Wonderfully “Wicked” Weekend in NYC

Meg and I have just gotten back from a wonderful weekend in the big city.  While we have been big fans of the warmth and laid back nature of LA (“California Dreamin'” comes to mind), we also hold a warm spot on our hearts of New York City, especially around winter time.  There’s really nothing like Christmas in NY, so we wanted to take a bit of time off of our hardworking studio sessions in LA to enjoy NY in the crisp cold air.

And a “Wicked” Time it Was

Now that I’ve moved out of NYC I’m missing the quick access to the performing arts scene, including, of course, broadway theater.  Hence since I was back for a long weekend I had to make sure I kicked my visit off right and buy Wicked tickets
for a Saturday night showing.

I know its girly but Wicked the Musical is one of my favorite musicals of all time and I haven’t gotten tired of it yet.  I’ve seen it half a dozen times and I really like going back to see the new cast and crew whenever they bring some fresh blood in.  This time was no disappointment and I’m so glad to got the tickets when I did.  The house was packed and I’m sure it was sold out.

Let it Snow!

Well aren’t we lucky, the first snow of the winter happened just at the tail end of our trip.  It was sunday night and we made our way to see the iconic Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.  While it was extremely crowded, it was also very enjoyable.  They had a light show on the face of the Saks Fifth Avenue building (which made use of christmas-style lights instead of the projection screen which we had seen in previous years).

The tree itself was beautiful as always.  So big!  I mean, one of its branches could have been plucked off and used as a standalone christmas tree.  All the while we were getting snowed upon by a light drift of snowflakes.  It was very cold, but still an enjoyable experience.  Can’t wait to get back there sometime soon (maybe in the spring or fall)!

 

Selecting the Best Clothes for Young Women Rock Stars Like Ourselves

Truth is that selecting the best winter coats for young women rock stars challenges many people. Firstly, rock stars are known to follow a certain style that is symbolic with rock culture. Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton and others seemed to share the same fashion taste. Secondly, young women still want to keep in touch with their youth and will rather be caught dead than be found wearing something that is figurative with mature women. You can make the young stars look fashionable and trendy in the following ways:

Tight Leather Jackets

Cashmere coat, not bad for a couple of budding rock stars :)
Cashmere coat, not bad for a couple of budding rock stars 🙂

Although looking fashionable is their top priority, young rock stars also want to keep the cold at bay. To achieve both goals, you should consider dressing them in medium-light to heavy leather jackets. Tight jackets are preferred over the loose type because it’s representative of young girls or women who are young at heart. The jacket goes well with skinny leather or denim jeans preferably black in color.

Skinny Leather Jeans

Rock music and leather jackets have always gone together. You can dress up a young rock star in skinny jeans preferably black. Besides being a light fabric, leather is also quite comfortable even in the cold weather. It offers good insulation to the wearer ensuring that she doesn’t freeze over in the chilly weather. Furthermore, it is also waterproof and this protects her from moisture or water.

Studded Jackets

Though rock music and culture keep changing, one thing that has remained intact is adorning studded jackets. Just like their older counterparts, young women rock stars will also look stylish in a studded denim or leather jacket. Some will look best in a jacket that bears a few studs on the shoulders or chest region while others may prefer a fully-studded jacket. Finding the perfect fit is determined by the individual’s personal preference as well as the latest trends.

Denim Jeans

A rock stars wardrobe is never complete without denim jeans. This attire is loved by many because of its toughness and its versatility. It can be worn with denim jacket, leather jacket, knee-high leather boots, and many other outfits. You also have the options of going for dirty, faded, or ripped jeans. To complete the feminine look, you may also throw in a scarf and a fancy cowboy hat.

There you have it- simple ways of selecting the best winter coats for young women rock stars. Not only will you ensure the wearer looks elegant and stylish, but also warm and comfortable.

Demolishing and Renovating our Music Studio

The renovation of certain buildings or spaces starts with their demolition. If you are demolishing your music studio for renovating it then you will have to consider certain factors and follow certain procedures to complete the project within your budget. While considering these factors you should first of all sit calmly and plan the things you want to add or delete from the present structure of the music studio.

