Musicians’ Diary


Our thoughts, our creative steps, our everyday questioning about being musicians, emerging ideas & projects… and basically anything we want to share !

DIY hardware, Musicians' Diary

Using our PA speakers as monitors on stage.


Some venues may have big PA’s, but in most cases… no monitors. Well, we always have our own PA at the back of our car while touring, so why wouldn’t we use it as an onstage monitoring system ?

Here is a loudspeaker, actually a sat from the LD System.

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A way to use sats as monitors could be that one :

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Ok, let’s try to figure out how to improve that without having to bring a whole case of books onstage !

A few leftover pieces of wood and screws, a couple of hours of calculations to design the right shape…

unpainted

Black painting should make it more nice-looking onstage :

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And the final result :

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Various tilts make it even easier to fit to various stage sizes :

angles

§ Yann

 

 

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DIY hardware, Musicians' Diary

The new DIY laptop stand


The following can be seen as the continuation of a previous topic entitled “The DIY table“. After lots of touring across Europe, we realised we needed something more compact to put all my electronic stuff on stage, with some specific requirements such as :

  • It as to be able to contain all my electronic stuff (Laptop, soundcard, cables, 5 power supplies (laptop, soundcard, effect processor, volume pedal, footswitch lightings), 1 5-socket powerstrip).
  • It has to be compact and strong enough to be carried and quickly moved at the last minute to the stage, with no cables hanging around. This can be extremely useful when you have 10 minutes maximum to switch bands, as it may often be the case in british festivals for instance !
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My old system, see all these cables hanging around !
  • It has to be removable, and quickly buildable, and fit in a case with all the other hardware.
  • It must be nice looking and hide all the cables that usually hang around.
  • It must enable the audience to see my nice beautiful handmade enlightened footswitch !!
behind the table
Can you see the footswitch ?

After some research from the web, I found these ones :

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But I didn’t want to feel like working in an office when performing on stage, and I didn’t want the audience to feel like they’re watching someone working in an office !

Moreover, it doesn’t really solve the problem of cables and power supplies hanging around…

This one appeared to be very attractive :

LS21D-DJ-Laptop-Stand

But heavy (9 pounds !), and not that stable on an uneven ground, like those you can find in very old venues. Moreover, the hanging cables problem still remains…

The only remaining solution was to build my own (as usual !!) laptop stand, which I did…

plans
First steps of the designing process…

And the final result :

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My old system, see all these cables hanging around !

I need no more than 20 sec to assemble the parts !

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My old system, see all these cables hanging around !

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My old system, see all these cables hanging around !

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My old system, see all these cables hanging around !

And the overview :

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§ Yann

Musicians' Diary

We feel like Stars!


Not only do we look at the Stars, but today we almost feel like Stars!  During our last UK tour we had the pleasure to meet the lovely fROOTS magazine team for an interview that will be featured on their June’s edition. And yes, it is our first cover ever 🙂 And, oh yes, we feel super proud too!

fROOTS cover Astrakan Project

Musicians' Diary

Around Europe next fall


Preparing a tour is like dreaming of the new places we’ll see, the wonderful people we’ll meet… and we are so pleased our Fall tour we’ll lead us to Luxemburg, Germany again, from West to East, UK and for the very first time to Czech Republic, in the beautiful city of Prague. (all tour dates are here)

What a great chance for a nice poster 😉 (yep! we totally love Photoshop!)

Astrakan Project  Prague world music

Musicians' Diary

The Final countdown!


Hello,

It’s been a long time since we haven’t blogged. Not that we didn’t have anything to tell about. We may even have had so much to tell about that it could somehow have been overwhelming… Lot’s of uncertainties, of projects, ideas, dreams that had been on hold for months  and that we weren’t sure we could bring to fruition.

Since we returned last month from our last UK tour, we’be been super active in many direction, and we finally can announce it…. next video will be released for Beltane (the night of the 1st of May).

fleurs de lotus video

We’re in the very final stage of editing the video. It’s the first time we get to work with a video director (except for live videos, but it’s quite different), and we are very lucky to be working with a very talented person, that not only was able to direct the performance shooting, but also is animating some of my drawings. And it’s incredible to see them coming to life!

