Three years along from venturing properly into the music biz, and time to ponder some lessons learned-sometimes learned easy and sometimes not. These things I have been taught.
Lesson #1 Money. Get to terms with your fiscal policy, whatever it may be, and be true to it. Two bands, I think, are honest about this and at opposite ends of a philosophical spectrum are 48May and Luna Spark.
Lesson#2 The industry has already changed. It’s a good thing. Read Frederick Dannen’s book 'Hit Men' for the ultimate eye-opener about 80s corporate music culture.
Lesson #3 The future is obviously in the Internet, and there are so many sites offering stuff. Apart from muzic.net, I can recommend;
Lesson#4 Join APRA. No really. Do it now.
Lesson #5 Play Live. It used to be a tradition to play as often as you could, and now it's almost discouraged by the Idol mentality. Audiences are more disposed towards original music than many may think, and it’s an amazingly gratifying experience.
Each issue we try to feature an editorial written by someone outside of the muzic.net.nz team, who is either in a band, is in the industry or is just plain fanatical about music. If this sounds like something you'd like to do, drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
News from DateMonthYear
Welcome onboard to Jeremy Graham, who joins DMY on a permanent basis splaying the bass guitar. This means that after a 6-month live break, DMY blue has been once again gigging up a storm in Hamilton.
Jeremy’s second gig was with the Trust Waikato Symphony orchestra, who performed three DMY songs ('Ghost2', 'Asleep' and 'Riverdragon') at the twilight symphony gig that closed Hamilton’s garden Festival in February, before an audience of more than 6000. No pressure!
Nearly completed is a project that has been stuck on the back burner for some time. 'The Great DateMonthYear Guitar/Remix Challenge' is an experiment where various guitarists and remixers were given the same track ('Ghost5' or 'Ghost6' from the '7Ghosts' CD) and given free reign to do whatever they wanted. The results arte extraordinary. In addition there are two new DMY tracks 'Lucky2' (from the archives) and a preview mix of '30Something (Evil Train Mix)' from the upcoming 'Pot/Kettle/Black' CD. Release date is set for the end of April.
DateMonthYear is Grant Blackler, Bevan Galbraith, Trevor Faville, Sehai Orgad, Simon Hirst, Michael Anker, Shaye Simpson, Brad Kerr and Jeremy Graham.
Open an atlas and you’ll find reasons for voyaging. Listen to Atlas and you won’t want to leave.
Christchurch rock band Atlas make their gutsy debut with their original single, 'Is This Real?'
Written by Atlas mastermind Ben Campbell, (formerly of Zed) and frontman Sean Cunningham, it’s a gritty, honest account of finding yourself, set to epic rock guitars.
“It’s a song about becoming a man, and not having enough structure in life,” Ben explains, “not having the reasons to get up and do things.”
The track was recorded in Christchurch by Elements Music and mixed at Neil Finn’s studio in Auckland.
And it’s a promising sign of things to come from the band who plan to release their debut album, 'Reasons For Voyaging', later this year.
Ben experienced his own reasons to voyage after nine hugely successful years as bass player for Zed. The band enjoyed multi-platinum album sales, toured the world and even partied with Robbie Williams and Coldplay.
But their split opened up a range of exciting opportunities. On Ben's return to Christchurch, he set up his own label, Elements Music.
One of the label’s early priorities was Ben’s sister, singer, songwriter and guitarist Beth Campbell. A talented musician in her own right, Beth had performed as back-up singer for members of legendary American rock bands Chicago and the Beach Boys while still in her teens, and represented her country in a barbershop quartet named The Best In The World. She also sang on the live album by Chicago frontman Robert Lamm.
The plan was to record Beth’s solo album in Los Angeles with renowned producer Hank Linderman. But it was through Linderman they met future Atlas frontman, singer-songwriter Sean Cunningham.
A Kentucky boy who’d embraced the LA lifestyle, Sean had an equally impressive musical upbringing. As a teenager, he performed before the US presidential inauguration and embarked on a paid tour of Europe. Later he spent six months in the country music mecca, Nashville, Tennessee. At 18, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a solo career.
Their meeting was a fateful moment.
“We just clicked," recalls Sean. "We wrote a few songs together, had a good time hanging out, spent some time at Venice Beach… it was wicked.”
Although forming a band wasn’t initially on their minds, the trio knew it was meant to be. Ben and Beth were so convinced, they scrapped plans for Beth’s solo album and convinced Sean to move to the other side of the world to form a band proper.
“It’s nice, this is so much quieter,” says Sean, a self-confessed city boy who doesn’t need a disco to break into dance. “The quaintness of Christchurch is very comfortable. I love it.”
Atlas didn’t have to look far for a drummer. Adrian Palmer, also of Zed fame, was soon on board, as was his girlfriend, bass player Ally Mcfedries, who had cut her teeth playing in band-about-town, Satellite.
Atlas’ newest recruit, Motueka-bred guitarist Moses Emmanuel, also an accomplished songwriter and drummer, met Ben at a barbecue, and they’ve been jamming ever since.
Atlas was born, and with it, the accolade of being, quite possibly, the country’s best-tressed band - each member of Atlas has a stunning head of hair.
But while the music and style came easy, the name did not. It wasn’t until Ben’s girlfriend gave him an atlas of modern architecture, the pin dropped.
"Atlas" couldn’t be more appropriate.
“We’re a UN kind of band,” quips Adrian. “We’re Asian, (Ally is half-Chinese) we’re Maori, (Moses) we’re American, (Sean) we’re Australian, (Ben was born there) and I’m Austrian.”
Atlas’ music is just as diverse, encompassing a broad palette of rock, pop and folk, a testament to their varying tastes. Whether they grew up listening to the Beatles or Fleetwood Mac, Michael Jackson or the Sex Pistols, if there’s one thing Atlas agrees on, it’s the strength of a good melody.
“We’ve written most of songs based on three acoustic guitars and three vocal parts,” says Beth. “It’s all built around harmonies, melodies and hooks.”
There has been plenty of time to hone their songwriting. Ben, Sean and Moses live together in a beautifully restored villa in Christchurch, affectionately nicknamed, 34dub. And it’s there, sitting around the fire having a few beers, or laxing out in the jungle-like surroundings, they’ve pulled out the guitars for countless singalongs and writing sessions.
34dub also boasts a studio, perfect for those random moments of inspiration, and one frisky Border Collie pup named Charlie. That’s not to say the writing process is all fun and games. There’s an underlying angst in many of Atlas’ songs, says Ben, “because we’ve been through a lot”.
“Ben and I have experienced in the last year-and-a-half the biggest tragedy of our lives,” Beth explains. “We lost our dad, our mentor. I started off on my dad’s lap singing Beatles songs and stuff. He was really musical so he breathed that into us. So a lot of the music was written really soon after dad’s death. A lot of it is somehow really relevant to that. We put a lot of a time into our lyrics. We try to keep it really organic and real to us.
“We’ve learned that through Ben. We’re doing it our way. There are some love songs but most of our music is about life and death, people in your life, communication and all of the those aspects of life.”
Atlas is Ben Campbell (guitar, vocals), Beth Campbell (vocals, guitar), Sean Cunningham (vocals, guitar), Adrian Palmer (drums), Moses Emmanuel (guitar, vocals) and Ally McFedries (bass).
The following new artists were added this week:
Check out the following great reviews:
We hope you all had an awesome easter break!