I’ve been a fan of social networks for awhile now, and over the years have tried a few. Some stuck, some didn’t. Twitter seems to be one that’s sticking. So far so good. I like Twitter. I like it a lot …
I’ve been a fan of social networks for awhile now, and over the years have tried a few. Some stuck, some didn’t. Twitter seems to be one that’s sticking. So far so good. I like Twitter. I like it a lot.
By using Twitter as a networking tool, I’ve been meeting some interesting people. Mostly music related because that’s my main interest, but there are also some people that I’m following just because they seem interesting. There are also some tech related twitterers that I follow because I like to keep up-to-date with the online tech industry.
Before I found Twitter, about a year ago, I knew that I wanted something like it. Because I’ve been spending more time lately publishing music news on BandWeblogs.com, my blogging has been lacking. Which is disappointing really, because I do enjoy it. The good thing, though, is that Twitter has allowed me to keep up with blogging – just on a different platform, and with shorter entries. Much shorter. 140 characters per tweet.
So Twitter has helped me to get back on the blogging saddle as well as meeting some cool people. Its become a great place for community. Special almost.
Through Twitter, I was asked by Oxford City Guide (@OxfordCityGuide) to review Swedish band Baskery at The Jericho Tavern in Oxford. It ended up being a great night out and I really enjoyed their music.
In the review, which included a short write-up of local Oxford band InLight, I noted that it would be great to see InLight play as a full band, as that night they were there as just a 2-piece. Well. Lead singer Charlie happened to see this, got in touch with me, and then invited me to see the full band play, which I did, and that then lead to an interview with Charlie. That’s just two bands as examples, that I’ve been turned on to because of Twitter.
My latest Twitter story is not affiliated with music – but baseball. I’m following someone (@GallagherMeow) who tweeted that he made a list of his ten favorite Red Sox players of all time. After following the link back to his blog, I noticed, in my opinion, a couple players were missing, so I replied to him on Twitter asking “Where’s Jim Rice and Fred Lynn?” because they happen to be my favorite Red Sox players of all time. He didn’t reply back, but that’s okay…he pretty much answered that question by writing up his own personal top 10.
The next day I opened up my email and saw that: “Jim Rice (Ask14) is now following your updates on Twitter”. I just sat there for a minute and had to digest the information. I re-read the sentence and clicked on the link. I was pretty excited.
I added a message on Twitter – “I can’t believe it. Is that the REAL Jim Rice following ME??? @Ask14” hoping that I might get an answer.
Sure enough, a couple hours later I received a tweet from the real Jim Rice, “Yes. How are you?”. I was walking on air for awhile after that. Growing up in NH/VT, when I was very young, Jim Rice was like a hero, along with Fred Lynn. Probably because my dad and my brother really liked them.
So, my “inner child” certainly came out the day Jim Rice unexpectedly got in touch and asked me how I was. Warm fuzzy childhood memories came rushing back, and the feeling of what me as a little girl might have felt like if I had met Jim Rice then.
The meeting wasn’t in person, and some might think Twitter is just a silly site they can’t figure out, but it’s because of Twitter that these wonderful experiences have happened.
The Charlatans and Just Jack are set to mentor the finalists of Road to V – the UK’s biggest and longest running search for unsigned musical talent. With a history of V Festival performances to their name, now on their tenth studio album and famous for a string of hits including indie classics such as “The Only One I Know” and “Weirdo” …
The Charlatans and Just Jack are set to mentor the finalists of Road to V – the UK’s biggest and longest running search for unsigned musical talent.
With a history of V Festival performances to their name, now on their tenth studio album and famous for a string of hits including indie classics such as “The Only One I Know” and “Weirdo”, The Charlatans will be mentoring the ten finalists of the competition, before two winners are eventually decided by a public vote.
The recruitment of Just Jack and The Charlatans as mentors marks a first for Virgin Media, which has refreshed the format of Road to V for 2009, offering entrants the chance to be nurtured by established musicians for the very first time.
Ben Walker, best known around the internet for his “The Twitter Song” is getting ready for the innovative Ben’s Big Gig event, taking place in Oxford, England on May 1, 2009 …
Ben Walker, best known around the internet for his “The Twitter Song” is getting ready for the innovative Ben’s Big Gig event, taking place in Oxford, England on May 1, 2009.
I first ‘met’ Ben on social networking site Twitter, and after reading a few of his ‘tweets’ and learning about Ben’s Big Gig, I was curious to find out more about the humorous singer/songwriter based in Oxford.
Ben Walker: I first tweeted at 6:07 PM Apr 18th, 2007 and apparently I was “up too late”. It took a while to get into, to find the good people. I got a real boost when I met a whole room full of interesting Twitter people at the Tuttle Club in London in early 2008. They still meet every
Friday morning at the ICA, and I go along whenever I can.
Which social network are you currently using the most and why are you using that particular one the most?
Twitter, for sure. Because that’s where all my people are. I talk to people I know on Twitter every day (and plenty I don’t). For video updates, I’m really into 12seconds.tv. I guess there’s something about having to create something short and succinct that appeals to me.
Are there people that you’ve met in person after first meeting on Twitter? If so, can you give one or two examples of how that happened?
Absolutely. When I first went to Tuttle I met a guy called Steve Lawson (@solobasssteve), who is a bass legend and social media enthusiast. He introduced me to dozens of people on Twitter (musicians, techies or both) whom I later met at events like Amplified09 and Twestival. For me Twitter is about finding and engaging with like-minded people, so they are often the people you are likely to meet in real life too.
What is the best pop song written in the last 20 years?
Complicated (Avril Lavigne). Pure cheesy pop. I’ve been studying pop songwriting for a while, and that’s the song I go back to every time for the perfect combination of formula, hooks, production, beat, lyrics and attitude. It’s certainly not the best song, but it’s the best pop song.
