I'm back! Calm before the BTTB storm, holiday fun times, photo shoots, listening parties and new old gear + setting and reflecting on more goals!
Hi everyone and I hope you've had a great few weeks since the last post and a nice Easter break if you had one. It feels like the calm before the storm at the moment with not much going on over here since I got back apart from catching up on things and finishing the preparations for when the lead single of the upcoming Better Than The Book - Hopes and Dreams album drops next Friday (10th May). I say calm, but it feels more frantic than anything as there is still much to do! Although there isn't much to report JabunAudio-wise this time, as I've only been back a few days, my time away over the past 2 weeks has been filled with many great things, so let's talk about that instead!
The first half of my time away was barely a break at all as from day one it was right back into hard work commencing with a photo shoot in Brighton for the upcoming Better Than The Book - Hopes and Dreams album's press release. We truly lucked out on the weather that day getting some great shots in glorious sunshine which I'll be editing this week, though one of my chosen locations was having renovation work done, and the back-up one had been built over since I was last there?! Overall a great but busy day hanging with friends (to ease my nerves and generate genuine smiles). A huge thanks to Roxy, Sam and Eamon for all their help!
Onto the next day (Saturday), it was finally time to reveal the album to my family and some close-to-the-project-former band-mates with a cup of tea and and a listening party and it seems like the album has a big thumbs-up from them! Interestingly, a popular consensus is that the singles while great are NOT the biggest gems on the album (but are probably more radio-friendly), with the very different "You've Got A Lot To Say" stealing the spotlight in many of their hearts. I shall say no more, you can decide for yourself when the album comes out, but from their reactions and involuntary headbanging, I can safely say this one's gonna be a banger! The album art was well received too (always a plus)!
Sunday was a family day with cousins, grandparents, aunts, uncles, parents and siblings, eating and talking well into the night, and Monday was a visit to more family further away as well as playing with adorable dogs in their garden. Always great to see everyone and catch up! Tuesday was a trip to the dentist (fun...) before Eva arrived in the evening ready for 29th birthday celebrations with my twin and I on Wednesday, which was the first lazy day of trip and much needed. We ended up spending the day watching Avengers: Infinity War ready for Endgame on Thursday, before a nice meal out in the evening.
As with every birthday there was an exchange of gifts and this year was an amazing one. From Eva I finally received the Vox Bass Amplug (Gen1) that she'd outbid me on eBay around Christmas time which sounds lovely and has been great for quiet practicing with that full amp'd tone (no doubt I'll be using it for recording later too), and from my parents, tickets to Alice Cooper at the Brighton Center which are sure to take me back to my teen years! My brother Eamon as usual outdid my present to him with something simply incredible but more on that in a moment. Last year he'd bought a compact drum kit which he's been slowly adding to but said is getting a bit too big to carry solo now, so I thought I double his sounds from it by getting him some double ended mallets for timpani tom hits and soft cymbal swells, quickly switchable back to regular drum stick tone and he loved them! Eva completed the present ensemble with a stick bag to hold his new sticks and other drum hitting/tuning gear. I finally got to see the kit in full this trip too and it's great fun! I've not drummed in around 7 years (not that I was great back then) but doesn't seem like I've lost the little skill I had which is nice! I also got him an album which as an avid Green Day fan he should really have got over a decade ago, the phenomenal American Idiot. Always nice to have more music!
So onto Eamon's gift to me, he seemed determined to spread it out and present it to me in parts just to mess with my head (as usual), but no words can even come close to how amazing it was. First he handed me an envelope labelled fragile with a message telling me to empty my bowels before opening and welcome to the club. Cryptic! Inside was a very home-made looking plastic object which on close inspection I figured out must be a battery cover? The next wrapped parcel I could tell from the shape and weight was clearly a pack of AA batteries, confirming my thoughts on the previous object. Finally he presented to me a HUGE UPS box and told me to open it. I carefully cut open one side and pulled out lots of protective packaging to reveal a much smaller slightly battered red hard flight-case. Excited and with no idea what could be inside, I flipped open the metal catches to open it and was instantly speechless. Inside was an undoubtedly gigged but beautifully vintage Roland TR-505 drum machine (1986), my first vintage synth and the first piece of gear I owned that was older than me. Eamon had used his crazy good sales skills to snag a deal on eBay then spent the last month restoring and testing it with more of his crazy skills, making a new battery cover and printing off a manual for it. The club he'd been referring to was the vintage synth club of which Eamon has been a member since our teen years when he bought a broken Korg Polysix off eBay and restored it to it's amazing 80s glory, and has since amassed a small museum's worth of vintage synths and gear. It was an amazing gift and I really can't wait to make some music with it! With Vlad saying that Jabun should do a synthwave album next and the TR-505 being pretty much THE quintessential drum machine for the job, as well as Eamon egging me to make some synthwave too, I guess the new Jabun album is gonna be a synthwave one! The ideas are already brewing and I can't wait to get started!
