Month: October 2018

Weesp Interview And Black Sails Album Review

Weesp Interview And Black Sails Album Review

Weesp released their latest album, Black Sails, earlier this year. I caught up with Mike Zalutski and Dmitry ‘Mi’ Budko, the guitarist and bass players from the band to talk about the new album and the gear they use. Continue reading →

Posted by Mark Smith in Album Reviews
STL Tonality Howard Benson Guitar Plugin Suite Review

STL Tonality Howard Benson Guitar Plugin Suite Review

It seems like every week a new amp simulator is announced. To stand out from the crowd, manufacturers are teaming up more and more with famous guitarists or amp builders. STL Tones have taken a different approach and have joined forces with award-winning producers Howard Benson and Mike Plotnikoff. Continue reading →

Posted by Mark Smith in Gear
The Simple Guide To Social Media For Musicians

The Simple Guide To Social Media For Musicians

Social media gives all musicians a great way to reach millions of new fans from all over the world. Unfortunately, many people don’t use it properly and completely fail to take advantage of it.

Meet Musician Bob

Bob is a musician. His band play some local clubs and have recorded an album. He posted about it on social media but there hasn’t been much interest in it. He knows the local bars are where the music lovers tend to hang out so he decides to visit one of them to generate some interest.

Bob walks into the bar and proudly holds up a photo of the album cover. He shouts out loudly, “Hey guys, our new album is available on Spotify” and walks out. A couple of people turn around and glance in Bob’s direction before returning to their conversations. Bob walks out, unsure of why people aren’t excited about the album.

He decides to call in again a few days later at a different time. “Hey, our new album is out. Download it today”. The reaction is the same. Bob can’t understand it. Why don’t people care?

The following week he decides to check the streaming stats. Nothing has changed. Maybe he should try again? Someone will take notice at some point, won’t they? It’s a really good album.

He sets off for the bar again. As he walks in he starts to take the photo out of his pocket before changing his mind. Nobody cares so why should he bother? He decides to have a drink while he is there. He pulls up a stool at the bar and orders a drink. He can’t help overhearing a conversation a couple of guitarists are having next to him about mic placement on speaker cabinets. They sound a little inexperienced so he decides to offer them some advice as it’s something he knows a lot about. The guitarists are grateful for the advice and ask how he knows so much about it. He tells them he’s in a band and spent a while trying to get the perfect guitar sound while he was recording his latest album. “Cool, I’d love to hear what it sounds like.” says one of the guitarists, so Bob tells them how to find it on Spotify, finishes his drink and goes home.

The next day, Bob is passing the bar so decides to call in for a drink. “Hey Bob!” he hears as he sits down. It was one of the musicians he was speaking to the previous day. “I checked out your album last night, it’s great. We tried out your suggestions for mic placement too and they really helped. You certainly know your stuff. I’m here with a bunch of friends if you want to come over and chat.”

Bob stayed for a couple of hours before heading home. He’d really enjoyed talking to some new people about music and a few of them had asked about his album. He’d promised to meet a couple of them at the weekend.

It was Saturday night and as Bob walked into the bar he was approached by a guy he didn’t know. “Hi”, you’re the music guy aren’t you?” asked the young man. “Erm, yes” said Bob, looking slightly confused. “I saw you in here a couple of days ago talking to some people about guitar tones. I’m a guitarist and I’m really struggling to get my new amp to sound right. I was hoping you wouldn’t mind giving me some advice?”. Bob sat down with him for ten minutes and helped him as much as he could before joining his new friends for a few drinks, a bit of music talk and a good night.

This carried on for the next month. Bob became a regular in the bar and would always end up talking to new people. It didn’t take long to gain a reputation as a really helpful guy with a lot of knowledge about music. If anyone had a guitar problem, Bob was the guy to go to. People looked forward to talking to him and people would ask where he was if he hadn’t called in on one of his regular days. Most of them had heard his album by now and some had recommended it to other people.

Bob had a gig coming up so the next time he was at the bar he handed out some leaflets and told his new friends he’d love to see them there. Some of them took extras so they could hand them out too.

Show night arrived and as Bob walked out onto the stage he couldn’t believe how packed the club was. This was the biggest show the band had played and they were greeted by a huge cheer. Bob looked out at the audience and everywhere he looked he could see faces he recognised. His new bar buddies were out in force. They all wanted to support their new friend, Bob.

It’s Called Social Media For A Reason!

You probably won’t be surprised by what happened to Bob. He was never going to get anywhere by shouting to a room full of strangers and holding up a photo. By joining in conversations, being helpful and becoming part of the community, Bob quickly found people who wanted to hear his music and support him with it. Social media is exactly the same!

Posting the odd photo and announcement won’t get you anywhere. If you want to gain a following you need to be sociable. Don’t just shout about what you are doing, start conversations. When people reply, talk to them. When you see other conversations taking place, join in. If someone needs advice with something you know about, help them out as much as you can. People start to take notice of you, and not just the ones you’re talking to directly. Others will keep seeing your name and see how you take the time to help people out.

All of the social media channels are huge but communities naturally form based on common interests. Establish yourself as part of one of these communities and you no longer need to shout for attention. People will want to know what you’re up to and because they feel like they know you they’ll actually take notice.

I’m always amazed by how many bands I see trying to promote themselves the way Bob did at first. After a while, they simply disappear because it doesn’t work. You wouldn’t do it like that in real life so don’t do it on social media. Simply think of it as a bar. Hang out and become part of the community. Talk to people who share your interests and have fun. You’ll be amazed at how many people start following you if you take this approach. They’ll be loyal followers you actually know too, not just numbers.

Try it out yourself and let me know how you get on after a month.

Posted by Mark Smith in Guitar Musings
Neural DSP Fortin Nameless Suite Review

Neural DSP Fortin Nameless Suite Review

When news broke about Neural DSP teaming up with Mike Fortin to make an amp simulator, there were more than a few eyebrows raised. Mike Fortin isn’t a fan of amp modelling. He’s even quoted on Neural DSP’s website stating the fact, so could they really deliver a VST worthy of his name? Let’s find out. Continue reading →

Posted by Mark Smith in Gear
Mercuriall Audio SS-11X Review

Mercuriall Audio SS-11X Review

Mercuriall Audio are probably best known for their Reaxis and Spark plugins, now they’ve turned their attention to recreating the AMT SS-11 preamp pedal. The AMT-SS11 has developed a strong reputation for providing great amp tones in a stompbox format. Have Mercuriall managed to capture that magic in VST form? Let’s find out. Continue reading →

Posted by Mark Smith in Gear