Demolished Room
Not our room, but it looks remarkably similar 🙂

Whether you want to demolish its entire structure or partial demolition can solve your purpose. Whether the demolition must be done mechanically or can be done manually. Whether you can handle the cleaning process and regulation of materials yourself or need the services of a professional company. Whether the submission of notification, permits, baits for rodents, safety plans and disconnection of utilities required to be arranged before starting demolition have been arranged. Whether, the cost of renovation can be reduced by recycling some of its demolished materials, going to be hauled.

After considering all the factors mentioned above you can easily plan demolition and renovation of your music studio. The cost of the project can be influenced by the following factors.

Size: The size of the part of your music studio you want to demolish for renovation as it can affect the cost of your project as it is calculated according to the area.

Asbestos: If any soundproof system is to be removed before demolishing the music studio then you will have to hire and asbestos investigator to discover and remove it as per the guidelines of Environmental Protection Agency or EPA. It will also increase your cost as you will have to pay the fee of asbestos inspector additionally.

Equipment: You will have to find out the kind of equipment you will have to rent and call quotes from different sources to have a brief idea of their effect on your project cost as normally they are charged for the length of period they are used. You can control your cost by returning it when it is not in use.

Length of time taken: The time taken in completing the project depends on the size of the music studio you want to renovate. It may take longer time if the area to be demolished and renovated is larger.  Using a reputable demolition company like Winnipeg Demolition would help to reduce the amount of time taken. It will also increase the cost of your project as you will either need more manpower or manpower for long time to complete it as soon as possible.

Paperwork: If you have to obtain certain licenses, permits and insurance before demolition, as per the rules and regulations of your state as well as notify utility companies even then you may have to spend some time and money before starting the demolition of your music studio.

Transportation of debris: In order to remove debris from the site you will have to hire landfill and haulage service. You will have to arrange them beforehand so that the debris can be removed as soon as possible. The cost of these services depends upon your location and the status of service provider.

Thus, demolishing and renovating a music studio can easily be within the budget if all the points discussed in this write-up are considered patiently.

 

The Money Problem: Musicians and Their Finances

What do you call a musician without a girlfriend or boyfriend? Homeless. Alright, it’s not that funny, but there is a lot of truth to it. Unfortunately. Most musicians struggle to make a decent living. It’s not easy to make a living playing music and it’s definitely not easy to make money and keep your integrity as a musician intact.

moneyWhile most of us respect musicians for never conforming to the norms society bestows on all of us, we fail to realize that chasing your dreams often times comes with a price. The music business is extremely competitive in itself, not to mention how hard it can be to find decent paying venues to play, or people to play your music to. That’s why, in this article, we will focus on providing a few tips and tricks for up and coming musicians and we will touch on the lives and everyday struggles of musicians and bring our readers closer to that world.  Whether it’s as simple as taking on an accountant for MYOB Services, or taking on a new social media strategy, there are plenty things you can do to take on the problem of money for starving artists or struggling musicians.

Most musicians nowadays underestimate the power of strong online presence. OK, you don’t want to be the next Justin Bieber (and thank God for that!) and post your videos on YouTube for preteens to watch, but did you know that one of the most famous alternative rock bands in the world at the moment, Arctic Monkeys, got where they are today because of the internet? Their fans made a MySpace fan page(yeah, this was some time ago) and their following just kept on growing.

On the other hand, there is no need to look down on YouTube either. YouTube is one of the most popular websites on the world wide web and people listen to music and watch videos there on a daily basis. Make your own channel, start by putting up covers of your favorite bands to get a decent-sized fan base and then upload your own songs – a good tune is a good tune and if it’s worth anything, there will be people who like it. Always provide contact and booking information in video descriptions, who knows who may be watching your videos?

Social media in general is a great tool for musicians, as are websites like Spotify and SoundCloud but nothing can replace eye to eye contact. Network – talk to club, pub, bar and cafe owners in your area, let them listen to your music and they may let you play there.

Another thing that’s frowned upon in the music subculture is playing in wedding and cover bands, but these bands make decent money and what’s so wrong with playing songs by your favorite bands to relatively large groups of people? Not only that you’ll get paid, this will also help you get rid of stage fright.

