DIY

Blog, DIY Album, Musicians' Diary

Hard-copy is not dead & about music visual identity


This unique piece of Artwork travels to Ireland as a reward for contributions to our Crowdfund campaign. Yann has been a few time to Ireland, but I haven’t so far… I’m hoping this painting is opening the road for me, it’s still a dream to go and visit some of the incredible megalithic sites as well as sites linked with Celtic Irish Culture. Performing there would obviously be a bonus 🙂 Let’s send this wish out into the winds!

Music is a classic performed by The Bothy Band in 1976/77 and released in 1996. Full version here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aWl_qdUK1o

 

And this one is on its way to the South of France…

ines bras

 

We are still only realizing how slowly incorporating my artwork into the project has become part of it, part of its identity, and has considerably impacted too the way we now envision projects. With the small audience we have, we probably wouldn’t have been able to reach the goal on the Crowdfunding campaign. The artwork is what has generated interest, it made it easy to post regular visual up-dates whereas posting music studio ones could feel a bit of the same.

When we went to local record labels with the project last year, I could sometimes hear something like “is it a book or is it a music album?” “how can we promote it if we’re not sure what it is?” “if it’s a book with just the lyrics, then it might just be a booklet, not a book.”

 

Once again, we are shown that what is hard to understand in the beginning is what makes us stand out and makes us different, and thus helps getting our project been noticed. In a way, the strong visual identity we’ve developed over the years balances the fact that the language we use can sometimes be an obstacle to dive in into our music.

Now that we started to get fantastic and lovely feedback from people receiving the first orders, we also can feel how the visual impact the way they perceive the music afterwards – so far in a very positive way.

Photo Joelle

Every music style is different, but in our case, we can confirm that we get to earn some money from hard copies sales while we barely make any sales on digital-only editions. We even had already a couple of people that ordered first the digital edition (that still includes the book in pdf) and re-ordered the hard-copy, and that was just the first week!

Is there any conclusion? While we hear very often that digital is the future, we can see exceptions all the time, and personaly it’s not what we’ve been noticing (since 2012, we’ve released 3 hard-copies and 2 digital only). Is there any rule? And who makes up the rules? As artists, we are creative people, and being creative is also something we can apply to the way we connect with our particular audience. We still have a lot to learn on that field, but the last months of conceiving and releasing Inês project has certainly been very inspiring in that field.

To be followed!

– Simone.

Advertisements
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.

DSC_1170

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

DSC_1289

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 :

DSC_1171

And the final result :

DSC_1172

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

angles

§ Yann

 

 

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 !
DSC_0267
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 :

200004705892631_800

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 :

DSC_1179
My old system, see all these cables hanging around !

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

DSC_1180
My old system, see all these cables hanging around !

DSC_1181

DSC_1182
My old system, see all these cables hanging around !

DSC_1183

DSC_1184
My old system, see all these cables hanging around !

And the overview :

DSC_1187

DSC_1190

§ Yann

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

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

 

Sound & Video

Let’s Twist!


This video is indeed a kind of making-off of our last video recording for Barzh an Ifern (You still can watch it >here<).

Lyrics are traditional from Brittany (and as usual in #Breton language). A bachelor is complaining about the way girls are nowadays, not willing to stay home but rather going to school or partying. Composed at least… 100 years ago ! (full English translation and more facts >here<)

The final Live part is from the song “Barzh an Ifern”, in Marseille (south of France), March the 15th, 2014, in Equitable Café (crazy ambiance that night as you can hear from the sound!)

One of our goals is to get ALL the songs from our album available on our YouTube channel, (if you are a regular user of YouTube, you can subscribe here, that way you’ll easily get notified from our new videos)… And we’re almost half-way 😉

Enjoy, and if you enjoy it, please share around!

.

Buy Astrakan Project debut album

DIY hardware, Musicians' Diary

Building a USB footswitch…


Actally, updating / upgrading the home-made footswitch, that I made a couple of years ago… (see previous posts there and there…). I use this footswitch to control my looping software “Live” on stage, since my hands are generally busy with a stringed instrument ! I must say that as far as I know, this kind of USB hardware doesn’t exist !

Pedalier - 03

As I wanted to get a more reliable hardware, and also more compact so that I can fit in my suitcase… So I started from a cheap USB keyboard…

1235261_671878532851373_1766318626_n

After finding the suitable combinations of connectors (i.e. keys, actually), let’s design the stuff with a nice and clear sketch…

1535397_671914529514440_392134094_n

Then time has come for soldering…

148588_672058136166746_1167135396_n

The tricky part, soldering on the keyboard core :

935119_672182779487615_95133181_n

Yes, this is a hard work :))

1532121_672183376154222_141765620_n

And after many tests and controls, the final result :

65648_672184246154135_2037457628_n

§Yann

 

astrakan breton world music on facebook

Musicians' Diary

Wrapping day… which colour is your music?


world music albums  astrakan project
Ready to travel around the world

We also used to have some blue wrapping tissue , and some other ribbon colours too… well, we’ll get some more, piles of albums ready to go looked much more harmonious!

It’s for a gift, can I request a colour if I order your album?

Of course my dear! Just add a note when you order it >here<

§ Simone

Lien vers newsletter newsletter

Musicians' Diary

Because music is not only about music…


It’s also about creating another world in which you can feel and sense our music, in which everything will tell you “you are there”.

diy musician painted tambourine get visual
Maybe some more ribbons?

I had started decorating this small tambourine I use on stage for a couple of songs, but then, I felt it missed some extra twist and colours to really fit into the way our music has evolved. Not done yet, but I’m getting there, and I’m excited to try it… I’m sure it will really look cool.

§ Simone