Paul Jackson Music

Paul Jackson Music

Monday, 4 September 2017

#37: Preps and Plans

Ahead of performing live sets hopefully in the not too distant future, I was recently urged to supply promotional material including artist name and web links. The ridiculous mental debate I've had with myself over the last year about what form my live set up should take was nipped in the bud when I had to make a decision. Probably at the relief of the few friends I've no doubt bored senseless with my indecision.
So for this vocal and piano venture, I shall be simply going out as Paul Jackson. That's it. Done. Next!

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I've been gathering up some songs and reworking them as acoustic versions. Not really one to leave things unfinished, I am still aiming to the next album of electronic pop tracks before wrapping up the Production moniker. I have always felt a disconnect between me, the vocal take and the music. Recording vocals over an electronic backing track is something I've always struggled with and it has never ever come out as I wanted it to. But sat at a piano, pressing keys while also singing lyrics has a very different feel. More freeing in a way. Whether it's related to being more in control of the musical notes as well as vocals I don't know but I can sense I perform better that way. I think so anyway.

So at present, I have a set list forming of my own songs for just vocal and piano. There are no keyboard stands and racks of boxes for me to hide behind, or sweeping synthesizer lines to cover myself with. Not yet anyway
I tried out another open mic night in August at the Duke Of York in Tunbridge Wells. I decided to risk trying out a song that I'm currently recording called A Long Way Off, which is quite an upbeat electronic pop track that I never envisaged could be performed on piano. But I didn't want the piano set to be just slow songs so I thought I'd try it out and while it felt tricky and not exactly as I intended, I think it might be worth persevering with.

I also decided to upload some earlier material to my Production Bandcamp page that includes songs I am currently adding to my forthcoming piano set. Live With It and Lost Again are two songs from years and years ago I thought might work. So at you will find two digital ep's called Studio Archive EP and Remix Archive EP containing a few tracks I recorded for the Production album 'Studio' as well as some remixed versions.

And purely for keeping record of songs I've tried out at recent Open Mic nights, I decided to list them here

24 February 2017
The Elm Tree, Paddock Wood
It's My Life (Talk Talk cover)
Fireflies (Owl City cover)
Getting Away With It (Electronic cover)
To Everyone Unknown

27 February 2017
The Duke Of York, Tunbridge Wells
It's My Life (Talk Talk cover)
Getting Away With It (Electronic cover)
To Everyone Unknown

15 May 2017
The Duke Of York, Tunbridge Wells
Love Comes Quickly (Pet Shop Boys cover)
Frozen (Madonna cover)

14 August 2017
The Duke Of York, Tunbridge Wells
To Everyone Unknown
A Long Way Off
Come Dancing (Kinks cover)
Getting Away With It (Electronic cover)

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

#36: Open Mic Nights

So I survived my first try out at an Open Mic night back in February. Up until a couple of weeks prior to it, I had never attended one. I had always associated Open Mic nights with stand up comedy. It had never crossed my mind that there were ones for musicians as well until several years ago when a musician friend of mine mentioned that they had done one. I immediately thought they had turned their hand to being a stand up comedian.
The first one I performed at was at The Elm Tree, Paddock Wood, and I didn't even need to supply my own keyboard as there was one there I could play. But not having tried it out until I was up for my first song, it was a little hard to get used to a different keyboard feel, keyboard stand height and general set up and sound. It was a very busy Friday pub night but I got through the songs and it seemed to go down okay. 

I performed It's My Life (Talk Talk) and Fireflies (Owl City) to begin with. I was later invited back to do another where I played Getting Away With It (Electronic) and then later on in the evening I performed one of my own called To Everyone Unknown: a song I have been recording for the next Production album though this time I was performing it as vocal and piano rather than with synths and sequencing
The following Monday I went to the Open Mic night at the Duke Of York, Tunbridge Wells, which was a smaller and more intimate setting, and a very relaxed atmosphere and welcoming bunch of people to perform to. I performed It's My Life, Getting Away With It and To Everyone Unknown and they seemed to go well.
This time I brought and set up my own keyboard and stand and sound module, and it didn't take as long to assemble as I feared it might.
Then a few weeks passed until I decided to have another try.
Last night (Monday 15th May) I went back to the Duke of York for another try and this time performed Love Comes Quickly (Pet Shop Boys), Frozen (Madonna) and then another of my own called Turn. They seemed to go okay though I felt  I could have performed Turn a bit better. But its all good testing ground and a good learning curve.

So it took me a while to get round to it but I gave it a go. I would quite like to do them as and when I can and eventually get a full set worth where maybe I could perform a gig. Though the intention is to then incorporate some electronics and extra keyboard work into the mix to vary the sound and arrangements. Nothing too overblown as I may have done in the past, but I think a more subtle approach with a view to reinterpreting songs rather than any straight covers.
But one step at a time.....

At The Elm Tree, Paddock Wood, Feb 2017

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

#35: Open Mic... Prep

When I kickstarted the idea of playing live again early in 2016, I wasn't quite sure in what form it would take. While I mentally debate about whether to go for full synth/sequencer set up doing original material, or vocal/piano set up or even a vocal/piano with minimal additional synth arrangements, I was aware that it could all be for nothing if I end up not performing that well anyway - or even not enjoying it. So  I decided it was test the water. If only to see what might work, what path to venture down and what to rule out. Even if that means ruling out the whole idea..
So the other week I had a look online to see when and where there would be an Open Mic night for singers and musicians for me to watch and listen and see if that should be the next step. I saw there was one that very evening in Tunbridge Wells, so after getting home from work I ventured over to watch a selection of singer songwriters performing a mixture of covers and originals. Though all were guitarists, I was invited to come back with a keyboard and try out some songs. So that's what I aim to do on Monday 27th.
In addition to that, the other day I found another Open Mic night advertised for this coming Friday at a pub in my village. On contacting the person running it, it now turns out that I'll be attending this week with a view to playing some songs. I have an idea of the songs I'll be trying at both nights which are mainly covers but I have a couple of my own songs ready to drop in if the time is right. They are songs I've already recorded and arranged as full electronic pop songs for the next Production digital release, but I shall be trying out minimal piano versions.
So it feels a little bit like I'm peering over the diving board and not really knowing how it will feel or how it will be received. After Friday and Monday, we shall see what happens next.