly too funny. He shifted and shifted and tried and tried, at the end of the attempts bailing mid-song once the chair moved a bit too much on about the third try through his song “Pink Daisies” – which you can find as day #757 on the EDMTV site. But the guy is a true champion for putting up with all that…and even more-so for delivering some real highlight performances on this day.
Our hairy-heroes from the band CLOSER came by just as Trev was finishing up and we had a chance to see this noise-rock band in a completely different light. Playing acoustically for the first time live as a band was something truly special to watch. Putting their drumming BEAST, Tyler Hutton, on a single hand drum put the three guitarists from the band on a nearly even playing field by matching their volume and truly punishing that drum skin with his bare hands. The end result of that performance, I’m very proud to say, is that Closer made the EDMTV site as Day #755 with an acoustic version of their cut “Empires” – one of my absolute favorites by this band and a really cool track to see adapted acoustically.
What a lot of people DON’T know….is that this was Closer’s second year out at this event and second attempt at making the site within their 1000 days of posting. When we had Closer out at last year’s event – no joke – this was a band that was only DAYS old! Still yet to play their first show, still yet to officially announce their very existence! Even as seasoned veterans in the indie music scene, those are still pretty tough odds to overcome and for being only days old, they put on some killer early performances of their tracks “Lesula” and namesake-track “Closer.” To think that in a way – we put them in that SAME very position by asking as many acts as possible to play acoustically that night. It was out of their element – and completely awesome to watch. They played four songs for the crowd around, including a solo performance from singer/guitarist Ryan Rutherford in a light we had all yet to see him in.
My wife calls him “The BUN of rock,” after how he styles his hair 50% of the time on stage. I maintain…if he let loose that full mane each time they played, gnome-sized people like myself might hide in the corners of the clubs rather than the front of the stage from fear of being trampled or eaten by this rock-giant.
Now picture THIS scenario. Nearly a year ago, we booked a tremendous undiscovered talent, KAT HAMILL. On our end – we were still finding our way, and poor Kat got caught in a crossfire of studio disorganization and cancellations…with the end result being we lost contact with Kat for nearly a year – again, nothing to do with her, and certainly not our fault. We, as a company, were young…and completely stupid if we were to let this incredible talent go to waste somehow.
And for a YEAR….believe it or not – I’ve felt TERRIBLE about this mistake we made with such a promising young talent…and I’ve been waiting. Waiting for the right time to make things RIGHT. So…with a courage I don’t normally possess – I reached out to Kat in effort to correct this mistake and re-establish contact. I am a firm believer even now, that it is ONLY because she is such a fantastic human being that she even thought twice about giving us another shot at making it right – and without hesitation, bringing up the past or any diva-demands – Kat Hamill agreed to come and play a song for us that night.
What I had no idea of – is really what a brave, unique and YOUNG soul she truly is! Imagine this scenario – seriously – close your eyes and picture this…after you read it of course…
You’re 24. You’ve been invited to a studio you’ve never really seen, by a person who you’ve never really met, and in that time that you DID know this person existed…things weren’t so organized or well-laid out. But you’re courageous, and you’re brave – so you agree to go to this random place after a long day’s work at a day-job, it’s now nighttime and dark. You ring the bell, thankfully it’s answered by a friendly female and you can hear music being played. So far so good right?
Closer was just finishing up – and you come in, already standing out from the rest of the crowd with a spectacular new radiant-pink hair color. Once Closer is finished playing – it becomes YOUR turn. And here’s where it would get WEIRD for YOU, or for anyone, and more than likely…our new friend Kat Hamill…
Rod from EDMTV had pretty much exhausted the downstairs area of SBS and the surrounding outside, which was too dark to film in now anyway. So looking for a new location, we decided on the guest bedroom of the upper-floor where artists and bands tend to sleep while here recording. This…well…this is not a glorified room in any way shape or form – we’ve actually been meaning to paint over the pulley-orangey-brown walls for years now and still haven’t. It has space for the bed, and not a hell of a lot else. I couldn’t help but think to myself on the way up the stairs with Kat, Rod and my wife…that this was the way most PORNO movies, or worse yet, college-campus rapes start!
And you know what? I couldn’t do it…I just couldn’t hang out in that tightly squeezed environment or make this poor girl any more uncomfortable than we had probably already made her with this move into a private bedroom to film – so I removed my bearded face, resigning myself to see it on video-playback rather than live, as much as I would have liked to have seen it. Call me crazy – but I STILL think that was the right move and hopefully one that allowed her a little more freedom to put on her best performance.
Again – I think it went more than well after seeing the footage and I’ll be happy to throw some of that on the show for all of you later this year. She did a wonderful cover of the Oasis tune “Half A World Away,” and with some friendly coaching from Rod, even laid down an original track of her own. She has such a unique quality in her singing I just can’t get enough of – it goes far beyond her accent – this lady flat-out has an amazing voice & style.
At this point in the night – around the ten o’clock mark, after a long day of non-stop music, we still had one final act. Thanks to Man Made Lake making adjustments in their own schedule and arriving earlier in our day than we had originally planned at the outset, I was able to move things around all over the place to squeeze in a performance from LUNG FLOWER and our good buddy & lead singer for the band, Tyler Mayfield. Bringing only lead-guitarist Marcus with him – these two were ready to rock an acoustic version of their song “Death On The Crowsnest” – another band attempting the acoustic and going where they had never been to before in a live setting.
