I used to write fanfiction, did you know that? It one of those odd things that accurately described my life back in High School. I use to have so much free time that I could concoct grand 25 chapter long stories, but not enough free time to come up with original characters.
I consider this website/my blog an extension of what use to be the time allotted for fanfiction. I’ve been working my butt off so much that I just don’t have the time for it. It’s wasted energy. I gotta save all of it for writing music, recording music, and performing it. However, I do not have an allotted amount of time to promote what I am doing. I got enough time to book a show, not enough time to tell others on my website that I booked it. Notice the conundrum?
So let’s bring everyone back up to speed. What have I been doing since the last time I posted on my website (last post being the show at The Fallout, March 26).
First of all, I won some awards…
It’s funny how that came about. This group called The AKademia Music Awards just found me on Reverbnation and wanted me to enter into their contest. Next thing I know, I’ve won two awards: best alternative rock song and live performance video (the live performance taken from an open mic I did LONG ago). Now this same group is contacting me, telling me how they are going to promote the song online, try to get some radio plays, etc.
I can’t slap the smile off my face, that’s how happy I am with this news. Let me taken a moment to thank the Akademia for all they are doing for artist like me on the grind.
Moment’s done. LOL.
Secondly, I should probably talk about the Fallout show.
It was a good show. Not a great show, but not a bad show either. It landed right in the middle. I think if the process of setting up wasn’t as stressful, it could’ve been a better show. But thanks to my inexperience of setting up a multi-band show, mid-terms, and out of the blue homework, I was left so scattered-brained that I showed up to the venue 30 minutes later than I wanted to. This threw EVERYTHING out of whack. I’ve had to apologize to my sound people I hired for that night.
You might be asking yourself, “You hired sound people? Doesn’t the venue have it’s own sound staff?”
You see, The Fallout is an Arts initiative, meaning that it’s an open venue. You pay a security deposit up front, and then the night of the show, you pay a certain amount based upon the amount of time you rented the room for. You get some big cult-following bands to play your show, you’ll get the money back and then some. If you even have the money to pay the venue off to begin with, that’s makes it even better.
But this also means that the initial fee for the Fallout is JUST for the room. You want sound people or someone to take money at the door. That’s extra.
In regards to this news, I kept it simple. I rented the room and found some friends to work for a little cheaper than what most groups would charge for sound people/door handlers, and I paid off the room WAYYY before I even arrived on stage. Thus, whatever money we made at the door, we split amongst the performers. If a group or artist brought merch, they kept all merch money in their pocket. It was a hassle handling two money bags (one for the door, other for merch) but I generally feel it was a success. We lost some money, but then again, we don’t do this for the cash. We do it because it’s a need.
And I probably would’ve made some money back:
Had not I forgotten my CD’s as part of my merch.
I FORGOT THE CD’S! That literally was the only thing that people who came out to the show wanted to buy.
This was my face when I realized that I forgot the CD’s. It was also the same face I made, when Solacium (one of the performers for that night) and I heard one of the monitors blow out, and said “Yep, looks like you aren’t getting that security deposit back.”
And to go back to inexperience, I had the bright idea of performing at open mics around the area in order to get some walk-ins to check out the show. I found a lot of great open mics with fantastic musicians, and a few even came out for the show. But I only promoted the show for a week. A WEEK! That’s not enough time for news to spread. Oh well, lesson learned.
Here’s another lesson learned: my sound people later informed me that it’s best to get the sound crew into a venue three hours PRIOR before setting anything up. This will give them a chance to check mics, monitors, sound check, room check, see if the acoustics match, ect.
I arrived to the venue 30 minutes late because I was completely scattered brained.
I apologize excessively for the rest of the night. One of the sound people, Cole, told me in reply with a warm smile, “Don’t worry Ethan, we’ll kick your ass next time.”
Suffice to say, with all the terrible crap that happened, it’s a miracle that the show was even just good. I got the other groups to thank for that. Musically, we all kicked ass. The audience that showed up (the few but mighty) were very happy to see us perform and we gave them a kick-ass show. MADD OSO was a highlight for that night. Everyone was dancing, and having Zach Eyl (a friend of mine) on drums for MADD OSO’s set was a nice bonus as well.
But the headliner, Social Nous, is really what made my day. These guys bring classic rock back to the mainstream. I would go as far as to call them the next “Pearl Jam.”
This show also will hold a special place in my heart because it was my first time just playing straight up acoustically. Since I write and perform all the pieces for the music myself, I need a group of guys behind me if I want to do the full band live. But so far, all I have is a rhythm guitarist (at the time, I had a rhythm guitarist and drummer). Last semester, I tried booking a gig and then booking a “backing band.” That was a mistake. But now I’ve refocused myself to get a group of guys together first, nail 2 hours of material down, THEN play a show.
But in the mean time I gotta get my name out there somehow right?
God bless my School of Rock instructor David Rice. He suggested that I could play some acoustic shows to get the word spreading. Few open mics and two shows later, it seems to be a winning formula.
After the Fallout show, I gained the confidence to try and perform more shows like it. I then got an email from Cork Creative (the ones in charge of shooting the video for “Hopeless,”). The video was done and I got to see it and all it’s splendid beauty.
I was so happy with what we accomplished, that I didn’t simply JUST wanted to throw it up on YouTube. I wanted to make a spectacle of it. I wanted to draw as much attention to it as I could. Bands have EP release shows, why cant’ I have a music video release show? Matter of fact, why can’t I bring in a projector and show the video to everyone who came out that night to see not just me, but all the other performers. Not only would it draw more attention to my YouTube channel or my website, but it will also give folks who haven’t heard my music, a chance to see what my music sounds like with the full band.
