Collaborations with 13 musicians on current 25 tracks

My producer and I spent 2 hours yesterday on creating a spread sheet to track progress of the work on 25 different songs currently in play in addition to 19 songs that have already been mixed. We currently have 13 different musicians involved in this work which will result in three very different sounding albums. This project requires a great deal of organisation and coordination as there are many moving parts. We are delighted to have a number of great vocalists and musicians involved in creating some really unique material. Some songs are going to appear in very different styles. “All is fine, until the world goes pop” has already been recorded and mastered in three very different styles.

Radio Plays

During covid 19 I see little point in releasing entire albums, but we will put out a few tracks for radio play and on my sites. Special thanks to Andy Coote at Source FM for the latest in a series of radio plays here

The recording process

All work starts in my home studio in the UK. Unusually for me, I’m doing everything on electric guitar with my Henriksen amps, Motown Acme DI box, Zen Drive 2 and other pedals, with all vocals through the superb Ear Trumpet Myrtle mic. All tracks are recorded via a UAD Arrow into the Reaper DAW. Its a very stripped down setup that works brilliantly. Once I have worked up basic ideas, they can go out to other musicians and producers working with the material. Its a fascinating process to bring together so much excellent talent and I’m grateful to all those who are involved.

Release dates and video

Full albums are planned for mid 2021, depending on the covid 19 situation. In the meantime Nick Bloomfield is doing a great job creating video for existing and future releases.

Working on 40 tracks across 2 projects

I’m currently working on 40 tracks across two very different projects. There are 2 totally different arrangements of songs written since covid lockdown, so they can legitimately be classed as totally different in all respects.

One of these projects is under a total different identity and a brand new genre of music for me with a world class producer. The second one is either solo or with my usual band with a whole bunch of amazing guests, many of whom I will be recording with for the very first time. Unusually the remixes appear first and the original tracks will come later. I can get some parts done remotely, but covid 19 has slowed down what I can do with the band. This means I’m working solo mostly on vocals and guitar parts and creating core ingredients for what follows. This stripped down way of working has been surprisingly productive and I am super pleased with the results to date

Its a massive amount of work and I am grateful to all those who have been involved to date. The ones with timings have already been recorded and the remixes have already had numerous radio plays

Here is the list of all the tracks to date

  1. All is fine till the world goes pop 4.19
  2. Gather round 6.57
  3. Nothing here sounds good 3.21
  4. All Kinds of Crazy 5.24
  5. Your chosen one is coming 4.12
  6. Please take this time 4.24
  7. 321 Lockdown 3.41
  8. Hold that thought 3.30
  9. Sticks and stones 3.40
  10. The world is burning 3.39
  11. That gals as cool as fuck 3.25
  12. All about her lies 3.29
  13. Maybe 5.04
  14. Come on down 3.51
  15. Let it flow 5.17
  16. Bring this strength 5.56
  17. Wait until the pain is gone
  18. Slow time (Find what you love and let it kill you)
  19. You gotta move real slow
  20. What you gonna do?
ella playfors

Facebook’s new terms for music and common myths about FB

Since covid 19 and the absence of being able to play live gigs, many musicians have understandably moved to using social media as a way to communicate their music. Aside from many of the technical challenges, its useful to not FaceBook’s terms relating to music which are as follows

Music Guidelines
These supplemental terms apply if you post or share any videos or other content containing music on any Facebook Products.You are responsible for the content you post

People use our Products to share content with their family and friends. Keep in mind you remain solely responsible for the content that you post, including any music that features in that content. Nothing in these terms constitutes any authorization by us with respect to any use of music on any of our Products.

Use of music for commercial or non-personal purposes in particular is prohibited unless you have obtained appropriate licenses.You may not use videos on our Products to create a music listening experience We want you to be able to enjoy videos posted by family and friends. However, if you use videos on our Products to create a music listening experience for yourself or for others, your videos will be blocked and your page, profile or group may be deleted. This includes Live.Unauthorized content may be removed

If you post content that contains music owned by someone else, your content may be blocked, or may be reviewed by the applicable rights owner and removed if your use of that music is not properly authorized.You may not be able to post or access videos containing music in every country of the world

We want you to be able to share videos with your family and friends wherever they are, but any music in your video, if it is allowed at all, may not be available in all countries of the world.

The key phrase here for many is

Use of music for commercial or non-personal purposes in particular is prohibited unless you have obtained appropriate licenses.

FB Customers v FB users

Many musicians fail to appreciate that “FB customers” are thos who pay for adverts and FB is of course a substantial public limited corporation with its own business plan in play. Many of us are “users” and there are conditions set out by FB as to how we use their business model. I’m always amused when artists insist “FB should do X and Y” as FB is not a charitable resource for musicians, its a business and much as I would love for them to be the former role, its not going to happen anytime soon.

This is one of the many reasons why I always advise artists to create their own web presence that they control rather than rely on 3rd party businesses and often placing “their egg in one basket”

I’m astonished that many artists don’t pay attention to this aspect of marketing and fail to appreciate that social media and platforms like Spotify are all businesses whose primary function is to maximise profits. I’d love this to be not the case, but that’s plain wishful thinking…

How much enthusiasm do you have for music streaming and video online?

With the absence of live events globally, understandably many artists are instead running online events. The medium is of course totally different. Instead of a 3D live experience, you have a 2D experience with all the technological changes that are commonplace with attempting such activity. Even major artists are discovering the limitations of technology. Even my favorite live artist Nick Cave had issues with the live streaming of his recent solo event “The Idiot’s Prayer” and it seems that the technology is not really stable enough universally for such events.

Concentration time and cost for watching online?

