Between weekends

Been a few days since the last one and I swear I’m learning about how to organize.

Organization is tricky and it is probably one of the hardest things for creative people because our natural default is to go with the flow. The problem with this is that you want what you do to grow and develop.

I’m not talking about getting necessarily to some career place but just getting to a good place with what you do. You have to get through the rough of not being able to play or having songs you’re not happy with to where you want to be. The only way to do this is to out the time in daily.

It’s not about hours and hours either. There’s a book worth checking out called the Talent Code which says the best stuff happens whe you look like this guy…

It’s the eyes. Basically if you are focused on what you are trying to accomplish, eyes narrowed (or this kind of focus) that’s when you make forward motion.

So its getting even a little of this each day and reinforcing your art daily.

It’s not like with a job where if you dont show, you’re in trouble. If you dont tend to your craft nobody’s going to get immediately upset, but you’ll stay where you were or even worse as the muscle of the skill gets forgotten.

And I’ve got to work on this too, clearly as I think the last day was Friday here. I had a show and a photo session. The former had me moving my schedule around and the latter had me cleaning just everything. The challenge with that is that taking everything apart to rebuild clean is like a vehicle overhaul and then you need to get used to the next vehicle. Each thing today was still slightly different and it was just crazy.

For me right now things are busy and bit wierd. My ultimate goal is to develop as a songwriter. I want the different instrumental skills to be strong (or grow in the case of drums) but I need to bring in the actual songwriting work, plus I have another two hour show on Friday and possibly two more in September.

Here’s us at the last one, in 98 degree heat. Whew!

Great fun, especially these days with the advent of Covid being able to play.

Getting tired and going to have a short nap before going to work.

Cheers,

Tom

Not a weekend warrior I swear! πŸ˜œ

Cookeilidh the Celtic Band : Me, Woody Wilson, Kim and David Cook

I know! Day three and I’m already out lol! Still here, I swear!

Spend extra time today gearing up for this show on Sunday and then a show next weekend at the new water tower in the Western Communities here in Greater Victoria. Been very lucky to have a situation where we can do these socially distanced reduced audience shows this summer so I want to make sure I do good work.

One thing I found was how working on drumming has had me focused more rhythmically on my playing. Seems silly but I swear it’s like different musical things have you focusing on different things. When I started playing bass it was like I was a pointer spaniel every time I heard the bass in the song do something.

If you are over hear definitely come out. If not follow our Facebook, our Instagram or head to our main site at cookeilidh.com which has lots of links, clips, photos and more!

Thank you for stopping by!

Hoping to write tomorrow even it’s short like this one!

Cheers,

Tom Pogson 😊

Experiments in leaving Social Media a confessional

Probably doesn’t help being a EinstΓΌrzende Neubauten fan. They are a German band led by Blixa Bargeld that started back in the 1980s that event became so industrial that they had to rehearse under an overpass as that was the only place that could take what they dealt out.

Anyways, the band’s name means “collapsing new buildings”. You have to tear down so you start again. That’s pretty much been this.

The problems I’ve had is both time and the fact that its really easy to lose focus via the, as Sir Humphry Appleby said in the Yes Minister series

It is the department’s job to shield the Minister from the relentless shower of irrelevant information that beats against the window day after day

The problem is social media is genius at finding ways through the cracks. Because you do care. I care. We all I think to some extent, care. But if you are, to quote Scott Adam’s of Dilbert fame…

Bounced around like a ping pong ball in a dryer

all the time then you will inevitably not be in the best place to help anyone. Its also easy, especially for creative people to get suckered in to believing your bigger than you really are.

And this is where I got slammed. I was already planning the idea of escaping, or reducing my social media activity anyways and then I got just attacked, first thing in the morning because I had to check my bank balance. And that really did it. When something is not just horrible but seemingly unavoidable in future it is of course upsetting. I couldn’t even be angry because he wasn’t technically wrong. I had made myself bigger than I was. It was this, see if you spot it…

I shared it on the UK Office fan page on Facebook now removed. What’s the problem? Well why should anyone care? I’m not an A-lister. Why did I tag them like they’d respond.

Meanwhile what I should be doing is writing here. What I should be doing is studying creativity like I said. I should be doing morning pages (a la Artist’s Way), music study, production. I didn’t want to leave because of friends and family, which is how I think many feel trapped, but then something (usually political) these days will grab you by the soul and force a response, which then creates tension.