Stick To Your Guns – Be Who You Are and Don’t Give Up On Your Dreams

If you’re a young (or “old”, for that matter), struggling musician, always keep this in mind, whenever you’re having a hard time: Most people conform and give up on their dreams. You have been brave enough not to let yourself become one of them. You don’t get anywhere by just wishing to get there. Work hard, improve and most importantly, respect yourself for being bold enough to give yourself a chance. Never give up on your dreams. Someday, all the pieces will fall into place.

Oak Trees vs. Palm Trees – A New York and LA Comparison…

Nothing like a California Sunset...
Nothing like a California Sunset…

The climate and soil conditions in New York encourage the growth of healthy and hardy trees that are able to withstand any diverse conditions. Los Angeles is classified as Mediterranean and is quite warm throughout the year, hence its association with several palm species.

Los Angeles is rich in its native plant and tree life primarily because of the habitat diversity which includes wetlands, mountains and beaches. The most frequently occurring and prevalent plant species and communities include chaparral shrub-land, coastal sage shrub and riparian woodland. The official tree of Los Angeles, though not a native tree species itself , is the Coral Tree, scientifically known as Erythrina caffra while the Bird Of Paradise( Strelitzia reginae) is the official flower of LA.

Native plants typically found in Los Angeles include matilija poppy, Giant Wildrye, California poppy, ceanothus, Coast Live Oak, sycamore, willow and chamise. Incidentally, the Los Angeles sunflower became so rare that it cannot even be classified as an endangered plant species. Date palms, Mexican Fan Palms, Canary Island Palms, California Fan Palms and Queen Palms are quite common palm tree species found in the City of Angels(LA). Of all these palm tree species, only the California palm tree is the native species.

New York has a diverse variety of habitats which include water and land and these play host to a variety of rich plant and tree life. There are quite a number of diverse floral species that are native to New York State, including Long Island. In spite of the rich variety, historically, most of the native plants associated with the State of New York disappeared as they had no more space to grow.

However some of the species that New York’s natural habitat plays host to include the Eastern Red Cedar, a tree belonging to the evergreen variety and it typically has two leaves. One of Eastern Cedar’s leaves, usually older, are flat and scale-like. The younger leaves of the tree are quite pointy and resemble needles.

Thanks to TreeServiceRI.com for the photo
The boldness of east-coast Oak Trees will always leave an impression on me…

Its cone resembles a berry with a bluish hue to it. There are several shrubs and bushes that are typical of New York and they include the wild berry bushes and the Beach Heather, a relatively short shrub with minute leaves that have a woolly feel to them. The woolly substance helps the shrub to conserve whatever little water it has and ultimately helps it not to dry out.

Other shrubs common to the area include the Silky Willow, Witch-hazel, Goldenrod, River Oats and Jack-In-The-Pulpit, among several shrubs typical of New York plant-life.

The New York City’s Department of Environmental Protection (D.E.P) launched a tree planting project to reclaim the landfills in the area, which has lost much plant life over the years, due to city expansion, tree removal for long island, and other initiatives.. 35000 trees and shrubs will have been planted by the time the project is over and one of the plant species that will be grown is the butterfly weed as it tends to be quite attractive to butterflies as it has a sweet nectar substance. These plants and shrubs will be from the native New York flora and will be planted on top of the Fountain and Old Pennsylvania landfills. This will be an improvement on the environmental ecology as birds will live off the berries and seeds from these plants thus promoting a symbiotic relationship.

When considering the comparison it is important to note that the Los Angeles area has a lot of palm tree species associated with it. New York, however, due to its climatic conditions, is associated with evergreen trees, shrubs and bushes.

 

 

Moving from NY to LA: Our Story and Advice

We made it to La La Land! But we have some advice for anyone looking to take the same leap...
We made it to La La Land! But we have some advice for anyone looking to take the same leap…

So, you have decided to take a leap from the Big Apple to the City of Los Angeles and you are wondering how to do it, or what to expect when you get there. Well, to say the least, you can be sure it will be a whole different feel, different mode of operation and lots of sunshine. Still, you have to be prepared because the transition will not be easy but if you do things right, you will pull through just fine. Below are some tips for moving from NY to LA.

  1. Save As Much As You Will Need.

This is an obvious point but better safe than sorry right. The more money you have with you, the better chance you will have at making through any tough situations you come through before you actually settle. The right amount depends on whether you are going to crash at a friend’s place and won’t mind sandwiches and noodles for a few months or if you want to get your own place. When a person is moving, money goes real quick, especially on housing, so make sure you have enough money to last you at least six month.