— Ethan Teel (@Owl_Eyes1995) April 22, 2015
So I booked the Hat Trick lounge for April 24th. I’ll definitely play the room again very soon. It such a fantastic venue, and they are so nice to up and coming performers, we need more venues like them.
I planned on promoting the show for two weeks through open mics and posters.
As you can see, life decided to go a different route. I won’t post about my feelings or what all happened back home here in this post. I might do an entire post about it in the future. It’s going to take some time thought before I feel (or, my importantly, my loved ones) feel comfortable with me talking about the subject so publicly. Heck, it might not even happen at all. If you want to know my feelings about the even, the twitter post above says it all. But enough about that, LET’S TALK ABOUT THE MUSIC VIDEO RELEASE PARTY!!!!
It was fantastic. I don’t know how else to describe it. The bar was packed with patrons, and while these costumers didn’t come out to initially see the performance, as the acts kept going on throw the night, more people decided to come in to see what all the hullabaloo was about.
But aside from just the general turn out, or the fact that I FINALLY sold merchandise at a show (two stickers and a CD: ballin), I felt that this show was a major success because…I felt good afterwards. I don’t know what it means or how to explain it, but this was the first show where the positive vibes after the performance outweighed the negative aspect of the show.
Negative aspects include:
Problems with the projector. I had it arranged perfectly to blast the video onto a bar wall, but the PA system where I would connect my laptop through an auxiliary cable (so the video audio could go through the monitors) was on the FAR other side of the room, and my Auxiliary cable was not going to work. The solution: run back to my dorm room and grab a BOSE portable speaker.
I had to run back to my dorm room several times that night. Not only did I have to get a BOSE speaker, but I also had to return my guitar amp because we ended up not using it at all. It’s because of all this running back and forth that I missed most of Erik Paulson’s (AKA, Focus Ring’s) performance. That really got me in a downer mood. His music is so good. Check out his work with REMO Drive for example:
— Ethan Teel (@Owl_Eyes1995) April 25, 2015
Another negative aspect (in my opinion) was the line up: both in arrangement and in style. THE PERFORMERS WERE AWESOME! Do not misconstrue my earlier statement as a passive aggressive way of saying, “they sucked.” Far from it. For example, if someone told me there was a better female vocalist in the Twin Cities area than Mariah Mercedes, I’d politely asked them what crack they had been smoking. Mariah is the best. Her voice could make angles weep. Check out her stuff on Reverbnation here:
But do you notice how she plays folk-esque like Indie Rock? The Anatomy of is nothing but that. And Erik Paulson’s Focus Ring is entirely acoustic. What I’m getting at, is that although I was also an acoustic performer, i was no where near the field of folk-rock. I was hard rock with acoustic instead of electric strings. My looping pedal was bombastic, but not as bombastic as my shrieking voice. Although I am performing acoustically, I am keeping true to the style of music I am trying to create: Alternative Rock.
Having 3 straight acoustic performers playing mostly folk-rock like stuff before me….I think it was a bad idea. They were great, but their sound kind of made the audience loose interest. Then I got on, cranked everything to eleven, and by that time, most people were either at the bar or had left. The Good news: that just motivated me even more to push the limits of my performance and voice, and the louder and more aggressive I got, the more people decided to see what the heck was happening.
But it wasn’t just with me. Mariah got some people in the back of the room to scream “get it girl!” whenever she tried to reach her high notes, and succeeded flawlessly.
But all this goes back to the arrangement of the night. Mariah got some people to pay attention, but Erik suffered being the first performer; because not that many people were out at the bar by 9:00pm. And I suffered cause I was the last performer, and ended my set at midnight…
…right when an entire entourage of hockey fans came in to have a drink.
And on top of that, some of my friends who wanted to come out and see me perform had prior obligations that would run late that night: and would’ve made it had my show ran until 1:00 or 2:00am.
If I just would’ve booked the show for later in the evening, Erik could’ve gotten a larger crowd, and I could’ve capitalized on the late night partier’s coming in. Oh well, lesson learned.
I think the biggest lesson I learned from this show was patience. I can’t help but get super-nervous and anxious when putting on a show. I am just so desperate to make sure people have a good time. It’s not about the money (although i would like the money: hence why we had a tip jar and merch booth set up), it’s about people’s perception of the show. If someone comes out to see me and they leave with no good things to say or are not smiling on their way out, then I have failed.
Thus, I am a perfectionist. Everything, including the banner that we brought to project the music video on to, had to be in the right spot. And when I screw up (for example, Brittany (the female star of the video) pointed out that I had the banner going up&down instead of left&right) I get really made at myself. No angry triads on the level of Axle Rose, but I defiantly get flustered: exclamations of “f**k it!” flying through the air. In my panic, I rush things; including social interactions with people. I just get so nervous and anxious, that even though I’m smiling, I’m coming off as an asshole.
Brittany gave me some simple advice: “bro, you need to chill out.”
That’s the biggest lesson I got from the show. Rome wasn’t built in one day – I know this fact to well. But I also know that my drive is the reason I keep doing the thing I love, even when it seems impossible. I just need to find that balancing act between being relaxed and motivated, and I think patience will be the key.
Some positive aspects of the show.
Everyone’s performance was awesome,
I sold some merch,
I got A LOT of bar goer’s interested in signing up for my mailing list,
Oh yeah, THIS!!!!!!!