Even if there no attack you will be monitoring your device for the possibility of one. And bear in mind there is no gain for you doing this! I mean, I was bullied as a kid, but I can’t even imagine what it’s like for kids now who deal with online bullying. This was like waking up with a school bully straddling me and punching me in the face.

Meanwhile as a writer, songwriter and musician I can easy fill a 9 hour workday with things I have to do. I have lists on my note app of what I need to get to, watch later videos qued up on YouTube to go through, and just armies of books.

So after three or so days I kind of came back due to trying to do some creative work such as this below. Naturally it’s all joined so a reinstalling I went but since back I’ve been more viewing, maybe liking but only engaging with actual friends. I may reduce news and so on activity on Facebook and stick news to Twitter, creativity to Insta, Tiktok and YouTube.

Busy right now buying a car for the first time ever so this week has been goofy anyways but this will be continuing later.

Thank you for getting this far.

Cheers,

Tom

You are not a straight line.

Aslan is not a tame lion.This one applies to the divine if you believe in that but you dont have to. I’m not wandering into that. Half because trying to influence a choice on people’s beliefs is pointless up to being thoroughly moot, and part because that’s not my focus.It’s on you.I’m a bassist. It was my first serious instrument to any extent and it’s the breadwinner instrument in most things that I do. It gets me in the door.But i also went to Uvic and switched from music to writing.Record scratch. What?That’s right, the music side of University of Victoria’s Fine Arts program wasn’t working for me, especially with how limited my position in it was, but with the encouragement of a literature professor…writing seemed interesting. I went from this to screenwriting and working in film for a while, all the while playing bass.Songwriting which I slowed at back when I was gearing up to play classical bass reamerged after my filmmaking time came to a close, especially with the International open stage of LiveMe, Instagram and so on.Still playing bass? Yep. Still writing. Well, I think that’s clear. So am I just getting this down between scales and arpeggios on my Fender? Nope.I’m doing something totally crazy I haven’t done in a while. I’m on a bus to hike Mount Quimper which is way out above the Sooke Potholes Park. Why? I saw an image and have wanted to do this for a while and I’m going to record a cover up there.Passing the Luxton Fairgrounds as we speak. I haven’t been out here since I was getting ready to cycle across Canada back in 1994. I hadn’t played bass yet.But you see, it’s ok if you haven’t got the plan yet or if you explore. This is what gives you a richness of life and soul.

Enjoy!

Little clip from the top…

Got paid my own rent, which is fun…

Switched over banking information as I was frankly fed up with my old one and, well, I’ll have to make another phone call.

I’ll double check, but definitely a fun way to start November.

If only life was like that, that would be amazing! My apologies to anyone who thought I had landed the perfect financial independence scheme. Imagine that! Your rent would pay for your food!

So, with that not the case, I’m presently focused on two things outside of work…musicianship and The Quiet City. Within musicianship is getting ready for this season of Cookeilidh Christmas, bass study, guitar and keyboard. Songwriting tends to come to me in bursts so I like the idea of just developing the packaging for the next album after The Goldblacks.

Keyboard especially as using one had always been around but trying to “actually play” has only been going since one year before the last cd and I’m proud of how that went, especially with songs like Precipice and Missed Connections that were recorded in one take of vocal and piano.

Quiet City is still going a bit a day after the free sample.

If you haven’t read it yet check the blog just before this one.

On my bus and about to get off for lunch so I’ll catch up in a week or so!

Cheers!

Tom

#MondayMotivation

This will be a blog on the move.

I practice music every morning, and did so this morning for a short period but we planner to head out to my parents and that means time to travel. Traveling makes me think because, well, most of the time you are stuck with that.

In some situations you can play music on ferries or busses, and I have, but to me writing works better. It’s like you are already doing something so anything you add is a bonus. And you’re stuck there for a while so don’t worry about being too keen.

What I want is to perform more, which was recently inspired by the story of Ed Sheeran. Now I have performed lots already, but I want to do more especially with my keyboard which is fast becoming my second primary instrument. I learned guitar as a early bass teacher told me I should learn a chord instrument and my mom’s nylon string was around so I started learning, accelerated when I told the church choir I had started and then the guitarist quit, putting me alone in front of a congregation (along with singers). They were a forgiving audience 😏 but it did help to get me ability to play and change chords fast happening.