  1. Plan Ahead.

When you are selecting a moving company from NY to LA, make sure you plan early because it’s a long distance, it will be a one-way-trip and you need to have everything running smoothly during the move. This means that you should hire long distance movers and make sure they have no additional charges that can surprise you after the move. You should only bring along the essentials to make the load lighter and invest in durable moving boxes to protect your stuff.

  1. You Might Need A Car.

LA is one of the largest cities in the US and you will definitely need a car to commute. No, this does not mean that there is no public transport, as a matter of fact; LA has the second best public transport after NY but harder to navigate. It will really be easier if you have a car. On that note, you should be ready for traffic. Yes, what you have heard about LA traffic is true so be ready to deal with it, a lot. Alternatively, you can live near to tour workplace if you want to avoid both driving and the traffic you will have to endure.

  1. Have Realistic Expectations.

This is one of the most populated cities in the world and you will get caught off guard, a lot. Of course, as a New Yorker, this is not surprising but you have to be ready all the same. Don’t forget that you are in a new environment, without the friend you left behind or even family so be prepared to cope. This is a decision you have probably thought about so maybe you want to start a fresh in your life and if that is the case, if you focus then you will definitely succeed.

  1. Do Not Give Up.

You are probably thinking Cliché. Yes, maybe, but working hard leads to good things so even if you have challenges, which you will be facing, keep in mind why you are in LA in the first place then move on.

If you follow these tips for moving from NY to LA, you will find the challenges so much easier and a lot more worthwhile. For all you know, once you are prepared, you might actually enjoy the whole process, who said moving has to be stressful, right.

 

How We Handle Business Abroad During Music Tours

We’ve been doing more and more business with our manager, planning travel and tours across multiple countries.  Once of the biggest issues we’ve come across is the issue of translation services for our contracts and negotiations.

So I’ve asked our Manager Mike to put together a little guide for the blog.  This is a bit of a venture from our usual ramblings, but I think it’s still pretty cool, if only in a “grown up”, professional sort of way.

Legal Needs of Translation

Going around the world playing music is a thrill, but different languages present complications.
Going around the world playing music is a thrill, but different languages present complications.

Translation of material from one language to another is often required for documents related to legal matters and businesses. However, there is no denying the fact that translation services can come in use in other industries as well. As the market becomes increasingly global, the need for language translation will grow exponentially all over the world.

The company that deals with music tours can also avail immediate benefits from a professional translation agency, which can help in making preparations for Translation Services for International Music Tours and associated tasks.

Why need a translation service for music tours?

It is, of course, because when a musical tour spans over several countries, there comes a need to have good communications between the organizers and promoters. Not only the need for effective communication arises between organizers, but also the media like radio stations, news locations, and on-the-field writers.

Since there is a lot of planning and organizing required to conduct a concert in a foreign country successfully, taking the assistance of a translating company can prove to be invaluable in saving both time and money.

In which areas are translation necessary?

Music tour staff: Many high profile music tour companies hire local individuals to look after multiple aspects of the tour, which may also include hiring local backup dancers, administrators, opening acts, etc. Not every local staff may speak the language of the international music to accompany. Therefore, the translator is required to facilitate communication and address all the requests in a language of their choice.

Music translation: Some artists are most comfortable when they can properly communicate with their audience to provide a better experience. Everyone might have heard at least once that artists often say something in the country’s native language to arouse emotions of the people; some artists even translate a part of their lyrics into the local language so as to blend in better with the crowd. This is another area where a skilled translator can efficiently change the language of the lyrics without the meaning getting lost in translation.

Handling the press and media: The image of a music artist must remain flawless in the eyes of media their fans. An international music tour company can benefit by having their breasts materials translated into the local language. During interview time, a translation service company can also offer assistance in explaining the questions. Other translation may involve advertising content, articles, press releases, etc.

Contracts and agreements: These are legal documents used by music tour company and others associated with them. Hiring valuable translator is necessary to maintain transparency and clear view about the legality of the contractual terms. This may help in getting a clear idea about prices, payments, personal requests of music artists, and everything else related to a legally binding contract.

