My mate Vince has a gig on Tue 25th at the Bull and Gate in London - he's had a fair bit of airplay on Radio 2 so should be a good crowd there. Funnily enough I used to be in a band with him years ago.
We met at UEA around 1980. When in theory we were studying Biophysics or whatever it was we did, we were instead as often as not messing about in the student television station recording video on machines with tapes the size of a small fridge or recording
music onto a Portastudio via the Contemporary music society. The Portastudio was a lovely thing - a "complete recording studio" in a box which recorded onto cassette tape. It wasn't bad actually - not quite Abbey Road and it did hiss a bit but it was easy
to make a demo on.
Some 20 years on and we're both still messing with music and video, except Vince does it these days at the BBC, but how the technology's changed.
The Portastudio is now a Macbook and music is definitely something you can do at home now, bypassing the big labels. With something like ProTools or Logic you have the real thing at your disposal, you just need to hone your craft.
Come to think of it you can do the video side of things too with something like
Couple that with t'internet and PayPal and you have the means to promote and sell your CDs online, or you can get them on the iTunes store if you try hard enough via someone like
Tunecore, again bypassing the big labels and for that matter - largely bypassing the banks. I know PayPal aren't popular with some folk but I've had no problems at all. In fact it's a doddle compared to
taking online credit card payments via various bank offerings.
It's often taken for granted, but it is impressive when you pause to consider how much you can do on a decent laptop these days. Vince's quite modest and elderly Macbook quite happily runs ProTools live while driving a separate video feed to a projector.
And you can buy things from eBay between songs. You could never do that on the Portastudio.
It's also surprising what you can find on the internet - not only bargain instruments - but lost gems. I was gutted when my prized cassette of our Peel session got chewed as I tried to transfer it to another format for posterity. The irony wasn't lot on
me. I was then surprised to find I could download our entire back catalogue from t'internet for free. It seems some nice folk in Greece even created a MySpace page for the band we were in! Now that's weird.
You'd think given all this that there'd be a musical revolution like the punk/new wave of independent labels of the late 70s and early 80s. Well - maybe there is - you just don't hear about it in the mainstream media.
Anyway - experience the next wave yourself, Vince and Sam, or as they're also known -
The Vince Rogers Project are on at 8PM on Tue 25 Nov in the marvellous
Bull and Gate, a stone's throw from Kentish Town tube. Swing by if you fancy it or
listen to them here.