A few weeks ago we put out a tweet asking if anyone would like to write a guest blog for us. Well, we got some great musicians (and other folk) to say YES! Over the next few weeks we'll be posting these on here. First up is the man known to you and me as Wes Finch.
Photo by Rob Bridge - Redwoodphotography.co.uk
I haven’t yet actually met Jonathan and Michael, the guys you and I know as Barricades Rise. I haven’t even seen them play live yet, although that’s not out of choice, just circumstance. I have however seen videos, heard their music, listened to their radio show, got a copy of their Christmas 2011 CD, ‘liked’ them, ‘followed’ and ‘tweeted’ them and just downloaded their free Repertoire II album from their website.
I’m a fellow Midlands based musician, writing my own music, recording it, promoting it, networking, creating a brand and trying to develop and evolve as a musical artist in the current and ever changing scene.
I’m sure you’ll probably encounter a few more of us local musos through this site if you haven’t already as Barricades Rise put a call out to anyone interested in writing a guest blog.
I am another guy with a guitar. There are thousands upon thousands of us, strumming and picking and singing away in a myriad of different ways and styles. Most of us have songs we have written, and probably a website where you can listen to the songs at the click of a button. Why would you listen to me though? Why would you take that gamble of risking a few minutes of your life that you’ll never get back that you could have used to view, listen to, read something you know you already like?…
Now, I wouldn’t say I’ve grown up fully yet but I’m no spring chicken either and when I first started having guitar lessons and singing songs too embarrassing to mention here now there were no mobile phones, let alone things such as podcasts. Imagine that…Face and book were two separate nouns that rarely got so close and only birds tweeted. I recorded radio shows onto a cassette tapes and made terrible and earnest demos on the same, now obsolete medium. The good old days…? I don’t know, it’s easy to be nostalgic.
Fifteen years on there are some huge changes. Today there is such a greater wealth of devices for stimulation and interaction. You never need be alone or heaven forbid, bored again. Similarly there is a huge amount of tools for anyone wishing to promote themselves or an event or idea. The extent of social media and interaction today is something truly game changing for artists.
Everybody’s talking at the same time and potentially everyone is listening too. There is a constant almighty river of information flowing that as anyone with a computer or smart phone you can choose to interact with. Dip your toes in or dive and swim. It can be many things to many people.
The ‘democratisation of technology’ as my friend once phrased it to me also means that something such as recording and producing a record that what was once something achievable by a certain few with access to the time, funds and technology is achievable so much more easily by many more people, as is the knowledge on how to do it. Buy a pc and a good quality microphone and you can make a record, make some artwork for it, put it online, sell it, make a video and start a fan base all without the assistance of a slew of specialists.
All this technology is becoming easier to obtain and use. That river of information is getting wider and deeper as it carries on and joins with others. Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by it all, but I know it’s also useful, full of cool, and interesting things. There’s inspiration, information, free stuff, old stuff retrieved, new flavours, tomorrow’s friends. As someone doing what I’m doing, an independent artist at a grass roots level, it is also the key to surviving and developing.
All the tools you need to produce your music, interact and spread your art to your audience are there. It’s there, for a musician, outside of playing live where you can present and promote yourself best and give that something that distinguishes you from the rest.
The power of word of mouth exchange has evolved digitally and the forum where that happens is huge and open wide and available to use and enjoy. Locally it enables a lot more collaboration and mutual support, which is great and for me it encourages a lot of learning and adapting to keep up with the climate.
So, back to that question – why would you listen? Maybe you know me, maybe you saw me play somewhere near you. If it’s neither of these things then what makes you make that click? An eye-catching image, a recommendation from a friend, someone shared my post on twitter or gave a few mentions elsewhere in the continual stream of information, a review, a quirky video?
What we put in to that river and how we do it can be the key to making us stand out as independent artists.
This is how I’ve come across musicians like Barricades Rise, Atlum Schema, Stylusboy The Daydream Club, Milly Winter, Rosetta Fire and others locally and many more over the UK and the world. And from them collectively I’ve learned a lot about how you can operate using all the tools available.
So, if you wanted to hear my music you can find it on most of the usual sites we musicians are all using: facebook, youtube, spotify, bandcamp, soundcloud…and me, I’m trying to hone who Wes Finch is. I play a lot of roots and folk music based pop songs and love to sing gently as much as I like to scream myself hoarse. I would be honoured if you’d have a listen,