Conclusion

Choosing the right translation services company is essential to ensure that all goes according to plan, and there is no chance of any misunderstanding. This is why one must choose the best translation company for music tours so that all goals are met seamlessly and without any hindrance.

Blog from Meg

Come on! Come on! Feel something Meg. Feel “Something Real”! (Ha ha,
just kidding. Hey, I’m entitled to make fun of my band too. Don’t think that
every band member in Meg and Dia hasn’t worn out that “I can do whatever I
want like you” line at every available opportunity!) I’m running on the
tread mill this morning, listening to some new jams on Dia’s i pod since I
broke mine in Europe. (Not my jams, my i pod, mind you!) I’m listening to
Death Cab for Cutie’s new album “Narrow Stairs” and my latest guilty
pleasure, Jesse McCartney’s “Leavin”” (Go ahead Dia! Sabotage my toothpaste
for that one. What can I say? Disney has my heart. ha ha) Oh, and by the
way, Mr. Gibbard and Mr. McCartney, you owe me big time for plugging your
bands! Ahem…, tour, *cough* *cough*
So, my floppy bangs are beginning to turn into slimy tentacles
pasted on my forehead, and I’m developing a very attractive mustache from
the beads of sweat forming on my upper lip. The beat from the track is
keeping my rubber legs in sync, and as the cheese on my inner thighs are
slowly coming loose I appreciate the little keyboard part coming in through
my right ear, making an entrance and exiting gracefully with the vocal line
in mind. I commend the walking bass line and how the bass isn’t staying
exactly on the quarter notes but, sort of, dancing around them a bit. And,
oh! That harmony, barely noticeable, an octave lower was genius! I’m fully
musically entertained during the entirety of my fifteen minute work out.
(Wow, I’m just so…so tough! I know, I know.) I walk away, feeling
refreshed, exhausted, and revamped for another day. I’m heading up the steep
pavement hill to my apartment. I’m on track number two of “Narrow Stairs”
and it hits me. The music hits my soul, and I feel the same way I did back
in ’99 when my dad showed me Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, and I feel it in my
bones the same way Saves the Day’s “Stay What You Are” made me tingle in
’04. The music made such an impression on me, I FORGOT TO PAY ATTENTION TO
IT!! I couldn’t tell you what the chord progression was like. I couldn’t
remember if there was one guitar or more, distorted or clean, leads or no.
Nothing. All I could tell you was I felt like I was free, under a bridge,
with wind and water and memories, and rough cement under my toes. I haven’t
felt like that for years.
Since we’ve been in L.A., on days off, my favorite thing to do is go
to Disneyland. I know I’m 23 now, a full-fledged adult, and should be
hitting all the L.A. clubs and bars and trying to pick up on boys with cool
hair-do’s and pants. (And I really do try to do that sometimes, give me a
break). But I always just want to go to Disneyland. Not for the normal
reasons I suppose. I don’t really enjoy roller coasters. They don’t scare my
trousers off quite like I’d like them to. Chasing down Ariel and Peter Pan
are no longer at the top of my “experiencing Disney theme park” list. But I
return, weekend after weekend, and pay the $63.00 admission fee because I
want to feel what I felt when I was a kid. Disneyland made the biggest
impression on me, probably in my life. It was cooler than landing on the
moon (well, if we really did…), it was cooler than driving a car after I
got my license, it was even cooler than getting my first guitar, and that
says a lot! I wanted to feel how I felt back then once more.
But I’ll never feel that way again. Mickey Mouse isn’t going to make
me shake with excitement from head to toe when he holds my hand and totally
creep me out when he puts his gigantic furry face next to mine. I’m not ever
going to be jealous of Cinderella’s puffy blue dress, and I’m not ever going
to be more mature than Dia ( I was 10 and she was 8) and pretend that the
upcoming drop on splash mountain didn’t terrify me. Never again. Just like I
won’t ever feel like I felt when I received my first kiss. I won’t ever
again be amazed at how clouds look while flying above them on my first
airplane. I won’t ever feel how I felt when I drove away to college for the
first time towards the great unknown. Those are all one time feelings. One.
Once. Gone.
But now that I’m older and and returning to my early childhood playgrounds,
Disneyland gives me the greatest sense of peace. A prism of contentment I
couldn’t possibly find anywhere else. I feel so much admiration toward the
man who created the Disney empire every time I look up at the copper statue
of Walt. I look up to the strength and courage he must have had to go
through with creating something unheard of and incredible, just like I look
up to my authors. I love looking at little children’s faces because it
reminds me of mine at that age. I love all the people who work there putting
on cheezy happy faces because they know a little kid will be affected
forever because of it. They make sure they hide behind Alice’s mushrooms
during their cigarette breaks, keeping the real world shut out and away from
the children’s eyes for just a little while, because even as they suck up
their nicotine, they know everyone only gets to be a kid once.
Love is the same way (I hear). Love is different when you first
meet and after you are married. Different, not worse. And there is a great
parallelism between love, and Disneyland (or whatever your “Disneyland”
happens to be), and listening to music. Music is never going to have the
same effect on me. I’m never going to listen to it free and open like I did
as a teenager, but now I’m listening to it more closely and active as an
adult. It still changes my life. It’s not worse it’s just different.
My goal is to capture someone with my music like music captured me
when I was younger. Catch them open and unreserved. Take them away. Make
them remember and want to feel like that forever. But also, I want people,
in my stage, (I’ll refer to it as the “after the marriage” stage) to listen,
analyze and hopefully notice and appreciate different aspects of it. A
difficult task, for sure. But that’s why I do it. That’s why I keep coming
back.
Speaking of making music, we are finally back from the United
Kingdom and are excited to finish up the album. The U.K. was quite the
experience. Loved the ice cream. It was so much better than soft serve here,
more like half whip cream half ice cream. Delicious. Not so much impressed
by British accents. They were so much impressed by ours. The kids there are
not afraid to sing out loud. America could learn a little from them. One too
many sausage rolls. Everything closes early. I don’t feel like I slept much.
But, over all it was a good experience.
After the record, we will not be doing Warped Tour. We are taking a
summer vacation. The first, in years. We are excited about the break but
even more than that we are then DOING OUR HEADLINING TOUR WHERE WE WILL BE
PLAYING NEW SONGS THAT WE ARE SO EXCITED FOR BECAUSE NO ONE HAS EVER HEARD
THEM!!!

