Go Placidly Amid the Noise and Haste, Peeps

Aaron says:

Change. I don't remember where I saw or heard it, but someone said, "the only thing that does not change is change itself." And it's true in every aspect of our universe. The seasons change, the times change, our bodies change, our minds change, and even our lives. And if you actually think about it many things have changed since you started reading this.

Some things change for the better and some things for the worse. The only thing we can do is be aware that things are indeed changing.  And if we have any control over it, we can try to make things change for the better. Unfortunately, we don't always have that control. So to shield ourselves in those times I think it is best to strengthen our inner spirit to help guide us through those changes. I'd like to share something that has helped me change my paradigm about life. Take from it what you will. And with this new season coming in I hope it can help change you for the better as spring brings new growth and new life.
 

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. 

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be critical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy. 

© Max Ehrmann 1927 

What's Love Got To Do, Got To Do With It

*AUDRA* says:

As a relatively young band we've encountered and created a substantial amount of success in the few years we've been together. Of course, we've made our share (and then some) of mistakes, but here are some items I would like to share about things we have done that have worked really well that I think you will appreciate. 

1.        We trust, love, and respect each other. I've been very lucky that I've been playing and creating music with my best friend and guitarist Pat since we have been 10. My bassist, since 18. My drummer and keyboardist have been with us for 2 years, and we're family. Trust, love, and respect are the foundations upon our success. It's special, and something we don't take for granted. Without these three items, we'd be unable to accomplish anything. It may sound trite, but we encounter so many bands that are seemingly thrown together, or share the goal of money. It never works. Unless you live 24x7 for your music, your band, your career, and have people alongside doing the same thing, it never works. 

2.        We've invested heavily in ourselves. We have invested substantial sums of our time and our own money into Chaser Eight. We practice every Tuesday and Friday for several hours. New songs, live set, recording (check out Pat's CD Baby blog on the topic at http://diymusician.cdbaby.com/2013/08/5-tips-to-improve-your-home-recordings-right-away/). We're always doing something. On weeks we have a show, we practice on Thursday and do several run-throughs of the set we are going to play. We have self-recorded three EPs, and our fourth was a HUGE studio  production. We're always working on improvement. We just don't show up and play. It's a well-rehearsed performance.  

3.        We have people that believe in us. The first time I met someone outside of my immediate circle of family and friends that said he believed in me, my world changed. Here was someone who believed in me! And he invested in us. Many people have invested in us, and we're incredibly humbled by their support. Their belief in us helps propel us forward.

4.        We network. We're our own #1 fans. We have invested heavily in social media. I think that the days of someone buying a concept album like Dark Side of the Moon and getting a group of friends together and listening to, and more importantly, discuss, the album are gone. Today, we are competing with single tracks for $.99 and thousands of other things to do on a night than go see a live show. To embrace this reality, we have marketed to our fans directly: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, internet radio, blogs, and word of mouth. We've promoted posts and tweets with our own money. We've invested in a PR agency, which has produced tremendous dividends for us. We have engaged a manager to control everything but our music, so we can focus where we need to. Everyone we meet knows who we are, gets a band business card, and is incentivized to connect with us online (special free tracks, content, etc.). We have built our site out extensively, and have many new items in the works, too. 

5.        We say NO. Perhaps the most overlooked thought is to say NO. We adhere to a very specific gig schedule to accommodate many event locations and promoters with whom we speak. We want to leave our audience wanting more. We don't want to play three nights a week, not because we don't want to play, but because we can't draw and engage our audience. This way, we aren't over-exposed, and we are able to give our existing fans, our new fans, and people interested in us a great product.

These five items are just a few of what's worked well for us. I could tell you them all, but I want to leave you wanting more…

Feed Your Head: Inside the Mind of Pete

Pete says: 

So what is it? What are we doing? Where are we going? We've all got so many questions and no many answers in sight. At least not the ones we want to hear. 

Over the years life’s little curve balls can take their toll that's for sure. The defining decisions you'll have to face that can make or break you. The passion and desire that motivates and drives can sometimes feel like a burden and be discouraging. Do you always push for more or occasionally settle for what is given to you? It’s easy to end up in that grey area and feel no solution in sight. The question is how to get out of it. All of our ideas will differ. Things that seem so close can still be so far from your grasp and yet something else is right in front of you and you'll pass right by it. Most would probably think watching life pass you by is a waste. Go out and grab it, take what's yours. Live every day like it’s your last. We've all heard the clichés, but do we all have that inner strength to live with such drive day after day? When do you know enough is enough and it’s time to move on?

Just some of life's random thoughts and questions that rattle around in my head. 

