Life

News & Updates

I’ve got a few pieces of news to share with y’all…

 

1) I’ve finished the writing for my EP, this leaves only one track to record, two to edit and the block of tracks to have mastered.

2) I’ve been asked to setup and run a recording studio with a friend in London

3) I’ve gotten an unconditional place at music college

 

These are all bits of news that are great, and considering they’ve come right after a family funeral are massively welcome.

 

Yours,

 

Distance Left…

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Life Tips

First off this isn’t mean to be patronising pop-philosophy and feel-good nonsense, this is a mixture of actual practical tips on how to make living easier, more fun, simpler and help solve common annoyances with life.

Philosophy

My basic life philosophy is simple:

Life is an opportunity; take it, you’re never too old or too young to do most things.

Whilst I know this is a cliché it stands up in the real world well enough, those that risk nothing, try nothing end up with nothing.

That isn’t to say I think people should bungee jump naked whilst high on crack, just if you get the chance to do what you want over what you have to in order to live, give it a go, like my grandad said the worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work and there’s always another train.

Do what you love, love what you do, another cliché but again a functional one, if someone gave me on paper the stats of my working week, 14 hour days, somtimes below minimum wage, constant grift & hustle, little chance of huge success, late nights, bad sleep, no sleep, no money at times, I wouldn’t even apply, let alone work the job, however because I effectively get to live my own dream every day, I do it, no complaints and with much enjoyment.

It is infact true, if you enjoy your work, you never work a day in you life, you just live it.

Be yourself too, this takes enormous guts and years to master, but if you’re truly being yourself everything you do should come as naturally as breathing, this is how I feel when I make music, I am utterly in sync with the world around me and removed from it at the same time, ‘the zone’ as it’s known by sports people ‘flow’ to musicians is very real and is amongst the single best emotional and phsyical states I regular experience, including sex and drugs (in which I have a fair amount of experience too).

If you feel like this when you’re doing whatever it is that moves you, pursing your passion, then congratulations you’re doing it right.

 

Standard of Living

I’ve had many different standards of living, when I was younger my dad had a very good job in Advertising and Marketing we were minted, wanted for nothing and I went to a private school (public for my UK readers), I was comfortably upper-middle-class, whatever that means, I’ve also live on the breadline, the dole and the streets, I personally dislike both of these extremes, having everything or nothing is no-where near as decent in my humble experience as being comfortably able to pursue your goals.

 

Tips & Tricks

Wash, this sounds basic and stupid ‘parent advice’ but it is important, keep yourself clean, take showers, baths whatever you like, it makes you feel better and protects your health.

Eat well, and learn to cook, it saves money, is very social, and keeps you occupied, I love the fact for around £5 I can make restaurant quality food in my house crack open a bottle of red-wine and enjoy my own work with friends for a fraction the cost of a night out.

Clothes, do not spend a fortune, simple as, buy from charity and thrift stores, discount outlets, make your own and buy on sale, I have lots of very nice clothes, for any occasion and have never paid full price for them, thus giving me money to save for buying new shiny guitars. Despite having suits I spend most of my time in jeans & t-shirts, I just feel slightly dressed up in anything else and get paranoid about spilling food, drink, oil, etc on myself I don’t like not being able to do whatever I need to or move easily in anything I wear. Learning to repair your own clothes is highly useful too.

Washing your clothing, do this as often as needed, always have plenty of clean underwear, this is way more important than clean jeans, like many normal people I’ve worn the same jeans for a week, but made sure I have a clean undercarriage. I will mention ironing here too, avoid it at all costs, it is an utter waste of time, most people don’t notice, really nice clothes suits and good coats as almost always dry cleaning items anyway, you can press you clothes under your mattress, and if you’re ironing your underwear you need help.

Live frugally, this is essential, life has loads of unexpected costs, I took my car into a bollard in a parking lot/car park at the end of last year, if I didn’t have a bit of spare money about I would have been screwed, as it was I could cover it, and still had enough left to put towards a newer vehicle this year.

Learn to drive or master public transport, I have to drive, amp cabinets do not fit on trains, this is a fact, however you’ve got to get the knack of getting about, life is about moving.

Partying/Drugs, my basic personal policy on drugs is simple, I don’t and never have touched any hard drugs, they kill, destroy careers and are an utter waste of time, everything is a matter of personal taste and circumstances. I would say this, if you don’t get off getting drunk or high, don’t do it, if something does bad things to your head avoid it, if you enjoy something socially, and it doesn’t become your life, fine, it’s a moderation thing.

In short, enjoy a beer, cocktail or glass of wine without becoming an alcoholic, a joint without becoming a stoner (a very dull way to live), and if it doesn’t suit you don’t do it.

Dance, dance is immensely fun, social, good exercise, relaxing and escapist, you also have the added bonus of being very close to sweat,y happy, nice moving and attractive members of the opposite sex, I can see no negatives in going out dancing. Like the death cab for cutie song states; stay young, go dancing.

Don’t act your age, I was never really a teenager until my 20’s and have a permanent child-like way of living and viewing life, remember; growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional.

Read, watch films, listen to music, go to the theatre, visit art galleries and museums, there is so much culture all over the world we’re drowning in it, don’t drown learn to swim and enjoy seeing how far from the shores of the ordinary.

Be kind and supportive towards people and respect them, I owe my life to the support of my friends and my mum, simple as, I could have died, sunk, or smashed my life apart many times were it not for these people, I owe them everything, and in return I look out for them.

