Sunday, 22 April 2012

The week that wasn't... until Saturday.

Hello all,

    Time for another large slice of musical honesty, this week with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Whilst making sure that here on The Honest Music Blog we rightly praise all those who are worthy of such  notable commendations for attitude, commitment and general all-round niceness, we must also cover the other 50% of people who would seemingly climb a hundred foot ladder just to make sure the dump they're aiming in your direction has a more satisfying impact.

Firstly, cudos must go to festival 'organisers' who in a rather backward move, ignore two successful year's slots on the Main Stage and the people who pay to come and see us there, and demote you to a pub, under the banner of 'Emerging Artists.' Perhaps it's like a musical hibernation, emerging periodically from your lethargic unproductivity to be spat blinking and naked as a newborn to desperately salvage what remains of your confused followers before your time runs out and you're replaced by someone less talented at music but much better at fawning and kissing backsides.

    Further on, we are graced with the presence of an ego so swollen it rather obscures an ability to 'scat' and create rhymes so awkward I found myself blushing with embarrassment just being in the room. Suffice to say we were the only ones who thought so (again a healthy nod to our own lack of cool and 'down with the kids' awareness) and we were left to waste a few peoples time after the real star of the show had made a swift exit, explaining that all communications were directed through their Manager, so as not to dirty oneself with the humdrum of everyday humanity. I may add to this that Mick Hucknall and Chris De Burgh are quite frankly, worse than Hitler.

    As a final kick in the teeth, we received a rather blunt retort at our request for a support slot at a particular venue. Now, I must make it clear that the venue and it's organiser have been more than helpful, and we shall be visting later in the year and are genuinely looking forward to it. Our particular gripe is with a certain group on being offered our support. When you are musicians actively seeking to further your fanbase in a certain area, it is customary to support a local or established act of a roughly similar style to yourselves, hoping that some of their fans become some of your fans. Its like social networking, only real. The promoter at the venue promptly contacted what booked acts they already had with the offer of a support slot from ourselves. Most replies were generally positive with a hint of unconcerned shoulder-shrugging, however the most spectacularly unhelpful reponse was this;

         "We won't spend a long time doing their sound, they will have to plug and play, we like to have  some time to chill before the gig.
- They MUST supply their own mic cable, guitar cable, mic, guitar and mic stand and get everything off the stage before we play."

Now, had this certain act been say, Neil Young or perhaps Rodrigo Y Gabriela, we would have doffed our caps reverently and bowed while shuffling away. The fact is though that this act has officially less than half of the online fans that we have and are quite frankly, terrible. So, just incase there is any doubt, they can take their shitty equipment and have a lovely 'chilled out' time inserting it up each other's arses, while we are playing with people who would at least appreciate our efforts.

   Now, being honest is one thing, but being a whinging tosser is another. So, to end on a more positive note, we come to our house gig in Bolton. This was held by a man who had seen us play at The Deer Shed Festival last year and liked so much what he saw, he subsequently travelled from Bolton to York on a rainy Tuesday night to see us play again, and asked if we would play a small celebration he was having in his home for his friends and family. Upon arrival, we were adopted as part of his family, shown the most amount of free beer and spirits we have ever seen, fed with a specially created vegetarian meal and given the world's best cheesecake, played a set of our own songs with a few requests thrown in and finally paid for the privilege of being there. My hat goes off to you kind Sir, and if the music business was filled with more people like yourself, perhaps I wouldn't have to moan so much.

We're off on a Southern jaunt next week, to reaquaint ourselves with some old friends and play some wonderful venues, so expect a happier blogging experience next time on The Honest Music Blog with Holly and Chris.


Thursday, 12 April 2012

The sign of a good promoter (Part One)

Hi everyone, Holly here.

We have just released our second EP together, which is called 'Never Winter Mind Part Two'. As part of the release, we have been sending the CD to all the people who have helped us along the way this far to thank them for their help in whatever capacity (if you have helped us and haven't got a CD yet, it's either in the post or soon will be!).