It's The Time Of The Season...

Pete says:

Well there you have it folks, summer is over. It’s now time for the cool nights and warm days of autumn. Maybe enjoying a long ride into upstate New York checking out the foliage and stopping for a bite. Possibly some fall golf (and you better keep it out of the rough)! Then again maybe enjoying some music and arts festivals around the state. Or my personal favorite, a long ride on my motorcycle. 

Although summer is great, fall seems to have those ideal temperatures, at least for me. Seasonal change can be more than weather; it can be time for personal change and reflection. It can be time to look back at what you've done; your accomplishments, the fun you've had, the people you've met, and the places you've been. Maybe more importantly than that, it may be time to set some goals, make some changes, and take hold of your destiny. Some people have a five year plan or ten year plan. I’ll stick with a three month, six month, and one year plan. Let’s see how those work out first. I won’t bore you with my list of goals, but we should all have them whether personal, professional, or otherwise.

It’s easy to fall off track when you’re trying to reach these goals to, so having people that can help keep you focused can be the most important element of the goals you set. On occasion the "help" from others may seem harsh or just not so nice, but were all adults here and there is no reason for little kid gloves, right?

Seasonal change is going to be my new self-evaluation time. See where I’m at, what I’m doing, and what adjustments I need to make. I’ve recently had some dear friends suggest some changes that I may have been a little put off by, but after careful evaluation, it’s just what the doctor ordered. Although my 100% may never be others 100% due to many factors including completely different lifestyles, they push to only improve and succeed. 

Maybe I’ve gone off course a little here, but what I’m saying is for me there’s a new rule: When the seasons change, so will I! If it means when things aren't looking up for you that it takes true friends to pick you up and push you in the direction you need to go then that's how it works. Ok, I’m all over the place with this one, but that's just the way it is! Hope you got something from it!

A Song a Day Will Keep the Therapist Away

Billy says:

For the past seven months, I've been steadily improving my life, both mind and body. A large part of the change was thanks due to the band and their overwhelming and excellent support. In addition, I use music for support; these are three songs which have proved to be very encouraging and supportive.

Dream Theater - The Answer Lies Within

My first pick is taken from Dream Theater's eighth album Octavarium. The song's title "The Answer Lies Within" is pretty self-explanatory on what the song is about: wanting to change yourself begins within and if your mindset isn't ready for change, then you're not ready. Written by founder/guitarist/chief lyricist John Petrucci, the second verse is very powerful and clearly spells out the song's message.

"Life is short, so learn from your mistakes

And stand behind, the choices that you made

Face each day with both eyes open wide

And try to give, don't keep it all inside"

The song itself is very melodic and written as a potential single. Flourished by lush orchestra, the song rings true as my main pick because the message is 100% what I strived to change myself. The chorus reflects this as well:

"Don't let the day go by

Don't let it end

Don't let a day go by, in doubt,

The answer lies within"

Bad Religion - Changing Tide

As the last song on Bad Religion's 16th album True North, "Changing Tide" is a great send-off track and grand finale. Written by lead vocalist and founder Greg Graffin, the song talks about how someone can get stuck in the drudgery of everyday life and eventually commits to a lifetime of the same stagnant routine. Instead, you should recognize one's need to change. It's one idea to just wait for that day to come when change occurs and it's another thing to act and actually change oneself.

"Every day's the same routine of endless chores and boring details.

And you know you're waiting for the perfect condition for your ship to set sail.

But of course, the climate's always changing.

Clinging to the past has got you straining.

Comes the recognition now you're on a mission that is born to fail,

Leave it!"

Graffin's lyrics throughout the band's catalog usually reflect social issues and the idea for positive change in your life. In this song, "Clinging to the past has got you straining," is a strong statement on how one can just always yearn to what has happened in the past without committing to a new endeavor.

Iron Maiden - Wildest Dreams

Featured as the lead single from Iron Maiden's 13th album, "Wildest Dreams" describes the idea of not letting your past troubles drag you down and to pursue your goals (or so called) dreams. Written by founder/bassist Steve Harris and longtime guitarist Adrian Smith, the opening lyrics, "I'm gonna to organize some changes in my life, I'm gonna exorcise the demons of my past, I'm gonna take the car and hit the open road, I'm feeling ready to just open up and go" talks about how one should always strive to do what they want and not be hindered throughout their lives.

The upbeat tempo, distinct guitar solo by Smith and catchy chorus reflects the positive message and attitude exhibited by the lyrics. Guitarist Smith rejoined Iron Maiden in 2001 after close to ten years away from the band and songs like this portray his newfound vision and excitement that he previously shown when he was with the band during its 1980's run.

