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Posts Tagged ‘Music’

Seamus Anthony live at Songwriters in the Round, Melbourne

I have now played maybe as many as ten Songwriters in the Round gigs thanks to Liam and all the gang at Melting Pot who are really blossoming into a music promoter force to be reckoned with. I have been blessed by their ongoing support over the last three years and it seems to be a beautiful friendship that looks set to continue as SITR moves on to a different venue.

I am also writing a regular blog for them over at their shiny new music blog.

The above gig took place last September 2011 – there’s been a couple more since then and I am looking forward to the footage from those also as they were pretty special.

Cliché, Yes, but the Journey Actually IS What It’s All About

I was sitting on a couch in my friend Joe Hammond’s recording studio the other day listening to the song we’d just recorded when suddenly I felt completely empty, even a little depressed.

The recording was great, probably only 70% finished but definitely a successful and fun day’s work and easy to see how from there it would be plain sailing to finish it off into something to be proud of.

 

 

I had been waiting for the day in the studio for weeks. Catching me humming a little happy tune while doing my least favourite chore the night before (dishes), A Certain Lady commented, accurately, that I was obviously looking forward to spending a cheeky Thursday making music.

So, come 7pm that Thursday, given all was well, why did I feel so empty? No idea. But I have noticed it before.

Truth is when I get what I want, I very often feel like this and so I can understand how people who get everything they want often lose it.

It’s often bandied about that you have to do what you love in order to succeed – and I think this is true – mainly because you need that passion to push you through the hard bits. If you weren’t passionate enough about your work, the trials that inevitably befall any project worth doing would cause you to give up the fight.

 

 

But there’s another reason I need to love what I do – because I have noticed on quite a few occasions that when I get what I want, even though it does feel very good, the feeling doesn’t last. Soon after I feel kind of empty, tired and blue.

That’s why it is so important to love what you do – because success is a fleeting pleasure and because it’s the “doing”, the striving, that takes the most time. So if you love that process, then life is bliss, because once the momentary thrill of success, large or small, is over – you take a little R & R and then just get back to doing “it”, the thing you love, all over again.

Sweet as.

(Photos by Spindickle – thanks mate)

 

 

Be Demanding

It was a lovely, noisy dinner party we had last night, and then after our guests had gone I went out to the office and wrote songs until about midnight.

So unsurprisingly, it was bloody hard to get out of bed this morning.

But that was ok because I am my own boss!

So I eventually rolled out of bed at about 8:45am and then took my own sweet time getting ready because I didn’t have to pretend that I was at my best. It wouldn’t work if I did this every day, my business would soon fail, but today it was so damn nice to be able to just sit at the table, glowering at my coffee and groaning until I was able to get out to office and get on with work, without worrying that “the boss” was going to give me a hard time.

It wasn’t easy to work at first either; I was too tired to be highly creative or effective. So I did some admin type stuff that you can do when your brain doesn’t work. This was actually a good thing because usually I avoid this stuff because I would rather do something inspired and creative. But, hey, I was being inspired and creative at 11pm last night writing songs and I can’t be “on” all the time.

So I got some administrative chores done, and did some work for some clients, stuff a robot monkey could have done, and then as the day wore on I felt better and things started to tick along nicely.

The other really good thing about being my own boss is that when I feel all antsy and need to go for a jog, I can do so at the drop of a hat, like I did today. There’s no bloody boss to beg permission to go do that or to drop the kid off at kindergarten or whatever.

The Trade Off

I’ve worked long and hard to get to a point where I do not have a boss and I’m sure as hell am not going back now. So this means that tonight after dinner and after the kid is in bed, I will be firing up the computer again and working on and into the night. That’s the trade off, you have to work hard but if you don’t manage it at 9am, well it doesn’t matter – just as long as the work gets done in the end.

Working from home as a marketing consultant is not my dream, by the way, but it’s a pretty comfortable way-station.

It allows me to plant seeds and nurture the real career – which is of course writing and music and cool stuff like that.

To make this happen, to get paid full time to make music and to write and generally do and make cool stuff, may take some luck, but I believe you make your own luck by rocking up to do the work and also by being demanding. By “being demanding” I mean just saying “I am going to do this. I am going to make that movie. I am going to work from home for myself.” Or whatever it is you want.

