J.P. Kallio’s Musician Quick Tips Pt. 12
by J.P. Kallio
Here are this week’s musician quick tips, part 11. In my nearly two decades as a full time musician I have learned a thing or two about this business. I also have become very fast at assessing what works and what does not when it comes to promoting, recording and performing your music.
These quick tips are simple actions that you can put to use straight away.
Camera stand for your phone
These quick tips have got bit on the side of “not so quick” this week. So here’s a something cheap and simple that has helped me out a lot in the past six months a lot. You know I am all about getting stuff done fast and not over thinking. Aiming for perfection every time is admirable, but you also set your self to fail every time. Nothing is perfect, and in my eyes it’s those imperfections that makes something real.
Anyway, here is something I got on Amazon for a less than twenty quid and it has paid itself back several times. It is a mini tripod stand for my iPhone, that I use all the time for taking photos and videos. No, it is not a selfie stick. It is an actual stand. We set it up every week in the rehearsals, I have used it shooting videos and snapping photos weekly, if not daily since I got it.
It weighs hardly anything, it fits in to my guitar case, back bag, even in the inside pocket of my jacket and it is with me most of the time. It was one of those things I thought I should get, but never got off my back side to order one, but once I did I am using it all the time. And it’s cheap. These are the little hacks that make your life easier and help you get more stuff done. Get your self one and start shooting those videos, after all they are a great way to promote your music
Tell them about it
Remember the line in “If you build it, they will come” from a Kevin Costner film Field of Dreams? This mentality in music business is a sure way to set your self to fail. There are endless mounts of wanna be musicians who have proven this time and time again. This is even more so true today, as there is more new music out coming out than ever before. The cost of the equipment to produce high quality music has come down drastically, and it is completely possible to produce professional quality album in your home.
But just by “building it” we cannot insure that they would come. We need to tell them about it. This seems to be something most musicians refuse to accept. Any other new business need to advertise, promote and build a customer base. They need to figure out who their potential customers are and where they can be reached. Still I see so many musicians refusing to accept this. It’s almost like they feel this is somehow cheating…
If you want to fail, go ahead and believe that someday your music magically will get discovered, but the chances of winning the jackpot in the lotto probably is more likely. What you need to do is “build it, tell them about it and they will come”
When you work hard, it is too easy to get stuck in a routine. You do task for the sake of doing tasks instead of concentrating on the goal. I am guilty of this often. But I am also becoming better at recognising it and shaking things up enough to keep me focused.
As a musician we are quite focused on our shows, but when you do hundreds of shows one after another, especially when they are residencies, it can turn in to a routine easily. But as musicians it is our job to give the audience the best show possible every time. And by changing something, you can keep your self more focused.
This can be anything, the order of the songs, the tone of your guitar, new effect pedal, heck even new strings. Just something that will break the routine and keep you more focused. The same goes for your music promotion efforts. If something works well, stick to it. But at the same time most things only work for a certain time before it becomes stagnant. So change things up. Think about something different to post on your social media, not just the same promotional stuff day after day. Get creative, have fun with it. And if you have fun, more than likely that will translate to your fans having fun as well.
Studio vocal EQ
This quick tip looks a little bit in to how to EQ your vocals in your home or project studio. What am talking about here, is kind f of problem solving that will come handy when you record at home, or in a project studio, where things like sound proofing or acoustics might not be optimal.
There are few things I found very useful. First of all let’s deal with the bottom end. If you are recording with condenser microphone, you will get a lot of detail. Not all of this detail is ideal. In the low-end you tend to get rumble and low hum, so I find it a good trick to cut anything below 100 hz out completely.
You can do the same with top end, but the top end is not as specific. So set up a cut and start cutting from the top obvious and listen when it comes in the voice, then go back a bit. My own voice, which is baritone I usually cut from around 17 Khz. Test it out for your voice.
There are two other things to keep in mind. Most vocals are most dominant around 2 Khz, so if it gets lost in the mix, try boosting it around there, or cutting other instruments around the same frequencies to make the vocals more room. Also lot of the top end detail is around 5 Khz so boosting around here, is a great way to add some presence to the vocal.
Those are my quick “cheat sheet” and I find they can help you to bring more professional quality in to home recordings. Try them out
In the world we live in these days, you can buy publicity to certain extent. You can hire a company to spread your music around the place. But at the same time, you get what you pay for. Some of them do a better job than others. Still very few of them do more than you could do your self.
But what a good PR company does, is utilise their business relationships they have built up over the years. A good PR company has a great reputation of providing the press, the radio and the online community a great quality content. This also means the great PR companies are picky who they work with.
So money only gets you so far. How about just putting in the hard work? Start building your own list of contacts in the press, radio, podcasts and bloggers. Start building your own business relationships. And I went through his before, don’t just start pushing your material to them. Get to know what they like, interact with their community, share their stuff, make friends with them.
I know this sounds like a lot to do before launching your album, but it will all pay off in the long run. And you will have true friends in the industry that are willing to help you when you need it. This is much more valuable than any PR you can buy.