I currently have four very different albums in the pipeline for 2022 – 2024. Most of the material has already been recorded and its a case of mixing and mastering.
The first release will be “All is fine till the world goes pop” which will appear in Sept this year. This is a Nick Cody & The Heartache featuring Towse album and will include two singles already released “She’s tough enough” and “Thinking in Circles. This will be followed by a power pop album “Take Heart” which will appear in 2023. Some of these tracks are already mastered and there are five more waiting for additional musical parts from the 16 musicians contributing to this work.
There will also be a “Nick Cody & The Heartache” electric roots album “You Gotta Move” in 2023 that will include the four singles already released “Can’t stop”, “Slow Time” “You gotta move” and “That Gal” I have 5 more tracks to work up for that album in that vein.
2023 – 2024 will see the release of an electronic remix album with Black Star Liner “All Kinds of Crazy” I have 34 tracks “in the vault” for this project and it may be a double album.
Special thanks to all those musicians who have contributed to these tracks across the globe and all those who have helped spread the word and those involved in production.
Yesterday was a hugely productive day in the studio working on the album “All is fine till the world goes pop” album featuring Towse. We mastered and signed off on “In these times” “They don’t mind” and Wait until the pain has gone” I’m delighted to have so many superb musicians on this project including Towse from California, Michael Ross from Nashville, Laurent Zeller from France, Agi on backing vocals, Emily Mercer and Josh Burnell on keys, Fergus Quill, David Bowie Jnr and Howard Taylor on bass, Rich Ferdi on percussion. This is proving to be the dream team of artists and of course Carl Rosamond as usual does an amazing job on production.
There are at least four more tracks yet to finish – “Come on Down” “Nothing here sounds good” “Take Heart” and “Maybe” We’ll be back in the studio every two weeks to work up these additional tracks and I’m super excited to see/hear this whole project emerge. As well this album, there with be a “Nick Cody & The Heartache” EP “You gotta move” released ahead of October on Green Eyed Records. In 2023 I’ll be releasing the first Code-E1 remix album and we already have “34 tracks in the vault” for that release.
One of the key lessons I have learned in recent years is that if you want to make any kind of impact musically you need to be well organized and maintain constant momentum in musical releases. This means investing a lot of time and money in what you do to stay on the radar. It also means constantly reaching out in new ways to bring your audience to a wider public, unless you want to constantly play to exactly the same audience!
The schedule for 2022
The first single for 2022 will be “She’s Tough Enough” which is one of the collaboration tracks with Towse. Below is the promo for this single and the full audio and video release will be out March 11th on all platforms
Following this release, there will be another Nick Cody & The Heartache release, also on Green Eyed Records in May, called “That Gal is cool as f**k. We are currently editing the video for the track having already done two video shoots. Following “That Gal” will be another Cody/Towse collaboration currently being decided. The track will be one of the 12 tracks on the album due for Sept release “All is fine till the world goes pop.”
To date, we have 10 of the tracks “in the vault” with three already mastered, including “Thinking in Circles” which has been released and a terrific ballad “Go Now” which is unreleased. Next Monday I am in the studio signing off on the next single. Its an absolute joy to work with Towse and to help promote her music with my network of contacts. That’s the power of “Creativity through collaboration” This is truly an international collaboration of musicians with Towse from California and Michael Ross from Nashville as well as many great UK musicians and Laurent Zeller from France.
The Nick Cody & The Heartache EP “You Gotta Move” is almost completed with 4 of the five tracks already mastered. “Hold that thought” is the last track to master and then that project is completed ahead of a showcase live support appearance on Oct 7th with Jon Gomm at the 3rd Music for The Head and Heart showcase. I’ve realised that it makes more sense to do selective bigger gigs than small local appearances which cater to much smaller groups of usually the same enthusiasts. There’s a place for that, but its better to work with more focus.
All this work requires planning studio time to maintain momentum. Great studio professionals are always busy, so I have now booked studio time up until 2023 on a monthly basis. I am also lucky to have my own home studio which has been revamped with new gear, so we have a lot of recording options. Its important to maintain the best quality sound and not compromise in any way, especially if you want radio play.
Marketing momentum and packaging
As well as planning recording time, its essential to plan marketing on a rolling 6 week basis. I’m more convinced that the strategy of releasing and promoting singles ahead of an EP and album is a better way to go. Simply releasing 12 tracks in one blow means you lose making the best impact. There’s also an argument to say that these days people are more interested in individual tracks. I’m a fan of physical products, but have come to realise the need for really good packaging. This means some careful consideration on what’s presented and instead of getting mates to knock something up, better to employ professionals. All this activity means investing in a great deal of time. Special thanks to everyone involved in these projects as its all about collaboration and sharing resources.