You demand it upfront. Surprisingly the universe is very responsive to demanding. If you think about it, the people who really get what they want in this world are actually very demanding. They say I am going to do this – so move, mountain, move!

That was what I did with working from home. I demanded of my old boss that she let me work from home and she just rolled over and said yes.

Then I wanted to work for myself instead of a boss, so I got on the phone and did cold-call after cold-call, for months, until I had clients.

I demanded clients and then I did the work.

That’s the trade off, it’s all very well demanding things of the universe, but you need to realise that in return the universe demands that you work your butt off.

If you don’t ask you don’t get.

But if you don’t work hard, you don’t get, even though you asked.

The Universe is Massive and I’m a Professional Bogan

At home resting after a busy few days and watching some good old Saturday night TV, I saw a guy mention on a talk show something about how small we are compared to all the billions of stars and galaxies and whatever – and the question that popped into my mind was – “so if we are all so small and insignificant, why do all the details of my life feel so big to me?”

I don’t really have an answer to that.

boganThen I got to thinking about what I do with my time, and how I tend to go off on tangents and be all over-extended, doing and starting things that aren’t really part of the “plan”. And how I habitually do things that in some way, even if mostly just imagined, put me in a vulnerable position.

Most people, especially those pushing forty like me (Aggh!) play it safe. They don’t put themselves out there, but I do. That’s what it means to be an artist.

I still gig and while on stage I bare my soul both through my music and through the rambling in-between songs, the jokes and the swearing and ranting and stories and Kramer-esque unsubtle honesty that people love. The saying of the things they play it too safe to say. (I don’t mean that as a criticism – safe makes sense.)

I write blogs like this, instead of just keeping my head down.

Then I do things like I did today. Things that barely make any sense, yet I kind of get off on it.

How I Get Off

Hmmm? get off? Sound interesting?

Well it’s nothing sexy, ok? Unless this photo is your particular cup of bourbon.

This is what I did today that to me is the equivalent of being an adrenalin junkie. I drove one hour to a complete stranger’s hens party in the Melbourne inner-suburb of Brunswick and dressed up as a bogan for money, as you do.

For all overseas readers, a bogan is an Australian thing, kind of equivalent to a trailer-trash redneck in the US but quintessentially Aussie. Refer to the photo – taken today. I am the brunette. Gizz a kiss.

I didn’t just randomly rock up to a party uninvited and dressed up as a bogan, although that would be a funny thing to do.

I was hired as part of an act called Bogan Bingo. And the scary thing was I hadn’t done it before and I only had half an hour’s practice before I did the gig, and I didn’t know the guy I did the gig with (I do now, his name is Josh, a consummate professional), and I had to operate a DJ mixer in tandem with a laptop to play music and cue grabs of songs that formed the punchlines to a set of jokes set up by the MC – and there was a very real chance that I could screw everything right up. It was all very nerve wracking…

…and I loved it.

Why?

That’s where I thrive. I actually thrive on uncertainty. A handy skill in an uncertain world.

That’s why I love playing my music on stage – because no matter how many gigs I do or how many times I have played a song before, every gig is a tight-wire act that could conceivably fall apart at any moment. Every gig is different. A brand new, living, breathing organism that will only exist in time for a single tiny window of time before dissolving back into the ether.

I don’t want to jump out of planes. I don’t need to. I have two ways of getting my kicks, my adrenalin rush. Put myself into a new situation (job, a new type of stage performance, a foreign country) or do yet another gig playing my music. That’s where my buzz lies.

A Funny Thing Happened As I Was Walking the Dog  Today

By the way – it’s an interesting story how I scored this ridiculous gig (which is just a laugh for me really, one that happens to pay), I went to the park with my daughter and my dog. And, this summer being what it is, it started to rain. There was only one other guy there, with his dog. He happened to be pretty friendly, and skilled enough at starting conversation that he got around my usual reluctance to engage in small talk (when sober anyway). Kept asking me about what I did, my work. At the time (how quickly things change) the year had not gotten underway with gusto and I was genuinely wondering if my online marketing business was going to survive or if it was time to find something new.

Then I asked what he did. “Bogan Bingo”, he says, with a shrug.

“Oh yeah, I see your van with the logo painted on the side up the road. “Balls On Fire Tour”, right?”

