In recent years I have abandoned the traditional idea of setting up a band, but instead started to think in terms of projects. Part of the reason for this is the ever changing music industry and part of is that it gives vastly more flexibility in recording music and in planning live gigs.
The traditional “band format” means having access to the same musicians on an ongoing basis and that has its limitations. Most skilled musicians and artists I know are working across a number of different projects and not just limiting themselves to one concern. This in my view is the smart way to go these days. Yes. I tend to maintain a few core musicians, but it means I can record faster and it allows for much more creativity. I continue to be amazed at how any excellent musicians are out there and of course the Music for the Head and Heart platform has been great in networking with some really talented folks.
2019 was mostly about writing and recording music for “Tales of Dark and Light” with The Caravan of Dreams ensemble. The album has 14 musicians playing on it and at the launch party up to eight musicians were playing the material on stage at any one time. This made for a fantastic launch, but its a big amount of organisation and sizable investments in time and money. Understandably many Caravan members have their own projects to attend to, so the idea of projects as opposed to a static band works really well.
We have a few more Caravan of Dreams gigs to play and then in 2020 I’ll be unveiling two very different projects, one acoustic and one fully electric, with recordings and live shows. My producer Carl calls this “The Steely Dan model” where I write the material but add in new musicians as and when needed. This flexibility is really useful in creating new work at speed while keeping really good quality. Working in this way is quite fascinating as often just one new musician can open up a whole world of new creative ideas. I’m also writing more with specific musicians in mind.