In recent years, I’ve realised that regardless of how good your music is, unless you have the right creative team in place, its probably never going to sound great, and/or reach a wider audience beyond friends and a few fans.
The challenge is to find people you can work with and to work within an affordable budget. Its easy to burn a huge amount of money and time and get very poor results. I’ve blogged on the value of getting a great producer here and without a great producer, your music will in my view have very limited appeal. Yes, there can be different ideas on what “great sound” can be, but there are key ingredients that will always be in place if a track is going to draw attention. Great producers will be in demand and its crucial to find somebody with both the technical skills, but also somebody you get on with and can work with.
The devil’s in the detail
Once you have the production sorted, there are a host of other considerations, including covering the following tasks
Physical product pressing
Illustration and layouts
Social media promotion
Its taken some time to find people who can fulfil all these functions. An artist can do some of these tasks, but I’ve found that employing a specialist will always produce a much better result. Yes it may cost financially, but it will save a huge amount of time. Crucially the end result looks much better and my philosophy is always ” play the long game” as you never get a second chance to create a first impression”
My next single will be “She’s Tough Enough” which is a collaboration with Towse from the USA, and released on March 11th. The full album “All is fine till the world goes pop” will be out later this year
2021 has been quite a year and a record year for writing new material. I currently have 48 tracks “in the vault” and 34 tracks already to go for a very different project. The main focus has been on the Heartache material as well as releasing the first track with Towse. I also set up Green Eyed Records which is an expansion of the Music for The Head and Heart idea which promotes “creativity through collaboration.
Special thanks to Sylvie Simmons for a great interview on GER and a series of terrific conversations about the music industry and to all those who have posted on the GER FB page, which is growing at an amazing rate. 2022 will see the emergence of a Music for The Head and Heart live showcase on a much bigger scale with some fantastic artists. There will also be a major MHH showcase in 2023 as we have already agreed to host a major performer to head up a great showcase. Thanks also to Jen Geering for great behind the scenes work to keep GER on track, Carl Rosamond for amazing sound production, Neil at KimWaves for radio promotion, Rob at Fans for Bands, Frank at Kycker for great advice and everyone who has been involved in creating such great music.
Special thanks also to all the radio plays from Andy Coote, Nick Field, Shelly Morgan, Mike Evans, Daz and many others
Lack of attention to detail and social media misconceptions
I was recently looking for an artist online I know as a possible act for a future live music showcase. In doing a Google search her main site was offline as well as her SoundCloud account! This is of course not unusual and I can only imagine how many opportunities are missed by such a lack of attention to detail. Another misconception is to only use social media as a platform for online communication and not have a central website which you then have control over. Its not just artists that miss “the elusive obvious” of course.
Earlier this year I had an extensive conversation with a music promotor who also did “mentoring” for artists. I offered to pay for her time and booked two hours with a series of questions I had in mind. It was an enjoyable conversation but when I looked at her main site for her company, over 40% of the links for artists simply didn’t work, not the best advert for somebody working as a promotor. I come from a business background and have been teaching communication skills to business and groups across USA, UK, Asia and Europe for the last two decades. I’m amazed that in “the music business” many artists and promoters make a lot of basic mistakes. Yes, we are all learning, but these are basic errors that will directly limit the ability to communicate to a wider audience and/or artists.
Both artists and the public often don’t appreciate that with platforms like Facebook, the “customers” are those who pay for advertising, the rest of us are users of the service. Being on Facebook and complaining how the platform doesn’t meet your personal needs is a bit rich considering that its a free service for users. The benefits of this and other social media platforms is that they can potentially drive traffic to your main site (which of course you can frame in whatever way you want), rather than become subject to the latest algorithm from big tech. Some artists adopt the “I’m not commercial” stance, but then literally endlessly plead to a small fanbase to underwrite and support their creative plans. Nothing wrong with that, but this can be a pretty myopic way of working,
The Green Eyed Records platform and social media
In April this year I set up Green Eyed Records platform to promote discussion and debate. The central idea is “creativity through collaboration” and I talked about this at length with Sylvie Simmons here. As well as running the main site, a small team of us have being exploring using various social media platforms to reach a wider audience and generate more interest for the platform. I’ve been massively surprised by some of the findings. Having never been a fan of graphics with quotes and artist one liners, I have to admit that some of these can generate an extraordinary amount of interest. One of these posts created 6.6k likes, 497 comments and 1.5k shares. This added a huge number of followers and likes for the page, far beyond my wildest expectations.
