As part of my development and progression as an artist I have been trying different things over the last 3- 4 years and looking to expand my experience and richness as an artist. One of the projects that I have discussed in detail in previous blogs is our rock band The Ask.
As mentioned in the last post I have now stepped in to the position of lead singer and this opens up a few additional performance possibilities. I could perform as solo or duo in an acoustic format; we could busk to get further practice/exposure/experience. This could all be done under a new guise or using The Ask as the promotional vehicle.
Why does any of this appeal to me?
- Well to begin with this has never been an option before as I have always relied on another person for the vocals and I now have much more control over my own destiny.
- I write a lot of material that does not fit with the full rock band format and would suit an acoustic arrangement. None of this material is currently being performed and is wallowing on my laptop.
- Being able to provide a reduced footprint acoustic duo could open up some additional performance opportunities in venues that don’t want a full rock band.
- My son has developed into a great guitarist and it would be fantastic to perform with just the 2 of us.
So if trying out the duo thing is a good idea, should we start a new outfit or remain as an offshoot of The Ask.
There are pros and cons to becoming The Ask Acoustic:
- Social media and website etc already exists and could easily be adapted to include the acoustic angle.
- There is the chance of cross promotion between the 2 strands of the band, each promoting the other.
- No need to manage a whole new set of social media channels (I have already blogged about the challenges I already have with the different strands of social media).
- There is a risk that people will get confused who they are coming to see and might expect a full band and end up with the duo and visa versa.
I think the pro’s might have it!
So, how to go about getting out there as an acoustic set-up. We have tried the acoustic thing in the past as a 4 piece. We went on a hospital radio station and played live acoustically. I felt this went rather well and the few practices we had beforehand were really refreshing as the acoustic sounds brings a new feel and pureness to the sound that I really enjoyed. 2 of the other members were not so keen so I don’t think they will mind us doing the duo thing.
What worked for us when we first started out was trying a few open mics and this could be a good move for the acoustic set-up. Although I have never done it before, busking on the street would also be a good way to test the water and try some things out. I have often thought about busking in the past. I know it can be tough and I would need to develop a thicker skin but there could be many benefits to putting in some hours on the street. Perhaps 2017 is the year to give it a go.
Before hitting the open mics there is one further thing that needs to be sorted out, what instruments to play? Clearly my son would stick to guitar but should that be acoustic or electric? My guitar skills are mediocre but it would be sufficient to support with an acoustic guitar, or I could stick to bass (which could be acoustic or electric). There are quite a few permutations and the inclusion of Pip on an electric (whilst probably giving the best range of options for his soloing to shine through) would prevent us from calling ourselves acoustic!
So, next steps. Try out a few permutations at home with a few tracks that we know well and make a decision on hitting an open mic.
I will update you on progress in future blogs.
Next time: Creating Sound Art that challenges Suicide ideation