Tuesday, May 02, 2006

I've been busy!

I've been away for a while, but I've been busy!

I've started a new blog about a record shop I'm starting, check it out here - http://knowyourproduct.blogspot.com/

Sunday, April 02, 2006

How to get your band reviews

Getting reviews for your band can be one of the toughest things for any new band. It's not just trying to figure out who the best people to send your cd to, it's making sure they listen to your band and actually write the review. Music writers get an avalanche of band's cds each week, I have learnt that through doing my own zine Beat Motel. Some really good bands get overlooked when it comes to getting reviews because they don't follow a few simple but golden review rules. If you don't follow these rules you might as well make that stack of CDs then chuck them in the bin;

The Golden Rules of Getting your band reviews

  • Be INTERESTING, sounds obvious, but if you can't be arsed with your output then why should anyone else care about you?

  • Make sure your contact details are on EVERYTHING, several times I've been sent a totally blank cd by a band. Even if it's an amazing band the chances are I'll never know who they are as the CD pretty much always gets separated from the covering letter (if there is one).

  • Make sure you know who you're sending your band's stuff to, there's no point in sending your death thrash black metal to a rumba magazine is there?

  • Don't bother sending your cd to millions of record labels, they will just go in the bin.

Review contacts

The biggest challenge when planning a PR campaign for you band is getting contacts. You can spend months looking up publication/ zine contacts on the web only to have your press packs returned undeliverable. This is especially true with webzines, they are often started with fantastic enthusiasm by the people behind them, then left to rot after a few weeks.

Reading your band's reviews

The next part of your 'get heard' challenge is reading your band's reviews. Sound daft doesn't it! But think about it for a moment, you've spent months finding contacts, stuffing envelopes with your world changing cds, but how are you going to get copies of the reviews if they are published? 99.99% of zines/ magazines will not send you a free copy of their publication. Most zines (especially the big ones that you really want reviews published in) get sent anything up to 100 cds a week, if they sent out a free copy to each of those 100 bands then they wouldn't have any copies left to actually sell! So what do you do? You subscribe to every single one of these publications, in fact you'd probably have to as the chances of your release / demo getting reviewed when you think it will be are pretty damn rare. So you'd have to buy every copy of the magazine (or whatever) until you happen across your own review.

So is this all worth it?

Of course it is silly! Getting reviews brings exposure, interviews and about a thousand other positive outcomes!

Here's an easy answer...

There is a solution to all these problems if you have a bit of cash. Use a PR company, they have all the contacts, relationships with the publications they are sending your output to and will even send you copies of your reviews when they come out!

Update 16/01/10
This article was written to promote the fact I was doing a bit of PR for bands through my CornDog PR imprint. Well those days are long gone but you could do worse than pop along and say hullo to these people - http://ultimatereviewer.co.uk/

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

car aerials and vaseline

When I bought my car a few years back it had one of those smart aerials that retracts when you switch off the engine and wander away. This was dead handy as destroying car aerials appears to be something of a sport to the delightful, youthful and often booze fuelled induhviduals that use our road as a shortcut. On my last car I had four aerials destroyed so decided that instead of putting in yet another metal aerial that was obviously inspiring these miscreants to create the new art of 'metal origami' I would install a rubber aerial. Needless to say they were obviously frustrated at my attempt to stifle their newly found creativity so they ripped the entire thing out of the side of the car, cable and everything.

So I decided to give metal aerials one last chance. Upon fitting the new aerial I covered it in a healthy dollop of Vaseline and set about decorating it with various lumps of mud and old fag ends. It looked like someone had covered a stick in treacle then set about fishing for second hand sweetcorn in one of those dog poo bins. I knew that within days it would be destroyed, but I took some solace in the knowledge that it would be bloody unpleasant for the perpetrator.

Once that aerial was destroyed I decided to quit spending money and used the traditional aerial replacement method of jamming a metal coat hanger in the whole. Yup, you guessed it, they even vandalized my coat hanger.

