Guest Post: Andrew Price, musical maestro

Hi everyone. In an effort to spread the word about some more of the great artists I’ve come across onmy travels, here’s one of a different kind. Andrew Price is a musician with a fair bit of experience under his belt, both in education where he just finished his Masters, and in the gigging field where he plays both solo and with a band. He’s also the man responsible for the Greaveburn book trailer’s song, “The Organ Thief”. But, without much further ado, I’ll hand you over to Andy…

Firstly I just want to thank Craig for allowing me to commune with more people via his blog. Craig is (as I’m sure you’ll agree) a wonderful writer who I’m certain will achieve wider recognition in the future.

I too am a Doncastarian, now living in the glorious Roman city of Bath having just completed a MMus (masters in music). I have been music and songwriting since the age of around 15, starting off with basic rip-off imitations of my favourite bands, artists and genres and very slowly over the next decade trying to find my creative voice  (The lesser important distinctive singing voice would be discovered much much later)

The most difficult thing for any artist to contend with is the critical voice, that little niggling but essential demon that resides inside us all, forcing us to scrutinise ourselves and our work. This is something that I’ve found tricky to negotiate with over my writing-life, compromise is often brokered and creative decisions you feel you want to make aren’t made.  From my experience this has led to a sort of annoyance, creative droughts and un-productive, frustrating spans of time soon follow.

Of course, every creative in every medium can have a different approach and a different perspective. But having being through this course and this year out of my well-established comfort zone, recording and writing in a new city, with new instrumentation and most vitally new people I’ve realised that to really advance sometimes you’ve just got to throw yourself to the wolves, write unusually, try operating in different genres and take some risks. This has been a crucial lesson for me over the course of my time here, not to let the inner critic (otherwise known as fear) restrict and shackle me into a safe, cosy but ultimately unsatisfying world.

My major project for my course was a big, ambitious album called ‘The Fall’. I’d be self-writing, recording and producing to a standard that I’d never done before, utilising and learning new instruments to meet the marked criteria but also to demonstrate my creative voice.  This was very difficult and stressful whilst also being wonderfully exciting and positive. The inner critic occasionally surfaced, and was listened to on a number of occasions. More often than not my desire to hear the ideas realised to the best they could possibly be eliminated much of the fear from my mind. The album took around four months to shape and produce and I was very pleased with the final product. The perfect culmination of my time studying at Bath and my creative path to this point.

Although the album has been described by some as indie-rock I didn’t really intend to tie myself to one specific genre or influence. David Bowie and Suede are large influences on the way I write songs and my love for them casts the longest shadow on The Fall but I personally think neither of them would write something like this.  It was originally intended to be a sort of Paradise Lost concept album but I think it grew beyond that. Lyrical imagery and themes are definitely evident but during the production songs and ideas were jettisoned in favour of non-conceptual tracks, such as ‘The Lion and the Unicorn and The Organ Thief , a song which Craig used in his trailer to promote Greaveburn, with which it shares it’s air of Victoriana menace

One of the album’s songs, Let’s Play, was recently chosen and commissioned by a London advertising agency to soundtrack a cinema trailer for the very university I’ve just studied at: Bath Spa. Not only is this hugely flattering but it will enable my music (now in 5.1 surround!) to be heard by a much wider audience than I’d previously had access to. This should be distributed in the next few days to cinemas, 4od and the Bath Spa University website.  Needless to say I’m hugely excited by this and I’m looking forward to working on more advertisements in the future

Making the record has been a wonderful learning experience and I’m hoping to carry on developing my creative side whilst studying music’s history more academically. The inner critic will always be there, reigning in the more unbalanced decisions and stopping complete over-indulgence, but now I think that he and I have a healthy respect for each other.

Thanks for reading!

Andrew Price

The Fall is available on Amazon as an mp3 digital download:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Fall/dp/B00A18EEEO/ref=sr_shvl_album_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1352986487&sr=301-1

It’s also listenable to for free on Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/artist/4XtXjSPQKpqsSPAVIhVAlA

and Soundcloud:  http://soundcloud.com/andrew-price-music/sets/songs-from-the-fall/

It’s coming to iTunes soon also!

 

Thanks for coming over, Andy! Good luck with the album!

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Book Trailers

As the Indie Publishing Steamroller really gathers speed, we’ve started to see developments in the way books are advertsied. If they’re ever going to compete with movies or tv, for example, they’re going to need proper adverts that move and not just static images in a newspaper or on a website. And that’s where book trailers come in.

This phenomenon is turning into a real franchise with plenty of companies springing up in people’s garages who are willing to produce one for you. Let’s look at a few good ones while we’re here, eh?

Here’s one for LEVIATHAN by Scott Westerfield which uses the illustrations in his book for an epic effect:

 

Or what about this one for Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters,which still gets me howling with laughter:

These two were the exception to the rule with an excellent budget and proper backing, however, for the rest of us, there are some that are simple but effective:

And so the question is, do these things really work? Well, based purely on the amount of hits on Youtube, I’d say yes. We have to bear in mind that the forst two trailers were exceptional and/or very funny which increases the hit-rate. But if you can make yours intriguing enough, or funny or scary or anything else that people want to see (smexy?) then yes, the trailers work.

Now, as I’ve said for those of us with no budget at all such as myself, there’s ALWAYS  a cheap option, and it’s very easy to make your own trailer. This is where I go all Blue Peter on you and tell you to go scrounge some empty toilet rolls, sticky backed plastic, ols washing-up liquid bottles and PVA glue…so go ahead, I’ll wait…

…got it? Good, now throw it away, what do you think this is, the 80’s?

Most of you out there with your brainstem jacked directly into the internet will have free software on your computer such as Windows Movie Maker which will allow you to make your own trailer. Most of you will have a mobile phone which can take video or photographs. And most of you have fingers with which to operate the aforementioned gadgets. Do I have to spell it out for you? Get out there and start taking some pics/videos/voice recordings. Get them on your computer and have a play around. It can take days, hours or minutes, as much or as little as you like, to create your own book trailer. And, just to prove it, I’ve made one of my own to show exactly how terrible the results can be.

I’ve cheated a bit here. I googled a lot of images to make sure they were appropriately creepy. I also downloaded the free sound file for the backing track. The movie maker “skills” are my own, of course. But I think you’ll get the idea of what I’m going for. And so, in celebration of me moving on from my old project, and with my next novel in sight, I’ve created a commemorative trailer for Not Before Bed before I finally stop bashing on about it. Here it is. Don’t have nightmares (yeah, right).

Due to technical issues, I’m afraid you’ll have to watch it here.

…Ok, don’t judge me.

Thanks for reading.