Oh, and by the way, Disney…you now owe us an endorsement. ha ha….

No, really.

Meg

Carlo Presents Guitar Nerdery V. 1

Hello guitar players! Welcome to the dojo.
I want to show you exercises I do before we play a show or when I’m at home during a long (very long) break from tour. I use these techniques in my playing but remember: EVERYONE HAS A DIFFERENT PLAYING STYLE. It is important to apply the following exercises according to your style and ability.You can try and emulate any guitar player you want but what’s the fun in that? One of the goals for a guitar player, in my opinion, is to find their “sound”. This “sound” can be anything from how you bend your strings to the amp that you use.

With all that said, let’s begin.

The first is a linear picking exercise with alternating fingers and alternate picking. This exercise uses all four fingers up and down the fretboard in the following pattern:

fig.1 (refer to video)
1-2-3-4
2-3-4-1
3-4-1-2
4-1-2-3

This pattern is played on each string starting on the 6th string, 1st fret.
You can also use a 3 finger pattern for the same linear exercise.

fig.2 fig.3 (refer to video)
1-2-4 1-3-4
2-4-1 or 3-4-1
4-1-2 4-1-3

 

For writing guitar riffs or improvising, these linear patterns are very helpful (refer to video for some examples). Try playing a major scale or the pentatonic scale using the same pattern, or come up with your own.
Some tips:
~ Always practice with a metronome. Start with a comfortable speed then slowly increase the tempo when you improve.
~ When your hands or fingers start hurting, stop. A strained hand is like a runner getting a leg cramp. Stretch it out then continue.
~ Practice standing up. You’re not going to play at Wembley stadium sitting down, are you?
~ It is better to practice for 10 minutes everyday as opposed to practicing for 10 hours one day a week.
~ The guitar is an instrument to play music. Making music should always come first.
~ Practice does not make perfect. “Perfect Practice” makes perfect:

When Banzan was walking through a market He overheard a conversation between a butcher and his customer.
“Give me the best piece of meat you have,” said the customer.
“Everything in my shop is the best,” replied the butcher. “You cannot find any piece of meat that is not the best.”
At these words Banzan became enlightened.