Its early days for GER, but its become clear that with social media there’s a tipping point that is needed to generate interest and that means an investment of time and money on an ongoing basis. This also means paying attention on a daily basis to how many people are engaging online and what generates attention. I am working with a few artists who value the “creativity through collaboration” ethos and sharing everything I am finding useful in reaching a larger audience. In 2022 GER will also start assisting selective artists with promotional music campaigns to help them develop greater audience reach. We will also start running some live showcases in conjunction with the Music for The Head and Heart platform on a substantially bigger scale than in days gone by!
Maintaining focus and productive messaging online
Another common mistake in developing a good presence online is to lose focus in maintaining a consistent message. Sometimes artists veer off into making all manner of posts that in my view really don’t help promote their image in a positive manner. Two examples of this are Eric Clapton and Van Morrison with their anti vax proclamations. I have no issue with whatever they want to believe in putting their own opinions about health specialists, but having once greatly admired this artists I now think of them as total dicks. Its a real shame as both in days gone by have produced some exceptional music.
Of course there is no right or wrong way to creative a presence online and people can have radically different ideas about this. One thing is certain in recent times which is that more and more people are looking for music via the internet and that social media is increasingly a major factor in reaching a wider audience.
In recent times I’ve semi jokingly posted that “I swear people are getting crazier” and one sign of this is the increasing emergence of the angry emoji nit jobs on social media platforms. These are almost always guys who have FB and other pages with very few friends who don’t seem to understand the social media medium and how it works. For the purpose of this blog I’ll refer to the angry emoji nut jobs as the “AENJs”
The “elusive obvious”, the nut jobs don’t get…
Many of the AENJs don’t get that if a person sponsors a post on a social media platform, then the platform decides where it appears, NOT the person paying for the advert. Of course many people don’t appreciate than many using platforms like FB are “users” as opposed to “customers” The social media platforms, like any business are there to make money and are not a free charitable concern for the wider public. Despite this simple fact many users on these platforms endlessly moan about the very platform they are using for free!
At Green Eyed Records FB platform we regularly run sponsored ads to bring the FB page and the main site to a wider public. Of course we can denote to a degree where adverts appear according to the audience we can to reach. As with any advert some with enjoy it, some will be indifferent and some with not like it. Recently we ran a promotion for a great article from a world renowned music journalist Sylvie Simmons on the whole GER philosophy. Over 100 people “liked” the post, but I noticed a few angry emojis appear, which to me seemed a bit odd. Even stranger was one character complaining that we were spamming his FB page.
I politely pointed out that FB decides where adverts appear and not ourselves. FB also gives any platform user the option not to see any specific advert if for some reason they don’t like it. Its a simple two second click of a button and the ad disappears from the user’s FB page. It takes far longer to work up a graphic and write up a long post complaining about the very platform that they are using for free! What seems odd to me is that the ad was to a great article, there was no sales pitch for any product or service or attempt for data capture. Perhaps unusually GER exists simply to help artists to reach a wider audience and there’s no charge for this help. One of the AENJs describes himself as “Professor at Department of Conspiracy”, make of that what you will! Another is a massive fan of Joan of Arc…
A closer look into this AENJ behaviour reveals that all these characters are from a certain part of the USA, nearly all guys, and in every case they have a very small number of “friends” on their pages. I’m a fan of discussion and debate as that’s how we all learn and of course if anyone actually points out a few simple truths about social media mediums and how they work, there’s never any interest or ability to engage in any discussion. Fortunately these characters are a tiny minority in the scheme of things and I’m really pleased at the positive response to GER showing the latest stats on engagement –
1,114 people like this page 1,234 people follow this page
Creativity through collaboration
The central philosophy of Green Eyed Records is “creativity through collaboration. This is of course explained in the Simmons article here for all those interested in such matters. In my non musical life I teach about human behaviour and problem solving. When I first started out in music I was mystified as to how any artist could could earn a living from music, when there were so many potential hurdles to any form of success. I’m lucky to know a number of artists personally at local level all the way to those playing international stadiums headlining major festivals. I’m convinced that with the reduction of live opportunities due to covid 19 and streaming services which have killed past earnings potential from product sales, a new way of thinking and a new model is greatly needed. We lean and evolve through discussion and debate. We can agree to disagree on matters, but simply posting an angry emoji is IMO pure lazy behaviour that seems to me to be not the best use of time and energy, but each to their own and such actions do make for great stories about human behaviour!
After two years of not playing any live gigs I finally got to play live with the Heartache all electric ensemble. This was a challenge for a variety of reasons including minimal practice time. Fortunately we managed to play a great concise set and Karen Turner took some great photos of the night.