Which brings me nicely onto the last part – effort and continuity. Effort pays off. End of story. But, there is the element of continuity, the need to keep that effort going. One of the things that attracted me to AD Music was that it is something of an artist run label, a lot of people do different bits and pieces and that appealed to me. It also made a lot of sense from the commercial point of view as well for both me and AD Music. And that’s where continuity comes into play. The album has been signed, but it still needs to be marketed and whilst to most that would seem to be a part of the role of the label, there are areas where you can help push things forward. Being active with your label will always help to promote you and your music, as I said at the beginning, it’s highly unlikely that you will find enormous wealth coming your way, but, every sale helps provide a little return for your artistic labours. On top of that, if you make an effort to help out then the label will be more willing to help you, so it’s very much a case of mutual back-scratching, but in a good way.
One of the main ways to promote you and your instrumental music (remember, you are one and the same from a certain point of view) is live performance. When I started the Geigertek project, it was going to be a studio only thing. I didn’t have the resources to set up a live rig with synthesizers and mixers etc etc etc. But it then dawned on me that it might be necessary at some point. One evening in early January 2008, David Wright was telling me of a concert he was doing in the following September in Bungay and out of the blue (for me) he asked me if I would be interested in playing as his support act – without thinking I said yes. Erm, when I started to think about it, I wondered what the hell I had let myself in for. I had a computer and a MIDI keyboard controller, a small mixer and that was it!!! But, I knew I needed to do a live performance and so I looked to ways of sourcing equipment – it was easy, a few choice purchases through eBay put me on track. The equipment was old, out of date and limited, but rather than give up on the idea, I sat back and looked at how I could get round the situation. Again, a bit of resourcefulness paid off – I had a laptop that provided me with bags of power in the way of connecting two MIDI keyboard controllers and I had the benefit of having something of a classical training as a child, all of this coupled with continued effort paid off in terms of the time put in practicing and rehearsing – bringing everything together with the old equipment enabled me to deliver a performance that many didn’t believe was my first in over 20 years (and then that was only in bands). Another benefit playing this concert for me was that I was able to play alongside David Wright at the end of his set and meeting and playing alongside Robert Fox and the great Klaus Cosmic Hoffmann from Germany, a true character and master of the legendary Mellotron and another inspiration of my music.
So, it can be seen that live performance is quite an effective, and potentially fun way of marketing your product. Another way is through social networking. I’ve already talked about the impact MySpace has had on the Geigertek project, but also a website. It’s true to say that it won’t take off immediately, but within time and with a bit of effort, you can enjoy something of a web presence. And you don’t need to be an HTML genius to build a website, there are so many packages available that do the coding etc for you – the only limits really are your imagination. But linking everything in together between MySpace, your own website and your label’s website can start a reasonably effective mechanism to kick-start you and your music, and ultimately, that can lead to sales.
Another area is festivals. Helping out a label by manning stalls is a great way to help promote your music and also for getting yourself known as you become accessible to those who would buy your CD. My partner Anne, and I enjoyed a fantastic weekend in October attending E-Live in Holland with David Wright and his wife, standing on the AD Music stall, talking with fans of the instrumental music genre, watching some great (and not so great) live performances and meeting some of the leading lights of the current electronic music scene, including Ron Boots, Mario Schonwalder, Thomas Fanger and Detlef Keller.
The music business has changed in a great many ways over the last few years and I hear it often from the people I have come into contact with since nailing my colours to the mast of the AD Music ship. There is no room for the prima donna or any excuse for substandard presentation. If you want to succeed, you can, but it is essential that you have to learn and accept the redefined measures of success within the music business. Music and its creation is a fun pursuit. It’s not about money, but everything about art, creativity and enjoying the journey. My music is heard on a global level, I have an album signed to and the support of a leading independent label, I have played as a support act to a prolific artist who has become a friend and I have met mingled with some of the best within the genre I chose to enter. To me, this is success and in my mind, I’m no longer a legend in my bedroom, I’ve achieved what I set out to do, therefore, I’ve made it