"When I'm feeling down and low

I vow I'll never be the same again

I just remember what I am

And visualize just what I'm gonna be"

A Tap Dance

*AUDRA* says:

This is my correspondence with an interviewer . I thought it was insightful on both sides and worth sharing. I don't tend to agree with everything this person says, but have a look for yourself: 

XXX,

Just a quick note to say thank you for taking the time for the interview yesterday afternoon. I truly appreciate our conversation and am pleased with how it came out. Providing the indie music scene with your coverage and attention to artists like us is a great service, and we've already gotten some good traction out of the interview. Thank you!

One thing you did mention in our talk was that you hear again and again that groups have the desire to make it, but actually do not. For the ones that do "make it", what have you seen that sets them apart from the rest? Obviously it's quality music, of course, but what other attributes do you think help to garner success versus wallowing gig to gig? 

I like to ask this question to get different perspectives. I hope that your offer to help me out could include the above conversation. :)

Many thanks in advance, and again, I truly appreciate your time and our conversation. I look forward to speaking to you again in a couple months when we launch the new EP.

Best,

*AUDRA* from Chaser Eight

____________________________________________________________________

From: XXX
To: *AUDRA* from Chaser Eight
Subject: Re: Thank you!

Thank you for being on the show Audra! We had a great time speaking with you. I am always interested in bands and performers perspectives on their career progression.

I like to ask the question about where bands see themselves in 2/3 years or "down the road" to get a feel for how sincere they are and if they understand the commitment it takes to succeed. The difference to me is being able to understand that it is more than a career choice. It is a lifestyle choice. You have to be on the road in markets where nobody will know you for the most part. You have to understand that is necessary in order to network with others doing the same thing. By building and utilizing these relationships on the road is where doors will begin to open. Believe me there are 10's of thousands of talented bands everywhere. Most never leave their comfort zone and eventually implode from life in general...work, marriage, babies etc. It doesn't mean you cannot fall in love and have a real life it’s just that those people in your life need to understand your choices....being on the road etc. They and you have to be strong enough to handle time apart.

One of the biggest challenges, of course, is money. That is why cultivating relationships elsewhere is so important. You need places to stay, food etc. to keep costs down. You need to have merch to sell in order to have gas money for the next gig. Venues will not begin paying you a decent amount until you build a following in their area. That takes time and work...not just partying with people. (Another roadblock to success).

You also have to ask yourself ...what is your definition of success? Is it fortune and fame or an established career within the industry where you make a nice living? In either case it takes full commitment to the lifestyle and a consistent approach to your craft every single day. You are a professional artist first.

I hope this helps Audra. I am always available to answer your questions or give you insight. If I am able to introduce you with others that might be good for you to work with I will do so....other bands, promoters, etc. Just keep me in the loop on what you are doing and we can take it from there. Contact me anytime you wish. Ask me anything you wish.

Peace, XXX

____________________________________________________________________

Hey XXX, thank you for your reply. Right now, we definitely want to build a huge following locally; drill a niche an inch wide and a mile deep and fill it with people versus broadcasting to anyone everywhere and having a very thin following. Not that I don't agree with your views, I just think the game is a bit different now with the ever-expansive use of the internet to market music. I think you can stay in your comfort zone more now if you are making great music and have a great web marketing plan that can reach millions of potential fans. Or if you are making music that is good enough to license (as a mentioned yesterday we already have a few deals). This way you can make some money off those avenues or gain traction in your own area through doing local shows then you can do a tour. I would never want to be like some of the bands we see out on "tour" now; playing everywhere to no one and just to say you did it. I would rather dominate my market then go on tour opening for bigger acts. Make a new for ourselves and leverage it. Otherwise, it can just be a terrible waste of money.

Every single member is fully invested in the Chaser Eight lifestyle and everything that entails. Even our manger (our 6th member). Unfortunately, we all have day jobs to pay the bills right now, but we drop everything for a commitment to the band. Also, the day jobs do help as it allows us to fatten up our band fund with the weekly dues. This way new merch, music videos, studio time, and whatever else can all be afforded. But one of the main band mottos is: Always show up. And we live by that.

Success would have to be both for me. It would be the fame and fortune and an established career within the industry making a nice living.

I always tell people that I didn't choose music, it chose me. So for me and for the band is this lifestyle choice AND a career choice. I believe it has to be both. In this age of DIY musicians if you don't treat your band like a business and make the best and informed business decisions, you'll also fail at achieving your goal. The goal being "making it."

Thank you again and we will definitely keep you in the loop and appreciate your help and advice!

*AUDRA*