Personally I’m not a fan of anything online on a PC that is longer than an hour. The experience is fundamentally different to a live event. Yes. there’s no driving, parking and issues with people talking during gigs (a pet hate) but the atmosphere is not the same. Also the sheer volume of material online means that I feel bombarded by the amount of choice. I find myself passing on opportunities to watch artists I would normally jump at.

Many online events are free or pay as you feel, so it seems to me that artists are still adjusting to this new medium. A friend commented yesterday that she was surprised that an artist was charging 20 pounds for an online event and commented “I love her music, but I’m not paying that!” Personally I can’t get enthusiastic about many online viewings and that maybe the volume of material out there or the lack of differentiation.

Songs of Hope and the future of live events

A few of us at Music for the Head and Heart even before covid 19 decided to release video showcasing artists from around the globe. The idea is always to keep shows concise and episode 5 that launches monday is under 20 minutes. I have a suspicion that this is around the best length to keep an audience engaged.

Time will tell what happens to live events, but when longstanding shows like “Phantom of the Opera” close, then that’s a real indication of changing times. Big festivals and tours require planning and I suspect things are still too uncretain even for planning in 2021. Yes, there is talk of socially distanced outside events, but I’m not sure of the demand for such scenarios. Hopefully something great will emerge from this shake up, time will tell

Home studio regime

One of the smartest things I did pre covid lockdown was to review my home studio setup. I’ve blogged previously about using the Arrow UAD, and Acme Motown DI which have become my core tools.

The benefit of having a home studio that it is there 24/7, so I can drop in at anytime to put down sketch ideas or add to existing ideas. This has proved to be a brilliant way to make best use of time and to work in a really spontaneous manner. Many of the new tracks were recorded really quickly and as one of the producers I am working with keeps saying “don’t overthink it”

I’m a big fan of working in this way and its certainly working in terms of producing a really great set of new material that is different to anything I have created to date. I’ve always felt that songs appear in all kinds of unexpected ways and one of the keys to get the best results is to capture them as soon as the idea first appears

Projects as opposed to albums?

I was talking to a good friend today about the concept of “albums” as opposed to projects. To date, I’ve always thought of releasing albums, but I’m now inclined to think instead of releasing tracks as part of a project. The latest project “All Kinds of Crazy” will have the title track released with accompanying video on April 20th as part of “Songs of Hope” from www.musicfortheheadandheart.buzz

This is a very stripped down track and I play all the guitar parts on the superb Waterloo acoustic with the excellent Ella Playford guesting on vocals. I’m really pleased with the end result. We just finished the secord track for the project “Your Chosen One is Coming” and Nick Bloomfield is also going to explore video options for this track. A third track “All is fine, until the world goes pop” is also in progress. I playing all parts on this material and using the superb Arrow UAD unit in a studio to studio set up. For the first time, so far everything is played on guitars, not a ukulele in sight!

I have no idea how long the pandemic lockdown will be for, but it looks like there will be no shortage of time for this project.

First impressions of UAD Arrow

I have always been a massive fan of UAD plugins and during this pandemic lockdown I decided to grab an Arrow UAD interface. My initial impressions is that this is really excellent. Crucially it gives me access to my already purchased 31 UAD plugins, but also alsong with the Reaper DAW allows me to work with a seriously high end portable recording unit. The only limitation is that I can only use a few plugins at any one time, but often “less is more” in such situations and my new project is all about working in a stripped down manner.

I’ll report more of my findings in due course, but I’m seriously impressed by the Arrow and the sound is absolutely terrific.

First test of remote recording while in isolation

Today was the first time we looked at remote recording from one studio to another via the internet. This required some setting up and the brilliant Carl Rosamond organised it so my studio can talk to his studio.

We used the Acme DI and the Ear Trumpet mic with my hardtail custom strat. This is really old school recording recording a straight instrument and vocals here and then looking at adding other parts. That said I’m keen to remain in “Springsteen Nebraska territory” and keep everything really stripped back. The Acme sounds fantastic and I can see why they used them on the old Motown recordings, guitar straight into a desk.

Its a different sound to previous recording, but I’m really liking what I hear so far. Seeing as we are gonna be in lockdown for what I suspect will be many months, I’m gonna go to work and create a whole bunch of songs. The first proper session will be this Friday where we work on “Your chosen one is coming”

Time for a reset?

Its clear that we are in very uncertain times with music events cancelled globally. There’s endless chatter online about this and all kinds of lamentations and comments like “You must be heartbroken cancelling festival” Yes, its not great news but lets remember, human life and well being is way more important than a weekend event or a gig.

New thinking, new projects

Since setting up Music for the Head and Heart I’ve been increasingly aware that many artists “have their egg in one basket” and are over reliant on a single source of income from live work. The income stream from products changed long ago and now with the global pandemic, live events have been wiped out. As soon as SXSW was pulled, I thought, “Wow we have a BIG problem” This means artists need to think differently about how to generate predictable income streams for a sustainable way of living.

700 tea bags and a home studio…

We are in new territory and my view is that life will literally never be the same again. The good news is that this creates new opportunities…. I’m working on a new aspect of Music for the Head and Heart with some terrific like minds. This will unfold in the near future and in my very will be pretty inspiring.

I also have a home studio, 700 tea bags and 39 instruments to use for some new recordings. No excuses now, as I have the time to do all those things I have been meaning to do. Stay well, stay safe

Nick Cody

Caravan of Dreams Updates

This has been an excellent week for The Caravan of Dreams. Florence Rutherford Jones joins the new quartet line up and we just completed our second full band rehearsal, photo shoot and recording session. Flo will be playing violin as well as contributing on vocals. She is a great addition to the ensemple.

On April 4th we’ll be playing our first new gig as a quartet with Laurent Zeller as a a guest at the Music for the Head and Heart showcase in Leeds. The evening with also involve The Caravan of Dreams backing up the superb Captain of the Lost Waves