Respect yourself, value who you are, what you do and how you do it, self respect is the start of being respected and the basis for being in any kind of human relationship, my best friends don’t always quite understand why I do what I do, many of my family & family friends think I should ‘get a proper job’, I tried this, it sucks (as I’ve mentioned before) I do what I do because it’s part of who I am as a person, without it I would  loose a huge part of my self-worth and lessen my own life for the sake of steady, easy conformism, this I am not prepared to do. Music isn’t so much something that I do, so much as something I can’t help doing, it just happens, no matter what I start out I always wind-up doing it some capacity.

Have a side of your job that’s relaxing and lightweight, for me this is DJ-ing, compared to writing and performing music, I find it easy, but it has the added bonus of earning me money, keeping me musically involved, and performing. Whatever it is you do it’s a good idea to find a lightweight version of it.

Take time off, this is vital and I need not explain why.

Travel and meet people, you never know who you’re going to meet, or when, how or possibly even why, just keep moving with life, as Bruce Lee said “be water my friend, it can crash or it can flow”.

I’ve met Carlos Santana, I was playing my PRS outside The British Museum on summer in London, this dapper chap in a trilby came over complimented me on my guitar, playing, shook my hand wish me well and walked off with his lovely looking wife, I was with my mum at the time, and she gave me an odd look and asked who it was, I said “I think that was Carlos Santana” she took a brief look (being a fan, she bought me a copy of Caravanersai when I was younger) and was kinda surpirsed but not, as a Londoner she used to regularly meet ‘famous’ people on the tube.

This kind of thing is another reason why I love London so very much, no city on earth is quite the same.

 

Thanks very much for reading,

 

Yours,

Distance Left…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Plan-B – Making a Life out of Music

There’s a lot of talk at the moment about the damage being done the music industry by piracy and the resulting revenue loss.

For arguments sake, I refer you to ‘The Trichordist’ in short; there is great harm being done, and if it weren’t for other reasons I would be at the brunt of it.

I was fortunate enough to get en email from Blake Morgan of ECR Music Group recently about the state of being an artist these days, he has also written an excellent piece for Huffington Post recently about how even in professional circles people expect you to have a ‘Plan-B’, this is to say a job you would fall back on should you not be able to make a living doing music full time.

There is no other career path where this is considered normal, now obviously not everyone is going to be a superstar, however there’s no sane reason why you shouldn’t be able to have a comfortable living making music, DJ-ing, Songwriting, or performing; for example do professional dancers get told to have a back up job?

If you want to join in this discussion and find other relevant posts, linkes and people, join me on Twitter @DistanceLeft using the hashtag #IRespectMusic.

Some points of disclosure; I’m fortunate enough to be from a well-to-do background, I’m graduate level educated (in science) and fortunate enough to be independently financially stable, however despite these advantages it is still difficult to make a living as a musician, and were it all I had to live on, my living standard would take a sharp drop. Having lived worse than even living from busk to busk, I don’t dread this, it would just be a pain.

I however don’t have a ‘Plan-B’ that is I have no fall back position from doing music, no ‘day job’ that would be OK, it’s not that I couldn’t have such a thing, it’s just I don’t want to live like that, half doing what I want to do.

I would much rather ‘risk my whole life on some dream’ as a family friend told me over the holiday season, it’s my life, it’s my choice, so be it, I’d rather try doing what I want that half live my own life. Also f*ck those people who tell you not to try and live your dreams, seriously you all suck and just because you let life kick your dreams out of you, don’t drag the rest of us with you.

I’ve actively chosen since graduation to make my living this way, making songs, writing music, working as a session musician, DJ-ing and so forth.
I’ve done the ‘day-job’ thing, it sucks; you work a job you dislike to do what you want every weekend, only to be rudely returned to the ‘real world’ every Monday.
I technically have an optional fallback; I just dread it, I hate offices, I hate sitting down all day, I hate computing/IT; it’s truly soul destroying, I detest office politics, I cannot stand ties, I hate corporate BS doublespeak, jerks of bosses whose life ambitions amount to having a nice car and cheating on their wives, annoying people who never clean the coffee & tea area, that co-worker who wants to be your friend who you don’t like, having to care about some stupid company and so on and so on.
 
I had such a job; I managed to do it for four months, (I bought a PRS Custom 22 with some of my earnings) before I left for France to work in a library and attend a music festival, this was a much better idea, and was the only time I found the ‘day-job/music’ balance.

So along with a host of others, from the big-guns to the near unknowns, like myself, if you’re contemplating a life in music, do it, commit, and don’t look back, people will try and put you off, tell to ‘get real’ or ‘be sensible’, ignore these people, follow your passion. I can’t promise you fabulous riches, or an easy life, no-one and nothing else can anways, so why not do something you want to do with your life?

I can tell you however you will however feel fulfilled as a person, meet some of the most amazing people, always have something interesting to do, a reason to get up in the morning and have some of the best adventures, ever.

On the subject of great adventures:

I recently won a bandname from BBC 6 Music, (LINK) ‘Squid Fist’ is going to be a comedy metal band who sing songs about cephalopods, with my friend Abhijit Chanda whose blog is here, available here .

In the aforementioned email Blake Morgan made the point to me that “we’re all in this together” I couldn’t help but agree, I have no where his levels of bills to pay, and I’m close to struggling.

Join us, make music; you might even change the world.

Aim high; play to win; failure is not an option.

It’s like P!nk  says “You gotta get up, and Try, Try, Try”.

If you love music, make it, buy it, go to see it live, don’t stream it, and please don’t pirate it, people’s livelihoods are tied up in it, and the taxes you pay on it go towards running civil society.

All The Best,  

Yours, musically

Distance Left

EP – ‘Science is an Art’, coming soon initially to bandcamp (LINK), there will be a physical release but this will take a few months to get arranged, all proceeds go to me making better music in the future.