Musicians’ Diary


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

Musicians' Diary

Ideas in the night… hunting artists!


 

We can’t tell enough how bad both of us have slept recently! It always gets back to the same: since we are (unfortunately!) not touring this month, we started to work on a couple of side projects. We generally can’t stay long without trying out new things, but also we can’t just go from all the huge amount of work we did to release the album to just “being relaxing” – we need some kind of a transition. 

But as it always happens, the more we work, the more we get inspired, and the more ideas we get… until they start hunting us in the night.

Ideas in the Night - Artist Life - cartoon

 

It requires a bit of organisation here: always have a notepad by your bed-side! Side trouble is: the day after we’re tired of sleep deprivation, and don’t really get much done…

One part of the cure will probably be next gigs we’ll have in a month in France and UK! Finally some action!

§ Simone.

DIY hardware, Musicians' Diary

And the “footswitch project” ?


You may remember when I was trying to shortly explain how to make your own “DIY USB footswitch” for the sake of using loops on-stage… Here is the post I wrote a few months ago about this : https://astrakanproject.com/2014/01/22/building-a-usb-footswitch/

Compile
A quick reminder !

And this is what il looks like on-stage so far :

1509245_709939202378639_6981299265256470308_n
On-stage setup !

When we were touring in Portugal last summer, we had the idea of asking to someone working in a mold factory (a speciality from Leiria area in Portugal) to think about a way to build a transparent footswitch, with lights inside !

After some more accurate designing…

excel
Designing the new footswitch using Excel
schemas
Designing the new footswitch using Excel

We finally got this ready :

Plex2i
The plexiglas footswitch !

The next step is of course making this fully fonctionnal, by adding all the switches, the cabling and… the colour lights inside !! Can you imagine this shining diamond on-stage ?

By the way, have you seen our new video of a Flemish song  ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJF1pP-C6V4

§Yann

Musicians' Diary, Sound & Video

Barzh an Ifern with Gwendal Moele


Last time we were in the UK, we took the chance to record a new version of Barzh an Ifern with Gwendal Moele that we had met there a couple of months ago – and we are delighted with that version that we made available for download here – beware! You should feel like starting dancing! (it’s a download on pay-what-you-want, if you’re broken at the moment, enter “0”!). We can’t say how much we love this version that has this wild ambiance you find in Kan ha Diskan (traditional way of singing for dance in Brittany, with 2 singers, originally a-capela)

In the meantime, Yann also remastered our previous EP Within The Circle (to which we indeed added Barz an Ifern) – if you have bought it already, please, just up-date your version and download it for free – just enter “0” for the amount!

And to remember where it started from, here is the video from our gig together in Ipswich in October

Musicians' Diary, Sound & Video

Bloavezh Mat – Happy new year message


Normally in Brittany, it is possible, acceptable, usual to wish “happy new year”… until the 31st of January! But since we have many other things – including music and video – to share in the up-coming days, we’ll start with a short message – and a cool new inside!

§ Yann & Simone

Musicians' Diary, Sound & Video

Sales VS Creativity


It’s always about the same. We released last album 2 months ago, we’re still in the middle of promoting, and actually we should even be doing more in that direction – by more, I mean do more follow up, check if it has been received, if it will be published/played/reviewed.

I should also put more effort on putting together next gigs & tour. Not that I’m not putting any effort, but basically I should be spending more than half of my days on the phone. But guess what? It’s not my thing. Neither Yann’s.

And things got worst when we get ideas for new songs coming in and chasing us even at night! Not big projects as such, not planned for any album (but who knows?), but mostly side-projects that we’d love to work on, just to see what happens, just to experiment and have fun. And well, since last January 2014 when we started to work on the album, we got a lot of these “let’s take a note and come back to it after the album’s release”.

In other words, I don’t know how that happen, but we already have loads of work in progress!

In the meantime, I pushing myself hard to keep on trying to get new gigs, it’s probably a matter of balance… but I love so much more to bring new ideas to life!

§ Simone

 

Musicians' Diary, Pics on Tour

Promo time for album B!