Even with all that though, and being a bassist, I could never really get into crazy levels of playing, or taking it seriously. I wanted to because I knew I should but it was like a less comfortable bass to me so soloing and really fine playing has never really happened.

Playing keys really didn’t become a thing until almost a year ago now (I had one around for multitrack attempts, a la Depeche Mode) but never actually tried to play a song solo and sing. Naturally I knew C major. Not altogether hard to find, that one.

More recently I have fallen into a once a day pattern of putting something out there. I’m still on the bus as we speak and between parent’s and work I imagine this will be today’s.

Kind of fits with the sleepless one before. What would you like to try? Take some time when you are next stuck in traffic of any kind. Note apps are just amazing for this.

“You dream of something and it’s a thought. You write it down and take action on it and it’s real” Anthony Robbins

Today’s music will be this one I just rediscovered of Scott Walker of the Walker Brothers. I think last time was Scott as well but I thought I would add his hit.

Click here!

Cheers!

Tom

☺️

Rock’n Rule #3. Show Disasters

Imagine starting a show that made everyone leave the room, or playing along to a classic song that you never actually learned, or starting a show with a guy holding (no kidding) a pumpkin (wasn’t near October) and saying to you that he’s sure you can’t play.

You guessed it. These are but a handful of mine. Now I’m not gonna say that I sell out stadiums like Sting and the boys up there, but I can almost bet you they had those early disasters too. Sting, Andy and Stewy were in sooo many bands before they ever met so you can bet there was the occasional weird amp problem.

On continuing yesterday’s Rock’n Rules on how to make great music, or be a success, I found another little clue. I will drop more if I find more, but it came from the fact that I am on a bit of an ABBA kick right now, and on doing some reading their first time(s) playing as a four piece actually totally flopped. Like nobody liked it. At all.

ABBA had every reason to go and quit and say “It didn’t work, why bother.”. But they just kept at it anyways. Music is what the four did so it was back to the drawing board (or the cabin).

Same goes for the boys from Depeche Mode…

Don’t be nervous 😊

The first two shows by these fresh young faces, which they spend time setting up were a complete disaster. Two shows in a row! On one of them all the keyboard stuff when crazy and one guy just kicked something and all the electrics went out on the whole stage.

They kept going. They even make weird mistakes to this day. You can look that up, but it’s only rock and roll.

The trick is to keep going. You get used to it. On the musical side you learn to “recover” if you played it wrong and 9 times out of 10 you notice it more than anyone else around. Nobody is going “hey, what’s with that Bm7 chord!”. It’s about connection to the people in front of you. In fact disasters can be funny and get them on your side if you stay chill and just go “wow, that was neat!” or something and just try again.

Screw up.

Screw up huge.

You’re in world-class company.

πŸ˜‰

(And yeah, this works off stage as well 😎)

Today’s music I blogged to was a classic instrumental CD called Black Sands by Bonobo

Black Sands – Bonobo

Cheers,

Tom

πŸ™‚

Retrospect

Since I’ve gone past my first one hundred posts and one hundred follows it does make sense to look back.

This really kicked off between a Uvic school thing and the Ollie and Emma project. I actually just flipped back and I yeah it’s been a heck of a journey to this point, with many posts I’ve forgotten about but I definitely have a sort of theme which is creativity, specifically talking about it. I don’t think it hurts that me and my mom are the weird creative types that talk my dad’s ears off whenever we are in the car, not just about this subject but generally.

Back when I was first self employed as a writer/pitch writer/musician I had all this extra morning time before I’d head to the shared office so I began just researching creativity since to me that was my product, plowing through almost every book in the library. There’s a potential blog for later… favorite books on creativity. Got three in mind all ready, but I’ll leave it for when I can really compile it. Considering this subject can get sometimes…well…”artsy” I want to make sure I’m actually giving you guys something I’d value. There’s so much fluff out there that I want to contribute a little more than that, or at least make it entertaining. Even voyeuristic into what I’m doing. Hey, totally cool. To me that’s like we went for coffee and you asked me questions. I’m a ADHD goofball like I mentioned before so I’d probably give you a moment by moment play by play of my morning if you let me.

Best not do that.