We sent an EP this week to a chap called Steve Howlett, who organises and promotes an acoustic evening in Norwich called 'Grapevine @ Bedford's'. It's a relaxed night in the upstairs room of a lovely little restaurant/bar in the heart of Norwich (which is pretty nice too, we went in the mustard shop and met Ian Hislop there when we visited last year). We went to play at Steve's evening in May last year after having contacted him to book a date for our tour to which he was really accommodating, and it was a fantastic gig. Really responsive, packed out audience, we were looked after well, and we met Dan Wilde too from Cambridge who was also playing and was excellent.

This is what Steve had to say about our new CD:-

'Just received a copy of the new six track mini album/ep " Never Winter Mind - Part Two " by Holly Taymar and Chris Bilton. ( Many thanks, Holly ! ) It's a thing of beauty, and I love the way Holly and Chris quietly subvert the whole " folky " thing by constantly writing and playing outside the box. People like them keep music vital and fresh. Please make sure you come to Grapevine@Bedfords on 25th April and catch a live set'll love them !'

Big thanks for the mention, Steve! 

Perhaps the most important thing to mention about Steve as a promoter is that yes, he organises the gigs well, yes, he treats visiting artists very well, and yes, he does enough promotion before the shows to ensure that there is a full house almost every gig. But what really matters here is that first and foremost, he is a person who purely loves music. He lives and breathes it. You can tell from his comment that he has actually listened to the EP we sent and really thought about it, not just described it but given his opinion on it. A rare thing indeed!

We were fortunate enough to get to see Steve's record collection after the show and goodness me, that is also a thing of beauty. Not only that, but he literally couldn't wait to play us some independent, new music which he liked a lot and thought we would like. Judging by Steve's example, I think as a promoter you obviously do need to be really organised and plan well enough for the shows to ensure they're a success - but without this underlying, all consuming passion for music and live performance, you got nothing but empty chairs and miserable artists.

As such, we are really looking forward to returning to play at Grapevine @ Bedford's in Norwich, Wednesday 25 April.

Speak soon,

H x

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Good Morning(ish)

   It seems I have been brought shudderingly into the future with all this internetty blogging malarky. They did it on Sherlock and that seemed like a hip show, so anything they can do I can make a half arsed attempt at. Here are some musically related conclusions I have made from the last two weeks:-
1. If a man offers to sell you a bass guitar that you have coverted for many years, but have never even been close to affording, for a gob-smackingly low price that you can afford, chiefly because he's "having a clearout," don't believe him. He is a liar and a thief and what he's really selling you is a shonky, Chinese made knock-off. Thankfully my head over-ruled my heart and spared me the world's most expensive egg on my face. Phew.
2. Holly's Later with Jools Holland related April fools japery has gone viral. From now on anyone who asks me when we are appearing on the show shall receive a fully comprehensive, detailed and encouraging lie, simply because that's what they want to hear. I may add that the lie shall only appear in verbal communication and therefore The Honest Music Blog remains valid. Honestly.
3. Teenage boys should not be allowed to touch musical equipment, as two things are guaranteed to happen - breakages and bad Nirvana covers. Not necessarily in that order, but you have been warned.

That's all for now folks, over and out.


Monday, 9 April 2012


Hi everyone, welcome to our blog.

We (Holly and Chris) decided to start a blog to document our experiences, thoughts and ponderings as we go on our journey as gigging musicians.

Sometimes it will just be Chris posting, or Holly, but either way we both promise to be completely honest about gigs, performances and everything that goes on to make them happen. Hopefully it will provide you with some interesting information, either if you just want to know us a bit better, or whether you're going through a similar journey.

We are also going to post about relevant sources of inspiration and link to things that we like, and that hopefully you will also like.

Perhaps the most interesting thing to note is that this may be a sort of 'yin and yang' blog; we both often have completely different views on what happens throughout our career, so hopefully we can put across to you the whole picture through the medium of these posts!

Any queries or questions or anything, please do get in touch. We're fairly new to blogging so any feedback or anything is welcomed at this stage (we promise also not to throw diva strops - at least not in public).

Thanks very much for reading and look forward to connecting with you soon.

Holly and Chris