Onto Thursday, more fun was still yet to come as Andy the drummer from my very first band came over for a catch-up (after seeing Avengers: Endgame in the morning and having to hold is tongue VERY carefully!). It so happens that we all share the same birthday too (although he's a year younger than my twin and I), and it was great to catch up on everything and meet up in person again. Even though he'd not played drums in about as long as I had (though he's MUCH better than me) we managed to persuade him onto Eamon's compact kit and while hesitant to start with it was clear he was having fun within the first minute or so. It wasn't long before Eamon had grabbed a guitar and I'd dragged my small bass amp from the other room and we were jamming and playing the old songs from our teen years again, and though understandably rusty (having been over a decade since we'd last played together, and me trying to figure out the bass parts I didn't even play back in the day since I played guitar in that band), it was so much fun! It was a shame Sam (the aforementioned) couldn't be there to play bass and have the band all together again, but we had a great time nonetheless, jamming out Black Sabbath, Kiss and Blue Oyster Cult, as well as some of our own old Crow's Wing tunes. Approaching dinner, more friends came over and we made our way to town for as is tradition the best burger place in Burgess Hill: Uncle Sam's, before hanging out at 'Spoons for some drink then splitting off for the rest of us to see Endgame at the Orion cinema. No spoilers here (and don't post any in the comments either), but what a film! I shall say no more!
Friday was another lazy day ending with a less rushed than Thursday friends meet-up and dinner at 'Spoons which was great! I love those guys! Saturday commenced with the usual family coffee meet-up, which was nice as always then a lazy afternoon and evening before backing up on Sunday to head back to the flat with Eva (reading the TR-505 manual on the train). Overall it was a busy but lovely trip, with the only nagging thing being my hay-fever flaring up for most of the week (thankfully after the photo shoot), and I can't wait to put those presents to good use making music once I've sorted everything for this upcoming album's release. It's back to busy that's for sure!
There's not a lot else to report this week but I hope you enjoyed that recap of what I've been up to! Let's finish off with the usual monthly reflections! Here were the goals for April:
1) Complete my tax return
2) Renew the JabunAudio website (name and service provider)
3) Finish the album as a product and get all preparations finished for the release
4) Prep a Patreon post for when I'm away
So looks like I did well! 1), 2), and 4) are done and sorted, and 3) is mostly done, I've just got to finish editing the photo shoot which I'm aiming to be done by the end of the week. There's still a lot to prepare on the admin side of things though (prepping Facebook / Twitter posts / emails) for the album, so let's set some new goals for May with that in mind:
1) Finish editing and send off press photos
2) Make a detailed promo plan from May until September and finish preparations for the single release on May 10th
3) Sort all streaming uploads for the new album (YouTube, SoundCloud, Newgrounds, etc...)
4) Upload the JabunAudio catalogue to AdRev (less urgent)
It's mainly admin goals for the next month, but hopefully I can get back to some music making once the urgent stuff for the album release is done (while I continue with the promotional schedule of course). It's undoubtedly going to be a busy month, so wish me luck and I hope you have a great and productive time too!
That's it for this blog post! I'll be finishing off editing those press photos and sorting out the promo plan in the coming week ready for the single launch on Friday 10th, but maybe I'll get some time to start making music again too? We'll see how it all goes. Until next week, I hope you have a great time whatever you're up to and thanks as always for supporting JabunAudio and my various projects. See you for more news in the next blog post and take care!
Nick Standing; Better Than The Book; Jabun!
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