I also (here I go…lol) like the idea of this thing called tompogson.com (which makes me seem like a weird golf caddy clothing line) being about an overarching experience of being a creative spirit. From where I write this I can see most of my music gear, writing, books and even the visual art stuff I mentioned yesterday. There’s no rule stating what you are or are meant to be. One of my favorite little quirks of the band Depeche Mode was that for ages you never saw them on albums and not only did the liner notes not say who played what, but they’d flip the order of names around so for months I thought the singer was Alan Wilder. (nope.) All creativity is your playground and you can just experiment.

Though in a music situation you do feel safe behind your main instrument. Safe isn’t a bad four letter word or something. You can jump from safe to the deep end and back. Safe can get you to the edge.

Now jump.

Ok, I’m going way too global metaphorical axiom wacky now.

Have a great day guys and thank you all for reading this and going on this journey with me!

Ooh! One idea I had was I could put it what I was listening to this morning, since I usually work to music. Now it’s usually Low Roar or Harold Budd so I’ll start with L.R. but I can make it kind of a fun thing to add something different each day (it will be stuff you can work to so less on the metal side for me. If that works for you then that’s cool 😎

Because We Have To – Low Roar

Cheers,

Tom

Stage fright, comparing yourself and other frets

Me with Cookeilidh at a new bridge opening show

It is very easy to get nervous about going up in front of people, and even more frustrating when you see someone else seemingly do that like no problem, doing stuff you never thought of. So what to do?

Have I been nervous in performance recently? Yes of course! Do I compare myself? Oh probably that too, but that’s just natural. You see someone doing what you never thought of and well, now it is thought of and you can choose to slueth it out later. Truth is we all have such different tastes, approaches and physicality so naturally that other guy (or girl) is going to do things you’re not. Like if I see someone who is slapping and popping all over the place or playing complex Bebop patterns on their bass…on one hand it’s like “I can’t do that” but on the other hand, would I actually want to study that music for hours on end? With what I listen to…is that stuff present? No? Well that explains that…

Not to be flippant but it kind of goes into the heart of the other bugaboo of stage fright.

You don’t have to explain anything, feel bad or apologize for anything. What you do (which could be musical or not) comes from your soul, your heart, your study, your world and it’s you. That isn’t going to change so why be nervous. You are doing your work up there so it’s better to be the most relaxed you that you can be.

How do you get there? Practice is the obvious one, but then there’s how to do that. I have lots of different things to work on so I like zeroing in on certain rough parts daily and repeatedly working them until I’m satisfied. I never practice the day of a show on the instrument I’m playing (got that from, of all places…Anne of Green Gables)

“promised I wouldn’t open a textbook so I wouldn’t get the jitters!”

So instead of playing my bass, or opening any textbooks respectively, I’ll go for a walk, play piano which I actually started really getting into between sets at a big Christmas gig last year, or even meditation. For the latter…yeah, yeah, get the Calm app. I have the subscription to that one and it’s totally worth it. Going for walks is my magic cure all. I take, oh lots of anxiety in my tummy and so walking is just the best for settling that and if you feel bloated or what-have-you it’s really calming. And for weight loss it’s great as your target range isn’t very high so you can keep healthy while you get centered. Walking to music has been my thing since decades ago. Find music that puts you in a calm (not pump fist in air) state. Or go the other way with it. Before a show, like on the way there, I listen to stuff that’s fun.

Do the practice. Be slightly early. Now just have fun with it.

“Out the door…thank you very much..”

Just having fun with it πŸ˜‚

Cheers ,πŸ˜‰

Tom

Apps for Musicians! The Ear Gym!

In the interest of trying things out, I’d thought I’d give a try to trying things. Hopefully that made sense!

I’ve loaded and deleted lots of apps over the ages as I have a little, little phone with not much room and I just keep a few in play.

Let’s kick off with the second in a series of ear training apps I’ve tried, “The Ear Gym.” Ill keep this brief and tight as I’m short on time like yourself.

Way tougher than “functional ear trainer” it actually puts you through paces with interval recognition which is excellent. I’m a big believer in “The Talent Code” (check this out or maybe I’ll do a bit on it later), and anything that puts you in that just-beyond-ability sweet spot is great. I do wish it would go more into recognizing full chords but maybe that’s soon to come ot elsewhere.

8/10

Know an amazing musician app? Post in comments below!

Cheers!

Tom