What has the response been like to your song “You’re No One If You’re Not On Twitter” aka The Twitter Song?
It’s been huge. I still get a couple of comments and 10-20 new followers/subscribers on Twitter and YouTube every day who find me through that song. It was written as a bit of a joke, to amuse the people I knew on Twitter, but at the same time it was a bit of a cheeky experiment. I tried to write the ultimate Twitter song: open with a hook, have a funny video, make some in-jokes. Now it’s had 300,000 views and I have a lot of nerdy fans.
How would you describe your music?
English, quirky, satirical pop. I try to make all my songs entertaining. They are not always funny, but there’s always an undercurrent of humour.
You grew up in Oxford. Have you played/collaborated with many bands/musicians here?
Yes and no. I’ve been around the Oxford music scene for ten years now, but always on the edges. I’ve guested on keyboards with A Silent Film. Once. I had a year-long residency at the QI Club, playing with my band every Sunday night, and we jammed with loads of local musos there.
Where is the first place in Oxford that you would want to take someone new in town to?
The Firry Mic. I just discovered the Tuesday night open mic at the Fir Tree (Iffley Road), and it’s brilliant. It’s just a room packed with positive people, and the friendly atmosphere gives the songs a real boost.
Why did you choose Summertown in Oxford as the location for Ben’s Big Gig?
I chose Summertown for a few reasons. First, I wanted to see if it was possible to put on a Big Gig in a theatre as an independent musician, and the North Wall is the perfect venue. Everyone’s downsizing and playing house concerts these days. I love a house concert, but I wondered whether we couldn’t try upsizing too. Second, Summertown is my spiritual home. All of my songs have a North Oxford vibe (posh, green, jaunty). Third, I needed a venue that could handle my social media requirements. I needed wireless, a projector screen and cabaret tables. Again, the North Wall is perfect for that. And they love to be involved in interesting, experimental and fringe projects.
How have you been planning Ben’s Big Gig; what is on the agenda for the day?
I’ve been Twittering, crowdsourcing, blogging and videoing my heart out for the last couple of months, and it’s all starting to come together. The most exciting thing for me is that I have a couple of really talented performers to share the stage with. George Chopping has been touring with John Hegley, and is one of the funniest people I’ve ever seen. He’s compèring the evening. And Tom Greeves is opening the second half with a set of genius stand-up comedy. It’s going to be a real variety show. And along with all that, we will be broadcasting the whole show live on the internet and feeding the responses from Twitter, 12seconds, Flickr etc. back into the venue on the giant screen, so the internet audience will be able to interact with the live audience.
Who would you want to spend the day with – someone that you haven’t met in person – and what would you do?
Ben Folds. I would get a piano lesson from him. And drink tea and chat in the breaks. I’m a legendary pianist, but I envy the control he has on the keyboard. In the nineties I learned every Ben Folds Five song note for note. I recommend it for anyone who wants to play pop piano.
Do you have any musical influences? If so, who?
Ben Folds. The Band. David Bowie. Ray Davies. Julian Cope. Little Feat. Queen. Avril Lavigne.
How do you prefer to record music? What equipment are you using?
When I’m taking it seriously, I use Pro Tools on my MacBook and an MBox. I rarely need more than two channels, because I’m always recording alone. If I’m recording with the band, I borrow stuff. But these days more and more I’m recording on my phone (the Nokia N95 has great video) or the camera and internal mic on my laptop and uploading it straight to YouTube. My music isn’t “sit down with headphones and a candle and appreciate the production” music. It’s “check out this link on tinny headphones at work” music. It’s not that I don’t love well-produced music. It’s just not what I’m doing. I need a quicker turnaround.
How often do you write songs?
When I’m writing, I write every day. And I’ll usually write, rewrite and record a song in four or five hours over two or three days. Last summer I wrote 50 songs in 90 days as part of an online challenge. Half of them were great. The other half are crap but amusing. I’m not writing much at the moment, but once the Big Gig is over I’ll get back on the horse.
Do you really hate mornings?
No. I love mornings. I get up at 6am most days to work on music stuff. But not when I registered the domain five years ago. I’ll keep using it, though. It’s fun, and it’s a name to which a lot of musicians can relate.
How would you like to see the future of music?
I like the way it’s going. I want to see musicians weaned off the old record company model and rediscovering the real connections that can be made with music. In my ideal future, musicians would concentrate on making better music and connecting with people. At the moment they tend to do one or the other. I have much more to say on this, but I’ll save it for my blog. 😉
For more information about Ben’s Big Gig, which takes place on May 1, 2009 in Summertown, Oxford, go to:
For the last couple of days, I’ve been listening to The Waking Hours, based in York, England – tuning into their MySpace page and playing their songs to the occasional passer by …
For the last couple of days I’ve been listening to The Waking Hours, based in York, England – tuning into their MySpace page and playing their songs to the occasional passer by.
“Hold Me Back” is a great track. Barny’s powerful and unique voice, somewhat reminiscent of Jim Morrison from the Doors, sits in nicely alongside the more current sound of the 4-piece indie/rock band made up of Barny R (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Nick Wright (Lead Guitar), Phil Greenhalgh (Bass/Backing Vocals), Drew Shaw (Drums). The chorus is catchy, the band is tight with high energy drums and guitar – I would hope more people get turned on to this new, up and coming unsigned band.
The Waking Hours UK dates:
(Dates and information subject to change. Go to their MySpace page for the latest shows.)
4 May 2009 Fibbers – The Living Waxworks York
10 May 2009 The Adelphi Hull
18 July 2009 Carpe Diem Leeds
It would be great to hear some feedback from a live show.