“Yeah, that’s my business”, he says. Goes on to explain it all and how he employs people to run the shows for him; how it’s a gas.

I go home, do some Googling. It looks like a stupid, silly, idiotic thing for a respectable father-figure type such as I to get involved with.

Perfect. Count me in!

I email the man, Darren is his name, enquire if he needs anyone new. He does. Voila. I’m a professional bogan.

Life is weird, the Universe is massive and I’m a professional Bogan.

It’s all about hitting your mid-thirties and not just giving up. Back in the 90s all of us Gen X’ers were going to DO something. Something awesome.

OK it wasn’t dressing up as a bogan, but it wasn’t rotting in a dead-end job and slowly dieing of boredom either…

New band – Zuiiza

Yes that’s right – the new band is called Zuiiza – an odd name for a bunch of odd fellows.

Zuiiza is a totally obscure Japanese Zen word I found which means to be off duty (literally: to sit as one pleases) except we decided to pronounce it differently than you are supposed to. It’s apparently really pronounced “zoo-ee-zah” but we say it “Zoo-zah” and we keep making up various fictitious definitions for it, so in short, it’s pretty much a made up word 😉

Click here to check out Zuiiza and have a listen to some work-in-progress music.

Depth and Focus

Just reading an awesome free E-book called “What Matters Now“, compiled by Seth Godin; love this quote:

what produces real work (and happiness for each of us,
in my opinion) is depth, focus, concentration and
commitment over time.

By one Steven Pressfield.

It’s not a very trendy thing to say but it is the truth. It’s why I don’t seem to use that Twitter account I briefly flirted with. It’s why I will pursue my music until my pursuing days are over.

Speaking of which, two advancements today in that area:

  1. An awesome new vision (virtually worthless until realised of course)
  2. A new iPhone sketch, and right on-message too:

An Interesting Life

New song flavoured with a genuine hangover, some minor stuff-ups and a hint of lawnmower in the background. The Scarab Bar is in Belgrave, Victoria but it could be any bar anywhere right?

<a href="http://seamus.bandcamp.com/track/an-interesting-life">An Interesting Life by Seamus Anthony</a>

If you like ze tune zen please download and/or use the share function to ping it around the world, around the world, around the world, around the world (repeat).

Are You Too Old To Be A Musician?

The answer is “no”.

You are never too old to be a musician.

Maybe you’re too old to be a pop star for the teenage market – but do you really want to be that?

Just make your music dude, and don’t worry about how old you are. Age is meaningless.

old musician

In Defiance of the Lizard Brain

I was sitting in my little office in the backyard at about 4:30pm yesterday thinking about wanting to record and that little chicken voice, the one Seth Godin calls the Lizard Brain, was giving me the usual crap:

but you need money; make money then you can relax and make music.

Suddenly I just took on board Godin’s whole message from “Linchpin” (brilliant book, read it). I reached for my iPhone, pressed a button and recorded this:

… and by the time I went to bed I had figured out how to convert the file into something usable and it was online and available worldwide.

OK so it took me about 10 minutes to make the cover, and it’s pretty lame – but I can come back and fix that later.

OK so it’s recorded in one take on a Dictaphone. OK so it’s technically sub-standard – but you know what? I don’t mind.

Listening back to it, I like the way it sounds; it reminds me of a Neil Young song recorded around a campfire back in the 70s. I even like the 20 seconds of nothing at the end (the world needs more quiet moments of nothing between stimuli). Polished recordings have their place but so do quick n’ dirty guerrilla recordings. And meanwhile, the lyrics are exactly perfect for the statement: it’s about contributing – now, while you have the chance – not passively consuming.

OK so just because it is available worldwide doesn’t mean the world cares, but that’s not the point.

The point is more people are going to care than if I don’t record it and, just as importantly, release it (Godin calls it “shipping”). Don’t record and release – move nobody. Record and release (however flawed) – move somebody, somewhere for sure. And as an artist, all I really care about is moving people with my art, making a difference.

So bugger off Lizard Brain, get thee to a nunnery and I’ll call you when I actually need you.

I’m going to record and release a whole album like this over the next week or two; the working title is “Recorded on my iPhone (in defiance of the Lizard Brain)’.

Thank you Seth, you moved me with your indispensable book.

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