And I mean that in all senses. We literally put Lung Flower in the dank and dirty shed out in the studios backyard. Full of spiders and garden tools – we ran an extension cord and brought a massive lamp out there for lighting, and Rod went to work. The inside of that damn shed is about as tight as the bedroom we put Kat into – so once again, I took to the outside of the performance. This time – I was able to actually still watch and catch the performance, also film it through the gritty bug-screened tiny shed window. That performance, hands down, was grunge as fuck. There’s just no other way to put it. Tyler and Marcus completely delivered the RAWEST performance you might ever see in there, or ANY shed for that matter!
I’d like to personally thank each and every artist and band that has come out for this event in the past two years – you’ve all made these days intensely memorable moments we’ll never forget. Also like to thank ROD MATHESON for making us a preferred destination for him to shoot great local talent and for all his efforts to further the independent scene through what he has accomplished at Everyday Music TV.
I have another shout-out I want to make – one that has become very important to me over this past week…
Through e-mail, I have been in contact with an incredible company known as PRESSING MEDIA. If YOU don’t know them yet – and you’re in this indie-music-game – you should familiarize yourselves immediately! I’ll even make it SUPER-EASY for you all – here’s a link to their page at: http://www.pressing-media.com/
Now – I’m pretty sure all of you out there know I’m not here to advertise by now. Neither our show or our website have any on them to this day – so I assure you, I wouldn’t even bring this up at all if I didn’t think it was beneficial, cost-effective and designed to HELP you fantastic independents out there…
My experience with Pressing Media has already been nothing short of incredible – led by the absolutely PHENOMENAL customer service and approach by a wonderful rep – her name is SHEVONNE NEWTON. Those of you out there who know I’ve been approached in the past for this or that, also know that I tend to ask a LOT of questions of the people that seek us out – always in an effort to make sure that if I ever WAS to bring this kind of information to you, that it would only ever be the best of the best…
Shevonne, without a single doubt in my mind, is just what I’ve been waiting for all this time. She literally is the BEST of the best. Not only did she answer every question I had in immaculate detail, she CLEARLY loves being at Pressing Media and BELIEVES in what she does and the relationship it has to helping artists and bands like YOU. And for yours truly – this impressed me beyond anything else. You can really get a sense of what a passionate and involved player Shevonne is on her side of the screen and she has all the knowledge needed to be able to answer pretty much any question you could have about Pressing Media the company, or just pressing media (as in your latest upcoming CD’s) in general!
Seriously! Go ahead and TRY to stump her – or ask any questions you might have about your upcoming release and how to move it around the world…from my personal experience, there are no “stumpings” to be had – Shevonne knows her business well and understands this indie client-base completely – and she CARES. That’s RIGHT!
It only took me nearly two years – but there it is – someone else tied to this music industry that I truly believe CARES about YOU, and getting you where you need to go as much as we do ourselves. With a price-matching system in place on many of their products and a plant actually located in our own backyard of Vancouver – there’s zero for you to lose by checking into them and MUCH to be gained by simply reaching out to Shevonne at email@example.com
And I fully recommend that you do.
The beginning of May was just about the worst going health-wise, in addition to getting my solo project as The Cellophane Heart completely finished up. Cancellations happened left, right and centre as I basically couldn’t move from the bed to the kitchen for a glass of water, without having a nap in between. HUGE apologies however, need to be made specifically to the incredible prog-rock band from the island, SPACEPORT UNION. This crew has been so hard at work on their upcoming album, and they booked a show in Vancouver – their first one. I was on the list – hell, I had even CONFIRMED only 24 hours prior, feeling completely awesome, that everything was still on 100%.
And then, pretty much immediately upon sending that confirmation I got the worst flu I’ve had in years – that wonderful kind that drags on and on and on. Took three weeks before I felt like I was completely 100% again – I’ve never cancelled on so many potential shows. I was lucky enough to be healthy by the time Failure came to the Rickshaw just this past weekend…and I’m ready to continue to let this heartbeat crank its motor for the rest of this summer. Lots of great things coming up – you can find Closer, Laura Kelsey, Fey and This Day Burns playing all kinds of shows lately and it looks like a lot more coming up.
I’d also like to thank the band and management of Throttlecaster for hooking me up with tickets to the landmark showcase event coming up at the end of the month, where they’ll be playing with several other bands over two days at this massive event downtown. We had guitar player Erko Nomm on the show way back when we first started, along with the same very manager – Katja, who just hooked us up with those tickets. Aren’t they awesome? Was totally out of the blue and a completely welcome surprise! I haven’t seen them in over a year now, as they’re based out of Kamloops – stoked to see great people we’ve met in the past…music is my REAL family.
And again – thank you all so much for being a part of this journey. I like to think that there’s not a reader out there that doesn’t know exactly how grateful and appreciative I am to be a part of your lives in some way, shape or form. And in this month of shedding the dark and heading towards the light – believe me, hearing from ANY of you right now will certainly make my day and fuel me forward. Reach out anytime to me at firstname.lastname@example.org – I’d love to hear from you all.
Be excellent to each other.