We are really lucky we’ve been hosted by many nice people to promote our new album – it’s always a great chance to get our music out into the world while meeting very nice people at our interviews.

We’ve been to local radio Arvorig FM – a 100% in Breton language radio. (you can stream it online!)

Astrakan Project ba' Arvorig FM radio
@Arvorig FM – a 100% Breton radio with Pauline Daniel

We’ve also been to France Bleu Breizh Izel (local branch of the national radio) where we recorded two shows, one in Breton and one bilingual – they should be on air this week, watch out our facebook page to get notified.

Radio RBI Culture Breizh with Clément Soubigou
Recording Culture Breizh show with Clément Soubigou in Quimper

And also we played already 2 show-cases, one in Brest at the book & music shop l’Oreille KC:

And another in Morlaix today, again at a book & music shop called Dialogues:

 

So… all is well, and our little album is little by little getting to get heard in many places around Brittany. 🙂 But there is still more to come!

§ Simone

DIY Album, Musicians' Diary

Celebration time! We’re featured in fRoots’s album choices again!


It’s a great honour not only to get a really good review in fRoots current issue (available from today for subscribers, on sale on the 20th), but also we got chose among “album choices of the month playlist

fRoots review on Astrakan Project B

 

The review for our first album in 2013 came like a surprise, we had never played in the UK, were not distributed, had got actually absolutely no review in France, it felt really like a recognition for us. For our album B, we weren’t sure fRoots would like it, it’s much darker, and rock. Yet they still recognized that it is nothing but 100% traditional Breton music, and this is truly a very nice surprise again!

 

 

DIY Album, Musicians' Diary

I’ll be waiting…


Since last album, I had forgotten this odd “in-between” time after the album’s release. The time it takes to go from “the release” to “what’s next”.

Since the album’s release then, a couple of fans bought it straight away,  fans that follow us regularly, that were waiting for it- you’re probably among them: big thank you! :). It’s a big reward when the first orders come in. (and a relieve also, let’s be honest !!! )

songlines 4 stars review
Our first album’s review in Songlines magazine in 2013

In the meantime also, we keep sending albums+press reviews to magazines and radios, although net-works can be powerful, traditional media have their audience for which they will select the music they think they will like. And from previous experiences we know how it brought attention from people that now follow us on a regular basis. Because this is the concrete real outcome of a good review, it isn’t about praising our musicians’ ego with nice and pleasant words. It really can help to spread the word around our project, and make it successful, help to touch more people and also be a plus when it comes to book new gigs and concerts.

Being aware of that brings a tiny bit of pressure.

What if they don’t like it? What if they don’t play it?

And there is also something we all know, nowadays, everything goes pretty fast. In the case of radios, either our music will get played straight away, either it will never be. All of this has a direct crucial impact on the music we might or might not be able to create and play in the up-coming month. Not that we would stop playing music!!! 😀 But we have the intuition that a slightly bigger audience would inspire us quite a few new cool projects!

So… we’re waiting…

§ Simone

astrakan breton world music on facebook

Musicians' Diary

Astrakan Project – B


The first review from our album is out, and we’re pretty sure it will bring us loads success! If you have time to read it carefully, you’ll probably find out a few things about our music – just like we did. Yes! Believe it or not, it feels odd, but it’s as if the reviewer knew more about us than we do… 😉

Santa Sangre

Not the original cover of the album Not the original cover of the album

[Reviewed by Peter Marks]

Brittany is a region of France which thanks to Astrakan Project, I have now researched in depth. I’ll give you the bare bones description: five regions, two native dialects and more history across it’s territory than my own country could ever hope to attain. Nearly everyone in the ancient world passed through, from the Romans to tribes and clans so obscure that time has erased all traces of them. Almost. For their second album, Simone Alves and Yann Gouvril have tracked down some truly remarkable songs from ages long gone, gilding them with music which only they could make. The level of accomplishment is high, the benchmarks have been exceeded and in their place new ones have been born.

This pair have, since their inception, continually striven to deliver as they say “music from beyond our world” and continue…

View original post 472 more words