Tour-wise, we’ve been booking for Germany, Luxembourg and Austria for next winter and fall (keep an eye at this section), not much towards the UK, but this should be done shortly too.

All for now!

§ Simone

 

Musicians' Diary

What we’ve been up to… ?


We moved back to Brittany, basically we’ll be away from Middle-east/East of Europe for some very long months, we don’t know when we can have a base there again, and after 7 years travelling back and forward, it feels weird, really!

But fall has been blessing us with a wonderful and warm sun and light… and we’re enjoying it before next tour (yep, we’re going to the UK again soon!)

Musicians' Diary

Love, politics, myth and history


It may sound a bit like a movie script. And actually it could be, those are some of the themes of the story of Pedro and Inês, a Portuguese medieval love story turned into a myth. We started to explore the story in last release in the song Gwerz Inês with the precious and wonderful contribution of Sten that wrote a beautiful lament that really sounds like one written centuries ago.

Because of the complexity of Inês story, we had to chose an “episode”, and gwerz Inês is indeed the murder of Inês. But while working together, we felt we wanted to bring the story further. We’ve been reflecting on the ambiance, the story, the sounds and instruments we’d love to tell more about this story.

Simone Alves & Sten Charbonneau working on lyrics for next album / Pedro e Ines / Astrakan Project
Looking at last album poster that shows some of the details of lyrics written by Sten

No musician is luckiest that we are to have such a dedicated and talented author with whom working is liberating, with whom we can work in a crazy and passionate way! Finding someone that shares the same love and passion for Breton tunes and stories is a blessing!

Simone Alves & Sten Charbonneau working on lyrics for next album / Pedro e Ines / Astrakan Project
At least… it looks like a lot of fun!

You can visit Sten’s facebook page: he also creates game boards in Breton to get people to learn and talk in breton!

§ Simone

Musicians' Diary, Pics on Tour

Busking in European cities – Part 2


Let’s talk today about busking in the German world, which means Germany, Austria and Switzerland (sorry, I will not be talking about german minorities from Hungary, Czech republic, Romania or Serbia…).

Germany : it seems that there’s no particular regulation as far as I know (maybe I’m wrong !), but what I can say is that you should never busk in front of a bank or a jewellery. You’ll get kicked off by security staff even before you start playing ! 😉 I had this experience in Ulm.

ULM
Ulm, next to the Cathedral.

The other thing I know from my own experience : don’t expect to earn much money from busking in Germany ! It is a very different atmosphere compared to Greece (for example), my feeling (maybe wrong) is that people look somewhat anxious !

Switzerland : Rather complicated, each city has its own rules. You may generally be supposed to ask a permission from local authorities, to pay around 70CHF for their agreement, plus around 7CHF per busking day. Beware ! Unless you know tips from experienced buskers, for example “wild” busking is allowed in Basel after 7pm !

Austria : When no regulation (Salzburg), you’ll be competing with local gipsies. People obviously fed up wouldn’t even notice your presence !

A different situation in Innsbruck, where people may be quite sensitive, unless you perform in the main touristic street (Herzog-Friedrich straBe), full of Asian tourist, they won’t drop you a single Euro (I tried ;)), maybe unless you play major-scaled accordion dressed up in a Tyrolean traditional costume !

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A good busking place in Innsbruck. You can see the entrance of the touristic area at the other end of the square, that you should definitely avoid for busking 😉 !

Let’s point out something else : I have nothing against Tyrolean music, its major scales and its highly non-modal structure (1) ! I can prove it, we found a pub with a session inside with local musicians :

Graz : They have special regulations. The police was extremely friendly and gave me this brochure, specially dedicated to buskers ! Thanks to local authorities for their extreme devotion toward buskers 🙂 ! Everything you should know !

Graz
Busking regulation in Graz – Austria

Rules are simple, just get a free authorisation from Town Hall, and you can play in the whole pink area from 11 to 14 and 15 to 21 (is 13 the nap time ?), you have to switch place every 30 minutes…

Graz2
Graz (Austria) – The main square.

(1) According to me, breton music and kurdish music for instance, are much closely connected than Breton and Fado, or Breton and Tyrolean music, which are TRUE western music 😉 !

§Yann