Anyhew, about six months ago and just like a horse that’s been out to stud for too many years, the aerial on my new car failed to rise to the occasion. Normally I would have fixed something like this a lot faster than six months but the problem with my current car is that it’s a Honda. Now don’t get me wrong, Hondas are damn fine cars, indeed this is the first car I’ve ever owned that I actually like! BUT, if something goes wrong with them you can’t fix when without a 23,000 piece Honda only toolkit. People say the Japanese language is the hardest in the world to learn, but I think it has to be the most complex just to deal with repairing Japanese made cars! So I eventually missed listening to the radio while scooting around the Suffolk countryside so much (and thanks to a little gentle nagging from my better half) that I decided to dig deep and take it to the main dealer to get repaired. Over the phone they told me that it sounded like the mast had gone, I decided that anyone with enough skill to hear my knackered aerial even while it wasn’t doing anything, and with the ability to form a diagnosis based on this must know their stuff. So I sucked in my breath, cast aside any manly assertions that I should be making this repair myself and booked my car in. When I arrived I was informed that the repair should cost no more than £70 and should take no longer than an hour. Had I known what the price was likely to be I would have placed a lump of coal between my buttocks and the resulting diamond would have more than covered the cost. I was politely pointed towards their ‘hospitality suite’ which comprised of five chairs each designed by ruthlessly efficient Japanese designers, to hold ruthlessly small Japanese bottoms. An hour passed by with the worlds loudest dog barking at anything bigger than a peanut when it moved within 100 yards or it’s bound muzzle (which was often as we were next to a main road), and each time it barked it was sternly told off by the worlds oldest and smallest woman. Eventually some lad in a suit came over to me and informed me that it wasn’t in fact the mast that was dead, it was the motor. So much for that sense of hearing then bubba. I asked how much that would cost to replace, at this point I should have learned my ‘coal lesson’ from the original quote and I may well have become the richest man on earth. I politely exclaimed, and possibly resorted to the language of my Anglo Saxon ancestors to express the point that the price they were quoting me was in fact more than my first car actually cost! How much did they want I hear you ask, whilst teetering on the edge of your seat, well, the conservative estimate for replacing a car aerial on a Honda that is nearing it’s tenth birthday appears to be somewhere in the region of £334!!! On the way home I went to Halfords and picked up a good old fashioned aerial for £12. The moral of the story is, while I was indoor writing this for you some bastard was probably outside attempting to make a pretty wire swan from my new aerial.

TOUR DATES No Use For a Name + Lawrence Arms

Well what a line up!

Latest album: Keep Them Confused out June, 2005 w/ THE LAWRENCE ARMS New album: Oh! Calcutta! out March 6th, 2006
13.04. UK London - Mean Fiddler
14.04. UK Exeter - Phoenix
15.04. NL Schijndel - Paaspop Festival*without THE LAWRENCE ARMS!
16.04. D M√ľnster - Sputnikhalle
18.04. D Hamburg - Markthalle
20.04. S Lund - Mejeriet
21.04. D Berlin - SO36
22.04. CZ Prague - Abaton
23.04. A Vienna - Arena
25.04. D Munich - Backstage
26.04. D Schweinfurt - Alter Stattbahnhof
27.04. F Lille - Le Tri Postal
28.04. F Paris - La Maroquinerie
29.04. B Meerhout - Groezrock Festival
30.04. D Trier - Messehalle - Deconstruction Show
01.05. D Lindau - Club Vaudeville
02.05. CH Winterthur - Gaswerk
03.05. I Bologna - Estragon
04.05. I Milan - Rainbow*NEW VENUE!!!
05.05. F Toulouse - Foyer Panous
06.05. E Bergara - Jam
07.05. E Barcelona - Apolo
08.05. E Madrid - Heineken Club

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

AGAINST ME! tour dates

10.03. IRE Dublin – Temple Bar Music Centre
11.03. N-IRE Belfast – Speakeasy
12.03. SCO Glasgow – King Tut's
13.03. SCO Aberdeen – Tunnels
15.03. UK Nottingham – Rock City Basement
16.03. UK Manchester – Academy 3
17.03. UK Sheffield – Corporation
18.03. UK Leeds – Cockpit
19.03. UK Birmingham – Academy 2
21.03. UK London – Mean Fiddler
22.03. UK Brighton – Concorde
23.03. UK Newport – TJ's